Category Archives: Breath

DJ Divine: Unwind Rewind with Marilyn Ambach

Sat Nam,

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I had the most divine opportunity to be hosted on Marilyn Ambach’s radio show, Unwind, Rewind and talk about my favourite loves: Yoga, Music and inner connection.

Click here for the blog and radio show with Marilyn Ambach

It was truly amazing to share some of my favourite music, to be in the zone and let the Divine DJ create a flow of eclectic music and inspired thought on yoga and its magic.

So many of you ask me for my playlists, of which I have many. The main one is Aruna Yoga and it grows regularly to reflect my current musical vibes. Here it is if you want to hear more and see how I blend mantra and other genres to create inner connection.

 

Enjoy!

Deepest love

Nicki

DOA! (Dead on Awakening)

Amidst the mayhem and drama of 2017, where my life as I knew it fell into an unrecognizable shambles, the universe or this ‘god’ thing, threw an extra bit of juice in the blender, an extra spoke in the wheel of my evolving consciousness. There is a belief that I seem to have that whatever is here, is arising for my highest good, to keep me present, wake me up from complacency and get me home to the Self. I like to simplify these wake up calls under the title of the “triple D’s“: Death, Divorce and Diagnosis.

The Triple D’s offer ample scope to direct your awareness deep into the core of your Truth, and if recognized as such, are usually the greatest gifts along our evolutionary paths.

Apparently Divorce alone wasn’t enough. Death of all that I knew my life to be, myself to be, my identity deceased. DOA! (Dead on Awakening)! Not enough!

Because I am so lucky and such a good student ;-), I got to get a Diagnosis thrown into the mix of a really challenging year. In May last year, after much testing and investigation, I was diagnosed with glaucoma. Now it’s not the worst diagnosis you can get out there in the field of the Triple D’s. Although treatable if caught early enough, it is incurable, degenerative and if left untreated, the pressure on the optical nerve will lead to loss of peripheral vision and then blindness. Not great, right?

My ophthalmologist may have assumed me to be crazy, and you, dear reader may agree, but I asked him to give me some time before starting medical treatment. My response to the diagnosis, was, to say: Listen, I have something in my pocket that you don’t, the ability through the release of emotional blocks to heal the body naturally. I was actually elated as I came home to share the news with my loved ones. There amidst the shock of the diagnosis was a palpable excitement that the universe was offering my eyes as my own little laboratory of Self.  I have a chance to be my own little guinea pig and see if I could actually heal something this big for myself. This seemed like a generous gift from Shiva and the Gods of destruction and transformation, that like to see me awaken through letting some shit hit the fan. No impending death pressure, some time and space on my hands and off I went to put my money where my eyes are.

If you know me a bit you will know that I am pretty much focused on being present, on healing and on awakening to the Self. Everything else seems black and white in the wake of the technicolor of Self realization. I spent the last couple of decades learning various healing modalities, yoga and then some and came some years ago to the Journey work that was utterly life transformational. At the time I met Brandon Bays and the Journey work, my sister was terminally ill, with the clock ticking and no plan B. The Journey became her plan B and within 7 weeks she was utterly healed of lung and brain cancer and remains so to this day.

That seriously got my attention and I dove head first into healing, to experience a series of miraculous healings. Tumours would disappear after days, sometimes seconds, bones would grow, pains mysteriously disappear, warts, cysts and back ache seemed to be gone. It was and is a miracle fest and I am gobsmacked in the face of it. So much so that my life path diverted somewhat and healing and deepening into this that heals became how I spend my days and some nights. I once joked, that if I would get a tattoo, it would read:

Be realistic, plan for a miracle!

My certainty for the miraculous to unfold was immutable. At least for my clients and beloveds.

And then my diagnosis…amidst a whole lot of chaos and life change, seemed like a lot of work and it fell on the back burner as I tried to pick up the pieces of shamble that resembled what I used to call life. It was easy for me to facilitate others in their own healing path, but there was something jarring when it came to giving myself the time and attention to do the work to release the emotional blocks behind the glaucoma.

