Category Archives: Mystical Living

Do You Know?

By Swami Shrutananda

My tears began to flow.  I was on a long drive back to the Ashram.  I found several religious stations that played upbeat and positive music.  A Christmas song about Jesus was the one full of the most tenderness and devotion, “Mary, Did You Know?” by Pentatonix.

The song makes Jesus personal:  “Mary, did you know… when you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God?”  “Mary, did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?”  Mary, did you know “that sleeping child you’re holding is the great, I Am?”  Probably not.  

For me, the song describes the potential of a human being by describing the Jesus’ greatness.  Probably your mother did not know your greatness unless she herself was Self-Realized.  Yet, more importantly and more personally, do you know your own greatness, your own Divinity, your own Self?  Probably not.  Some students describe their knowingness of their own Beingness when they were young.  However, they shut it down as they grew.  

Does your mother need to know the greatness of your being for you to know?  Do others in your life?  If so, you will be waiting for a long time.  Yet this is what the Guru sees in you when they look at you or think about you.  Even if you cannot, the Guru sees your own greatness, your own Divinity, your own Self. 

When I hear devotional songs about other great beings, I think of my Guru, Gurudevi Nirmalananda.  I feel fortunate to have a living Guru.  I can tangibly see her form.  I can hear her teachings, made so relevant to me in this day and age.  I can talk to her on the outside or inside.  She is always accessible.  The yoga we practice comes from Siddha Yoga.  It is the yoga of being in relationship with a siddha, a Self-Realized being.  Gurudevi is such a being.

This song “Mary Did You Know?” touches me so deeply.  It touches my inner yearning to know my own greatness, my own Divinity, my own Self.  It brings up tears because the knowing is so close, yet just beyond my reach.  

Fortunately, I have a Guru, a living Guru, who reveals my own Divinity to me.  It is the function of the Guru to help you to reveal your own greatness to yourself.  This happens through the Guru’s presence, teachings and the practices they give you.  This is the gift of a living Guru.  

The Guru performs miracles.  The Guru’s miracles don’t include walking on water, curing blindness or bringing the dead alive.  The Guru’s miracle is much more personal to you.  She burns away that which gets in the way of you knowing your own Self.  You will feel fresh and new, and full of joy.

Gurudevi’s Guru said:

The power of the human being is so great that he can even transform himself into God.  God lives hidden in the heart of every human being, and everyone has the power to realize that.

-Swami Muktananda, Where Are You Going? page 5

You are embodied Divinity.  You already are God.  That is amazing.  But you simply don’t know, not yet.  Through your yoga practices, you come to know that you are God.  You are the Lord of all creation.  You are the great I Am.  The knowing is hidden within.  The Guru reveals that which is hidden in your own being.  It is the Guru’s function to reveal your own Self to you.

Traditionally, yoga does not honor a great Guru’s birthday.  We honor the anniversary of their death.  At the end of life, you see what that little baby did with their life.  Those we honor knew their own greatness, their own Divinity, their own Self.  And they helped others to find That within themselves.

Do you know?  Do you want to know?  Get a Guru.  I have one and I’ll share.

Digesting Life – A Study Group with Gurudevi

By Gurudevi Nirmalananda

Up close and personal — I’ve missed it during the pandemic.  Online is so useful, but there’s nothing like being together in-person. I’m delighted to serve so many of you through Telecourses and zoom satsangs, but when we get a weekend together, so much more happens. So I’ve created a program with five weekends, interspersed through the year. 

Digesting Life

5 weekend retreats with Gurudevi

Beginning February 17

Our group size is limited so we can dive deep together.  Every day, we’ll intersperse yoga practices with mental processes.  The practices deepen your experience of the inner infinity of your own Self.  The contemplations are to help you understand your inner experiences as well as to help you understand your life experiences. 

After each weekend, you take your new sense of Self home with you.  In the same place, with the same people and activities, you try out the new you.  Then you come back and we work it through.  What you learn about yourself makes you more powerful and more loving at the same time. 

Your enrollment is for all five weekends. Carve the time out of your schedule and make these weekends a priority. Don’t miss any! Your presence is a support to others, even while you’re in the process yourself.

