Welcome to the Space that always is…

Archive for December, 2010

The simple…

Taking a walk in nature, breathing fresh mountain air, hearing the cascading vibrations of a flowing river, these are the simple things. Looking into the eyes of a beloved friend—is their anything more potent than soul to soul contact? In that instant, life becomes utterly simple, yet absolutely full.

Every day is made up of many seemingly minute details, each one rich, amazing and delightful, if only we would fully embrace them. When you start to enjoy the wonder of each instant, life is pure grace overflowing. It doesn’t matter what is happening, the moment is always alive and pulsating. We bring in ‘the good’ and ‘the bad’ when we create a story about what is. If, however, we don’t bring in the filtering aspect of mind, nothing stands in the way of the aliveness, nothing masks the immensity. Then even the moment of bodily death becomes part of life. We realize that who we really are is the immutable witness of all that is.

Healing for the Holidays…

Winter Solstice arrives tomorrow, December 21st. Christmas is around the corner. It is an amazing time full of heartfulness and love. It, however, can be a season where we overdo it, feel run down, stressed out and exhausted.

In the Chinese healing philosophy, Winter is a time where the kidney and bladder energies are highlighted. According to the 5-Elements or Rhythms Theory, these organ/energetic systems govern: adrenals, bones and store the congenital essence (our root energy). When one has tuned into the Winter vibration, they bring forth gentleness, calmness, willpower and wisdom.

On the down side, when one is out of balance, they can be more prone to nervousness and fear, but these are only symptoms and signs escorting us back towards harmony, asking us to care for ourselves in a new way. Really, Winter is the time for embryonic possibility. It is the potential in seed form. We need to nourish ourselves and rest more at this time.

To release fear and nervousness, the healing sounds can be used. The healing sound for the kidney and bladder is: ‘Choooo’. Sitting on a chair with your hands on your low back, over the kidneys, take a deep breath while visualizing a radiant blue light coming in through your hands. As you fold forward, grab your knees, releasing the breath, sub-vocally, silently with the healing sound ‘Choooo’.  Feel the fear and nervousness moving out with the healing sound. Do this several times. When you are finished, keep your hands over the kidneys and smile inwardly letting in a new peace-filled energy, full of calm and gentle wisdom.

A simple exercise like this might seem silly. “What’s that going to do?” your mind might say. Suspend any beliefs and doubts and try this practice, just for a few minutes each day. You are giving self-love and emotional healing to yourself. You’re worth it!

Awareness…

Early this morning lucidity came forth during a nocturnal dream, interrupting the cycle of REM. I’ve had lucid dreams before—a dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming. One suddenly discovers the ability to change dream events at will. This lucidity was different though. In this case I suddenly became aware that I was awareness itself. In the dream, I was having a conversation with my wife and instead of attempting to manipulate or will some fabulous scenario from my lucidity, I stepped out of the dream altogether. Why would one want to change the dream, make it noble, or bring it to some spectacular conclusion when it was just a dream? With the insight that the dream was not real, what followed instantly, instead, was the recognition that I was lying in bed next to her. We were both sleeping.

Again simultaneously I woke up into ‘normal’ day time state and realized that that was only another interpretation. It also was only a dream. I was just pure awareness, the entire idea of ‘me’, my dream, my life was just one more superimposed dream state.  This ‘me’ was made up, just a mental image, constructed from appearances to create a reference point in time.  Yet, there was no time.

Humans try to get to their Being in so many ways. One way is through drugs. All the states that come about from ingestion of expansion-inducing substances, though they might bring some transcendent states, still take you away from your inherent Self which is already here abiding, waiting for you. Even spiritual practices can be a way to search for the ‘grand something out there.’ It is like trading search mechanisms, changing telescope lenses, until one sees that all searching is futile.

The best course is to meet yourself in the living moment. You realize that what you were searching for in the drug or spiritual ‘high’ is already here. When the search is over, you rest in wholeness, freedom, and peace.

Men’s Group…

I had tried out a couple of meetings at a Bay Area men’s group before but found it lacking in depth, intention, and authentic spirituality. A few weeks ago I saw a flyer for a Men’s Retreat Day at the Santa Cruz Vipassana Center. Their intention, as listed on the website, was to gather “a community of people who support each other’s meditation practice and the application of the Dhamma (Dharma) in our daily lives. Our goal is to reduce the suffering caused by greed, hatred, and delusion; to do this, we cultivate wisdom and compassion.”