I made sure that I got some Journey processes, I stayed finely tuned in to what I used to call a spiritual practice but to what I now call, ‘sitting on my ass, shutting the fuck up and going deep inside of myself’, home to the truth of my being. Throw in a few prayers and that was pretty much it.

This ‘truth of your being’ business doesn’t sound like much. But when one meets this that is the source of Self, this infinite emptiness that has no limit, but presents as pure love, peace, stillness, omniscience, divinity…no words can encapsulate this meeting of Self or God or Truth. In the union with this, healing is accessible, inevitable. And it is available here and now. Here is is the God-like Self, the Infinite Self that does what is needed to be done. It is epiphanic as it shows from the perspective of omniscience, the bigger picture.

My bigger picture revealed that my eyes were manifesting my fear of really seeing what I didn’t yet have the courage to see. And when this readiness to truly SEE arose, so this pressure was able to subside.

And so it did. My peripheral vision well and truly expanded.

And you know, for someone on the brink of a really bad tattoo, I noticed some palpable doubt arise about my ability to manifest my own miraculous healing as I sat yesterday morning at the ophthalmologist’s office. Until the doctor’s diagnosis was spoken:

No. There is no glaucoma. Your eyes are fine.

DOA. Dead on awakening. Doubt, fear, blocks, all gone. All the obstacles to full optimal health and well being obviated! Perhaps the universe is ready for me to really see. To open into a greater vision of Truth.

Let’s all wait and SEE!

Sat Nam and excited yelps of delight!

Nicki

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Self Enquiry

Aruna Yoga is about the discovery of self, self awareness through yoga and meditation.

The fundamental tenet of the teachings of Aruna Yoga is Self enquiry.

Ramana Maharshi espoused Self enquiry a method for spiritual awakening.

“What is essential in any sadhana [spiritual practice] is to try to bring back the running mind and fix it on one thing only. Why then should it not be brought back and fixed in Self-attention (To this feeling of ‘I’)? That alone is Self-enquiry (atma-vichara). That is all that is to be done!”

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Self-Enquiry is an awareness of the awareness itself. It leads us beyond duality, because the object of meditation (the “I”) is ultimately revealed as the Subject itself (the transpersonal Consciousness).
Self enquiry is the constant attention to the inner awareness of “I” or “I am”. By directing vigilant attention to the I thought, it will disappear and only I or self awareness will remain. This results in an effortless awareness of being, and by staying with it, it gradually destroys the tendencies which cause the ‘I’-thought to rise, and finally the ‘I’-thought never rises again, which is Self realisation or liberation.
The yoga technologies help us to cut at the root of this “I” thought, to still the fluctuations of the mind matter that is in constant movement and find the stillness at the core of our being. This is Self. Yogi’s have called this meeting, irrespective of lineage, self realisation. It is the ultimate boon of all yoga practice. When we meet Self, it is done. There is nothing further to do, learn or achieve. It is indeed done.

May we dwell here in this place of Self, abide as it.

Om Namah Shivaya!

Love and Blessings,

Nicki

Happy Rebirthday!

