Make It Your Home

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The river ran cold and clear, flooded with the budding spring’s snowmelt. Sunset settled across the horizon, fighting for the longer days to come. It cast its pink and orange and red glow across the river bank and the last of the winter’s snow. My feet sank into the sand of the river quickly passing the freezing, passing the stinging pain, until the cold created a numbness up to my ankles. My hand sunk into my japa bag, fingers rolling over the beads with each breath. The wind danced through the hanging canopy of old growth evergreens. Behind me, the laughter and voices of my friends around the campfire faded into the background. 

 

I couldn’t close my eyes. I couldn't move. I was lost, enthralled in the dancing harmony that exists only in places like this, on river banks, deep into the mountains, miles and miles from the nearest road. There is something pure about land that has never seen a motor. Each breath came and went, carrying my mantra with it. Each breath came and went and I lost myself a little further in it. Each breath came and went I could have sworn the wind was chanting it too.

 

OM Namo Narayanaya

 

OM Namo Narayanaya 

 

OM Namo Narayanaya 

 

Each breath carried a sense of peace, of hope, of faith like I had never known before. Nothing else seemed to exist. It was just the mantra.

 

I had just learned Atma Kriya a few days prior. Had just learned about mantra and breathing and meditation for the first time in my life. And there I was standing on that river bank, toes embedded in sand and river that I could no longer feel. It was the closest thing I’ve ever had to calm. It is the closest thing to peace I’ve ever known.

Until their voices rang out, calling my name, breaking the silence. It was more like shattering. Splintering. Complete devastation of silence the way only four twenty-somethings could manage in the early hours of darkness. And suddenly the cool breeze now left me with goosebumps and the water seemed to be freezing me to my bones. And the noise. The noise came flooding back in, slamming me back into the constant chatter of my mind. I took a deep breath, looked out at the darkening scenery with longing, and made the short walk back to camp.

 

This first ‘experience’ with Japa Kriya hooked me. It showed me something I never thought was possible to attain. It became my greatest friend and resource. Japa was there to celebrate with me. It was there to carry and push me through my darkest hours. And even on the days when I didn’t know how to love it, japa was still there, dancing on my tongue, waiting for me to love it back.

We all have our own variation on this story. We all have our one experience and technique that carries us through our life. For me, it is Japa Kriya. For you, it may be something else. Whatever it is, find your story, find your technique. But make it yours. Take ownership of it. Because it is through sadhana that you develop and experience your relationship with God. Sadhana is how you take ownership of your relationship with God, telling Him that He belongs as much to you as you belong to Him. 

Let it carry you through this world. Let your experiences inspire you. Let your mind become inspired to be Divine. Make your sadhana both your place of celebration and your place of refuge. Make it your home. 


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