Out of the Rabbit Hole
Before the amazing August 2023 retreat and intensive, I contemplated writing my upcoming blog about: What characterizes my rabbit holes (that which leads me away from God)? How do I get there? By ‘chance’,....View Now
Permanent spiritual transformation in the Siddha path of Nityananda Shaktipat Yoga.
If I Can Do It, You Can Do It.
by Sarah Porter
Audio Version of This Blog Post
Sat Chit Ananda Guru Ki Jay.
A key element to permanent spiritual transformation in following the Siddha path, the science of Yoga, is not just the desire to follow the path. It is also the sense or trust that I or you can do it. That you can follow the practices, you can cultivate humility, reverence and longing, you can completely surrender your ego at the feet of the Guru. And that you can – in this lifetime – become Liberated permanently.
To engage in spiritual practices, we must not only have some notion that we can actually perform the practice. We also need to feel that we can do that practice in a variety of situations, and at times when situations are challenging.
So, for me to stay on the Siddha path to permanent spiritual transformation, I have to have a great longing for and love of God. I also need to think or feel or know that I can stay on the path, even if I am not completely performing all of the instruction now. And I have to be convinced that fulfilling my desire for permanent spiritual transformation that leads to Liberation far exceeds anything else I am pursuing. Thankfully Sadguru Kedarji says, “If I can do it, you can do it.”
When I chose Kedarji as my as my Guru – I didn’t ask myself – can I do this. Instead, I knew he could and would help me dissolve my ego, the major block to my experience of the Divine. I wasn’t going to do it, he was. But then, the fun began. It reminded me of my first and only time water skiing. I was jerked off the dock by a powerboat.
I quickly got my balance and was plowing through the water upright – amazed. As soon as I realized I was actually water-skiing, when I experienced that awareness – I immediately fell off into the water. Likewise, with my spiritual practice I realized I could fail. Then all the ways I could ‘fall into the water’ began to emerge.
I was just short of 5 years old when my dad decided I needed to learn to ride a bike. He put me on the bike and off I went. But after a very wobbly beginning and starting to fall over, I jumped off and I emphatically declared, I can’t do it!! He said, “don’t say can’t, can’t never gets anything done.” He gave my back-side a little swat and put me on the bike again. This little scenario happened over and over, until I dissolved into tears and ran into the house.
As a child I was always learning new things. But, I had yet to learn that I could learn, that I knew how to learn a new thing. At that age, I was also impatient and wanted immediate success or I assumed I was a failure.
It was during this time that my mother started reading to me from the book, “The Little Engine that Could”. Perhaps you recall it. The story is about a train load of gifts or food for children on the other side of the mountain. The train breaks down before going over the mountain and is seeking an engine to pull it up and over the mountain. All the large engines designed for such a job refuse, saying it is too difficult.
Finally, a small engine volunteers for the job. Thus, it begins the climb up the mountain with the little engine repeating the mantra, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. This is a wonderful story for teaching children about what it takes to have a successful attitude and that persistence pays off.
It was about 6 months later that I went down into our basement, hopped on my bike and started riding it around. This was much to my parents and my astonishment (and delight). Perhaps the mantra had sunk into my being, but if so, it only targeted bicycle riding.
When I enrolled in nursing school, I didn’t think I could do it, but then I didn’t think I could do anything. I enrolled because my mother said I could do it. Plus, I got accepted, so the school thought I could do it. Still, I graduated. I convinced myself it was a fluke and that I was probably a fraud, even though my RN license said otherwise.
At some point as an adult, I became aware that I could learn how to learn; that I could teach myself how to do things. I could develop tricks for remembering which way to open a jar, or turn a key or give an injection. I began to understand how many times I would need to do something before I developed confidence in myself, before I learned.
When I reflect back on my life, I find that I have had experiences that give me a sense that I can follow the Guru’s commands and instruction in the same way that I have been able to follow nursing protocols and physician’s orders, traffic rules, and the more subtle societal rules of conduct, etc.
I had to ask myself, are those instructions easier or harder than the Guru’s commands? What makes it difficult to follow an instruction? I can answer that: it is when that instruction threatens my ego. The ego’s mission is to survive at all costs. It is the purpose of the instruction of a Sadguru to dissolve the ego because it is a major block to the permanent experience of the Divine on our Siddha Path.
