Ep 1

The Ashram

Most women can relate to the experience of leaving behind a much loved relationship, a career or even a place they called home because a new chapter in their lives needed to unfold. Perhaps it is something that is happening to you right now? Well hopefully my Wyse Women guest can offer you some inspiration and guidance, because at the age of 60 she left the life she had led for 30 years to start a career in the public eye. 

That in itself is a story worth hearing, however what makes this women’s story even more remarkable is that the life Sally Kempton had been leading up until that point was a deeply spiritual one, because in the early 1970’s Sally became the full time student of the enlightened Siddha master, Swami Muktananda. She traveled with him, edited many of his books, and received intensive training which led to her being initiated as a swami (or monk) herself and serving as a teacher in the Siddha Yoga meditation community.

In this podcast Sally who is now an international meditation teacher and author talks to me about life in the ashram, her difficult decision to leave … and she shares her wisdom about how preparation and staying centered is the key to smooth life transitions.

Image: sallykempton.com

Show Notes

In this podcast you will learn:
  • How Sally came to live in an ashram with her guru and why she left
  • What a guru is and what the word guru means
  • Sally’s wisdom for all women who are facing a big life transition 
  • More about Sally’s books
  • … and Sally’s answers to my three quick fire questions, her most influential male mentor, her favourite words of wisdom and the song that sums up her story.
My stand-out quote from this podcast:

I have always said that if you are going to be a spiritual teacher and you don’t have a guru then life itself is going to destroy your ego one way or another. As you can see from all the gurus who are doing really good work and suddenly they do something transgressive and they are smashed in a context that’s not safe.’ – Sally Kempton

Book Reviews

Review 'Meditation for the Love of it'

I have read a lot of books on meditation but this book took me to new depths. I loved the way Sally encourages preparation and honouring even before she shares any meditation ‘technique.’ Her constant focus on guiding the reader inside to meet themselves was revelatory for me and resulted in one of the most amazing dreams I have ever had. 

In the dream (which Sally explains can also be a form of meditation) I saw a girl enter a school gym and I looked over at this girl in admiration as she played table tennis. One of my present day spiritual teachers was stood next to me and I asked her who the girl was. I liked how vital she was,  I thought she was showing off a bit but I also immediately spotted her talent. Anyway my spiritual teacher answered me and said ‘Jo, it’s you, that girl is you at 15 years old.’ The girl then walked over to me and told me I looked familiar to her, so I said ‘Jo, It’s you, the only difference is I am 43 and you are 15.’ and then we both deeply and lovingly embraced each other. 

The feelings in the dream were of a profound home coming and a deep acceptance of myself …  and I credit that experience to not only the tuition that Sally shares in her book but also her transmissions and the transmissions of her Guru that are within its pages as well. 

It is man’s foremost duty to awaken the understanding of the inner self and to know his own real inner greatness. Once he knows his true worth, he can know the worth of others. – Swami Muktananda

Review: 'Awakening Shakti

I hadn’t even opened the pages of this book, it was simply on my night stand waiting to be read ahead of my interview with Sally. It had only been there a matter of days when I found myself thinking (lucidly in my sleep) of names like Vishnu, Shiva and Durga. At one point I sat bolt upright at 2am and said the name ‘Durga’ out loud.  

Earlier this year I spent 10 days in Bali where statues of the Hindu deities are worshiped everywhere and promised myself that on my return I would do more research into this spiritual tradition. I now understand that Sally’s book is the answer to that silent vow.

I’m taking my time with this book as Sally instructs but so far I love the ease of her explanations about such complicated stories (even humbly apologising in the foreword for any information she may have lost in translation) and I love how she is bringing the archetypal energies of these Goddesses to life, not only on the page but also inside of her readers! Her writing is contemporary and up to date but the sacredness of her subjects is never compromised.

The illustrations by Ekabhumi Charles Ellik are as beautiful and detailed as all of Sally’s descriptions of the Goddesses. 

One of the great gifts of being present to the space of consciousness as a motherly goddess is that you can bring her your pain and your pleasure and ask her to hold it.  – Sally Kempton

Buy 'Meditation for the Love of it'

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Buy 'Awakening Shakti'

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Related podcasts

If you enjoyed Sally’s podcast you may like to listen/listen again to Miranda’s podcast from Series 1. Miranda even mentions Sally at the end of our conversation.

'Sally Kempton is not only one of the best meditation teachers in the world; she is also one of us. She manages to fearlessly explore the outer reaches of the universe without ever losing the warm voice of your dear friend.'
Elizabeth Gilbert
Author of Eat, Pray, Love

The Wave

In 2004, Pauline Part and her family were on holiday in Thailand celebrating her husband’s 50th birthday when one of the biggest natural disaters in living memory struck.

In this first Wyse Woman episode Pauline talks about being caught up in an event which killed more that 230,000 people in 14 countries.

She also talks candidly about the wisdom that revealed itself at the time and in the months and years afterwards.

Further Reading ...

If you enjoyed Pauline’s episode, click on the links below to find out more about her song, book and inspirational woman choices.