Sri Prem Baba is a man on a mission leading a movement to awaken love and inspire people to experience a new way of living life.
The new way that he suggests is one based on our ability to experience greater self-knowledge rather than continually chasing material rewards. Through this, we can live a life of purpose, connected to the path of the heart and of love.
Sri Prem Baba and His Mission
His mission is connected to his own quest for truth. Born in Brazil, Prem Baba’s lifelong commitment to being a seeker has included study and work in Western psychology and multiple religious and spiritual traditions as well as his immersion into self-inquiry and self-realization.
Sri Prem Baba’s guru recognized him as a master in the Saccha lineage. He delivers the teachings in a way that is uniquely his own, influenced by his life experiences.
The Work of Sri Prem Baba
While doing spiritual work in the Amazon with one of the Brazilian government’s bureaus, Sri Prem Baba spoke with LA YOGA about living a spiritual life in the modern world, living a life of purpose, how to do a one minute mediation practice (five times a day), and the ways in which relationships are our spiritual universities.
Sri Prem Baba will be giving public talks and leading workshops in Santa Monica over Labor Day Weekend and will offer teachings at Bhakti Fest.
Silence is a bridge to the deepest inner core, which is the source of knowledge, the source of love; it is the greater reality of who we are.
Our Exclusive Interview with Sri Prem Baba
The Spirituality of Individual Work
LA YOGA: How can our work in the world be a spiritual practice?
Sri Prem Baba: When this work in the world becomes service. When people are conscious about their soul’s purpose; when they know exactly why and for what they wake up in the morning.
We are here to do things in the world, but we are driven by conditioning — by programming that comes from the outside, from family, culture, and religion. All of this programming has a common denominator: the belief that happiness lies outside of us, and that it is dependent upon money.
So everything we do turns into a compulsion to make money because we believe that money will bring us happiness. But we know that it doesn’t bring happiness. Money is part of the process, but it is not responsible for happiness. Happiness is inside, and it manifests when we give the world the gifts we came here to offer. Just as an apple tree is here to give apples; the Sun illuminates and warms; water quenches thirst.
It would be strange for the Sun to do something besides illuminating and warming, or for an apple tree to bear another fruit besides apples. So what about humans? When we are doing something other than our soul’s purpose, we end up suffering the symptoms of being out of place. We suffer from anxiety, depression, compulsions, shame, guilt, and other destructive patterns that arise from not being in the right place.
Therefore, I feel that awareness of purpose is what facilitates the alignment between matter and spirit. Purpose makes what we are doing in the world sacred. Purpose makes our work in the world become spiritual, and gives meaning to life. It gives us joy to wake up in the morning; it brings us enthusiasm and a sense of belonging.
And so, an objective answer would be: through awareness of service.
How to Cultivate Awareness
LA YOGA: Awareness sounds really important. How do we cultivate awareness and what is the role of meditation in doing so?
Sri Prem Baba: We come into this awareness by using two tools.
- First, the cultivation of silence. Silence is a bridge to the deepest inner core, which is the source of knowledge, the source of love; it is the greater reality of who we are.Inner silence is the bridge that grants us access. And this inner silence must be cultivated.
I like to say that this practice of cultivating silence is a preparation for the experience of meditation; because as I understand it, meditation is a phenomenon that happens; it’s a phenomenon of unity. Cultivation of silence is a preparation for the experience of unity.
The cultivation of silence is phase zero in the process. Someone who is searching for self-realization needs to devote themselves to the cultivation of silence.
This is one tool.
- Another tool is self-knowledge; it’s self-investigation. It is recognizing our own contradictions, recognizing all the things that act by taking us off our path, which aren’t our true selves. So, self-knowledge and silence are the two approaches that I use to support awakening, to facilitate the expansion of consciousness.
Integrating Meditation into Everyday Life
LA YOGA: What are some ways that people can integrate meditation in their everyday lives?
Sri Prem Baba: I’ve been suggesting a very simple practice that is available to absolutely everyone!
You need to devote only five minutes a day, divided into five periods of a single minute that are spread throughout the day.
But it is important that the five periods are always the same ones. For example: before meals, before sleep, upon waking—at the same times.
Even more important than stopping five times a day, is remembering to stop. Remembering to stop for one minute is what supports a revolution in consciousness. Remembering to stop for one minute is remembering yourself! It is remembering the Great Spirit! So in this one minute, even if it is just one minute, disconnect yourself from everything.
Close your eyes and focus your attention on the flow of breath. As you observe the flow of your breath, observe the flow of thoughts, emotions and sensations without judging, without criticizing. Just witness the flow. Stay there for approximately one minute. You don’t need to keep track on a clock—it’s a moment of silence.
