Walking Home with Baba: The Heart of Spiritual Practiceby Rohini Ralby
Rohini Ralby spent eight years as head of security, appointments secretary, and personal assistant to Swami Muktananda, and in their many hours alone together, this world-renowned guru taught her, one on one, the essence of spiritual practice. In Walking Home with Baba, an expert guide to spiritual practice, Rohini draws on that experience and her subsequent/i>… See more details below
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Rohini Ralby spent eight years as head of security, appointments secretary, and personal assistant to Swami Muktananda, and in their many hours alone together, this world-renowned guru taught her, one on one, the essence of spiritual practice. In Walking Home with Baba, an expert guide to spiritual practice, Rohini draws on that experience and her subsequent study and work as a spiritual director to convey, in clear and concise terms, what spiritual practice truly is.
Spiritual practice is walking home. It is retracing our way back to God—to Absolute Truth, Absolute Consciousness, and Absolute Bliss. Until we take this path, we will suffer, trapped within a false identity—our lower self, which is nothing more than a set of ideas. The way out of suffering and back to God passes through the Heart. The Heart is not the physical organ or the seat of emotions, but the place within, where the manifest emerges from the unmanifest. It is the ground of our being.
Walking Home with Baba recounts Rohini’s experiences on the path and explains exactly how to get to and rest in the Heart. Its odd-numbered chapters are explicitly instructional, offering tools and techniques for spiritual practice. Its even-numbered chapters recount significant vignettes from Rohini’s own spiritual journey, especially her years with Muktananda. While the instructional chapters provide detailed guidance in spiritual disciplines, the narrative chapters convey the lived experience of traveling the path and being the close disciple of a great Guru.
Walking Home with Baba is also a practical, even quintessential companion to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Rather than offer an exhaustive commentary on every sutra, Rohini distills the key principles of classical yoga by focusing on selected sutras and explaining how they relate to daily spiritual practice.
After a chapter recounting her final experiences with Baba, including his death, Rohini closes the book with a list of suggested readings, and a compilation of her own aphorisms—pithy, often witty one-liners designed to shake us out of our ignorance. For clarity, she provides a glossary of spiritual terms.
Walking Home with Baba is the expression of decades spent practicing and sharing the practice with others. Its purpose is to teach us how to free ourselves from misery and recognize who we truly are. Though Rohini introduces tools she has developed over the years, she returns again and again to the essential principles of practice. In Walking Home with Baba, she provides a practical guide to real, abiding happiness.
- Bancroft Press
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Meet the Author
Rohini Ralby is a nondenominational spiritual director, a vocation that, as of 2012, she has pursued for more than two decades.
She lives in Owings Mills, MD, a Baltimore suburb, with her husband, David Soud, and has two grown children, Ian and Aaron.
She can be reached through her website www.practiceforus.com.
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In this unusually deep, yet very practical guide to spiritual practice, Rohini Ralby shows us the map that will take us to God and bring about our own freedom. Although the paths presented are simple to follow, the author emphasizes the need for the practitioner to put forth consistent effort in order for real change to occur. Walking home with Baba does not offer feel-good, temporary solutions, but is a guide for the committed seeker that is grounded in Ms. Ralby's extensive understanding and practice of time-tested scriptures from both Eastern and Western traditions. Interspersing personal stories with scriptural direction, she shares with the reader tools she has developed from decades of helping others to free themselves from their bonds. Although this is a no-nonsense book intended for the person who is seeking the deeper truths, the author is not heavy-handed and often presents the humorous side of her spiritual development. Starting by pointing out that there is a difference between what we think we are and what we truly are, the author introduces the reader to Patanjali's system of Yoga, outlining the many ways that we create our own prisons. The text is compact but readable, and the author takes pains to help the reader who may not be familiar with the Sanskrit terms she uses. Emphasizing that spiritual practice is the only way out of our misery and is "the discipline of self-surrender...a way of living, not a fix that makes us feel better for a moment", Ralby explains the necessity of engaging in the world while remaining unattached. The reader is encouraged to go into their heart while looking out at the world with discernment, and is led through the steps that have been promoted by traditional mystics for centuries. This is where liberation begins. Care is taken to convey to the reader the that the same word may have a different meaning to each person who uses it, and the pitfalls of such assumptions. The three levels of spiritual practice are introduced and examined, while the common aspects of many of the world's religions are touched upon. This is not a dry read, as every other chapter contains personal stories that illustrate the author's life as her own ego was ground down. The stories are poignant, intriguing, fascinating and sometimes funny, and reveal both the faults and the strengths of the human condition. The stories often show that all people have in common many of the same strengths and faults, and that these faults manifest even within a monastic environment. Ralby's solid scholastic knowledge of important scriptures comes through even while helping readers to help themselves in their own journey toward God. If you are interested in not just learning about, but practicing, the mystical tradition that all the major religions recognize, this book is worth a close, slow read.
This book gets to the point. In clear, concise language it teaches what the essence of spiritual practice truly is, and clears away misconceptions about what it is not. The teaching is universal and applicable to all people, regardless of their religion, background or belief system. The instruction on the Yoga Sutras helps the reader to understand who we really are, why we don't know it, and how to clear away the obstacles preventing us from experiencing our essential being. Finally, the chapters with stories from the author's life and experiences with Baba Muktananda reveal a portrait of an intrepid and humble learner, modeling qualities necessary for anyone wishing to progress on the spiritual path. At the same time, we are offered the opportunity to learn from those stories ourselves. This book is an essential read for anyone on (or off) the path!
Walking Home with Baba is a powerful and easy-to-read guide to true spiritual practice. What I especially liked about Ms. Ralby's book was the straightforward and practical application her teachings have to everyday life. I highly recommend it. I am buying copies to give to close friends and family.