Thursday, February 22, 2018

Take heed

People die alone who die without God. Or maybe they will find those waiting, those who will meet them.

If you go with them, you can only go so far, down that path. 

You might watch them slip away. Or, you might miss that moment. But we cannot assume that we have more time... more than the time before that final moment, that long moment between moments, when the dying find the longer path, when they stand on it at last, looking farther, facing what must be faced, chosen or not.

They live, but they are no longer with you. You cannot reach them.

Take heed. Know this. Give and say what you must. For even if there is a little life left, a little time left, we cannot assume we will have more time.

PHOTO: Margaret Ambridge

Monday, February 19, 2018

Promise of a new world.

The world of the senses has run me ragged. The weariness tore me away.

One day, not so long ago, the world and I began to move at a different speed. Still close, right here. But I'm not very interested.

I've slowed, floating on an inner current, flowing, going nowhere.

Sinking, the gurgling sounds just above me, the sunlight a vector, an unchanging stillness, a direction becomes dance, the promise of a new world.

The oldest, essential, purpose, preserved... in the deep, dark, depths of my heart.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Bhagavad Gita: The Four Yogas

My sadhana has been juggled around, and is moving in a new direction. I believe my Guru has been leading all of us up to and through this change.

I have to realize that actions that attempt to use discipline to overcome my limitations and delusions currently never work for me. I have spent my whole life disciplining myself and wildly grasping with super-human effort to try to get the grand experience I have been seeking, and to address what has been missing, and my misery about this.

For me, the "dos" like disciplining my activities with specific goals about meditation and other practices, as well as trying to keep spiritual experiences permanent, are not the opposite of sadhana. ALWAYS using my life and moments to try to create a new and permanent state is based on a delusion that I am lost, unfulfilled, away from God. Grasping and doing for my own limited results has created huge karmas and samskaras for me.

I found myself writing about how Karma and Bhakti Yoga--and much of Jnana Yoga--have come to the fore in my sadhana. The fourth Yoga, Raja Yoga, is a synthesis, with elements that form a system based on discipline, which is not helpful for me.

Krishna talks about how an individual will find that some yogas will work for them better than others.

1) KARMA YOGA~THE YOGA OF ACTION: Any time I am grasping or pushing, trying or making myself do anything, I am jumping on the great wheel. The harder I push and hang on, the harder I'm going to fall when the wheel goes around the other way. Rajas creates karma. I've got way too much longing made into rajas in every moment!

My path is not doing, and it is not not-doing. HOW? Through dharma/duty. Lord Krishna has taught me about Karma Yoga, and this knowledge and yoga is very important to my sadhana.

2) BHAKTI YOGA: Bhakti Yoga is a new emphasis for me. It is divine love, longing, and worship in a personal relationship with a chosen form of the divine. This is the "doing" that I offer, avoiding karmas (Karma Yoga). Commitment to experiencing love and worship for the Divine fills me with an intensity of shakti that is burning my impurities away.

A short description of a very powerful yoga.

3) JNANA YOGA: The focus of my sadhana for the last few years has been to notice and name the elements of my mind in action. I challenge delusion by noticing what arises and holding what will bring delusion. When I hold a train of thought or etc., it naturally dissolves. Consciousness dissolves into consciousness.

I have for the most part eliminated self-pity, collapsing (giving up), and self-hatred, and I at least notice many things such as jealousy, anger, and competitiveness. I especially have benefited from noticing when I begin to make a story about what is happening in the moment, with the assumption that it is happening to me.

My mind has become much more still and centered.

Other parts of Jnana Yoga which have been important are recognizing what is transitive in my reality and letting go my attachments to these things. "That's not real," and "that isn't permanent" are my mantras in using my mind in this way. I also practice "seeing" the world of the senses as consciousness, and remembering it may promise many things, but none of it will be truly satisfying or permanent.

4) RAJA YOGA: Royal Raja Yoga is a higher yoga that incorporates elements of the other yogas in a powerful synthesis. It is based on meditation and other tools to work with the mind.

