Welcome to the Space that always is…

Two days ago I received a call from my mechanic, Cory.

“When can we get your car in?” He said.

“Oh, I talked to Drake (his son) and already scheduled it for next week.” I revealed.

He wasn’t really calling about my car.  I could sense vulnerability and fear in his voice, something I had never witnessed in the 30 years we have been associates.  Cory is one of those guys that always has a sincere smile on his face while tending to customers with kindness and compassion.

Cory was distraught.  A new level of health debility occurred while he was on a recent vacation.

“What’s up, Cory?” I prompted him. “Remember when you talked about how mercury could be tied in with your health?” He said. “Well, I’ve been having some problems with my legs, they don’t work right and over the last few years and it’s been getting worse…”

Cory is almost 60 and knows I am a health coach.  He also realizes how deeply I’ve researched holistic health methods and how far I have fallen on the long journey into the abyss of chronic health disruption, the ‘never feeling truly well physically or mentally, near-constant pain, brain fog and fatigue’.  Many clients following my advice have garnered good results but in my own case very little health improvement has been seen.

Cory scavenged for advice and guidance while we spoke over the phone. We discussed heavy metal poisoning, specifically mercury amalgam removal. We all have mercury and metal poisoning but each of us responds differently, I told him.  Like a facet being turned on, I spieled forth some historic dental artifacts, telling him that a hundred years ago, dentistry was held in the same esteem as Western medicine. It was generally understood that oral health was a significant factor in overall wellness.

Current research confirms this. The dentin tubules behind the teeth are like an entire universe of tiny blood vessels that can reverse the direction of the flow (for example, when sugar is added). These tubules, an important and misunderstood aspect of the immune system, can turn into toxin highways, allowing oral focal infections a route into the systemic circulation.

Before ushering Cory towards full dental restoration, however, I advised him to have a hair analysis test done by a reputed lab to see if he showed a high mercury load and that we would discuss things more when I brought my car in for servicing the following week.

I’ve heard dozens of tales like Cory’s before.

The studies show, irrefutably, that mercury toxicity and poisoning through our amalgam dental fillings is taking place.

Introduced in 1833, the amalgam filling, which contains mostly mercury, along with other metals, was met with outrage. Dentists who used it were called quacks.

Mounting and irrefutable clinical evidence has shown that mercury vapor is released inside the mouth from amalgam fillings.  And the politicians and corporate entities that allowed this to continue are responsible for a great health catastrophe.

Scientific evidence showing mercury’s deleterious effects are fully documented. Mercury, through amalgam dental fillings, has been poisoning people for 150 years and when combined with other metals and root canals-used to save a tooth that should be extracted because they cause a chronic infection- the toxic effects are amplified.

You may ask, “If I have mercury fillings or root canals in my mouth, how come I’m not sick?”

You may be dealing with the toxicity fairly well at this point, or you may be having symptoms (not full-blown chronic illness) that are related to the dental toxicity but don’t know it. The most urgent aspects are metals (principally mercury), root canals, and cavitation infections. These dental toxins are involved in 90 percent of all chronic diseases. In addition, the increasing schedule of vaccinations for children, where the preservative agent thimerosal (containing mercury and aluminum) and other additives are used, is another pathway for mercury to enter the body. Fish contaminated by polluted waterways is an easy scapegoat but not a primary factor in heavy-metal accumulation.

It is interesting to note that a small dose of mercury kills one in a hundred rats, while a small dose of aluminum also kills one in a hundred, but when combined together (aluminum and mercury), they created a 100 percent mortality rate in rats using the same dosage.

According to numerous studies, mercury poisoning can cause just about any sign or symptom, such as: Numbness or pain in certain parts of your skin, uncontrollable shaking or tremor, inability to walk well (like in my mechanic’s case), blindness and double vision, memory problems and the list of signs and symptoms of mercury toxicity can mimic and catalyze nearly every labeled disease, including: fibromyalgia, dementia, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, heart failure, multiple sclerosis, depression, and autoimmune diseases.

A 2016 University of Georgia study further confirmed what hundreds of studies have shown: amalgam filling toxicity is happening (still the primary tooth-filling material made up of a mixture of mercury and other metals).  The more fillings you have the greater the toxicity.

Removing mercury amalgam fillings is an extremely dangerous procedure due to the high volume of vapor being released during the removal process. There is immense controversy over the proper and safe protocol to be used.  And even when a successful amalgam filling removal process has taken place, the residual mercury (released into the body before the fillings were removed) stays locked in the body organs and brain for life unless further chelation (detoxification) is used.

And mercury detoxification or chelation is one of the most controversial and dangerous undertakings, as redistribution of stored mercury can cause a worsening of symptoms and health. Many supplements, drugs and protocols are available. Each with their own experts who often contradict each other.

For instance there is the Cutler Protocol, which uses two drugs: DMSA and DMPS, along with alpha lipoic acid. There is the Klinghardt neurotoxin elimination protocol along with dozens of methods and procedures using hundreds of different supplements and herbs, including: EDTA, chlorella, cilantro and many others.  Mercury detoxification is done intravenously, orally and rectally and each practitioner or so-called expert has specific herbs and supplements to recommend or absolutely avoid.

Nobody seems to really know for sure. So people that have a lab confirmed mercury toxicity or a high likelihood of mercury toxicity, are caught in a web, often not knowing for sure which direction to take. A worsening of symptoms can sometimes be the catalyst in taking the decisive step towards the beginning of heavy metal chelation, which may lead to improved health or further reduction in health.

Some practitioners get great results and reversal of diseases in a few cases while also having clients and patients fall into tragic, life altering declines and even deaths have been attributed to mercury and heavy metal detoxification.

My previous dentist, who died a few years ago, was a pioneering holistic dentist who had restored many people to wellness. He once said:

“You know in my experience 90 percent of all chronic disease comes from the mouth.  One hundred percent of all breast cancer I have seen in my practice has been related to oral infections (either: root canal, metal issues, or cavitation infections).”

 

 

 

Josh is an 86 year old retired astronomer who was recently hospitalized for a chronic lung ailment.  He is the neighbor and former colleague of my current caregiving client.

He stayed in the hospital for two days and the doctors could find nothing wrong with him. I am unsure what kinds of tests were done, most likely: a lung cancer screening, if Joe was a previous smoker, had signs of bloody sputum or significant weight loss.  It is possible that a biopsy would have been taken and a sputum cytology, CT,  Bone or Pet Scan might have been done if cancer was suspected.  (These tests and treatments, however, may only catch late stage cancers).

If diagnostic tests had discovered a bacterial infection, the doctors would have prescribed antibiotics.  If the situation was a rare fungal infection of the lung, this too would be treated with some kind of pharmaceutical medication.

