Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Life Experience and Bliss

by Françoise Paradot

Every one’s life is extra-ordinary and unique for what we cross as experiences reveal themselves after only some introspection and understanding of the meaning of life itself. It takes time, sometimes a lifespan, to accept what had brought us into such a life so rough, so difficult, so heavy and unable to comprehend why this had happened to us, till the day when suddenly, all becomes clear, logical, rich and we become able to laugh at ourselves about the Divine plan and His project about our growing up.

Whatever struggle is a necessity, whatever pain is our release towards liberation. Usually, one experience after another one brings some clarity.

For my concern, it seems that I had taken my life upside down. The sorrows and sufferings had built up the first two thirds of it. But there was something always, deep within, letting me know that life had another meaning. Fortunately I was born optimistic and never lost hope! Oh, I have also to add that I was born from an atheist family, brought up this way, but the adult has always considered me as a “mystic atheist”!
It is difficult to make a short cut or short story upon one’s life as the details seems to be more important than the story itself. Then, let me be as short as possible!

On April 25, 2015, Swamiji wrote me: “I have found quite often that periods of illness are opportunities for receiving inspiration and insight. Please start writing a journal in which you enter these inspirations.”

My first reaction was that, far away from being a model, and so many testimonies already in this favor, I had nothing new to unfold to help some others. But slowly his words were working on me. As I was translating in French The Himalayan Tradition of Yoga Meditation, and being at the explanation of purash-charana, his words came back to me. Having been initiated a month ago, it took another meaning.

The Himalayan Tradition is that as everyone should pass some teachings, there is no need to wait to become a model first, before passing these little teachings we already picked up. We must pass our knowledge insofar we are able to do so. As I am living in my own created “monastery” (with only one other person!) I had no possibility to undertake this duty. And worst, as you can read in the June 2015 newsletter, The Pilgrimages (Françoise Paradot), for which I no need to write once more, this life span’s bonus had to be repaid by service to the others.

Then I am in debt! And all of these thoughts, (initiation, life span bonus, service, purash-charana etc…) brought me to the decision that I should do what Swamiji had suggested to me.

Now, let’s go back to the story, after these clarifications which I hope didn’t bring the opposite into your mind! And I’ll try to go to the essential for it should be short, not boring and helpful!

I am 67 years old now, a lady from France living in Delhi, and in India for more than 11 years. Let me just tell you how India came to me. On 1999, I was proposed for a “humanitarian mission” in Mali (Africa). As I rent my house for six months, I was expecting to fly soon there with my family. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the mission was postponed and we had to live in a camper during the full six months of winter in France. This was not to be “my “wish”, and some friends proposed us to go to India for another mission.

At once, I said:” India, NEVER!” Contrary to my generation, I had never wished to come to India. But I accepted due to some meeting with very great people. So during the first weeks of our arriving, I really wondered about what I was doing in such a country!

Nevertheless I succumbed to the country’s charm until, after a few years, I decided to settle there! Meanwhile, I was diagnosed with a breast cancer, making me realize in the second, that I was not leading the life I wanted to. It had been such a powerful discovery and a new birth. Every day I was like climbing on a ladder despite the treatment. And, of course, as I knew pretty well that it had happened not to put my life in danger but to change my lifestyle, at the end of the year, I celebrated my recovery. But more than this, it was time to decide what I wanted to do with my life!

Being unable to attend one’s daily work and duty when we are bedridden, due to accident or illness, I understood quite quickly that the meaning for such a stop in our life is not to suffer or to blame life for what is happening. My certitude developed another concept: why do we have to make this forceful stop? What might be its benefice? Why do we have nothing else to do but just think about our life? What might be the meaning of it? What is beyond the sufferings? What life is trying to teach us?

And at this point started a life’s retrospection. And its many a questions. But one only could lead me toward my relief: Was I living the life I wanted to? Did I fulfill it? And of course, each and every answer was: No!

