December 1, 2015
Happy Holidays! During the month of December, people around the world are filled with the joyous spirit of celebration. This is a time when family, friends, and neighbors share good wishes and cheer.
On the Siddha Yoga path, this month gives us another opportunity to recognize the divinity in ourselves, each other, and our world. Throughout this year, Gurumayi has guided us in experiencing our own divine nature through the gift of her Message:
As 2015 draws to a close, we look forward to a new year on the Siddha Yoga path. It is a time to prepare for the Global Siddha Yoga Satsang for New Year’s Day: A Sweet Surprise.
Last year at this time, eager to receive Gurumayi’s Message, my family participated in the audio webcast talk, The Power of Listening to Learn, The Power of Learning to Listen.
The teacher, Swami Ishwarananda, gives such clear instructions on how to prepare to receive Gurumayi’s words—how to listen with our whole being. One of the methods Swami ji suggests for honing our listening skills is to listen with focused attention to the sounds in nature.
My family really enjoys spending time in nature so we embraced this practice with great enthusiasm. My eight-year-old daughter says that she loves listening to sounds in nature because “it always sounds a little bit different each time, and afterwards I feel refreshed.”
In the days leading up to A Sweet Surprise satsang, as I focused on listening with my whole being, new insights and inspirations sprang up within me. I also noticed that some of my challenges came into sharp focus. And right alongside the challenges, crystal-clear inner guidance as to how to overcome them emerged.
When I received Gurumayi's Message in A Sweet Surprise satsang, I was amazed and grateful to hear Gurumayi teach about the same themes that had been arising within me. Wanting to receive the gift of Gurumayi’s Message as fully as possible, I made a focused effort to study her Message and teachings over the course of the year on my own, and together with my family.
I learned that sitting quietly in nature is a potent entry point for me to practice Gurumayi’s Message. As I sit outside, often in my own backyard, I listen to the sounds and observe the movements of the wind and the creatures with a curious alertness. As time passes, I experience a sense of both deep connection and gentle detachment. My attention, very naturally, is drawn inside.
This experience has informed my meditation practice. I see that, just as I am able to gradually shift to a witness state while sitting in and observing nature, the same process takes place for me when I sit for meditation. I sink deeper, detach from my thoughts, and experience my own inner divinity.
Throughout 2015, as a family, we continued to practice absorbing ourselves in nature both outdoors where we live and through the series of Commune with Nature video vignettes. As we have connected more deeply to nature, we find that our understanding of time has deepened. We experience heightened gratitude for the changing seasons and the blessings each new season brings us. As we observe the moon going through its phases, we sense its gift of marking the gentle passing of time. Amidst these changes, we perceive an underlying sense of timelessness, an ever-present current of grace.
We are so grateful for Gurumayi’s teachings in A Sweet Surpise 2015. They have borne such great fruit! Now, as a family, we are enthusiastically preparing for A Sweet Surprise 2016. It will be my eight-year-old daughter’s first time to participate in the entire satsang, and she is filled with a contagious excitement.
We are preparing in very practical ways. For example, we plan to participate again in the audio webcast, The Power of Learning to Listen, The Power of Listening to Learn, and reflect on how we can further implement what Swami ji is teaching us.
We plan to get ample rest and exercise in the days leading up to A Sweet Surprise satsang to support us in listening with our full attention, our whole being. We are also setting aside time prior to the satsang to reflect on what it means to us to receive Gurumayi’s Message. And we will make time after the satsang for further reflection and sharing with our friends and family who have participated.
We look forward to joining all of you in the Universal Hall for A Sweet Surprise satsang in January 2016!
May you, your loved ones, and people everywhere experience great joy, peace, and love in this month of December, and in the year to come.