Josh’s lung disorder was never clearly diagnosed and though he did not want to leave, the hospital discharged him.  The next day he entered again via the emergency room and spent 5 hours in the hospital before being released with no clear cause being found.

Using Chinese Medical diagnostics, Josh’s sedentary lifestyle would have been taken into account, along with his lack of adequate exercise.  It would also be noted that Josh was overweight. And the key symptom and sign (indicator) would not be missed:

The first episode started the week after Josh heard about his brother’s cancer diagnosis last Fall and Josh had a major recurrence just after his brother’s death and funeral a couple of week ago.

Josh has clearly repressed his sadness and grief.  This was compounded by lack of exercise, allowing his breathing to grow even more shallow.  This is called lung qi deficiency and correlates with a weakened immune system, specifically in the area of the lungs.  These repressed feelings states and a cold draft exposure on wind-driven fog penetrated his weakened energetic system at the time he first found out about his brother’s cancer.

I attempted to share with Josh, several weeks before his situation went acute, the benefits of Chinese medicine.  Josh had been to China many times and lived there for some years but still did not trust China’s ancient healing system which relies heavily on herbal medicines, acupuncture or acupressure for energy balancing, and lifestyle guidelines like diet and learning to breathe with a full abdominal breath.

Proper breathing facilitates the movement of feeling states. This is why so many of us in america do not breathe fully.  We are conditioned to keep feelings down and shallow breathing helps us to do this.

A Chinese Medicine practitioner would attribute Josh’s deficient lung qi disturbance to repressed sadness and grief over his brother’s initial cancer disclosure and subsequent death.  The repressed feelings exacerbated the lung and large intestine energy systems, which correspond to the emotions of: letting go, sadness and grief. (Each organ/energetic pair corresponds to different feeling states. This is one of the great insights of Chinese Medicine. For instance, the stomach and spleen and their disorders on the level of feeling relate to: worry and anxiety).

The shock and stress waves that hit our energy body when death, job loss or big life changes take place are usually aggravated by compensating lifestyle coping mechanisms, like: eating sugar, not exercising and other factors.  This further lowers immunity.

Locked up emotional energy allows an infectious agent to take up residence (or the repressed feeling state is the infectious agent itself) to invade the lungs, and even if a bacterial culprit was found, the antibiotics might not have resolved the issue fully, since the underlying feelings are unexpressed and the psycho-emotional element dynamic will keep the lung energy from complete restoration.

It is difficult for most of us to understand how repressed feelings can contribute to a serious disorder.

Feelings that clearly want to be released as a natural response related to a loved one’s demise keep spinning around and around wanting expression and release.

Josh seen through my eyes and the Chinese Medicine angle,  needs a ‘big cry’- a catharsis of tears.  He has to have the courage to allow the love he feels for his brother to wash over him.  Probably in Josh’s case his large intestine is affected too, most likely via constipation (failure to let go).  Other correlating signs and symptoms might also point to the need to allow sadness and release grief. Often our ability to feel love is inhibited by anger, which acts as a defense mechanism, keeping us from fully expressing ourselves.

Instead of feeling fully, most of us have been conditioned to repress our emotions, especially men.  This repression is an outdated and culturally inept way to live.  The idea that we must ‘tough it out’ is really just a cover up and false attempt to protect ourselves. From what? That we, too, might die!

Our body vessel dies but not our Soul essence.  Most of us think the body is us, defines who we are.  Many of us have not realized that the Soul or true Self is immortal, untouchable and never goes away.

Life is so simple when we naturally flow with feelings.  The life force is then strengthened not disrupted.

And yet even going through a dis-ease or repressed feeling disorder is the perfect unfolding.  In Josh’s case, it allowed his 3 children, all in their 60’s to come for a visit to support him and forced Josh, who lives alone, to get full time care-giving support from a local agency.

 

 

There have been many Sages and Saints over the centuries from the Christian tradition.  Two great ones are- the 15th century Catholic Saints, Theresa of Avila & John of the Cross,  a third one is the 12th century German theologian and Dominican Sage, Meister Eckhart.

“Let nothing perturb you, nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything.” -Saint Theresa of Avila

“My Beloved is the mountains, the solitary wooded valleys, the strange islands, the roaring torrents, the tranquil night at the approaches of the dawn…the supper which revives, and enkindles love.”  -Saint John of the Cross

“Man goes far away or near but God never goes far-off; he is always standing close at hand, and even if he cannot stay within he goes no further than the door.”  -Meister Eckhart

Since this series focuses on Saints born in the last 200 years, however, I include my favorite- the French Carmelite nun and Christian Saint, Therese of Lisieux.  No Christian Saint has touched me so much, like a tinkling bell held to the heart.  She embodied the true teachings of Christ, emulated Christ, became Christ-like and took the scriptures to their culmination, while speaking the universal language of Spirit.

Formally she was called Sister Therese of the Child of Jesus.

Saint Therese as a young girl, age 4, told Jesus that she would be his little flower.  Most of us are not famous movies stars, athletes or of the social stratosphere in God’s Divine Play, we are little flowers. As Saint Therese wrote:

“Our Lord’s love shines out just as much through a little Soul who yields completely to His Grace as it does the greatest…Jesus taught me that the only glory which matters is the glory that lasts forever and one does not have perform shining deeds to win that but to hide one’s acts of virtue from others, and even from oneself…”

Saint Therese shares this glory through her touching autobiography, A Story of a Soul.

The innocent simple prose contained in the book is like a dew drop that evaporates along the way yet we find ourselves fully immersed in the Divine Ocean of God’s love.

Therese, the little flower, is a true Saint.  How do I know this?  Not through canonization from the Pope or due to what others have written, nor by the testimony of the millions who have acclaimed her ‘miraculous intercessions’- only by the way I feel in her Presence: Holy, Whole, my Real Self, totally complete.

Saint Therese shares what I have always known in the deepest part of myself. The living gospel pours forth from her.  Once you catch the scent of the little flower, the aroma does not arrive through the nose but quietly penetrates the chest armor and enters your heart.  Then her joy is your joy; Thee one joy.  Without a doubt you know that grace from a living angel among us, unseen for some 122 years yet still available, continues to reverberate through the cosmos, where Earth is indeed Heaven.

Her autobiography is a stream of consciousness expression of deep truth.  The words are captivating in their simplicity, expressing tenderness of heart mixed with the innocence of a child.  In that spaciousness she shares an intimate glimpse, a communion with Jesus Christ.  Her grace, transmitted through those pages, allows us to eavesdrop on her holy prayers.

The entire book was written in 3 sections over the course of 13 months.  During those writing periods, Therese, at times bedridden and dying from tuberculosis.

