Tag Archives: Grace

The Wonderful, Personal Benefits of Teaching Meditation

By Bindu (Maureen) Shortt

binduIn Meditation Teacher Training, I remember Swamiji saying, “You have to KNOW more than you TEACH.” Our lineage is one of knowing through experience. As I speak the words that describe my knowing, the knowing that reaches back through the ages, I draw myself deeper into that knowing. In our amazing lineage, teaching meditation opens me to another experience of “the more.”

As the students move from meditation neophytes to experienced meditators, sitting more solidly and consciously in their own Self, I take that ride with them. Yet because I started deeper already, I end up deeper. Their journey carries me deeper. I ride the powerful current of them awakening to their own knowing, then I know more. As they become more clear, I become more clear.  With their classes week by week, I dive deeper into my inner absorption through appreciation of their process and admiration for their courage. They reflect back to me my own process of becoming a competent, confident meditator, and I mark how far I’ve come, which then becomes my jumping off point to dive even deeper.

I have moments in life of knowing that I am fully enlightened already. The catch is how to weave that inner knowing into the outside, into more and ultimately all of my life. Being a meditation teacher offers this to me as a wonderful personal benefit. As a result I now do more frequent trainings, but with a maximum of 6 students. This way the students have more time to say whatever they need to about their experiences, as well as their home efforts and challenges. More people can take the trainings because I vary the days and times. These smaller, more frequent courses are precious to me as part of my sadhana, and I look forward to riding the waves of Grace deeper within as I invite more people into the ocean of Consciousness.

As a meditation teacher, I go deeper into my own Self by leading students in the grace-infused mantra and by teaching them about the five steps to making meditation a daily routine.  By serving as the conduit of these practices and teachings for my students, that flow of Grace affects me also. In the tantra of being a meditation teacher, when I speak the words of the state of the Self, I become able to BE more of my own Self. As I am speaking the sacred words, I am imprinting them further on my own mind. As I am facilitating the students going beyond their mind, I am also facilitated in going beyond mine and into my Divinity.  What a way to serve!

Landing in Ganeshpuri by Karuna Beaver

carolyn_beaver

Karuna (Carolyn) Beaver

We have arrived in Ganeshpuri — all 37 of us Svaroopis. It has taken us weeks of preparation to make it here, but Ganesha has cleared the obstacles, and we have all arrived safely.

We have landed in a place that removed obstacles for our spiritual leader, our teacher, our Guru — Swami Nirmalananda — who has been coming to Ganeshpuri for nearly 40 years. We have come to join her here to deepen our practices in a place that shimmers with shakti. We are all here to soak up the incredible energy field that is Ganeshpuri. We are here to take a dip into the flow of Grace that emanates from this little village north of Mumbai.

And we are here to pay homage to the lineage of the Svaroopa® Sciences, in the place where the ultimate originator — Bhagawan Nityananda — attracted a following of devotees and disciples, including Baba Muktananda, Swamiji’s Guru. We are in the place where Bhagawan Nityananda chose Muktananda to carry on his teachings. We are in the place where Swami Nirmalananda sat at Baba Muktananda’s feet, absorbed in his teachings, and was inspired to develop the asana practice and deep yet accessible yogic teachings she has brought to the West.

We are lucky to be here, and we will be in touch with you often to share our personal experiences over the next two weeks. We know you will feel the micro-waves of energy we’re emitting from here. In this way you join us in our journey from your own home. You are all here within us in our hearts.

Yoga on the Road by Bhanu (Beth) Cunningham

airplane“I have slept in my own bed 20 times in the last year.” This was Swamiji’s patient and conclusive statement that finally melted the strong resistance pocketing the room. She was answering questions about her decision to stop travelling so much and build an Ashram and home for herself and all of us. Being excited about the Ashram, I was drifting in and out, not particularly invested in the details, when her statement jumped out at me. I had known for years that Swamiji travelled extensively. I just never gave it much thought. Now my mind boiled with the question, “How did she do it? How did she do it?…”  How did she realize the Self so fully, bouncing from airport to airport, hotel room to hotel room?

The contemplation of this question has transformed my practice, particularly when I travel. Where I used to dread the upset to my schedule and overwhelming distractions, I now look forward to the challenge of employing some of the deeper practices more earnestly.

