Nitya Teachings

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That Alone - Introduction

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:

 

Holy cow!  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.

About “knowing.”   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.

 

My response:

 

Beautifully said! You may well be the first blast in the class notes. You’ve hit the whole point exactly on the head.

  Yes, it’s a 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 Necessary defenses are well and good, but many of them do go out of date eventually.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.

 

Class eve:

         It’s 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. Aum.

         A 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.

         We have new friends joining us from Latvia, Canada, and several from India. Always happy to have fresh perspectives!

         Quite a few have already sent emails about our upcoming study. Here’s what we’ve gotten so far.

 

         Jake, 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.) 

         So 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

 

         from Pratibha, near San Francisco:

I’ve studied a number of ancient translated texts, and this one I’m

wondering if it is similar to Atman Bodha.

I have the book THAT ALONE since time I attended Mr T’s talk 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 important point.

Sadhana or regular spiritual practice is also needed.

 

         Sindhu, 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/

 

Aum....

 

         from 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.

 

         Paul 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 within it 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”.

 

More:

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:

 

         Peggy 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.

 

         Wendy 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 again.

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!

 

Have fun!

 

Many blessings. Wendy.

 

         Sujit 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 posterity.

 

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.

 

Sujit

 

         Susan sent some excerpts we will read out in class, time permitting, and introduces herself:

 

As you know, I’m reading Atmo for the second time. The first 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 that.

 

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 words 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 unlimited responsibility.”

 

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 destroy 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.”

 

Aum,

Susan

 

Even I have something to add:

         I 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.

         Just 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.

         The 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.

         I 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.

         Being 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.

 

 

11/13/12

         Graced 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 elf Nitya.

         Because 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.

         I 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 than 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.

         There 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.

         This 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.

         I 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.

         This 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

  With my sincere apologies to Wendy:

 

Scott……..I live in the old 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 timelines:

 

"It 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 fixing.

 

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.

 

Part III

         Not 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.

Steph

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_killingsworth_want_to_be_happier_stay_in_the_moment.html

 

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.

 

Scott Teitsworth

rsteitsworth(at)yahoo.com