“I simply write things down as they come, fishing at random in the pool of my heart and offering you my catch as I draw it out…”

The autobiography was unplanned and extracted under obedience as requested by the Sisters of the Carmelite (A strict, cloistered and monastic Roman Catholic religious order. The nuns spend most of their days in silence and contemplative prayer).  Published in France, the book was originally kept within the Carmelite doors.  Two years after her passing, in 1899, it was decided that the manuscript should be shared beyond the walls of the Carmel Convent and millions of copies have been printed, with translations in every major language.

Born Marie-Francoise Therese on the 2nd of January 1873, the 9th child of devoted and religious parents, Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin, Saint Therese lived on earth only 24 years.

Her mother had wanted to enter a convent but was rejected, being told by one of the Sisters that she must do the Lord’s work in the world.  Her mother prayed to the Lord, “I beseech Thee to make me the mother of many children, and to grant that all of them may be dedicated to Thee.”

Four of her children died in infancy, the surviving children, all girls eventually entered into the Carmelite Convent as cloistered nuns.

At age 4 Therese’s mother passed on and Saint Therese made a vow to seek only Jesus Christ. Afterwards, the devil came to her in a dream but seeing it flee she said: “A Soul in the state of grace need never be afraid of the devil (ego) as even the gaze of a child will frighten him away.”

The first word she could read herself was “Heaven.” And Heaven is the Soul (Consciousness) receding back into God (Source).

In those early years she would, as she said: “go and hide myself in a little corner of my room…just think…about God…about how short life is, and about eternity…I realize now that I was meditating, while the Divine Master was gently at work in my Soul…how lovely it was that first kiss of Jesus in my heart-it was truly a kiss of love. I knew that I was loved and said ‘I love You, and I give myself to You forever…and Jesus asked for nothing.’”

On Christmas day, shortly before her 13th birthday, what she called the “loveliest phase of her life began”.

“Jesus content with good will on my part, accomplished what I had been trying to do for years…charity took possession of my heart, making me forget myself, and I have been happy ever since…”

“At 14 my thirst for knowledge had become so great…the veil was so light that it could almost be seen through and there was no room for doubt. Faith and hope gave way to love; and I found the one I was seeking…the divine call was always so urgent that, even if it had meant going through fire, I would have cast myself in to follow Him….”

Later that same year, Therese attempted to become a cloistered nun well before the normal age of entry.  Denied, she went through the hierarchy of the church, from Vicar General, to a regional Bishop and finally on a pilgrimage to see Pope Leo the 13th himself.  During her audience, the Pope heard her request and said:

“Well…well…you will enter if it is God’s Will…” -which of course it was.  At age 15 she entered the convent, the youngest ever admitted (normally ladies must be at least 19).  On becoming a postulate at the convent, her father ushered her in:

“If I had anything better to give to God, I would present it!”

In the first few months at the convent or ‘sanctuary of Souls’ as she called it, Saint Therese felt overwhelmed with the requirements, so “placing myself in the arms of God, I did what a baby would do if it were frightened: I hid my head on my Father’s shoulder…the task seemed all the more simple; there was only one thing for me to do, unite myself more and more to God, knowing that he would give all the rest…”.

The little flower keeps creeping into my Soul, always in search of the Light, pulling awareness towards the subtle.  Saint Therese takes you to the root, God, where the soil and waters of the divine have reached the saturation point.

In the last two weeks during my immersion in the graces of Saint Therese’s, purification has accelerated the clearing away of subtle habits and tendencies.  A growing courage has been born, instilling within me a new found ability to surmount whatever obstacles come before me, whether they be physical pain, emotional discomfort, mental challenge or any other trial, for I know that in meeting them with love, service is rendered to the Lord.

The way she handled her final illness, tuberculosis, which at times ravaged the body with bloody sputum, near constant cough, unrelenting fever is inspiring.  Her bodily demise was never more important than service to God and her Sisters.

Saint Therese has gifted me with the ability to live through calamities of all sorts.  The beautiful little flower, is truly a long lost friend, someone I not only knew in a past life but have known forever.

I see Jesus through her eyes, understand Christ more intimately and see how deep devotion can be, all the while feeling her angelic presence- which is not something linked only to a particular form but that which animates all forms. God is no longer some esoteric or overused word that is misunderstood but the formless essence of all forms.

Some final pearls from the little flower:

“If I can only tell you all I understand…but I can only lisp like a little child and would be tempted to be silent, if the words of Jesus did not support me…prayer to me is simply a raising of the heart, a simple glance towards Heaven, an expression of love and gratitude in the midst of trial, as well as in times of joy…”

“Once a Soul has been captured by the odor of Your ointments (Jesus Christ), she cannot run alone; by the very fact of being drawn to You herself, she draws all she loves after her…”

“Since Jesus has gone to Heaven now, I can only follow the traces He has left behind. But how bright these traces are!”

“Sometime my last evening will come, and then I want to be able to say: ‘I have glorified Thee upon earth; I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do. I have manifested Thy name to those that Thou hast given me’.”

“I have never meant to write as I have done…I am quite astounded…when I die, I will send down a shower of roses from the Heavens; I will spend my Heaven doing good upon earth…”

Saint Therese, the little flower’s last words:

“Father in Heaven-I love you.”

saint therese little flower

Ramana Maharshi…

In early 1991 a skin ailment of unknown origin began to cause deep inner itching on both of my arms.  At the time, I was working as an operations coordinator for a pioneering transportation technology company.  Various remedies, like dermatological creams and other treatment options did not resolve the condition, though the innovative floatation tank sessions gave short term relief.

One day in late October of that same year my friend Susan, knowledgeable in alternative healing, referred me to the office of Dr. Burton, a local acupuncturist.  On November 1st 1991, I arrived for my first appointment.  I do not remember much of that session but I’ll never forget the pictures that adorned the office walls.  The ancient wisdom of the East had arrived in the healing form of acupuncture, but even more importantly, via India, where my heart awoke to the ancient Sages, Saints and Seers who spoke to me without words.

One photo in particular ignited a light within my heart; it was of the Sage Ramana Maharshi, I soon learned.  Somehow a 3 inch by 5 inch portrait, taken 50 or 60 years earlier, transmitted the direct presence of God. On that day the seed containing the Mighty Tree of Self-realization was planted.  Inwardly attuned, reflective and quiet, the manifestation called Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi entered into the depth of Soul.

The first Westerner to make contact with Ramana in 1911 stated it eloquently when he wrote:

“I was told to look the Maharshi (Great Seer) in the eyes, and not to turn my gaze. For half an hour I looked Him in the eyes which never changed their expression of deep contemplation.  I began to realize that the body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.  I could feel His Body was not the man, it was the instrument of God, merely a sitting motionless corpse from which God was radiating terrifically. My own sensations were indescribable.”

