I just realized that this is my 10th year in the local Siddha Yoga Meditation community. At the time I first went, it was about a block and half from my apartment, but it took me several months to get there. I don’t know the date of my first visit, though it would have been around this time in 1998. That was a hard year for me: my father died at the end of April that year, and I was also pushing myself to finish a dissertation in biology but my passion for academics was depleted.
I came with the hard questions in mind: how to be at peace with my father’s life and death (lived on his own terms, not in agreement with mine), how to be still, how to be present, how to let go of my expectations and be open to life as it really is.
I had an intuition that meditation would help. But sitting in meditation was excruciating. Moments passed like hours, my body ached and my mind worried and fretted. I came to the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center of Ann Arbor at the invitation of a friend, after a frustrating meditation class elsewhere. I came with the intention of learning to meditate, but my heart got caught up in chanting. Good thing, too, because it took me several years of chanting to be able to sit well for meditation. I suppose I had to clear my system, or else get comfortable, or maybe just grow into it. Hard to say. But now, after 10 years, I can see all that I have received from Siddha Yoga.
What a blessing the center, the community, the teachings, shared chanting, shared meditation, the friendships, and the grace of the guru have been for me.
Over the last 10 years, I have become:
- more gentle with myself,
- more thoughtful and grateful,
- more able to receive,
- more connected to others and more open to connection,
- more content.
Some of this is, perhaps, the wisdom acquired through an additional decade of living, but much of it was gained through the inspiration and teachings of the Siddha Yoga tradition and through applying the practices of chanting, meditation, and self-inquiry modeled at the center.
The Siddha Yoga Meditation Center in Ann Arbor is at 3017 Miller Road Ann Arbor, MI 48103. It’s just west of Ann Arbor, on the NW side of M-14. We have public programs Thursday evenings 7-8:30PM and Sunday mornings 9-10:30AM (often followed by breakfast/brunch). (edited to reflect new location in 2012).