Tag Archives: Meditation

Take What You Like And Leave The Rest by Sheynapurna (Sandy) Peace

foundations_mediumMade familiar from Alcoholic Anonymous, “take what you like and leave the rest” can apply in many situations, particularly Svaroopa® Vidya Yoga & Meditation. Although we are never, in this program, forced to ascribe to a certain philosophy, those yogis who are uncomfortable with alignment of Swami Nirmalandanda as their guru (or a guru, or any guru), can take this message to heart. The yoga you know and love is not changing.

The yoga philosophy offered has always been Kashmiri Shaivism – the same teachings I received during my YTT in 2003/4. Swami Nirmalananda can deepen the teachings, offer Shaktipat and take us further in the Self, but this is not, will not be, and has never been required of Svaroopa® yoga teachers. Take what you like – leave the rest.

Part of the 2013 India trip was held on the beautiful campus of the Himalayan Institute, and most of our fellow travelers came through that organization. The Himalayan Institute has a spiritual leader, but most of our travel mates were not very familiar with Pandit Rajmani Tigunait.

HI offers Meditation, yoga asana, ayurveda, philosophy. Some develop interest in areas they didn’t expect to like at first – and others joined the group simply to experience Kumbha Mela and India. The program appealed to them. Their students take what they like and leave the rest.

To my fellow yogis having no interest in a guru or those who have their own different guru; to my fellow yogis who are happily absorbed in their own religion or spiritual path – you can take a breath and turn to the aspect of Svaroopa® yoga that opens your body and opens your heart. Take what you like, leave the rest.

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The Amazing Power of Japa by Vicharinee (Su) Chafin and Deborah Woodward

337Vibhuti (Sandra) Courtney, is one of our sevites who will be leading the japa session in our upcoming Japathon! She describes her experience with japa this way, “When I repeat mantra out loud as preparation [for meditation], then the mantra is firmly established in my mouth as I begin silent repetition. I feel as though I am chewing on something. As I continue, the mantra is more prevalent than it is normally. It is closer. Front row! Now that it is closer, I can feel that it is a living breathing entity. It is closer to me and we are in relationship.  The mantra is not just words. What is it? What are we? Very exciting and a little scary!”

In a satsang talk, Swami quoted Baba’s teaching, “Japa is the heart of meditation. Japa fills and purifies the mind and then meditation comes automatically.” Whether repeating mantra silently or out loud, preparing for mediation or going about daily activities, japa keeps you in closer relationship to the Self.  She goes on, “Mantra gives you meditation. Meditation gives you the Self.”

Baba said your mind is so powerful; it can pull you away from your own Divinity. Your mind usually runs the same 3 or 4 thoughts over and over, in what Baba referred to as “mundane mantras.” These stir up your mind and keep it turning outward.

Why not repeat mantra?  Why not imprint Consciousness on your mind? Why not give your mind a much needed cleaning, a good brain bath? Bring the purifying flow of the Ganges River to your home.

Japa helps reprogram these old worn out sound-bits with the juicy nectar of Divine Consciousness.  It’s so easy and available.  It can harness your minds’ tendency toward constant repetition and turn it toward God, toward your own Self.  With japa, you turn your mind away from all the distractions; you become free from states of anxiety, frustration, depression, irritation, and deep insecurity (to name only a few).  You know this because you have experienced “svaroopa,” the bliss of your essential nature.

Rudrani Nogue, another japa leader in our Japathon! says, “Our upcoming Japathon! has three wonderful elements merging together for me.  First, I will be part of a seva team leading our group repetition of Om Namah Shivaya.  What an opportunity to give from my heart to our community; yet I suspect I will receive way more than I could ever give. Another joy is that this may be the biggest coming together our community has ever had, which means deep reciprocal adaptation. Most important, we will be repeating our mantra, the sound form of Grace and Consciousness. What could be better than that?”

The enlivened mantra given to us by Swami Nirmalananda has been repeated many thousands of times, for thousands of years.   The mantra breathes.  When you visit the Ashram or Downingtown Yoga, you can feel the Shakti in the meditation areas, where so much japa is performed. The walls hum with divine vibration.   You can make your walls hum, too.  Join us for our Japathon!