Ramana shared everything without a word.  Those that did not have the ability to receive the wordless blessing contained within his silent presence often felt the need to ask questions.  Ramana would advise them to look inward using a process called self-inquiry:

“…An examination of the ephemeral (fleeting) nature of external phenomena leads to disinterest. Inquiry is the first and foremost step to be taken…through inquiry the “I–thought” (or ego-sense) becomes clearer for inspection…”

This process roots out the latent tendencies of mind which pull one from the natural state of peace.

Ramana was born in the south of India on January 5th, 1879. An ordinary life transpired until age 17 when a great event took place wherein he realized the deathless nature of his true Self.  Leaving home a short time later, he was led to the holy mountain Aranachula in Tiruvanamalai, India.  He settled there, completely lost in the bliss of being without body identification, spending the next 10 years in temples and caves and emanating an all-pervasive silence. Even to sit near him or receive a short glance was enough to catapult seekers into a state of bliss.

Ramana did not care about creating a formal ashram but his devotees did.  As the ashram came into being, Ramana was involved in every aspect.  He would awaken at about 4 am after only 3 hours sleep each night.  After taking some salt with ginger for chronic digestive issues, he would go to the kitchen and begin cutting vegetables for the afternoon meal, grind chutney, or form rice cakes for the breakfast and then take a bath or walk on the hill.  The days would be spent supervising construction works, answering questions and removing the doubts of all devotees that sought him out.

The principle book describing his teachings is “Talks with Ramana: On Abiding Peace & Happiness’ gathered in the years 1935-39.  I found the book strangely compelling when I first discovered it.  I would read a few pages, then fall into a trance or nap and upon waking be unable to comment on what I’d read in an intellectual way.  Yet I found myself drawn over and over to those pages.

In 1996 I began a deep and lifelong immersion in the teachings and presence of Ramana when I visited his ashram in India.  My journal entries from that trip (listed in italics) contain a snapshot:

May 18, in Bangalore, India: “…I am being lead to Aranachula, to Ramana’s ashram…after a brief stop at a roadblock, the bus moves on…loud music prevails and crying babies, along with vomiting children…

Six and a half hours later we arrive in Tiruvanamalai at 3:15 am. After trying two places for a room, I finally am able to arouse someone and given a room for sixty rupees a night (about 1.50 cents U.S. at the time) along with a thirty rupee tip for the rickshaw driver.  Just before bed, I rushed to the toilet for a full-blown dysenteric explosion. (This particular sickness had arrived a week earlier). At 5 am I woke up and once again leap to the toilet in time for another volcanic eruption…

Morning arrives and I wander outside and catch my first glimpse of Arunachala, the sacred mountain.  Two pigs walk the streets with me. I spent the day sleeping, eating garlic and drinking water.  I leave my door open during the day, allowing the cool breezes to enter as rain falls. 

I began to read “Absolute Consciousness’ –obtained from the ashram bookstore. The book commemorates the centennial of Ramana’s enlightenment episode 1896-1996 and talks about God (Self) and how all there is- is God. God is your Self. Just surrender to the Divine and everything will be taken care of. Essentially the teachings are, abide in silence, peace will reign naturally…

                                    AT THE ABODE OF THE SILENT SAGE

Ramana was known for his hallmark quality: Silence.  As he said:

“Silence is the most potent form of work. Silence is the most potent initiation. Silence is the true teaching. It is suited only for the most advanced seeker.” He said.

Through this silence an inexplicable power has entered me and it matters not what the body must undergo. 

The bible says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Ramana says, “Stillness is the sole requisite for the realization of the Self as God. You are awareness. Awareness is another name for you. Since you are awareness there is no need to attain or cultivate it. All you have to do is give up being other things that are not Self. Effortless and choiceless awareness is our real nature.”

It has been said that Ramana’s voice is “melodious and soft as that of a child; it is exceedingly sweet.”  One day a devotee brought a tape recorder into the Hall to record Ramana’s voice.  He set the recorder in front of Ramana, prostrated before him and asked for permission to record. He thought Ramana had agreed and asked all the devotees to be quiet before pushing the record button.

“Only the whizzing sound of the revolving reel on the recorder could be heard. Ten or fifteen minutes passed thus, in near absolute silence.”  Turning off the recorder the devotee said to Ramana:

“Unless you speak, how can I record you?”

Ramana replied:

“My voice, indeed, has been recorded. My language is that of silence, and that has been recorded. Is it not so?”

A nice Indian man greeted me kindly as I walked into the ashram office the next morning. He set me up in a private room, simply adorned with a single bed, Indian-style toilet and an overhead fan–a must in this heat.

I ate lunch on the floor of the ashram dining hall, a curry served on a leaf mat, while sitting next to a kind, older Indian man.  One look at me and he knew the plague (dysentery) had struck.  He advised me to drink lots of water until my urine was clear and to consume curd every day. The curd, besides being full of friendly intestinal flora, would help me acclimatize better to the heat. I thanked him and went back for a nap after eating a few cloves of garlic and drinking more water. 

A bicycle rickshaw took me around Aranachula. (The holy hill).  Ramana claimed that going around the hill was a powerful spiritual practice, like going around the whole world.

I find my primary desire is to be in silence…

Sunday, May 19th:

What a gift to be here, to receive these pure and direct teachings.  To realize that the Self is always here, unchanging and to find bliss whenever I chance forget my true nature.

 Mind chatter has slowed down in the peace-filled serenity of the Ramana ashram.  I feel the blessings of this great Sage. 

May 20, Monday, am: Awoke to the sounds of the forest, screeching monkeys, swinging through the trees behind me. I slept for 12 hours, am very weak, dragging myself up for a morning walk in the nearby vicinity. 

There are small oasis-like communities all around the mountain. The mountain does have a strong pull for me energetically. I was impressed with the upkeep. The people here really care about the environment around this holy hill. Wandering sadhus (holy men) with their staffs or canes are abundant. Other people are using primitive means to build or make amendments to their homes.

I feel more human now after eating some food, but can’t seem to get fully hydrated. It is so hot here.

 

                                               CLIMBING ARANACHULA

I awoke to a gentle knock; it was 4:50am. A Rickshaw driver, who I hired to escort me to the top of Aranachula, arrived.  Nothing was going to stop me from at least trying to climb Ramana’s beloved hill.

We stopped to buy one extra liter of water from a weary shop owner who was just opening her door. Others nearby wash clothes and begin their morning. It is thirty minutes before sunrise as we walk up gravel stone road between thatched huts. I gaze through the open doors to see the sleeping families lying on the floor inside.  Some are even lying on the front porches.  Pigs scurry about, probing the garbage. Crows gather overhead, making their incessant inquiries and then condense towards three or four larger trees. An army is forming. A lone little black goat lies perched on a natural rock railing as we reach the base of Aranachula. He does not appear to have moved in days.  My little friend is not well.

The tranquility of the day is a hint of the power of this spiritually rich mountain.

