Near the end of her Message talk in Sweet Surprise 2019, Gurumayi directed us to find ways to clear space in our busy lives for our mind to rest in its own light. Gurumayi’s words went deep within me and I knew they were exactly what I needed to hear.
Siddha Yoga meditation has long been for me the practice that takes me to a place of luminous calmness within, giving clarity and balance to my work and to my relationships with people. Recently, however, that balance appeared to be slipping away. I felt I had so much to do and such urgency to do it that I just didn’t have enough time for everything. Little by little, I allowed my time for meditation to shrink.
As the weeks passed after Gurumayi gave her Message talk, I kept pondering what she had said. Meanwhile, my life seemed to become even more hectic. Keeping up with responsibilities that were piling on unavoidably was eating into all the time I had in the day.
I shared my concerns with a dear friend. “I only want a half hour each morning for my meditation,” I wailed, “and I can’t even find that.” With compassion, he reminded me that at any moment I can breathe, I can repeat the So’ham mantra that Gurumayi has given us, and I can rest my mind there. His words led to a breakthrough for me. I began to practice becoming aware of my breathing and combining it with the mantra at different moments in my day. It became my way of addressing the feeling of continuous pressure, of there being too much to think and do. I realized that this is how I could practice Gurumayi’s instruction to find ways to clear space in my life for my mind to rest in its own light.
And my practice has been bearing fruit. Whatever I am doing, as I consciously focus on ham with the in-breath and sa with the out-breath, my posture changes. I stand or sit taller, making room for the breath. I feel my awareness becoming centered and lighter. The boulder rolls away, and while it may be only for a minute or two, my mind is at rest. I feel I am in touch with the heart of my being. I am aware that this space opens to me just as in meditation.
When I focus on breath and mantra in this way, I find it makes space for my mind to step back. It is as though time stops, and I step into a spaciousness without limits. In place of a rapid flurry of thoughts and feelings, I feel an easeful, unforced slowing down, a quietness arising from within. This practice helps my mind discover the Self at many moments of the day. I’ve realized that I don’t need to stop what I am doing externally or abandon my duty. I can, by focusing internally on breath and So’ham, guide my mind to arrive at a place of deep rest.
When I first started this practice, I used to do it only in what might be called spare moments while standing and waiting for something else to happen. Now I am trying to consciously bring it to the center of the busy times when I am in the midst of interactions with others. And it is powerful in altering those interactions for the better. I noticed this when I was in the middle of a negative encounter with a member of my staff whom I found difficult. My own response of irritation and animosity simply fell away as I became aware of my breathing. I understood where she was coming from, and more important, I felt compassion. I could respond generously instead of simply reacting. It just took moments, but it felt timeless.
When I had allowed the pressures of work to commandeer my mind, one of the things that had dropped away was my morning walk, which used to freshen my body and breathing and bring me into contact with nature. Somehow, I have found time again to walk in the morning. It is as though the spaciousness and timelessness of my practice with breath and mantra are spreading into more and more of my life. I find this curious and fascinating—something to ponder and study, and to deepen.
In addition to the benefits I’ve already described above, I’m finding the sense of lack—thinking I don’t have enough time for meditation—is turning into a sense of abundance. I have the whole day to become aware of my breath, to breathe with the mantra, and to let my mind rest in the Heart. As I wrote in my journal, “This integration of Gurumayi’s teaching into my life needs no strenuous effort, no forcing of the mind, but is an easeful, almost gentle, inner turning toward the breath.”
With the breath and mantra, I am more able to bring my spiritual practice into my living in the world. The bliss of meditation is as wonderful as ever. Now, in addition, I’m also seeking and finding many opportunities during the whole day to let my mind rest in its own light. It’s an exciting search. So much to learn and study and experience! Such happiness!