The Path of Surrender

Nearly two months ago I had an experience which, for some reason I am compelled to share here today, with you.

I was driving through town on a Saturday afternoon, on my way to Wendy’s for a little guilty pleasure cheeseburger (I confess to breaking a lot of yogi rules). The sun was high and the weather pleasant, with the fragrance of fall promise coming through in sweet wafts on the breeze. I recall being particularly at ease and joyful when suddenly I became aware of Durga Ma’s presence as she said “Take care of my children.”

Initially I was taken aback, because in all of our years I never heard her speak quite like this. It was clear that she was talking about all of you, but it was still odd for me to hear it. The words came through my entire body in a visceral experience of understanding that they weren’t simply a directive, but were filled with a compassion and concern of a variety that reaches inside oneself and beyond with a knowing that is hard, at best, to articulate.

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What does it take to let go and open ourselves up to divine love?

I have never felt terribly comfortable sharing these types of experiences openly, because we all know the potential for being misunderstood, criticized, and even persecuted. Durga Ma was one of the first and only people I ever felt safe enough with to openly share the wild and sometimes even freightening things that I experienced. She taught me what it is like to be truly accepted and loved unconditionally.

Which is why Im writing this, I suppose.

I inquired with her about this task of “taking care of her children,” and it comes down to this: we need one another. Satsang, community, tribe, sangha, or any other name you give to it… it is an essential part of this journey. We are the few, and our lives are not ordinary, or easy.

Spirituality done with any conviction means that we will, sooner or later encounter obstacles of one variety or another. This is when it is the most beneficial to have the support of one another. Our human selves don’t always know what’s on the other side of the next step, and that’s ok. Sometimes it’s not knowledge that’s necessary, but the courage to go ahead anyway. This was the foundation of my relationship with Durga Ma. I trusted her and she loved me unconditionally – and because of that I always had the courage to continue, and still do.

Ultimately our courage grows and we discover that it is ever-present within us. But when we can’t find our own courage, we can lean on those who believe in us, and they will bolster our catapult into the unknown so we can re-discover what we have forgotten or lost sight of. So we have one another not only to break through obstacles, but to celebrate the victories of our survival on the other side!

Durga Ma transmitted the lineage to me before she left her physical body. It is now my responsibility, and I admit that it was not a decision I made easily, or a task I accepted with full understanding.

She told me that I would be a great guru… one day. I told her that I would be a truffle farmer if it didn’t work out. I have always relied on my sense of humor when I am nervous or the discussion get’s too serious, and she reminded me that “levity” and “levitation” are a superpower. There was no way she was ever going to give up on me, and I am eternally grateful for her love.

So here is where a new path in this journey begins to unfold… from me to you. Our connection is eternal, our realization is already complete. Still we must walk this road to the far shores of understanding and abiding in the Reality of Truth. Mine is a story of love in a world of suffering, and if it only serves as a reminder that you are not alone on this adventure then I will have been successful.

While I continue in the maturation of what has been laid before me by Durga Ma, I would like to share something of great value that she wrote regarding Surrender Meditation/Sahaja Yoga. It points to (on one hand) that there is space for everything on this journey. We can range the spectrum of experience and appearance and be well within the range of our own divinity, which is something I feel is incredibly valuable to our human expression of connecting and communicating with one another.

Sahaja yoga, shaktipat kundalini yoga, Surrender Meditation, also called sahaja yoga, shaktipat kundalini yoga, and other names, are synonymous terms for the path of surrender as taught by Durga Ma’s lineage. The unique feature of Surrender Meditation is that, with the release of the life energy in the body through shaktipat diksha, meditation occurs effortlessly on its own and kundalini awakens naturally and safely. The aim of this practice is spontaneous meditation and union with God, freedom, and spiritual evolution. Surrender Meditation is aimed at union with God, spiritual evolution and liberation.

This practice is not about balance because it is not about using the will. Will is the domain of techniques and ahamkara (“I do-it”). The body is always thrown out of balance when the will is used, because the life energy is not free but in the service of the will, the seat of which is the mind and it’s core drive, ahamkara (ego).

Even when balance is attained, it is not possible to maintain this tenuous balance indefinitely by using the will. Sooner or later, one must surrender. People devoted to control and willful practices will tell you otherwise.