It is said that Ramana Maharhshi lived all over this mountain, on top, in caves from 1896-1922, noting that “there was not a place he had not walked on the mountain.”

Finally, in 1922, shortly after his mother died, he moved to a permanent location, where the ashram is now located.

Several huts are garnished with small spiritual shrine, looking like miniature temples. As we pass the last few huts, a family of goats moves about, beginning their quest for food. It is mostly barren this hot season, but green plant life is sparsely spaced all over the mountain, top to bottom. Small trees, bushes, plants, including cacti, all sprout up every few hundred yards.

After a quarter mile, we turn to see the temples below in the city just as the sun begins to rise to our right. The climb grows steeper, there is no real trail.  Arrows painted on rocks mark the direction, which is straight up. Faded red dirt, rocks and boulders continue to greet us as we trek upward. The peace is pervading and, as we pull away from the awakening noise of the city, tranquility is the force of the day; along with a growing weariness I am not accustomed to.

We stop so I can take a few pictures, a great excuse to rest after two days of water fasting and my recurrent bouts with dysentery and dehydration. My legs are shot. I realize that I am in for a fight, if the top is to be reached. I consider surrendering about halfway up and returning to my room, as the realization comes that my only food is a now smashed banana. I pull it from my fanny pack, salvaging a couple small bites.    

My weariness grows over the next quarter mile of the 2000 foot climb and hopes of reaching the 2600 foot summit dwindle.  Thank goodness it is in the high 70’s low 80’s as we climb, being early in the morning. Somewhat cool breezes blow by about every ten minutes. My heart isn’t the factor yet, my legs are.

I sit on a boulder.  A young male, about 18 years old, catches up with us.  He has a most impressive physique, much like a mixture between a deer and Ethiopian distance runner.  Wearing a skirt and no shirt and barefooted, he carries about 20-30 gallons of water slung over his shoulder in a plastic container.  He stops next to me.

    “How often do you climb this mountain?” I ask, as my rickshaw driver-companion translates.  He says that he has been climbing the mountain every day for a year. He brings water to the sadhu that lives on top. I ask him how much money he gets for this. He replies that he gets nothing but spiritual blessings from the sadhu.

He presses the pace as we begin again as a small group.  Noticing me struggling, he picks some “special herbs” from a plant growing on the hillside.  Instant energy arrives. ‘What was that stuff, I wonder to myself an Indian version of the coco plant?’

I am invigorated but still bringing up the rear. The man of steel keeps inspiring me with:

“Michael, come.” A wave of a hand from the trim figure above urges me upward. It is a humbling role reversal for me. This process continues all the way to the top. Just before we reach the summit, I see goats and monkeys perched near the summit ridge.   A bit delirious, I reach the top, pulling out my camera to get a shot of a  monkey in the foreground and the temple town in the background.

Thirty feet away, about twenty feet below the summit, on the other side of the hill, I observe a vine and thatch natural shelter or hut. This is where the sadhu lives. The top of the mountain is blackened, as if a constant fire has been burning slowly for centuries.

A few places exude smoke, as I remember that Aranachula literally means, “Red Mountain or Hill of Fire.”  

The thatch hut reminds me of a Native American sweat lodge, but with openings on two sides, one partially covered. Five monkeys scamper about the place, aggressive monkeys who make their presence felt. We walk towards the entrance of the sadhu’s hut. Bowing in respect, I barely catch a glimpse of the sadhu inside, who is said to be about sixty-five years old with an unknown history. He does not speak and I never saw him look up during my entire time there. He mumbles like an old man with a gag in his mouth. The only sounds he makes are grunts.

We prepare to be blessed by first rubbing smoked ash on our third eye. The sadhu has several helpers. One brings water and milk along with some special herbs, which for seven years is apparently all that he has consumed. I felt a presence of stillness, but the moans I could not figure out. We walked around his hut fifteen times, in some type of ceremonial fashion, he chanted: “Om shiva, shiva, shiva, shiva—Aranachula, Aranachula.” And a few other chants of devotion and liberation before we began to drink a water herb mixture out of half coconut shells that almost appeared to be petrified they were so old. We drank many glasses of this. We then shared some fruit that others had brought.

A daring monkey stole a banana.  

 

                                                A GIFT FROM THE SAGE

Back at the ashram an extreme sense of wonder overcomes me: ‘How can I feel so good, given all the variables, fasting, dysentery, etc?’ Yet, it is so. An aura of peace of the kind I have never known courses through me in the environment of the ashram.  Wild peacocks abound in their natural habitat. The office manager feeds banana bits to one. The birds and other animals of this jungle-like forest hermitage begin their pre-evening calling. The mixture of sounds dances and the mountain pulsates within me.   

Suddenly one of the peacocks spread its plume in a magnificent display of color as if bowing before Aranachula:

 “I will take all you have to give, blessed mountain!”

 

ramana

Baba Hari Das…

Some mysterious force was moving me out of bed on a summer day in 2009. I had been undergoing some kind of multi-month, mysterious purification playing out as a chronic illness. It had been a brutal night, with high fever and bouts of delirium, followed by shivering. It took a heroic effort just to take off my sopping clothes and replace them with multiple layers before collapsing back into bed- where I spent 13 hours that night. I went to take a shower about 10 am, despite the residual after-effects of nausea, bloating, and headache. I was moving like a feeble old man, but it didn’t matter as providence, beyond brain and mind, was propelling my body-vehicle forward.

Gingerly stepping into my silver Toyota Corolla, I began the 45-minute drive to Mount Madonna, carefully steering to the left of the lycra-clad peddlers on the road. My car rambled through oak and madrone trees.  Climbing above the Pajaro Valley, navigating toward the top of Mount Madonna Road, I glanced down at the coastline of the Monterey Bay.

I was on my way to see the holy Sage, Baba Hari Das (his name means ‘respected father’), and the students and devotees affectionately refer to him as Babaji. I could have easily crawled back into bed that day. My neurological system was in total disarray. It felt like my brain, having been immersed in cryoprotective agents after a botched experiment, was bobbing in a test tube next to me on the passenger seat.

I had seen Babaji a couple dozen times over the previous five years. His clear, glowing presence was impossible to resist.  After parking the car under a redwood canopy, I approached the entrance to the main building and walked towards the community room adjacent to the dining hall, where Babaji was often available for an hour or two after lunch.  Upon seeing him at the open doorway, my hands came into prayer pose in front of the heart. No matter what was happening inside the community room, each time Babaji would return my invocation, known as Namaste- an acknowledgement honoring and bowing to the Divine Light within us all.  Everyone who walked through that doorway and into his presence was given equal treatment, eye contact and this talisman-like transmission.