Today is my birthday. As I turn 45, I get a mini half way review. Is my life as I expected it might be? It has certainly taken some unexpected turns in this last year. Some have been heart wrenching, some tidal in their engulfment. Yet I am perfectly who I would have dreamed to have been, close to half way to 100.
I have a sense of self, based on truth. I live from this truth, and it dictates how my life plays out irrespective of others’ perception. I am living a magical dream filled with my beautiful children and loved ones, inspired work, grace filled abundance and I am wholly steeped in gratitude.
Gratitude for it all. For all this love that I live and that surrounds me, for the characters in my divine leela like story. I am grateful for my healthy, able and agile body, which shows its 45 years on this earth with grace and ease. I am grateful for this mind that helps me traverse the many contours of earthly necessity and even more grateful for the tools that allow me to transcend it to a place of mindlessness.
 I am grateful for the feet of mastery that I’ve always been washed at, which catapulted my spiritual awakening and affords me a glimpse into stillness in the mire of this maya (the so called illusion of reality). I am grateful for every obstacle along the path to this stillness which taught me compassion, love, acceptance and oneness. I am grateful for my own recognition of the need for a constant vigilance to the tools and technologies that keep me here, now. I am grateful for humility and being buckled where necessary to my knees. I am grateful for the wisdom that time’s winged chariot afforded on this 4 and half decade long journey so far and for the promise of deepening into more along with the lines on my face yet to come.
I prostrate at the feet of the infinite truth that is ME, my nature, limitless, ageless and birthdayless for it has never been born, nor has it died. It took me close to half a century and ceaseless search to find mySelf and recognize who I truly am. As I stay here, now, each moment of this recognition is a rebirthday, so while I read the wishes of love that pour in on this day, the 19th April, I’d like to reflect it from this mirror of Self to You, as this Love, as this Truth and as myself!
See you tomorrow to celebrate in my very favourite way, practicing yoga, loving and praying!
  • Thursday 20th April: 9:00-10:30am: Aruna Yoga in Herzliya Pituach
Address: Ha-Nasi Yitskhak Ben Tsvi 47 Herzliya
Sat Nam and Happy Rebirthday!
Nicki
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Coming out the sacred closet…יציאת מארון הקודש

​Sat Nam! 

Sharing some spoken truth from Rosh Pina this morning.

May you all find your way to speak your truth, live from your truth and be nakedly honest with the essence of yourSelf!

​​​​​Blessings and love,

Nicole 

Conversation on Truth with Daniel Wagner

Yesterday was a beautiful day, where I got to speak to Daniel Wagner on the healing power of yoga. We really got to converse deeply on Truth, the questions of ‘Who am I?’ and how we both found our relentless spiritual quest coming to stillness in the finding of our paths, whichever and however they may look!

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To watch our dialogue click here!

Daniel’s website simplyconscious.com is a meeting place for those who are, simply conscious 😉

Please visit it, sign up and stay tuned in to a growing community of like minded consciousness. I feel blessed to be a part of it!

Please feel free to leave comments and share your feedback!

Sat Nam

Nicki

 

 

 

Out of the comfort zone is my new comfort zone

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This is what I just realized. I felt really sick yesterday. It escalated rather quickly. What started with a sore throat moved into a sleepless night and then into painful ears. I endured the night, with a rumble of kvetch and then this morning cancelled my appointments for the day. Deciding to stay in with my five year old. Take a bed ridden day rather unheard of in my bumper to bumper schedule of life! Today when sharing with a friend how I felt and her normal suggestion of medication to alleviate the pain, I replied,” No I don’t take want to take medication. How would I be able to identify what is really behind what my body is telling me?”

With all this time on my hands, I decided to schedule a private session of healing for myself. The healer suggested taking me out of my comfort zone. I said being out of my comfort zone is my comfort zone. It is where the conscious application of awareness comes into effect. I can understand the bodily alarm bells, as it whispers or occasionally screams out its need for my attention. And my notion of comfort, bodily, emotionally or existentially has shifted so that there no longer is a needing, or wanting of comfort, but rather an acceptance of what is, just as it is. Devoid of any judgment of good or bad and free of desire or attachment to any particular state. Just an acceptance of the here and now.

This is a massive evolution from a lifetime of seeking highs, desire based interaction and recoil in the face of sickness, pain or emotional decline. This was effected initially by recognizing what my mother in law calls, the ‘Yay moment’: The moment when the shit hits the fan and instead of lament, we celebrate the engrained opportunity for growth, adaptation and spiritual evolution. I got some serious practice at it. Yay to cancer in an inordinate amount of my loved ones. Yay to enforced immigration of my parents’ due to my father’s illness. Yay to a steady flow of challenge. Yay. Yay. Yay. I got really lucky I guess. I get to yay through a lot.

And as a result of the healing work that I do, I get to say yay almost daily in the lives of people coming for healing and growth. I recognize pain and challenge to be the doorway into awakening. Indeed it has catalyzed a tremendous kick through this portal for me. Moving out of our comfort zone is where awakening can really start. And somehow in this recognition of the opportunity of the challenge, the challenges morphed into miraculous outcomes, awe inspired healings, and welcome blessings.

