Lokananda – Your Bliss Place – by Karuna (Carolyn) Beaver, Board Member

Karuna BeaverWhere is your place of bliss? Is it where your do your yoga or meditation? Or perhaps there is a special spot in nature that calls you back again and again. Maybe your bliss place is inside you, a place that you notice that your mind becomes still. Perhaps it is both outside and inside, just as our guided awareness in Shavasana directs you.

My “outside” bliss place is my stack of blankets next to my puja (altar) where I meditate every morning. I settle onto my blankets, settle into my mantra and settle into my Self, my “inside” bliss place.  The bliss of meditation keeps me coming back for more, the “more” I know I am. Luckily, my bliss isn’t restricted to my meditation spot. More and more often, I take it with me everywhere I go, because I recognize my bliss IS me. Yet I do notice that my “outside and inside” bliss can be deeper when I am in trainings or on retreat.

I remember opening my eyes after a deep Shavasana in my early days of Teacher Training, feeling that things were bigger and brighter. What I’ve come to know is that I am “bigger and brighter.” The practices, the teachers grounded in these practices and the energy that is grounded in our practice space has helped me see this.

The “Siva Sutras, and Swami Nirmalananda’s rendering, explain it this way:

Lokaananda.h samaadhi sukham — Shiva Sutras 1.18

The bliss of Self-Knowingess is experienced in its fullness in every place and every time.

In Sanskrit, loka means location, and aananda means bliss. Samaadhi is a deep inner absorption and sukham means full of sweetness and ease. A yogi can live in the easy and constant bliss of Self-Knowing; such a yogi also transmits it to everyone nearby. A place that houses the deep practices of yoga also absorbs and transmit this blissful energy.   With Swami Nirmalananda, we are fortunate to have such a yogi serving as our Master Teacher and Guru. She is based in the bliss of Self-Knowingness, and all the practices she teaches come from this deep well.

IMG_8210Now we’re also fortunate to have a dedicated building to absorb the bliss from Swami, from all the practices and from all the yogis who come. This place is Lokananda, our new teaching campus for Svaroopa® Yoga and Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation. Lokananda can be YOUR bliss place and you can be a part of it.  In October Lokananda opens its doors to our retreats and professional trainings, including providing our housing and meals.

It’s been a year-long process to remodel and update this lovely and historic building, which sits right in the middle of downtown Downingtown. It’s been an expensive process, too. Those of you who have remodeled a home know that there are always unexpected costs. We were able to fund the building purchase and the initial remodeling through donations and tuitions from our meditation-based programs. Our many sevites, including Swamiji’s seva, helped create the surpluses which we’ve invested in a new campus for your immersion experience.  Not surprisingly, there were cost overruns for the renovations, so more funding is needed to finish many needed tasks.

Ashram programs are residential “yogimmersions.” Many yogis have asked us to once again have our own yogic space, so we searched over a couple of years. We found it, bought it and have moved in, but we need your help to truly make this wonderful old building into a fully functional yoga home. Your financial support will fund the overruns, remodel and furnish the upper floors for residential use, and provide funding for repairs we know are coming, including a new roof.

At our annual retreat last July, the Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram Board of Directors voted to conduct a Capital Campaign. This is in addition to our annual fall and spring requests for donations, which are essential for our ongoing operating expenses. Capital Campaigns are time-limited and happen only when there are extraordinary needs: for buildings, equipment or other major expenditures.  Certainly we have extraordinary needs, and we’re calling on you, our extraordinary community of yogis. We’ve set a cautious and conscious goal of $150,000 in the campaign we’re calling Lokananda – Your Bliss Place.

What it would be like to have programs located in a space that grounds and holds the energy of bliss to support you? Imagine yourself there, in the place of bliss.  Now imagine that you can make it happen. I have just made the largest financial pledge in my life to a non-profit organization (yes, your donations are tax deductible). I am already imagining myself there. I can already feel the bliss. Join me in our Bliss Place. Dig deep and give what you can. You can make a one-time donation or make a pledge over two years. And when you do, know that you are supporting the bliss of your own Being. You couldn’t make a better investment!

Click here to learn more or to offer your donation in one of four levels.

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