On Shraddha - Living Your Truth


Shraddha is most often defined as our faith.

But this is not just what we say we believe in. It is the expression of how we live our life. You could say it is our purpose that is expressed from the deepest part of ourselves. It is reflected in how we live life. 

We express Shraddha in how we think, speak, and behave. When we are living our truth we feel well. And when we allow other motives to drive our behavior and living we say and do things that can be harmful to us and others.

This year has been challenging to many of us, myself included. Since March, I have been stranded in Australia. I was here teaching when New Zealand closed its borders to all but citizens and permanent residents (I am unfortunately neither of those, yet!). All of this time away from the Hale Pule team and my dog, living in uncertainty, has required me to return to my shraddha, moment by moment, over and over again. 

My ability to reach inside to the deepest part of me has allowed me to remain clear and able to function in extraordinary circumstances, most of the time. I can’t say I haven’t had moments. It has certainly helped me to let go of attachments -  to stuff, to things going my way, to seeing the whole picture. My experience has been that when I don’t understand and cannot see the outcome of a situation, the results are far better than my imagination. It is my shraddha that has kept me going, and by this I mean a deep conviction to what is at the root of life. Even when things around me don’t make sense, I have strength and guidance when I turn inward to my shraddha. When I turn away, I am in self will, which brings me suffering rather than peace and happiness.

How can shraddha guide all of us through these tumultuous times?

It is our consistent practices that keep us connected to our shraddha. Sometimes it will feel like nothing is there. But it is there, deep inside of us. And it will give us confidence, hope, and peace. Our shraddha is what connects us to whatever we see as the source of the universe and the truth and consciousness that reveals the bliss of being to us.

sat chit ananda

This brings me to sat chit ananda, which is most commonly defined as truth, consciousness, bliss. We can think of it as the full experience of humanness, that which takes us to a higher level of living. It is the realization of the unchanging force in all of existence and beyond. I like to think of it as the description of the depth of humanity.  

The idea of sat chit ananda as a possibility is inspiring, but it may feel like a far off ideal to you in the current chaos. It’s not so far off. Truth and bliss is your true nature and you can become conscious of it by calming your mind with mantra. 

Mantra is meant to connect us to our ultimate reality, or the source of the universe, you could say. The so hum mantra, like most mantras, guides us to ourselves as part of the universe, rather than our individual separate ego-self. It is the vibration of the sanskrit language and the words put together that create the healing vibration of the mantra. I have experienced it as nourishing to the soul, giving a feeling of security, oneness, and peace. It is a prayer in the deepest sense.

so hum

The so hum mantra is simple and really best explained through your direct experience. It can be chanted internally or externally for 5-20 minutes or with a mala 108 times or multiples thereof. As with any mantra, sitting comfortably upright is ideal, chant so slowly with your inhale, and hum with the exhale. When the mind wanders, gently bring it back to focusing on the sound and feeling of the mantra. You might like to set a timer or use a mala. When you finish, come out of it by slowly and gently opening the eyes.

The so hum mantra is an easy way to start a meditation practice and explore how you can feel your shraddha.

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