Welcome to Bliss & Bannock

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Hadih, my name is Jordana, and I am a practicing Shaivite Hindu, following the Nithyananda Sampradaya. Through my beloved guru, His Holiness Sri Paramahamsa Nithyananda Swami, who is an Avatar of Lord Shiva Himself, I have been incredibly fortunate to have experienced profound healing, mystical happenings, and exuberant bliss.

“So, what did you do in India?”

Much of the time, I’m at a loss for how to express myself after this question. How can I even begin to explain, when there are no words that can accurately reflect my experiences? All words fall pitifully short. Nevertheless, I created this blog to tell you all about my experiences to the best of my ability.

I’ll start off by telling it to you straight:

I met Sadashiva in form, my gurudeva, a living god.

I had glimpses of the enlightened state.

“I” melted down into the complete ecstasy and relaxation of my Self.

I felt true, raw, unconditional love.

I was initiated into 70 different shaktis, powers, including the opening of the third eye and kundalini awakening.

I discovered the purpose of my life.

For the first time, my heart felt completely fulfilled

The above is no exaggeration; these words utterly fail in conveying the immensity of these experiences. Swamiji, the very embodiment of Vedic culture, inspired me so greatly, I started practicing the science of enlightenment that Veda Mata makes available to the world. I changed my whole lifestyle: I quit drinking, I became a vegetarian, I started a daily yoga practice and ritual worship of Sadashiva. I became connected to the Source of all that was, is, and ever will be.

In future blog posts, I’ll write in detail about my experiences, the story of how becoming a jeevan mukta, a living enlightened being, became my life.

Feel free to comment and ask questions, I’ll do my best to answer you. ‘Til next time!

Nithyanandam

Inner Awakening Part 2

Energy Darshan

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Energy darshan is my favourite. Darshan can be roughly translated as “vision.” Darshan is used to describe the holy sight of a saint or enlightened being. For an open receiver, just seeing an enlightened being has the power to create deep and lasting transformation.

Energy darshan is when Swamiji radiates enlightenment and directly transmits the enlightenment experience to us. This process also physically awakens the non-mechanical parts of the brain which consists of subtle grooves that are responsible for higher intelligence and spiritual powers. In that moment, our brain mirrors His enlightened brain. If we are receptive and available in an enlightened being’s energy field, we’ll catch a glimpse of enlightenment.

We all line up and wait our turn to be at Swamiji’s lotus feet. We can take personal notes to Swamiji if we would like specific healings or blessings. These are especially helpful if you’re too shy to talk to Him, like me. Sometimes if we go there without a note, we forget what we wanted to say in His powerful presence. Or we feel what we are asking for is way too insignificant when there’s Shiva right in front of us!

When it’s our turn, we kneel in front of Him with our hands in a surrendered space. The palms of our hands release and soak up energy, having them open and facing Swamiji allows us to soak up as much of His energy as possible. Then Swamiji will read the note, place His hand on your forehead or third eye, and gives you a hug after blasting you with energy. After  your darshan, you are given a bilwa leaf dipped in honey. This helps our systems retain the energy Swamiji transmitted to us during the darshan.

One night after energy darshan,  I could not stop the tears streaking down my cheeks. Two rivers were pouring from my eyes and wetting the front of my sari. I felt a little embarrassed, but what to do! The intense vibration of darshan causes the samskaras, the hidden layers of the unconscious to erupt, and that’s exactly what was happening. I just sat and gazed at Swamiji as He attended to His other devotees. I love watching Him hug them, I feel I am also being hugged.

During one energy darshan, Swamiji began dancing and singing in His seat and stopped darshan temporarily. I was kneeling beside Him at His feet and was blessed with this opportunity to see the Avatar dance and sing up close. Again, when these things happen, it feels like they happen just for you!

I’ll relate to you my most unforgettable energy darshan memory. I was in line, inching closer and closer to the stage where Swamiji sat, just radiating bliss. I found myself slipping deeper and deeper into a really pleasant mood and all I wanted in life is to admire this divine being. A girl in front of me tried talking to me, but I was totally uninterested in what she had to say. I was far too engrossed in this state to care about talking or seeing anything but Shiva.

When it came to be my turn, I was in a highly receptive mood. Through a note, I asked Swamiji to please remove my anxiety and all the tension I felt balled up inside me. He read my letter, looked at me with His massive smile and said “I’ll heal it!”As I kneeled in front of Him, He firmly placed His hand on my forehead then gently hit my chest with the other. As he hit my chest, it felt like all the air in my lungs left my body along with all the stress and tension I had accumulated in my life. In one moment, all that heaviness was zapped away just like that! In the subsequent hours, I experienced a state of supreme intoxicating bliss. I felt completely melted – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I couldn’t stop smiling! I wanted to laugh just because I AM. It was like I myself had been dipped in honey. Everything felt right. Everything made sense. I enjoyed such extreme mental clarity that I couldn’t even remember what worry, fear, guilt or shame felt like. Swamiji gave me a glimpse of eternal bliss – my destiny, my life purpose and goal.

