My journey of ‘transformation and expansion’…
Published in the Oct-Nov 2019 issue of Yogic Herald
Serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realize…these are the words of one of the greatest Karma Yogis this world will ever know, Sri Swami Sivananda, father of Rishikesh.
The essence of this truth is deeply rooted in Rishikesh which has become the world’s gateway to spiritual enlightenment, however there is a great lack of understanding and practise of this yogic art. If there were ever any additional words one could include in this phrase to offer more insight into the progression of ‘the journey’ they would be, in my opinion, transformation and expansion.
My first journey to India in June/July 2013 defined my purpose and gave me belief in something far greater than ‘I’, my ‘Self’. I was 37 years old, weighing 78 kilograms, on anti-depressants. Using the words ‘unhappy with my life and my looks’ was an understatement. During this time I experienced the worst monsoon floods in over 88 years which caused devastating effects in the northern region leaving many, including already homeless sadhus, in dire circumstances. I was compelled with the skills I had to begin working on the streets providing specialist foot care, first aid, and health and hygiene education. Since then my humanitarian efforts have extended towards various animal, social and environmental initiatives. In a natural motherly role I became a carer and friend for many, and am assured of a much deeper soul connection to those I have touched.
6 Years later, looking back on all that has been accomplished, including the challenges and sacrifices, there is evidence that Karma Yoga is a 21st century solution to the dilemma many yogis are facing in a saturated and competitive industry.
Karma Yoga can inspire, unleash creative potential, change attitudes and become an important tool for growth and development in anyone’s life. And, it can bring in a new perspective, clarity and abundance, for yoga teachers struggling to find their individuality and true purpose.
In these years I have experienced an evolution of my own consciousness, a spiritual awakening, and, a desire to fulfill a calling. I have also repeatedly felt a burning desire to ‘return home’ and have ultimately realized it is loving and nurturing a relationship with oneself that connects us to the Divine. Understanding how to apply the techniques offers one an opportunity to become reacquainted with a deeper, truer sense of self, healing many different aspects of mind, body and spirit to bring one into union with God, LOVE.
Devotion to living this way, as the true essence of man, has given me the energy to pursue humanitarian work and overcome many obstacles. The phrase ‘the truth will set you free’, as cliché as it may sound, is true when one openly receives this knowledge, applies and practices it with conviction, renouncing all action in service, and without expectation of reward.
Receiving some basic knowledge during my first two hundred hour yoga teacher training was a catalyst to an extraordinary sequence of events, which gave my life new meaning, as I began to absorb myself in the experiences of giving and letting go.
It is with a deep sense of sorrow that I feel the imbalance of Rishikesh, and my role as Karma Yogi is apt for the impression I hope to make within the yoga community. My opinion in these matters are messages I am being guided to share at this time with the utmost sincerity. I am only sharing these messages with you as they are being revealed to me through my own experiences and realizations in Divine timing.
I have been the administrator of Rishikesh Yogis Community Facebook page since December 2018 and have seen the decline of connection, sharing, transparency and collaboration between yoga schools and ashrams. I have been witness to many idiosyncrasies and competitive hypocritical behaviour. More recently, incentives to boycott Yoga Alliance, the American organisation regulating and standardizing yoga practices worldwide. Underhanded news is aggravating the sanctity and spirituality of yoga and its application in India and the west, bringing in confusion and underlying feelings of mistrust.
I receive first hand messages and information pertaining to the poor state of animals, specifically dogs and cows, pollution, infrastructure and municipal services as well as the ongoing problem of poverty, starvation and even domestic violence as alcohol abuse is on the increase.
In April 2018 I began working remotely with Doon Animal Welfare and later in the year I was compelled to start Rishikesh Animal Welfare, an online resource centreoffering support, and inviting open communication between NGO’s, non-profit organisations and like-minded individuals. I am hopeful that it will impact positive forward thinking, communication, bring in trust and a way for us to combine services and resources to make the necessary long term impact and change to this region. Various Hindi news articles were syndicated during this time about my service to India and the importance of Karma Yoga according to The Bhagavad Gita. I could never have imagined in ‘my old life’ that I was capable of such miracles.
It has been impressed upon me by Spirit to share my experiences, to bring truth and clarity to the problems which need to be addressed and solutions to be implemented, otherwise the centre we have placed so much emphasis on for healing and liberation of the Self through Yoga-Divine Union, will be lost.
We are living in one of the most essential time periods of the awakening and evolution of this planet. Earth changes are a call to action. I am encouraging you to let go of things that no longer serve you and to learn more about your gifts and hidden abilities. It is vitally important to be working as a healer and lightworker, the next step in the path of a yogi. It is also important to acknowledge the call to work together, the outcome of unity and collaboration being abundance. Invest in work or service which makes the world a better place, improves the lives of others, and elevates those you touch to a higher level of consciousness, inspiring more positive action and a rippling effect.
“What we ‘do’ and who we ‘touch’ has a rippling effect” – IndiPam