By Lynn (Gurupremananda) Cattafi
I don’t meditate for enjoyment or peace. That may sound strange. Unless I settle deep into samadhi, meditation is not peaceful for me. A blissful state, samadhi is a profound inner absorption into Consciousness. When not sinking in, however, my mind is even more active than during the rest of the day.
So why do I sit to meditate? That’s easy! I meditate for what meditation is giving me when I am off my meditation seat. I meditate for how meditation is transforming my life and how I experience the world. Now, everything is sacred. Everything has profound meaning.
I must admit that I spent years in resistance to this inner transformation. It was a constant internal tug-of-war. I would dive headfirst into the yogic fire, the transforming power of Grace. But then I’d hold back with a death grip. I wanted to prevent anything in my life from changing too much. I did this push and pull for years. The word “renunciation” terrified me. I thought everything would be out of my control. I feared what yoga was going to take away from me.
Now I am free of this resistance and fear, for which I’m eternally grateful. Guru’s Grace and Shaktipat are the root of my inner transformation. Additionally, two recent events “conspired” to further rid me of this fear and resistance. First, I had the seva (selfless service) of supporting our new swamis in their initiation into renunciation. My role was to assist them with mundane aspects of preparing for their vows. Little did I know, I was reciprocally adapting to their graceful process. Truly amazing, it was so easy! My life did not blow up. I lost nothing except the fear, while my long-held attachments dissolved. It all simply got easier, because I was no longer grasping those things. I didn’t need them to create my sense of self.
The second event that pushed me through further was the pandemic. Because of the shutdown, I had to temporarily relinquish my regular Ashram visits. It was like a death. I had become dependent on regular immersion in the Grace that comes from sitting at Gurudevi Nirmalananda’s feet. I had been riding that wave every week, through all the rest of my week. How would I survive?
Only one way — I had to get consistent in my personal sadhana, my home practices. I have always had such resistance to this. As I said above, meditation is not generally peaceful for me. It was always so easy to find something else to do. Besides, I didn’t need to meditate because I was riding on the Shakti wave that came from my visit.
So, as the pain of separation enveloped me, I got up and into my yoga room every day, same time, same routine. I performed arati (candle flame ceremony); I chanted Shri Guru Gita. And I joined the Ashram’s online Meditation Club, created by Gurudevi for yogis staying at home during the pandemic. This routine is now so engrained that my mind cannot talk me out of it. My mind rarely even tries to talk me out of it now. This shift is HUGE! I am so grateful. Little by little, I am renouncing my resistance.
I recently took Gurudevi’s very first online Shaktipat Retreat. I was so surprised by how deep it was. I had an experience that I am still trying to assimilate. As I’ve described, my mind is much more active when I sit to meditate. In meditation and chanting, I am finding my body is also very active. Usually, I see this experience of Kundalini as clearing blockages to my access to Self. During the Shaktipat Retreat, I had a little inner conversation with Kundalini about this. She made it clear that She is working within me to give me my Self. However, She also let me understand that I use active mind and movement as a form of resistance. I am looking closely at how, where and what I’m resisting. I am resisting the ever-expanding joy of Self-Realization. Why would I resist what I long for so dearly?
My resistances are not deliberate, intentional or conscious. So the only thing I can do is apply mantra and awareness. Applying awareness to these inner, hidden resistances is like turning over rocks in the garden. I have to hose out all of the gunk that’s been hiding underneath for lifetimes. When I sit to meditate, I give Kundalini time to do this work for me. The resulting inner clarity gives me the ability to deal easily with all life challenges. I see the sacredness of everything, everywhere. And joy is always easily bubbling up inside me. I want to live in this awareness of my own Divinity and the Divinity of everything all the time. And I still have a way to go. That is why I meditate.