Ever since then, I could never forget about it. I knew I needed to taste this more in my life, to have it permanently. I knew it was real, and most importantly, possible. It was one of the sweetest gifts Swamiji has ever given me.

Sri Vidya Homa

This was the day after a beautiful offering to the goddess Devi, the Cosmic Mother.

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Shivoham Process

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Shivoham = I am Shiva

Paramahamsa Nithyananda resides in the state of Shivoham at all times, and as an Avatar, He takes seekers into that same space during the Shivoham process. He utilizes light and sound to infuse all the participants with Shivoham. During our lives, we ingest many wrong visualizations and verbalizations that become inscribed in our biomemory. Swamiji cleanses our systems of all the wrong lights and sound and gives us a taste of completion.

We sat in a mandala, a geometric pattern, around Swamiji, with Him being the centre. Each line of the mandala must be made up of either entirely male bodies or entirely female bodies. In the above photograph, you can see what that looks like. The divine masculine and feminine energies are invoked and the participants are infused with the muscle memory and biomemory of Shiva. The dormant DNA cells, the so-called “junk DNA,” is awakened through this process also. Our mitochondrial cells start rejuvenating themselves and the process of aging is slowed down considerably.

Throughout the process, the energy has different physiological effects on different bodies. Some people scream, some people laugh, some people vibrate or jump while cross-legged, and some peoples’ hands automatically form various mudras, yogic hand gestures. At first, my head shook side to side, then I had this uncontrollable twitching on just one side of my face. It must have looked really funny! I also burst into spontaneous laughter, and afterwards I settled down. Now I sit rather still, with some circular movement in my spine and neck.

During Shivoham, some people report having visions of various deities or strongly feeling the presence of these gods and goddesses. Everyone’s experiences are unique and different. This is the only place in the whole world we can experience this process! There are other methods for awakening kundalini, but it’s not safe unless done by an enlightened master. Swamiji has learned it as a science, meaning He can reproduce this effect over and over again. The best news is there is no meditation experience required, we just need to sit and be available to the Master.

Atma Linga

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During the program, Swamiji gifted us each with an atma linga. It is a pure 24 karat spatikum linga with a beautiful sri chakra carved on the top, representing the male and female energies of the Cosmos. He told us it was like having a portable Swamiji with us at all times – a personal deity! They came inside a special bhasma bag made with cloth that Swamiji wore and energized Himself. Some bhasma, sacred ash, was also inside. He told us this bhasma is energized by the bag itself, and if we create a strong space and intention, we can blow bhasma and our wish will come true. Atma means soul, or individual consciousness, and the linga is a deity that represents the cosmic egg, Shiva.

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During one of the breaks, I thought I had carefully placed my atma linga inside my bag and left to use my phone. When I came back, it wasn’t there! I was shocked and started panicking because Swamiji was going to lead us into the process of energizing our lingas to our consciousness very soon and I had already lost mine! I checked in the lost and found – nothing! A bunch of the ladies I sat around were all looking around the area, but to no avail. My friends asked their atma lingas to help me find mine. Five minutes later, I checked the Lost & Found one more time, and it was there! It’s seriously a miracle that my atma linga was found in a hall with 600 + people inside, everyone walking to and fro. This incident really cleared up a lot of doubt I was having about the power of this gift.

My friends had left their bags while interacting with the deities outside. They didn’t care about the money or possessions, but they really needed their passports to get home. They asked their atma lingas to return their stolen bags. When they looked again, the bags were there! The cash was stolen, but their important documents were left intact.

The first night my roommate and I had our atma lingas, we sweat profusely. It was definitely an energy blast, which made the heat in our bodies increase! It was such a sweet gift. Since then, I’ve used my atma linga to heal my old laptop, the mouse pad didn’t work at all and I needed documents. I placed the atma linga there and it immediately started working, after several failed attempts over a span of months! This past year I also suffered a soft tissue injury in my knee, and again, after months of pain, I placed the atma linga on my knee and the pain cleared up by 90% afterwards. The uses for the atma linga are infinitely practical.

Third Eye

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Before the initiation, Swamiji explained to us all that in order to open the third eye, we need to sit in the presence of a being whose third eye is already fully awakened. While explaining how it works, He gave us the metaphor of a flame jumping from one candle to the next.

As we sat in the mandala formation with our atma lingas pressed between our brows, Swamiji directed our kundalini to awaken our third eyes. Afterwards, we went through a meditation process that involved looking through our third eyes into a projected image of Swamij’s three eyes. Then we started the fun part – manifesting the powers!