Today though, it is no longer even a yay moment. It just is what is here. And if it here, it is perfect. It is here for my growth. It is here for freedom. The sore throat. The undulation of life’s curve balls. The ups. The downs. All are simply here for the opportunity to cultivate steadiness. To recognize the bigger picture and to keep drawing the camera backward until the fullest, most pervasive perspective is in view. All provide the deepening into this that is awareness itself. And this counts too for the desirable moments we would likely aim for, want or strive for. These too warrant the same level of neutrality. The choice to shift from first class into steerage allows me to recognize that I am not even the passenger, but the awareness that watches the journey itself. And that this comfort zone is just a nom de plume for complacency, a procrastination against being awake to the here and now.

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In this last trip to India, I managed to do a full 3 minutes of stretch pose. Kundalini Yogis know this pose well, generally loath it. It requires hard core abdominal strength (my weakest bodily part) and a powerful breath of fire. For years I have managed to go in and out of attaining the full timing, but always with a tremendous struggle, excruciating in fact. Now my mantra became ‘Here’ on the inhale, ‘Now’ on the exhale. There wasn’t a thought for the timing, or how long, or when the end would be called. Instead there was just this: Here, Now. The body continued its efforts but with no struggle. My awareness abiding as pure presence. Time became timeless.

This is my new comfort zone: Here. Now. Indeed a yay for every moment no matter what it looks like. A yay for this moment, just as it is.

Sat Nam and blessings,

Nicki

 

On Healing

In connection with the Infinite all healing is available, we can tap into the reservoir of healing, manifest the miraculous and remember that this body, mind, spirit that carries your essence is always whole, healthy, holy and healed. All that we shall do together is be reminded that all is healed already. And let body, mind and spirit follow! It requires one simplicity: connection to the innate infinite essence.

Nicki Forman

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The body is a healing machine! Its capacity is to heal from anything irrespective of what the mind might misguide us to believe. This is not a delusional idea that I hold. It is my direct experience through my own body as well as through clients, family and friends who are able to tap into the portal to this healing.

This portal is not an inaccessible, hidden doorway that is available only to some. This portal is accessed through a simple shift of identification. In general our identification is with our bodies, our mind and its array of fluctuating, incessant thought processes. We identify with the finite, tangible aspects of self. We do this by force of conditioning that happens mostly immediately, from when we are already in utero. I am this child, name, gender, role, religion, type of person. I am this “…” construct which can be filled in with limitless labels. I am this body, these thoughts, these emotions. In fact many of them are not even ours. They are imbibed through conditioning and ancestral and social inheritance.

In truth we come into form as pure, infinite consciousness. Satchidananda: Truth, Consciousness, Bliss. Yet almost immediately as we incarnate into form, we unconsciously limit this pervasive awareness into bounded construct. These constructs create an illusory chasm that somehow conceals our true essence as Satchidananda. Our identification with body, form and self mesmerizes our attention to the mind and its thought processing. These thoughts become cemented as beliefs, notions of reality and petrified ideas of who we are, how we operate in this world and in fact what this world is.  Our thoughts morph into our word, into action and become our reality.

As emotional beings, we identify with thoughts and their instruments of action, the emotions, and by nature of our humanity, emotional blocks ensue. These blocks manifest into physical form as dis-ease, illness, abundance issues, and obstacles to love, work, creativity and so on. The expression of the emotional block is just the flavor of the moment. Its manifestation may be subtle like a cold, a skin rash or headache. Or it might be stronger, more alarming as depression, chronic illness, auto immune dysfunction, or the all time favorite flavor in history, cancer. Its guise is less important. Equally insignificant is its likelihood of healing. The pimpled teenager and the terminal patient share the same commonality: the propensity to heal miraculously, irrespective of medical prognosis.

This healing may take place at two conceivable levels. The first is cellular. We experience an emotion which is repressed, codifying the cell with this new memory. The cell then replicates with this information which leads to various manifestations. When we begin the process of healing, the emotional blockage stored in a cell is identified, released and cleared. The cell is then free to replicate devoid of this old cellular coding. However long the organ/part affected needs for its cells to replicate, will be how long the cellular healing will take to be fully effected.

