Monthly Archives: April 2017

From Fear to Freedom

By Mati (Sandy) Gilbert

I was born with a sense of being incomplete.  Something was missing in my life.  It turned out to be my spirituality.  Over the years, I tried many and varied methods to fill this void.  Most didn’t work,  some did for a short while.  Then the old sense of incompleteness came back.  It wasn’t until I turned to yoga, poses at first, then meditation.  Eventually, I found the inner yoga.  It placed me on my path to knowing my inner divinity, my Self.

Shiva Sutras 1.5: Udyamo bhairava.h
When the Guru’s Grace is received, one’s inner Shakti is unfolded… meditation comes spontaneously… the seeker turns within.  Awareness of the inner Self begins to throb all the time within him.  To stay in this awareness is the right effort for the seeker.  — Swami Muktananda

Why did it take me so long to find what was missing?  It was fear.  Some fears are small and others larger.  Some go away and some stay around for many years.  My greatest fear was my feeling of being incomplete.  It took the awakening by a Master Teacher to allow me to begin to understand what was missing, why it is so important, and the steps necessary to feel complete.  I had to put myself in the hands of someone who knew how to put me on the path of self-realization.

The world is made of energy. You, as part of that world, are made of energy.  When your inner spiritual energy is activated and unfolds within you, the experience of the wholeness within is clear.

Swami Nirmalananda says, “Yoga calls this your own Self, your Divine Essence.  You were born to know your own Self.  You were born with a feeling of being incomplete so that you would look for your Self.  Finding it is easy when you work with someone who has already found it.  That’s what my Guru gave me and what I give to others.”

While you are made of energy, there is a hidden dimension to that energy that must be activated.  This mystical upward rising energy is available to everyone.  Once awakened, this upward rising energy is like “Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park, the world’s most recognizable geyser.  While it is not the highest geyser in Yellowstone, it is by far the most regular.

Your upward rising energy has a name — Kundalini.   It moves upward, starting at your tailbone, through your spine, your conduit to Consciousness.  This Divine Energy melts away your inner blockages, revealing your own Beingness.

Shaktipat initiates the awakening of your dormant energy.  It is a rare and special blessing, given by those who have dedicated their life to carrying the ancient yogic tradition to the next generation.  Swami Nirmalananda is such a Master.

There are two types of Shaktipat – intentional and spontaneous Kundalini.  Spontaneous Kundalini can occur when you hear of such a Master, if your practices thus far have prepared you enough.

Intentional Shaktipat happens when you ask for Kundalini awakening by an authorized Guru. With the transmission of this power of Consciousness, meditation comes easily.  You turn within.  Your fears dissolve.  You become aware of the Inner Divinity that is your true identity, progressively more and more, until you live in the knowing of your own Self all the time.

You start out with an early impulse that something is missing.  You search out alternatives and read how to books.  Your desire to know is coming from a deep impulse arising within you.  What is that impulse?  It is your own Self (named Bhairava in the above sutra) which moves you forward, as well as inward, so you can discover who you really are and have always been.  Shaktipat propels you farther and faster than you can ever go on your own.  It is the gift of Grace arising within.

Exploring the Mystery Within

By Mangala Allen

Your own human body is a mysterious place full of infinite wonder. When you look deeper than merely your body, even deeper than your mind, what you discover inside is a treasure that enhances your life in every way. You discover your own Self.  Yoga is the key that unlocks the gateway that allows you to explore within.

It only takes one taste of what is inside to propel you on your journey to realizing your own Self. You get that taste in the moment your mind becomes still. You have experienced this many times in your life. Perhaps it was gazing into the vastness of a star filled sky. Something happened inside; you experienced an uprising of bliss. You experienced bliss beyond thought. This supreme bliss continually vibrates within the deepest dimensions of your own being. The problem is you are not usually aware of this treasure within.

One day my granddaughter was miserable. I asked, “Do you know what miserable is?” She told me, “It’s when I want something and I can’t have it right now!”

This is the human dilemma. You want to be joyful, but you can’t always make that happen. You become lost in your misery and don’t know what to do. Don’t wait for external circumstances to be just right, for the bliss that provides is temporary and short-lived. The inner experience of the bliss of your own Beingness is accessible through meditation on the Self. The more you have this experience of Self inside, the more delight you find in your life.

My teacher Swami Nirmalananda puts it this way:

“Bliss arises from your core, expands to fill your heart and mind, and overflows into your life and into the world. This process is happening from the inside outward.”  

I know this to be true. I have learned that looking outside is going in the wrong direction. I take time to sit, to quiet my mind and experience the treasure within. Then I take my experience into my life and delight in the experiences I encounter in the world.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava namo nama.h

To your Inherent Divinity again and again I bow.

