I am made of this velvet mystery
An ancient place of worship
Here, in the velvet mystery of my heart

Soham. I am that.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Turning towards home



I was in the checkout line at the grocery store, when a strong feeling of stillness arose in me. All around me were signs of movement and an unbelievable amount of noise I was only just now noticing. But I was gently, firmly, unwaveringly still, a sea change in my consciousness.

Later, as I thought on it, I thought, at last.... will I finally stop chasing all this around? I felt the weariness of it, and a mind that is tired. I wished to feel it slip away, leaving a deeply refreshing, healing stillness.




I used to share a compassionate, knowing little smile with other yogis when a yogi would hint that they were having great attainment in their meditation. Those who listened knew that this feeling of attainment came early on, and was discarded as a distraction when the role of grace became more clear.

And yet, here I am. I went through a long period of feeling I was having some amazing attainment. It's not that I didn't have attainment. It's knowing that it is all because of grace. Without grace, I'd be mucking about, trying to get free. It's knowing that I am comparing myself to others, and thinking I am getting ahead of most other people in their return to God. Ahead of others in merging our hearts in one.



I have come to see that I am not near as special in attainment as I thought I was. I see now that people (animals too) all over the world are being transformed by grace, are held by grace in any given moment. I am a part of that. I am not particularly special, though I know I am special to the guru, who is and knows my heart. As he/she knows every heart that is turning towards home.


TO BE CONTINUED...




Friday, April 22, 2016

Hanuman Jayanti


A heart made of devotion is a heart full of grace and joy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Meanwhile...

My perspective has broadened, everything is different.

I am playing me looking at myself "out there"
This is not an idea. I can see it this way (so can you!)


Meanwhile... being serious about being separate, AND keeping the less than complete separateness secret, makes me laugh!! (Note: These two are spies).


If you can see this as one being at play, you will laugh too!

Very cool... and delicious

"May 21, 2013 ~ Swami Chetanananda gave a program on the Shaivite text Pratyabijnahrdyam. In this short commentary, given after class, he talks about the essential nature of the practices."

The breath itself is something that we experience as arising and subsiding from within us. And part of the process we will undergo is following that breath back to its ultimate stillness. It is extremely cool, and not only that, as you do this you will discover that it is delicious (emphases mine). ~ Swami Chetananda 
I've just discovered Swami Chetananda and The Movement Center. I have joined their email list, and this short commentary was this week's topic. NOTE: I lost the URL for this talk. Can someone please help?

Fun! I find that I have been doing breathwork in more ways that I quite realized, and "I" have little siddhis associated with it. ("I" am delighted, and more than slightly miffed!).

How it resonated when swamiji described this work as "extremely cool," and "delicious." For me, it's like being dipped then soaked in cosmic nectar. No long, dry years of sadhana for me! 

[Mind shift: Certain steps, already defined, why can't I skip all this? Oh hell, no. I do hear Krishna laughing! My sadhana is a divine dance with my guru's shakti. It's a cosmic gift. Talkin.] 

What a coincidence(!) that this particular quote followed the beginning of teachings about the Pratyabijnahrdyam, which is the shaivite text my guru is focusing on this year with her devotees, and my favorite text from Kashmir Shaivism.

And... I see from this photo from another talk, that there is a murti of Baba Nityananada lovingly installed, and so the divine guru/shakti of this *sampradaya is the same that has come to me through my sampradaya's lineage (Nityananda-Muktananda-Chidvilasananda). There are a lot of lineages that come from Nityananda, a guru among gurus.




*In Hinduism, a sampradaya [lineage] can be translated as ‘tradition’ or a ‘religious system’. It relates to a succession of masters and disciples, which serves as a spiritual channel, and provides a delicate network of relationships that lends stability to a religious identity. ~ 'Sampradaya' on Wikipedia

NOTE: This term is sometimes used to describe lineages in other religions, such as Buddhism and Sufism.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Needful fire



Have you ever stepped back, feeling a boundless dance of pain slip off, and asked yourself in that moment, "Why am I committed to this pain?"

In that moment you have seen your karmas burning, your investment in the currency of ignorance becoming the fuel for a needful fire. The karmas feed the fire. The fire leaps higher, burning more karmas. Sacred. Needful. Fire.

Consciousness.

How to live without creating more karmas?

YOU have stepped out of the dance, your duty and dharma keeping your place in it.

You have become still, watching.

Freedom.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Most loveable of lovers


The Four Schools of Kashmir Shaivism by Swami Lakshmanjoo

Swami Lakshmanjoo was a Kashmiri scholar, teacher, guru and holy man who received the non-dualistic philosophy, teachings and shakti of the lineage of Kashmir Shaivist Masters, handed down from around the 8th or 9th century CE. Swamiji made these teachings available to his students, who recorded his transmission of this precious knowledge to them. They have in turn made this knowledge available to the world through recordings and books. 