What we truly are is, and has always been, in union with God, already perfect and already free. Through surrender to God, obstacles are swept away until nothing stands in the way of our awareness of this truth, then we live in Truth and the bliss of union without a break. At this point, the body can eventually cheat death. How long this takes varies with every individual, from weeks, to months, to years, to lifetimes.

-Durga Ma (personal notes) Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga Master

With great love and gratitude,

Anandi

 

Attaining Godhood, Part 2 – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 57-59

Embraced by God

.Attaining Godhood, Part 2

Previously:
Even though he performs many actions, he is surrendered to Me, thus attaining the realm of the eternal Imperishable Abode, by My Grace. — Verse 56

57
Relying on this Knowledge of Yoga, surrender all actions to Me. With Me as the Highest, and always thinking of Me, you will always be absorbed in Me.

“Always thinking of Me”: The word for ‘thinking’ is from the Sanskrit, chitta. Chitta is the stuff the mind is made of — pure consciousness. At this point your consciousness is purified and you begin to think of God all the time.

“Relying on this Knowledge of Yoga” suggests that even merely through rational intelligence (buddhi), one can hold God as the Highest goal, surrender all actions to God, and be absorbed into God (yoga). The teachings given in this Gita have shown us what we must do to reach this point. Now that we are here, it is only natural that we rely on this knowledge of Yoga, because we know it works. 

“With Me as the Highest” means with God as the highest goal. God is Krishna, who is Purushottama, Absolute God, and this is That to which we aspire.

“Surrender all actions to Me” By knowing that all actions are not your own, but are merely Nature in action, you easily and gladly leave everything to God/Truth. 

“You will always be absorbed in Me” Because your consciousness is always absorbed in Krishna, it is always absorbed in God, and your state is the same as That. 

58
Thus always conscious of Me, you will overcome all obstacles by My Grace. But if out of ego (ahamkara) you do not listen, you will perish.

Krishna and Radha“You will overcome all obstacles by My Grace,” means that all obstacles encountered are now God’s to deal with. That God deals with them, is God’s Grace. This is not an action of God’s any more than it is yours, but it is God’s grace, God’s kind benevolence.

The overcoming of obstacles is a matter of getting in sync with God/Truth, so you might say that God/Truth approves and Grace is the result. You don’t deal with obstacles because your state is one in which you are not a doer of actions. So even when it may look like you are involved in an action for the purpose of eliminating an obstacle, it is God’s Grace at work, not you.

God approves and Grace ensues.

“But if out of ego you do not listen, you will perish.” The doer-ego is your nemesis. It will try to take the credit or the blame for any action, however great or small, whether for good or ill. Attending to this will get you nowhere and stop your progress. Then when you leave your body at death, you will find yourself waiting in line for a return performance. You will not achieve that realm of the Eternal. 

  • Ego (ahamkara) – believing that you are the doer of actions.

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If you resort to ego and rationalize, “I shall not fight,” your resolve will be in vain, for your own nature will compel you.

This is where this Gita began: with Arjuna becoming reluctant, and then adamant, about not fighting this war to regain his rightful place of rulership of his own kingdom … because family and friends might get hurt or go away. And indeed this is something that will come up for any sincere seeker — friends and family will criticize you, call you crazy, accuse you of being selfish and indulgent and hurting them (you’re not; you are actually helping them but they can’t see it). 

During this chapter we found that, although Arjuna was in disagreement with Lord Krishna who had urged him to take up this challenge, all his complaints revealed to us that he was already in possession of True Knowledge without realizing it.

This is like most of us. Every one our reasons for not going forward are loaded with messages suggesting the very opposite of what is being taught in this Gita. We resist these teachings with innumerable and perfectly rational excuses. Then things start coming up that make it impossible for us to go forward with it. 

Once you awaken to your Inherent Knowing, you will realize that these teachings are True. You will notice that they feel somehow familiar to you, and you will stop resisting. At this point you will let go of your concerns about friends, family and society in general, and you will get on with finding your guru and moving forward … no matter what. It is inevitable, “for your own nature will compel you.”

You already know everything. You have but to learn what you know.

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

Three Kinds of Resolve – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 33-35

Determined

Previously:
Now hear the three kinds of intelligence and resolve, together and separately, according to the gunas, Conqueror of Wealth — Verse 29

Conqueror of Wealth – By calling Arjuna Conqueror of Wealth, Lord Krishna is saying to Arjuna that intelligence and resolve are forms of wealth that he possesses.

