It’s been said that the eyes are the window to the soul, and if that’s true, then those of Amanda Rodasi Campbell would seem to reflect the serenity she finds in meditation.
Campbell’s eyes dance in hues which defy easy description -- a touch of the silvery sea
perhaps. She’s been told that she should have been a model, but instead she’s pursued a spiritual path since childhood, which now includes sharing her knowledge through classes at Yen Yoga and Higher Self in Traverse City.
“I’ve had stars in my eyes since an early age and have always been a seeker,” she says of her days growing up in Frankfort. “I grew up in the Methodist church but started seeking early on and have always enjoyed comparing various religions and ideas,” Campbell, 36, took up yoga at the age of 12 after discovering an old, yellowed book on hatha yoga. Although the book had no pictures of the various postures, it began her lifelong interest in yoga. As a teen interested in dance, fashion and music, Campbell also became fascinated with Eastern ways of life, including Buddhism and Hinduism. At the age of 18 she met her mentor, Daniele DeVoe, a psychic and energy healer who introduced her to meditation.
WHAT IS MEDITATION?
“Meditation is a way to disconnect all of the chatter in the mind,” says Campbell. “It’s a way to do something besides obsessively thinking all of the time. The ultimate goal of meditation is to re-establish life in the present moment and help develop the muscles of consciousness and awareness.”
If you’re completely clueless on meditation, you can try a simple form of the practice by repeating the sound of “om” in your thoughts while resting in a quiet space. Other forms, such as Transcendental Meditation (TM), provide meditators with specific sounds called mantras.
Campbell, whose Sanskrit name is Rodasi, practices a form of meditation called the Bright Path Ishayas’ Ascension, which involves four techniques. As with TM, in which individual mantras are kept secret, the techniques of Ishayas’ Ascension are also kept a mystery from all except those who take up the practice.
“There’s a little bit of intrigue to the practice,” Campbell says with a smile. “Ultimately, it’s about the importance of transmission to those who wish to try it.”
But the basic idea of Ishayas’ Ascension is to insert these techniques into the thoughts of a busy mind as its toxic chatter melts away.
Campbell says practitioners can even use the technique to meditate with their eyes open during their daily activities. It’s a way to bring calm to a mind that’s racing with stressful thoughts. “I’ve become adept at totally turning off all thoughts and being in a state of pure witnessing.”
“I personally do 20 of 30 minutes of meditation when I get up in the morning and when I go to bed at night,” she says. “And then I try to fit in a meditation during some portion of the day.”
There are numerous benefits to meditation. “First of all, people start to notice that they’re more comfortable in their own skin and feel more comfortable in life,” Campbell says. “It also helps you to become aware of the choices you make in life, including those which are causing you pain. You start making better choices.”
Other benefits include lowering one’s blood pressure, slowing the heart rate, introducing more oxygen to the bloodstream and improving brain function. A so-called “meditation molecule” is created which lessens stress in one’s nervous system.
Campbell is also a yoga instructor whose asana practice is designed to help prepare the body for meditation. She is a yogini, the female term for yogi, or teacher.
Her journey as a young adult took her to the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, in 1999, a holistic center that teaches subjects ranging from shamanic Reiki healing to distant viewing with the likes of Deepak Chopra in attendance. She spent six months at the institute, where she “taste-tested many spiritual teachings, styles of yoga and meditation.”
“The institute let me see that there were lots of other people doing things that I was meant to do beyond growing up in a small town where I didn’t fit,” she recalls.
The experience set her on a lifelong quest to study and teach, including two years spent in a meditation community in North Carolina. She says her journey crystallized in 2011 when she graduated as an international meditation teacher and met Maharishi Krishnananda Ishaya at a retreat in Montserrat, Spain -- a teacher she plans to visit again soon.
It was in Spain that Campbell received the name Rodasi, which in one interpretation means goddess of lightning.
Today, Campbell is a single mother to Lauren Chamberlain, 7, and an ad salesperson for Spirituality & Health magazine. She also teaches meditation and yoga both locally and at workshops across the country.
Her classes include a weekly meditation session each Sunday from 9-10 a.m. at Yen Yoga in TC, along with workshops and classes at Higher Self Bookstore. She also teaches yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Yen, and on Wednesday evenings at the Shanti School of Yoga in TC. Additionally, she offers one-on-one instruction, writes a newsletter and blog, and gives numerous talks on meditation.
“I’ve also just recorded a meditation CD with Andy VanGuilder of Halohorn Productions,” she says, adding that it will be available at local bookstores and on Amazon. com in late October.
Beyond that Campbell would like to introduce the value of meditation to the corporate world at venues such as Hagerty Insurance. “My dream is to make a living by getting into a corporate environment and being able to share these techniques with more people.”
For more about Amanda Rodasi Campbell and meditation, check out her Facebook page, website http://www.thebrightpath.com/ and blog, http://themavenofmeditation.wordpress.com/