By Pat (Sumati) Morrison
Interviewed by Marlene (Matrikaa) Gast, Yogaratna
When I met Gurudevi, I was an avowed, proud agnostic. Over the decades, I’ve often felt led by my nose, sometimes kicking and screaming! Yet thanks to Gurudevi, I have been in the big-S Self so deeply that there wasn’t anything else. Each experience has brought me closer to being in that state all the time. I know the Self is here within no matter what. It’s closer than my breath. I am Self and Self is me as well as all. From Gurudevi, I know that Self-Realization is possible in this lifetime.
Every program with Gurudevi has been wonderful. Each was filled with profound, often blissful experiences, understandings, insights and expanded awareness. Always, more unfolded as I returned home.
Once, arriving at my driveway after a retreat, I saw my house as an external thing. It had no meaning for me. I didn’t identify with it in any way. Neither blissful nor ecstatic, this experience was a deep knowing, free of attributes. I was present within my Self. “Wow — this is big,” I thought. As my mind kicked in, the house began to look familiar.
Given Gurudevi’s teachings, I understand my experiences. In another program, Gurudevi asked a question of the group. I answered, “I’m not sure this is germane to what you asked. But years ago, during a training run for a marathon, I was stopped in my tracks by a feeling of intense love and caring for myself, within myself. I wrapped my arms around myself and heard, ‘I love you. I have always loved you and have been waiting for you.’” In that moment, I knew this love was all I ever needed or would need.
Gurudevi replied, “You pierced anava mala.” I could not believe what she was saying. But after she repeated it several times, I allowed myself to believe it. I then felt something extraordinarily ecstatic.
Recently, this memory opened me to a wisp of ecstasy. It began expanding and filling me. I somehow knew I’d have no room for judging and controlling if the ecstasy filled me completely. I’d have no way to check for and insure that “I was doing what would get me what I wanted.”
I knew I was both the small-s self and Self. There was a sense of the glorious possibility of surrender even though there was also something akin to fear. It seemed as though I was in a different space or dimension. The description that best fits is Pure Is-ness: Self.
Over the years, I have learned in Gurudevi’s Shaktipat Retreats that anava mala is the veil that keeps us from knowing the Self. Once her gift of Shaktipat shreds this veil, we can never not-know our own Self, the One Being All.
In one Shaktipat Retreat, I felt the mantra flowing blissfully over me and through me. I remember filling with gratitude in another, so much so I could barely contain the feelings. Physical kriyas have included my spine extending upward higher than I would have thought possible, arching into a backbend and my body expanding. Once, my hands extended straight out flat. I was aware I could not hold on, could not grab for anything.
So I continue to attend Gurudevi’s retreats and do the practices she teaches. Control doesn’t matter. Control is a figment, a smoke screen. The only thing that stands between me and this state of Self Knowingness is my mind. I know and feel it. There really is “beyond my mind.”