  • On your own or in a group
  • On the phone with us, Saturday September 28 at 10 am (Eastern Time)
  • Or any time over our Birthday Weekend, September 28-29
  • Share your experience with us (see link below)
  • Tell us about your event and share photos

Resources:

Japathon! web page with articles, recordings of Swamiji’s talks on japa, event details

Poster for our phone event on Sat. 9/28,10 am Eastern Time

Register for our phone event and get the phone codes

Share your experience or your event on our FaceBook page

Give a Birthday Gift to the Ashram

Shop for japa malas (beads) and meditation supplies

Shaktipat

by Theresa Morrison

Swami DarshanWhether concrete or subtle, yogis receiving Shaktipat from Swami Nirmalananda experience a range of openings, expansions, and revelations that are real and profound.  Please enjoy these yogis’ descriptions of Shaktipat from recent Retreats with Swamiji.

Robin Blankenship describes her experience of Shaktipat as the movement of energy through her body:

“My Shaktipat retreat was a very deep and intense experience. I now feel Kundalini go all the way up into my head during yoga practice and meditation. It used to be blocked at my neck and shoulders. [I] experienced Shakti in my body as a source that is ever changing and moving. I experienced it as a moving part that is now unstuck.  I continue to have access to this experience of Shiva as constant change.  It is helping me to accept change… in my life and not be afraid of it.”

She summarizes that the experience of Shakti moving freely throughout her own body had a direct effect on her spiritual practice and allowed her to have new insights into the nature of movement and change in her daily life.  This has allowed her to become unblocked and unstuck.

France de la Fontaine shares some particular experiences of blissful from her recent Shaktipat Retreat:

“On Sunday morning, I woke up and I felt pure joy and peace, no fears. I imagine bliss this way — since, in meditation, I can have a glimpse of this state… the other thing that I felt on that Sunday morning was the impression that the world was in my belly. It was very special.”

France goes on to describe that Shaktipat opens her heart and helps her to “progress on the path of illumination.”

Beth Richardson recounts her own experience of progress.  She writes, “I feel my meditation is clearer, and I am happier, more patient and more at peace.”

Whether momentary or enduring, these experiences of clarity or Self offer glimpses of what is possible. They encourage further seeking and practice.

Susan Daniel shares, “The Shaktipat Retreat continues to provide motivation to prioritize a daily meditation practice.”

Dhananjaya King says that he has found a new “willingness to stay in the present rather than constantly looking toward future events.”

Shanti Ellan Catacchio describes a beautiful transformation that she attributes to the effect of Shaktipat in her life:

“We have taken down a fence that was in front of our cottage, and I have moved from hiding-out in the back yard, out of sight, to the front yard, enjoying the view and people walking by.  My Mother put that fence up 50+ years ago.  I am more comfortable in my own skin than ever before.  I am more aware than ever before. [I am] closer to Self.”

The particular effects of Shaktipat manifest differently for each individual, but there is an undeniable power in this transfer of energy from Guru to disciple.  Swamiji gives Maha-Shaktipat, the awakening of your own energy of transcendence, Kundalini.  Whether direct (in person) or indirect (through an intermediary, such as a photograph), this transmission of Shakti is a life-changing experience.  It deepens each time you receive it, all through the loving act of Grace, given by the Guru.

The Shaktipat Retreat, offered several times each year by Swamiji, is an intensive, nurturing experience designed to prepare each individual to receive this initiation most fully.  Through chanting, meditation, and a series of teachings each student is given the tools they need to understand and open to the Grace.

Swamiji confers Shaktipat three distinct times over the course of each retreat weekend, likening the energetic transfer to that of a burning candle sharing its fire with one still waiting to be lit.  Amongst other things, this powerful gift leads individuals to a fuller realization of themselves, empowering them to live in the experience of their own Self as Shiva.

The Grace-full Moon

By Kanchan (Connie) Mohn

Guru Purnima 130722Guru Purnima, the full moon of the Guru, is celebrated as the day the world got its first Guru (Shiva). This was the day that people first came to know that through the Guru, through Grace, they can be Self-Realized.

On this night every year, the moon is at its fullest and Grace is at its fullest. What a perfect night to make a pilgrimage to Satsang!

This past Sunday, our meditation hall at Downingtown Yoga Meditation Center was filled to the brim with yogis bearing flowers, gifts and hearts full of Divine Love; wanting nothing more than to honor their Guru, Swamiji, while she honored her Guru, Baba Muktananda. Self honoring Self.

Swamiji offered illuminating commentary on Shiva Sutra 2.6, “Gururupaaya.h” — the Guru is both the path and the goal.  “The Guru has done what you are doing,” walked the path you are walking.  The Guru is “the embodied reality who shows your future to you… the goal.”  She went on to promise, “My Guru freed me, so that I could free you.

