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.
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:
- Realization about my relationship with relationships.
- Reading “The Power of Now“.
- Attended Swamiji’s weekend meditation retreats.
- Meditating daily (starting with 5 minutes and gradually moving to 30 minutes, twice a day).
- Giving gratitude daily, through visualization, or journaling.
- After reading “Ways of the Peaceful Warrior” I became inspired to eat a vegan diet.
- Stopped all consumption of coffee and alcohol.
- Sought happiness from within instead of external to myself.
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!