|Sri Sri & Patti, Boone Ashram 2014|
It's been awhile, so I thought it is time share a little update, as we begin the New Year together.
The end of 2014 I found myself quite ill after moving to the Boone, North Carolina Ashram in October. The move was intense: 1,700 miles across the USA, leaving the majestic mountains of Colorado, the dynamism of Denver, the love of a vast community of friends - to the hills of rural North Carolina and starting over, again, in my 50's.
The severe change of weather pattern quickly and negatively, impacted my system. Not understanding how ill I was becoming, I kept working and traveling. I eventually became very ill, and by early December, I was in a true health crisis.
Whenever one moves to an Ashram, big karmas come your way to move through and be rid of, and this move was no exception. On the flip side, by virtue of just being at an Ashram, if any health situation arises - it's a minimized karma, it's very good. You are being protected from something worse than what is happening right now.
As my good fortune would have it, Sri Sri arrived on Christmas Day, right in the middle of the worst of the illness. I met with him the next day, informed him of the situation and while handing me prasad (blessed food), he reassured me I'd be just fine and I could expect to teach again in a few weeks. He also cautioned me to "stay positive." The intention and blessings of a Sat Guru can never be underestimated.
Years ago when one of our full-time teachers was very ill, Gurudev (being his amazingly compassionate self) flew to where she was in Arizona. I found it interesting that he advised her to read the Yoga Vashishta every day during her recovery. Another time a woman broke her leg at the Canadian Ashram. Gurudev told her to watch Ashtavakra Gita daily while recovering.
I stayed with it until Gurudev arrived replacing this routine with morning darshan (blessings of the Guru's physical presence), afternoon meditations (led by Sri Sri) and evening Satsang (meditation, wisdom and celebration in the company of truth.) I rested in between each session, to conserve enough energy to be at the next session with Sri Sri.
This is the third health crisis in my life where I wasn't sure what the outcome would be.
Each time Gurudev has been there fully with me, and the Grace provided doctors full of karma yoga (one who practices to be of service, expecting nothing in return) and a supportive community to help me heal. Always, my family, prayers and so much community support is present.
During one of these times, I asked Gurudev about the karma that had brought the health crisis about. He immediately stopped me from asking anything more, so as not to bring about any more karma. He then quietly told me to look at how blessed I was, to have so much support during this time, pointing out that very few people in the world have this level of support. Without saying another word he invited me to help him go through his emails. Every letter he gave me to read was about a health crisis with cancer, in a family. By the third letter I looked up, and meeting his eyes, I silently reaffirmed to him, that I got the point. I was so incredibly blessed.
I clearly remember Gurudev's words to me during the 2nd health crisis in my life. I had endured 3 operations in 3 months, and my prana was taking a downward spiral. After the 2nd operation he called and said, " I just want you to be Badda Bing Badda Boom (nickname), be cheerful. You will heal faster, better." It wasn't easy at all, but I did it. I knew I wasn't alone, and I healed.
Unlike one of my grandmothers, who was never ill a day of her life, until she fell in her 90's and passed away, I've had a few scary health situations in an otherwise, very healthy life. Gurudev once told me that each time it happened to me, I'd find that I was stronger as a result of moving through the health crisis, and I have found this to be true. Every one of us takes on the karma of the physical body we take on, it's just the way it is. I'm grateful that I get to learn through these situations; it helps to know that it makes me stronger spiritually.
One can really sink low when the health is poor, both physically, mentally and emotionally.
This is where listening to knowledge, sanskrit chants and keeping positive and loving company will make all the difference. When our prana is going down, illness can set in - when the prana is going up, the healing begins. Listening to guided meditations, reading ancient wisdom (sanskrit is a language scientifically designed to lift consciousness), chanting (scientifically proven along with meditation to improve health) all work to uplift prana and improve your state of mind, for you.
Resolve to treat one another with greater compassion, be of greater service to others, just drop the "I, me, what do i get, what do i lose" mind stuff. It keeps us small an our nature is to expand.
Read knowledge daily. Meditate daily. Work in teams.
Challenge yourself to express the beauty of human values such as: compassion, love, non-violence, integrity & enthusiasm for life - in the face of ignorance.
Do things to uplift your prana every day: Pranayamas, Meditation, Sudarshan Kriya, Service to Others, application of knowledge, chanting, expressing gratitude - there are so many options!
When we lift our own prana, keeping faith that a Divine power is taking care of us and loves us so dearly, we're able to experience the Grace of the Divine and life becomes...magical for us & others.
I am so grateful my life brought me my family AD, MM, MC, SP the Boone Ashramites and B along with all my friends and soul sisters and of course...SSRS.
I look forward to seeing you at an Art of Living event somewhere in the world, in 2015!
You can check my schedule or request an event at: www.pattimontella.com
To enjoy an online course of Ashtavakra Gita go to: www.srisrielearning.org
To enjoy a guided meditation or wisdom talk visit: www.pattimontella.com