Monthly Archives: August 2018

Becoming My Self

Ute Mazel-Reeves 2Ute Mazel-Reeves, interviewed by Matrika Gast

For 8 years as my husband’s caregiver, I continued to deepen my Svaroopa® Vidya practices.  I continued to feel I was growing in my process.  When he died last year, I thought I’d pick up where I’d left off as a householder.  It had involved extensive socializing with friends as well as traveling.  However, I realized it was an identity I no longer related to.  I remembered Swamiji’s teachings.

As old identities fell away, I didn’t want to construct another “small-s” identity.  I sensed a powerful opportunity to see what lay beneath my personal stories.  This process, however, was anything BUT blissful!  I felt that I was stuck in darkness.  I experienced a sense of nothingness.

I still knew who I was in the deepest levels.  Yet I couldn’t feel myself as Beingness.  I had clarity of where I was.  But I could feel only the contractions, the limitations that that bind us into time and space.  They felt so heavy on the lightness that I knew myself to be.

Swami - SatsangFrom Swami Nirmalananda’s deep teachings, I recognized what was going on for me.  I was in fear of annihilation (anavamala).  This is the all-too-human limitation that blocks our knowing of our own Self.  Maya creates the swirl of the external world of objects and experiences (through Her kanchukas, Her powers), further covering that inner knowing.  Anavamala drives us to construct identities for our small-s self.

Resisting that urge, I was yet not able to experience my deeper Beingness.  So, I reached out to my Guru.  I signed up for the July Shaktipat Retreat with Swamiji.  Everything changed.  With Her, I am always on the path, embraced by Guru’s Grace.  Within, I asked her to please make me fearless.  With Shaktipat, my state shifted.  I felt opened to new possibilities, to explore how to be joyfully and meaningfully alive, without the small-s identity.

Shaktipat RetreatIt feels like progress; the fog is lifting.  My path is clearer, with Guru as my guide.  I foresee new understandings forming.  I am learning how I can express myself from the authentic place of my Self.  To let go of constructed identifies, I am exploring their remnants.  Meditating, japa and chanting Sri Guru Gita give me the lifeline for which I’ve been reaching.

Remembering a profound experience from the July Shaktipat continues to propel me into knowing my own Self as the One Self Being All.  I felt there was no barrier between my Guru’s heart and mine.  Infinite heart space was encompassing us both.

This Stuff Works

Addie AlexBy Addie Alex

Hit by a chairlift while skiing, Claudia’s pelvis had been fractured in three places as well as her arm. She also developed sciatic pain. For six months she faithfully did physical therapy along with chiropractic sessions and acupuncture. In August 2017 she found Svaroopa® yoga at the suggestion of her sister-in-law.

Even though her range of motion was improving, her left leg and arm were numb, she had no strength, and her hips were crooked. At her first session, she told me that she had trouble getting out of her car and even a chair. Having spent many hours fruitlessly trying to feel better, she felt frustrated and depressed.

Once she saw that she got results, she committed herself to Yoga Therapy twice weekly and a home practice that included Ujjayi Pranayama at least once daily.  When she said her goal was to get back to skiing, I had my reservations, both because of her discomfort level and occasional pain.

Yoga Therapy Intensive“After a few sessions,” Claudia describes, “I began to feel the change in my body. Over the next two months, with twice weekly Yoga Therapy sessions and daily yoga practice at home, I stopped going to Physical Therapist, the chiropractor and acupuncture.”

The amazing thing is, she got the results she sought in less than three months.   Thanksgiving weekend she texted me a picture of herself and two daughters in their ski gear looking very happy! Being able to get back to this family activity was very important to Claudia.

“Now the numbness in my leg and arm is almost completely gone. I no longer experience sciatic pain. I am feeling stronger. My hips are more level, and I am able to get out of a chair and not limp. Feeling more fluid and flexible, I find myself running upstairs. I am sleeping better and feel less stressed. I owe feeling great to Addie, her staff and Svaroopa® yoga.”


Swami - blue chairBy Swami Nirmalananda

I’d never heard of it.  I’d been doing yoga off and on for almost 15 years, and didn’t know that such a thing was possible.  Someone can simply propel you into deep and profound meditation?  Wow!  Really?  Then I experienced it.  I got Shaktipat and my life changed forever.  I am so grateful.

