Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Chariot of Sadhana

by Joanne Sullivan (Divya)

Chariot of Sadhana Retreat, March 26 –April 2, 2016

Carol and Charles Crenshaw came to Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama and taught an outstanding course called Chariot of Sadhana, based on the book by the same title and written by Drs. Martin and Marian Jerry and Swami Veda Bharati. The Crenshaws took us along with them on their journey, stepping into the jungley road, no interruption to the rhythms of their sadhana. It reminded me of how Swami Veda taught how to teach. It was also an echo of the mystery of old Honesdale days when Swami Rama was physically present. I was aware of Carol and Charles then and the respect I had for them then has only grown. The course included practices in abhyasa and vairagya, yamas and niyamas, yoga nidra, the tantric practice of kaya sthairyam which trains the body for meditation into stillness and other exercises. Each day was enriched with 1-hour morning and evening sittings with Swamis Ritavan and Radha and our extended family. There were hatha classes with Carol and Charles and also with ashram faculty.

Many of us felt that we learned a lot about what drives us and about root causes of personal blockages which for some, seemed to bubble up and melt away, at times, with unexpected ease and swiftness. We focused on methods like Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT Tapping) and other practices. Several times, I was able to move through the layers of impulse and habit and clearly see, allow and accept my roadblocks. The result was that entrenched difficulties sometimes simply fell away. Some of these clarities were undoubtedly lurking for some time and ready to see daylight.

For me, I think what quickly surfaced was a greater willingness to absorb the compassion of my teachers. This gave way to more compassion for others and an openness and acceptance of the unknown. Regarding old hurts or failures I ask myself now "What do you do with it? What do you do/not do that takes your hand off the replay button? What habits are of inestimable value? Which other ones are now dead matter?" I think that many of us benefited from a sense of the group’s cohesiveness though we were so different from one another.

One day, we did a mental exercise whereby we each allowed a fear to enter our individual field of awareness and place it firmly outside ourselves. I will not try to lead you through this practice as it deserves more. The fear I chose to work with was the fear of falling, having recently fallen. Later the next day, I was in my garden watering the plants when a brick underfoot unexpectedly moved and I found myself propelled backwards. There was no strong emotion, just a slow motion wave of awareness "Now you are falling." I remembered the concentration we had practiced the previous day in class. My experience of it was like water as stone as water and I shifted the direction of my fall ever so slightly. Then my gardenia tree caught me.

"Old friend, thank you," I thought.  I had talked to it and touched it when its limbs had been cut back and this flourishing and fragrant being of a hundred blossoms had seemed stripped to barebones like a plucked chicken. Now it held me. Neither of us was hurt.

The last evening those about to leave in the next few days were invited to sit for evening meditation with Swami Ritavan in Swami Veda's Initiation Room. Later Swami Ritavan really seemed to be imploding with joy as he thanked Charles and Carol for coming and invited them to return. A familiar shawl of love filled the room. Swami Veda had invited the Crenshaws to come to Rishikesh to teach this course. Several of us expressed the hope for a sequel to this course where personal, individual and common aspirations coalesce and invite the whole wide world in.

Editor’s Note:

Carol and Charles Crenshaw teach in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.  Their website: http://www.innerpeaceyoga.com/

For more about the book Chariot of Sadhana by Martin & Marian Jerry and Mahamandaleshvara Swami Veda Bharati, please use this link: http://www.unlimitedpublishing.com/jerry/



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