By Vicharinee Su Chafin
“Japa will give you everything.” I was sure I knew what Swamiji meant in this statement. However something in me wondered if there was more than my previous solitary japa experience had offered. With our upcoming Japathon! September 28, I decided to explore my japa practice even deeper. So, I set out on a new japa challenge, one of focus, of full devotion, from start to finish. I planned an experiment to explore the “everything.”
Being a part of the Japathon seva team has been an honor and has propelled me to examine my own japa practice. How do I repeat mantra with my full heart? Am I merely searching for a solution to problems or soothing a busy mind? My experiment was born; I would repeat the mantra with full awareness and devotion, completely.
“Om Namah Shivaya.” What greater words could one repeat over and over? It certainly trumps most of the banter my mind enjoys engaging in, for my benefit or otherwise. I am reminded of a Satsang with Swamiji. Something that held significance for me was her discussion of the meaning of the mantra. “I bow to Shiva in me, Consciousness as my Self.” Okay. I hear her, but do I really hear her? I mean, really? I thought I had sat with that notion many times.
So keenly aware of the meaning of the mantra; with each repetition, I paused, really paused, another thing I have heard Swami coach lately. “Om Namah Shivaya!” out loud it rang, inside it rang, “I bow to my own Self, as Shiva.” I stopped and started over when I lost the focus of bowing to Shiva as me, me as Shiva. I continued to bow to my own Self, to me as divine, as Consciousness itself. And then the Pause. Oh the sweet Pause! Sometimes everything was there, sometimes my mind needed redirection, sometimes there was the Guru’s form, always my Self, right there, right in the Pause. It is pregnant with Grace. How often have I repeated this mantra and not meant it?
It was so difficult not to fall into meditation. My mala beads dripped into my heart and spine. I was determined to finish the mala! When I did, the Gurus emerged; I felt my practice pleased them. Falling quickly in deep meditation and at the feet of all Gurus, to my Guru, boundaries dissolved. God, Guru and Self were all before me as me.
One of my best meditations ever had just occurred, on a random weekday morning! It was almost like an out-of-body experience within the confines of my own flesh. To say I felt the universe within me seems so understated. I emerged like an astronaut from a capsule floating in the sea. I knew I would return to my life completely different though look the same. I felt my senses had been permeated; I had traveled the cosmos within my own body. I felt freed while inside this form. My seat, my mind, my breath was so still. I didn’t become anything, I realized what I truly am, “everything.”
Returning to my Self in meditation is always like arriving home after a long and tiring journey, but this was special. It felt like I was in the room with all of you, and with my Guru, all meditating together. However, I was alone, in the comfort of my home. Repeating japa with full devotion, I was enveloped with the support of the enlivened mantra. Japa will give you everything. It gave me everything on a random weekday morning.
With unending love, gratitude for the path and especially for the guidance of my Guru. At her feet I bow.
Japathon! September 27-29
Special Group Event 9/28 at 10 a.m.
Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram’s birthday event,
happening in your home or yoga studio