During one session, my partner handed me a small piece of paper and as soon as the paper hit my hand, I KNEW without a shadow of a doubt it was “W.” In the blackness, I saw a blue W flash very quickly in my inner space. I was able to see the word “BOAT” as well, but I said the letters in the wrong order. Many times, I was also able to intuitively point to the location of a letter or shape on the piece of paper. Other times, I’d find out I was reading someone else’s papers and not my own!

Despite these super cool experiences, I started feeling frustrated with trying to read when I saw nothing but darkness or my mind would settle in and I’d start guessing instead of definitively knowing the answer. What stops us from being able to read clearly all the time? It is what Swamiji refers to as SDHD (self-doubt, self-hatred, and self-denial). The powers start to fully flower in those who surrender to and have integrity to the guru, in which case, SDHD significantly decreases as our certainty of self grows.

What is incredibly extraordinary besides awakening the perceptions of the third eye? We were shown a National Geographic documentary on Kumbh Mela, a massive Hindu festival. In the film, they documented sadhus (wandering Hindu saints) who go through immense tapas, spiritual penance, just to open up these powers in themselves. These tapas include standing on one leg for twelve years or having one arm raised for decades! Swamiji is so powerful, He can open up anyone’s third eye with just one look without the initiate having done any tapas. Reading blindfolded is just the kindergarden level of expressing third eye powers. The more advanced powers involve scanning bodies for disease, clearly seeing and describing people and places that are thousands of miles away, and reading the Akashic records.

If you’re interested, you can watch the Kumbh Mela documentary here (Swamiji makes a cameo at 40:14): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZ4aJ5tQQcU

Snaan in Ganga and Yamuna

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One morning, we took buses to a ghat along the Ganges river and did our morning yoga routine while the sun rose. We felt the early morning gentle sunlight and witnessed the Ganga sparkle to life. After yoga, we took a refreshing dip in Ganga. The rejuvenating  waters of Ganga are so powerful, anyone who takes a dip has their karmas erased. It was the cleanest I’d ever felt, inside and out. I felt brand new!

In the picture below, I had just taken my first dip in Ganga after morning yoga.

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On another day, we took a field trip to Prayag, also known as Allahabad. We ventured to the site where the world’s largest gathering of people takes place every twelve years for Kumbh Mela, where the Ganga, Yamuna, and now dried-up Saraswati meet. It was over 40 degrees Celsius and the sand that was kicked up while walking burned the soles of my feet, even inside my sandals. Swamiji lead a large entourage to the rivers, so swift yet so gracefully. I’m an active 20-something year old yet I found Him so difficult to keep up with!

We finally reached the soothing waters, which was a welcome change from the burning sand. The ancient Vedic scriptures say that our sins are washed away when we take snaan, holy bath, in these rivers. But the rivers’ sins are washed away when an Avatar dips in their waters. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. Despite the harsh exterior conditions, and my tendency to become irritated in those situations, I felt calm inside.

Death Meditation

Before the actual process, we complete with all our ideas about death and our feelings about the death of loved ones.

Swamiji has designed this meditation process to consciously lead us through a psychological death. The purpose of the death meditation is to mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepare ourselves for the transition of death. He also gave us His commitment that at our death, He will be there and we will have two options: to merge and dissolve into Sadashiva or take one last human life as a conscious, enlightened being.

This soothed so many of my anxieties about dying. Not in a superficial way, like if you are good, you get into Heaven. No. I deeply know, trust, and understand experientially that I can merge with Existence at the time of my body’s death with absolutely no preconditions, simply remembering Swamiji.

Nithya Healing Initiation

During a special energy darshan, Swamiji gives us a sacred initiation into healing ourselves and others. “Others” includes humans, animals, and even inanimate objects like laptops and cell phones. Swamiji is so compassionate – it is a way for the healer to connect with divine energy and let that energy flow through their body while also helping another being.

How does the healing work? We place our hands on the affected body part, connect to our ananda gandha, a spiritual energy centre located between the navel and heart, and inwardly chant a mantra to invoke the healing energy. Intuitively, we will know when to stop the healing.

We were given the option for self-healing or to have the ability to heal ourselves and others. In order to be a strong vessel for healing others, that initiation has certain lifestyle and dietary requirements that I was not willing to make at the time. I opted for self-healing. I can still use my atma linga to heal others, but I am not able to without my atma linga on hand.

