Friday, 18 January 2013

Swami Atma Dec 22nd 2012 ...

Happy New Year to you all from the ashram
This to start the year off from Swami Atma, written towards the end of last year ...

"Yesterday it was the Winter Solstice, and also the end of the Mayan Calendar. There has, of course, been a lot of speculation about what the end of the Mayan calendar would mean. Would it mean the end of the world as we know it? We now know this did not happen. In fact, time passed without anything obvious happening. Even the turning point where the days start to become longer and the nights shorter, probably happened without most of us being sensitive enough to feel it. (Though I know some people do feel the changes of energy around these times). But just because we may not be aware does not mean there is no change. For life is always changing. Nothing is static on the level of our everyday experience. 

From one moment to the next there are an infinity of changes occurring, externally and internally. We may, for example, become aware of this through nature with the changing of the seasons. We may know that within our own body, cells are dying and being born all the time, and can see we look different in the mirror. Yet most of us try to hang on the illusion that things are constant. Probably because we often feel secure within the illusion of the known. We can become thrown off balance when change occurs, rather than expecting this to be the normal way of life. Change will happen whether we want it or not, and rather than fighting this natural process there is another way. To go with the flow of life. To see how things unfold and then take the route which is being offered, as your path.  To know that this is just how it is. 

Amazingly when we release the struggling with how things should be, we open to the now and our true Self, and then find support. The paradox is that whilst everything on our perceived plane of existence is change this is not so for our true Self, which is not part of time or space.  It just IS. Connecting with our true Self brings bliss (ananda), which is not dependent on events, which are time and space bound. Some of you may say, this is all very well but what about when terrible events occur or in dire situations. Well, I remember years ago saying this to someone. That these concepts are fine but what about if some has cancer or what about the people who experienced the holocaust,  what then. I was advised to read a book called Etty. For those who have not read this book, it is like the diary of Ann Frank, only was written by a woman in her twenties. She also lived near Ann Frank. She found this bliss even within the concentration camps. An amazing and inspirational book. As you may know our dear friend and previous resident, Tattwa Bodha, has cancer.  Her communications to us are not just inspirational but also a gift. She tells of her bliss. She is deeply connected to all and, she emanates beauty. She proves this is possible even when the body is deteriorating. 

So how do we make this connection? The good news is there is no connection to be made. You already are your true Self. You just are not aware of it. Awareness can be facilitated by yoga and especially meditational practices. (Meditation being a state which happens and cannot be controlled by the mind).  But it can also be experienced when we look at a sunset, or be with a flower. To listen to a Childs laughter or be fully present with taste of an orange. Anything where we stop and just Be. It may only happen for a moment but this proves it is possible. It is not just a concept but can be experienced by all.  So with the changes of the season, planets, time and space. Perhaps accept the paradox. Within the movement of time, live in such a way that brings you into the timeless. Within all the rushing around at this time of year, stop when you can and just listen, and feel and Be. Within this stillness you will find You.  

Wishing you peace and love from my heart for the Year ahead.  
Swami Atma''

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Recommended course:
Spring Silent Retreat with Swami Atma

March 9-16, 7 days (Saturday-Saturday)

Come and join us amongst the spring time daffodils for a retreat will start with the celebration of Shiva Ratri (on Sunday 10th), the annual festival of the dark night dedicated to Shiva (Consciousness). From Monday onwards there will be the daily chanting of Saundarya Lahari (Waves of Beauty), which was composed by Adi Shankaracharya and is associated with the Sri Yantra.

Each day will also include hatha yoga, karma yoga, kirtan and meditation.  There will also be time for personal practice, walking in nature, reflection and study in the ashram’s wonderful library. The mouna (silence) starting Monday will give you quality time and space for personal contemplation and sharing with others on a deeper level. If you’re unable to attend for the 7 days, you are welcome to participate in the Shiva Ratri celebrations during the first weekend (Sat-Mon).

Cost: £270; deposit £75. (Initial Sat-Mon wkd £108; deposit £75)
Starts: 8 p.m. Saturday (please arrive before supper at 6.30 p.m.)
Ends: with lunch on Saturday.