Deeksha is a Sanskrit word that means “benediction” or “blessing,” a gift of grace bestowed on a recipient usually by a spiritual master. The process is thousands years old.

No one really knows how far back it goes. It’s the act of a spiritual master placing his hands on a disciple’s head to awaken him or her to the Divine Presence. When we are born, we inherit the conditioning of our ancestors, more specifically our parents. We adopt their perceptions and beliefs. Often children accept without questioning social, ethical, and religious views shared by their family and community. It just seems natural.

In Judeo-Christian religious views, this inheritance from parents is referred to as sin — missing the mark of perfection or separation from God traced back to Adam and Eve. Hinduism and Buddhism call this inheritance karma, consequences of past actions, good or not-so-good from past lives. Without being conscious of it, we absorb energies and programs of significant people in our lives, the most dominant parents. When we are conceived and carried in our mother’s womb, we are keenly aware of her energies, thoughts, and life circumstances. Our father’s presence too plays a huge role in our conditioning. This shapes our understanding of who we believe ourselves to be and how suffering comes to be.

All of our world’s religions acknowledge we need help to become free of the suffering created by the mind and its programs. We are encouraged to surrender and pray for healing. An avatar is someone who comes to this planet on a mission of service to humanity. Avatars are born untouched by sin or karma. They are a manifestation of the Divine to liberate mankind from suffering and ignorance. We have all heard of the virgin birth of Jesus — an avatar who came to release us from pain and darkness.

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Throughout human history, many avatars have been sent by the Divine to bring salvation to people lost in greed, corruption, inhumane acts against women and children. Avatars come to assist mankind in raising consciousness. In Southern India, two avatars, Sri Amma and Bhagavan, started a school for spiritual enlightenment to which thousands of people worldwide travel to receive Deeksha. Doctors, lawyers, ministers, celebrities, monks, and spiritual teachers migrate to this school. A profound passion awakens when receiving the Oneness Blessing.

Most of us have heard of the Buddha’s path of extreme asceticism and determination to reach across the ocean of enormous suffering to gain liberation from the small mind. We may have read about great yogis who left behind material comforts and marriage to meditate in caves. We may long for such an experience ourselves but have families, homes, responsibilities. The good news is we can receive Deeksha without leaving our homes and families. Awakening — a neurobiological shift in our physical brain is possible for everyday people. Awakening is activating —enlivening — the brain, more precisely the frontal lobes where our spiritual center is located. When the activity in the frontal lobes increases, there’s a sense of reverence for this beautiful gift of life. Deeksha (like an electrical current) declutches recipients from the small “fight or flight” mind by creating a hole in the mind to allow Divine Presence to transform and rewire the brain, activating the heart, the place of Oneness and compassion. Deeksha evokes a sense of gratitude for the miracle of life. Grace is the field of Divine Presence that’s everywhere.

If awakening and higher states of consciousness calls you, if you long for liberation from the small mind, you can also experience the Oneness Blessing on Sundays from 11 a.m. to noon in Albany. For more information about the blessing, email chambek@linnbenton.edu.

Karyn Chambers earned her master's degree in composition and rhetoric, philosophy, and literature from Oregon State University and a master's of divinity from Marylhurst University in Portland. She teaches world religions and philosophy at Chemeketa Community College in Salem. She has traveled to India and studied at Oneness University. In addition, she's a Kundalini Yoga teacher and offers meditation in her Albany home.

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