Nov 24 2010

One last thing…

Blake_Tedder

Thank you all. For this project. To be with me at this time in my life. I’m honored to have been a part of your lives as well!

After writing last week’s entry I found this feeling and I wrote it in my journal:

“I can only trust. There is no alternative.. I have to be available to be hurt and to feel pain. Pain sucks. But being available to experience that pain rather than recoil from the thought of it, is likewise being available to experience life’s joy. Open and permeable. When my patterns try to control a situation away from the threat of that most painful pain, there is an equal and opposite contraction and resistance to the very sweetness and lightness that life offers. Can I be hurt and have an open heart? Can I be softly vulnerable and yet resolute in my honesty and purpose? To hurt and keep my chin up and shoulders back, so the tears that cleanse and purify have no place to pool. “

- bt


Nov 23 2010

Further

Carin_Channing

There is a perfection to the web of life that we can’t always see. The forest for the trees? Yes, I think it’s something like that.

Last spring I was asking for a natural way to share my column. My boyfriend was here on his first visit from New Zealand and I had been away from email for a while. One day I sat down to go through some of them and I saw a message from my sweet sister-friend Deneise Newman, a forwarded call for writers from Stephanie Reiter at Love Serve Remember Foundation.

Stephanie’s invitation to talk further came just as Andrew was getting ready to leave, and I told Stephanie so when I replied. The warmth in her response back to me made me realize, “I have a shot at this.” Connection.

I loved answering the questions she asked, name dropping Vrindaban, acknowledging the Dead shows as being as influential as any blue, oddly square-shaped book.

This blog brought me back home again in an unexpected way. That is, I wasn’t focused on Ram Dass or even NKB satsang. Ah, see, there are not limitations to the guru, to the love RD is writing about in Be Love Now. Now I’m smiling as Durga Das comes on my Pandora. I had recently been at a kirtan with him and Mira recently. Yes, we are everywhere.

Nevertheless, finding myself expanded as a writer — and nothing could have been a more perfect launching pad — simply by doing nothing: by staying home and getting to know my beau after 18 years beyond those beaches in sunny Greece . . . it’s quite amazing how we grew into each other over these years and seas, but that’s another story.

See? We don’t see the whole web. It seems as if there are other stories. But it’s all one.

I got my natural way to share my column. That’s one major boon.

I got to read every page of Be Here Now, those mysterious pages, looking through the images to see Sita moving aside. Surfing with Shiva while I read Jed McKenna’s books and my whole world fell apart. Writing with these pages gave me a generous place to sink into, process and create about the changes: Hail the vampire!

Hail the Now.

Hare Hare Mahadeva Shambo chants through my Pandora soundtrack. Kashi Vishwanata Gange.

See, I sat on the banks of the Ganges and Continue reading


Nov 21 2010

Falling Back and Letting Go

Melissa_Duncan

As I look out my living room window, I can see the winter’s first snow slowly melting off of the trees. When I woke up this morning, the trees were radiantly white. Drop by drop, they are changing back into the colors of fall. The trees look pretty much the same as they did yesterday afternoon, before the snow fell. Yet on the inside of the tree, there are profound changes. They are full of the water that fell from the skies. Water that will help them grow. They may not use all of the water up right away, but it will always be there, ready to be utilized when the time is ripe. The thing is, when the tree is covered in the snow, all it really feels is coldness and darkness. It isn’t able to see the beauty that lies beyond the veil of the snow. I don’t think the tree even cares. It knows that it is just all perfect as it is. Wet, dry, cold, hot, dark, light. Going with the flow of the universe.

At the beginning of last week, I was the snowless tree. Then, I got covered in a thick, heavy snow, emotionally speaking. I felt so dark inside. I was angry, sad, depressed, exhausted. I was so down that it got to the point where I just could not take it anymore. So I fell back. I gave up. What happened then was exactly what page 105 says:

…and then I was ready for the next message

When I became quiet enough to hear it, it was all so clear. Every piece of the puzzle was a reflection of myself. All of a sudden, I saw it.

“I just found my own shadow. All the time, that’s all you ever find: yourself” (p104)

I could see all the places I was stuck. Carin had some beautiful words:

“Relationships- as vehicles for awakening- don’t have anything to do with the other person”

So true! It really had nothing to do with the other person. Once I turned inward and confronted the places deep within me where I was all clogged up, and was able to really work with those areas, I felt the light slowly replace the darkness.

I have been graced with an opportunity to open more fully to my true self. If this situation had never happened, then I would still be stuck deep down. I feel thankful to have the opportunity to liberate the part of me that has to be in control. This is a chance to let go.

Drop by drop, I am getting closer to my original state, returning home.


Nov 20 2010

LOVE IS

Sue_Callaway

ALWAYS THERE

Question is :

can you see it? pg 102

I was driving home from work yesterday afternoon and the nearly-full moon was floating in front of me. A chalk -white ball, suspended ghost-like in the late-afternoon, pale blue sky.

I was suddenly fascinated by it and couldn’t understand why all of the people in the cars around me and walking the sidewalks weren’t  showing signs of the jaw dropping awe I was feeling.

“Look! Look! “I wanted to yell! “Isn’t it incredible?”

Then I really saw what was going on. They were me. I was seeing how often I walk and drive through  my days oblivious to the the opportunities to move into that place of wonder and awe and gratitude….and yet, it is always there.

