By Swami Prajñananda
Gods and Goddesses, heroes and heroines — the great Greek epics with tales of heroic deeds enchanted me as a child. The seeming impossible made possible kept me rapt.
I especially loved Hercules. He performed deeds that no one else could, due to both his strength and strategizing. As I grew up, I would apply myself in the same way, taking on challenges that were bigger than me. Whether it was athletic or academic success, I would not stop until I achieved what I set out to do. Yet, once completed, I was ready to move on to the next thing.
I just wasn’t satisfied. No matter what I achieved, I was still left with a feeling that there was something missing. And it was true! I was missing me. When I met my Guru, Gurudevi Nirmalananda, she gave me a new direction to turn: inward.
My striving to be something has transformed into discovering that which I already am — perfect, whole and complete. I learned that nothing I achieved on the outside would make me more whole on the inside. Wow! After years of striving to improve myself and my life, this revelation was groundbreaking. Yet to live in that knowing all the time is the true Herculean task. Gurudevi describes:
Your task is to first find the Divine in your own Self, then to see God shining through, as all that exists.
Yoga & Worldly Life by Gurudevi Nirmalananda
You know how to get tasks done. You have so many in your life, some more challenging than others. Yet all the tasks have taught you something. I often think that the challenges and goals I have taken on so far were all in preparation for this ultimate task, finding my own Self. It is the same for you. The skills needed to get a job or a degree are transferable to your spiritual upliftment. Finding the Divine in your own Self requires persistence, dedication, problem solving and more.
Yet you need a guide, someone to show you how and where to pour your efforts. This is the job of the Guru. Gurudevi not only shows you the way; she explains the path and gives you the experience she names. She gives you the yoga practices that were given to her by her own Guru. They have been passed down through the generations of yogis, dating back through time. We receive these same tools because they work. When you do the practices, you get the results.
First, you discover your own divine Self. This is the deeper dimension of your own being — that which is perfect, whole and complete. You taste it in your very first Svaroopa® yoga class or meditation. Yet it is easy to forget who you are when you leave your yoga space. Your task is to find your Self again and again and again, until again becomes always. You root so deeply into your own Divinity that you can never be uprooted again.
Once you are settled in your own Self, you see the world differently. Most people look at the world as separate and even scary. Yet, when you know your own Self, you are given divine vision. Instead of a scary world, you see a divine world. You see God shining through, as all that exists. With your divine eye, nothing is bad, nothing is to be rejected or feared. It is all to be respected and cherished.
This is the path laid out for you by the Great Masters in this yogic tradition. First you find your Self; then you see the Divine in everyone and everything. What a divine task! Are you ready to take it on?