I Wanted to Know

By Swami Samvidaananda

The birth of Jesus is celebrated today.  It’s a holy day that honors a great being.  Merry Christmas!

I grew up in an Italian Catholic family.  I adored the baby Jesus nestled in the little wooden manger under our brightly lit Christmas tree.  I was taught that Jesus was both human and divine, and I believed it.  But I didn’t understand how it could be true.  I wanted to know. 

And then I found yoga.  Yoga opened up my ability to experience Divinity ― my own and the Divinity of everything that exists.  Yoga says you can experience your Divinity.  This is because there is One Divine Reality, and that Reality is your own Self:

Caitanyam-aatman — Shiva Sutras 1.1

Consciousness-Itself is your own Self.

(Translated by Swami Nirmalananda)

Consciousness is the source and substance of everything that exists.  The physicists and yogis agree that everything is made of energy.  The yogis go a step further.  They explain that everything is made of conscious energy: Divine, Sublime and Self-knowing.  More than conscious, it is Consciousness-Itself.

The sun, the moon, the stars, your houseplants and your pets are all made of cosmic Consciousness.  They are all inherently Divine.  And so are you.  Cosmic Consciousness is your own Self.  Except, you don’t know your Divinity, not enough of the time.  Instead, you experience yourself as limited.  You feel small, separate, and painfully alone. But you have the capacity to experience your Self.  This is yoga’s purpose: to reveal your Divinity to you.  

How does yoga do that?  Well, not with yoga poses, as beneficial as they are.  Yoga says, spend time with a living yoga Master, a Siddha.  That’s what I do.  I meditate with Gurudevi Nirmalananda Saraswati.  She knows her own Divinity.  She sees everything that exists as that same radiant Divinity, all the time.  In this tradition, she is described as Self-Realized.

Other traditions have their own names for those who live in a pure, steady, spiritual state.  In the West, Christianity recognizes great beings as saints and mystics.  The meditative traditions of the East — in India, Burma and Thailand ― call them enlightened, illumined, God-intoxicated. 

What happens when you spend time with such a being?  Their ecstatic, God-saturated state is catching.  They love to share!  They don’t even need to try.  They radiate Divinity.  They are like a tuning fork, emitting a pure tone of bliss.  When you’re with them, you begin to vibrate with bliss too.  

That’s because their bliss is your bliss.  Their Divinity is your Divinity.  There’s only One Divine Reality, and it is your own Self.  There’s only one difference between a Self-Realized being and you.  They know they are the Self and you don’t.  Not yet.  But you can. 

With a Siddha like Gurudevi, it’s not like going to a concert.  There, you catch a blissful high, then go home and lose it.  The yoga masters in her lineage give you more than a temporary experience of your Self.  They are empowered to give Shaktipat, the mystical initiation that awakens you to your Inherent Divinity.  

She received this initiation from her beloved Guru, Baba Muktananda.  And he received this initiation from his Guru.  And his Guru had a Guru, who had a Guru, who had a Guru, in a lineage of Shaktipat Gurus that stretches through time.  

When you receive this inner awakening, your Divinity is revealed to you.  You know your Self in a way that you will not lose.  Oh, you may get distracted and forget for a while, then remember again.  But you can’t ever not-know your Divinity the way you did before, unto lifetimes.  Meditation will clear your mind, body and heart from the inner distractions that get in your way.  So one day, you will be Self-Realized.  You will know your own Divinity.  And you will see everything that exists as that same radiant Divinity, all the time.

I wanted to know how it’s possible to be both human and divine.  Now I know.  Because when I meditate with Gurudevi, she gives me my Self.  I experience my Divinity reliably, unfailingly, gloriously.  And I am still human.  Do you want to experience your Self?  Then meditate with Gurudevi Nirmalananda.  She will be delighted to teach you how.

One Day of Thanks is Not Enough

By Gurudevi Nirmalananda 

When I lived in my Baba’s Ashram, one of my yoga-buddies often spoke a few words aloud, “An attitude of gratitude.”  While I knew that she was reminding herself, it still had an effect on me.  What I noticed was that I didn’t have an attitude of gratitude.  There I was, living in an Ashram with an enlightened being, but I wasn’t grateful.   