My sister Kim’s healing is a magnificent example of cellular healing. She was terminally ill with tumors in the lungs and brains that were non responsive to medicine. She given a few months to weeks left to live. Within seven sessions of Journey work, she was completely cancer free. The cells free of the old patterning replicated healthily. She remains cancer free today.

The second level of healing is spontaneous healing. These are those healings that may merit a shout of ‘Hallelujah’ simply for their incredulity and miraculousness. Here there is instantaneous healing. One where the disease or block immediately vanishes. This facet of healing has no empirical basis to placate the rational mind. It’s the skeptic’s worst nightmare or best persuader. It’s where the miracle of healing is thrust into view. And it’s fucking magnificent!

My personal experience of this was when my father was diagnosed with a tumor on his heart that was, irrespective of its malignancy or benignity, threatening to implode. Within minutes of healing, the medical echography showed that a 5,2 cm tumor was no longer there, having miraculously disappeared. Skeptics, eat my dirt! My father at almost 81 continues to be the embodiment of the miraculous. He is proof of spontaneous healing in action.

To access either cellular or spontaneous healing requires one simplicity: connecting to the Infinite. What the heaven is that, you might wonder? The Infinite indeed is our quintessence, our intrinsic nature. It is the Source of being beneath the barrage of thoughts, emotions, beliefs, identifications and conditioning. Our nature as this Infinite has a bouquet of possible fragrances: Truth, Love, Omniscience, Omnipotence, Abundance, Joy, Light, Silence, Stillness being but some of the flavors of this Divine innate that may be opened into being.

How do we open into this portal? Just by this shift of identification. By giving the mind tools to entertain it, so that the essential nature of Being is free from the obfuscation of the mind’s clutter. My preferred methods of stepping through into the Infinite are inter alia, meditation, yoga, prayer, nature and Journey work. All really speaking the same language of Truth in different dialects. They distract the mind, release the emotional blocks and allow us to abide as the Infinite, pervasive awareness that is our true nature. From this awareness, healing is not just possible. It is inevitable. And how it works is really none of our business. Some things indeed need to be ascribed to the Great Mystery. This is certainly one of them.

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What we can actively do though is draw all of awareness into the moment. This present moment with all its contours, just at it is, is indeed the confluence of the finite and the Infinite. It is the awakened state of being. It is here Now. Here is the portal beyond the finite, beyond time and space. Now is the Infinite, as your soul always knew itself to be!

Be realistic. Plan for a miracle. We are indeed miraculous without needing to prove it with a story, anecdote or even a body! Sometimes though our bodies, our emotions and life’s dramas draw us back into the knowing of this and enforce an application of this knowing. And when it does we can humbly bow to its calling us home with a gratitude so human that its prostration opens us into our Divinity.

Each block will be that reminder to abide as Self. Each healing a reminder to mind that we are not in service to it, but rather in service to this Truth. And each moment a reminder to rest our awareness on this that is our nature. To stay safely ensconced on this side of the portal, where healing and the miraculous are our play ground. Where we abide as this that is Satchidananda, gracefully attuned to the here and now. Healthy. Whole and Healed.

Om Namah Shivaya!

Sat Nam and love,

Nicki

Fountain of Youth: Longevity in Yoga Practice

On the Seven Year Itch:

On the seventh year, Brahman rested.

I’ve been in this relationship for a while now. It was a true coup de foudre as the French call it. A thunderbolt from the sky! Bamboozled, deeply in love. There wasn’t as aspect of this newfound passion of mine that I didn’t see through rosy coloured dristi. Yoga and me were made for each other. I felt a true coming home.

My appetite was insatiable. Like most grand passions, it was initially expressed though the body. Every imaginable position, contortion, concentrated breath, deepening as the relationship did, resulting in ecstatic states of bliss. Yoga and me fell deeply, madly, truly in love. Yoga means Union. And it wasn’t kidding.

