By Pat (Sumati) Morrison, interviewed by Lori (Priya) Kenney`
I went up for Gurudevi’s darshan. My mouth was flapping around but nothing came out. Gurudevi came close and said, “Use your words.” I said, “I don’t know what to say, what to give you.” Gurudevi said, “For you to know the Self, that is the gift you could give me.”
Besides the Ashram buildings, we have the virtual Ashram with freebies and online programs. Then there’s the essence of the Ashram, which is Grace. It permeates everything.
During the pandemic, I couldn’t visit the Ashram. But I didn’t feel the need to be physically there. I did lots of Zoom programs and felt very supported by the virtual Ashram. I enjoyed the wonderful sense of community with other yogis. It felt like the Ashram was here whether or not I was doing programs. I felt it while doing mundane things. Even so, it’s important to have a physical place for Gurudevi to be. She has planted the Shakti there.
I know that Grace is always present, not just in certain places. It’s not only in Gurudevi’s presence. That knowing comes from beyond my mind. Though I’ve never felt Shakti the way others speak of it, I’m more aware of the effect. Thus I know that the Shakti is really strong at the Ashram. But whether I’m physically at the Ashram or at home, the most important thing is Gurudevi. Being in her presence and seeing her in the flesh — whether on-site or online — that is the most important.
I’ve known Gurudevi for a long time. When she was Rama Berch, she was an awesome asana teacher. As she deepened, she brought me and everybody else along with her. I know her energy and everything she has created for us. There is her love for us, her caring and her interest in us. That’s what she exists for, to bring us all along.
Yet there’s something beyond all that. It’s what she is. It’s like Self meeting Self with her. It’s like seeing your Self reflected back to you. And it’s the best version of yourself that is possible. She models that for us. Her conviction that this is possible for us is incredibly powerful.
I was doing every Yoga Wednesday on Zoom. I really yearned for that connection to the Ashram. It was important to be with Gurudevi and the swamis online, mornings and evenings. Then I went to the Ashram for a retreat last August. It was so wonderful that when I went home, I was full. Though I still feel I don’t need anything, I realize that I can’t consistently sustain the depths. I know I need more practice. I’m staying with it. I’m staying in the flow of Grace.