I was cranky, needy and impatient.  I definitely wanted what Baba was giving — the blessings, the Grace, the inner awakening and enlivening process that he was furthering in me.  I wanted all of it.  I wanted it NOW!  I wanted more and more, faster and faster.   

Every few days I would pray silently, “Dear Baba, faster, please.  Can’t you make this go a little faster?”  Then a few days later, I would be buckling under the intensity of my own growing pains.  So I’d pray, “Baba, Baba, softer, gentler…  Can you make it easier on me, please?”  The breathing space was immediate. 

Yet, a few days later, I’d have amnesia and ask again for more, “Speed this up, Baba!  I want to get enlightened now.”  One day I realized what I’d been doing repeatedly!  So I offered a new prayer, “Baba, please set the right speed for me.  You know more than I do.” 

Only then did I discover gratitude.  From that point onward, I could see that he knew more about the process than I did.  I could rely on his spiritual power to carry me through, like no one else I had ever known.  This is why I now live in a continual flow of gratitude. 

My life is full of Guru’s Grace.  I am grateful to the one who opened up the mystical reality for me.  My heart is always being filled from the inside.  My gratitude expands every day. 

When I teach, I am grateful for the opportunity to share this ancient spiritual science of yoga.  I thank each student who chooses this profound path and shares the process with me.  I am even grateful to myself, for the perseverance and diligence that made me able to receive all that Baba gave – and made me able to share it with others. 

I love Thanksgiving Day.  Every year we get to join in a national celebration of thanks.  But for me, one day is not enough.  Yes, I live in an attitude of gratitude.  It’s a glorious way to live! 

Surrendering to Your Greatness

By Swami Satrupananda

Do more.  Try harder.  I was given this advice as the key to success in life.  If you want to get a promotion at work, take on more responsibility.  If you want to improve your golf game, practice more.  If you are struggling with establishing a new lifestyle habit, try harder.  This is the notion that by doing more you’ll be more.  

However, yoga approaches it differently and says that surrender is essential.  

Surrender can be a scary word.  We associate surrender with waving the white flag, an admission of defeat.  Surrender can also be reluctantly accepting the current undesirable circumstances.  This is not what the yogis meant by surrender.  Throughout history, yogis have been people who were not satisfied with their personal status quo.  They wanted something different from life.  They applied themselves to a greater goal, even though it went against the cultural norms.  

So what is yogic surrender?

To understand yogic surrender, let’s compare the underlying principles between modern success and yogic attainment.  In the West, we are taught that by doing more you’ll be more.  

In contrast, yoga is based on the principle that you are already great, whole and complete.  You are not merely great, you are Greatness itself.  Any word you use to describe the whole of your being is limited. You are that Divine Essence which is beyond words.  The ancient yogis called it “That”.

elephantjournal.com

The problem is, your Greatness is hidden inside, just behind your mind.  Since you don’t know your own Greatness, you feel lost, small, unworthy and alone.  You look for a replacement.  You construct identities around the work you do, the relationships you are in and the places you live.  Your mind works hard at creating and maintaining these identities. 

This is where yogic surrender comes in.  You are already Greatness; you are That. To discover That, you surrender your constructed identities.  You give up the notion that you are merely what you do, who you know and where you live.  You embrace that you are That.  You see and be your own That-ness, and you see it in everyone and everything.  Baba Muktananda described it:

Surrender means to become one with That, to merge with That.

You let go of your idea of being small and step into your Greatness.  You surrender to your Greatness.  It’s a great promise but not necessarily easy.  Letting go of your constructed identities can be difficult.  They are so familiar.  And they are so painful.

A few years ago, I had a busy mind at the beginning of a meditation period.  My mind was comparing me to others, and I was ending up on the bottom.  I was feeling small.  My constructed identity of being someone valuable and worthy was being threatened.  My mind wanted to do more and try harder to patch up my shaky constructed identity.

But I couldn’t find a solution that made me feel like it would work.  I was scared.  If I gave up this constructed identity, who would I be?  I didn’t know.  Yet I did know the instructions that my Guru gave me for meditation.  I followed them and repeated mantra.  As I continued to repeat mantra, a shift happened inside.  I settled deeper into my That-ness.  Then I could see that I was holding onto the constructed identity.  The act of comparing myself was what was keeping me small.  So I surrendered the comparison.  I surrendered my smallness, and I got my Greatness.

