Before the beginning, in November 2012, we began gathering
comments from prospective participants from around the world:
John H. gets pride of place for the first printable comment,
after reading the Introduction. Partly, I include this because I don’t want any
of you to feel daunted if the task ahead seems impossibly huge. It’s merely
very possibly huge:
There’s a lot to go over and over in the introduction. It’s
kind of like mowing the lawn - I
will have to do it and even when I could do it with my eyes closed, I’ll still
have to do it. Wow.
Jeez - it’s one of those words, like in the Oxford English Dictionary
must have 100 pages of instances because it has an amazing number of
uses Dang, this could get people -
me especially, really tongue-led up trying to explain. But it’s like vision
in a way - or any
sensation - when you don’t think about it or have a pre-set mindset about it -
when I taste coffee I taste it - I know it. The sensation and me are the same thing and in a way,
the coffee, too. I suppose that’s
why the Jacobean dudes who wrote up the King James version of the Bible used
the word ‘know” for making love - because one can kind of get into the knowing
place that way, too. How in
the world my mind gets so cluttered, i don’t know. I suspect it’s because some of life has been hurtful,
and advertently or inadvertently I’ve set up firewalls to stop the hurt
with my thoughts. I suppose
this is a must for our bodily and emotional survival - but golly, those
pre-sets can sure as heck close out some wonderful opportunities that could be
all because of fear.
Beautifully said! You may well be the first blast in the
class notes. You’ve hit the whole point exactly on the head.
big project, but remember dear old Douglas Adams’ motto: Don’t Panic! Some of
that guardedness is no longer necessary, and that’s what we’ll be shedding.
Necessary defenses are well and good, but many of them do go out of date
eventually. We should toss them out when their usefulness has ended.
one of those excellent “accidents” that we begin our study on the first day of
Divali, the Festival of Light, India’s most important celebration. That Alone
shines the light of wisdom as brightly as possible, and we intend to amplify it
and pass it along to the best of our ability. This is a most auspicious day.
few thoughts have drifted in, which I am eager to share. One was a reminder
that many have English as a second language, so we should all think in terms of
a global style of communication. Keep the wording as clear and simple as
possible. Slang and idioms are the hardest. But most everyone is quite
competent in English, I’m sure, so have no fear.
have new friends joining us from Latvia, Canada, and several from India. Always
happy to have fresh perspectives!
a few have already sent emails about our upcoming study. Here’s what we’ve
gotten so far.
joining us from Hawaii, speaks for many of us very eloquently:
That Alone: An Opening Comment
To say that I am a fan of That
Alone is an enormous
understatement. It is, in my estimation,
the most profound text I’ve ever run across, and I use the phrase in its most
literal sense. I was not looking
for it when I found it. I had
never heard of Vedanta at the time I stood in front of the book shelves at
Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon.
I’d just finished reading Aurobindo’s Life Divine and thought this might be the place to find something
else. Something else. What? (I later found out that Scott was responsible for the book
being there, but at the time names and forms filled an entirely different
universe for me.)
there it was, and my hand took that reach beyond its grasp. I’ve now spent
the last three years
reading and rereading its pages, writing about it, and continuously coming back
to it. Maybe I’m just not that
bright and faced with a true mystic and guru can only sense the enormous
distance between them and me. On
the other hand, trained and mis-trained by an American cultural and educational
system woefully behind the curve, I think my ignorance may have been the very
stuff out of which the Self must escape after it has finally had enough of the
game-playing and darkness. Who
knows? I didn’t and still don’t, but something there is at work in Narayana
Guru’s verses and Nitya Yati’s comments on them.
Nothing is left out.
Jake De Ste Croix, Nov. 2012
Pratibha, near San Francisco:
I’ve studied a number of ancient translated texts, and
wondering if it is similar to Atman Bodha.