I have learned that I can repeat mantra throughout an entire conversation and be simultaneously immersed in both. I have found that humming chants to myself during a big family dinner keeps me truly joyful in what might otherwise be an exercise in anger management. I have fallen in love with meditating in the passenger seat of a car, on an airplane or in a noisy terminal, where the typical annoyances become catalysts for inner expansion.

While the circumstances of travel may not be ideal for deep experiences of the Self, these practices help maintain a consistency to my state, which, in many ways, I have found more profoundly transformative than the exalted inner absorption I get glimpses of in my regular practice.

And there are still many moments, even whole days of travel, when my practice is fleeting at best and is constantly being interrupted. Samadhi seems impossible on days like this. It is then that Patanjali’s Sutra 1.21- “Samadhi (absorption in the Self) is nearest to those whose desire for it is intensely strong”* reminds me of yoga’s fail-safe practice — the cultivation of mumukshutva (the desire for the Self).

When I come to the end of a day of travel (or any given day) and I reflect back on my practice of the day to find it lacking, mumukshutva arises immediately in me. It initially feels like regret or self-condemnation, or even blame. And it hurts, deeply. Yet, as I continue to look at it in the light of a Great Master who spent 345 nights of the year away from home, the edges of that ache soften. A few Ujjayi breaths and I am filled with a blissful yearning for the same Grace that carried Swamiji across many miles to Her Fully-Realized State.  And that desire burns inside, with tremendous warmth and radiance, because I know that Swamiji offers me that very same Grace and the promise that comes with it. As I whisper the mantra to myself, I melt into gratitude for this great longing that draws me ever closer to my Self, and drift off to sleep, doubly inspired for my practice the next day.

When all else fails, it is your mumukshutva that keeps you close to the Self.

So when you travel, take your mumukshutva with you. For the immensity of the promise it holds, it weighs nothing and takes up no room in your luggage.

*Translation by Abbott George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri)

Ganeshpuri’s Heart by Priya Kenney

Priya Kenney

Priya Kenney

Ganeshpuri exists because of Nityananda. Before he came, it was a jungle.  After he settled there, others began to follow suit, and, before long, the jungle was cleared and a village formed.  Everyone who lives in Ganeshpuri or goes there is drawn because of that great being.

Ganeshpuri is like a geographical bindu of devotion.  A bindu is a point of concentrated energies and Ganeshpuri is all about a very powerful and concentrated devotion, all because of Nityananda. The devotion that he inspires is rooted deeply in Ganeshpuri and continues to pour forth, growing over the years.  Everyone and everything in Ganeshpuri — the stones, the trees, the bushes and buildings — all of it is saturated with devotion, and Grace too.

Nityananda didn’t say a whole lot, but he did say this: “The heart is the hub of all sacred places. Go there and roam.”  Being in Ganeshpuri is like being inside the heart.  Walking around Ganeshpuri, roaming the places where the Gurus lived, taught and meditated, and sitting with Swami Nirmalananda in a variety of wonderful daily practices is an amazing opportunity to do just what Nityananda said, both on the outside and the inside.

If you are fortunate enough to go there, I hope you will find, as I did, that something very special happens with your heart.  Early in the India 2013 trip, I had a vividly sleepless night.  I lay in my bed awake for what seemed like hours. My awareness was immense.  I knew I should be sleeping, but I was more than wide awake.  I was awakeness itself.

At some point, I became acutely aware that something was happening in the area behind my heart.  A dramatic unraveling began, like a tight knot being gently but deliberately unfurled.  Then more unraveling, more than I knew could be.  I felt so free.  My heart had never felt so open before.  No walls, no barriers.  Open.

In the days that followed in Ganeshpuri, I settled into a new openness.  I wanted to give everything to That which had opened me, to the fullness within, to the Guru, to the One.  The rhythm of the days, the outside, supported the inner openings.  Our chanting and devotional practices, all done in the presence of the embodied One, our Guru, Swami Nirmalananda, had a powerful effect on the heart.  My wish for you is that you can spend time with your Guru in this City of Devotion.  Your heart will never be the same again.

For information on the India 2015 trip, click here for FAQs.

When the Guru Received Shaktipat by Priya Kenney

289When the Guru received shaktipat, my future changed dramatically. So did yours.

