Even as a child, I understood and experienced that the Guru’s grace is ever present. I grew up in Lucknow, India, following the Siddha Yoga path with my family. Over the years, I would write to Gurumayi, pray to her, offer seva at the Siddha Yoga meditation center, and visit Gurudev Siddha Peeth during my vacations. At every step and at each milestone of my life, I experienced Gurumayi’s presence—protecting, nurturing, and guiding me.
I also learned from Gurumayi that as students of the Siddha Yoga path, we have to make an effort to recognize this ever-present grace and make the right self-effort in sadhana to experience its power.
As I entered my adult life, with family and career responsibilities, there were times when I would forget the presence of grace in my life and forget Gurumayi’s beautiful reminders about the importance of self-effort.
Toward the end of 2014, during a demanding week at work, I was experiencing a lot of mental turmoil. I felt I was unable to live up to my own expectations and to the expectations of my managers, no matter how hard I tried. As a result, I became irritable and dissatisfied with myself and others. At the end of that week, I prayed to Gurumayi to show me the way.
That night I had a dream. I saw myself in a large space surrounded by many people. Suddenly, amidst the crowd, I saw Gurumayi beaming with her radiant smile, looking straight at me. My heart leapt with joy as I walked up to her to greet her.
Gurumayi looked at me with the most compassionate eyes and seemed to be acknowledging what I was going through at work. Then she looked into my eyes and said, “No expectancy!” She was firm. She was clear. It was a loving, strong instruction.
When I woke up in the morning, Gurumayi’s words were still ringing in my head. My heart was happy to have had the Guru’s darshan. I was filled with enthusiasm to explore and understand what she meant. I looked in the dictionary and found that expectancy means “the quality or state of expecting; expectation; anticipatory belief or desire.”
I thought, Am I expecting something all the time? Have I started living in this state of anticipatory desire? I began to watch my thoughts and the motivation behind my actions as I went through the day. I was amazed! I had no idea that I was so full of expectations. For example, when I put in extra hours at work, I had an expectation that I would be appreciated and recognized as a hardworking member of the team. When I offered to assist a colleague, I anticipated being acknowledged for my wisdom and generosity. And when these expectations weren’t met, I noticed I experienced disappointment and unevenness of mind.
Having observed this, I resolved to make a change. I carried Gurumayi’s two words “No expectancy!” into my day, making a conscious effort not to expect. Every time I saw myself becoming cluttered with expectations, I would repeat the mantra Om Namah Shivaya. If the day wasn’t moving according to my plan, I would repeat the mantra and make a conscious effort to let go of my desire for that outcome. Almost immediately, I would become steadier and feel freer. If a person wasn’t behaving the way I expected her to, I would repeat the mantra and my agitation would settle down. If my family wasn’t supporting me the way I had visualized, I would repeat the mantra and make an effort to understand their point of view more clearly. And if my manager wasn’t happy about my work, I would repeat the mantra and recognize that here was another opportunity to improve and move on.
Gurumayi’s words were guiding me to be in the present moment instead of letting myself become lost in the jungle of future desires and expected consequences. With the grace of this guidance, I am now more and more able to offer my best to what I do and then move on.
Over the years I have so often called upon Gurumayi’s ever-present grace and put forth the self-effort to follow the path she shows, and each time I move forward into a greater state of freedom.
I am so grateful to my Guru for the gift of her grace and for continually showing me the way.