We can learn about surrendering from a way to catch a monkey.  In India, they take a jar with a wide base and a narrow opening.  The opening would be just wide enough for monkey to slide its hand into the jar.  The jar was then tied with a rope to something solid.  A shiny coin or piece of food was placed in the jar.  A monkey would pass by the jar and become interested in the treat inside.  It slipped its hand into the jar and grabbed the lucky prize.  Now, however, the fist, grabbing the treat, was too big to go through the jar’s narrow opening.  The monkey was trapped.  The monkey had a simple way of getting free.  Just let go of the little treat.  

But the monkey holds on tight and starts screaming.  They gave up their freedom for a little treat.  

The same is true for us.  We are the ones holding onto our limited constructed identities.  And the price we pay is our freedom.  We give up our Greatness.

So how do you develop your ability to surrender? Swami Muktananda tells us:

Meditate more and surrender will come.

Swami Muktananda, From the Finite to the Infinite, page 322

Every time you meditate, you experience your own Greatness.  The more you experience and know your own Greatness, the easier it is to surrender to your Greatness.  Then you abide in your Greatness all the time.

So meditate more, not to be more, but to surrender to your Greatness.  It can be a tricky balance to play.  I recommend meeting and studying with one who has fully surrendered and lives from the knowing of their Greatness within.  They know the yogic path to surrender and want to share it with you.  Come meet Satguru Nirmalananda.  She will help you surrender to your Greatness.

Illness: A Blessing in Disguise

By Swami Prajñananda 

In December 2019, I flew to India to take my vows as a swami, a yoga monk.  Before I left, I was worried, “What if I get sick?”  I didn’t consciously think about it, but it was definitely brewing in my subconscious.  In the end, my worries manifested into reality.  I got a very sore and swollen throat.  It lasted throughout the vows ceremony and the duration of the trip.  Surprisingly, it was a blessing in disguise.  

Amazingly, I did not mind.  I was having such deep experiences.  And even more, I finally got it: I am not my body.  It was completely freeing.  I was able to settle deeper into my own essence which the pain of my body cannot touch. While I could still feel my throat was raw and swollen, I was abiding at a deeper level within. I was experiencing the bliss that is beyond the limitations of my body.  

Ever since, I have not been scared of getting sick.  I still do my best to take care of my body, but it is not based in fear.  

I got sick again a couple of months ago. I got Covid. I got it worse than I thought I would. I went through the gamut of symptoms: fever, chills, body aches, sore throat, congestion.  Eventually, I experienced difficulty breathing as well as fatigue.  This time, I wasn’t worried about being sick.  Even though my body was in bad shape, I didn’t feel “I am my body.” However, I did uncover a different sticky identity, “I am my capacity.” 

With Covid, I was laid up for what felt like way too long.  I couldn’t teach my classes or support the Ashram with my administrative work.  I couldn’t cook or clean.  My whole identity of someone who is competent and capable was threatened. I realized that I’ve held the belief that my self-worth comes from what I do.  

Since this underlying belief has come into my awareness, I’ve been able to look at it. Gurudevi’s recent teachings has supported me in doing so, especially this excerpt:  

Yoga says that you are the perceiver, not what you perceive. Whatever you are seeing or hearing, as well as what you are doing, you are the one who is experiencing it. You are the experiencer, not the experience. You are the doer, not the action or its results. Know who you are, even while you are perceiving and acting, and you are free. This is yoga’s promise.  – Gurudevi Nirmalananda, Perception & Action, September 2022 

Yes!  This makes so much sense to me.  I perceive my body, so I must not be my body.  I perceive my mind, so I must not be my mind.  And oh yes!  I perceive my capacity to act, so I must not be my capacity.  I am the perceiver, not what I perceive.  I am Shiva.  I am the One Divine Reality that is being my body, mind and capacity in order to participate in this world. My participation does not make me more or less of who I am.  I am the One who is being me and being all and beyond all.   

This knowing is completely freeing while at the same time profoundly grounding.  Without the knowing, you are lost in limitation.  But when you know, you can fully embody individuality without being limited by it at all.  The knowing is the key, the key to your own freedom.  Yoga gives you the key.  So if you are not yet free, you must do more yoga. 

