By Swami Prajñananda
Before yoga, I had this burning desire to make something of myself. I wanted to go places and do things, big things.
Yet, no matter where I went or how much I did, I didn’t have peace. At least not for long. I knew I was looking for something desperately, but I didn’t know what it was. So I kept looking. The funny thing was I kept thinking, “I need a teacher. I need a teacher.”
I somehow knew without having the vocabulary for it, that I needed a Guru, a spiritual teacher. I found her when I met Gurudevi Nirmalananda. She directed my attention inward to discover what I had been looking for all along. I began to explore the mystery and majesty of my own inner world. I was like a child, re-discovering how to walk and talk, even how to breathe. The highlight of each day became my morning meditations. I never knew what I would experience, but it was always a new wonder.
This wonder extended beyond my meditation seat. For the rest of my day, I had this new quality of ease. Instead of the constant underlying anxiety, I was feeling quite different: calmer, steadier — dare I say peaceful?
Yes. It was peace. And it didn’t matter what was happening on the outside. Life still had its ups and downs. The pressures were still there, yet they no longer had a hold on me like before. Instead, I was drawing from a deep inner well. It was a well of bliss and peace that I had been plumbing in each morning meditation. Their waters nourished me the whole rest of the day. And they continue to do so to this day.
To explain further, I have selected a verse from the teachings of Bhagavan Nityananda, a Great Being in our tradition:
Once you attain perfect inner peace, there is
No need to travel anywhere.
No need to see anything.
No need for pilgrimages to holy places.
All can be seen within.
— Bhagavan Nityananda, “The Sky of the Heart” verse 33
What a shift in perspective! And it comes from meditation. Meditation gives you the experience of inner peace, your own Self. When you are full inside, you have no need.
Yes, you can travel, but you don’t need to. You can go and see great wonders in the world or even right in your hometown, but you don’t need to. You can go to the holiest of places, yet the most holy of them lies right within you. As Nityananda says, “All can be seen within.”
Yet, don’t confuse the message. This is not about isolation and non-participation. Instead, this is about prioritizing your inner state. When you are full, you bring your fullness with you everywhere you go. So instead of going out of need, you go out of choice. You choose to go where you go. You choose to see what you see. And when you are so full from within, you choose to give from your fullness. It is an extraordinary way to live.