By Karuna (Carolyn) Beaver, SVA Board Member
Joseph Campbell, the mythologist who coined the term “follow your bliss,” explains that everyone experiences spiritual yearning, but not everyone acts on it. Swami Nirmalananda further explains that most people find ways to divert this powerful yearning into other, more conventional things.
For years I diverted this powerful yearning into conventional things. I created a loving and stable marriage and family, a beautiful home and meaningful work. As fortunate as I was to attain these things, I still felt something was missing. I realized I wanted to be of service so I began volunteering in my community. Still something was missing, though I didn’t know exactly what. I began to “work on myself,” exploring self-help and spiritual books that I thought could explain the deeper meaning of life and my place in it. And, still, there was something missing.
Then I discovered Svaroopa® yoga, and it peeled away layers of tension that I didn’t realize were there. My yearning changed from reading books about discovering what’s inside to actually experiencing it. In my first teacher training, I remember Swami Nirmalananda telling us we should make an effort to meet enlightened beings and to get ourselves a Guru. Even though I was rather intimidated by Swami’s (then Rama) presence, I thought to myself, ‘she is going to be my Guru one day.’ Swami opened up for me the yearning for enlightenment, for Self-Realization.
While, as Campbell said, everyone feels this yearning, not everyone acts on it. Baba Muktananda explained it this way:
- Out of 100 who feel the yearning, one recognizes it as a yearning for something the world cannot provide.
- Out of 100 who recognize it as a spiritual longing, one looks for a Guru.
- Out of 100 who look for a Guru, one finds a Master who can give the experience as well as the teachings.
- Out of 100 who find such a Master, one opens their heart and mind.
- Out of 100 who open their heart and mind, one does the discipline.
- Out of 100 who do the discipline, one comes to know God.
Swami asks, “which one are you?” It’s a question worth pondering. You are on a yogic path, no matter what your level of participation. The longer you do yoga and meditate, the more clear this path becomes, and the more clear your yearning becomes. You are yearning to know yourself as Consciousness-Itself. You are yearning to find the Divine within.
I am forever grateful to Swami for creating Svaroopa® yoga and Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation, and infusing them with the Grace that she received from her Guru, Muktananda. I show my gratitude by engaging in another yogic practice, dakshina, the practice of giving. This is my dharma, my duty as a student, to acknowledge the teachings I receive. I am compelled to give back in return.
For this reason, I plan to give another donation to the Ashram’s capital campaign. Yes, I know I have been asked to give twice before. But what this says to me is that I didn’t give enough the first and second times. My donations did not fully match my yearning, or my gratitude for what I’ve received. I know when I give this last donation to help the Ashram meet the goal it set a year ago, I will be acting on my yearning. I will be giving in order to know my own Self, and it will take me a step further on my yogic path. I want to be that one in 100.
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