Finding the Bliss

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My experience with Atma Kriya Yoga is varied. When I first took the course, it felt like I had done it before, or at least something very familiar. However, for the first year and a half, I did not practice regularly, only sporadically. It hadn't become a part of my lifestyle yet.  
 
However, that changed when I finally met Paramahamsa Vishwananda during a satsang and darshan. When I looked into His eyes for the first time, my voice in my head said over and over, "do your Kriya, do your Kriya". These words refused to subside, and inwardly I somehow asked Swamiji if it was His voice in my head, to which He immediately smiled-- a confirmation for myself. The following day, I was invited to have an interview with Him. After we had finished, He said to me, "Don't forget to practice your Kriya!" all the while, He didn't outwardly know I was an Atma Kriya Yogi. Since His words, I cannot remember the last time I missed a day. I made it a mission to practice every day, even if it's 3 or even 1 round of main kriya. Some days it was a struggle to do it. Sometimes I had little patience, I felt uncomfortable, stressed or anxious about other things. But I stuck it out, I still do, even to this day. I always made sure I did my practice.  
 
My feelings towards Atma Kriya Yoga and my perception of its effects upon me differed over the years. I certainly feel amazing change which I directly attribute to the practice. I feel more connected with the Divine.  I have had moments of real clarity and trust. However, there was one experience which greatly altered my perspective of my practice, and now it carries into my entire life. 
 
Once with Paramahamsa Vishwananda in the United States, a devotee asked when He would teach Level 3 Atma Kriya Yoga. He replied that it would perhaps be soon, in a few months, or a year. However, the devotee then asked an interesting question with a revealing answer. She asked, "Swamiji, what can we do to prepare for Kriya level 3?" Paramahamsa Vishwananda replied, "Recognize the bliss of the first two". 
 
Paramahamsa Vishwananda's statement here is profound. This opened my eyes a lot. I began to see and to begin to not focus, or demand a certain feeling or experience. I tried to eliminate expectations of blissfulness from the practices, rather, to become more welcoming of these experiences. As a result, I have changed a lot, and my attitude towards practice has changed positively. Rather than something I need to complete or work to accomplish with a mindset as if just as a duty given by Paramahamsa Vishwananda, my sadhana really began to turn into something I relish. I look forward to my practice and find even more joy in it which grows more and more. 
 
This one experience with Paramahamsa Vishwananda has stuck with me and significantly shapes every day of my life. In particular, I feel that I hold onto this refreshing and uplifted state for longer times. I feel that my capability to Love more unconditionally has also grown. My experiences all have a new perspective of looking for where this bliss and Grace resides. I search for this bliss which He puts in every last bit of our life. Especially in my spiritual activities like in puja, kirtan, Japa and Seva. I now aim to find this Grace and this bliss and Love which is pervasive. Subsequently, I feel like my perseverance has really paid off. I perceive far better this growth which has come along with my practice. My newfound perception encourages me to continue to practice and trust that He has given us the tools to become better humans, and in time, more and more aware of the Divine in all things. 
 
Thank you Paramahamsa Vishwananda and fellow yogis.


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