He’s Still Here

By Satguru Swami Nirmalananda  

I had years with him.  I lived and studied with my Baba, both in America and India.  After I got past my initial awe of his incredible teachings, I relaxed into his energetic embrace.  I deepened into inner realms beyond my imagining.  Subtle unravelings freed me from psychological patterns laid down in my childhood, which I now recognize as karmas brought from lifetimes past.  

He left this earthly plane 40 years ago today.  It was overwhelming to lose him.  I didn’t know who I was without him as an external anchor.  Yet it was even more overwhelming to discover that his presence had become stronger.  The anchor was now inside.   

He had prepared us so well, explaining countless times that a great being doesn’t leave when they die.  Such a Master merges into Self, thus is found in the Self of all.  Their external form was only a masquerade anyway.  Living in the whole of Beingness, they are only seemingly limited to a single form.  I didn’t understand, of course, not until I experienced it.  And even then, I didn’t understand, not until I’d experienced the passing of other loved ones.  There’s a difference – a big difference. 

When Baba left, I was sitting by the sea, watching the most extraordinary sunset I’ve ever seen.  It had more colors and it lasted for hours.  All the while, inside, he was revealing truths I need to know.  I sat in a Divine communion with him that has never ended. 

But to call it Divine communion is misleading, for there must be two in order to commune.  Inside, there is only One, which yoga calls Shiva.  But for me, that One is Baba.  Shiva became Baba in order to give me my Self, who is Shiva.  Yes, it’s circular reasoning, even confusing.  Yes, it’s entrancing, entwining, enrapturing, enchanting – and Baba was all of that.  I live in that Divine mystery.  He unveiled it for me while he embodied it.  He set me free.  Thank you, Baba. 

Limitless You

By Swami Shrutananda

The Truth is your inherent nature is limitless.  Limitlessness is inherent to your essence like the wet is the inherent nature of water.  Water would not be water if it were not wet.  In the same way, your own essential nature is limitless, unbound, and free.  While this is your human potential, your current condition is that you are bound.

Gurudevi Nirmalananda describes it this way in her commentary on Divine Sutras 1.2:

J~naana.m bandha.h

Consciousness takes on limitations, binding Herself with limited knowledge, limited happiness, limited ability, limited time.  This is called bondage and is caused by the not-knowingness of your own Divine.  The purpose of yoga is freedom, the freedom to know and to be your own Divine Self.

Consciousness is the One, the Source, the Ultimate Reality.  To become the universe and everything in it, including you and me, Consciousness takes on levels of contraction — limitation.  Due to this contraction, we feel like small, limited human beings.

I see these limitations play out when I’m teaching a Yoga Pain Clinic.  I love to help people with their aches and pains; they come to find out how yoga can help.  Yet they have a limited idea of the true healing capacity of their own body.

They also suffer from limited happiness, especially due to their pain.  They have a limited ability to conceive of what they can really do with their body and in their life.  They feel they have limited time, so how can they fit yoga into their already too-busy life?  Yet, if they don’t do the yoga, they will not heal.  It only works if you do it.  

Near the program’s end, I teach a few easy Svaroopa® yoga poses they can do at home.  I know the yoga poses will help many of the conditions that participants brought in.  Yet many think they cannot do what I’m teaching because of their condition.  It is like they have put a plaster cast on their body with their mind.  They think, “I can’t move this way.  I can’t move that way.”  During the Pain Clinic, the yoga poses work on their mind as well their body.  This frees them from the limitations they have imposed on themselves.

A few years ago, a new yogi told me he could not get on the floor.  He had had a double knee replacement.  I told him that yoga could still help him.  I was teaching the Svaroopa® Yoga Magic 4, to release spinal tension from tail-to-top.  The first two poses are in a chair, which he could do.  

The third pose, Anjaneyasana (Lunge), is done by kneeling on the floor.  He restated he could not get on the floor.  So I had him do a variation of the pose in his chair.  The final pose was Jathara Parivrttanasana (Rotated Stomach Pose), for which you must get on the floor.  I demonstrated it.  Then I looked over.  He was on the floor doing it!  

The shackles of his mind were beginning to loosen.  He was freed from the limitation of what he thought his body could not do.