Healing

  • For a while, I’d been noticing that the hair around my temples was thinning, likely due to stress. Within a few months, my hairline and regular thickness was restored.
  • I had a couple stubborn knots in my back as a result from being chronically stressed out. They caused me discomfort every day. They were gone for good!
  • I lost excess weight permanently. I exercised a lot, thought I was eating reasonably well, but the weight hardly budged even though I was very active. I cycle for transportation, I was playing roller derby, and on my feet all day at my job. After IA and by the July championship game, my previously fitted jersey was baggy. I comfortably fit into skinny jeans I wore when I was 16.
  • Before IA, I had developed seasonal allergies: my whole face would feel sore and I’d want to rip it off. I lived throughout the rest of the spring and summer without any itching, sneezing, and swelling.
  • On a nearly daily basis, I would get some slight uterine cramping unless I took a magnesium supplement religiously. After IA, I walked free from this daily cramping!
  • The last time I saw my kitty before Inner Awakening, he was in the hospital with liver failure and jaundice. I didn’t want to leave him, but I knew I had to. I cried quietly to myself during my first night in India worrying about him. The vets didn’t know what else to do for my cat, then my kitty started making a sudden recovery. There’s no doubt in my mind that Swamiji took care of my fur baby. I had Swamiji bless both my cats for good health and they have not suffered from any serious illness or even a kitty cold. Before that, both our cats suffered from kitty viruses, Jules needed major oral surgery, Dobby had some strange disease that caused inflammation of his body. They’re happy and healthy now.
  • On the last day of the program, participants share their experiences live on Nithyananda TV. I remember feeling miserable at that moment, for whatever reason. Then, a woman came on stage while our Inner Awakening host announced her miraculous healing experience. This woman’s right eye has been blind for many years, and two years before, she had requested healing from Swamiji and right then, right there during the IA graduate sharings in Varanasi, she was healed! She was too stunned to speak herself. My mood turned around immediately, I felt so happy for her. I also understood that Swamiji will always give what you need and want, but the inner space for the healings and blessings needs to be just right. There is always the potential for spontaneous healing in a receptive individual, but sometimes we must wait while Swamiji prepares us to receive His gifts.

Through Swamiji, people have been healed of autism, multiple sclerosis, cancer – conditions that modern medicine deem incurable!

Space of Shivoham

As I sat on the plane from Varanasi to Delhi, I felt something inside just start pouring out of me. I went into an ecstatic bliss. I couldn’t stop smiling. When I arrived home, I wasn’t tired from travel at all. I felt refreshed.

During my first weekend back in Canada, my roller derby team was scheduled for a bout. I was half-deaf with an ear infection, I had missed six bouts while I was gone, and had obviously not been practicing with my teams while away. But I skated with much more ease, and I could feel my body working hard but I never felt mentally tired of it. I had a lot of fun and was awarded with MVP.

That summer, I was hired for a year-long paid internship. The year before, I applied but wasn’t hired. I went into the interview with minimal preparation and I didn’t have any proper footwear. I literally bought flats as soon as the stores opened at 10, went to my interview, and then returned them. I’m telling you to illustrate how little effort I put in, whereas I felt so stressed and over-prepared myself the year before.

Any time a nervous feeling crept into my belly, I would silently chant “Shivoham” and it would vanish! It was really fun!

When my mom came to visit me, she told me she felt like she wanted to be around me all the time. The bliss just oozed from my my biomemory to hers.

From this experience, I know that this state of consciousness is real. It is very difficult for us to imagine exactly what bliss is when the highest state most humans have experienced is that of fleeting happiness. Happiness is temporary, it is a psychological “up” of the mind and is often triggered by outer world events. Bliss is an eternal happening and it flows despite any outside circumstances. Only sometimes do we get very small glimpse of bliss when the debris of confusion and worry is lifted. I can say that I experienced a large quantity of bliss chemistry. It was actually so foreign to me, I wasn’t able to integrate, settle with, and maintain this seemingly overwhelming state.

But I knew that I could never settle for anything less than bliss, which is total freedom. And I knew that following a divinely realized being such as Paramahamsa Nithyananda is the key. He transmitted this state of consciousness to me by His own power, and He teaches all of us the science of bliss chemistry.

I learned that Swamiji can give us all enlightenment at any moment, but most of us will not feel comfortable even in a state of total liberation because we are so accustomed to being slaves to our patterns.Therefore, it is up to us to align our thoughts, words, and actions to the reality we want by tuning our physical, physiological, psychological, and neurological circuits to bliss, enlightenment.

