September 3, 2017
Welcome to September, the month when the sun crosses from the northern to the southern hemisphere. At the time of this transition, known as the equinox (equal night), we will experience a moment of astronomical balance, when day and night will be of equal length, no matter where we live on this beautiful planet.
The approach of the equinox tells us that we are nearly three-quarters of the way through the year. For Siddha Yoga students, it has been a year of studying and practicing Gurumayi’s Message for 2017. How are you doing? Are you now starting to assimilate everything that you have received, understood, and experienced so far this year?
Gurumayi’s Message for 2017 is
Breathe in deeply the fragrance of the Heart.
Revel in the light of the Supreme Self.
Breathe out gently the benevolent power of the Heart.
From the moment when I first heard these words, I enjoyed savoring their meaning. They showed me that the Heart is an inviting place, a place I can enjoy and find nourishment and, from that nourished state, bring blessings to others in the world.
As I practice Gurumayi’s Message I have confirmed for myself that the Heart is also a place within me that I can visit at any time, in any place—before a meal, during a journey, as I stand in a queue, as I sit for meditation. The Heart, the abode of the Self, is as much a part of me as my own breath. By visiting the Heart often, both in and out of meditation, I find my mind is steadier and more serene. Gurumayi’s Message has become a dharana, a technique for focusing my mind and expanding my awareness. It has become a key practice in maintaining an awareness of the treasure I carry within me.
When Gurumayi gave her Message for 2017, she also gave eleven teachings to support our study and practice of her Message. Each month of this year, we focus on one of these teachings. The teaching for the month of September is
“What matters is you know your worth.”
What does it mean to know our worth? Why is it important?
Recently, a friend shared with me that when she first arrived in Shree Muktananda Ashram to offer seva as a staff member, she had the opportunity to receive Gurumayi’s darshan. Gurumayi asked her how things were going. My friend replied that she felt happy and fortunate to be offering seva, but she was still settling in and everything felt very new to her. Gurumayi looked at her with compassion and said,
“You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone. You don’t need anyone’s approval. You are great in your own right. The Guru loves you.”
My friend said that, as she heard Gurumayi’s words, her perception of herself shifted. She realized that Gurumayi was seeing her as she truly is, and guiding her to see herself in the same light. When she returned to her office, her inner posture was subtly different, and she felt more confident and at ease.
In Gurumayi’s guidance to my friend there is a teaching for all of us. We are all great in our own right. Our true worth does not depend on outer achievement or the approval of others. It lies in the fact that we are, each one of us, a unique and wonderful expression of Consciousness.
To hold this awareness of who we truly are, and to express it in the way we offer seva and go about our daily lives, requires vigilance and self-effort. When we notice ourselves dwelling on our limitations, we can stop and instead acknowledge ourselves for our thoughtful actions and for the jobs well done. Whenever we make a mistake, we can take responsibility for it and move on. We can pay attention to our well-being, and to our needs for rest, exercise, and fun. When we are kind to ourselves in these practical ways, not only do we honor ourselves, we find that we are kinder and more tolerant of others.
As I go about my daily life, I find it helps to keep reminding myself who I truly am. For instance, I often remember this line from Shri Avadhuta Stotram, a hymn in praise of Bhagavan Nityananda:
I am not the body, nor is the body mine. I am not a bound soul, for I am Consciousness.1
These words have great power for me. One day when I was out for a walk with a friend, climbing a steep, woodland path, I found myself out of breath and falling behind. The words from Shri Avadhuta Stotram came to me, and I repeated them to myself. Almost instantaneously my perception of myself and the situation changed. No longer was I concerned about catching up, or reaching the top of the path. Instead, I was witnessing myself climb the slope a step at a time. Even my perception of my breath changed. I found it interesting to watch my breath move in and out. As I relaxed, I felt more room in my lungs. I thought, Yes, this is what happens when I remember that I am Consciousness.
One of the many joys of the Siddha Yoga path website is that it is a means for the whole global sangham to learn together. Beginning on September 23, you will be able to participate in the Meditation Session via Live Audio Stream entitled, “Become a Student of Your Own Practice.”
Earlier I mentioned my practice of repeating Gurumayi’s Message as a dharana. Spiritual seekers over many centuries have used dharanas to focus the mind. Already this month you will have seen on the website two dharanas from the Vijnanabhairava, one of the scriptures revered by the sages of Kashmir Shaivism. There are more dharanas to come. The practice of these dharanas will help you to enter meditation. I invite you to practice all of the dharanas and to share your experience of so doing on the Siddha Yoga path website.
You will also be invited to share on two very specific topics this month.
At the conclusion of A Sweet Surprise Satsang 2017, Gurumayi thanked everyone for accepting the gift of her Message and asked if we knew what would make her even happier. Gurumayi then said: “If you make this gift your own.”
In what ways have you made Gurumayi’s Message your own? How do you practice Gurumayi’s Message? What new insights and understandings has your practice brought you? Perhaps you have discovered something new about the breath? About the Heart? Perhaps Gurumayi’s Message Artwork brought you an “Aha!” moment? This is a wonderful opportunity to share your wisdom. Your insights will be an inspiration to others!
The second topic on which you are invited to share is the story of your experience of receiving shaktipat diksha. This is a powerful practice for every Siddha Yogi. Relive the moment as you write. Relish this sacred moment. Reflect on the ways in which your life has been transformed as a result of receiving shaktipat initiation. As we prepare for the Global Siddha Yoga Shaktipat Intensive in October, some of your stories will be posted on the Siddha Yoga path website. Invite friends and family who might want to participate in the Shaktipat Intensive to read these stories. It is a great way for them to learn of the beneficent, transformative power of this event.
Make time during this month of September to explore your worth. When we know our worth, we are able to stand in our greatness and act from a place of clarity and strength. This is of great benefit to ourselves, to the people we love, and to the entire world.
Siddha Yoga Meditation Teacher