Think Simple Now — a moment of clarity

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Living Enlightenment

Photo by Kevin Russ

I have not spoken about this publicly, but one of the most extraordinary things that has ever happened to me was meeting an enlightened guru from India, named Paramahamsa Nithyananda, we call him Swamiji (Pronounced “Swan-me-jee”). The clarity I gained through meeting and learning from him was responsible for many of the lessons and simplicities behind Think Simple Now.

He is currently in the US, and as I was writing personal emails to close friends encouraging them to check him out, I felt that I would be doing my readers a great disservice, if I did not share him with you.

My Story

The happiest period of time in my life occurred during a six month stretch, roughly two years ago. I lovingly refer to this time as my “spiritual awakening” period. Several things contributed towards my falling into and staying in this state of bliss:

Attending his intensives was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed, and has shaped much of the understanding and clarity I now have.

At one point during the first meditation intensive he held in Seattle, during a lunch break where we were asked not to speak – I remember sitting on the carpet against the wall of the hotel lobby, holding my plate of curry and rice, and I was in such a state of bliss and contentment that I almost burst into tears of happiness.

Sitting there in that moment, I remember how extraordinarily happy and content I felt, and I thought to myself, “If I can hang on to this feeling forever, I am willing to give up everything I have in my life: my dog, my clothes, my loft, my savings, my job… everything.” It was a powerful moment.

Leaving the retreat, I felt light, calm and peaceful, and I had minimal thoughts and desires. With a quieter mind, clarity came. With clarity, a whole array of possibilities started to unfold in front of me.

During and after this intensive period of learning about the inner science, several miraculous scenarios started happening around me:

  • Career – I smoothly transitioned from software engineer to designer – a position that I had zero training in or professional experience with, and a transition that no one at amazon.com had ever successfully done. It was simply something my inner voice was telling me to do. I followed it, persisted, and my manager supported me with opportunities.
  • Passion – By listening to my inner voice, I started Think Simple Now. Something told me that it would succeed and it will help people. I simply listened to and followed my heart. And the site, with minimal marketing efforts, grew quickly.
  • Financial – Ways of financially sustaining myself also became clear. Through simplifying my life, I was able to eventually leave my day job.
  • Relationships – I noticed that I was attracting better quality people and relationships into my life. I experienced love several times, and eventually, found the “mate to my soul“.
  • Sleep – My sleep dramatically reduced to between 5-6 hours a night from 7-9 hours. I stopped using an alarm clock and woke up bright an early everyday, feeling more energized than ever before. As a result, my days were longer, and I had more time to pursue things I enjoyed with that extra few hours each day.

In short, during this spiritual phase of six month, I had fallen in love with myself, and truly connected with my inner Being. By doing so, I had cleared the path for everything that was to come afterwards: getting everything I have ever wanted, in every area of my life.

This is why I repeatedly write about the importance of connecting with, understanding, and loving ourselves first. Once the mental clutter and emotional baggage has been lifted from our shoulders, anything that we truly desire becomes not only possible, but probable.

 

A Word About Swamiji

If you have read (listening to the audio book doesn’t count) “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, and connected with the material, then you will love Swamiji – whose material goes one step deeper.

Swamiji (Paramahamsa Nithyananda) was enlightened at the age of 22, in 2000. The word “Nithyananda” means Eternal Bliss in Sanskrit. Within four years of founding the first mediation ashram with the mission of spreading the message of peace and bliss through individual transformation, there were over 1000 centers in 33 countries and 88 ashrams

I learned about Swamiji through my dad, who attended a month long meditation intensive with him in Bangalore, India, in early 2007.

At the time, Kumbh Mela – the largest human gathering in the world, with more than 70 million people – was happening. Swamiji was coronated as the youngest mahamandaleshwar by the order that has organized Kumbh Mela for the last 12,000 years, and was given the honor of being the first man to dip in the Ganga during the maha snaan or holy bath, followed by 90 million pilgrims. (See video here)

When my dad came back, he was a different person. He spoke with such calming presence, and I felt the inner stillness he now possessed. When I learned that Swamiji was coming to Seattle, I signed up instantly, without knowing what to expect. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

 

Events in the US

The current US calendar can be found here with events from March 21st till May 9th in several US cities. If you live near or can get yourself to LA, Phoenix, Seattle, Irving, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Houston, St. Louis, Columbus or San Jose, I highly recommend checking it out.

