This morning as I woke up with the dawn, birds chirping, random thoughts came, mostly about work, then I looked at my thoughts and started chanting the Gayatri mantra and an ease came over me. I am deeply appreciating my spiritual study with Acharya Shunya. Her Vedanta discourses in the Vedic Spiritual Studies Program are opening me to all new insights that build upon and support my spiritual journey of almost 20 years.
The study of Vedanta, the study of who am I, my relationship with this world and with God begins with all the things I am not. Am I this body? Am I the child, sister, friend, wife, mother? Am I my profession? Am I my thoughts, my likes and dislikes? Am I my personality?
Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? That’s why having a teacher/guru to explain, give examples, expound on these teachings, guiding me to contemplate what is Real and what is unreal has been the most important part of this journey.
Sitting with my teacher, listening to her words on these teachings; pierce through my beliefs, habits, judgements and opens up within me, really awakens me to the eternal Self. This hasn’t happened all at once, no it takes many times, over and over to really see Who I Am. I do forget and get caught up in everyday situations, but then I remember, and either I chant the Gayatri, watch my breathing, soften my heart, or re-listen to my teacher’s words. It’s all a process, a transformation, a coming home to the Self.
These teachings have brought an understanding of how to see my relationships in this world. We get so caught up in our judgements, our likes and dislikes, thinking this is life. No, it is only our small selves believing this is the real world, but it isn’t. What is Real is that we are all part of a Oneness, a one consciousness that has no favorites or judgements.
One of the practices my teacher has given is to pause, then take a few breaths, pause again if needed. This pause is a conscious pause before answering a question, if you feel you will be snappy, or are stressed, having a hectic day. Take that pause and breathe. Maybe wait a day, or two, or longer before making any quick decisions you may not have intended. Such a simple thing. This pause gives clarity which carries over into all aspects of life.
"Wake up, Wake up!" I hear my teacher say. "Wake up from this fog, these samskaras (habits so deep, they are like a sticky jam), and come home to You."
The author Sakshi Joanne Banuelos is a student of Acharya Shunya, and serves as the Student Coordinator of the Vedic Spiritual Studies Program.
Learn more about how you can study Vedanta with Acharya Shunya in her Vedic Spiritual Studies Program.