So, you can see my conundrum. I attempted to resolve that conundrum by simply picking and choose which commands to follow, attempting to both please the Guru and please my ego – ‘easy peasy’ — that is until my Sadguru Kedarji did what I had wanted him to do, which was to point this out to me. This means that now, I am continually confronting both my ego and my resolve to follow my Guru’s every instruction and command.
Fortunately, the Science of Yoga has been developed and the approach and instruction of Siddhas honed over millennia. These methods for permanent spiritual transformation have been adapted to various cultures. For example, one approach uses oral teaching that emphasizes listening to the Guru and following instruction, while another approach may use books, writing, as well as listening.
In this modern era, Kedarji uses all these methods embodied in oral instruction, reading scriptures, contemplations and writing the fruits of the contemplations. And interactions with him that provide a direct experience of the lesson.
There is wisdom that supports the feeling of, ‘I can do it’ and actually gives me the ‘aha’ moment of experience of following an instruction. One of my favorites is contemplating a sentence from a scripture and then writing and sharing what I found. Contemplating is not thinking but rather reviewing, from the heart, what you are contemplating.
What comes from the heart is the Divine Knowing. Learning that this inner inspiration, this Divine Knowing, is always there waiting for me to tap into it is a very joyful experience. When I first began to contemplate in the way that Kedarji instructs, my ego wanted to do a Google search instead; my ego wanted to find the answer in a book. Over time and with Kedarji’s observations of my contemplations I learned to trust my heart and to surrender to its inner wisdom in order to make permanent spiritual transformation.
Just like the teacher assigning the repetition of doing algebra equations or times tables until the process finally grabs hold, Kedarji repeats stories, gives explanations and examples. Sometimes he has talked about something for years, for example the necessity for life-style change, before I finally hear what he means and what it means for me as I make choices on a day-to-day basis.
Another type of repetition is the repetition of a Mantra. This is called Japa in Sanskrit. Saying the same set of Mantras over and over, especially those filled with Divine Energy such as the Mantra Om Namah Shivaya – has a way of seeping into the very cells of my body and energizing them. The direct experience of the Mantra is when it wells up from within me of its own accord — it has grabbed hold and this leads to permanent spiritual transformation on our Siddha path.
On a mundane level there is what looks like role modeling. Learning how to do something usually requires that we watch someone else who knows how to do it. For example, children keenly watch their parents and other grown-ups’ behavior and then mimic them. Internships provide professionals with role-modeling. In a spiritual community it is the spiritual leader who provides the role-modeling. In fact, this is called keeping the company of your Guru, and is essential for spiritual growth.
How many times now have I fallen off my bike only to have my Guru pick me up or tell me to stand up and try again. Kedarji instructed me to meditate for 60 minutes before I began my day. For several years I argued with myself about whether reading my email and the news constituted beginning my day or not. Reading won out every time.
So, I finally asked Kedarji to clarify what he meant. Reading emails etc. was not what he meant. But I continued to read when I began my day. I would vow to not do that and time after time I would find just one little thing to look at – just one little minute, which then turned into 60 little minutes. I did this over and over at the same time wanting to do it differently.
This was indeed an addiction, an attachment. Recently I found the key to changing this attachment. I inwardly asked my Guru for help, and when I received it, I followed the instruction given inwardly by my Kedarji. It was the specific instruction I needed, which was I had 15 minutes after waking up before meditating – this was Grace. That worked. My effort was to ask and follow my Guru’s command. I got back up on the bike, again, transforming ‘I think I can’ into the Grace-filled Mantra of Om Namah Shivaya.
Sarah Porter, PhD MS MPH RN CHTP/I is a certified healing touch instructor, teaching in Hawaii and Japan. She has over 15 years of Healing Touch practice and 30 years of practice as a psychiatric mental health nurse and clinical specialist with a holistic perspective. She is the co-author of the book, “Women’s Health and Human Wholeness”, emphasizing the necessity of bringing wholeness back into the health care system. She also serves on the Board of Directors for our school