With these words lingering in the air, Swamiji led the crowd in chant and deep meditation, followed by an invitation to greet her personally.

Then slowly, ever so gently, sweetly, one by one, the yogis in the room approached their Sadguru, bowed and offered their gift, their gratitude. In turn, Swamiji honored and celebrated everyone who came forward by offering a flower and a soft “Om namah Shivaya.”  Self honoring Self.  Profound silence filled the room, palpable and timeless.  Grace-filled hearts were opened wide.

Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay!

Full to the Brim

Image

Karuna

by Karuna Beaver

There’s a theme to our last two blogs – opening boxes and finding delights within. Sarvaata wrote about opening and then filling boxes of sacred ash from India.  Sharada wrote about opening packages from India, filled with beautiful things for the Amaya® shop.

I, too, received a box this week, and I experienced the same delight and depth of feeling. The box I received was filled with things to either be used or set out for purchase at the Shaktipat Retreat this weekend in Boise ID, my hometown.

Last summer, I received an invitation to host a Shaktipat weekend. This was the first box I opened – my inbox! To my delight, Swamiji and the Ashram chose Boise as one of only two Shaktipat locations outside of Pennsylvania in 2013.  While the Boise Svaroopa® teachers have been talking up this wondrous event to our students for months, our registrations came in slowly. Until about three weeks ago, we wondered if we would have enough participants to hold the retreat.

But then, another gift arrived in my inbox – a message from Rukmini that Swamiji had committed to the weekend. After that, everything became easy – well, easier! The fence-sitters began to commit. I began finalizing all the details on my end to host the event.  Just when I was beginning to feel a little overwhelmed with these details and a by the honor and responsibility of having my beloved teacher and Guru visit, the package arrived.

Inside were white woolen asanas, creamy pale yellow meditation shawls, journals just waiting for sweet descriptions of meditation to fill their pages. As I carefully unpacked the boxes to make sure all the contents had arrived safely, I was aware that I too was “unpacking,” unpacking the concern about the external details, unpacking insecurities about having Swamiji visit. As I lovingly put the contents back into the box, I too felt “filled up.” I had an experience of my Self as vast, timeless, unconcerned about the future. I knew that just like the box, I was full to the brim.

Special Shishya Seva

Imageby Sarvataa Christie

The tippy top of the seva sheet read “*Special Seva Project Downstairs”…what?!  Oh, I hurried down there, so very excited, and then my eyes gazed upon those magnificent marble boxes…the sacred ash!  From our yajña! My heart leapt and my mind melted.

At breakfast the next morning, as Kristine Freeman and I were chatting about our “Special Seva Project,” we shared joyful bliss mingled with excitement. Swamiji explained how Making a Difference monthly donors would truly appreciate the sacred ash being packed by Shishya hands (and I can say the Shishya hands loved it!). She then instructed us to do it in the meditation room, while playing chants, and then meditate. Yum!

We began in right after mealtime, as the task seemed daunting! Blissful and an honor, but all those boxes!  Kristine assembled the first packing box, then when she got to the second one she was like “How did I do that first one!?” She then decided to “stop thinking” and just do it; the next time I looked her way, there were seven boxes all neatly lined up and assembled. She had figured out, what she coined, “box asana”!

As I opened the bag of ash, which had been hidden until now, I was amazed by its richness and the depth of its grayness. My mind immediately began to worry and cause me trouble about the how to’s and the what if’s.  We adorned ourselves with the ash upon our third eyes and I did have a taste or two.

As we continued our work, we began to slip into meditation.  Those what if’s/ how to’s dissolved and the task at hand became so simply full of bliss! We worked together as a great team and were so surprised when we were all of a sudden done! Karobiji termed it “Working efficiently from the Self; functioning from that deep state of meditation.” What a wonder! To be able to function in that state of bliss is such a sublime and easy experience.  Kristine said, “I thought this would be something we would start and the next group would finish!” We had seamlessly completed our seva with plenty of time for meditation before lunch.  At this point, we were giggled, “Oooh! Next is meditation.” We both agreed we were already there.

Now…Meditation.   A blissful hour passed in the blink of an eye. It was so sweet to be so deep; “unconscious in consciousness” as Swamiji says. Kristine’s meditation was “So still.”

So, of course, I have been applying the sacred ash daily between my eyebrows and the tip of my tongue. It is so lush and full of power. It is a bit gritty, but so soft; a little rubbing between your ring finger and thumb will make a nice fine powder.  Enjoy your sacred ash, thanks for your continued support and generosity and for this opportunity to serve! I’ll treasure this experience always.