I have the book THAT ALONE since time I attended Mr T’s
in Mountain View, CA
Who Am I? I would suggest is the topic of this book, and
reflection on the material deepens the knowledge of the subject, a very
Sadhana or regular spiritual practice is also needed.
from Trivandrum, will be a valuable addition:
Atmopadesa Sathakam, the One hundred verses of self
Instruction of Narayana Guru is not new to me. I know it and trying to understand deeply. I have
read most of the studies, narrations and commentaries available in
Malayalam about this book. I have the book That Alone The Core of Wisdom with
me. You know Mr. Showkath, one of the Disciples of Guru Nitya? He explained me
all this one hundred verses one by one like one verse one day .I feel
verses1-9,12-13, 15-17, 27, 29, 34-35,43-44,46, 49, 52 59, 69, 71, 74,76,82,
94,, 96-97 and 100 are the most influenced verses for me. Deeply wishes
to travel with your team in the journey of self Instruction/
John H, here in Portland:
I have wandered into the class because I am a wanderer. Not that I travel. What the work means
to me? It’s education and education
sometimes becomes meaningful on the spot, sometimes decades later. I guess I
have no expectations. I have a hard time getting my mind
around complex thoughts, however, I enjoy a state of perplexion over a state of
a perfection any day. As for
curious or passionate? I am
somewhat both and somewhat neither.
It’s funny, but sometimes the things I am the most passionate about are
the things that I am the most dispassionate about and sometimes things that
make me curious are also things that can’t be known.
is a physical participant living in Forest Grove:
I love this book!
Insight (chapters 50 - 100) follows out-sight (chapters 1 - 49). And just
like a coin, heads follows
tails. And all heads & tails are just two sides of the same
exact coin. It is my second
reading of That Alone (maybe this time around I’ll understand the other 95% of
the book). Even with only a small
portion of the book conceptually recognized, I now understand what Jesus said
regarding the identification of truth, “..truth will set you free..”.
Freedom in Being:
The One manifests as the Many. As human beings (One of the Many) we experience this
transactional form of being as a “perceived” Duality (One manifesting as the
Many). Just as the One
becomes the Many, the Many is a manifestation of the One (or
Complete Whole). The Whole
cannot be divided without losing its identity as The Whole. God cannot be
divided. The Absolute is indivisible. There
is nothing that exists outside
Allah. That which we perceive as
duality is an evolutionary utilitarian trait required by survival (nature) and
animated into Being as Yahweh.
Duality ceases to exist when relativity is seen as a synthesis for
duality’s multiple theses and antithesis (paradox). Existence Itself is the Guru-Principle-in-Action born of the
Great Karu (Self).
“…self-founded and self-established; it includes
all matrices of causes and effects…the womb of all while having no womb for
itself…pure duration that is generating the flux of time..” By: Nitya
Chaitanya Yati, “That
Alone” The Core of Wisdom (Atmopadesa Satakam)
I Am looking forward (and backward) to this study.
As before the gate is opened for the rodeo cowboys
sitting a saddle the bucking Brahma bull say, “let ‘er buck”.
I am gratified by all the contributions, an embarrassment of
riches. It looks like we’re assembling an all-star team! These are all really
wonderful, and it’s fun too know where everyone lives, too. Narayana Guru would
undoubtedly be pleased at the global tone:
from Eugene, Oregon, a poet, and mother of Kavi:
AHA! Ha ha ha! Ah...ahhh...
Always up for a wild rumpus ride.
In the saddle, releasing the reins,
channeling the journey into studio
and studio into the journey...
inspire, in spirit, in breath, in rumpus.
May the games begin!
Much love and gratitude to All.
from Brixham, England:
I first met the 100 verses of self instruction in India in
1987 when I spent some time in the Fernhill Gurukula with Guru Nitya. He gave
me a copy of his book: ‘Neither This nor That but Aum.’ It is a neat book which
gives a summary of each verse and I really loved it.
When I returned home I worked with each verse daily, so I
became familiar with it.
Many years later Nancy Yielding introduced me to the fuller
commentaries in the big book: ‘That Alone, the core of wisdom.’ Of course I was
captivated and soon after I was able to study it in a small group on line,
under Nancy’s tutelage.
We took 2 weeks for each verse so it was a long study and
each verse became a friend. We also had exercises, which meant reading the
verses in depth and seeing how they related to our lives and aspirations. It
was a wonderful journey which was so full of wisdom in many ordinary ways. So
it was possible to relate Guru Nitya’s commentary to our lives.
Now several years later, I am making the journey once more
in one of Nancy’s study groups on line. You may wonder why? Well, it is because
the book speaks to me in so many fresh ways every time I reread the
commentaries and I understand more fully the meaning of what is being said.
I already have many favourite pieces from the book which I
delve into when I need to be reminded that all is well and to bring me on track
I cannot really imagine my life without it.
For me the point of studying it and doing the exercises is
to remind, refresh and point me to the core of all wisdom.
It is such a worthwhile study.
The first verses tend to be more hard going but then they
open up like the petals of a Lotus flower and once on the amazing journey you
will never be the same again!