Outcomes

  • I am able to be on time for a lot more of my commitments now. I used to always be late for every single thing. I’m not perfectly integrated, but this aspect of my life has improved tremendously.
  • Before, I wanted my boyfriend to come with me everywhere. The longest we had been separated is one week. Now, I’ve been separated from him for quite a few periods of weeks and I just dropped the feeling of powerlessness when it came to my dependency on him.
  • I can go to sleep in the dark by myself now. I don’t need to turn on Netflix or keep the lights on anymore. Lifelong fear of the sleeping alone in the dark GONE. Just like that.
  • I smile more!
  • Subjects and concepts that used to rouse a really fiery anger inside no longer do, I feel a lot more peace and calm now that much of the existential angst is gone from my system.
  • Even when I’m cranky or mad or sad, I can shake it off a lot easier. The hangover of these emotions doesn’t linger in my body-mind-spirit system for days, weeks, or even months and years like they used to.
  • I no longer suffer from anxiety attacks or depression. I am also free of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Ten years of psychological, physiological suffering was swept away.
  • I don’t puke out of nervousness anymore. Before class or work, I would puke even if I may not be psychologically stressed out at that moment, but the nervous system felt overloaded. My neurology was rewired and I no longer have that response.
  • I would always get weird infections, like ringworm or something or other. I know, gross, but it doesn’t happen anymore.
  • I’m not a hypochondriac anymore – har har Mahadev!
  • I am no longer a cynical, sarcastic pessimist and neither a totally outraged activist. Now I have the option to tune into a constant stream of inspiration in the form of Swamiji and sangha to create my inner space and life how I want it to be.
  • Living in my body literally, physically feels different than before. I constantly feel Swamiji’s energetic presence coursing through my body and I don’t feel as lonely as I used to. That is part of having a feeling connection with the Master.

Most importantly, I now understand the highest possibility and potential of my life is to radiate and manifest the space of Sadashiva and to help others also manifest Sadashiva. My anxiety and depression, which I had always felt was a curse, turned out to be a blessing that lead me to Swamiji. My suffering fueled my seeking, and I found not only what I wanted, but the Source from which everything comes.

Feel free to comment with any questions you might have, I would be happy to answer you.  If you’re interested in experiencing the Inner Awakening program yourself, you can find more information about it at the website: http://innerawakening.org/

Blessings!

Inner Awakening Part 1

Varanasi

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Inner Awakening in May of 2015 was held in the holy Indian city of Varanasi. In Sanskrit, the word “Varanasi” literally means the place between the nose and the eyebrows, referring to the third eye. This beautiful city is built on the shores of the Ganges River in Uttar Pradesh, North India. The most famous and oldest ghat is Manikarnika Ghat, a cremation ghat for the bodies of Hindus. When a person’s body is cremated here, Shiva grants moksha, liberation, to that person. This makes Varanasi a popular place of Hindu pilgrimage. Varanasi is a truly magical city filled with ancient temples and I cannot wait to go back again.

I always tell people that they would recognize the city if I showed them a picture of one of the ghats. Many people, through Western social studies books or historical documentaries, instantly recognize the grand stone slab embankments set along Ganga. One of the most fascinating pieces of information Swamiji has revealed about Varanasi is that the old streets are so narrow because this city was built for the Shiva ganas, servants of Lord Shiva, who flew instead of walked! They simply didn’t have use for streets like we do today.

Speaking of Shiva, Swamiji had invited everyone to experience the state of Shivoham in Shiva’s home, Varanasi. I remember Swamiji saying that Varanasi is the place to experience Mahadeva’s love current. Of course, I didn’t know what that meant until I really experienced it for myself!

What is Inner Awakening?

Inner Awakening is a 21-day yoga and meditation retreat conducted by living enlightened master Paramahamsa Nithyananda. It is open to absolutely everyone – all ages and any religious backgrounds. Each and every technique and process is directly derived from Vedic scriptures and teachings.

One of the most unique aspects of this transformational program is having the kundalini shakti, our dormant potential energy and power, awakened through initiations by the Avatar. We experience healing at the physical, mental, and emotional layers in various dimensions of our lives. I’ve heard it perfectly described as an upgrade in the software of your body-mind-consciousness system by using the science and technology of Hinduism.

How did I end up going to Inner Awakening? I hardly knew anything about Hinduism except a few things I had remembered from some terrible Eastern Religions course I took in university. Besides that, as a teen I became interested in Buddhism and many Eastern teachings (I was even inspired to practice vegetarianism at 14 years old). In summary, I had an open mind and yearned for a real solution to the crippling anxiety I suffered under. But I found so much more than what I was looking for!

Pre-IA

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Durga Mandir shown in the photograph above.

We had one full day in Varanasi before the beginning of the Inner Awakening program.

At about 8am, Swamiji gives a morning discourse called satsang. Before this day, I had only ever seen Him through a screen. I didn’t know what to expect, and the fear of disappointment lingered in my mind. Was He really blissful 24/7? The answer is YES! The first time I physically saw Swamiji for live satsang, I was taken aback by how radiant He is in person. His skin is soft, smooth, and without blemish. His teeth are the whitest I’ve ever seen. His laugh is infectious. I found He laughed so much more off-camera! That is what I would miss most about Master when I went home.

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A devotee receiving blessings and fruit from Swamiji

After satsang, there is a kalpataru darshan, which is open and free to all. I stood in line along with the other devotees and watched Him give out blessings and fruit. Finally, it was my turn and I felt so shy, but I was indescribably thrilled afterwards! I felt in inner excitement for no particular reason.