There are three types of programs listed on the calendar:

  • Yoga Sutras (Discourse) – two hour talks and one hour darshan. It’s free and open to the public. Happens from 7pm to 10pm.
  • Kalpataru Program (Workshop) – one full day intensive. In the workshops, he mostly talks, and you can feel a shift in your consciousness as you are present in the room. The collective energy is really amazing. Here is a blurb from the program description:
    • “In the Kalpataru program the Enlightened Master showers compassion on all of the devotees and enlivens everyone with the divine energy. He will help you prepare your body, mind and being to receive and imbibe the Master’s energy at a very deep level with meditation techniques and intellectual clarity.”
  • Yoga Spurana Program (Workshop) – two day meditation retreat. Here is a blurb from the program description:
    • “Yoga Spurana Program is a 2-day yoga workshop that facilitates the flowering of your consciousness through Yoga. It unfolds the multi dimensions of your existence. It seamlessly raises your consciousness, increases your productivity, brings clarity in all realms and leads you to success in all walks of life.”

The discourses are awesome, but my experience has been that the real gems are in the full day workshops. The energy at the workshops is much more intense and empowering. If you can, I highly recommend attending at least one of the workshops, and dropping into discourses whenever possible.

All money for workshops goes to the life bliss foundation, and counts as charitable contributions. The foundation uses the money to open meditation centers around the world, to build hospitals in India and for other humanitarian causes.

Jeremy and I will be at all the events in Seattle. If you’re local and plan on coming, be sure to swing by and say hi to us.

 

What If I’m Not in the US? Or Can’t Make It?

For workshops conducted by Swamiji himself, schedules for India and other Asian countries are posted here. For Canada (which has just completed) dates are posted here when they happen.

Regular workshops and group meditation schedules are listed here at various centers in North America and Europe. A listing of all centers around the world can be found here (Click on Others) – including places like Taiwan, Caribbean Islands, Australia, France, Brazil, New Zealand, Dubai, Singapore and Malaysia. I recommend going to the intro meditation classes, or attend Satsang at a local center.

Grab a copy of his book Guaranteed Solutions (for Sex, Worry, Fear, Jealousy, Attention-need, Ego, Discontent), and see where it leads you. His new book “Living Enlightenment”, which I’ve heard amazing things about, is not yet available online, but you can purchase it at the events; keep an eye out for it if you do go.

 

What Can I Do Now?

All the workshops, meditation groups and books are resources to help us live a more conscious and happy life. However, it doesn’t mean it’s the only way. We can start right now.

Take a few minutes right now. Close your eyes, and just put all your focus onto your breathe. Slow down the inhales and the exhalations as you breathe. When your mind starts to wander off to random thoughts, gently bring your attention back onto your breath. Be patient with yourself, as with anything, you get better at it with practice.

Unplug the phones, turn off the computer, shut out distractions, temporarily drop the urgent demands tugging at your attention and spend some quality time on your own. Read a book, take a bath, go for a walk, take a yoga class, sit in your favorite cafe. And as you are doing these self-connecting activities, take moments of pause to take it all in, to appreciate this time, to give gratitude for being ALIVE and for living with such an abundance of JOY.

LIFE is all around us, and it is beautiful! All we need to do to tap into that is to take the time to recognize it, to appreciate it and to LIVE it…. Starting right now!

* What activities do you enjoy doing, that you haven’t taken the time to do for yourself lately? Share your thoughts in the comment section. See you there!

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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49 thoughts on Living Enlightenment

  1. Tina – Thanks for sharing your story. I found it very interesting and I really appreciated the section on what we can do now.

  2. Uzma

    Hey Tina.
    Me again. You seem to say that after your enlightening experience , your purpose or your way became clear to, on its own, without much prodding. Almost like a way just came before you ,in terms of your new job and blog . It makes moving forward seem effortless, all that one has to do is find the moment of awareness and flow with it. Things begin to fall into place. Am I correct? Is awareness all that one needs.

    Looking forward to your ideas.
    Blessings.

  3. Hi Michelle C,

    Nice to see you here. Thank you for sharing your story. I enjoyed reading your comment! To answer your question:

    > I am contemplating starting meditation and yoga, but I don’t know where to start.

    Start right now, anywhere. Close your eyes and put all your attention on your breath. When you find your mind wandering, gently bring your attention back to your breath. Set a timer for 10 minutes from now. This is meditation. Nothing fancy. It’s easy and you can do it right now. Try it for 5 minutes.

    > How much more does the book Power of Now add to the audiobook (why do you say the audiobook doesn’t count?)

    From feedback I gathered from people, when listening to the audio book, it tends to put people to sleep. Then they dismiss “The Power of Now” as boring and uneffective.

    I feel strongly about reading it in your own voice. It’s one of those books that you read through slowly, and often will find yourself re-reading sections over and over. The audio-books doesn’t work as well in this regard.