This same student had already signed up for my four-hour yoga workshop later that afternoon.  He asked me, “Can I do it?”  I said, “Yes.”  As the afternoon progressed, I watched as this student got up and down off the floor many times.  Each time was quicker and easier.  

By the end of class, he wanted to try Anjaneyasana (Lunge) on the floor.  He tried, but the limited movement in his knees would not allow it.  Yet his mind was open to the possibility.  This was huge!  The shackles, the limitations, which he had put on his body, were dissolved.  By the end of class, his face glowed, his were eyes bigger and brighter, and his body was lighter.  He was radiant! 

Svaroopaâ poses and the breathing practice give you great benefits, both physical and more than physical.  You may have begun yoga to heal your body or decrease its pain.  You soon discover that there is a deeper essence.  You discover the “you” that is more than your body and more than your mind.  Yoga calls it svaroopa, your own Divine Self — limitless You.

Decisions Based on Bliss

By Swami Satrupananda

Life is a series of choices.  Every decision you make determines your future trajectory in life.  When you are in a state of clarity, you calmly assess your current situation.  You consider your options.  Then you make a choice as you aim for a certain outcome.  Where are your choices taking you?  Do your decisions lead you towards an outcome you want?  

The effectiveness of your decision is based on:

  • Assessment — Your assessment of your current situation is accurate.
  • Options — You are considering all options.
  • Goal — You clearly understand your goal. 
  • Awareness — You are aware of your personal process, how you make decisions. 

When any one of these is compromised, your decisions may not be effective: 

Assessment — You might incorrectly assess your situation or only assess part of it.  For example, you are busy thinking of your response, so you mishear someone’s question.  Your answer is not effective.

Options — You might not be aware of all your options.  You restrict yourself to familiar patterns.  Perhaps you’ve been fortunate enough to have someone share a potentiality they see in you.  They help you discover that you can do and be more than you thought. 

Goal — You lose sight of your goal in your decision-making moment.  Or perhaps you do not have a goal or even have conflicting goals.  You want to lose weight and eat chocolate cake too. 

The most important factor is your awareness.  You first need to be aware that you are making a decision.  When you have arrived at your destination, do you remember if you stopped at the red light?  It’s too easy to have your life decisions be knee jerk reactions instead of conscious decisions. 

Psychologists have estimated that the average adult makes 35,000 decisions a day[1].  Approximately 227 of these decisions are about food[2].  Are you aware of all of these decisions?  Imagine making conscious decisions that would be aligning your actions, words and thoughts consciously towards your goals.  How would this change your life?

One decision-making psychologist recommended yoga to increase your awareness.  I was delighted!  Yes, yoga is all about awareness.  That’s why we start and end each yoga class with a guided awareness.  Practicing awareness is so important that it is done twice in every Svaroopa® yoga class.

Yet simply being aware of every decision is not enough.  That’s because your decisions might be based on an inaccurate assumption.  It’s human nature to operate on an assumption of lack.  You lack something, so you make a choice to fill the lack.  You assume that a decision will make you healthier, happier or somehow better.  

Yoga changes your assumption.  Instead of lacking anything, yoga says you are already full, whole and complete.  You are fullness itself, which yoga calls your Self.

How do you transition from an assumption of lack to an assumption of fullness?  Shaktipat.  Shaktipat is a sacred initiation given by a Satguru.  In the initiation, the Satguru reveals the fullness and wholeness that you are.  This revelation shatters the underlying assumption of lack.  

While you might not know your fullness all the time yet, after receiving Shaktipat, it is always available.  The fullness delightfully creeps into the nooks and crannies of your body, mind and heart.  The assumption of fullness takes over.

I had a tangible experience of this restructuring of assumptions.  In a meditation, I could feel the internal structures being rewired.  It was tangibly happening in my spine.  I could feel the energy connections, channels, supports and structures being moved and re-aligned.  

I knew that I had been changed on a deep level.  It’s like I had new equipment — my body, mind and heart were forever changed.  Even if I tried to do my familiar limiting patterns, my internal system wouldn’t take it.  I was being rewired to know my own svaroopa — the bliss of my own Beingness.

