Last FalI I traveled to Carlsbad, CA to do a meditation teacher training with one of my teachers, the inimitable Davidji. Here he is in all his tattooed, wild-maned glory. My sister calls him my Meditation Santa Claus, and to her credit, says this only sometimes and usually behind my back.
When the retreat was over on Sunday morning, I decided to head over to the meditation gardens at the Self Realization Fellowship in Encinitas, a short distance away. SRF was founded by Paramahansa Yoganda, one of the first great yoga masters to teach in the west. I am far from his only fan. “Yogananda’s masterwork, “Autobiography of a Yogi” was the only book on Steve Jobs’ Ipad. Jobs arranged for the attendees of his memorial service to get a copy of it as his last gift to them. If you’d like to check it out, Ananda.org has a free copy of it online here: https://www.ananda.org/autobiography/#contents
Just as an aside, if you haven’t read “Autobiography of a Yogi” yet, I highly encourage you to do the Audible version and listen to it in your car. Sir Ben Kingsly narrates it, and you’ll feel incredibly enlightened gnawing on your McMuffin while discovering the secrets of the cosmos. Roll down your windows at the stoplights and look meaningfully at your fellow commuters when he gets to the part about “stillness is the alter of the spirit.” Hang a mala from your rearview mirror and peel off bassing Snatam Kaur for extra credit.
Anyway, blissed out on spiritual sustenance and a week spent drifting in and out of meditation, I wanted to go pay my respects to Yogananda’s legacy. Intent on an afternoon sitting in silent gratitude, and smelling more than a little like Sandalwood oil, I hopped into an Uber and headed for the SRF compound. I’ll save the story about how the Uber driver both looked like Dave Grohl and gave me a fairly long, pedantic speech about everything from cello strings to politics for another blog. The commentary might be less than enlightened.
When you arrive at the SRF grounds, a very nice guard helps you out of your chariot and admonishes you to remain silent in your travels through the meditation garden. Trekking my way to the outer perimeter of the property to a cliff overlooking the ocean, I plopped down under a tree and readied myself to bask in the energy of my fellow meditators and the long line of other seekers who had sat in this very spot before me. And, for about 30 minutes I had a rather profound sense of this connection. Opening my eyes, I drifted out of meditation and into thought…thoughts about how I was kinda rad for being the type of person who troubles herself to do this. Thoughts about how past versions of me would have thought this was all too anti-clinical and woo woo to engage in very seriously.
“Look at me.” I mused smugly. “Look at me on a pilgrimage to the home of one of the finest spiritual leaders of our time. Here I am, out on a cliff contemplating the universe after spending a week in meditation with a great living master.”
I was feeling myself. A lot. With each layer of self-congratulatory navel gazing I puffed up a little more, holding myself aloft on waves of mystic reverie. And then, because the universe always manages to demonstrate its vast sense of humor, I opened my eyes, gazed over the cliffs and observed the following hanging there in the ultramarine vault of the heavens:
Yes, yes y’all. That IS a plane advertising a fine adult entertainment establishment. Among the many other delicacies one can find on offer, I hear that they have an excellent buffet.
When the universe pokes gentle fun of you, you know it. What could I do but laugh?
I hope that 2018 is a year that brings all of us continued opportunities to work joyfully on self improvement, to pursue connected and tuned in lives, and to get a good giggle at ourselves when necessary. As Ram Dass says, “You can’t pretend to be pure; you can only go at your own speed.”
Do you have stories about your own self-realization follies you’d like to share? Want to learn how to mediate and access the stillness and silence within? Why don’t you come on in so that we can talk about it.
Your Partner in Healing,
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