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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Happens to me

How often I think back on a moment with my friend from the ashram, a great devotee and yogini

One day as we were relaxing together outside of seva, she made this momentous (for me) observation:

"I am beginning to think that none of this ever happens to me..."

"There is always a princess..." Bram Stoker's Dracula

I was stunned. Where was she when life was "happening?"

I think of that now as I notice a change in how I experience fear. In practice, fear can be a helpful wake up call. But the fear that "I" can be damaged or killed is false. 

When fear begins, when it jumps up and starts to "flag" me down, I notice it, I look at it. I notice it trying to "crash" my state, to pull me down for a "roadside" conference regarding consequences I must control or avoid.

And I view and experience the fear as consciousness. My guru's grace allows me to do this. Fear is completely benign, divine... since it is made of the consciousness of My Beloved, who is Shiva. My fear has the power to cause suffering only when I worship it as God (truth). 

Of course, forgetting I am God was a part of the journey back to God, to Self. All is well.

And so, today when I think of my friend's simple observation, it occurs to me that I have broken through the magic of maya (illusion) just enough to recognize everything as consciousness, including fear. I have realized that none of this is "happening to me."

I believe that no amount of effort or merit on my part would have brought me to this level of "attainment" without the grace of my guru. Om guru om. 

Indian students in Calcutta covered in colored powder during
celebration of Holi, the Hindu festival of colours
Photo: Diby Angshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images

Once, someone said these words: "...(when we) believe in suffering." Again, I was stunned. Suffering IS. Why would it make any difference if I stopped believing in suffering? This seemed, just, silly... Worse it seemed insensitive to the amount of suffering in the world. But I got just a little hint of the larger meaning, as applied on a personal level. If you didn't believe in suffering... did it really happen to you? Hmmmm.... That was as far as I got, at first.

For me, to not believe in suffering means I don't believe "I" suffer, to no longer think of myself as this body, and this mind. I identify with Shiva, who experiences but does not suffer. I view my "suffering" as consciousness, the dance of divine shakti, who is giving the experience of being "me" and subject to pleasure and suffering.

Similar to fear, I experience and see suffering as consciousness. I am more and more established in Shiva, who created the illusion of suffering through the magic of maya, and now is taking himself back through me. This makes the freedom of realization a delicious participation in the game of my Beloved. For me.

Krishna and Radha's love affair was very "outre." They met in the forest(!), at night(!), without a chaperone(!!) They had to overcome unique obstacles. Although they grew up together, He was a God, and she was a gopi (cow herd). Krishna was the favorite of all the gopis, and this sometimes led to painful jealousy on Radha's part. But, even if she felt hurt and wanted to withdraw, she always chose to go to her great love, Krishna.

I remember a story about an ancient sage or god who asked Shiva(?) to explain maya. Since he wasn't at the effect of it, he could not understand it. He was warned of the mighty power of maya, that even he would be subjugated by its magic. He decided to give it a try anyway.

Down the spout into the jivan house called a body he went. He forgot who he was. He thought he was this little being in this certain place. He married, had children. He was joyful. He suffered. Lives came and went. Finally he found his way back (attained beyond maya through remembering, a very Kashmir Shaivism story element). Wow. That maya is some powerful, well, you know...

This story taught me how powerful maya is. It takes a solid game plan to forget you're God. This isn't left at all to chance. And it takes a solid game plan to get back.

And so, I have come to a place where I can honestly say that, more and more, everyday, I no longer believe in suffering.

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