By Matrika Gast
SVA Board Member
When our Daily E-Quote arrived the other day, it felt like first aid for a bad morning:
When your mind starts up,
the real problem is that
you have lost your“capital-S Self.”
– Swamiji & Vidyadevi
Yet, unlike a Band-Aid, it got right to the root of the problem. I had lost my Self. All of Swamiji’s teachings help me remember how to experience Self within. Then I remember more than a decade of her teachings, in person at trainings and programs, in phone courses, in articles. All, however received, take me inside, past that vocal and limited mind, to the simple and infinite bliss of Divine Essence being me, being everyone and everything. Then my day improves, a lot.
When I am not in that place, it’s a different story. I used to think of liberation promised by yoga only as an abstract concept. But after years of Swamiji’s Grace-filled teachings, like gentle rain subtly eroding stone, I can see the bedrock that keeps me from living deeply from Self. Strata after strata of stony “neediness” and, yes, “greediness,” have been laid down by avidya, the root of “not knowing myself as Consciousness It-Self.” Ugh. All of a sudden it’s clear that, in certain situations, most unpleasant reactions of hurt and anger arise when I don’t get what I want. Oh, wow! So much for the illusion of equanimity. What a waste of energy, what an ineffective way to live.
Yet I know that eventually this bedrock will be dissolved by the flow of Grace from Swamiji’s presence and teachings pouring onto inward bedrock, opening me to Self. Molecule by molecule, Grace is washing away delusion. It’s not like neediness and greediness are gone; I can see them clearly. But, thankfully, I remember a classroom quote from years ago: “It is the awareness of how you are stuck that makes you recover.” Liberation is now a tangible destination, down this wonderful road.
I am so looking forward to being free. A host of SVA website Freebies support me on this path. Binge-listening to the audio recordings is a great evening and Saturday pleasure. I love to think of other members of our Svaroopa® Sciences community engaged in the same escape — inside — at the same time. These teachings, which Swami Nirmalananda gives us for free, are not actually free of cost to the Ashram. For us to continue to receive the support of our Grace-filled gifts from the Guru, we must give back with generous financial support. Free as they are — and freeing as they are — these freebies cost the Ashram money.
For example, think utilities. They keep offices at Lokananda cool enough for our staff in the summer and warm enough in the winter. They keep the accommodations for training and programs at Lokananda comfortable. Think electricity for the computer technology supporting our SVA website and for the delivery of Daily E-Quotes. And think about the salaries of stellar staff required for answering the telephone, responding to all the members of our virtual Ashram, and keeping the records of everyone straight. Think of the marketing that must be done to grow our community and keep it vibrant. (See our ad on page 91 of the June Yoga Journal.) All of this is the foundation for the Freebies available worldwide.
I like to think of the SVA Freebie fest of Swamiji’s teachings as a carefree, planet-wide party. Just as when you are invited to a joyous potluck, what can you bring? Just the thought of participating opens your heart, as you decide on a special dish to contribute. So let this invitation to our spring fundraising open you to blissful consideration of your contribution. Any financial gift, in any amount — one-time or monthly — is welcome with great gratitude.
Monthly donations are especially effective, because they help SVA budget and plan. For an increase in your monthly donation or a brand new monthly commitment, Swami Nirmalananda will send you her new chant recording. This thank you gift is truly one that keeps on giving, opening you to Self day after day.
To donate, click here. Or call 610.644.7555.