Where do I begin to explain the latest twists, and turns in this maze of a life that continually presents uncertainty yet subsequent perfection. At each step I feel certain, though this descends into a gripping fearful doubt finally revealing a larger masterpiece exposing the essential part I played, allowing a divine lila to unfold. Right now, I am in the space between certainty and doubt, yet this time there is an entrenched surety in which it is impossible for me to believe lives anything but grace.
The plan for which I was so certain that carried me to India – was to dismember my life, to untangle all threads of the me I had been or had hopes to be, leaving only the yarn for this grand designer to arrange masterfully into a sacred cloth. Awakening a new self which would emerge fully formed and moulded to useful perfection. Well that was the plan anyway!
RECALLING MY DIVINITY
Yet after only three months of living in the house of my beloved which is upheld by the sublime and divine outpouring love from his chief female disciple – Swami Satsangi, I came to believe that it was not the place for me. That the work there was not my work and that I needed to be doing something else – somewhere else. I couldn’t really articulate why I felt this but it was a feeling on the subtlest, purest and most delicate part of my being which was certain. Certain of my divinity, certain of my purity, certain of my history, certain of my capacity and certain that I was ready to step into my life without the props of institutions or nods of validation from others outside of myself. I could see me and it was time to accept and step into my life, my purpose and my work even though I didn’t really know what that would look it – I just knew what it felt like!
The grosser parts of my nature could give lots of reasons for being frustrated, disheartened, disappointed and bewildered at living within such a large institution. The meanness, double-standards, ignorance, arrogance, nastiness and intolerance offered in the name of spiritual evolution. Those who were institutionalised had lost touch with kindness, collaboration and a generosity of spirit. What was prized instead was an ability to bark boundaries and orders even when they were incorrect, unkind or misguided. The comfort of institutionalized privilege those had, having been there for far too long, enabled them to flog that privilege across the backs of those sincere and hardworking seekers who were mostly newer female residents. A form of institutionalised mentality was the shape of mind for many longer-term residents whom I found to be lazy, complacent and apathetic to the amazing opportunities offered daily within this magical shaktipeeth and yet equally hostile, aggressive and resistant to anything that challenged a step up or step out of ‘the way we do things’ to see if something new, refined and more beautiful could be offered. I was mocked and attacked often for my perspective and enthusiastic contribution for which I became increasingly bewildered.
IN SEARCH OF THE DIVINE
I was looking for merger with my beloved Gurudev, with the Divine. I was looking for Yoga – not the word but the experience – the aims, the practices, the purpose and the essential embodiment as seen in Swami’s or Masters. Yet, sadly I was unable to see those pure aspirations or accomplishments expressed in many of those longer-term Swami’s who held positions of authority. What I found instead left me utterly disappointed and ultimately devastated!
Underlying this ugliness and devastation was the grace and beauty of love itself and I was touched, uplifted and carried on the waves of divinity daily. I was supported in expressing myself, seeing myself, loving myself and encouraged to be radically me with all those elements I previously misunderstood. I now came to see those parts as purposeful, potent and powerfully intentional. All of this often happened so deeply and personally – a private love affair unfolding from within, hidden from the daily mundane expressions, yet occasionally, it drew nearer through the form of Swami Satsangi. Her presence launched an alchemaical process, in which the transformation revealed the ability to see, feel and articulate the movements of my soul embodied, through this divine form of my body, offering only love into a place that was love itself. A pure and beautiful dance with the divine. Rare moments in which I was seen, celebrated and able to channel all my love toward our shared beloved.
Thankfully, I was daily able to encounter those aims of Yoga which I sought, through the connections I had with the newer residents who exemplified the purity of our mutual aims to SERVE, LOVE & GIVE, which inspired and supported my own personal expression and purpose for being there. These women are my superheros and really are some of the most extraordinary people I have ever met – passionate and dedicated to service, honesty, learning, generosity, love, kindness, acceptance and humour. Additionally, when I looked to the top of this institution, I was touched by all that is beautiful in its refined subtly – outwardly and inwardly. Yoga was indeed embodied through the exceptionally divine Swami Satsangi and her closest team (whom I would LOVE to mention so they know their light is seen but will refrain). A pervading deep swelling sadness would arise for the ‘good old days’ when this ‘institution’ was no institution at all, but a place of tapasya for a few serious, hardworking, focused and dedicated disciples all gathered around their beacon of light, who is indeed the rarest of treasures.
My beloved Gurudev continued to grace me with his darshan daily in which I fell ever more in love with him, more devoted and inspired by this amazing human. This in large part was only made possible due to the connection or channel which Swami Satsangi invests all her efforts in preserving. A place where people who want to connect to this amazing source of inspiration can feel the full force of this powerful life in which Swami Satyananda inhabited, that is continually enriched by the constant devotional offerings of remembrance and now lovingly enshrined in every atom in and around Rikhiapeeth.
