By Bob (Ravi) Penneys, interviewed by Lori (Priya) Kenney
I have been a spiritual wanderer and seeker for over 55 years. Fortunately, I have had many satsangs, conferences and teachers on some of the highest paths. Some teachers were disciples of Baba Muktananda, whom I saw back in 1980.
Almost 40 years later, my path led me to Svaroopa® Yoga, whose home base in Downingtown is just 17 pretty miles from my home. When I first met and heard Gurudevi, it was strikingly clear that she was the irrefutable Truth. And, against all odds, so was I! I was filled with gratitude.
My intellectual family background has helped me prize thought and language above all. The fallible body’s purpose was presented as housing the brain and mind, just as a car carries the driver. I had grown up to fear rather than trust my mortal body. Gurudevi taught me, to my consternation, that the body is really the ticket.
Last spring, I started doing more and more japa (mantra repetition). My hands began to waver and get hot. I got super enthused about finally becoming a more real yogi. I consulted with Gurudevi, who gave me an ambitious program. I started off strong, then waxed and waned with my practices. She reiterates to me that liberation isn’t going to happen just because she gives me Shaktipat. I gotta do my part of the work. Gurudevi also prescribed Embodyment® Yoga Therapy sessions, which I’ve been having weekly with Swami Satrupananda. What a treat. The process and rewards are so sweet.
All this is changing me. I’ve had 70-plus years of bumping around, entertaining a lifetime of negativity and unhappiness. That all was hidden, underlying a life of love, fun, adventure, travel and wit. My trust in others was tentative, and I had precious little for myself.
Now, I’ve learned to notice, acknowledge and accept gracefully my habitual negative thoughts and feelings. As my observing part grows, my reactive part diminishes in power. I get to see myself, everyone and everything in the world very differently. Even the hardest people and situations in the world are actually One with me. I can change my apprehension to compassion, forgiveness and love.
I go to every Sunday and Wednesday satsang that I can. I cheerfully drive down a lovely creek-side country road, sit in front of Gurudevi and share Truth.