It became my entire world, travelling, studying, practicing, reading, teaching to satiate the call for more knowledge, deeper development, more service, plunging head first into the yogic state of being from body, mind and spirit.

And as with all honeymoons, its transient nature determines an inevitable end. This was, granted a lengthy honeymoon period, a truly sublime stay in the 5 starred luxurious abodes of infinite consciousness. But then the body began to redirect my attention, first with injury, then with pregnancy, dramatic and traumatic birthing procedures and ultimately invasive surgery. Throw a second immigration into the mix and I, and my relationship with hatha yoga (the yoga of the physical postures) hit the skids.

My asana (postures) practice dwindled. Indeed there were periods where I was beyond a working body anyway but a new relationship to asana needed to be sculpted from the shattered preconceptions of my wants and aspirations as a yogini.

So beyond the body was were I started unconsciously conduiting that which essence is yoga. Through emotional work like the Journey, through study of Kabbalah, through less asana focused practices where energetics is the engine of transformation. And let me tell you. It was beautiful. Another passion. A little less tactile and blissful but conceivably a deepening into being into that which is the embodiment of yoga, the union with Self.

Still there was the resistance to get back into bed -in this case my mat – with the asana practice, fully letting myself go with it.

The Kundalini Teachings talk about the Five Stages on the Path to Wisdom. Saram Pad is the honeymoon period which I speak of. Then comes Karam Pad where we begin to work on ourselves. Our awareness grows and we start to apply what we learn to our lives with evident growth.

Then comes Shakti Pad. This is the crucial ‘make or break’ point where we either go to mastery or quit the study altogether. The so-called spiritual crisis! Make it through Shakti Pad and you might have a marriage for all of your lifetimes!

Even Patanjali, all those years ago predicted the seven year yogic itch when he tells us yogis that:

‘perfection in practice comes when one continues to practice with sincerity and respect for a long period of time without any interruption’ (1.14).

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Patanjali , like my mother, is pretty clear on commitment! Stick it out, go through the ups and downs. Stay sincere and respectful and it will all work out.

So after my 72,000th Yoga Teacher Training, I decided to see if doing another one with beloved Roxy, a teacher who inspired me wholly, spoke from Truth as Truth and also exuded true mastery of asana, could stimulate my yogic juices, help me get it back up so to speak. Off I went for teacher training number 72,001 in pursuit of sought marital counseling for my asana practice.

The first thing that I received from the weekly meetings was a joyful surrender into this that is yoga and all its accouterments! The time for myself, the breath, the community, the meditative delights. Indeed even the mat! My most delicious reconnection with Patanjali. This therapy was working and more!

Patanjali says that in order to attain perfection in practice you have to

  • practice for long periods of time
  • without interruption, regularly
  • practice with love and respect.

This sounds very much like a concoction for long-term, healthy commitment. Really what Patanjali is prescribing is building new patterns, creating through habitual reconditioning healthy, wholesome highways to clear the body, mind and connect to spirit. Letting these healthy directives become automated patterning. In other words we recondition ourselves. We turn our habitual patterns into subtle impressions of the mind called samkaras. Consolidate these enough and we create vasanas, which are groups of impressions powerful enough to take over our minds and allow us to function from. In other words we are our vasanas! They are deeply embedded and are the fabric of being from which we operate.

The regularity of practice breeds deeper samskaras, breeding deeper vasanas. It’s like a genetic reprogramming through consistent reconditioning that generates new restructured patterns of being.

But more than this Patanjali talks about practicing with love and respect which is the secret yogic ingredient that turns personal transformation from sounding like a computer coding or Pavlovian laboratory into the realm of the infinite expansive consciousness and transcendent states of being that it is. Throw in a pinch of love and respect, and you have more than a healthy marriage. You have amrita: the elixir of immortality for all relationships. Allowing you to overcome and ride the waves and itches of most of our interactions!

