Saturday, August 4, 2012

Pamela Brockman - Art of Living Experience

Art of Living Teacher, ARTExcel, YES, Art of Silence Teacher, USA

A Poetic Beginning

The mindset started a long time ago. In high school, I studied the poetry of Walt Whitman, an American poet of the “transcendental” school of thought. The writers of this time were greatly influenced by the Vedas and other writings. Walt Whitman’s poem, “Song of Myself” is quite Vedantic in nature as he sees all of creation as part of himself. I was so intrigued by this concept, I longed to learn to meditate and experience this and not just read about it. In a few years, while in college, I learned Transcendental Meditation (Art of Living hadn’t been formed yet!). I was in heaven --it was exactly what I had been looking for. My anxieties quieted and people noticed how I had changed.

Fast forward to 1991, I was a new mom with a young son, wishing for another child but unable to conceive. I was fortunate to be able to stay home and care for my son whom I adore. But I also used to yell a lot and was frustrated at leaving my career. My meditations were still deep and I had begun to desire a Spiritual Director I could consult to guide my experience. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar came into my life through a friend. I was not able to have another child, but that became less of a worry as I became very busy organizing courses and events for the Art of Living. It was not a choice but rather something I felt was an important and necessary part of my life. A happening.

I continued to become more and more involved, becoming a teacher of the Art of Living Course in 1998, ART Excel and YES! In 2000, the Art of Silence Course after that, as well as facilitating the Eternity Process. Teaching YES! In the Schools, Breath Water Sound for Trauma Relief and Sri Sri Yoga followed then, too.

Tricky Ego
With my son in high school and then college, I began to travel to Central and South America to teach. People would ask me if I also teach Sahaj Samadhi,(now The Art of Meditation) and the desire arose in me to also teach this course, so I could be more useful wherever I go. Guru Dev came to Chicago where I live and I asked him if I could become a Sahaj teacher. He said, “Yes, but first do your Pooja Phase 1 & 2 Courses.”

Now, even though I didn’t know how to perform it, soon after my first Art of Living course, I began to offer flowers and water and incense and fruit to Guru Dev(Sri Sri) in gratitude for the knowledge, techniques and growth. I remembered parts of the TM version of the Guru Pooja and would love to listen to it whenever I could.  I found versions of the Guru Pooja and began to learn the words. I would look up meanings of words and make up the rest in my mind.
Then, in 2010 TTC for Sahaj was offered for the first time in a very long time. Since I had been singing puja for some time, with others who had learned it the correct way from Bhanu Didi (Guruji's Sister), I thought maybe I could skip the Guru Pooja Phase 1 & 2 Courses and just take the TTC.  Why not? I could be more useful then. The thought was "I knew the pooja, so why should I take time for that course?" My mind rationalized and churned with planning and I applied for the TTC. Two of my friends from South America wrote to Guru Dev for special approval to take the TTC (as it was supposed to be only for English speakers, and only one spoke English well) and he said, “Yes.” I thought, “Oh, well, I can write too and maybe he’ll say I can go too!!! I wrote him and..... He said, (of course) “Finish your Puja 1 & 2 first.”When I heard back from Guru Dev, I cried, that in the midst of all of his responsibilities and greater problems and concerns of many, many other devotees, he bothered to write to me and guide my growth. I melted. Totally grateful, I registered for Pooja 1, still a bit smug, but happily resigned to the process.

Being “Fully Cooked”

Guru Dev’s comment made such an impression on me. Being “fully cooked” means being so equanimous, so centered, that nothing and no one can pull you out from your Self. Who knows how long this would take? My mind began to relax and realize that it’s all about the process and not the goal. I knew this intellectually, but it began to sink in deeper, experientially. Guru Dev’s in charge....I am growing at my own pace, and practicing my knowledge diligently helps, but I will grow and be fully cooked in my own time.

Awakening to Humility

In Hartford at the Guru Pooja Phase 1 Course, I surrendered more and more. I learned a lot -- different pronunciations I hadn’t heard before, meanings I didn’t know. I became more humble and grateful to be an instrument, however I am used, doing my 100% to do the will of the Divine, not MY will. Being totally Hollow & Empty, open and willing, simple and happy! What a relief!!!!! Jai Guru Dev!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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