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. A disciplined path of experiential learning is a good idea. One way to do this is to follow the teachings of a “Guru.”

    One must be careful though to retain their own power and yet still have the humility to learn. It’s a tricky balance for some.

  2. Vrishali

    Hi Tina,

    I knew about him through your links to the book guaranteed solutions,
    I had always been in search of a Guru and thought I found him.
    unluckly, he had been in Toronto where I live but missed the opportunity to see him. I found out the night, when it was over. If I could, i will go to Banglore to meet him.

    Thanks for acknowledging him and sharing that he has changed your life.

  3. Sven

    Great blog. Just reading these posts makes me feel so much better about everything.

  4. Too bad he won’t be coming to Chicago.
    I take a yoga class every week and find that I feel wonderfully happy, peaceful, & relaxed after each class. How nice it would be to always feel this way.

  5. Tina,

    When I can feel someone’s presence via their writing it’s remarkably profound.

    I can only imagine what you’re like in person.

  6. Uzma

    Hey Tina.

    Thank you for a wonderful post. Been eagerly looking forward to your new post and glad to find it, so beautiful, clear and simple.

    Love is beautiful. It is everywhere.In a teacher,guide, in wisdom, even in clear profound words. How lovely it must be to express love, to be replete with it and become a channel of it.

    God bless you.

  7. Uzma

    Some quick questions:

    1. How important is self work and the discovery and elimination of limiting beliefs vs. meditation, and building a loving, compassionate practise? I often feel a regular meditation practise and acceptance of self and others, and seeing and expereincing Love in all , is enough. Negativity, limiting beliefs should fall aside. What do you think?

    2. Can one meditate when surrounded by noise. for eg. living on a busy street, where there is bound to be street noise etc, or living near a construction site? No one to disturb the mind, but sounds are around. Can one focus on breath and still discover peace, like this.
    Thanks a lot.

  8. Hi Uzma! :)

    To answer your questions:

    1. Great question! I believe that meditation is a tool to quiet the mind. When the mind is quiet, more messages, truth, and awareness can be registered. As we gain more conscious awareness, the more wisdom we gain that’s closer to truth. Truth is universal. Limiting beliefs are not truth, and as we becomes more conscious of ourselves and better understandings of the ego, we shed light on the limiting beliefs.

    I feel that a regular meditation practice, along with living consciously, and mindfully (to the best of our abilities), will help us get one step closer to truth. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t work on both at the same time. :)

    2. The short answer is yes.

    I live by a busy street, and there is construction going on at the building next door. Sometimes, I would focus solely on the noises around me instead of my breath. The point isn’t necessarily to focus on your breath, but rather to focus on something, anything, that you can go back to when you find your mind wandering.

    In Buddhist meditation, they teach that you can focus on any one of: breath, sound, vision (ie. looking at one thing, like a flower), or mantra (ie. repeating a word either verbally or in your mind).

    I found vision to be distracting, even if my eyes are open just a little bit. I prefer breath, or sound. Pick one, and go with it. Sometimes, I meditate while listening to Stan Richardson’s Japanese Shakuhachi Flute (wonderful stuff).

    Warmly,
    Tina

  9. Uzma

    Thanks a lot Tina. That was great advise.
    Yup, will focus , despite the noise. I suppose that is the point anyway.
    To find peace ,in anything.

    Thank you soo soo much. Its very motivating to connect with you. I feel a Oneness.

    Blessings , peace and much ,much love
    Uzma

  10. Thanks for sharing your transforming experience. I’m often amazed how growth and useful realizations happen in spurts.

  11. Thank you for the recommendation Tina. I had seen Swamiji’s book in your sidebar and read something about him on your site. But I didn’t really dig any deeper, so it was nice to find out more. I will definitely look forward to the next time he comes to Canada, or if he is ever in another place at the same time as I am. :)

    I have felt that giving myself some quiet time can really transform my life. I know that it’s best to turn off my computer and just relax, and I can get myself there most days. But other days I’m too caught up in the day-to-day to return to myself.

    I really think it’s awesome what you’ve been able to “accomplish” by going deeper within.

  12. Man

    What I can say is that there is nothing special and new if you are buddhistism. If you wish to know more about “Yourself” , you should pursuit Buddha Teaching.

