Sometimes it takes a long time to imbibe a teaching.
In 2006 I had an amazing meditation in which I saw myself in a forest clearing with a fountain. As I looked at it, I realized that Gurumayi was standing beside me. She turned and said, “You’ve been coming again and again to the fountain of wisdom, but you haven’t yet drunk from it.”
I soon learned that the monthly quotation being studied at the local Siddha Yoga meditation center was “There is a fountain of wisdom within each one of us. We must understand what it is, and bathe in it. For this we repeat the mantra again and again.“ I was puzzled about what I wasn’t understanding.
Lately, I’ve been going through a difficult time. During this time I’ve been focusing more on the Siddha Yoga teachings, reading Gurumayi’s words again and again. My greatest joy is that, with practice, I am dwelling more and more in the heart center. At last I understand, and have imbibed, what Gurumayi told me.
Havant, United Kingdom
This morning, before reading this exposition, I’d been debating in my mind about doing some chores in the common area of my currently shared residence. Feeling a sense of injustice at having to take sole responsibility for this, I reluctantly prepared to start.
Almost immediately I heard Gurumayi’s words, “Drop the negativity!” My eyes widened. I took out the trash. Then, recalling her teaching about cleanliness—to make a place even cleaner than it had been before—I started sweeping. Suddenly, the mantra Om Namah Shivaya
bubbled up spontaneously. Observing this, I began consciously repeating the mantra in rhythm with each sweep. Lighter, more pleasant energy began permeating the room. I chose to do still more, leaving me satisfied and uplifted in mood.
Only later did I discover this exposition, “Imbibing the Guru’s Teachings.” What I recognized was that—unbeknownst to me at the time—what had arisen in my heart was what I had truly assimilated, resulting in a better outcome and “changing my mind” from grimness to good intent in action.
Colorado, United States
This quiet time of lockdown in the state of Victoria feels like a perfect training ground for me to shift my focus into the vast stillness to allow myself to fully contemplate—and assimilate—Baba's and Gurumayi's teachings more than ever before. This is the great benefit of living in this highly unusual time: I can slow down and expand on the inside—a wonderful blessing!
While reading this exposition, I saw the teachings as the food that nourishes my mind and my soul. In order to assimilate food, I need to eat balanced meals on a regular basis and, most importantly, enjoy the food. Similarly, during my study of the teachings, I bring special attention to savoring the teachings and thus fostering their assimilation in my heart.
When I practice and assimilate the teachings in this exposition, “Imbibing the Guru's Teachings,” I experience deep, deep solace and gratitude. It feels like having been satiated by a most nourishing meal. This feeling is so new for me and so comforting, like a warm embrace.
For me the word assimilation
has always had a negative connotation. By reading this beautiful exposition, I learned a whole new meaning for the word and the concept it expresses. To assimilate the Guru’s teachings—and especially to be assimilated by the teachings—is an extraordinary gift to be lived on a daily basis.
Assimilating the teachings of the Guru is real sadhana
. I find myself often questioning my thoughts and acts when they are not aligned with the values of the Siddha Yoga teachings. I then reflect on what went wrong in my daily interactions with others. In this way I am able to constantly work on refining my thoughts and deeds.
I know that my sadhana
is incomplete if I don’t change myself in my daily life. I think that when I do make such changes, I am on my way to assimilating my Guru's teachings on purifying the mind.
For me, the way to truly understand a teaching is to incorporate it into my daily life. Many times, I find my mind swirling amidst the ups and downs of daily life in my work in patient care. What helps me is to pause for a few moments between patients, close my eyes, and repeat the mantra. This brings me to a peaceful inner world of light and love. When I open my eyes, I feel this beauty come forth to all I come in contact with.
What a wonderful practice this is.
St. Laurent, Canada
This is the first time I feel I understand the word assimilate and its relationship with study, practice, and implementation. The visual example of ink in water is something that I will continue to learn from for a long time. The story of Dronacharya and Yudhisthira was profound and easy for me to understand. This exposition has opened a doorway in my life.
New York, United States
Each day I ask Gurumayi, Baba, and Bade Baba to please bless and care for my wife, who has been very ill for a year. Last week, as I was asking for blessings, I suddenly became aware of my own ability, as one with the Guru, to offer prayers in concert with our beloved Gurus. I am so appreciative for this experience, which came through assimilating the teaching of oneness with Shri Guru.
Hawaii, United States
As I read and reread the exposition, I became more and more enthusiastic and rooted in my commitment to assimilate the Gurus' teachings. When I finished it, I knew exactly what to do next! I called up another Siddha Yogi and invited her to be my study buddy. She had also read Swami ji's exposition and wholeheartedly accepted my invitation.
Thank you, Gurumayi, for the Siddha Yoga path website, through which the Siddha Yoga teachings, and step-by-step guidance in how to make them our own, are so readily and exquisitely available every day.
Belo Horizonte, Brazil
One way that I've been learning the Siddha Yoga teachings by heart and imbibing them is by participating via webcast in one of the Siddha Yoga Meditation Sessions each day, for nearly two years. This has deepened my 36-year practice of Siddha Yoga meditation immeasurably. My gratitude has deepened immeasurably, too.
Pennsylvania, United States
For a number of years, I have heard about the four essential elements of Siddha Yoga studentship: study, practice, assimilation, and implementation. But I never quite felt I knew what assimilation meant or understood how it was distinct from, yet synergistic with, the other three elements.
So I am delighted and very grateful to receive this exposition, which makes so clear for me what assimilation is and how to practice it. In fact, I can now see that it corresponds to the reflective journaling and review of journal entries that I have been drawn to, intuitively, as a way of bringing my experiences and the teachings more fully into my being, as a way of digesting them, and making them my own so that I can embody them in my daily life.
California, United States
Thank you for this heartfelt exposition on the Guru’s words and the power of assimilation. It has really inspired me to revisit my practice of pausing after meditation to allow my experience to resonate within me and then articulating it in my journal.
I have found that even an experience that might at first seem less significant, upon closer examination and reflection, actually carries an important insight for me. The act of writing makes it more concrete and allows me to absorb it more into my being. I then often carry these "well-baked" insights into my day by writing their essence on a card that I carry with me and refer to during the day to remind me to act from the place of truth and stillness that comes from contemplation.
The guidance in this exposition is so helpful! I do find that articulating my experiences—in my journal, in writing shares for the Siddha Yoga path website, and in conversations with fellow Siddha Yogis—is a great support in assimilating the teachings. I also find that reviewing my journal entries over time, especially as I perceive the threads that weave through my experiences and understandings, deepens my awareness of the current of grace in my life and of how I am living the teachings.
I am so grateful for this focus on assimilation. As I reflect on the practice of assimilating the Siddha Yoga teachings, I connect with the depth of Gurumayi's and Baba’s intention that their teachings truly become a part of us. This fills me with awe and deep appreciation.
Missouri, United States
I always feel so happy when I’m offered concrete ways to deepen my experience of the Siddha Yoga practices. The concrete action that stands out for me in Swami ji ’s exposition is journaling.
I’ve been studying the Pratyabhijna-hrdayam
this year, and I’ve found it difficult to retain the subtleties of these teachings. Currently, I journal only sporadically. I realize that if I apply more effort in journaling, it will help me assimilate the teachings I’m studying. I’m grateful for this suggestion.
Vermont, United States