Systematic and disciplined is not helpful or useful to me at this point in my sadhana. When I meditated, I went after dinner. I wanted to meditate. I ran down the steps to the kriyaloka meditation room at the ashram, sinking into my spot, my consciousness dropping into the depths of me as I settled in.

"It's almost 7:00, time to meditate doesn't work for me, at least not now. I have to wrestle with myself about it, my intention, and my fear. It is very unpleasant. It runs me, and I am stuck with it.

I need to go around this stuff. I realize almost all(?) yogis do this. I think I did so much of this in a past life that this time I am doing something else.

Guru dream

I had a long dream of my guru last night.

I don't remember what we might have talked about. She basically invited me to go with her for part of her day. We went to different rooms as she talked with different people. Nice rooms with soft and comfy furnishings. She was so nice and encouraging, without necessarily talking with me (I can't remember). She was sweet, yet on point with the people she interacted with.

Then it was time to go. Again she was very nice. I was so happy for all the time I had spent with her. As she was walking towards the next room, she turned to say goodbye. My goodbye was effusive and adoring. She did not like that. She made a face.

I've never spent time with her. I've had her darshan several times, usually for a few moments.

In thinking about the dream, I think she was encouraging me, reassuring me, and caring for me, without words. She was showing her love, and her commitment to me by inviting me to spend a long time with her, hours of time.

She challenged my feelings of little self-worth. She recharged my hopes for my sadhana, which have been waning for the last few months.

She filled me with her shakti in a subtle way. No drama, no fireworks.

Except for some specific occasions of longing, I have always felt ambivalent towards my guru. I have issues about women, and much prefer the company of men.

Now at last, all of these years of sadhana, I have burned up my desire, my control, my intensity in searching for and trying to hold together my experience of a real and unchanging wholeness, feeling truly alive. Many people feel this. We are seekers.

Now spiritual experiences can happen without me doing a bunch of things with them. I don't think I have to hold onto them and make them stay. I have spent my every breath with doing that. Finally I have let this go. A few echoes here and there.

There is nothing to do in the moment except experience the gift that is given, the lesson which is given. Get out of the way. Let it be. Let it end or keep happening. Most of all do not think that it will be permanent, the holy grail of the seeker's desires.

Finally I understand. If something goes this way, it MUST eventually go that way. Whatever is happening is not permanent unless it "just is," and even then....

I love you (my Guru).

NOTES:  I think my assumption of affected emotions and worship get in the way of what is real, and my Guru doesn't like it, so it's not very useful in the world of the divine, LOL.

Dramatic, emotional, flowery. Not her thing. I think she's more down to earth. Over-wrought doesn't make her happy. She cringed. Making a face was a playful way of communicating her experience of my prayers.

And also, she is instructing me to experience worship and longing in a more straightforward way. This is an important direction from her.

I am keeping my recent, very important insight that worship and longing create a fire in me that is burning away the impurities. It goes with my realization that my path is to "go around", rather than interacting with my limitations and delusions through discipline and purposeful action.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

I will not pray unless I want to

“God does not require that we be successful 
only that we be faithful.” 
― Mother Teresa

I am not Catholic, but I have been praying the rosary and the Liturgy of the Hours for a few days now. I feel the need to pray.

Prayer for me is made of worship, and of self-sacrifice. I offer up my body and soul in prayer. I offer my time and my focus. I am focused on God; my love and longing for God, which has been so great all my life.

I remember when I was a girl, and standing in the street near my house, and asking myself: what do I want to be when I grow up? My answer was either a nun or a Playboy centerfold! I do not see these as being all that far apart. They both celebrate life and the source of that life.

Still, I thought. That must be why I have a huge scar on my stomach, God wants me to be a nun instead.

Later, when I found out Mormons do not have nuns, I was not devastated--but it was close.