Then, notice the power of silence. This moment of silence can completely alchemize your mind; you can change your mood and then you can change your perception of some situation in life. This is how you gradually learn to savor silence. Soon you will want to stay in silence for two minutes, then three, four, five, ten minutes, then one hour! Then little by little, you will become attuned with the divine codes of silence.
But to start off, you need just one minute a day. One minute to start, then five minutes. It’s enough to begin the greatest revolution of consciousness in history.
Incorporating Spirituality into Everyday Life
LA YOGA: People sometimes feel they need to leave their lives or their families for their spiritual practice. How can people incorporate their spiritual practice into everyday life?
You’ve answered some of this in terms of needing only one minute to meditate and to bring awareness and intention into your work, but do you have any other suggestions?
Sri Prem Baba: Through understanding that a relationship or relationships themselves are the main tools for growth that we have today.
Isolating yourself in a cave or on a mountaintop may actually be part of the journey at a certain point, but this is something that’s rare. The great majority of people develop spiritually through their relationships with each other.
I’ve been saying that if life is a school, then relationships are its university. The final exam in this university is allowing the other person to be truly free, including free to not love us, if they can’t or don’t want to.
This is a great challenge at this point of our evolutionary journey: relating in a way that’s truly constructive. It is through relationships that we purify our ego. It is through relationships that we learn to be humble, to respect, to be considerate. We learn about reciprocity, which is what keeps us present, it keeps our hearts open when the other person also has their heart open, and when their heart is closed!
Maintaining mental equanimity. Developing mental equanimity through challenges in our relationships. Because it’s very easy to isolate yourself in a cave and enter a state of meditation, staying peaceful and present. The question is, can you maintain this peace and presence, this open heart, when the other person is saying that you’re ugly, that you’re wrong, that you’re not as good as you think you are, or when they are poking at your wounds.
I understand that relationships can also be sadhana [spiritual practice.] When we put aside all the romanticism, and I’m sorry to take away all the romanticism from relationships, but by putting it aside, relationships are school subject matter.
What Can We Do?
LA YOGA: What can individuals do in this time of great stress and turbulence?
Sri Prem Baba: We can start with some deep and honest questioning.
First, why do I wake up in the morning? Why was I born? These questions will lead you to another question: Who am I? Who inhabits this body?
I feel that we are going through a very delicate time; we are experiencing a transition, a change in culture. We are reaching the conclusion that our choices and our decisions have brought us to a place we don’t want to be.
We are becoming aware that we are somewhere we didn’t want to be, because our actions and our decisions have come from our ego. We’ve become extremely materialistic.
I’m saying that this global crisis that we are experiencing, which manifests in politics, the economy, education, and in every system that organizes life in society, including capitalism itself, even our idea of democracy; that this whole crisis is an eminently spiritual crisis.
All of our systems are based on the fear of scarcity and on the belief that happiness is on the outside. We are in a time where a revolution of consciousness is taking place, and I feel that the central point of this revolution, of this healing, lies in the awareness of purpose.
Why was I born? Why do I wake up in the morning? And consequently, Who am I? This awareness will awaken love. It is precisely the lack of compassion, the lack of love, which has made us reach such a critical state. Understand? I’m saying that if there’s a cure for this world, the cure is love. But love awakens when you are aware of who you are and what you came here to do.
It’s All About Love
LA YOGA: So everything comes back to love?
Sri Prem Baba: Yes, everything. Love is the juice of life.
Where to Find Sri Prem Baba in Santa Monica
Sri Prem Baba will be at the Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club, 1210 4th Street, Santa Monica from September 7-9, 2018.
- Friday, September 7 6:00-9:30pm $20/adv; $25/door
- Saturday, September 8 Awaken LOVE workshop. Love and Be Free—A Workshop on Relationships” $150/adv; $175/door
- Sunday, September 9 Book Signing and Launch 2:00-6:00pm
Sri Prem Baba will be at Bhakti Fest in 2018.
For more information about Sri Prem Baba’s 2018 series of teachings in Los Angeles, at Bhakti Fest, in Sedona, and in Orlando, Florida, visit: sriprembaba.org/en
Felicia Tomasko has spent more of her life practicing Yoga and Ayurveda than not. She first became introduced to the teachings through the writings of the Transcendentalists, through meditation, and using asana to cross-train for her practice of cross-country running. Between beginning her commitment to Yoga and Ayurveda and today, she earned degrees in environmental biology and anthropology and nursing, and certifications in the practice and teaching of yoga, yoga therapy, and Ayurveda while working in fields including cognitive neuroscience and plant biochemistry. Her commitment to writing is at least as long as her commitment to yoga. Working on everything related to the written word from newspapers to magazines to websites to books, Felicia has been writing and editing professionally since college. In order to feel like a teenager again, Felicia has pulled out her running shoes for regular interval sessions throughout Southern California. Since the very first issue of LA YOGA, Felicia has been part of the team and the growth and development of the Bliss Network.