For the past 60-plus years, until his passing, Babaji lived in silence.  He took a vow of Mauna (Silence) beginning in 1952, to as he said, “bring about uninterrupted concentration, conserve energy, silence the mind and develop non-attachment to desires. Speaking of his early days of Mauna he once wrote:

“For 12 years I faced much difficulty…for the first two or three years “a fight with anger…The mind cannot be stopped merely by keeping your mouth shut.”

During a visit, 4 years earlier, in 2005, I had a private session with him. Babaji communicated through the dry-erase or board in response to a query I made that day.  Being a silent yogi, the board was his means of communication.

“I know about your pain,” he wrote down on the slate.  He really did.  His insight and presence touched me at the core of being. Upon seeing and hearing his words, my eyes filled with droplets of joy.  To truly be seen for what you are is referred to as darshan in India.  Darshan is a Sanskrit word meaning “divine vision.” Babaji did not see one as merely a personality, a bundle of conditioned desires and fears. Being seen for what I truly am deepened my conviction in essential nature, and was a liberating insight.

Once again, in the summer of 2009, I found myself sitting cross-legged on the floor among a group of about 10 people casually assembled at the feet of then 86-year-old silent Sage. Wearing the traditional garb of an Indian holy man, his face bore the innocence of a young child mixed with that of a rural villager and it seemed that his glowing presence was newly born each instant.

The environment around Babaji was ordinary. He did not have a lofty perch to protect, nor was he sitting around waiting for admiring followers to arrive. Around him, people were simple and relaxed, and did little spiritual posturing. Families were a big part of his community and Babaji had a special affinity with children. The young ones were drawn to him.  He would playfully interact with them for a minute or two and then offer a healthy lollipop.

Baba Hari Das had a primary interpreter. She sat close to him, with a blissful aura about her. She was attuned to the undercurrent of silence from which his words sprang and made their way to the board. If there was any question about the interpretation etched on the board, she and Babaji made eye contact and through the silence, clarification came.

It took only a few minutes of silent sitting for any lingering problems, stories, or ideas to vanish. Most often, I was left without questions while basking in his presence.

Babaji was born in the Himalayan region of Almora in 1923. At age 6, he had his first darshan from a revered Sage of the area ‘under a large Banyan tree inside a small hut built into the roots’.  This gift of darshan  awakened a wave of spiritual fervor and renunciation.  Baba Hari Das lost his father the next year, at age 7.  The following year, only 8 years old, Babaji left home as a wandering yogi-ascetic to, as he said, “lift the restraining box (the idea of separation) which created a feeling of suffering and sadness in the hearts of all.”  After some time wandering, he joined a jungle ashram for youth in order to find God. (This kind of renunciation at such a young age is unfathomable in the West but does happen sometimes in India).

Brought to the United States in 1971 by a few devoted students who went to India to study Yoga, an extended community was formed and blossomed under Babaji’s tutelage: the Hanuman Fellowship, at Mount Madonna Conference and Retreat Center, in Santa Cruz County along with Salt Spring Island, British Columbia and several others.

His insight and guidance were at the forefront in the emerging natural healing system of Ayurveda in America.  His yoga teachings were given in a three tier system: for beginners, intermediate and advanced students with classes on all aspects of the art: yoga scriptures, devotional chanting, silent meditation retreats, Indian plays, various athletic endeavors, including a mini- Olympiad.  Babaji emphasized selfless service or what is known as karma yoga- which he called:

“The most straightforward pathway to progress in spiritual life…”  Physical work, social contact and interaction in conscious and cooperative groups would, as he said “translate into cooperative relations in all areas of life.”

One of his devotees remembers that Babaji, until his later years, always worked side by side with everyone else inspiring others with his work ethic and presence.

One of Babaji’s most treasured undertakings was the founding of the Sri Ram Orphanage in Haridwar, India.  As a young boy he had seen many children wandering alone without food or shelter.  At his orphanage children are sometimes left at the front entrance.  Others are found wandering and starving or otherwise abandoned.  After medical evaluation the children are cared for with great love. A school is also affiliated with the orphanage providing education from nursery school through grade-12.

The royalties from Babaji’s many books are used to fund the orphanage along with other donations.

http://sriramfoundation.org/

When asked who he was, he wrote:

“I am what people see in me.”

Always he taught by example and with succinct guidance:

“First find unity within, in your thoughts, words and actions and the unity outside will follow you…

One time a reporter asked him how many teachers he had and his instant response on the dry erase board:

“Myself!”

Baba Hari Das exited the mortal frame consciously (known as mahasamadhi), in September, 2018. He left an indelible impression on all who sat with him.

babaji

Nisargadatta Maharaj…

In September 2003, I met my wife.  Instant Soul mates, we began a whirlwind spiritual romance which continues to this day.  Our union, far from a typical wedding, began with vows consecrated through mutual supplication, long before the actual ceremony:

‘How can we go deeper into the heart, realize intimacy with God’s always present magnificence, in form and formlessness.’ Our intention: to dissolve any sense of separation, with Truth being more important than anything else, while helping each other wake up to Essential Self, not as conceptual or intellectual understanding but as direct experience.

In the second week of our journey together, we entered the now defunct Capitola Book Café.  Our first jointly ‘owned’ book was purchased:  I AM THAT by the Sage Nisargadatta Maharaj. If not for the translator Maurice Frydman who helped publish the book in 1973, Nisargadatta would have been another, mostly unknown, Indian Master living out his final decade in obscurity.

That book was an integral part of our gospel of enlightenment.  The light transmitted through the teachings did not make our lives better or more comfortable.  Instead, obstacles to living a fully-integrated life such as:old conditioning patterns and habitual coping mechanisms began to purge from our systems.  Though necessary, this process did not feel very good.

Nisargadatta left an indelible record of the authentic spiritual path and what it means to be a fully-awakened human being.  As he declared:

“For many centuries Western people were not interested in spiritual matters, but now they have realized that, in spite of all their riches, they cannot get real peace, so they are searching for the truth now.”

Speaking about the benefit of truth teachings (satsang) and grace, he urged:

“Grace is always there but receptivity must be there to accept that grace. One must have the firm conviction that what is heard here is the absolute truth…become impregnated with what I give you, to the extent that you are one with it…there is nothing you as an entity can do, that which has taken root will by itself flower into intuitive understanding…the benefit you get will be like sitting under the shade of several thickly leaved trees. Sitting under the trees there is a certain amount of peace and feelings of well-being. Stay in the peace. My teachings are like a big shady tree for relaxation…”

When a devotee attempted to get Nisargadatta’s life history, he once said:

“I was never born.”

Given the name Maruti- the Sage, soon to be known as Nisargadatta Maharaj (the great seer of the natural state), was born on 17th April 1898 on a full moon in Bombay, India.  He grew up amidst religious and devoted parents with 5 brothers and sisters. At age 26 he married and over the next several years, had 4 children.