Many blessings. Wendy.
from Toronto, Canada brings an excellent background to us:
It is about ten years ago, for the first time I closely read
an interpretation of Atmo. That first reading was in Malayalam and perhaps one
of the earliest published interpretations, from 1926, authored by Satchitananda
Swami and presented to Narayana Guru on his 70th birthday. It is a precious
copy inherited from a grandfather’s keepsake trunk-box, and it is that book’s
second edition from 1951, published from Cochin by Aagamananda Swamikal of the
Advaita-ashram in Alwaye. Since then, as time has permitted, I have kept
reading other interpretations of Atmo, both in English and Malayalam.
Interestingly, I have noted informed improvements, beyond the verses, that have
been added-on by later interpreters, who were able to enhance the understanding
of Atmo building on earlier works and applying their broader and deeper
insights into Vedanta.
Personally, I look forward to this discussion to be an
opportunity to lay these works in front and take notes of the transformation of
the interpretations of Atmo over the century; to substantiate my reasoning for
why we today are better placed to appreciate the Guru than his contemporaries
and later bygone generations.
To summarize my observations, there are some conceptual
pillars of Vedanta that are set out in Atmo and - repeatedly emphasized -
applying different perspectives and analogies, verse after verse! Repeatedly -
so because the Guru it seems wanted to ‘drive the point’ to the reader (or user
of Atmo) to dwell, grasp and adopt them as one’s selfless outlook to the
Universe. No matter how deeply one reads into Atmo, there is yet more to
discover with each revisit; thereby humbling oneself - as far far short in
intelligence and realization of the then 41 year-old Guru who authored Atmo for
Lastly, if one is a native Malayalam speaker, there is yet
more surprises in the magic of the Guru’s tight ‘play of words’ within the
poetic meter (rhythmical structures) that will leave one dumbfounded, asking if
this truly came from a man, or directly from the intelligence of the Absolute.
In all humility, before the timeless wisdom of Sree Narayana
Guru and the Rshis that preceded and succeeded him.
sent some excerpts we will read out in class, time permitting, and introduces
As you know, I’m reading Atmo for the second time. The
time was about 8 years ago. I read a chapter a week over several years and,
along the way, discussed each chapter with Scott. That was life changing for
me. I feel as though my conscious mind and my unconscious mind both calmed and
settled as a good amount of fear, anxiety, and guilt melted away. That is not
to say that I do not still struggle with these but the difference now is that
my core is a vast ocean, connected to everything and I can almost always reach
As I read the introduction to Atmo this time through, I was
struck by how much more sense it made to me.
“While the prevailing belief of most of humanity is that
this world is either unreal or merely a practice ground for a future life in
another place, [Narayana Guru] knew from inner assurance that this was the
whole, and it was many times over more than enough. That Absolute, which
everyone spoke of in different ways, was itself manifesting as all This.
Everything was here, at this very moment. But when it was conceived of as
having a specific form, people tended to forget the original mold from which it
came--its Karu--and focus only on the form. This led to arguments and disputes.
But those who remembered the source had no need to quarrel, they were content
to know and share their knowledge.”
I think I had no idea what this meant before, just as I had
no idea what it was like to be a mother until my first child was born (and even
then, it has taken years to understand that). Atmo presents a truth that takes
time and effort to understand but I feel now so happy that I had the
opportunity to read it and to talk about it with Scott and to come to class all
these years. The universe has opened up and my perspective has changed
dramatically. I like the way the above passage very succinctly explains Vedanta
as Narayana and Nataraja and Nitya envisioned it. How truly beautiful that
this philosophy takes in not only the divine but also the beauty and value of
manifested human life, transient and challenging though it is.
“Humanity has a long history of listening to inspiring
of wisdom, nodding indulgently in vague appreciation, and then continuing on
unchanged, wandering in confusion and bringing misery and fear upon itself.
This stems from the methodological error of attributing authority to an outside
agency, such as a hypothetical god or gods or worse yet a priestly caste, and
relegating humans to an automatic and unremitting state of sin. This
unwarranted duality is effaced in Narayana Guru’s philosophy. Each of us is
seen to be of an equal status with all other elements of creation, and the
responsibility for action and understanding lies solely within the individual.
