by Rohini Ralby
The biblical myth of the Fall offers an understanding of the spiritual path. There is a purpose to God’s sending us out of the Garden of Eden: so we can become fully conscious and return to the Garden in a state of pure consciousness, pure Love. We have to work to purify in order to return to our Home. Before, we were bliss without awareness, with no understanding of our state or even of God. Only after being cast out and then having to work through our wrong understanding can we see what we lost, and also what we continue to choose. We have to give up who we think we are in order to be who we truly are: the Self, which is Love. This work is what we call spiritual practice, sādhana.
Without a good teacher, we can think we are becoming conscious when all our efforts have only added a layer of concepts to our small self. We change our idea of who we are instead of surrendering to being the Self. Not until we do the hard work of surrendering our wrong understanding, of giving up the ignorance that takes what is impermanent to be permanent, what is impure to be pure, what is misery to be happiness, what is not the self to be the Self, does our true Self emerge. Who we are is always here; we just don’t know that, because the small, shrunken, fallen self is veiled into believing it is Real.
Walking Home with Baba: The Heart of Spiritual Practice shares a path that has been walked for thousands of years; it also demonstrates the actual practice as taught by my Guru, Swami Muktananda. The teaching chapters explain where to go, why we are heading in this direction, and what tools to use on the journey. I provide some valuable tools I have developed in my years as a spiritual director, such as the Foursquare Personality Game, which reveals our attachments and allows us to transcend them. The anecdotes are teaching stories from my life with Muktananda. Those stories are not fables about sweet concepts. They are accounts that share the heat of one who lived in the fire of a realized being. They recount daily interactions always designed to remove my veils—not to tear me down but to shine a light on the false self, so I could let it go and the true Self could shine forth. Baba never wanted to build my small self back up; he wanted me to be as he was—pure Love—and I could not be that until I was willing to see and relinquish my own wrong understanding. This process had to be done consciously, not merely by the touch of grace but through hard work joined with the grace of the Guru. Ultimately, we have to surrender our small self; no one else, no matter how powerful and loving, can do that for us. The Guru will guide us, God will guide us, but in the end we have to remove the final veil by conscious, active surrender to God, the Self of All. We must break the cup and merge back into the ocean. Our individuality that was formed with the Fall has to be consciously let go.
Walking Home with Baba guides readers along the path back to our true home. There, we will live in what is called in Sanskrit sahaj samādhi, walking bliss: resting in the Heart, the innermost center, and being with the world simultaneously. This is the state in which we are the Witness of the waking, dream and deep sleep states. We are the Perceiver, not the perceived; the Subject and not an object. We are both immanent and transcendent. And though we may relate within the diversity of it all, we live in the universality, the Oneness, the Love, at the same time. Sat Cit Ānanda: Absolute Truth, Absolute Consciousness and Absolute Bliss.
About the Author: Rohini Ralby is a spiritual director and author based in Maryland in the United States. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and Mills College, she spent several years as a close personal disciple of Swami Muktananda, who taught her spiritual practice one-on-one. After his death, she began passing on his teachings, developing and incorporating her own techniques. Walking Home with Baba combines instruction in spiritual practice with anecdotes about her experiences with Muktananda. Her website, www.practiceforus.com, offers a wealth of resources, including a blog as well as audio and video downloads of recorded group classes.
Walking Home with Baba: The Heart of Spiritual Practice