Nearly a decade later he met his spiritual preceptor or Guru, later sharing:

“My Guru ordered me to attend to the sense ‘I am’- my Guru said to give attention to nothing else. I just obeyed. I did not follow any particular course of breathing, meditation or study of scriptures. Whatever happened I would turn my attention from it and remain with the sense ‘I am’. It may look simple, even crude…but it worked!”

This ‘I am’ or beingness/presence, which Nisargadatta referred to, is the living truth, the direct experience of what we really are–not body and ego but the all-pervading consciousness, Essential Self or Soul animating the body-form.

As he insisted:

“Consciousness is taking care of everything; look at consciousness as God. That is the ‘I Amness’ you know so well…”

After an additional 3 years of intensive practice, sincere devotion and earnest application, Nisargadatta realized himself as the all-pervading Spirit.  In subsequent years he began spreading the truth through gatherings in the loft above his apartment. For two decades these gatherings were filled with local people from the Bombay vicinity.

With the publication of the book, I Am That, spiritual seekers arrived from all over the globe to sit with him, ask questions, and imbibe his teachings during the last 8 years of his earthly life.

In that small loft, converted into a holy shrine for spiritual gatherings, flowers were perpetually garlanded over the portraits of dozens of Saints and Sages.  The smell of incense and cigarette smoke mixed with devotional chanting and singing. The room oozed with spiritual fervor and dedication to truth.

As the gatherings began, a smile would often erupt, illuminating Nisargadatta’s entire face when he spoke:

“The innermost light, shining peacefully and timelessly in the heart is the only reality…What you seek is so near you, that there is no place for ‘a way.’”

After delivering such pearls, he might use a parable or simple story to illustrate a point:

“Do you know what I mean by peace?   When you put a doughnut in hot oil, a lot of bubbles will come out until all the moisture in the doughnut is gone.  It also makes a lot of noise, doesn’t it? Finally, all is silent and the doughnut is ready. The silent condition of the mind which comes about through a life of meditation is called peace.  Meditation is like boiling the oil. It will make everything in the mind come out.  Only then will peace be achieved.”

His eyes, in particular, would visibly enlarge as he spoke, like high beams from a car suddenly switched on, flooding the devotees with Soul force.  The sharp, piercing quality of his voice would ring out as if from a machine gun stuck in the open position.  These were no ordinary words he spoke, being sourced from the great beyond and aimed straight at the heart.  Nisargadatta would direct his wisdom, transmit his love, as a growing silence penetrated the room and the receptive devotees would recognize this as the natural state.

This penetrating presence would not be deterred by the goings on outside the room in the bustle of Bombay.  The cacophony of noise: the clicking hooves from horse-drawn carriages, the honking rickshaws and Double Decker tourist buses screeching along, or the bartering street vendors would become muffled fodder against the ongoing communion happening within.

Nisargadatta taught in the style called: ‘Neti-Neti’- a Sanskrit expression that means “not this, not this” or ‘neither this, nor that’-implying negation of all things that do not last (arise and pass away).  He emphasized inquiry as a pathway to freedom, which he described as follows:

“…Struggle to find out what you are in reality. To know what you are, you must first investigate and know what you are not. Discover all that you are not – body, feelings thoughts, time, space, this or that – nothing, concrete or abstract, which you perceive can be you. The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive. The clearer you understand on the level of mind you can be described in negative terms only, the quicker will you come to the end of your search and realize that you are the limitless being.”

He could be ruthless, with righteous anger flowing, towards those that came to the gatherings in order to show off their spiritual knowledge via an over-inflated ego filled with conceptual baggage.  To such a one, he once exclaimed emphatically to his translator in a distinctive Marathi dialect:

“Nowadays people are full of intellectual conceit… You are not interested in others as persons, but only as far as they enrich, or ennoble your own image of yourself.  And the ultimate in selfishness is to care only for the protection, preservation and multiplication of one’s own body…”

He, in a purely spontaneous fashion, aimed at destruction of this ‘pseudo entity’-or ‘fleeting movement’ referred to as ego.  He once said:

“Ego, the sense of separate existence or identification with thought, is a reflection of the one reality in a separate body.  In this reflection the limited and unlimited are confused and taken to be the same…”  Further elucidating, he continued:

“A bundle of mental habits attracts attention, awareness gets focalized and a person suddenly appears…thoughts and feelings exist in succession.  They have their span in time and make you imagine yourself, because of memory, as having duration.  In reality time and space exist in you, you do not exist in them…”

Equally Nisargadatta, after the gathering in a quiet moment of one-on-one reflection, could elicit tears of joy from a sincere aspirant through his genuine compassion and universal love. He once said to a devotee, not so much via his words but through the tender presence from which they sprang:

“Do you know what my blessing is for you…Until you leave your body may you have full devotion and surrender…”

Nisargadatta constantly urged one to be still.

“If you can only keep quiet, clear of memories and expectations, you would be able to discern the beautiful pattern of events. It is restlessness that causes chaos…Don’t be anxious about your future.  All will fall into place.  The unexpected is bound to happen, while the anticipated may never come.”

Jean Dunn, one of his direct disciples, referred to his teachings when she said:

“If you’re seeking truth this is it. But it’s not something everyone wants. Most people want something to make their life better, money, a better house, and so forth…”

The teachings of Nisargadatta have nothing to do with the relative, worldly aspects of life. This is a tricky point for many seekers feel they really want Truth and Spirit but in fact are just gobbling up spiritual concepts to enhance their position in life, camouflage or bypass feelings states, or add some distinguishing spiritual acquisition.  This is an immature approach and very common in the West.

Nisargadatta exuded:

“The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it will destroy the world in which you live. But if your motive is love and truth of life, you need not be afraid. Make the senseless sorrow of mankind your sole concern. With dissolution of the personal “I” personal suffering disappears. What remains is the great sadness of compassion, the horror of unnecessary pain. Compassionate awareness heals and redeems when the mind has been put to rest and no longer disturbs the inner space.”

Nisargadatta’s teachings, thankfully, have been preserved through books, the living examples of direct disciples and a few videos which highlight his intense presence, mannerisms, gestures and often bring forth a cosmic jolt.

Nisargadatta urged the devotees to ask questions in order to remove doubt and fear and was adamant about the importance of sincerity in spiritual search:

“Once you say, I want to find truth, all your life will be deeply affected by it. All of your mental and physical habits, feelings and emotions, desires and fears, plans and decisions will undergo a most radical transformation. And earnestness is the decisive factor, the homing instinct which allows the bird return to its nest and the fish the mountain stream where it was born…”

I rarely remember Nisargadatta’s words.  They disintegrate on contact, like a bubble bursting inside and without residual elements lodging themselves in the mind.  What’s left of the words, only fragrance- a scent that illuminates the innermost being.