There I was, under chemotherapy, not blaming any fate but myself alone. Why was I living a life I didn’t like? What was in it that I didn’t’ like? What could I do to find a cure? The chemical process was on to cure my body, and the spiritual one was on its way. Then, I found some responses to any of my questions. Day after day, I was climbing the Jacob’s ladder and, despite my body sufferings, it was wonderful.  The doctors didn’t understand why I was feeling so happy, of course. And even, the one surgeon who had a reputation of being so distant, used to come in my room at the hospital, before going back home, just to recharge his own battery! As I had brought some music, mantras and different things in my hospital’s room when I had surgery (except for the incense sticks due to the fume’s detector!) he used to choose some CDs to make copies and then bring them back the day after. Before going to the operating theatre, I asked the anesthetist to give me a few minutes to have a short meditation, thought I was a real novice, my faith was huge. And I woke up like a fresh flower and was able to leave the hospital very shortly. And still, every day, some meanings about life were revealed to me and I did accept everything with great joy and relief. My spiritual healing was on its way, I was starting with a life anew. I was getting ready. And I understood that this time being a forceful rest, was nothing but a time to readjust our life when we are too far away from the real life, the life we should understand, the life for which we had this rebirth, the life for which we should give back our soul in a better understanding than when we received it. One can choose to be a victim and nothing will get clarified during one’s life span. Or one can choose to be an insider and every possible is at hand. I had chosen the second option. Why should I stay a victim of a life I didn’t enjoy as I wanted to?

I am not a learned one, and I had no books at hand. All my understandings came from within, as if each and every cell of my body had already the answers. It was an intuitive knowledge and I had no one to help me to find out the answers. What I didn’t know at this point, is that, for sure, I had some invisible help, but my ego took a long time to accept it.

So I had recovered from the body illness and I had taken the decision to change my way of life, for my new understandings and also as I knew that the cancer could come back if I didn’t make a change.  It had taken a few months to analyze the pros and cons of any decision. I still had a 14 years old son to take care of and he had hated his previous travel to India. But I was strong enough to let my intuition guide me. I will have to go settle in India as I felt this wonderful country had something to teach me! And both of us left and settled there. Not to mention that I got separated from my husband, due to his terrible and unjustified reactions while I was in basic need due to my illness.

And a new life started here, but the spirit of India didn’t unveil at once. A few months later, I slipped on little water in my house and got a skull fracture, which left me with terrible giddiness for a decade. I do remember, when I felt all the way down on the floor, and when the crack of my skull made such a heavy sound, my first words, when I was lying down were: “I had made a puja with my head!” For, maybe the first illness was not enough to break down my resistance, I had, once more, to be bedridden and, once more, had time to realize what I was living for! Though, I never forgot my previous extraordinary experience, life slowly had brought me back into its daily burdens.

And it was true, new opening, new consciousness. Again I felt that such disease or accident is nothing but bringing time to readapt our life, to have time to think about and to make up decisions. Another chance.
At this time, not suffering but being very handicapped, I had once more the opportunity to realize about my life. Settling in such a new country I had lost a little myself in the understanding of traditions, way of life of India. It was time to rectify. Then, incidentally, I met my first master. And once more I started to climb the ladder and not to ever forget about the meaning of life.

And from that moment, I ever cease to learn, analyze, correct. First thing India taught me was patience, then came acceptation, then sacrifice. I crossed each and every boundary with joy and suffering, till the moment I had to shift to Delhi and realized how much my health was deteriorating. It was around November 2014 when I had suddenly a terrible pain in my head. Just a few seconds, but enough to understand that something was wrong. After some medical tests, everything became clear, one artery in the brain was almost blocked and there was nothing to be done in this area.

There comes the moment when one realizes that life can be shortened! But more than this, the question arising for me at this point was: “Will I be enlightened before my last breath? What should I do now to fulfill the meaning of this life?”

And it was a tough time, not that I was frightened by death, but by the work I still had to accomplish and for how long I will have time to go on? And it was a fantastic program. From one day to another, all my goals changed. But there was a big problem. I had no energy at all; I was not even able to cook or to do my homework.

When, one day, as I was talking over the phone to my son in France, and telling him that I was reading once more the inspiring book of Swami Rama Living with the Himalayan Masters, I was at the same moment trying to search for its translation in French on internet, to be able to send him. There was nothing. I couldn’t find any French translation! Why did I tell him that I will translate the book, not even knowing if I had the capacity to do so?

The next morning, as I was still so feeble, I started the translation. As if there was emergency, as if something was pushing me. This is how I started to spend more than twelve hours a day, baring in the first few days such a pain in my back and shoulders. But I had to go on. Finally, one week later, the pain had vanished and amazingly I found my energy back. I did realize then, that I was not translating: I was pushed to do it. And I realized also that I had been given a bonus, some more time to live to accomplish this work.