Following satsang and breakfast, we booked a tour. We visited a few temples, including Durga Mandir (also known as the Monkey Temple because there are so monkey beings that that hang out there). And I bought my very first sari, even though I had no clue how to wear one!

Grand Opening of Inner Awakening, Varanasi

May 7, 2015: At the time, I thought the opening was really theatrical, which I was really puzzled by. I felt puzzled by the whole thing, really. The thought crossed my mind “What the hell am I doing here, halfway across the world, practically alone?” The lights were dimmed and there was loud music…but I had pictured a yoga retreat as really quiet! “And if He is God, why is God on Facebook?” I had all sorts of judgment and fears. But in His powerful presence, all of those silly assumptions and conclusions simply vanished.

In the photograph below, although I’m not visible in the crowd, I was standing to Swamiji’s right.

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Before Swamiji arrived, we were given flowers to offer Him while He passes us on the way to the stage. As He drew near, I outstretched my hand, He graciously accepted my flowers and set His hand on my forehead in blessing for the first time. My heart rate immediately skyrocketed and I felt intensely relieved and joyous at the same time. I smiled, I teared up, and I danced along with hundreds of other ecstatic beings. I relished in the feeling of His warm, soft hand on my skin. My Being knew I was at the end of all my suffering. Even though it didn’t logically make sense, I felt like Swamiji had happened just for me.

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Catharsis

For one of the first processes, Swamiji guided us all into a meditation in which He releases the suppressed emotions in our nervous systems. I sat there, blindfolded, waiting for something, anything, to happen. Then, it felt like it all hit me at once: I was bawling so much, I started gagging. A strong surge of energy, almost like electricity, buzzed throughout my body. And then I felt a strange, almost uncomfortable sensation in my hands and fingers. I temporarily lost control over them as I felt my fingers contort into positions they’d never been in before. It was literally like all the suppressed emotions were being squeezed out of my nervous system. Afterwards, I was pleasantly surprised when I felt no trace of the depressing hangover that usually stays after such an intensely emotional episode. I quickly learned that nothing around Swamiji is usual.

Kalabhairava Darshan

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The above photograph wasn’t taken in the Inner Awakening I attended, but it shows Swamiji in Kalabhairava bhava.

This is when I experienced Swamiji as God through having the physical darshan of Kalabhairava. Kalabhairava is the time-aspect of Sadashiva, He is incredibly ferocious and fiercely destroys the negativity within us. With just the flick of His hand in Kalabhairava bhava, He sent people into bliss with intense kundalini shooting through their  bodies. Some people shake, some people jump while sitting cross-legged (the initial stages of levitation), some sit still as a rock.

Even though, as a Westerner, I felt a little freaked out at first with everyone wearing white, totally adoring Swamiji, and wearing a rudraksha mala with His picture on it…After the Kalabhairava darshan, after I experienced Swamiji as God, I couldn’t help but excitedly get a mala for myself! I laughed at myself for resisting the idea. I loved it so much, I never wanted to take it off! During personal energy darshan, Swamiji put my mala around my neck Himself and gave me a hug. It feels so special. In fact, I wear mine every single day and only remove it while playing or training for my sport.

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Rudra = a name of Shiva

Aksha – tears/eyes

The rudraksha bead is very special to Shiva, the first rudraksha were formed from Shiva’s tears, they fell to Earth and grew into rudraskha trees. Lord Shiva is often depicted wearing necklaces, bracelets, and armlets made of rudraksha. These malas are one of the ways we can communicate to Swamiji, we hold it in our hands and tell Swamiji what we need and He answers all sincere prayers. Rudraksha holds energy – mine is fully charged by having worn my mala throughout many Shivoham processes, initiations, dips in holy rivers, and darshan.

Temple Visit to Sri Kasi Viswanathr

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We were up in the early hours of the morning to have darshan at the Kasi Viswanathr Temple. Kasi Viswanathr is a temple for Shiva where the the linga, the deity, was installed and energized by Shiva Himself. In the wee hours, we were taken in tour buses into the city, then we walked through the narrow streets of Varanasi barefoot to Sri Kasi Viswanathr Temple. I remember tearfully chanting “Om Namah Shivaya.” I’d had never really cried from happiness, I made fun of my mom for that. But now I was crying left, right, and centre because I was overjoyed and completely inspired by all of the beautiful traditions.

Throughout Inner Awakening, we had darshan at the temples several times. All the temples are breathtaking and all the deities absolutely gorgeous. When I had their darshan, I felt my whole body, especially my head, was full of a light, gaseous bliss. There is nothing like inwardly basking in the ocean of bliss and blessings that the gods and goddesses give freely to all those who seek it.

Kalabhairava Homa

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Participants at the Kalabhairava Homa. I’m in the middle of the above picture!

