How I Got Robbed – Again! But This Time….
Part 2 continued from Part 1.
Offered by Jamie Walker
Sat Chit Ananda Guru Ki Jay.
When I was at my lowest point, I finally reached out to Sadguru Kedarji and asked for help. He told me to remember Krishna’s quote. “Learning when to slacken the reins, and learning when to draw them in.” It was difficult to admit that my “wild horse” of an ego was still there after years of being Kedarji’s devotee. In this conversation, Guruji gave me specific instruction, and I spent a weekend in solitude and silence immersed in the practices and instruction he had given me.
Nothing more. And with no expectations.
I simply stopped and trusted that following Kedarji’s instruction to the letter would produce the result it was meant to, even if I didn’t know what that result would be. I had to accept I was not in control. I had to let go of some of these tendencies that were holding me back.
Little by little, Sadguru Kedarji’s instruction guided this process throughout the weekend and allowed a release. I reminded myself of the 3 Pillars of Understanding: I am the Self; I am God. My ego isn’t even real. The purpose of a human birth is to retrace my steps back to God. After Shaktipat, nothing else exists. And I asked for this.
I asked to be shown this path, to be shown my tendencies, and to let them go. I spent a weekend immersed in practices and instruction, and little by little, felt release from some of these tendencies, by reaching for and imbibing these highest understandings.
And strangely, as much as that letting go process was needed, there was a sadness that was unearthed. Letting go of certain tendencies was like breaking up with a long-time lover. It was like watching someone I had known my whole life—slowly die in front of me. I had quite a few unexpected crying spells over the weekend.
As I re-learned how to love myself as God, to separate the Self from the ego, I came to realize it was not me who was experiencing sadness; it was my ego as I was ungripping myself from it, bit by bit.
By the end of the weekend, I ended up surrendering completely to Kedarji and the lineage. This surrendering and letting go process felt like a 100 lb weight was being lifted. Through His Grace and this process, I had experiences reminiscent of Shaktipat, where every single worry and doubt were removed. I lowered that umbrella and focused on Humility and Reverence; and afterwards, there was nothing BUT Grace that rained down.
After that weekend, I continued to follow Kedarji’s instruction. Specifically, I asked for help both at work and from my son’s father to free up some time so I could engage more precisely in practices and Seva. My son’s father agreed to take our son for extra weekdays over the summer. That is when I had the second experience of setting up expectations and outcomes.
I now had a plan to get back on track. I was going to have transcription done by the time of the retreat. I was going to improve things at work, regularly take time in nature, and really make a point to chant and meditate every day. And I would be perfect at it THIS time. That was my expectation. The outcome, however, was different.
Less than a week after my plan was concocted, I got an unexpected call. My son’s father suffered a heart attack and needed quadruple bypass surgery. He was going to be in the hospital for a couple weeks, and would have a recovery period of months. I knew nothing about heart attacks or open-heart surgery, and had no idea if he would even survive.
Suddenly, this “free time” I had expected turned into twice as much work…not to mention worry. What if he didn’t make it? Could he still take our son while I was at the retreat? What sort of plans do I need to make? How many times have I told him to take care of himself and eat right? I had tried for YEARS to control my ex-husband’s habits and behaviors to gain the results I felt were best for him, and none of them worked. My mind was racing and my inner company was filling up with more and more things my ego felt a need to control.
But this time, I did not let the ego-idea rob me. I focused solely on quieting and stopping my mind instead. I did not let Anava Mala take over. I told myself continuously that I am God, that God doesn’t get stressed, it’s the ego that gets stressed, that I had no control over what was happening, but that everything would work out as it needed to, even if things looked differently than I had planned.
I also recognized and tried to set aside Mayiya Mala. My ex-husband is just as much God as I am, and so is his wife. We are really not different at all. I talked to his wife regularly with this in mind.
For 2 weeks, I kept my mind almost constantly on Kedarji, Shiva, and on the understanding that somehow, this was all a test, and that God’s grace was an underlying factor in these events. Many of the same tendencies as before had bubbled up. This time, I met them differently. When a particular tendency came up strongly, I first recognized it as a characteristic of a guna or a mala. Sometimes I even inwardly talked to it, as though it was a completely separate entity.
