“A Place of Deep Inner Experience”
All Saints speak of how important it is to get to a place of Silence and Stillness. Why is this? Well, as an example, my friend and guide, Swami Kriyananda often gave: Picture a perfectly still lake and high above the dark sky is the full and beautiful golden hued Moon. If the lake is still and calm the Moon will be reflected perfectly there. But, when a stone is thrown in, it creats ripples and distortion in the reflection so that you only see little pieces of light on the moving water. One would not be able to perceive this as a reflection of the full and robust Moon.
It is exactly the same with us, with our minds, our consciousness. We are so used to the surface of our minds being agitated by people, places and things that we are not able to perceive the Presence of God/Peace/Joy. This is what Christ talked about when He said “Be Still and know that I AM GOD”!
When I first started meditating many years ago I was thrilled in the new found experience of Joy that I connected with. This was what kept me going back in, back in to the quietness of the true self. This Stillness and Sacred Silence is a natural point of repose’. It is our true state!
Living and serving at the Ananda Meditation Retreat, I have the profound blessing of experiencing outside of myself as well this quietness that feeds the inner hunger for more silence and meditation.
Taking the time in our daily lives, even a 1/2 hour of Silence, Stillness helps to feed our natural state of Well-Being. Because of this, we begin to experience a Sweet Craving for it.
Our Highest duty is to this calling. When we take up the life of Meditation and Reflection, we then more and more flow through our day and all that comes in it with Grace. Why is this? Because we are opening ourselves up so that this ever existing Grace can now come into us! This is Yoga! This is how we begin to unite our will with the Divine Will.
Seclusion dos not have to be days on end. It can be a piece of Peace at a time! Then when we make the time to take a longer period to go into the Silence and Stillness it will be like slipping into a Satin Sheeted Bed.
In Blessing and Grace,
It is a beautiful and quiet cloudy day at the Ananda Meditation Retreat.
sitting in my little cozy cabin enjoying the quiet and peace after two days of some much
needed rain, I felt a smile coming across my face as I thought of a guest who was leaving
after a month’s stay with us.
I witnessed something that inspired me deeply.
Those of us that serve and live at the Ananda Meditation Retreat often refer to it as a “holy place”.
The story I am about to tell you is an example of why this is so.
A few weeks ago, a middle aged woman came to the Retreat to do two
things: One, to experience what it would be like to live in a spiritual community,
setting and, two, to be of service while she was here.
Susan (not her real name) was full of fears and anxiety when she arrived.
Revved on this nervousness she was over anxious to be helpful. In her zealousness
she was running into people. I found myself quietly trying to communicate a
sense of calm and inwardness when I was around her, hoping that
she might catch on to the idea that she needed to relax if she wanted to gain
what this Meditation Retreat had to offer her.
Two weeks came and went and there was not a great deal of change.
Then, in the 3rd week, all of a sudden, Susan was cheerful! In fact her face had
begun to relax and her eyes to smile naturally! Susan, began to bake wonderful
pies and offer services without even being asked! Her whole vibration had calmed
down and she was experiencing her own peace from within. She was now able to enjoy
the grounds, the trees and new flowers blooming as well as the service she rendered.
What a joy Susan came to be for us and for herself!
This is only one soul out of hundreds that I have seen in just 18 months’ time come
and become transformed from the inside out.
Truly this Meditation Retreat is a place of spiritual healing and mental peace.
The only real effort, as Swami Kriyanandaji said once about “The Secret of Meditation”,
“is to resist restlessness and tension”. In practicing this,
Peace and Joy are the natural by-products.
Yoga never says believe what you are being told. It always insists on you
experiencing it for yourself. This is why it is a true science. The art of
Yoga is making it your own. This is the bridge between belief and faith.
Nothing can take this away from us. All we need to do is be willing to
try it for ourselves. Give the Divine a chance to reveal Itself and wonders will unfold!
Ever in Blessing,
As a child I was taught like many of us “how” to pray. The Our Father, The Hail Mary, the Act of Contrition to name a few. My, I had a difficult time memorizing them. And of course you had to know them word for word, or…..well apparently God would not understand your request!
How insulting this would be to God, if God were into being insulted. Obviously, He’s bigger than that.
But, really, does this not make the statement clearly, that we make God in our image and not the other way around?
I have been a praying soul ever since I can remember. My first prayers were for my family of course. I believed that if I prayed for them, God would help them, even if I could not see it. It seems to me that I was always talking to Him about my family. They were unhappy and scared and I wanted them to be happy, to feel loved. I also needed them to be an example of what God could do. But alas, I did not see this in my lifetime with them. What I did gain through prayer was a relationship with the Spirit that I would tell everything too. Sometimes, I would talk to Mother Mary, it seemed to me She was a bit more available. And She became the Mother I had lost to alcoholism. I felt close to God the Father even more than Jesus for a long time. God the Father was my protector and Mother Mary my provider of comfort.
There came a very painful time in my life in my late teens after Graduating from High School that I told God off. I no longer wanted anything to do with Him. If this was the best He could do, I was done.
My loneliness grew, my despair tore me apart emotionally. Now I had no one to turn to. My pride would not allow me to turn to the God I felt as a youth.
Then, a friend came into the hospital I was in for a visit. I was on a psychiatric unit for severe depression, suicidal attempts, and an apparent drinking problem! Jim handed me a little book called Metaphysical Meditations, by Paramhansa Yogananda. In this little book were short “thoughts” on God.
I could read one and at least try to focus on its meaning because they were short and to the point. They weren’t called prayers, but I felt that as I read these “thoughts” on God, Life, the Universe, I began to have a peek at hope.
This friend Jim and his friend Alan brought me up to Ananda where I began to learn about prayer and meditation.
This was a whole new concept. Talking to God was one thing but listening for an answer…well that was something that I did not know was part of the Praying process.
It has been many years now, decades really, my prayers have changed, as has my concept of what God is.
But after returning to a relationship with God as I understand Him/Her, the element that has not changed is the childlike faith that was in me came alive again and has expanded into an unconditional love for God and His children.
There is no such thing as a Perfect Prayer, unless you count simply speaking with that Presence honestly.
There is something we can call Conscious Prayer. This is when we sit, or kneel or lay down and consciously draw on the child like faith within us and then stop and listen to what He/She might be wanting to say in response to our pains, joys, or questions.
Oh how God longs to hear us speak with Him…..He has everything…..except our love! This we must give freely. He waits with undying patience, for eternity……for our voice to call upon Him/Her.
“Oh how I have missed you” this may well be the first sense of Gods presence.
I know…..because they were the first words I felt him say to me………………