As an adult, I have found Catholics to be pretty weird. But I am coming to understand them better by borrowing their prayers. They feel an unbroken line from, and are the keepers of the people and events of the Lord's time on earth. They think about these constantly, in rosary prayers to Mary and others, in the Stations of the Cross, in their Mass, and in their religious peoples' lives, their activities, the symbolism of their habits and the structure of their days.

I am trying prayer in a specific way. I do not pray unless I want to. A feeling of wanting to pray comes up naturally. No desire--no pray. Also, if I lose interest in the middle of praying, (which does happen occasionally), I choose to stop praying.

Today, I felt strongly that I didn't want to pray. I thought everything to do with praying was more than painful, a sort of jerking around in my collapsed, depressed state.

"I will not pray unless I want to. Even if I don't pray ever again."

The thought I might stop made me sad. I found myself clicking on "nun links" that now come up on my YouTube side bar. I began to feel the desire again, to pray.

Praying is a way to get around the part of me that wants to use control of my mind and feelings to "get somewhere," spiritually or otherwise. 

I have been seriously and continuously contemplating how to move forward in my sadhana--and to what end--for months now. I tried a lot of things, and mostly accomplished a bunch of trying. My life goes in a big circle. Everything I'm doing now will become the opposite eventually. When I try to do it, I get in the way of grace. I have to step back. 

Wrestling myself to the floor at 5am is not me, never will be. The life of a nun is not for me. Which is hard because I long so much for a completely spiritual life. I don't feel that my current life fulfils that purpose in me. I am still learning.

After I pray The Office and The Hours, and the Crown Rosary or daily rosary, my body has a serene feeling of energy all in-line and in a gentle, persistent flow. I feel lighter, my mind and ego at rest. 

"I feel that my karmas, my pain, my despair, all of it is dissolving in the sweet attitude and daily results of prayer."

In the question I have been asking over and over, should I go through or around my obstacles, I have always returned to this answer: go around. I'll never wrestle that mess to the ground. Or if I do, I'll only keep it down for two seconds. It's all an illusion. Why sacrifice everything to fighting an illusion?

I think I have found the answer. I offer my prayer, including the results. If I can desire to pray, and then pray, I create the shakti in my being that dissolves all that has burdened me, and chained me to the vagaries of the world around me.

And so, I desire very much to be freed, and also to be continuously apart from the world. God is what matters to me.

After I pray, I'm at a loss of what to do. Everything else seems course, and destined to pull my lovely state back into illusion and pain. I don't think I can pray all the time. Just as sure as the desire to pray will come along, the desire to stop praying will come as well. I'm not going to fight it out with this part of me. Making myself do something is sure to eradicate any possibility of doing it at all. I'm just that way.

Meanwhile, I do continue to repeat the mantra silently, and I am trying out experiencing this as worship, in addition to my main experience as identification and purification. It's interesting to me that this feels too intimate! When I think of God, I no longer think of God as "inside" or "outside" of me. I guess there's no way to worship God without worshiping myself. Which is the point of the mantra in any case.

"My discipline is to only do it when I want to!"

As Mother Teresa said, "God does not require that we be successful, only that we be faithful." The idea of being faithful thrills me. It frees me from the content. If I prayed, or not, if I felt like praying or not. These dark waters would suck me down right away. I go around them! If only I can be faithful, and pray when I desire to pray, today. Who knows about tomorrow.

So, today I did not feel like praying. I was sad. "It's all over," I thought. "Like it always is." I have been wrestling with this off and on my whole life.

As I say, I started clicking on "nun links" that were coming up in my YouTube sidebar, since I've been surfing around looking for prayers. And I found that watching just one of these videos brought up all of my desire to pray, and to live a life that is based upon what matters, which is God.

It's part and parcel of the thoughts of a young girl who found that the things that mattered to me were not reflected in the world around me.

Finding my place in the world has been the real struggle of my entire life. I wish that I could be a nun. Maybe I can be, after all. A convent of one.

At least for today.

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