The happiness, the lightness I felt were so great, and it was such a pleasure to wake up in the morning to continue my duty, till it was time to go to bed, happy to have fulfilled my day. And it went on and on, day after day, the lightness, the happiness and the feeling of being helpful. After one month, the work was over, and at once, I continued with another book with still the feeling of this bonus.

Then, another thought came to me: “Is not it a little restrictive to translate for my kids only? Should I not propose the translation to the ashram?” Meanwhile, I think I had already translated three books. Then I sent a letter to Swami Veda, explaining why I was translating and asking if it will be of any help for the ashram to have these translations.

A few days later, I received a phone call from Caroline, who was visiting the ashram. She told me that she had opened a center for the teaching of the Tradition in France, and that she would be happy to read the translations.

By the way, my health was better, but some more problems came, due to the same issue and sometimes I had not that much energy. But the happy and lightness never left me. As I am still continuing some more translations, the life force is always meeting me when needed. And If I feel totally exhausted, I know the way to get some energy.

The Gurus are sitting next to me, near my table, and unless I am not giving up, I find their lovely care showering me. But as I said previously, and out of the last translations, when I read and come to know about purash-charana, I know that this time bonus was linked with service. I forgot to tell you that I had an intuition when 2013 was ending, that 2014 was my last year, though I didn’t know how much affected was my health at this time. Kind of intuition?

Why and how this need for translation did come to me? I never had this idea before. My link with the Himalayan Tradition was very lean, and I had visited the ashram in Rishikesh only once, where I met Swami Veda, but whom I didn’t really know about. I can only say that from the moment I settled in Delhi, I bought many books about Himalayan Masters and they inspired me very much. Then how did this link came through me? But for sure, just after Swami Veda had left for a better sky (actually the night he left his body) I felt a strong desire to go and visit him. Even if he was not anymore in the body we knew, I felt his presence and humor, especially during my first initiation. 

This was another urge, another emergency: to be linked with the Himalayan Tradition. And for two reasons. The first one is to be sure to safely reach the other shore when my last breathing. The second one, to be reborn into the Tradition.

The love, care, and patience of our Gurus are without limit. For sure, I had lived with the strong desire of realization but even when I was stumbling again on some stone I didn’t see, they had always been next to me, unfolding my path the way it had to be. Nowadays, I am “working” on the ninth translation, things seem to open for the teachings to be spread on French territories. I am the instrument through which this work is being done. And I love it. I can’t spend one day without opening one book, for my teaching as well as for the teaching it will be for the others. And still, when my health is flickering, I know that if I want to feel better, I just have to sit next to my table and continue my duty. And I forget everything that is bothering me. I feel the strong presence and love of the masters, pushing me to continue, their strength accompanying me.

And so, as I was telling you at the beginning, I feel that I had never really searched anything but that they came to me as intuition, manifestation, adjustments. Fortunately, I had always been grateful and hopeful about my life, thought it was not always easy. But I never lost hope about it; I always felt something different and some different motivation. I had not identified with worldliness, nor did I feel I should identify with the way people were running after materialism. I had never missed the essentials and I never had too much. Maybe my faith had helped me with the support of such great sages. In my youth I used to identify myself as a mystic atheist. For sure I was a mystic in search of the Reality. As my life unfolded, the experiences taught me to be always confident.

So now, my next question arousing is:” Am I doing enough for my service?” Being alone for the most part of my last ten years, (my “monastery” but this is another story about my life!) how could I reach people to pass on the teachings? I never thought that these translations will come up to me as a lovely gift from the masters but, maybe this is my way of reaching people. Maybe the silence has to surround me for my better understanding and growing up. Nothing happen by coincidence!

So my life is extra-ordinary as is yours. Never lose hope and remember that no one knows when the last breath will be coming up. We need always to be prepared for the understanding of death is the understanding of life. I wish you many extraordinary moments. Life is a play, play it well.

All my love and May your life be as rich and extra-ordinary. May the Gurus manifest themselves into your life. May we be always grateful for their love, care and never failing patience.



The Himalayan Tradition of Yoga Meditation

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