    I’m not against the audio book, they’re great to have in your mp3 player as a reminder when you’re on the move. However, I still recommend people to read it the actual book.

    >What kind of meditation do you recommend (e.g. Zen, Mindfulness, or one of the various other types)? Similarly, what type of yoga to start with? Do you have any recommendations for DVDs or CDs to use as guides?

    Meditation: start with the basic breathing that I have described above. No fancy names. You’re in Vancouver, I highly recommend getting in touch with someone at Life Bliss in Vancouver. They have a very strong group of people and they will teach you meditation and yoga from swamiji. Calendar here: (scroll down to Vancouver)
    http://www.lifeblissfoundation.org/events_satsang.asp
    Here’s the meetup page: http://meditation.meetup.com/335/

  4. Hi Uzma,

    I would say that it wasn’t just that one particular experience, but the entire period that contributed to a new state of Being. It wasn’t a sudden over night change, but something I noticed within myself over time.

    I noticed that I was more sensitive to my inner voice, and that by following it, it leads to something that benefited my wellbeing. It wasn’t easy to always follow my inner voice, because I’ve had years of practice not listening to it. :) So I had to practice. And I am still practicing and feel that I am getting better at it.

    To answer your question, yes, awareness is essentially all we need, but a constant state of awareness is not possible unless you were an enlightened person (without ego). This doesn’t mean that we cannot strive to be as aware and conscious as we can. And a regular practice of meditation is definitely the answer to becoming more aware.

    Warmly,
    Tina

  5. Jon

    About the audiobook version of “The Power of Now,” I once made the mistake of taking it along on a personal road trip. I turned it off and never finished it after dangeroulsy nodding off far too many times.

    The book is a treasure.

  6. Uzma

    Dear Tina,
    Thank you ever so much for your warm reply of my queries and for taking the time to answer them.
    God bless,
    Uzma

  7. Hello!
    I just found your wonderful little site! All your reflections are so wonderful & inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing all your wisdom! :)
    sincerely,
    Sarah Leighann

  8. Patty

    Hi Tina,

    I read your blog about enlightment and I found it very satisfying and interesting. I wasn’t aware of a 30 yr old Guru from India who has experienced enlightment and was travelling all over the world. I’m amazed of how much can be accomplished in 30 yrs. Swamiji is the same age as I am and I feel we are worlds apart, but now finally closing in on each other. I have read Echart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth’ and now reading the ‘Power or Now’ and am meditating, except not as often as I would like. But I will take some of your advice about meditating techniques and finding creativity techniques.

    As for my creativity, I have felt and feel it lacks some, but after reading your article, you say that we always have it and just need to tap into it. So I will try and definitely keep you posted on my outcome. I too want to leave my day-time job and enjoy being me in the universe without financial restraints. I’m hoping through meditation, stillness and being in the now I will find the right path in experiencing that.

    Unfortunately I will not be able to attend any of Swamiji’s tours in the USA due to a change in jobs, but I know that if its in my path to meet him then I will experience it. Also I appreciate the info you gave about finding others in my local area to meet and meditate with. I have been thinking of doing that for some time and wasn’t sure where to start or where to look. I’ll have to look into that some more.

    Overall, I’m quite impressed with your blog and it was/is something I would like to do but not sure how to get started. Can you give any suggestions?

    God Bless you Tina and thank you.

  9. Just curious, why does listening to Tolle’s audiobook not count?

  10. Diana, I thought that Tina and others answered the question above, but I’ll add my 2 cents fwiw.

    I too find that audiobooks, of non-fiction in particular, are real dozers too. I find that self help books and non-fiction are things that I often have to put my thinking cap on for.

    When I read a passage, I stop, think what it means to me, think how it applies to my life… and then I’m ready to move on… With a book, you put yourself into the shoes that the words are providing and you take it at your own pace.

    Audiobooks just roll forward, whether you are ready or not… not time for the necessary reflection when something said might trigger some deep exploration of your own feelings.

    That might be a different reason why Tina said, “they don’t count”, but that’s my opinion on audiobooks and why they are not so effective. I like the control that reading a book gives me and I seem to get much more out of books.

  11. Mark, that’s perfect! Thank you for adding in your thoughts about the audio book.

    Diana,

    If is for that same reason, that people tend to fall asleep when listening to it, and then dismissing the “book” as boring.

    As what Jon said above, summarized it nicely:

    “About the audiobook version of “The Power of Now,” I once made the mistake of taking it along on a personal road trip. I turned it off and never finished it after dangeroulsy nodding off far too many times.

    The book is a treasure.”