Dhamma is, essentially, “the truth taught by the Buddha, (which) is uncovered gradually through sustained practice. The Buddha made clear many times that Awakening does not occur like a bolt out of the blue to the untrained and unprepared mind. Rather, it culminates a long journey of many stages….”

The retreat flyer said there would be plenty of  silent meditation, mixed with shared dialogue. It was time to give a men’s group another shot.

It was nothing like I expected. Several of the men were new to meditation, a dedicated Christian came, a Chicano interested in truth teachings, a former gang member, and a recently cleaned up heroin addict. Men from age 25 to age 75, twenty-eight in total, showed up, gathered around like distant cousins with a common purpose: confront their fear of intimacy with other men, and watch their minds. All of them coming together to share their hearts.

To truly hear other men open up about anger, sorrow, and heartache was powerful. So much of the time men are engaged in some form of competitive jockeying, escapism, or distraction, that we never hear each other, never have the space to speak our truth or get quiet enough to hear the whispers of intuition and guidance available to us. Each man, in his own way, was battle weary and laid down armor, stopped the internal warfare, saw into his patterns of projection, and made room for authenticity. Watching other men expose their perceived inadequacies and be vulnerable was awe-inspiring. Thank you men!

The Perfect Unfolding

Last Sunday I found myself driving to the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Gatos for what I thought was the morning meditation. I am not a ‘member’ but found myself drawn to visit. When I arrived at the entrance, two minutes late, an 8×11 poster of Sri Daya Mata was on the door. I knew enough about the history of this place to realize what it signified without even reading.

I opened the door and the voice of Paramahansa Yogananda was reverberating throughout the building. Attendants and a few others were standing, eyes closed in reverence, hands in prayer pose. I joined them.

Yogananda is of course the author of the famous book Autobiography of a Yogi, one of the most popular spiritual books of all time. He arrived here in 1920, traveling aboard the ship City of Sparta, as India’s delegate to an International Congress of Religious Liberals that was convening in Boston. He ended up staying the rest of his life and was one of the key teachers bridging Eastern and Western Spirituality. In fact reading Yogananda’s book in December 1995 had such a profound impact on me, like so many others, that I traveled to India in May-June 1996.

I found myself floating back to India again, experiencing the warmth and kindness, the hygiene issues, the awe inspiring presence, the dysentery, it all came flooding back. Then Yogananda’s booming voice startled the reverie. It was coming from the ether but in fact it was a restored tape circa 1949, with a powerful vibration which simultaneously inspired and put one at ease. Moments later the inner doors were opened and the rest of the group was able to take a seat. An Indian man took the podium and read a short clip referencing the death of Daya Mata. Mataji (ji being an Indian suffix indicating ‘with great respect’), as she was affectionately known, had taken over as head of the Fellowship in 1955 at age 41 and had died at aged 96. After he was finished, the leader sat at the Harmonium, an Indian organ, and began leading a Kirtan (call and response chanting) of ‘Jai, Jai Ma’ (Hail the Divine Ma). It was chanted with such fervor that occasionally the leader would morph into a sobbing chant. Tears poured from my eyes but I wasn’t crying. They were ecstatic tears, heart-opening tears. It was the most powerful Kirtan I had ever been part of.

We are always being lead to the perfect unfolding for our own unique needs. If we trust in that, life will reveal itself as wondrous.

Freedom

We desperately want to continue as an individual, as a single body, a ‘me’. And not only that, we want that body to behave for us, to have a powerful vibrancy, complete with positive health attributes, lots of money, friends and things.

But what if the whole universe was your body, all contained within you? Then this plan, to caretake but one particular body, would be the equivalent of watching one tree in an immense forest, consumed with saving only it, preserving only it, looking at this tree as a separate but infinitely more important part of the forest, instead of seeing the inseparable, immense matrix of Oneness.

If life, the whole universe, is all contained within us, we are just the watcher of it all—which leaves the caretaking to the Divine Maker. No longer would we live in state of constant tension, like an obsessive-compulsive who is attempting to manipulate life so as to preserve the one singular body. Because you would realize that you will always be, could never die, will always continue. From that realization, a relaxed awe would set in, along with a fearlessness, completely unconcerned with preserving the one little body you thought you were. You’d realize it didn’t matter how long that little body lived, that one little body separated by mistake from the universal body.

You will always be the watcher, the witness. You have always been free. You are freedom itself.

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