I found myself in my first yoga class as a freshman at Winthrop College, continuing after college to take yoga classes whenever possible, as well as pursuing many metaphysical teachings that came my way. An avid reader, I came across a book on Transcendental Meditation in the 70’s, gave myself a mantra since I couldn’t aﬀord to “buy” one, and began to meditate. I accidentally verified the impact of meditation on my pulse and blood pressure vital signs during a series of dental procedures where the nurse asked me to stop doing whatever I was doing (dropping into a meditative state) so she could get her numbers!
The whole body, mind, spirit connection was confirmed without a doubt. I felt less anxious, more at peace and energized as I continued my meditation and yoga practice while raising two children, teaching school, living and loving. I started to call my teachers to me, bringing many to deepen my understanding which I now love to share. Deepak Chopra’s and Wayne Dyer were two of my favorite authors during that time. Eventually, I was with them personally in workshops, along with many other popular teachers. The transcendental poets I fell in love with in school were precursors to modern day wisdom keepers, and I was open to them all.
My childhood was both magical and mundane, meaning everything from fairies and cloud busting to the typical woundings from conditioning like being raised a female in a male dominated South Carolina low country where learning to please others was considered a social attribute. It feels like this lifetime has held experiences of multiple lifetimes in one, and every single thing that’s happened has been for transformation, for good. As Leonard Cohen says in his song Anthem, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
My early childhood teaching career was intrinsically motivating as I created opportunities for my young students to recognize their unique gifts and talents. But at a point I followed spirit’s calling to retire early in order to fulfill my own potential. Eventually I begin to work with adults in their personal growth and transformation.
I now realize that Sri Ramana Maharshi was seen on black and white TV by me when I was a child, and there is a deep connection to his teachings and inquiry into Reality, Self. When I came in touch with the practice of inquiring, “Who am I?” later in life, and studying some of his teachings, it felt natural and familiar.
After a Kripaulu yoga teacher training in 2003, I opted to take my first Enlightenment intensive Retreat to do self-inquiry work. The Enlightenment Intensive Technique and support given me at the retreat changed my life by shedding light on my suﬀering. After telling all my stories, the stories were amazingly GONE, “I” as I’d known and identified myself was gone. A break- through into a Grace filled direct experience of who/what I was occurred and forever changed my life. After that first retreat, I traveled away every 3-4 months for other retreats, and began staﬃng.
In 2004, I trained with Lawrence Noyes to be an EI Master as well as a mind clearer. Charles Berner, Yogeshwar, was the originator of this work, and Lawrence initially a student of his took over the training program after Yogeshwar began to focus on Surrender Meditation as taught to him by Swami Kripaulu. At this time I was praying for exponential expansion of consciousness, and EI’s were providing the inner teacher or Higher Self an opportunity to directly experience Self, life and others in a way previously unknown to me.
Teachers continue to show up, life and love not being the least of these. Life also has a way of coming full-circle, as it did when I found Sri Amrit Desai in Salt Springs, FL. There I felt a deep reunion with the lineage and teachings of Gurudev (Beloved Teacher - Amritji), Bapuji (Beloved Father Swami Kripalu), and Dadaji (Beloved Grandfather Lord Lakulish). Gurudev initiated her with mantra and the Sanskrit name “Durga”, which had previously been directly experienced on an Intensive. It was an honor some time later to accept Gurudev’s request to work at Amrit Yoga Institute with him giving EI retreats.
Direct experiences bring us ‘home.” We are always seeking union, for there we find our True Nature, our Essence. Moving from ego to Essence is supported as we are in deep contact with Self, God, and others. Once we KNOW who and what we are, we have the journey of learning to express as the Divine, with all life as a dyad. One-on-one assisted dyad work with a clearer helps one to get clarity about things that appear as “problems.” It becomes easier to see where one is identifying, to see what is true and untrue as one comes more into reality with all as it is.
Sacred Space Inquiry was born out of an immense sense of gratitude for the gifts given and a love of watching the Divine unfold before my eyes in others. It can be challenging to be a modern mystic diving into the Mystery while fully engaged in life, but with support and guidance it is possible. It is a blessed opportunity to have the desire, intention and time to consciously inquire and evolve with contemplation and meditation. We are all in this together, and we can shed ego’s conditioning so that True Nature comes forth from this Sacred Space of Silence and Stillness. Here our full potential can flower as we create higher forms of beauty, love, service, and harmony.
Come out into the sunlit garden and let’s play together as we create an artful life, a heaven on Earth. I hope to meet and co-create with you soon! Durga Patricia Carroll