    Indeed, the book is a treasure, and it allows you to read it at your own pace, and stopping when you feel like it to allow it to sink in, and applying its meanings into your own life story.

    The physical book really is a treasure!

  12. Thank you both, Mark and Tina. I wrote a post on my blog, “Are Audio Books Cheating,” but myself and most of my readers tend to read novels and fiction, so it’s a very different perspective. With fiction, like watching a movie, you can absorb and imagine as well listening as you can reading in some people’s opinions…but to me, it’s exactly the way Mark explained. To me, fiction is more about experiencing a story in full, but similarly to non-fiction, specifically self-oriented books, it’s all about absorption and understanding. In short, I agree that audiobooks are cheating.
    Thank you very much for taking the time to give me your thoughts about it.

  13. Hi Tina,
    Good writeup. Have heard so much about the Nityanand Ashram – practically next door back home …

    Thank you for sharing your experiences in such a straightforward and simple manner. I will have to check it out soon!

  14. Thanks for sharing the information! I love it.

  15. Shaunda

    Hi Tina –

    Firstly, I’d like to say that after a long stint of not being spiritual and a series of bizarre/stressful events I found myself going to a Buddhist temple and still do 1-2 times a week! I have found a lot of happiness and many long-term solutions to life issues through this practice. I wanted to give a warm thank you for the inspiration – after reading your blog basically daily, your enthusiasm gave me the courage to see it through!

    I signed up for Nathyanda’s daylong meditation class, and after looking at some of his tour pictures I was wondering if you were aware of any customs that I should be aware of before I go? I noticed many people wore white and also purple scarves… I’m guessing it isn’t a big deal to ignore those certain logistics, but since I’m not familliar with hindu customs I thought I’d ask just in case something I wore/did could be considered rude.

    Thanks for your help!
    Shaunda

  16. Hi Shaunda,

    There are no special customs or required dress codes, however, I’ve noticed at a lot of people wear white as well, or Indian inspired shirts (those loose cotton ones). Anything comfortable will do fine. The first time, I wore white yoga pants, and a shirt. I would wear layers, so you can take off or add on to adjust temperature. Not a bad idea to bring a water bottle, they have water there, but I prefer to have the water beside me.

    Also, during Darshan (energy sessions), many hindus, by tradition will bow down completely by his feet. This is not required. I just put my hands together in Namaste and give gratitude instead of bowing.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.

    Warmly,
    Tina

  17. Will

    Tina,

    I live in the Los Angeles area.

    I just happened to read your blog the day this was posted. I had just started reading Tolle’s “The Power of Now,” and your comparison of Swamiji to Tolle intrigued me. I navigated to the US tour dates list, and lo and behold, there was a 2-day seminar one hour from my house. Based upon the strength of your recommendation and the size of my recent tax refund :P I decided on a whim to just do it.

    It changed my life. Being touched by him, in particular, awakened me. I haven’t felt that way in years.

    I wrote a four-page journal entry describing my experience in detail, which I may yet post somewhere. I’m tempted to start a blog just for that purpose!

    I wanted to express my gratitude to you for deciding to share this with us. I really value your site, and it was based upon the strength of your recommendation that I decided to do it. I’m so glad I did.

    Bliss,
    Will

    P.S. Get Living Enlightenment. It’s like the Cliff’s notes to the entire life bliss program. Swamiji signed mine! :D

  18. Patrick Finucane

    Tina: It was a great pleasure to meet you this last weekend at Swamiji’s workshop (doesn’t quite feel like the right term). We shared a brief meal together. I loved the sound of your internet project and am most impressed now that I have seen your work. I wish you much success with this project and more importantly all blessings and love in your marriage and your life.
    Nithyananda
    p

  19. Thanks for this post. I felt connected with you when you shared this. One thing that stood out for me was that, when you recognized you would be willing to give everything up — all the striving and struggle to be somebody or get this or that — what you wanted in your life finally started to take shape.

  20. Dear Sis.Tina Su,

    Happy Wesak 2u ! May you be Well & Happy always……
    Do contact me whenever you are in Malaysia.

    With Metta Meditation from:
    Bro.David Karuna Tan
    Email: dkarunatan@gmail.com
    http;//dhammadutta.multiply.com

  21. dhena

    hi, i just read your site.. i am an ardent devotee of Paramahamsa Nithyananda.. and its amazing how he has touched my life.. and many more lives around us..

    dhena

  22. Great articles. Keep it up.

  23. Joy in Seattle

    Anyone who advocates veganism is not enlightened. With enlightenment you realize that “suffering” is not a negative. All life dies and all life is designed to give and take in a complex circle. Death is not something to be mourned but to be revered. There is great beauty in eating a chicken.

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