  13. pm

    Information for living better is always great reference. Sometimes it we have to take some time to stop before we can go-go-go some more. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Valuable insights; I’d just add that staying in a permanent state of bliss isn’t possible. A very real aspect of spirituality is our contingency and mortality as humans. Dealing with adversity is unavoidable.

  15. The Power of Now is a great book… I’m still doing my best to grasp it fully and live it. Maybe you can have another entry on how you tap into the power of now? =)

    Cheers,
    Shun Jian
    RichGrad.com
    Personal Development for the Book Smart

  16. Hi Tina,

    Reading this post was like reading about my spiritual journey. It is always so beautiful to notice that so many people come across similar things when they decide to change their life around.

    Buddhism saved my life and helped me to find happiness. Like you, I met my husband after I began to change my life around. My life was not very bad before but it was empty.

    My love for Eastern thought caused my husband and I to go live in India for six months in order to experience certain things first hand. So you and your husband should go if you can. Nothing beats going to the land where Buddhism and Hinduism originated.

    Have a wonderful time at the Seattle program and thanks again for such a great post!

    Keep Smiling! :)

  17. Gina

    You know we’re living in a material society when we refer to our dog, our companion that gives unconditional love as a ‘material possession’ along with clothes, money and a loft.
    I don’t know which one to feel sorry for, the dog or the human.

  18. Gina,

    You’re right, we do live in a material society. That’s why the moment felt profound.

    Specifically, I was referring more to “external attachments” instead of “material possession”. In that moment, I felt that I could renounce everything, and understood, however brief, what monks experience when they renounce all their worldly possessions and relationships before devoting themselves to study at a monastery.

  19. I was originally only going to attend one of the discourses, but your post has got me thinking more about the workshops. I saw the Paramahansa Nithyananda a few years ago at a Sangam in Cupertino, CA. That was before I fully understood his spiritual stature. Thank you for this post.

  20. Thanks so much for sharing this with us Tina. I attended a wellness retreat in Mexico in January and have been meditating every day since. It has done so much for my calmness and presence. I have been looking all over for a good retreat. I think Chelsea and I are going to have to attend on of these. Either in San Jose or Seattle. Maybe we’ll see you there!

    -Scott

  21. I’d caught some satsang on TV a few years ago. Made me think a bit about my relationship with the world and others a bit. I think it helped me though.

    I don’t meditate very often in the strict sense, but today was a very meditative day for me (relatively speaking). Kids went back to their Mom’s, and I decided that I would do little work today. Quiet classical music on most of the day. Took time to stand outside to see how Spring was making progress in getting here in the Northeast. Just looking up at the trees, listening to the birds.

    I spent some time sitting in the living room with the music and a notebook, and started plotting out my schedule with your advice from another post. Writing down the things that I need to get done.

    Made a nice meal. Chilled out. I haven’t feel like this since I don’t know when. Just much calmer than usual. Then I caught up with my email and my favorite blogs. Always appreciate you sharing yourself like this. Thanks!

  22. Thanks for sharing. Also, I just read “Ways of the Peaceful Warrior” and thought it was fantastic. ;-)

  23. Antonia

    Wow, Tina! This is a great post (another one).

    But no! Don’t give up on your dogs (I joke), haha!!

    Much love.

  24. Mr.M

    Wow! So simple, So true, So Powerful… at this moment, my gratitude goes out to you. Thank you… M

  25. Michelle C

    Tina, thanks for this reflective and inspiring piece. How coincidental that you post about this topic of inner peace and enlightenment. I have started to read (or listen to) things like Power of Now, and Mindfulness Meditation. I am contemplating starting meditation and yoga, but I don’t know where to start.

    Can I ask you a couple of questions? How much more does the book Power of Now add to the audiobook (why do you say the audiobook doesn’t count?) 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?

    The trigger for my search started recently when I got yelled at 5 times in 10 minutes at work. Even though I knew that I hadn’t done anything wrong, and in fact had stepped up to the plate in stressful situations, these incidents put me into a couple days of fight or flight response. It didn’t help that the babies I was advocating for turned out to be very sick, one was likely going to die. Anyways, while other people’s actions were inappropriate and unprofessional, I realize now that my (unconscious) response was exaggerated (I stopped sleeping, eating, and feeling). So now I’m searching for ways to increase my self-awareness and self-worth so that next time I get yelled at, I can let it slide off my back.

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