If I Were Stranded on an Island…

By Lori (Priya) Kenney

Stranded on a sunny island, able to partake of only one Ashram offering, I’d choose seva.  My seva requires having a computer and being in touch with the Ashram.  I would have my laptop and solar powered batteries, fueled by my faithful companion, El Sol. 

We humans need to act.  I’m quite sure I tried the cave in other lifetimes.  Since I’m here again, I know that didn’t work.  It’s not only my compulsion to “do, do, do,” however, that makes me choose seva.  

Seva is purposeful action directed toward serving Consciousness.  Regardless of the content of my seva, I am serving the Guru.  I do what I’m doing for her and the Ashram.  This focus helps me move toward my goal of making everything I do in service to God/Guru/Self.  When I act from that place, I know tremendous freedom.  I pour my energy and attention into focused action and emerge in the ocean of Consciousness.  No matter my state when I begin, I’m in a better place when I finish.  I am lighter; I’m more my Self.

Thankfully, I’m not limited to only one of the Ashram’s plentiful offerings.  So I also have chosen the priceless offering of the Vowed Order.  Since taking Vratin vows a year ago, I’m aware of undeniable inner steadiness.  The moments of being my Self are continually expanding.  The Vowed Order enabled me to make a more serious commitment to the Guru.  I was devoted to my practices and Gurudevi before taking vows.  Now I know for certain that Gurudevi is my lighthouse.

This commitment and association with like-minded yogis means the most to me.  All are on the path to Self-Realization.  Each reflects the light of Consciousness in a unique way.  Each has a special perspective, a unique wisdom that I learn from.  I am so grateful for the loving support.  I cherish the candor about struggles on the path, the entanglements, frustrations and breakthroughs.  Hearing from these yogis about their spiritual progress and their lives is joyful.  Learning how they are working to merge the two into one beautiful ocean of Consciousness is inspiring.

How I act in the world has changed.  My family notices my increased equilibrium.  This year of Covid and wildfire smoke in the West where I live has been challenging.  Issues in my immediate and extended family have also been taxing.  Even so, I am less reactive.  I am more my Self.  I understand life and the holy process of dying better.  I know my life’s purpose.  I am grateful for the tremendous support of this Vowed Order, headed by Gurudevi with the contributions of our wonderful new swamis and the other vowed members.  It is also a continual reminder and nudge to do the hard stuff.  It keeps me focused on my goal of knowing my Self. 

I benefit from all the Ashram’s offerings.  Yet the online Meditation Club is another highlight.  Rising every day at 3:00 am (Pacific time) to meditate with Gurudevi and other devoted yogis from all over the world is priceless.  Truly, my meditations have deepened, as have I.  This offering is incredible.  Besides chanting and receiving a daily reading from Gurudevi, we’re graced with powerful and mesmerizing pop-up abhisheks.  Periodically, Gurudevi gives a pop-up longer talk.  Saturated with Grace, I sink deeply into the ocean of Consciousness.  Last, but not least, the free Japa Club is a wonderful homecoming.  Along with the Meditation Club, Japa Club gives me the opportunity to Zoom into the Guru’s presence three times a day.  Crashed onto life’s hard rocks, I used to go home to the family farmhouse.  I am so aware how that place is no longer home.  Now it’s the abode of my beloved mother in her final days.  Home is the mantra, the Self, the expansive and limitless ocean of Consciousness.  OM Namah Shivaya.

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