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This that Patanjali talks about for regulating our commitment is the foundation of Abyhasa (practice). What is an essential for all working relationships to continue to hold the space for its evolving participants is varaighya (non attachment). In 1.12 of the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali suggests taking an approach of non-attachment. The combination of committed, constant practice to tame the mind’s impressions and fluctuations is premised on non-attachment. We disentangle from desire and from our cravings and cultivate a strength, equanimity and flexibility to go with the flow of life with its varying gradients.

And then you ease into the Sahej Pad, the fourth stage Kundalini yogis refer to in the five stages on the path to wisdom. Where ease, balance, instantaneous manifestation happen. We align with our destiny and we are in this relationship with Truth for the long haul. It is in this stage on the path to wisdom that we drink of the fountain of youth. This is the result of consistent practice seen not just in the exuberant youthfulness of our physical form but expressed in the balance of being. The eternally youthful yogi, gracefully recognizing the ephemerality of form is the product of Sahej Pad.

The result of True Yoga is Sat Pad: The great Truth and final stage to Wisdom. Even graciously as consciousness, the yogi exits the body epiphanically with choice in mahasamadhi, rather than through the usually choiceless and sometimes, inelegant path of death. Harmony with the universe itself, limitless peace and the quintessence of the true goal of yoga, that of union ensues. This union lifts the veil of disillusion that obfuscates our merging identity as Truth. The realized yogi is the embodiment of the eternality of the unborn, undying, unchanging true Self. The yogi is the expression of pure consciousness.

Yesterday whilst dressing I noticed the ageing in my skin. It was something new, a sagging that hadn’t been there or one that I hadn’t yet noticed. And I felt a great sense of joy evoke within me. Born in that moment of recognition of the inescapable decline and evanescence of my physical form, I noticed that my relationship to all form has shifted. As I watched my children grow in my womb, through birth into toddlers, kids and now, some of them, into teens, attached to this process of change was great excitement and joy. Yet when ageing happens on the other end of the scale, there is despair and a holding on to the perception of the beauty of youth.

On seeing the signs of my ageing, the greying hairs that daily seem to come out in alert of Times winged chariot, the deepening of lines, creases and gravity’s inevitable decline, I decided to invert the whole perception process and immediately resolved to embrace the ageing process with euphoria in the same way I did watching my children grow. I have resolved to regard it as a metaphor reminding me of my own personal evolution and signaling the finite and fleeting facets of form. Like my alarm wakes me up with a resonant bell each morning, my ageing shall be a similar alarm, reminding me to wake up from illusion to the truth that I am not this finite form, but the formless, unchanging Self as pure, pervasive consciousness, footloose and botox free.

Yoga is about moving from the gross to the subtle, through the postures themselves to the energy to pure consciousness. As I practice, not just through posture but through awakening consciousness, my relationship to all aspects of Yoga becomes immortalized. My body is just an incidental vehicle to express the mobility of the mind and to embody the limitless of being. So yes I choose commitment to my mat. But more than that is the ultimate flexibility of self and identification to the subtle sense of Self that ensues. Perhaps this might herald the beckoning of Sat Pad in its least expected form and from the most unlikely angle. As this application of the true union intended in ‘yoga’, yoga is not a well to enable us to drink of the fountain of youth. It is the source of the fountain. It is indeed the elixir of immortality.

Sat Nam, Truth is indeed my identity!

Nicki

The Journey Through Arunachala

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Divine opportunity and celestial abundance has afforded me the opportunity to satiate the calling of my soul in the pursuit of Truth and in the quest for wisdom. My whole life has been parenthesized by one singular compulsion in this pursuit. I remember as a child sitting in existential angst, a deep void of emptiness, one that was clouded by despair, questioning the existence of God, and the purpose of life. I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up then, but I always had a deep knowing that there was something Divine about existence, something grand about the bigger plan. That the form of this body was a container for something magical, something more. Indeed it had to be as there seemed a void of futility without some understanding. I spent the next four decades exploring this mystery and seeking answers.

In my lifetime I have tasted freely of the Smörgåsbord of Divine offering. On this sacred buffet I first sampled the dishes of which I was deeply familiar, the religious inclinations into which I have been born, and then through a ravenous insatiability, I read, and learnt and travelled the spectrum of religion, mastery, technology and yogic technique.

