Amazing. That is how I describe the yoga and meditation that I practice. I don’t have a better word because it’s hard to describe the wonderful and powerful experiences that unfold.
- Physically, you get amazing benefits. You become free from pain, and your strength and stamina increase. You gain vitality and resilience. A yogi friend recently shared that she did not get her usual spring allergies. They’re gone.
- Mentally, you get amazing improvements. Your stress levels go down, your depression lifts, you experience equanimity. Calmness and happiness, even joy, become your baseline. You don’t sweat the small stuff so much. You handle life’s big challenges more easily. I’ve talked to many yogis who recognize that they are handling this pandemic with much less fear than BY (before yoga). They are taking steps to keep themselves, loved ones and everyone safe. They recognize that they are making their decisions based on intelligence, rather than anxiety.
- You love more, and, no surprise, you are easier to love. You light up the lives of those around you. Like the Debbie Boone song from the Seventies, “You light up my life, you give me hope….” I know I’m dating myself, but I loved that song. You light up people’s lives.
Amazing, right? So I was delighted to learn that a primary text of the Kashmiri Shaivite meditation system says this:
Vismayo yoga-bhuumikaa.h. — Shiva Sutras 1.12
The wonders of yoga are truly amazing.
(rendered by Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati)
Vismayo means amazement or wonder, and yoga-bhuumika.h is the stages of yogic development. If the benefits I’ve described were the only things yoga and meditation did for you, that would be wonderful. Yet, there’s more. The physical and mental benefits and changes are not actually the wonders that this sutra is referring to.
This sutra is about the deeper inner experiences. They are harder to put into words, specifically because they are beyond words. Deeper than words, deeper than your mind, as you immerse yourself into the depths of your inner knowingness and beingness, you have amazing wonder-filled inner experiences. They unfold within, in a progression mapped by the ancient sages. You are following the same inner path they followed, with their teachings to guide and protect you along the way.
Not long into studying with Swami Nirmalananda, I began to understand that there is an inner map. She has already traversed it; she knows what’s around the next corner. She knows the rocky ground that you currently may be picking your way across. And she can assure you that an incredible vista is about to open up. Her teachings guide you and protect you along the way.
Wherever you are on the map, there are amazing inner stages yet to come. Whatever experiences are currently blossoming forth within you, there’s more — more than you can currently imagine. That is because your mind cannot fully imagine the “more” of who you really are. It is when you go beyond your mind that you discover your own Divinity. That is the goal and purpose of Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation: for you to have the experiential knowing (vidya) of your own Divinity (svaroopa). Awakening you to that inner knowing is the specialty of this lineage of Gurus.
Swami Nirmalananda has the calling, the capacity and the mastery to awaken you to your Divinity. She lights the flame of your enlightenment within you, so that you realize who you are. You will know that you are concentrated Consciousness — distilled Divinity. You are the One Eternal Reality that is the Source of unending joy, peace, and bliss, manifesting the universe and everything in it, including you. You have always been Divine, you have never not been Divine. You just don’t know it all the time.
Once you have received the inner awakening, called Shaktipat, every time you meditate, you experience your Divinity. Your mind and senses are increasingly saturated in your own Divine Essence. The light and bliss of your own being shine into and through you, more and more. Your Divinity is not only in you, it is you, and everything else. And when you go inside, you know this, in progressively deepening stages. The sutra is saying that it keeps getting better. I can vouch for it from my own experience, it keeps getting better. How amazing, how wonderful! But don’t take my word for it. Have the experience yourself.