Just how far can you really go with meditation?
In most ways Sarada Chiruvolu is no different from the billions of people who share the earth today. She was 14 years-old when she left India and made the United States her permanent residence. Although she has spent many years in the US, Eastern cultural roots have remained well established and at the forefront of her life.
After completing school, Chiruvolu worked many years with various pharmaceutical companies and other medical industries. She married, raised a family and led a normal life.
Up until this point, Chiruvolu never considered herself a spiritual person.
It wasn’t until nine years ago that her interest in Reiki healing led her to meditation, and what would later become the most profound spiritual transformation of her life.
In an exclusive interview, Sarada Chiruvolu discusses her book, Home at Last, which tells the extraordinary journey of her evolution as she moved through the ascension process to become a Self-Realized soul by using meditation:
BJB: Reaching a higher level and dimension of consciousness took 10 years. What does it mean to be a Realized Soul? What does it mean when realization takes place?
SC: It means to lift our self to a higher state of consciousness. We live in limited consciousness where we’re able to function well with small day-to-day stuff and keep going in this materialistic life. Bringing our self to a different level (of consciousness) entails a lot of practice and to be in the right place for an evolutionary journey.
We’re all evolving at a certain pace. When it’s time for an individual to get to that, they can experience that expansion of consciousness, the unification of everything that is and that Oneness of existence. When I say one can experience this through meditation, or any kind of spiritual practice, one gets there because meditation is the most direct way to that point.
There is a divinity within all of us, and we’re tapping into that divinity. We’re all one and that Oneness. To tap into that takes a while for each one of us. That is what I mean by self-realization; you get to experience that Oneness and then you’re finally Home.
This is why the book is entitled, Home at Last.
BJB: How do you know when you’ve gone as far as you can go with your spiritual practice on your own? What begins to happen and what do you notice when you’re ready to learn from a highly evolved soul, Guru and have a deeper experience?
SC: There will be signs that will express itself within your system. The body is an instrument and we feel everything through the body, such as how you’re advancing in each step of the way. It’s the quietude of a different state when you’re raising yourself to a different level of consciousness, that dimension itself will give you signs and indications that you are moving forward.
For example, when people talk about awakening, what does that mean exactly?
Awakening is an indication that you’re ready to raise yourself to a higher state of consciousness. That inner energy is preparing you to move forward.
In my case, I wasn’t practicing anything spiritual prior to this whole thing happening. I was simply leading my life, working, with a husband family and normal life but, I was taken toward that direction. When it’s your time, and when an individual gets ready, it takes a turn. You will know what to do.
BJB: On page 42 you write about being drawn to Sri Amma Karunamayi but then was later told by her that she had called to you. How do spiritual teachers become aware of potential students and begin to send messages to attract them?
SC: These beings like Sri Amma Karunamayi, highly evolved spiritual beings, come for a purpose to raise human consciousness. They know who is ready, who is not and which being is developing the ability to transcend. They come to help you. You resonate with them, they become your teacher or Guru. That’s what happened to me. I met her on the latter part of my journey, which by then I was meditating for many hours a day and moving along in the process of ascension. I became curious and wanted to meet somebody like Amma.
BJB: On page 25 you write, David Hawkins says in his book Transcending the Levels of Consciousness, as one moves to a new level of consciousness, “…there is a disparity of styles of processing information from linear presentation to a nonlinear awareness…” Can you explain how meditation changes the way the mind processes information?
SC: We normally have a certain way of thinking, planning and being in day-to-day life.
When we experience higher state of consciousness, or after Self-Realization, the mind no longer processes in a sequential linear style with reason and logic prioritizing or compartmentalizing everything the way we always do in our normal life. From this point on it acts and does every thing moment to moment. What ever we do it gets done without any planning or organizing in a sequential manner like we always do.
What ever needs to be done it presents itself instantly and we just do it.
For example, if I say, “I want to write this book.” I write the book. There’s one thing going on at that moment, no other deviation, no other planning or thinking like, ‘When this is finished I’m going to do this, this and this…’ and so on. I’m just writing the book. When you’re expanding your consciousness it’s all about the now. Being in the moment is what is important.
BJB: How do you approach daily life after moving into a heightened state of awareness?
SC: You do things with presence and a much higher capacity. You have confidence and energy within you that makes you feel like you’re working with a “200 watt bulb” instead of a “25 watt bulb.” You can do so much more than before. Life is richer. The purpose of all of this is to function well in this life.