It is a great service that Lakshmanjoo has done for those of us in the Kali Yuga era, in which many teachings have been diluted and distorted. Swamiji's teachings are fresh and alive with the shakti of his lineage.

Thank you Swamiji, and thanks SO MUCH to John Hughes and fellow devotees for tireless efforts making this wisdom available to all. I highly encourage readers of my blog to consider purchasing this or the other books the Universal Fellowship have produced and which are available at the online bookstore here.

I also encourage you to visit the website, sign up for their amazing newsletter (this post comes from the newsletter), and send a donation if you find this information vital to your life and sadhana, as it has been to mine.



Swami Lakshanjoo


The Schools and Systems of Kashmir Shaivism

An excerpt from the book:

Copyright © John Hughes
Reprinted by permission





The Schools of Kashmir Shaivism

Kashmir Shaivism is known as the Pure Trika System. The word trika means “the threefold science of man and his world.” In the idea of trika, there are three energies: para (supreme), apara (lowest), and parapara (combination of the lowest and the highest). These three primary energies represent the threefold activities of the world. In the thought of the Trika, therefore, it is admitted that this whole universe and every action in it, whether spiritual, physical, or worldly, is existing in these three energies.

The Trika Philosophy is meant for any human being without restriction of caste, creed, or color. Its purpose is to enable you to rise from individuality to universality. The Trika System is comprised of four sub-systems; the Pratyabhijna system, the Kula system, the Krama system, and the Spanda system. These four systems, which form the one thought of the Trika system, all accept and are based on the same scriptures (agamas). These scriptures form the ninety-two agamas of Shaivism. The monistic Bhairava Shastras are supreme (para) and are sixty-four in number; the mono-dualistic Rudra Shastras are medium (parapara) and are eighteen in number; and the dualistic Shiva Shastras are inferior (apara) and are ten in number.


Pratyabhijna System

The word pratyabhijna means “to spontaneously once again recognize and realize your Self.” Here you have only to realize, you do not have to practice. There are no upayas (means) in the Pratyabhijna system. You must simply recognize who you are. Wherever you are, whether you are at the level of Supreme Being, at the level of yoga, or at that level which is disgusting, you can recognize your own Nature then and there without moving anywhere or doing anything.

For example, take the case of a bride and groom. The woman has not seen her husband-to-be and craves to see him. Concerning him she has only heard praise and glory but she has not actually met him. Suppose this girl and her future husband happen by chance to go separately on the same pilgrimage. When they arrive at the place of pilgrimage, they meet. The girl, however, does not feel any importance in this man because she does not know him to be her future husband. Yet her future husband and this man are the same person. Later, when a friend introduces her to him, telling her that this is the man who is to be her husband, then she is filled with happiness, pleasure, and ecstasy. She realizes that this is the same man she had seen before.
In the same way, reality dawns in the Pratyabhijna system. In whichever level you are situated, do not mind.

"The moment recognition dawns, not only do you instantaneously become divine, but you also realize that you were already divine."

At that moment, you realize that you were already the Lord but did not know it because you had misunderstood yourself.

In the Pratyabhijna philosophy it is your master who tells you, that ‘you are the same person for whom you are longing’, and he teaches you to reach the goal there and then without adopting any means. This teaching, therefore, is situated chiefly in anupaya, which is that means where there are no means at all. It is the recognition that there was nothing to be done and nowhere to go. Here, there is no practice, no concentration and no meditation. By the grace  of your master you realize it and you are there.

The Pratyabhijna system was flourishing in the beginning of kali-yuga. As time passed, however, it became veiled due to misunderstanding. It wasn’t until the end of the eighth century A.D. that the great master Somananda reintroduced the Pratyabhijna system in Kashmir. Somananda’s disciple was Utpaladeva, and his disciple was Lakshmanagupta, and his disciple was the very great Abhinavagupta.


Kula System

The Kula system teaches you how you can live in caitanya  (universal Consciousness), the real nature of yourself, in the act of ascending and descending. While you rise from the lowest to the highest you realize your nature, and while you descend from the highest to the lowest you also realize your nature.
"In the Kula system, there is no break in the realization of your own nature either in the highest or in the lowest cycle. This system, therefore, teaches you how you can live in totality."

In fact, the word kula means “totality.”

In the practice of the Kula system, you have to realize the totality of the universe in one particle. Take one particle of anything that exists in this world; in that one particle is to be realized the totality of the whole universe. The totality of energy is found in one particle. Everything is full of one thing and one thing is full of all things.

The difference between the Pratyabhijna system and the Kula system is, that the Pratyabhijna system teaches you how to realize your own nature in one place and exist there, reside there. While the Kula system teaches you how you can rise from the lowest degree to the highest degree, and all the while, experience the nature of your Self on the same level and state. Shiva, which is realized in prithvi tattva (earth element), is the same level, the same reality of Shiva which is realized in Shiva tattva. Here, there is complete realization in every act of the world.