The world is unassailably united
with the perceiver of it, and what is done to it is done to oneself. This is a
radical revaluation that bestows a great freedom coupled equally with an
I have been very much a part of that Humanity that
attributes “authority to an outside agency.” It was incredibly refreshing to
begin a study and practice that was about understanding from within. Instead of
praying to an omnipotent deity and following rules of behavior, I was finding a
spark of the divine inside myself and making the study of Vedanta my own.
Instead of making my world and perspective myopic or self-centered, this made
me feel more empathetic, enthusiastic and full of love for myself and others.
Two more of the many parts I liked from the introduction:
“…the One Hundred Verses is a secret bomb aimed to
the hypocrisy and false ideology we carry around with us all the time.”
[Narayana’s] motto was that people should always be prepared
to “know and let know, rather than to argue and win.”
Even I have something to add:
was awakened by a most amusing dream this morning. I was with a group of
friends and family, and we were walking to our car that was some distance away
and out of sight. I offered to run ahead and bring the car back so everyone
else wouldn’t have to walk so far. I started jogging, then went faster and
faster, until I was sprinting down a typical suburban street almost like a
rocket. It felt like running as a child, hysterically fast, so fast the mind
could barely keep up. I awoke laughing in delight.
now I went on a run to see if the dream had influenced me, and I set a personal
record by a substantial margin for my 4 mile course. The best part, though, was
I realized the dream’s symbolism.
car is our vehicle, the thing that will carry us to our next destination. Right
now that means the wisdom of the three gurus packed into That Alone that our
group is heading toward. My impetus is to rush ahead (over 42 years of
preparation) and bring the vehicle back to where everyone else is, to make the
trip easier for them.
have little idea who might be jogging behind me, or walking or simply dawdling,
or who might have been captivated by some distraction and wandered off in
another direction entirely. It doesn’t matter. I just want the vehicle to be
conveniently available to those who want a terrific ride.
a prosaic type, my mind furnished a prosaic automobile for the vehicle. More
poetic sorts might imagine a boar or a tiger, or even a comet. But for a valet,
a down-to-earth attitude is quite good enough.
with several new friends, and with several more invisibly present from across
the globe, a substantial gathering squeezed into our toasty living room on this
auspicious evening, coinciding with the beginning of Divali, the Festival of
Light. We celebrated in the best possible way, by sharing and amplifying the
light as we have come to know it in our lives. The most gratifying aspect was
hearing how Atmopadesa Satakam, the Hundred Verses of Self-Instruction,
familiarly known as Atmo, has been a major influence in nearly everyone’s life.
To read it with absorption is to be transformed in a most positive way. Those
who have yet to cross the book’s threshold were tingling with eager
anticipation, almost like kids in line to sit on Santa’s lap. And well they
should tingle: this is a Santa who can make our fondest nonmaterial dreams come
true: helping us lighten the load of excess baggage we carry and restore a
spring to our step. The work is ours to do, but it is a decidedly joyful task
with such inspired guidance from Santa Narayana and his able helper, the good
of the introductory nature of this first class, we talked in a general way
about a few of Narayana Guru’s key ideas. One that is easy to take for granted
loomed surprisingly large: “Ours is to know and let know, not to argue and
win.” Meaning we come together to share what we’ve learned in a spirit of
mutual uplift, rather than to prove our superiority or the excellence of our
beliefs. If you adopt such an attitude, you very soon see how rare and in fact
revolutionary it is. We are weighted down with exaggerated egos busy defending
themselves by trying to defeat anything suspected of being an enemy, which
includes pretty much everybody. The whole thing is a ridiculous charade, but it
is so ubiquitous we aren’t sure how to let it go.
received a timely note right around class time, from an anonymous person
presumably in India. I should remind everyone to sign your emails, so that I
can give proper credit, and it’s nice to know where you live also. Anyway, our
friend correctly points out that Narayana Guru’s aim was for cooperation, a sea
change from the ethos of hostile competition that currently permeates so much
of human culture:
“Know and let know, rather
to argue and win”
This direction is absolutely
opposite to common style still practised in the world. It was started from
Darwin’s time when power-makers decided to propagate a rivalry of species.
Little bit before him a wise researcher Jean-Baptiste Lamarck lived who
postulated an evolution is based on co-operation [co-work] of species.
Unfortunately, his idea was discredited for political reasons. I am sure, a
philosophy of Sree Narayana Guru will place things on right places all around.