“Such Masters are rare,” my Guru often used a classical yogic metaphor to explain.  “Instead of teaching you how to grow a mango tree, they slice open a ripe mango for you to eat.”  Such Masters must qualify to do this work.  They must have been born unenlightened, received Shaktipat from their Guru, served him and studied with him until authorized to do the work.  They must be a Kundalini Master, one who has completed the inner journey and can ignite it for others.  My Baba qualified on every count.

muktananda giving Shaktipat (004)

Baba Muktananda giving Shaktipat

Immediate and profound meditative experiences opened up from the moment I received his initiation.  It’s called Maha-Shaktipat Diksha, “maha” meaning the greatest of all the types of “shaktipat,” meaning an energetic infusion that falls in the category of “diksha,” a holy consecration or initiation.

Other types of dishka are not energetic infusions.  For example, mantra diskha is when you receive a mantra, which might be from an enlightened or an unenlightened being.  It gives you Sanskrit words to use on yourself, words that are more beneficial and uplifting than the things you usually say or think.  Over time, they wear away your limitations.  How wonderful!

There are other types of Shaktipat, energetic infusions that are about healing and happiness.  While these are beneficial and important goals, they are not yoga.  Yoga’s goal is that you become enlightened in this lifetime.  Do you want it?

I did.  At the time, I didn’t have the words to name what I wanted, but it was what I had been seeking in so many ways.  The map of my life had been like a dotted line meandering through a desert, looking for an oasis of spirituality.  I visited many oases, but without finding the river that fed them all.  When I got Shaktipat, I found not only the river, but the source of the river.  I’ve been drinking from it ever since.  It’s inside.  Maha-Shaktipat Diksha opens it up.

Shaktipat 3

Swami Nirmalananda giving Shaktipat

Now I am graced with the privilege of giving the gift my Guru gave me.  Muktananda gave Shaktipat to tens of thousands of people, maybe hundreds of thousands.  We were so fortunate to receive his gift.  Yet few have been authorized to carry on his work.  It’s a sacred trust.  It is my way of serving him, by serving you.

Near the end of his life, he had so much to give.  Instead of resting on his laurels, of which he had many, he continued to give us Shaktipat.  Several times every evening, without warning, he’d burst into the meditation hall adjoining his bedroom and walk among us, touching our foreheads and blasting us open again.  In the years I had with him, I received Shaktipat over 200 times.  Only once is needed, they say, but I needed more.  It was like I’d been dying of thirst, having lived in a spiritual desert for so many years.  I soaked up what he gave; it emanated off of him.  He had a vibe.

Consciousness has a vibe.  Your innermost essence is Divine Consciousness, but you don’t know.  Not yet.  It needs to be uncovered.  It needs to be initiated — a new beginning.  Maha-Shaktipat-Diksha gives you your own Self.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava namo nama.h

To your inherent Divinity, again and again I bow.

Doing More Japa

karunaBy Karuna (Carolyn) Beaver

A dog drops everything to chase after a squirrel. My mind frequently drops everything to chase after nothing. Nothing but repetitive, wandering, mindless, meaningless and often negative “stuff.” It fills my mind, but doesn’t fill me or lift me up.

Trying to remedy this, I’m using my mind differently by doing more japa. When repeating mantra silently, I can lose track of it, making it more difficult to stay conscious. So I decided to set aside some times for out loud mantra repetition. Repeating mantra out loud, I can coax my mind into staying present.

My daily “mantra breaks” include driving my car. The garage door goes up, so mantra begins. Another is when I’m cooking. Walking into the kitchen is my cue to start mantra as well as dinner.

By doing japa, I am using external cues to start an internal process called dharana. The August contemplation article Use Your Mind Differently explains this first step towards meditation. Swami Nirmalananda and Rukmini write, “Dharana cultivates your ability to focus, but uses it to focus inward instead of outward.” Swamiji translates dharana as contemplation.

Picking Basil

Wonderfully, this contemplation draws my focus inward in the midst of outward activity. This is yoga in the midst of life! Recently I made pesto. With a sink full of basil, I repeated mantra as I plucked each leaf. As I mixed basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan and olive oil, my mantras swirled together. They were as loud as the food processor. I watched in total bliss as the ingredients came together. My husband commented that it was the best pesto I’d ever made.  I think he could taste the mantra.

It’s great to infuse my food and my driving with the Grace of the mantra. Yet I don’t do it to improve my cooking or driving. I do it to reshape my mind. As Swami and Rukmini say in their article, I do japa to imprint my mind with Consciousness.

Shaktipat 3Our Shaktipat tradition gives us the gift of an enlivened mantra, infused with the power and Grace of our lineage. I am grateful to be part of this lineage of meditation masters. Because I’ve received the gift of Kundalini awakening from Swami Nirmalananda, mantra fills me up. Filled from the inside, I’m transported into the bliss of my own being.

I’m looking for new ways to build more mantra into my life. Swami’s advice is golden: “to elevate and uplift your mind, to have a Divine mind, do more japa.”