I was looking through my spiritual diary from my time at the ashram. My heart hurts for the girl who wrote those pages. She was covered in dust and cobwebs, sickly, weighing under 100lbs, and directionless. There were weeks when she couldn’t even speak, having literally lost her voice from swallowing all the things she actually wanted to say, all the questions she had. Poor thing. So confused.
Despite all that, I’m actually grateful for my time there, mostly because I think it brought me so much closer to my current practice and relationship with Spirit. If I hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
This is one of my favorite memories of that time. I’m so glad I captured it in writing. It’s a nice reminder that even when it feels like we’re surrounded by darkness, Spirit is watching and knows right when to enter the room.
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Every day now I clean the windows. It’s a nice practice and in my personal sadhana outside of the yoga center, I do similar things. Cleaning away the dirt every morning, knowing that the dust from the day will settle back down, and the next morning i’ll do it all over again. it’s worth it to get the unfiltered sunlight in.
One of the biggest changes was to get rid of all of the private business cards that people left along the wall near the door. They were the first thing a person would see upon entering, and they had nothing to do with yoga, with our center, or spirituality. Not to mention, they were covered in dust. I just had this feeling that the first thing one should see should be something more powerful and moving than that.
After cleaning and rearranging, there was this blank spot on the wall right near the entrance. I spent a few days trying to figure out what to put there. I decided on a mirror– it would reflect the sunlight and brighten up the room.
But as I was on the computer about to order the mirror, I got overwhelmed with another wave of emotion, and began crying. It’s like my response to being in such a repressed environment is to just burst into tears randomly.
After a few minutes I looked up and realized there was a woman standing in the doorway. Embarrassed, I called out to her, telling her to come in. She approached the desk, holding something in her arms. With a big smile, she turned the parcel around and revealed the most beautiful charcoal portrait of Swami Sivananda. The image is a famous one, but there was something about *this* drawing. It seemed alive.
“My friend was a doctor. He grew up in South Africa. When he was young, he went to India and studied with Swami Sivananada. But Swami Sivananda told him that he had spent too many lifetimes as a monk, and that he should go be in the world this time. So my friend moved to the US and became a holistic doctor. He had this portrait of his SadGuru above all of his clients. He died last year, and his daughter was so distraught that she was going to throw this away. But I found you guys online, and decided to drive down here and give it to you. He’d want you to have it.”
I didn’t know what to say. I kept asking her if she didn’t want to keep it herself, but she just shrugged and said that she felt he’d want it to be at a center where people studied Swami Sivananda’s teachings.
It fit perfectly in the spot that I was trying to fill. It was 2 days before Guru Purnima.
I placed a small white flower under the picture, and a candle. The flower did not wilt for 3 weeks.