The Kula system was introduced in Kashmir in the beginning of the 5th century A.D. by Shri Macchandanatha. Later, in the 9th century, because its teachings had become distorted, it was reintroduced by Sumatinatha. In the line of masters that followed from Sumatinatha, Somanatha was his disciple. Shambhunatha was the disciple of Somanatha, and the great Abhinavagupta was the disciple of Shambhunatha.


Krama System

The Krama system does not recognize the ways of either the Pratyabhijna or the Kula system. In the Krama system, you must rise in succession, step by step. This system teaches that step-by-step realization makes your realization firm. As the Krama system is concerned with successive realization, it is primarily concerned with space and time, because where there is succession there you find the existence of space and time. In both the Pratyabhijna and Kula systems you are beyond space and time. In the Krama system, it is in the end, not in its process, that you are beyond time and space because it also carries you to that timeless and space-less state.
"The Krama system is primarily attributed to shaktopaya and to the twelve Kalis."

The twelve Kalis are said to be the twelve movements of any one cognition. For example, if you look at any object such as a pot, the sensation travels from your thought to the place of the pot, and then returns again from the place of the pot to your thought, giving you the sensation whereby you realize this pot. You do not realize this pot at the place of the pot, you realize this pot in your mind. Your perception has moved from inside to the pot, and then returned again from the pot to your thought. And these movements are distributed in twelve ways as the twelve Kalis in the Krama system.

The rise of prana kundalini is also described in the Krama system, because in prana kundalini you rise from one cakra to another, from one state to another state. As this is a successive process it is found in the Krama system.
Although the Krama system existed in the beginning of kali-yuga, having been introduced by the sage Durvasa, it was reintroduced at the end of the 7th century A.D. in Kashmir by the sage Erakanatha, who was also known as Shivanandanatha. Shivanandanatha had only three chief disciples which he initiated into the Krama system. Because in this system predominance is given only to shakti, all three were females. Their names were Keyuravati, Madanika, and Kalyanika. They were quite prominent and were completely informed in the Krama system. Afterwards, these ladies also initiated disciples, which were both male and female.


Spanda System

The fourth system, which comprises the Trika philosophy, is called the Spanda system. The word spanda means “movement.”
"The Spanda school recognizes that nothing can exist without movement. Where there is movement there is life, and where there is no movement that is lifelessness."

They realize that there is movement in wakefulness, dreaming, deep sleep, and turya [void]. Though some thinkers argue that there is no movement in deep sleep the philosophers of the Spanda system realize that nothing can exist without movement.

The teachings of the Spanda system, which is an important practical system, are found embodied in the “Vijnana Bhairava Tantra,” the “Svacchanda Tantra,” and in the 6th chapter of the “Tantraloka.”

The Spanda System was introduced in Kashmir by the great sage Vasuguptanatha in the beginning of the 8th century A.D. Vasuguptanatha is the author of both the “Shiva Sutras” and the “Spanda Karikas.” The disciple of Vasuguptanatha was Kallata.

Some teachers think that the "Spanda Karikas" were not composed by Vasaguptanatha but rather by his disciple Kallata. This theory however, is absolutely incorrect.

Swami Lakshmanjoo with John and Denise Hughes and their daughter, Shanna.


Reprint by permission

All Content is subject to Copyright 
Copyright © 2016 John Hughes. All rights reserved.



I need you so badly

Just like a lover, I plead over and over... "Please don't leave me, I need you so badly."


Sunday, March 6, 2016

I recognize

Pain is the knife that slips through the karmas, pain is the bindings loosening, the tearing as it all strips away.

My sadhana is so different from all those I have known and shared it with.

This is not a mental exercise. I am way too good at those. Free me from them. Guru knows.

If I can put it together, or take it apart, it will own me.

Ugh is what I feel when my senses touch anything at all in this world. I am burning everything. I am burning burning. I must contract each part of myself again as memories arise of a lifetime of contraction, and the pain is doubled over and over.


Consciousness changes. To be steady is now.

There are no means. No skill in action. Not for me.

I do and I do not. It's all messy. Every moment, these moments and memories I burn away... There are no means.

I offer this greatest obsession to the fire.

The place of freedom can only be found. What is real can only be found. For me.

The place of freedom can only be found, recognized, now.

I recognize.

There are no means.

I recognize.

.

.



Forever and ever... closer than close



Swami Muktananda


Muktananda and Nityananda


Swami Lakshmanjoo


Swamiji on the day of his divya diksha

Swami Chetananda




Sri Kaleshwar



I always experience a sweet, calming darshan when reading the
Sri Kaleshwar email newsletter and visiting their beautiful website.

Sri Mata Amritanandamayi

H.H. Gyalwang Karmapa

Swami Vivekananda

Sri Anandamayi Ma

Paramahansa Yogananada


Sri Ramana Maharshi

.
"The real beloved is your beginning and your end.
When you find that one,
you will no longer expect anything else."
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~ Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī
(1207-1273)
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