You Are Consciousness

by Niranjan Matanich

“You are Consciousness-Itself. You are the Source and Essence of the Universe, and Beyond.” Swami Nirmalananda

I first heard this teaching in 2001. After many years of searching for the spiritual path that would answer my questions, this teaching stopped my searching. Somewhere deep inside of myself I felt like I found it, the Truth. I couldn’t explain it at the time but I knew I found what I had been looking for. I’ve been on this path ever since.

From the time when I was around 8 years old I knew there was more to life than just mundane existence, but I didn’t know what that “more” was. I was raised to be Christian. I tried hard to connect with God in the way that I was taught but, when I asked some of the harder questions, people in my church or my Mom told me, “God just doesn’t want you to know certain things.” I was never satisfied with that answer. It never made sense to me that God was “out there” somewhere.

I spent over 20 years searching for the spiritual path that would fill the void in myself that I was feeling.  Then I discovered the teachings of Kashmir Shaivism that says that I am Consciousness, that Consciousness is my own Self. I read that Consciousness manifested as this whole universe including me.  God is not separate from me. God doesn’t live in the sky somewhere.

An analogy for this is the ocean waves. You see many waves in the ocean and each wave appears to be individual. But really, it’s all the ocean. When you look around and see all the different people, animals, trees, grass, the sky, the stars, and beyond — it’s all Consciousness.  The essence of all things is the same, there is no difference. The teachings of Kashmir Shaivism explain this in detail and promise that you can know this experientially, within yourself.

The teachings are not theory.  Following the teachings and practices, given by Masters who have found this Truth within themselves, will give you the experiential knowing that you are Consciousness. You are the source of the Universe.

Swami Nirmalananda describes it this way:

It was Baba Muktananda’s presence that made the theory real for me.  He was flesh and blood, alive, tangible, undeniable.  Being in His presence propelled me into my own Self, precisely because Baba was established in Self.  He also gave me teachings and practices to do, so I could get there on my own.  And He made me able to share this with you.

By chanting, meditating, studying, and especially being in relationship with a Guru you will come to know that you are so much more than you think you are.

Swami Nirmalananda, the spiritual head of Svaroopa Vidya, is such a Guru. She is able to reveal the Truth of your own being to you, because she has found it in herself and lives in that knowing all the time.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava namo nama.h

To your inherent Divinity, again and again I bow.

Clearing the Path for Your Light to Shine

By Yogeshwari (Melissa) Fountain & Swami Nirmalananda

“This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”  The teaching of the ancient yogic sages say there’s nothing “little” about the light of your being. Deep inside each human being radiates a light that is brighter than the sun. It is the source of the universe itself, ever pulsating, ever existent, illuminating your mind, heart and soul.

Far beyond what your mind tells you, this inner light is what’s guiding your thoughts, actions and sense of Self in the world. Yet it’s not always easy for you to recognize this.  Fortunately, the practices of yoga specialize in revealing your inner illumination, teaching you how to live everyday in the light of certainty and freedom.

“The light of your own being shines into your life, from its inner source, only when you clear the pathway – your mind.”
-Swami Nirmalananda

The source of your being is not your mind, but that which your mind is made of: Consciousness-Itself. Your inner Essence is vast, eternal, all-knowing.  You existed before you were born, and will continue to exist after your body dies. Who you are is both subtle and profound, like the silence between the roars of ocean waves or the stillness of a mountain. Swami Nirmalananda says that you will only bring this depth of being into your life when you have cleared the pathway of your mind.  And one of the most powerful ways to do this is with self-Inquiry, which we call “vichara.”

Even though I meditate daily, and repeat my mantra, my mind can still loop around itself and get tangled up! And the more I try to figure something out, the more confusing it gets. But there is an inner knowing, beyond the mind. Vichara is a way to question my own mind by opening it up into a non-judgmental spaciousness.

Whether I’m facilitated by a trained Vichara Therapist, or doing it on my on with pen and paper, vichara begins with asking, “What am I aware of?” As my thoughts unspool, the questions, “How so?” and “In what way?” shine the light of Consciousness through my mind. It’s never about finding an answer, but more about unmasking my reactions and objections. It’s like rearranging stacks of boxes in the basement, and finding a shaft of light streaming through a window I’d forgotten was there.   I am always amazed at how much lighter and happier I feel after dissolving unrecognized mental patterns.

Your inner light is always shining, it is your own Self, the Source of Life-Itself. Yoga turns your awareness inward; Shaktipat gives you the experience of your own Divinity.  But because of inner resistance, you have to meet your mind, again and again, with a question or two: “How so?” and in “in what way?”

All of yoga’s techniques are to help you quiet your mind, so you open the doorway to your own Self.  You can then learn be free from the landmines  your mind used to lay for you.  Not only do you gain greater clarity and understanding about your “small-s” self and your life, but ultimately the goal is freedom    Mantra and meditation reveal  the fullness and truth of who you really are: Consciousness-Itself.  Self-inquiry helps you bring it into the world.