When the Guru received shaktipat, a spark was lit from a long line of sparks, and it’s sparking still.

When the Guru received shaktipat, her Baba gave her everything, just like she is giving us.

When the Guru received shaktipat, I was 20 years old. Maybe my heart jumped for joy. Maybe a shiver of recognition ran up my spine, Kundalini taking a brief practice run for what was to come many years later.

When the Guru received shaktipat, she wasn’t a Guru and she wasn’t even Rama yet. She was a lot like us. A lost soul getting found. It’s hard to imagine what she must have been like 38 years ago because she is so established in herSelf now. I think she just might have been a lot like us.  Look where she is now.

If you are lucky enough to be near Downingtown Yoga Meditation Center, you might have joined Swamiji to celebrate her Shaktipat Anniversary on Saturday, May 31. I spent my day in contemplation and gratitude for my Guru’s shaktipat and mine and yours. It’s because of her shaktipat that we are all in this together. We were always our big Self, but she is the one who is bringing us the light of that knowing, just like her Baba did for her. She went through it all, just as we are doing now. She can take us there because she walked the path, every step of the way. Jaya Guru OM.

Why India with Swamiji? by Sheynapurna (Sandy) Peace

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Sheynapurna (Sandy) Peace in Ganeshpuri

I had the good fortune to be staying at the Ashram when the 2013 India trip was announced. Part of me wanted to go, but my good friend Fear reared up her head and helped Mind think up many reasons why I shouldn’t go. Sitting at the dining room table with Swamiji, I expressed some of my fears. Swamiji looked at me, gave me what I can only call “that” look and then shared several reasons why it might be important for me to take that trip.

I no longer remember the reasons I was given. What I remember most of all was looking at Her, sitting there at the table with Her, and realizing the gifts I would receive being with Her in India. Is that Grace? All I know is that my fears began to look pitiful. Was I actually worrying about a lack of toilet paper? Really? Cobras? I live in southern California, have hiked all over the back country hills and have encountered dozens of rattlesnakes….I never saw even one snake in India, much less a cobra, and toilet paper was readily available.   Would I rather sit home with my fears or see India with my Guru?

In exchange for letting my fears lie low, I got to meet the people of Ganeshpuri, so many devotees of Nityananda or Muktananda all populating one town. I sat in Nityananda’s temple, meditated in His bedroom. I got to visit Muktananda’s (now Gurumayi’s) ashram and sit in the garden by the mango tree where Muktananda gave satsang. We met the temple Brahmin priests so many times that they recognized us on the streets of Ganeshpuri. On our last morning at Nityananda’s Temple, one of the priests told me that all of the people who come to Ganeshpuri were personally invited by Nityananda. He said this, looked at me closely and said, “You must come back again. You are most welcome here”.

I will return to Ganespuri with Swamiji this coming February, to spend this special time with my Guru, Swami Nirmalananda, and share the delight of the local people in Her visit to their city. I hope to share this precious time with you!

To register or learn more information about India 2015: Ganeshpuri’s Grace, click here.

My Spiritual Birthday by Swami Nirmalananda

289My life is full of milestones, yet they all began on the day I received Shaktipat from my Baba. Everything followed so naturally, like water flows down a river. I rafted the river of Grace.

Before Shaktipat, I explored the outer universe, but to no avail. I tried everything that was available in the 60’s and 70’s, a wide variety of offerings! I came to the inescapable conclusion that nothing really worked. I began to question the value of life itself, but continued searching for something that had meaning.

After Shaktipat, I explored the inner universe under my Guru’s guiding hand. I found that the entire outer world is nestled within and all of it has meaning! Every single grain of sand, every single person and even every single problem has meaning. But I had to find it within before I could see the meaning-full-ness that was staring me in the face.

Now my life is full of Grace, every moment saturated with the Divinity that was hidden within. All revealed by my Guru’s Grace. Please join me in celebrating my 38th anniversary of receiving Baba’s gift, Saturday May 31 at Downingtown Yoga Meditation Center from 7:30-9:00 pm. Click here to register.

NOTE: Swamiji asks that you refrain from giving her personal gifts, but instead (if you wish) please support her sharing of the gift that she received with others. Click here to donate in honor of Swamiji’s Shaktipat Anniversary.