Not only that, but surprisingly, I welcomed these tendencies. “Good morning, self-loathing. I see the Shakti has brought you up this morning on my way to work. Om Namah Shivaya. Thank you God, and thank you Kedarji for the Grace that allows me to see that this tendency is still here.”
Then I would see that tendency as something completely outside of myself. Sometimes, I even envisioned it as being in a nebulous body next to me in the passenger seat of my car, entirely disconnected from me. And I did what I know how to do well—I broke up with it.
“Self-loathing, I have so much love for the fact that you decided to show up this morning. I know we’ve spent a long, long time together. But I’m going to ask you to leave now. I don’t need you anymore, I have no use for you, and you’re not a part of my life. You’re not even real.”
At first, I felt absolutely crazy doing this. But…it worked! This outside bubble I put the tendency in would dissolve as I broke up with it. There were times when that sadness would resurface, and it again became an experience of breaking up with someone I had known for years.
Sometimes I told myself it was silly to feel that way; other times, I reminded myself not to judge what was happening. When I had difficulty focusing, I heard the Mantra spontaneously well up inside and replace the contracting thoughts associated with these tendencies I was trying to discard. I knew that the welling up of the Mantra, and the ease with which I was able to face these tendencies, was a direct expression of my Guru’s Grace. Externally, I was encountering a very difficult time, full of uncertainty. Inside, I remained calm for most of it.
When all is said and done, I have used this experience to truly realize the impermanence of everything in this life. When I started “freaking out” about work or spiritual practice or exhaustion (or anything else) in the middle of all this, I told myself, “Stop. My ex was eating a sandwich at Panera and had a heart attack that could have killed him on the spot. I could die on the spot in the next 5 seconds if the car in front of me were to lose control. Do I want to spend these seconds focused on frustrations that will pass? Or do I want to keep my heart on the remembrance that I am the Self, that I am Love, that I am God?”
And with that, the frustrations ceased. It was evident when my mind was NOT focused on the Self, because 1000 other thoughts raced in quickly. I constantly forced my inner company to change and allowed my Guru’s Grace to take over.
I contemplated quite a bit during this period. I asked myself, “If my ego were as strong as it was before I started this practice, how would I have responded?” The simple answer is, I would have expected something in return. I would have nagged my son’s father with a lot of “I told you so.” I would have looked for pity for myself and sought attention. And when he was out of the hospital, I would have pointed out how, for half the month, he didn’t do anything to care for his child and he “owed” me. I would have grasped on to any straw of control I could. And I likely would have approached his wife as though I had more “ownership” over him than she did, since he and I had a child together and they don’t.
The practices and understandings I now reach for have only improved my relationship with those around me. There were several times I needed solitude, to step away from people, including my own son. Even if it was for 30 minutes at a time. It is really easy for me to get trapped in the play of the gunas and the malas when I see my tendencies reflected back to me, or when I try to manipulate what is going on.
Sometimes I need a break. Solitude allows me to step away, to focus on the Mantra, and to take a step back from these entanglements. I might do something as simple as close my eyes, breathe, bring my Guru’s form into my mind, and dwell in that spot.
Recently, I went into the woods alone, stared at a tree, emptied my mind, and stayed like that until I saw that tree—the branches, the leaves, and every other part—as God. The shift in understanding caused me to see the water as God, the fire ants as God, a rock as God, and myself as another reflection of God that simply merges into everything around me.
There are NO expectations or outcomes at that point. It is just God and Grace existing. And this carries over when I am around people again. All of a sudden, they are no different than me.
Through these practices, through the experiences I have had, through the unveiling of the gunas and the malas by way of my Guru’s Grace and instruction, I have become better able to find Compassion and Trust, and I reach out to others with an open heart — actions which—6 years ago—I didn’t think I was even capable of.
Sat Chit Ananda Guru Ki Jay.
Jamie Walker has been a disciple of Sadguru Kedarji and a student of Nityananda Shaktipat Yoga since 2010. She lives in Georgetown, TX and works as a supervisor in a local agency that addresses abused and neglected children.