We sat on the banks of the Ganges River to participate in the Kalabhairava Homa. A homa is a Vedic fire ritual. Lord Kalabhairava was offered oblations as we requested His divine protection in our lives. Swamiji gave all the participants a gift to energize our homes with in the form of a copper plate inscribed with a yantra. It was so cool!

Completion

Swamiji initiated all of us into the completion process. This topic by itself can be the subject of many blog posts. I’ll explain as best as I can and as briefly as possible…

The completion process is firmly rooted in the Vedic tradition. Mahadeva (Shiva) taught the science of completion to Devi, the Goddess. This is recorded in the Vijnana Bhairava Tantras. Swamiji gives this translation of the 22nd verse:

“Look at your past, disidentified; let attention be at a place where you are seeing some past happening; and even your form having lost its present characteristics is transformed.”

What the heck does that even mean?

First, let me give you an idea of what incompletion is: Incompletion is the hangover of the past, sitting in the present, and affecting your future. All forms of powerlessness such as guilt, fear, anger, hatred, and greed develop into patterns. In our unawareness, we forget the reason why we made the decision to react in a certain powerless way. Our bodies mature, but our consciousness becomes frozen in those moments of powerlessness.

Most of us run our whole lives based on these incompletions and we feel them most prominently when a certain situation “triggers” us to experience that same powerless inner space. For example, if your boss yells at you and you feel angry or scared – it is the exact same powerlessness you felt when you could first remember your father yelling at you at four years old. As a result, you’ll avoid your boss or any situation where that may happen. You may tell your friends and they’ll take your side, you will focus on justifying why you are so angry or scared of your boss instead of why you react the way you do. Much of the time, we find that our incompletions become blind spots for us as they have become part of our day-to-day lived experience. Our distorted perceptions are justified, normalized, we can’t see past or through them, and we accept them as reality.

During the completion process, we recall all the incidents in which we felt powerless and relive them in vivid detail inside our inner space, which relieves us of that incompletion. This is “reliving to relieve.” Important to note is that remembering is not reliving. Remembering is shallow whereas in reliving, we completely forget who we are in the present and become ourselves at the moment the incompletion formed. Next, we relive those incidents in the mirror with our reflection as our non-judgmental, silent witness. At last, we complete with ourselves and others while another being sits and gives us the deep listening we require to heal from these incompletions. I say “being” because we can also sit with deities and they also provide listening to us while completing.

At the Inner Awakening program, we provide deep listening for others and vice versa. This means we are given eye contact, but no “nodding” or sympathizing or any other words or body language is utilized. To be perfectly honest, I was very nervous about sharing all my painful stories with others. Instantly, my fears about others judging me bubbled to the surface, but as it turns out, everyone was so supportive and sincere in helping each other complete.

These kriyas, processes, are really intense and powerful. We complete with our identity, self-doubt, self-hatred, self-denial, health, wealth, food, sleep – with ourselves and others. Completion opens up a deep understanding and clarity about ourselves and empowers us to rewrite our own futures.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Science of Completion, there is an amazing playlist on Nithyananda’s Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSc1Ao-hJwo&list=PLY2GZjHc0HLmO2cgduGXlfH-oMqV4xxNi

I continue my Inner Awakening journey in another blog post: Part 2

 

How I Found the Master; or How He Found Me

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Talking Stick Festival, February 2015

I’ll begin by giving you some context on my life…

In the winter of 2014, I was depressed and anxious and I had a whole list of things and people I was conflicted about. I felt so much shame and guilt about the way I lived my life and I couldn’t understand why. I tried to make myself feel better in every way: counseling, gym, sports, healthy eating, meditation, supplements, playing with my cats. The life I fantasized about as a child, the life I thought I would have, didn’t happen when I graduated from university in the spring. Even all my achievements felt useless and only temporarily exciting. Nothing filled the void.

I felt tormented by my default antisocial behaviour, but I couldn’t stop myself.  I was constantly trying to avoid the consequences of my choices. I felt I was drowning and asphyxiated by my own hands.

This was nothing new, by the way. I first became depressed at twelve years old. As a teen, I began to be argumentative and harm my self. After a while, I accepted anxiety and depression as an inevitable part of my life.

Out of body experiences

A couple years prior, during a period of my student life, I had two bizarre experience that I could not understand. Although my body was sleeping, I felt conscious, inside my apartment at night. For some reason, I decided I wanted to visit my mom and dad. I arrived at their house immediately, which is 900km away, and saw this strange-looking being in their kitchen. I became frightened, and as soon as I thought of going back home, I was in my bedroom, crawling into bed, and the instant I had laid down beside my sleeping boyfriend, I woke up!

The second time, it was the early morning of a summer day and I felt myself hovering or floating just above my body in bed. I didn’t want to open my eyes at first because I was scared, but when I did, I could see everything crystal clear in the morning light even though I normally wear glasses. During this event, I felt a strange weightlessness. Then I “woke up”and resumed my regular consciousness.