THE DAWN OF LOVE
What all of these experiences revealed to me, was that I was done with living the life of difficulty I had felt I deserved. I was done paying penance which I inflicted upon myself to pay the debts I accrued by causing suffering to others in this life. The fear I had of simply living my life, which I didn’t trust myself to be able to do. The anxious causing belief that I was living in a hostile world whose nature was deeply malevolent and enjoyed watching me suffer and who was just waiting ‘to take me out’ after a period of prolong terror. I had the deepest feeling that I deserved to be attacked, criticised, to have difficulty manufactured around me which I had to ‘pass’ and ultimately that I didn’t deserve this life and that I would be found out and taken out at any moment.
The lead up to all of this, prior to going to India, is a love story in which I was loved as never before by someone who herself was suffering deeply and had no motive for this gift of kindness other than an expression of her nature. I was able to see love and acceptance around others but had never felt its glow on my skin, in my world, until teacher, Swami Satyadharma took me on a personal pilgrimage. She peered through my mind, my form, my expressions and my heart and offered only love, support, encouragement and an ability to see perfection in those corners I had previously loathed. I was softened, refined and transformed not by rigorous tapas but by the simple act of receiving unconditional love. That gentlest yet most powerful act of love changed everything. The hard road is one way, which works for some and used to work for me but now the path is softer and filled with all that is beautiful and refined – this is the path I choose to tread. One filled with love, kindness, collaboration, clarity and beauty.
There will be times where I will have to use this clear crystalline mind of mine in which to cut through various difficulties and am not afraid to do that as I know that underlying this sharpest of blades is only love. My kindness doesn’t mean there will never be a need to battle the darkness but it means that I will do so with the aims of love and beauty at the heart of my actions. Life will become difficult at times if I am really to make a valid contribution, however let this occur naturally, spontaneously and perfectly in accordance with the divine play rather than having people of questionable motives manufacture difficulties to extract certain perceived flaws for my own good.
THE LIGHT OF LOVE
Curiously, it was within this place that I met the love of my life. I had come to think that my ‘other’ was an impossible fantasy, yet he surprisingly exists – a living, breathing expression of human and divine form. I wrote a letter never delivered which celebrated and elevated his unending beauty through to the tender loving depths he touched, allowing my heart to blossom in its full exotic, delicate, and delicious fragrance, offering him the love of my soul to his.
I had casually met him many years ago within the ashram and while I recognised a connection, I hadn’t realised the nature of this connection until my heart had started to open and my mind had started to melt. This is a person whom I love at my own expense, whom I would never cause harm to and whom I would offer worship, service and aim to uplift his life to the heights I know he is capable of, even if that meant my own suffering. This is a man whom I think of as my own self – where he begins and I end blurs and it physically hurts to be away from him. I knew there was a connection upon arriving this time, which was special and yet its gravitational pull sucked my waking and sleeping states into its vortex until we indeed became one. Not of body but of soul. Our connection was limitless – trespassing all boundaries of time, space and mundane restrictions. Upon entering my psyche through dreaming states, the physiological impact of his presence in waking states had me flushed and flustered yet unable to connect in person. I knew where he was, I could feel him coming and sense his needs all without a word, a look or a touch.
And so, the agony of this heart continues its karmic play through the union of separation! There is no way for me to connect as I wish to with this amazing being – he lives in the ashram, is a traditional sannyasi and for a host of other reasons, however my ability to love him continues through time and space eternal. And so, the theme of separation in this particular life devours all relationships. I have a Guru who I found after he left his body and so cannot connect with his form; a tradition which he left behind which I crave more of, though through an institution that preserves his legacy, in which I don’t belong; and the sunlight of my life has to remain firmly entrenched in the sky removed from my earthly domain.
STANDING ON MY OWN TWO FEET
So the purpose of this separation from my soulmate, this devastation I found within institutions and the awakening of my divine self through love exposes my need to stand on my own two feet. To claim my own powerful purpose for which I was formed and embodied in this life – to serve, love and give as only I can with these unique treasures. To finally relinquishing the belief that the world is hostile and that perhaps the force and source that created me, in fact loves me and wants me to thrive. To acknowledge that I have been designing and desiring all that was harmful and self-loathing, inducing failure to follow and form, as my creation. I am still unsure of how this dharmic path will unfurl through the landscapes of my life leading to the right of thriving and the left of giving, but this recent journey has revealed so clearly skills, beauty, strengths, weaknesses and my capacity to love.
I am asked who I am and to be honest, I don’t know if I am Nicolette or Atmanidhi or maybe even Dita! I don’t know what to call myself let alone have others call me – I am a new creation forming. I am unsure of how this consciousness and energy will form now that is has been touched and moulded so deeply by love. I don’t know how ashrams, or institutions, traditions or even how secular life fits into any of this new life, and where standing on my own two feet will find me standing. I know that even in separation, I don’t stand alone when I love and am the beloved of my Guru and the Divine. So for now, I will remain standing still without name or form and trust that whatever is forming will guide me towards my own unique growth and my purposeful path.
Though for now, one thing is for certain;
I am eternity
I am bliss divine and
I am living in your home
When I live my life just for the love of you
And with awareness call your name
I am eternity
I am bliss divine and
I am living in your home