August 1, 2016
Our journey through the year 2016 has brought us to the sweet month of August, when in parts of the northern hemisphere, Nature reaches her fullest expression of summer. The days are filled with light; grains and produce are ripening in the fields.
This month, the focus of our study and practice will be the word joy in Gurumayi’s Message for 2016.
Gurumayi’s Message is
Move with steadfastness
in Supreme Joy
Joy. One of the greatest gifts of spiritual life is learning that joy is our divine essence. Joy is what is at the heart of our being; it is the nature of our own Self. And since joy is inherent in us, it is available in each moment, regardless of whether external circumstances happen to be favorable or challenging.
How can we tap this wellspring of joy within? Gurumayi has given us countless ways. We can study and practice a teaching from Gurumayi, we can repeat the mantra, we can listen to the subtle movement of our breath. We can look to Nature and welcome all her displays: the wind, the sun, the rain, the thunder, the dark clouds, and the brilliant light of midday. Everything! We can also set an intention to experience joy in each moment.
Here’s how I set this intention: every morning, I sit at the breakfast table with my cup of coffee, open my journal, and write my life’s purpose statement: “I am here to experience the deepest joy.” Next I write ten things I am grateful for, a practice inspired by Gurumayi’s talk entitled “Gratitude” in her book Enthusiasm. Some days I am particularly grateful for my health and well-being, other days for the abundance of nature around me, or the food on my table. And every day I am grateful for the Siddha Yoga path.
When I write this list, I re-experience the joy that these aspects of my life bring forth in me—and I also feel a broader, deeper sense of joy and gratitude in simply being alive. In remembering the gifts I have been given and the joy that permeates my life in ways big and small, I open myself to approaching whatever the day may hold with a sense of wonder, inquisitiveness, and delight. And I’ve found that by doing this exercise over time, I don’t have to strive very hard to see the world as an expression of the divine—my heart simply recognizes the divinity in all I encounter.
Another way I increase my ability to access the joy of the Self is by remembering the great beings who are an embodiment of that joy. I practice remembrance of Gurumayi—I contemplate Gurumayi’s grace, her teachings, and her presence—and I remember Baba Muktananda and Bhagavan Nityananda.
During August, we have two significant opportunities to honor the Siddha Yoga Gurus and reflect on the joy they continue to bring to this world.
On August 8, we will honor Bhagavan Nityananda's Solar Punyatithi. It was on this day fifty-five years ago, in 1961, that Bade Baba left his physical body to merge with Consciousness. When we commemorate Bade Baba’s Punyatithi, we recognize Bade Baba’s grace, which inspires us, protects us, uplifts us. We study Bade Baba’s teachings, which so beautifully distill the knowledge of the Truth. We acknowledge the ways we experience Bade Baba’s loving, compassionate, and reassuring presence in our lives. And this year especially, we can reflect on how Bade Baba truly personifies nityananda—eternal bliss.
On August 15, we will honor Baba’s Divya Diksha, the day in 1947 when Baba received shaktipat diksha, divine initiation, from Bhagavan Nityananda. What a cause for celebration! This most significant day is one on which we can all remember and express our profound gratitude for the gift of shaktipat. Bade Baba’s initiation of Baba Muktananda leads in a direct line to our own initiation; it opened the door for all of us to experience Self-born joy.
And the festival of delight continues with Raksha Bandhan on August 17. This is the day on which we honor the bond of love and protection between Guru and disciple, as well as the bond between seekers on the spiritual path. We tie rakhis, bracelets made of thread, around each other’s wrists as a representation of this bond.
The month of August gives us ways to learn about joy, to cultivate joy, and to sustain and build on our experience of joy. We can learn from the great beings—how they lived their lives as shining expressions of happiness. And each of us can, in turn, decide how we might wish to draw inspiration from these great beings as we study and practice Gurumayi’s Message for 2016.
There is so much to discover about the bliss of the Self; there are unending facets to this joy. So, explore for yourself what flavor, what taste of joy is coming forth from within you at this moment. Is it delight? Contentment? Exuberance? Discover how, when you open yourself to the joy in your heart and you express this joy, it multiplies. Joy gives rise to more joy—for you, for your family, for your friends and co-workers, and for the entire world.
Siddha Yoga Student