By Tom Trautlein, interviewed by Lori (Priya) Kenney
“I’ve been doing those short fixes during the day because I can fit them in anytime. It’s very centering and very calming to do them. I’ve been a lot more grounded, and my days don’t spiral out of control. It was particularly easy working in the two-minute mantra repetition, which helped my mind from building grander delusions.”
In the middle of many moving parts, Tom serves as Communications Traffic Manager for the Ashram. It can get hectic as he coordinates timelines and, with his team, ensures that Ashram publications and advertisements are published in a timely manner. That’s why he has paid special attention to Sadguru Nirmalananda’s 2019 Quick Fix Teachings Articles. He was particularly grabbed by the first three:
He calls the May practice, “the quickest of the quick fixes” — a quick inhale, followed by a longer exhale and a pause. “That quick breath, and the pause at the end really struck me. It has become a ‘go to’ during the course of my day. I can have six things on my computer screen at a time, it’s getting a little hectic, and that fix brings me back to reality. Connecting with the Self is great, rather than going into a cerebral panic.
“I use the pause pretty regularly because it is so absolutely quick. It’s so easy to hang out there after an exhale. It helps me get in touch with my Self and with all those experiences I’ve had from doing mantra repetition. The first three fixes — leveling, Ujjayi and mantra repetition — set things up so that when I started to do the pause, it was more familiar and had meaning.”
Tom often has peaceful experiences in nature, especially while kayaking. The June Quick Fix is “To remember a serene and luminous experience.” He explains, “When I’m out on a lake, now I’m trying not to focus on the context but the experience I’m having. Even in the moment of the experience, I’m remembering that I’m having the experience rather than focusing on the surroundings.”
Not only have the Quick Fixes offered immediate benefits for Tom, they have had long-term effects. “I’m getting better at longer practices, which have increased since the beginning of the year. I’m doing sets of mantra more often. The fixes have even contributed to me being able to meditate, which was erratic before that.” Tom greatly appreciates the extraordinary experiences of Self he has in Swamiji’s satsangs. Now he has tools to propel himself into Self. “These quick fixes are woven throughout my day more. The experience seems more natural than extraordinary, because it doesn’t happen during a separate time that is set aside, like Sunday satsangs,” concludes Tom. “With the fixes, it’s right there — actually, right here!”