This restructuring takes some time.  You must participate in the process.  You choose to follow the practices given by the Satguru so that you can support your own restructuring.  And the goal is clearly described in the yogic texts for you.  Once you fully realize your fullness, your own Self, you live in bliss:

Lokaananda.h samaadhi-sukham.

This yogi experiences the sweet bliss of the Self in every location and situation, and shares it with others. — Shiva Sutras 1.18

This is a promise of your future.  You will experience the sweet bliss of your own Self all the time.  This bliss is not affected by location, not by the people nor the activities around you.  This is such a great promise.  It means you can achieve the highest in the midst of your life.  You can know the bliss of the Self right where you are.  It also promises that you will always be experiencing bliss.  Then your decisions run on the assumption of bliss:

  • Assessment — You see everyone and everything as your own blissful Self.  You can take in the whole situation.  You accurately assess the situation.
  • Options — You consider all options.  You see bliss in every outcome, so all options are up for consideration. 
  • Goal — You are experiencing the fullness and wholeness of your being.  You do not need anything.  Thus your goal is to share the bliss that fills you.  The bliss overflows and you share it with others.
  • Awareness — You are aware of the whole process.  You are awareness itself.

Now this is truly the way to live.  Give up your assumption of lack.  Instead, upgrade your assumption to bliss.  Get Shaktipat and do the practices they teach you.  Luckily, I happen to know one — Satguru Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati.  Come study with her and live a life fueled by bliss.


[1] How Many Decisions Do We Make Each Day? | Psychology Today

[2] We Make Lots Of Choices Every Day, But Exactly How Many? | PBS North Carolina (pbsnc.org)

You Are Your Own Guru

By Swami Samvidaananda 

“You are your own Guru,” wrote a renowned Guru, Swami Muktananda.  As a brand-new yogi, I didn’t know what a Guru was.  Let alone that I was supposed to be my own Guru.  That’s how I took this teaching when I first heard it.   

Fellow yogis seemed to confirm my understanding.  At classes and conferences, I met wonderful, independent, confident yogis.  They had focus, dedication and a daily home practice.  They were doing it for themselves.  I admired them.  I wanted to dedicate myself to yoga, too.   

So I found a teacher, one that I admired and respected.  And she taught me that “guru” is Sanskrit for teacher.  A Guru with a big “G” is a spiritual teacher.  A guru with a small “g” is any kind of teacher.   

How many gurus have you had in your life?  So many.  Your first guru is your mother or whoever raised you.  They taught you to eat, to walk, talk, play peek-a-boo and blow out birthday candles.  You had gurus who taught you to read and write, to play soccer or trombone.  

My dad learned how to be an electrician from his dad.  So my grandpa was my dad’s electrician guru.  Anything you’ve learned to do, a guru has shown you how — even if you go to YouTube or you read a blog or a book.  These are all created by people who are sharing what they know, so you can know.

The yoga teacher I found all those years ago is a Guru.  Her name is Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati.  She has dedicated her life to sharing with you what she knows: the mystical truth of your spiritual essence.  She teaches that there is One Divine Reality that is the source and substance of all that exists.  That One is called your Self.  

Gurudevi not only teaches you about your Self; she awakens you to the knowing of your Self.  And then you foster and further your own knowing every time you meditate.  That’s why this meditation is called Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation.  Vidya means experiential knowing, and svaroopa means your own Divine Self.  

Awakened to your hidden Divinity, you see the glorious Divinity of everyone and everything that exists.  This is a Divine world created of Divinity, expressing Divinity, rejoicing in Divinity.  That Divinity is you.  You are Divine.  You always have been.  You just didn’t know it, at least not all the time.  

When your Guru reveals it to you, then you know.  And then, you know that  “you are your own Guru.”  Because you are the One, and She is the One. There’s only One. 

Yoga is not DIY.  You do not have to figure it out on your own.  You need one who knows, one who can give that knowing to you.  Swami Nirmalananda will tell you she only has something to give because she got it from her Guru, Swami Muktananda.  And he would credit everything he had to give to his Guru, Bhagavan Nityananda. 

And he had a Guru, who had a Guru, in a lineage of Gurus that stretches through time.  Do you want a Guru?  Swami Nirmalananda will be yours, if you want her to be.  You’re the one who decides.