Those experiences scared the crap out of me, but I was also curious. I searched for answers anywhere I could, to find an explanation for what I had experienced. I went to local meditation groups, Googled and found out they were called out-of-body experiences, and started watching Youtube videos on spirituality in my free time.

One day, Swarupapriya’s video popped up in the “Recommended” section of my Youtube feed. She was known then as Sudevi. Why was this white girl wearing a bindi and saris? She looked interesting, even if politically incorrect (according to cultural-appropriation-concerned me), so I started watching her videos on crystals and tarot cards. She talked an awful lot about a 21-day spiritual retreat called Inner Awakening and her guru, but it never really interested me. I liked the white Hindu girl’s stories of extraterrestrials and visions. Turns out she was also Canadian, attended the very same art school I was enrolled in, and even had a job reading tarot cards just down the street from the university. How could this person, who was so alike in her worldly experiences as me, have so many amazing experiences?

Back to winter 2014: I’m a ball of depression and anxiety. And I suddenly remember Paramahamsa Nithyananda, the guru that Swarupapriaya was always talking about. I rewatched many of her videos where she mentions Swamiji and Inner Awakening, as I tended to tune out when she spoke on these subjects. For whatever reason, I felt that Swamiji could help me.

However, I couldn’t understand some of the terminology that Swamiji spoke of in His Youtube discourses and I wasn’t accustomed to His Tamil accent. I searched the Internet and found His book Living Enlightenment, downloaded the PDF, and was instantly hooked.

Living Enlightenment

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Every word quenched the extreme thirst of my being. Living Enlightenment was as an oasis to the barren land of my suffering. In that book, Swamiji gives many meditation techniques and truths to His readers. I tried a bunch of them, one of which I particularly loved! It was very simple: You sit with your eyes closed and hum intensely for 21 minutes. This is a technique for opening the anahata chakra, the heart centre. I did this meditation before going to roller derby practice one night, and I could feel the tension in my heart just melt. During practice, I was killing it! All that balled-up tension inside turned into energy that made practice satisfying, productive, and fun! I even got a bunch of compliments from my league mates when I nailed the skating techniques. I thought this stuff really works!

Next, I found a short 12-minute Nithya Yoga video on Youtube. I started doing it a few times a week, and I lost 5 lbs without having changed anything about my diet or exercise habits. First I experienced my heart melting, and now the pounds melting. I was convinced.

Strangely, every time I opened the Living Enlightenment book, the area between my brows started to pulse and throb. When I stopped reading, the peculiar pulsing would also stop. During reading Living Enlightenment or doing the Nithya Yoga video, I could feel this subtle, silky, pleasant energy inside me. Later on, I would find out this energy is called kundalini.

I started losing my taste for meat. We used to get fancy grass-fed bacon from the butcher just up the street, but to my own surprise, I started finding it increasingly unappetizing.

When I Googled “Paramahamsa Nithyananda Vancouver,” I found out that there was a local centre that held weekly live satsangs via 2-way video conferencing. One day, I just showed up to the address listed on the website. It was just a short bike ride away from my house, so why not? I was greeted by a lovely tall woman who welcomed me while the devotees recited Sanskrit mantras during puja, the ritual of gratitude for the Master. She gave me the orange, the prasadam, from the puja. One thing that caught me off guard was the sight of a devotee “vibrating,” for lack of a better word. Up to this point, I’d never seen that before, and it kind of freaked me out. I was even too shy to ask about it. Again, I would come to know that every one’s bodies react different to the kundalini energy, which is awakened by the powerful presence of the Master. Even through video conferencing! I kept going to satsang, and the idea of traveling to India to meet Paramahamsa Nithyananda started making a lot of sense to me. After all, He had already done so much good in my life without even meeting Him.

Somewhere in the Living Enlightenment book, Swamiji wrote that you know He is your Master if you cannot forget Him. I didn’t know a thing about gurus or enlightenment, all I knew is I could never forget Him!

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In January 2015, I called my mom to tell her I wanted to go to India to meet this guru. Then one day, during satsang, Swamiji announced that He would be initiating everyone into the power of the third eye in May 2015! I’d always been interested in gods, goddesses, ancient worlds, mysticism, and so-called “occult” powers… it was literally like a dream come true. I had to go! I couldn’t have fathomed what would happen in the spring when I finally met Swamiji. It was far more than I ever expected or dreamed of…I’ll talk about that in my next entry!

Let me know if you have any comments or questions, and I can answer you in my next post!

Nithyanandam

Living Enlightenment is available for free download here: http://lifeblissprograms.org/e-books/pdf/le_abridged.pdf

The Nithya Yoga video I mentioned earlier: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVx2qUCPMpU

Ma Nithya Swarupapriya’s Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY6_zUajG2jsIfghOB_YNkA