In all these pursuits I received the Prasad (blessed food) of the deepest of wisdom. I imbibed of the elixir of Truth, an amrit passed through the darshan (transmission of light) of some of the greatest sages to be incarnate on this earth at this time. I have prostrated at their feet, awed at the blessing of such Infinite exposure, be it to their teachings, satsang or simple blessing. The devotional Bhakta (Devotee) in me delighting in this heart opening experience of boundless Love.

My extremely analytical mind demanded its own consumption, so course after course, lineage after lineage I greedily shoveled in platefuls of knowledge and teachings. Piling my plate with Jnana Yoga (yoga of wisdom) after Jnana. I sighed in grateful satisfaction yet only momentarily. Even a taste of Truth it seemed offered only instantaneous gratification.

These efforts of using the body as a temple and the mind as a conduit for Divine connection has proven deeply fruitful and generated boons, of which shining health, happiness and wholeness have been accessible and attained. I have helped heal from depression, participated in the service of supporting other’s through healing and transformation and generally become fulfilled, whole and clear. Yet simultaneously underlying this was a sense that I was like a donkey pursuing a carrot on the end of a stick. This goal oriented approach of seeking some perceived sense of enlightenment outside of myself, an almost impossible attainment, formed the backdrop for this lifetime’s pursuit of Truth.

And then Arunachala! How is it that a mountain, a so called inanimate, elevated structure of the Earth, could evoke in me so deep a revelation. As it turns out, I was called to her. I felt this compulsion instantaneously and I followed it, as I always have with all the spiritual callings that have propelled my journey so far.

There I was met and greeted by a sanghat (community of Truth) of the Journey, led by Brandon Bays in a manner teeming with Grace. As she recognized the mastery in each of us, suddenly a real shift started to take place, a possibility that indeed she might be right. That we are all masters, simply deluded by our egos into thinking we are anything less than that.

Arunachala’s welcome was magnificent. The mountain replaced my feet with wings, and I glided along her effortlessly, joyfully. It was a veritable falling in love, a mutual marriage of mastery as mountain and Mohamed met in spiritual matrimony. And yet as with all marriage, things were not going to be easy.

The week at the foot of the mountain was arduous. Despite the beauty of the surroundings, the excellence of service, the most opulent of luxuries from food, and accommodation, to care, to all forms of nourishment, this was no easy baby. The mountain demanded nothing less than the fire of real tapas (austerity) and Arunachala, Ramana Maharishi, Papaji and Brandon exacted the proverbial walk into this fire. I literally wanted my mommy! This was deeply challenging. There was nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. Nothing to do but to sit in the core of this fire and let it consume me.

A great despair overcame me during this time. It was somehow a negation of all that I had learnt, an eradication of the spiritual crutches I had so carefully amassed with a consequent instability, and the hopelessness of the futility of the fabric of my and all existence. I was caught between a rock (in this case a mountain) and a hard place. The ultimate impossible bind of having spiritual tools and technology and yet being so displaced, so consumed by the fire of the mountain, that they could no longer even serve me.

And then the words:

“Nothing to do. Nothing to learn. Nothing to unlearn. Nothing to achieve. Nothing to attain. Nothing to become. Nothing but this. Right here, right now.”

In the simplicity of this, the rebirth of epiphanic clarity, the get out of the illusory jail free card in the Monopoly game of consciousness. The realization that I was not the donkey frantically pursuing the carrot on the end of a stick, but that I was the carrot all along!

And indeed who is this I? A deep fascination with this awareness that observes the machinations and manipulations of the mind and a recognition of the maya or illusion that is the projection of the ego. This is my tratakum (focused point of concentration). The mind has an anchor and Self has its realization. Satchidananda. Truth. Consciousness. Bliss. Everything that I have been seeking, is right here, right now, wholly accessible. It is a simple shift of perception. Into this moment. Now.

Quite simply, I am that.

Deepest pranam to Arunachala, Sri Ramana Maharishi, Papaji and Brandon Bays and the Journey luminaries for an Inspired Journey into the recognition of Self.

Namaste

Nicki