I feel, it is my biggest task of my life to learn it, to understand it and to promote
in my country___
Thankfully, the excesses attributed to Darwin but having a
rather longer history, are slowly giving way to a more generous appreciation of
the role of cooperation. Unfortunately, the limited liability corporations that
dominate the modern world are based on utterly ruthless competition, and the
destructiveness of that attitude is laid bare by them. This is a serious issue
that we will have to address later on. Mainly, the focus of the study is on our
Self, with the arrow of intent pointing inwards. Still, we won’t ignore the
implications in the world around.
was substantial discussion about the different tone of Atmo from the norm of
mutual hostility. So many of us grew up in the “argue and win” mode, where our
team is the best and our rivals be damned. With the Gurus’ help we are
realizing how poisonous and unnecessary that posture is. Whether rejection is a
political decision or merely conditioned behavior accepted without thought, it
instantly takes us out of our inner harmony and flings us into an uncertain
world filled with anxiety, want, and spiritual poverty, not to mention hatred
and anger for those so inclined. As the Introduction asserts, “the One Hundred
Verses is a secret bomb aimed to destroy the hypocrisy and false ideology we
carry around with us all the time.” Susan thought it isn’t an explosive bomb so
much as a gently cleansing agent. She talked about how she didn’t understand
most of it on her first reading, and even after studying it, it remained
bafflingly mysterious. And yet her life slowly changed, coming into line with
the outlook it teaches. And somehow it makes a lot of sense to her now.
is a really exciting aspect of the study. That Alone works perfectly well on
the surface level. It is easily one of the greatest books to be found anywhere.
But it somehow communicates to our deeper, unconscious levels too, drawing out
our best qualities which have been driven underground by the forces of society.
It makes sense that sitting at the feet of the Guru this could happen, but it’s
exciting to learn that the book has a least a measure of this magic in it all
by itself. Many who have read it and never knew Nitya have felt his living
presence speaking directly and intimately to them. We had several touching testimonials
last night. It is evident that the loving kindness and wisdom of Narayana Guru,
after passing through Nataraja Guru and Nitya, continues to reverberate in the
silent depths of our psyches thanks to these subtle footprints in the literary
sands of time.
promised to try to keep my part of the class notes short, for several reasons.
First is so that you will supply the missing material. Second, Nitya’s chapters
are so clear and excellent, all we have to do is read them. I don’t need to add
any explanation. And third, to reduce my own footprint, which has had its
moment in the sun. Don’t worry: despite my good intentions, I’m sure I’ll have
plenty to add.
study is for us to discover what’s been left out of our life so far, or what
needs to be encouraged to grow bigger. We won’t be content until we are
well-attuned to our inner nature, and in the meantime some of us will have a
nagging sense of unease to motivate us. This is a good thing, so long as we
respond excellently. Unease is the inner pressure to reform and realign our
attitudes and lifestyle. Unfortunately, the accepted response to anxiety or
doubt is to stamp out the symptoms with hard work, drugs,
entertainment—distractions of every type, you pick your favorite. Here at the
mystical feet of Narayana Guru and his able interpreter Nitya, we are called to
ignore distractions and bravely struggle to recover our true selves. Where so
many of life’s games are veiled ways to escape from ourselves, this philosophy
is the exact opposite. We will only be truly satisfied when we take our
rightful position at the center of our own being. It is not as easy as it
sounds! But as several people noted, when we return to our true nature, we
become more available for our fellow beings as well. When we live exclusively
for others, as others have told us to do, we all too easily become used up like
a broken container, unable to give anything to anyone. Susan put this
beautifully in a note, shared earlier but worth repeating:
I have been very much a part of
that Humanity that attributes “authority to an outside agency.” It was
incredibly refreshing to begin a study and practice that was about
understanding from within. Instead of praying to an omnipotent deity and
following rules of behavior, I was finding a spark of the divine inside myself
and making the study of Vedanta my own. Instead of making my world and
perspective myopic or self-centered, this made me feel more empathetic,
enthusiastic and full of love for myself and others.
Enthusiasm is the mark of alignment with our inner truth. It
is literally the expression of our inner god—in theos, the god within, gradually transformed into enthuse. The new
word coined for
psychedelics, entheogens, is really the same word, less corrupted by time. It
also means awakening the god within. Better to say awakening to the god within,
because it is not
asleep, by any means. Only we are. That is also the main intent of our study.
In the very first chapter we will be directly addressing our inner god, which
we call the Self or the Absolute in the Gurukula. There is a mystery in us that
is so vast, and yet we are only vaguely aware of it, if at all. That Alone will
strengthen that bond immensely, if we have the enthusiasm for it. There is no
need for any special technique or enlightening medicine. We will look inside,
and there it is. So come along, and feel free to share your best thoughts with
us along the way. Aum.
