Reflections on Gurumayi Chidvilasananda

Gurumayi Taught Me the Joy in Offering

I was introduced to the Siddha Yoga path in 1990 when I was living in Hampshire, England, with my husband and baby daughter. From the outset I experienced a great love for Gurumayi and for the Siddha Yoga teachings and practices. Wishing to express my gratitude in a tangible way, I began to offer seva arranging flowers at the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Liphook. Each week, I delighted in choosing flowers for the pujas throughout the Ashram, and my confidence in flower arranging grew. Then came one of the biggest Siddha Yoga celebrations of the year—Gurupurnima—the holiday when we especially remember and give thanks for the Guru’s grace in our lives. It falls at the time of the biggest and most luminous full moon of the year, the Gurupurnima moon, whose radiance symbolizes the perfect light and grace of the Guru.

For this occasion I wanted the flower arrangements to be extra special to reflect both the significance of the day and my own love for the Guru. Then, out of the blue, an old tendency to doubt myself cropped up. I worried that my arrangements wouldn’t be good enough. Despite telling myself that there was really no need to be anxious, I went to bed the night before seva feeling very agitated.

That night I had a vivid dream in which Gurumayi appeared and said to me: “Do your best; offer it with love; and I’ll take care of everything else.”

I awoke feeling amazed that Gurumayi had come to me in a dream and addressed my concerns in such a direct way. Gurumayi’s words reassured me and gave me confidence. I had my part to play, but I was not on my own.

When I went to buy the flowers, I was particularly drawn to ones that reminded me of the full moon as it rises and sets—roses and carnations ranging in shades of palest gold to orange, rose, and red. I knew with my heart that these were the flowers to offer. With Gurumayi’s words in my mind, I trusted totally in her grace supporting my efforts. I was then able to give myself over to the joy of arranging the flowers. When, finally, I lifted the big vase with its arrangement for the meditation hall, the flowers were so beautiful that I wanted to gasp with delight. I was filled with love, gratitude, and awe.

This was the beginning of a huge shift in perspective for me. Gurumayi had shown me what was possible when I let go of the constrictions of doership and the need to be in control, and allowed myself to become a vehicle for grace. I had learned that when I offered my actions with love, then love itself became my experience.

Nourished by this experience, I felt able, a few years later, to step forward and support the local Siddha Yoga community in establishing a new Siddha Yoga meditation center. It has been a joy to offer seva at the center since that time.

Every week at the moment when all the sevites gather to invoke grace by chanting the Shiva Manasa Puja, it is a reminder for me that our role as sevites is to do our best and offer our actions with love. After invoking grace, as we prepare the hall for satsang, I am moved by the change that takes place. Stillness and readiness pervade the atmosphere as it is transformed into a space for spiritual practice.

Sometimes there are moments that feel quite magical. I recall recently a fellow sevite and I put the finishing touches on the puja after  cleaning and preparing the meditation hall. We stepped back from the puja, where we had just placed vases of sweet spring flowers beside the photos of Gurumayi, Baba, and Bade Baba. As the sun shone through the window, the very air in the room seemed to sparkle. At that moment, both of us spontaneously raised our hands in joy as we experienced a moment of pure wonderment and recognition of a deeper power at work. It was as if Gurumayi herself had stepped into the room and we were able to experience her with us.

Other times, I may be coaching a speaker and together we discover a deeper meaning in an experience they are preparing to share in satsang. As their face lights up with the joy of this new discovery, I too experience my own heart leap with delight. Such shared moments of grace touch me profoundly and give rise to immense joy and gratitude for everything I receive on the Siddha Yoga path.

In my mind I return to Gurumayi’s teaching over and over again: “Do your best; offer it with love; and I’ll take care of everything else.”

Always there is something new for me to learn from this and take into my life.  This allows me to consider whether I am truly offering with love. For example, when anxiety starts to arise, or when I notice a reluctance to delegate a task, I know doership has crept into my actions. At such times I pause, turn to Gurumayi’s picture, and inwardly offer everything to her. This simple act of turning to Gurumayi allows me to let go of concern about outcomes and helps me to trust in her grace. Then I am free once again to offer seva unconditionally with love.

 

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