Yoga has been both the vehicle and the destination for my journey in search of spiritual growth. My trip to India in September helped to bring together a circle that I first began to draw in 1983. That was a big year for Beth and I. We bought our first house and decided to start a family. I read The Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. My imagination was fired by his words and the secret knowing in my heart that I was more than this mind and body was given validation.
I was especially grateful to learn of Lahiri Mahasaya, who was responsible for making the Kriya Yoga tradition available to householders back in the late 1800s. As we painted our new house on Foster Street in Lansing, I would say his name to myself with each stroke of the brush. I knew at that point I had found a way to grow spiritually, the very thing Beth and I promised we would put as the top priority in our marriage—two seekers promising to support each other’s journey.
Two weeks ago I went to see an Ashram started by Lahiri Mahasaya in Haridwar. It is a beautiful compound on the Ganges river. I saw many holy places on this journey and was amazed to realize the incredible depth of spiritual traditions in India. Thousands of years of dedicated souls make these places vibrate with reverence. It is hard to explain, amazing to feel.
I’ve been making Pilgrimages to Babajis Kriya Yoga Ashram in Quebec since 1998, when I first met my teacher-Govindan Satchidananda. I’ve been through the different levels of Initiation several times, taken Hatha Yoga teacher training, attended summer international gatherings, and gone to several silent retreats there. There I feel I am at my home away from home, where my spiritual awareness has been nurtured and the tools of self-discovery have been learned and refined.
Going to India was an opportunity I was excited to accept, and I am so glad I did. There the reverence and acceptance of the spiritual life is pervasive. If I could pick one thing that I learned that stood out as crucial and affecting me at the deepest level, it was that Self Inquiry is the MASTERKEY TO ALL ILLS.
Babaji has inspired the writing of a book by that name. Self study is the mainstay of the practice of Yoga. We go beyond the little self of our personality and ego and attachments to see what abides beyond appearances. When we see the larger Self in that deeper knowing, life becomes infinitely more meaningful.
From Babajis MASTERKEY TO ALL ILLS:
“Man has to be unselfish if he wants peace in the world. Remove selfishness and egoism. Calm the passions. Purify the heart. Analyze your thoughts. Scrutinize your motives. Cleanse the dross of impurity. Realize God. All this you will obtain as a direct reaction to self-knowledge. That much is certain.”
It is a tall order and completely countercultural to do this work. But what I was blessed with in Badrinath was the sure and certain awareness that for every one step we take toward God, God in the aspect we need and can understand will take ten steps toward us and carry us on this journey. In the process, we will experience the indescribable peace and joy and love that is the very ocean in which we live, move, and have our being.
Nothing in this life is more beautiful than being in that Love. The more we dwell in it, the more it emanates from us and blesses our life and the lives of those around us.