Part II – errata
sincere apologies to Wendy:
Scott……..I live in the
fishing port of BRIXHAM in Devon, [still flourishing] - not the small
village of Brixton!!!!!!!!! Please amend. Thank you.
Sujit pointed out a minor but real error in my Introduction,
which you can correct in your copies. Change “around the time” to read “a
number of years before” as the dates are between 1904-07. He wrote:
On page 7 of the
Intro document, the sentence copied below does not tie up with recorded
was written in 1897, at the request
of Narayana Guru's disciples, notably Sivalinga Swami, around the time he moved
from Aruvipuram to Sivagiri, the ashram near Varkala at which he centered the
last stage of his life."
Yes, Atmo is
thought to have been written around 1897, but Narayana Guru lived in
Aruvippuram all the way until 1907 (about 10 years more), after which he moved
base to Sivagiri, Varkala. So the second part of the sentence might need
In fact this
timeline (1897) is about mid-way of the period of 20 years (1887-1907) that
Narayana Guru spent at Aruvippuram, where Sivalinga Swami joined as his first
disciple in the early days there.
too much reaction yet. John H did respond to Narayana Guru’s maxim “Ours is to
know and let know, not to argue and win.” He also wondered what Divali means:
I love this and I "get it." Actually,
I think I kind of got it as an
undergraduate at Southern Oregon College when I took an intro to Philosophy
course and we studied the dialogues of Plato. When I learned that "argument" was not a win
or lose situation, but discourse to arrive at a truth such that there are no
losers, only winners who have partaken of the discourse. Not that I'm saying
all of Plato makes
sense to me - but it was one of those ah-ha moments when I learned that we can
all compete with each other to arrive at a truth and the point is for all of
the competitors to actually come out winners - not unlike a cross country match
where one is competing with oneself not to win or lose but to strengthen and
nourish the body with exercise.
This time of year is filled with celebrations of light
because it is leaving the northern hemisphere. Sort of like why we call it Labor Day - because nobody
works. Love it. Tell me more
about the holiday. Do they have a feast or is it a
fast? Or is it a fast feast? Do
people go each other houses a
lot, give gifts? I hope to shout that they don't go out and buy a
bunch of crap like we do here at Xmas time. Jeeez.
And first time attendee Stephanie sent a link related to the
class discussion initiated by Durga about “be here now”:
Thank you guys for such a great class! I cannot wait for the
next one. In response to some ideas talked about last night.... I thought [some
of you] might find this little video interesting : ) See you soon.
The above links to several other TED talks about the science
of happiness, which is coming closer and closer to the wisdom of the ancients.
This one is excellent: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy.html
Lastly but not leastly, Jean from Sweden sent a sketch of
her relationship to That Alone:
I did not discover the Atmo; it discovered me. On
November 5, 2003 I wrote in my diary: "I received a book from New Delhi, India today! That
Alone by Swami Nitya, edited by Scott. I felt so excited and happy!" But the book
then stood on my shelf unread. The vocabulary was strange, and my
life was too busy to read it-- busy with children growing up, an old neighbor
growing older, and many activities in the community. Then Nancy sent me a Christmas card and asked if I would
like to join a few other people in reading through this book together, one
verse every two weeks. (Wendy had
asked her on Nov. 9, 2003 to guide her study of That Alone.) My first reaction
was "No! I have
too much to do as it is." But
the thought persisted, and finally on January 12, 2004, I
accepted Nancy's offer. But
the others were already on verse 6! And Nancy herself was going
to India for all of March! So my start in this first-ever
study group felt awkward:
getting to know the others, trying to understand the strange
concepts, trying to catch up by working back on what I'd
missed. But Wendy, Gayathri, and Nancy all reached out to me, and
finally I started feeling that I was in a good place. We were together in this study from February 2004 to August
2008, on a trip of discovery. We
were all different people and close friends after 4.5 years together with
these sacred ideas guiding us all the way, untying emotional knots and increasing
acceptance and love of all life. A
half a year later, in 2009, I was even honored to visit India for the very
first time with Nancy-- a
dream-come-true at age 60. It's
hard to know how I would be different today without the Atmo. But it has
brought many pearls of great
value into my life. I look forward
to examining these 100 verses once again.
This time, maybe I can concentrate more on the verses themselves (and
less on myself) and understand them better.