By Loretta Forsythe, interviewed by Lissa Yogyananda Fountain
“I can see how Grace has guided me my whole life to find Svaroopa® yoga, and to have Gurudevi as my Guru,” shares Loretta Forsythe. About ten years ago, Loretta found a Svaroopa® yoga teacher near her home in the Poconos. After her first class, she felt she was in “new body” with “a deeper inner connection.” Soon thereafter, she retired, took Svaroopa® Yoga Teacher Training, and offered classes herself for about six years. But life had another plan.
“When I moved to Delaware last year,” describes Loretta, “I decided to hold off on teaching and concentrate on my health and healing. Through my yoga and meditation practices as well as vichara sessions, I realized I had a lot of ‘stuff’ to work through. I prayed to Shiva: ‘Do Your work and guide me through this.’ I wanted to be healed and become Self-Realized. Throughout this ongoing purification process, I feel Gurudevi’s teachings supporting me. I am in a deeper place than I have ever been.”
Despite health challenges, Loretta has continued all the Svaroopa® Sciences practices at Rehoboth Beach Yoga. She attends satsangs, takes classes and has started Overlap Healing Embodyment® sessions. She also looks to Ayurveda and Vichara for healing.
“But,” says Loretta, “it is in Gurudevi’s online Meditation Club that I have experienced the greatest breakthroughs.” When the Meditation Club was announced, Loretta enthusiastically joined. She recalls, “Before the Meditation Club, I meditated daily. But it was difficult to stay in it. My mind would say, ‘Ok, how many minutes do we have left? Aren’t we done yet?’ My physical pain was distracting as well. And although I got a lot of kriyas (spontaneous movements that clear energy blockages), they would take me OUT of meditation.
“I had always wanted to get up earlier for my meditations, so the 6:30 a.m. start time forces me!” Loretta describes a profound shift in her meditations now: “Meditating with Gurudevi, the other swamis and 50 or more other yogis, powers my meditation. I feel Guru’s Grace and Shakti really come through. I also joined Gurudevi’s online Japa Club. Right after each twice daily phone call, I slip into an easy 20-to-30-minute meditation!
“I was still having kriyas from the beginning to the end of my meditations. One day I made the decision that when the kriyas started, I’d accept them and not allow them to pull me out. It was the Self speaking through my mind: ‘Now is the time to go deeper.’ I felt myself going into more of the Self — an inner expansion. Now when I am in meditation, I’m aware of something bigger than what I thought I was.”
Loretta’s discovery of Self is ongoing, filled with moments of radical awareness. “During the last meditation of the recent Chant & Meditation Retreat weekend,” she recounts, “I was keeping the mantra going, even while my mind was all over the place. Then in a split second, everything went quiet, except for the mantra. I took a step back and wondered, ‘Where’s my thinking mind? My mind is saying mantra, so who’s the one watching my mind do this? This must be the Self.’ It wasn’t an ecstatic moment, but more like a knowing that had always been there. ‘Wow,’ I thought, ‘I’m telling my mind to say mantra. I can tell my mind what to think. AND I don’t have to be thinking all the time!’”
Gurudevi’s Guru, Baba Muktananda, is famous for saying “My mind wouldn’t dare think a thought without my permission.” Loretta sees that being in this state of quiet mind is her way to Self-Realization. She says, “Throughout the day, when the chitter chatter says, ‘Come to me,’ that’s my mind controlling me. Now I recognize that I don’t have to listen. I can control my mind, because I am more than my mind. I am the Self. So I tell my mind, we’re going to repeat mantra.”
Gurudevi’s readings from sacred texts before the Meditation Club and the Japa Club have given Loretta a deeper understanding of the importance of always repeating mantra. She adds, “It is both humbling and auspicious to be involved so deeply with Gurudevi. I feel so blessed.”