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

Soham. I am that.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Grace comes and goes

Evening arati in Varanasi

GRACE. Not because I try. Not because I do. It flows to me on God's time, Guru's gift, Shiva's delight, Kundalini's exhilarating freedom.

I've felt like a mess all my life. I have tried so hard, above all other activities, to grip and change and channel my life, to repair it, get it on the right track. A lifelong obsession.

Sadhana is portrayed as improving the mind and body with yoga, meditation, mantra repetition, chanting, reading sacred texts. All that is uplifting, that creates merit, nurtures the virtues, clears the mind.

Sadhana is most certainly not a waste of time. But it isn't going to fix me. Fixing in all its forms is a tangle of samskaras filling my life all the way back to the beginning of at least this life.

All I know is because I tried as hard as I could all my life, trying this and this and this and that, a seeker desperate to "fix" my broken life. Because I gripped as hard as I could for so long, I used up this ability as my youth slipped away. Now I have to lay around a lot. Gripping and building and gathering is a no no. It's an instant samskara stirrer.


Photo by Nilmoni Ghosh
IT SEEMS I am always different from other yogis. My sadhana seems to be the mirror opposite of every yogini I meet. I don't focus on this. What matters is what my guru wants for me, how she makes me free. 

I did meet one woman like me at the ashram and we became fast friends. She was a yogini of many years, and never sat for meditation. She did open eyes meditation. I did both.

We wore black all the time because we liked to. We skipped morning chant and slept instead. We drove an ashram vehicle to go get steak and eggs, watch a lot of movies, shop at Target and go to a bar (she would drink and I as designated driver would smoke Shermans). We both had TVs in our rooms and signed up for this brand new thing called Netflix. DVDs came and went in the ashram mail room. 

It was just the way these ashramites rolled. My friend and I went a lot of places in and outside the ashram together. We were the yoginis that partied. 





FIXING IS NOT a conduit of grace for me. I'm a mess. I am not accomplished. I was born with high-functioning autism for a reason. It took a long time for me to give up on this obsession to fix my life. Even just cleaning my house, eating better, not watching Breaking Bad is not going to fix me. It isn't what's wrong with me.

WHAT'S "WRONG" WITH ME IS PERFECT.

I'm not supposed to be in control. I know because I'm not, and this has never changed over decades of trying my best.

This voice of fixing gets in the way. The one that thinks I can get to grace by a certain set of actions. Foolishness.

My sadhana is to make that little quarter turn into the NOW. That's it.

When I do this, I realize my life is perfect, it's the lila I've got going on.

All I have to do is stop, get out of the way of grace.

Grace comes and goes in either case.

This is not a concept to follow. It simply is. I didn't decide it. I found it.

Grace comes and goes.


The sun rises over the Ganges river, the place where two worlds become one


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Grace. Ease. Comfort.

George Lucas and Mark Hamill

I feel so quiet. So calm. A feeling of ease that melts away fear and obsession.

Has this feeling been here all along? All my life I have been struggling and pushing. Trying to accomplish something to make my life livable, worthwhile. Most of it feeling like a miserable failure. Waiting.

Then I became a sadhini. I tried to DO everything in my sadhana, more and better. The rajas that burns away rajas.


Radha-Krishna

Today the gift of grace fills me up. Stop. Grace has it... always has it.

These last few days I am so relaxed. I'm not reaching and contorting, working myself over all the time. (Please let this last!)

Today the "do" is to open to grace, over and over, endlessly.

Grace. Ease. Comfort.

Every moment love. Every moment worthwhile.

I live an almost solitary life. But I am never alone.


Radha-Krishna

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Returning




I stopped along the wayside of my sadhana, and found that I was making the decision again of whether to stop living for the world of the senses, and live now for the reality in my heart, that I am returning, I am at the end of my long journey. Lifetimes...

I am contemplating this decision.

With a bittersweet feeling of coming around that last bend and finding that path straight to home, no wandering, standing there, a contemplation is needed, a need for all of me to be as one as I step onto this road.

An elegant, soulful decision.





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 is 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.





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.

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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

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"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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