BJB: How does one know that Kundalini is beginning to rise when you are a relatively consistent meditator? Did you have physical symptoms?
SC: You will definitely know when the Kundalini, or as most teachers call it inner energy, is no longer dormant. This energy awakens with different spiritual practices, mostly through meditation. When one is ready to transcend or gets the ability to transcend, it’s awakened.
That means this inner energy is now helping you to elevate yourself, and raise your consciousness to the point where you can self-realize. When something new is in your system, and you’re functioning with a different level of inner energy it has an impact on your body, but you can handle it because you know what’s happening. This is an indication that you’re going in the right direction.
BJB: Can you talk about moving energy during a meditative state to relieve physical pain in a specific area of the body?
SC: This capability, of what you can do with your mind, is here when you become a really good meditator. You can move the inner energy wherever there is discomfort to that location. A lot of issues in the body come from not having enough vital energy within ourselves. We normally deal with a small amount of consciousness, or pranic energy, within us.
With meditation you increase energy and can get these capacities to control that energy and move toward that particular issue (in your body). It doesn’t come easily. You have to have the intent to sit down and learn to meditate.
BJB: Can you talk about meditation being more than an attempt to avoid thoughts?
SC: Meditation is not an easy thing for everyone. When you start out and want to learn to meditate, you can sit down and begin with just five minutes. With practice it gets better. You can sit down in the same place, at the same time. Five minutes will then become ten, then fifteen and so on.
If you don’t change the way you do things, how are you going to evolve? Evolution demands change. We are meant to do things differently at one point or another.
BJB: On page 39 you write what many would agree with, “India has never lost contact with its ancient spiritual and yogic roots or its civilization…India has always given great importance to attaining higher consciousness and authentic spiritual knowledge, as evidenced by their customs and way of life.” Do you consider India the “Grand Inspirer” of human souls and minds as Paramahansa Yogananda wrote?
SC: Yes, I definitely do. There’s a higher energy there that inspires people to go there and meditate or engage in spiritual practice. Although they’re (the people of India) not all meditators, they know there is a Supreme Power and higher state of creation that directs all of us. The beliefs of moving higher and ‘what can I do to raise myself’ is there and in one form or another the practice is there. They’re already doing it.
When I was in India, as I write in the book, I went to different locations to meditate, like Yogananda’s garden. I felt pushed and driven to these places, as if I was supposed to go there. So many people have done such great work and to go there where they have been is a great opportunity.
BJB: What has been the most surprising and unexpected part of the spiritual journey for you?
SC: The fact that I transcended. I never in a million years thought this was something I would do.
BJB: Having relayed so much information, what unanswered questions do you have?
SC: The only thing I sometimes think about is, once you are Home at Last and have experienced self-realization, what else am I to do here? How can I continue to help to make a difference?
BJB: It seems you already are. Thank you.
Reading Home at Last reminded me of my personal experience with meditation and how much progress is possible when you stay with the practice.
When I first began, I was at a point in my life when I was desperate for someone, something, and anything to save me from my (perceived) problems. I actually remember thinking, ‘Maybe if I meditate for a few weeks, all of my problems will just go away.’
I was in a perpetual state of “contracted awareness” and my own biggest impediment to growth.
Despite the initial difficulty, I continued to meditate. With time, and the ability to sit for longer periods, I became quieter on the inside. There was less mental chatter, worry and having nonsensical internal conversations with myself over how I would attempt to control (yet another) outcome.
Vivekananda says, “We are accustomed to believing that our life circumstance will make us happy, if we can only get them right… By creating a world of our own and putting ourselves at the center of it, we throw everything out of focus.”
As we “consciously remove everything” that serve as an impediment to our spiritual growth we create the conditions to “find our destination again,” and ultimately return Home.
According to Chiruvolu, “Human life is a major spiritual opportunity for consciousness to evolve and for all of us to attain Self-Realization, which is an expression of the gift that the Divine offers to those who are ready.”
With consistent meditation I have become sensitive to the signposts that lead to inevitable “soul-utions,” and recognize the grace of answers that present themselves in ways I could not have anticipated.
Over time you too will begin to see the physiological, emotional and mental benefits of meditation all culminating in a more relaxed and healthy individual who can move gracefully with life, instead of going against it.
If this is something that calls to you, and if you’d like to read about Sarada Chiruvolu’s amazing journey, I highly recommend Home at Last. To learn more, you can also read Sarada’s blog, join the Facebook community or visit HomeatLastbySarada.com.