By Matrika Gast, SVA Board Member
William Wordsworth first awakened my yearning for transcendence. In a poem about a blissful experience in nature, he described it as “a sense sublime… Whose dwelling is…”
…the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. — “Tintern Abby” 1798
This passage makes me remember glimpsing the Divine in sunsets when I was in high school, in a swirl of adolescent angst and family dysfunction. I was relieved to feel a sense of eternal Presence that “rolls through all things.” It was just slightly out of reach. If I worked hard enough in school, I could get to It, I thought.
Decades later I accidentally took a Svaroopa® yoga class at a yoga teachers’ conference in another style. I loved the chant CD that accompanied the practice, with poses supported by fluffy pillows. But, really, what was up with this rolling around on the floor? But when I walked down the hall afterward, my back felt light and airy, like a fresh marshmallow. Before that, a deep ache was all I had ever felt in my back.
Five years later (I’m a slow learner), my yearning for transcendence led me to Svaroopa® YTT Level 1. I was sitting in Sukhasana, effortlessly, when a pink flow arose from deep within; I felt it to be the pure love of God and knew it was Real. That was the first of more and more experiences of Self, continuing to strengthen the yearning Patanjali describes:
Teevra-samvegaanaan-aasanah — Yoga Sutras 1.21
This summer in ATT 402: Deeper Practice, we received Swami Nirmalananda’s renderings of Patanjali’s Sutras, including Sutra 1.21. Because it is the narrative of my own life, I especially resonate with this one:
All your life, you have been experiencing a yearning — it is the yearning for God. Recognize the yearning itself. It is the fuel for the rocket ship that takes you to God.
I am finally discovering that “sitting” with the “yearning itself,” without directing it to conventional pursuits, is a practice in itself. I love that it was in Sukhasana that I first had that experience of God as my own Self. The sutra’s final Sanskrit word “aasanah” means “sitting near.” When you allow yourself to experience your strong yearning, you are already sitting near your own Self. You are infinitesimally close to the transcendence that you earnestly seek. Our Svaroopa® Sciences, given to us by our Master Teacher, provide a banquet of yogic practices to nourish the yearning that first drew us to seek the “More.”
You, I and all our Svaroopa sisters and brothers stepped onto this path because we yearned for the “More.” Maybe it was more health, more wellbeing or even transformation and illumination. Maybe it was for more fulfilling work in the world, becoming a Svaroopa® yoga teacher. Maybe you were already a seeker, yearning to be established in your own Self. What would any of us do without our Svaroopa® Sciences: asana, meditation, chant, study of the ancient texts, puja, etc.?
Now we have a Place of Bliss — Lokananda — a physical structure. The building serves us with full-service, immersed trainings and retreats, with the cultivation of physical healing, ever-expanding wellbeing and mystical transcendence. For all of us, on our individual paths, Lokananda serves us. Here, we clear the “shrama,” accumulated world-weariness, and immerse in the Svaroopa® Sciences teachings and practices. At Lokananda, we support the fulfillment of our yearning and our dharma.
Our tantric teachings say the Divine and the mundane are inextricably interwoven. So Lokananda needs a new roof! What could be more mundane? We need to fund that expensive repair as well to replenish the reserves used to renovate this beautiful old building. It is infused with Grace from our ancient lineage extending. Lokananda is for you, for me, and for our Svaroopa sisters and brothers — to cultivate your yearning and to fulfill yoga’s promise. Our Place of Bliss is our yoga home.
Over the past year, we have raised two-thirds of our $150,000 goal. If you have already contributed, you already know the vital importance of this building to our organization. If you have waited until now, the time is at hand to make a significant difference with your contribution.
Either way, please step up for this final leg of our Capital Campaign, raising the final $50,000.00, to ensure this building that takes you — and our current and future community — all the way home to your own Self.
Click here to donate.