Intelligence (buddhi) – intellect, reason, the ability to differentiate, discern and judge. Buddhi is the power of the mind that forms ideas, imaginations, conceptions, and knows how to differentiate and figure things out.

Resolve (dhṛtes) – standing firm in the course of your practice; courageously holding resolute determination without wavering. You don’t quit when the going gets rough, or when you aren’t getting what you think you want.

Resolve

Determination

33 — Sattvic Resolve
That resolve by which the functions of the mind, the vital breath and the senses are held unwaveringly in yoga, is sattvic.

  • Mind (manas) – the part of the mind that receives perceptions.
    • Attention – the flow of consciousness to perceptible ‘objects’.
  • Vital breath (prana) – the Life Energy that keeps you alive.
    • Attention and Life Energy always travel together.
  • The senses (indriyas) – the abilities that you have to hear, see, touch, taste and smell.
  • Held (avyabhicharin, ‘steady’) – withdrawn, stilled and concentrated in one place in the body . When the senses are withdrawn from external objects and steadily concentrated at the throat chakra without wavering, the mind and Prana follow suit. When this is accomplished, one experiences pratyāharā.
  • Yoga (divine union) – the equanimity of samadhi (sameness) and direct experience (experience without any via). Pratyāharā is the turning point of Yoga.
  • In verse 30, we discussed the two fundamental paths (pravṛitti and nivṛitti) in which the first, the use of the will is applied, and in the second it is not. We can look at sattvic resolve either way. This verse is generally translated for the path of the will (pravṛitti marga). Now let’s see what it looks like in terms of nivṛitti marga, the path of non-willful action, surrender to Absolute God:

Determined RenunciateWith the path of the will (pravṛitti marga), to meditate you use your will to (1) withdraw your attention internally, (2) hold your mind still, (3) and hold the Life Energy still.

In the non-willful path (nivṛitti marga), you do none of these. You don’t have to. You have realized through your experience with non-willful meditation that, if you truly surrender yourself to God, God will manage your meditation and take care of all this, and the senses, the mind and Life Energy will spontaneously stop moving.

When this happens you have turned a corner in your meditation. This is known as pratyahara, the magical moment in deep meditation when the door to samadhi opens. In the early stages of samadhi there are journeys filled with unimaginable adventures, places and beings, all wondrous to behold.

  • Samadhi – joining together, uniting (yoga), a unified state of mind, equanimity.

34 — Rajasic Resolve
But the firm hold to duty, desire and wealth, with attachment and desire for the results of actions, is rajasic.

Desire produces willful action. I have said this before, but be reminded that this is not necessarily a bad thing. It is what most people do. It is the norm. Everyone likes to be part of the norm in order to be accepted. But this comes at a cost … you don’t move on to the next phase of life in which your norm becomes the non-willful path of nivṛitti marga. If you do not move on to this, your progress will come to an end. If you do, you will regard your previous phase of pravṛitti marga as a blessing that got you to this place.

I have been accused of being elitist in my teaching of surrender yoga. But it is not a matter of one path being better than the other. It is a matter of one coming after the other, and which is most suitable for each individual according to their personal dharma and their stage of live (see verse 30 for more on this subject). 

35 — Tamasic Resolve
That resolve by which one holds on to the intoxication of imaginings, fears, grief and despair, is tamasic.

Described in this way, tamasic resolve seems to exclude any spiritual path at all. One is encumbered with cravings and sorrows to the point of being so completely distracted by them, that it is almost impossible to see anything else. This is a hard place to be. But one can use imagination to counter fears, sorrows and despair. The problem is that the tamasic person often has little or no contact with others other than those who are also living in this dark place, and so does not make this simple discovery.

A cave for a home is sheer determination!
A cave for a home.

Most people I have come across who are in this bind, cannot allow themselves to get out of it. Just finding a small interlude between traumas is difficult. They are ‘attached’ to this state of darkness. It is ‘who they are’. Identified with this state as who they are, they cannot imagine it changing or disappearing, for this would mean that they would disappear and cease to exist.    

Attachment is not only applicable to desires for likable things, but one may be attached to something not in their best interest and not even realize it. 

Perhaps you have had times like this and can identify with it to some degree. If so, try to imagine what it would be like to live in this state all the time, and allow your empathy to go to these suffering people with the love and compassion they so badly need.

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com