Swami Satyananda Saraswati said, “The greatest journey is the journey within.”
Each person goes through their own spiritual journey. We connect to different things at different times of our life. We change, we grow, we make mistakes, and we grow again! At the end of the day whether we take big steps, small steps, or tiny steps, everyone tries to be better.
The words, the experiences, the things I see hear or read, the relationship I’m trying to build with myself and with the divine are all the things that have really transformed my life and who I am as a person. Sharing my spiritual journey gives learning all that I have so much more depth and meaning. In the Vedas it says knowledge is useless unless it is shared..and so these are just some of the things I’ve learned in life so far! I was brought up Christian although I lost my parents very soon. They always were open in big conversations about how we should be open to everything and not matter the traditions that we have as locals I should experience myself what I really like and as I grew up I wanted to discover more and to nourish my mind and soul with something that really suits me and makes my soul feel safe and secure. TBH I really enjoyed the culture and traditions, but as I grew up and continued these activities I began to wonder why do I do these things? Why am I saying these prayers and what do these prayers even mean?! I realized much of what I was doing was out of ritual rather than from my heart and so I didn’t have much of a connection while I was doing them. It lacked depth and understanding.
I am so fortunate to had a mother who threaded the “virus” of endless seeking and to be a free spirit without pointing fingers to the different. When I left for college/university a lady gave me a Bhagavad Gita and told me whenever I felt lost, sad, or scared that I should open up the Gita and it would give me some sort of relief. The book sat in my room for a year or two without being touched in my room at university. Then I lost my dad and I was completely alone and lost. I felt rootless. then decided I wanted to start reading the Gita to understand this missing piece. So I did. I started reading little bits at a time and ended up reading it all before I finished college. I can’t say I understood much of it, but it definitely sparked curiosity and opened up my heart to dive deeper. I became eager to learn and understand more.
When I came back to my home town after practicing yoga in my university and meeting some interesting public figures and hearing their speech, I started my research to connect somehow deeper. But I couldn’t find anything and when I finally stopped it found me. It was a yoga holistic centre in the city centre a warm place with a lovely teacher who introduced me to a world that I was always been craving to meet. With my health being unstable and having a name final lot for my disease I was unable to keep up with all my courses but I kept digging deeper and deeper. Once I was in Athens and I felt the need to visit the ashram of swami Sivamurti who was sent here by swami Satyananda. I’ve requested for a seva and after my day in the ashram I received my mantra and so I started the practice of mantra meditation. I used to pray in the morning, but didn’t really have a meditation practice. Interested in learning more, I decided to join the lady group of yoga commune attended lots of events and made incredible deep, meaningful friendships. I then started going to Bhagavad Gita courses, and how scriptures actually hold such timeless wisdom…As well as also odisi online dancing and obviously I had finally found my middle ground!
After watching a tone of videos of breathing techniques and practicing meditation with and without my teachers and losing myself into books. I started to practice it every morning I said I’ll do it for one week or two but it started to become a habit and this is how a year passed by and I can genuinely say it transformed my heart.
The reason I am sharing this story is because I have experienced a lot of doubts about my spirituality and that I’m raised and born in a different culture and also a lot of people were saying to me that meditation was so so hard for them and couldn’t even do it for five minutes. The more you practice and the more you are trying to master something that you really believe into will give you fruits.
Alongside my meditation practice, I was regularly attending classes of different monks and spiritual leaders, learning so much from each one. One day, I heard Swami Niranjananda speak (the heir of swami Satyananda – I often refer to him across my social media) and I felt the words rip through all the gunk and go straight to my heart! From reading his book, the SWAN he has started to better this world, I knew he was extremely rare and so so special.Finding a spiritual guide that strongly abides by the practices and values you are aspiring for and finding someone that you connect with, that you feel deeply encouraged by on your journey is the most precious thing. I would go as far as saying I believe it is a VITAL part of your journey. It does not require that person to physically be present to guide you, you may simply feel it through reading their books or hearing them speak. The impact of the person is what matters the most.
Remember, at the end of the day, your spiritual journey is your own and no one can tell you how to walk that path. However, what I can say from experience…it is so worth it!