Reflections on Gurumayi Chidvilasananda

Cherishing a Teaching

I was enthusiastic for the fresh year of study that lay ahead when I first heard Gurumayi’s Message for 2003, TRUST. I received the Message with an open heart.

Throughout the year, I studied Gurumayi’s Message in Siddha Yoga Shaktipat Intensives and satsangs, and through the visual and audio recordings of the talk. After 2003 came to an end, I continued to study Gurumayi’s talk TRUST regularly. In particular, the section of the talk on the theme "Trust is sacred" became a touchstone for me. In it, Gurumayi asks, “How would it affect your state if, each time you came through on a promise or duty or performed some beneficial action, you took the time to acknowledge yourself?” I found that Gurumayi’s guidance to take time to thank myself was a soothing balm that calmed my self-critical mind, allowing me to shine and do my very best in all sorts of situations.

Over the years, I practiced this teaching from Gurumayi in different ways at different times. Sometimes I would keep a written list of self-acknowledgments, or take a moment each day to quietly reflect on beneficial things that I had done, or I would verbally articulate my experience of this teaching with other Siddha Yogis. I even got in the habit of exclaiming “Thank you!” aloud when I had followed through on a promise! At times I would hear Gurumayi’s voice resounding in my mind, encouraging me to “Take a moment and thank yourself!”

While I did not remember to practice this teaching all the time, I found it would regularly re-appear in my life at certain moments, particularly when I was being hard on myself. Whenever Gurumayi’s teaching would come alive in my heart, it felt like I was returning to the comforting home of a beloved friend—always welcoming, joyful, and heart-opening. Each time I put this teaching into practice, I found that daily life would become more easeful, joyful, and profound. Practicing this teaching gave me confidence in myself, and filled me with gratitude to Gurumayi for her love and grace.

Sometimes when I became lax about the practice, I would find myself sliding into dullness and feeling unsure of myself. In the spring of 2014 I went through such a time. Then one day during a chanting satsang, I prayed to Gurumayi that I would be able to release the heaviness I was feeling—that I would be able to experience the joy of the Self and share that joy with the world around me.

A few days later I was listening to some Siddha Yoga music in “shuffle” mode on my media player. Out of the blue, the section of Gurumayi’s talk about how trust is sacred began playing. Suddenly, I was not alone—Gurumayi was with me, reminding me how to nurture confidence and strength in myself, and how to experience the sacredness of life! I listened to Gurumayi’s words again and again that day, and I resolved to re-apply her teaching. I began by thanking myself for listening to Gurumayi’s talk, and for praying to her in that moment when I felt dispirited. When I got home at the end of the day, I began writing down self-acknowledgments of various things that I had followed through on—I had paid my rent! I had completed a painting! I had offered seva!

Over the coming weeks, the practice of acknowledging myself became easier and easier, and it lifted my spirits day by day. I began to consistently thank myself in my heart for the big things that I was doing, and also for the little things. If I held a door open for a stranger or helped a friend with a project, I thanked myself. If I took time to meditate or if I applied myself diligently to my work, I thanked myself. If I walked down the street with a smile on my face, I thanked myself for sustaining my experience of happiness.

I have found that whenever I practice a teaching of Gurumayi’s on a regular basis, I feel a growing joy and deepening connection to my true Self, and very naturally I experience love and appreciation for others in my life. I am eternally grateful to Gurumayi for her life-transforming grace and teachings, which have the power to turn night into day and make every moment in life sacred.

 

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