During one of his final talks, while experiencing intense pain from end-stage throat cancer, a few months before his bodily passing in 1981, Nisargadatta said:

“All experiences of suffering are the result of love. It is that love for existence which gives rise to all pain…The Ultimate You can never be lost…..I have told you enough and whatever you have heard, retain it, deliberate over it, ponder over it, and become one with THAT.”

nisargadatta

Anandamayi Ma…

I sipped on ‘green gold’, a pet reference to celery juice, on Easter morning.  Against the lower side of my desk, Jesus Christ via a sculptural snapshot, snuggles up close to a photograph of the Saint Anandamayi Ma.  In the photo, Ma has her eyes closed, devotional ecstasy embodied, in union with the living Presence of God.

Sometimes when I gaze at a photo of Anandamayi Ma, a mysterious surge of energy pulsates through my body.  Through those heavenly jolts, I feel ever more awake to the living truth.

I spent the first 2 hours of Easter morning in my home cathedral, a sanctuary looking out into a meadow. During this period a deep alignment with Ma occurred, without effort. Grace had been received, as Ma once said:

“No one can think of her unless she thinks of them”.  In this way we are all blessed and uplifted by HER Grace, for if you are reading this, you are in HER Dominion.

Through this alignment with Ma, meditation continued to move deeper, the body frame grew more supple and my sitting posture became more comfortable.  The subtle waves of restlessness inherent in the mind began to subside.  My receptivity to the Divine enhanced, the silent embrace took over.  This is what Jesus’s resurrection is about: Remember our divine heritage, not the things of this world but Spirit Eternal.

As Ma said once in a letter a devotee:

“Let your thoughts dwell constantly on the Supreme Reality; endeavor to let your mind be absorbed in God.”

More Spirit than human, the great Saint Anandamayi Ma was born 124 years ago this month (1896) in Kheora, a small village in what is now Bangledesh.  Uneducated via the ways of traditional schooling, the divine was her only companion.  She drew followers from every creed, profession and country while travelling throughout India for the last 50 years of her long, earthly sojourn.  She left her mortal form in 1982.

Her mother said that she “was radiant, peaceful and possessed full consciousness at birth.”  How can one have full consciousness at birth?  Ma was a free being, born without latent tendencies and karmic residues to work out.  This is hard to fathom in today’s Western world.  The manifestation of her birth was not due to karma, like nearly all humans.

To demonstrate this, it is said that when Ma was resting in her crib, only a few months old, her mother was busy with household chores.  Taking a glance to check on her child, Ma’s mother noticed a holy man, hands in prayer pose and with radiant complexion, standing before the baby Ma.  He said to her mother:

“This is no ordinary child…This is none other than the Mother of the World.” Later in life, Anandamayi Ma astounded people by remembering those who were present at her birth.

As I attune to the life, energy and teaching of Anandamayi Ma the meaning of her name (bliss-permeated Mother) enters my heart.  I get a small inkling of the depth of HER and realize how deep one can go in their communion with the living consciousness called God. A growing intimacy and peace enters, not as stale or dry jargon but full of divine magic.  I experience the essential truth of the scriptures.

I understand clearly that all the things of this life: we are made to do. There is no internal bodily entity, no person or individual in charge, who can control.  The more I sit with Ma, the more I absorb the highest spiritual truths as living manifestations.  In that space and through that insight, the human body is seen as an idea of the mind (mental creation), a mishmash of fleeting sensations, intense feeling states, emotional energies and physical pleasure and pains.

When Ma was in her early 20’s, a divine voice came from within her and said:

“What would it be like to be a seeker (after truth and God)?”

Then a small veil was put over her and a spiritual journey began (like all of us).  In Anandamayi Ma’s case, spiritual practice or the spiritual journey had 4 distinct phases:

“In the first phase, the mind was “dried” of desire and passion so it could catch the fire of spiritual knowledge easily. Next the body became still and the mind was drawn inward, as religious emotion flowed in the heart like a stream. Thirdly, her personal identity was absorbed but some distinction between form and formlessness still remained. Lastly, there was a melting away of all duality (sense of separation). Here the mind was completely free from the movement of thought. There was also full consciousness even in what is normally characterized as the dream state.”

We can use this journey-template to deepen our own spiritual practices, whatever they may be.

In my own experience being under Ma’s Dominion increases earnestness, sincerity, concentration and one-pointedness.  What is always flowing, the Divine Current, is felt to be immanent, as a swirling energy vortex which coalesces within and without.  I am less interested in the movement of thought, for the God-vibration is no longer a whisper but a holy-benevolent shout which echoes and reverberates inside my heart.

Communion with the Source is more alluring than anything else.

Everything in my sphere is illuminated in the ever-deepening communion with Ma.  I realize ‘I Am’-a free being -and was never restricted to a body form.  Spiritual practices become amplified; there are more uninterrupted periods of contemplation, devotion and inquiry.  Surrender is no longer a word to denote something to do or achieve for the individual “I, me or mine” –it is an innate impulse that cannot be denied.

I hear Ma’s voice when intense experiences are encountered and her soothing presence and words are healing balm:

“Your sorrow, your pain, your agony is indeed my sorrow. This BODY understands everything…No one is new to me; all are always familiar.”

Anandamayi Ma sees souls not faces, and acknowledges the Supreme Being in each of us.  We are all part of her UNIVERSAL BODY, nothing is separate.

Many in the West would never have known about Anandamayi Ma if not for the Sage Yogananda, who met her in 1935, and left us this remarkable written testament in his book:

“Anandamayi Ma was standing in an open-topped automobile, blessing a throng of about one hundred disciples when we arrived…

“Father, you have come!” With these fervent words she put her arm around my neck and her head on my shoulder….

We sat together in the rear seats of the car. The Blissful Mother soon entered the immobile ecstatic state. Her beautiful eyes glanced heavenward and, half-opened, became stilled, gazing into the near-far inner Elysium. The disciples chanted gently: “Victory to Mother Divine!”…

Refreshed by her dip in the Infinite, Anandamayi Ma was now focusing her consciousness on the material world.

“Please tell me something of your life.” I said.

“Father, there is little to tell.” She spread her graceful hands in a deprecatory gesture. “My consciousness has never associated itself with this temporary body. Before I came on this earth, Father, ‘I was the same.’ As a little girl, ‘I was the same.’ I grew into womanhood, but still ‘I was the same…’.’ And, Father, in front of you now, ‘I am the same.’ Ever afterward, though the dance of creation change around me in the hall of eternity, ‘I shall be the same.'”

Anandamayi Ma is the Living Truth, the falling away of her human frame some 37 years ago has not diminished her power, eloquently transmitted through these words:

“For one who knows me, I am one with him;

for one who wants to know me, I am very near to him;

for one who does not know me, I am a beggar before him.”

 

Ma6

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