I sort of forget about it…although less and less these days . But when by Grace I take notice of those always-there moments…the soft-glow moon, a delicate, intricate  tangle of tree branches silhouetted against a night sky, the warm, compassionate eyes of  an elderly lady when I dropped my coffee while rushing out a door, an unsolicited hug from my son… if I notice, then I am transformed. Taken from the mundane to the magical, from unconsciousness to awareness and gratitude, from my head to my heart.

It’s that way for me as I walk this path of devotion. I can forget sometimes to remember.

love-serve-remember …a simple path to peace.

So even though I never sat in the heavy heat of an ashram courtyard in India chanting and holding  Maharaj-ji’s sun-baked feet in my hands and I didn’t ride on that bus full of love deciding where to look for him only to discover that there was never anything to decide……I don’t have to be there to go there…It is just always here. The love is always right where I am.

I am deeply grateful to all of those who did spend time with Maharaj-ji and brought back the stories and experiences  and that they so generously share . …And the love.

I lose myself in that love. It feels to me like the “limitless, undying love that shines around me like a million suns “ that John Lennon sings of in my favorite Beatles song Across the Universe. And it …”calls me on and on”.

I have no explanation for this sweet flow of love I am opened to by my connection and devotion to a man I never met and who never told anyone to do anything. I only know that he is always there.

I feel it. I know it. I am forever grateful.


JAI GURU DEV


Nov 19 2010

Bridges to Love

Jonathan_Anderson

I also love the final image of the sacred 108 pages. The bridge serves us when we need to cross what seems to be a flowing obstacle; it helps us remember when we pause on it to look at our reflection; it helps us to love when we use it to cross over to the people who wait for us on the other side. It’s the perfect image for the final page of BHN’s From Bindu to Ojas~Ram Dass saw the bridge, paused on the bridge, and crossed over it. He does it again from Be Here Now to Be Love Now.

And with a reflection, you’re looking down at the illusion of yourself, and identify with it; but it’s not you, it’s just a reflection. Right? Depends on how you look at it: what you see IS you (the reflections, the water itself, etc)  vs it’s your brain separating you from the water that has your reflection in it. The simpler way is usually pretty good. So, both. I go with both.

I’ve had only one picture in mind during these 108 days, and I knew I was going to show it on the final blogging day because it’s my version of the bridge on 108. I took this picture in the Fall of 2008 in Austin, Tx.  This old fisherman sat patiently floating in the middle of the reflection simply waiting for fish. Then he came to rest in the eye of what the reflection completed as a fish that reminded me of the Christian Ichthys. I was stunned. He WAS both the reflection, and himself at the same time; reflected and reflection.  I was immediately taken back to this final page of BHN when I saw the image.

Ram Dass has given us a bridge; just as Maharajji gave to him; Just as Hanuman bridged the ocean with a great leap to serve God and the beloved. I am grateful to have participated in this blogging experience, and am more assured that while I am still on my bridge, that I can enjoy my reflections as I move to the other side in each moment as it presents itself.

Namaste’
Jon

Icthys Eye - Fisherman rests in the eye of the Icthys

www.gatehealing.com
www.gatehealing.com/blog
www.twitter.com/gatehealing
www.facebook.com/gatehealing


Nov 18 2010

Standing on the Bridge

Parvati_Markus

Be Here Now ends with the image of a person standing on a bridge, perfectly reflected in the clear water below. The bridge supports the person standing there as well as taking her from one side to the other. Maharajji is the bridge in my life, the foundation of my faith and the vehicle for my transformation, and the reflection in the water—the great mirror in which I can get a glimpse of my own perfection-to-be.

After all, what is perfect in this life? There is no perfect place to live, and I’ve lived in a lot of places. New York and Montreal had cold nasty winters, ice on the roads, and a long stretch of dark grey months that left me depressed as winter dragged on. Santa Fe was gorgeous huge skies and mountains that glowed red in the setting sun, but seventeen years in the desert was enough dryness. L.A. had perfect weather, but then the ground would suddenly shake. If you ever want to break the illusion that the ground is solid under your feet, live in earthquake territory. And now Florida, with its moist warmth . . . and summer heat and hurricanes.

It’s like the shows on television where people are hunting for a house and have to make compromises. Do you give up having a garage because you love the big closets, do you settle for less square footage because it’s in the right school district, or do you live with noise from a nearby road because the house is perfect in every other way? There’s always something.

Except with Maharajji. Wherever I pushed, there was no impediment, no blockage, no ego in him. Just love. There were no rules to rebel against. There was nothing about him I would have changed, except, of course, him leaving his body. Although I’m sure that was perfect too. Otherwise, I would have kept clinging to something outside myself, waiting for the next instruction, the next pat on the head. So for the last four decades, all I could do was follow to the best of my ability the basic directives he did leave us: love everyone, feed everyone, remember God. It turns out those seemingly simple words embody an entire path for spiritual evolution.

Everything ends. Brahma creates, Vishnu sustains, and Shiva destroys. Marriages crumble, children leave home, parents die, money comes and goes. This blogging experience ends.

And I’m still standing on that bridge, watching myself go by.

Maharajji on bridge to Kainchi


Nov 17 2010

Standing on the Bridge or Fighting the Current

Blake_Tedder

I have been up all night handling some issues. Yes I’ll keep it vague. It has to do with my now and future. I am so tired. I did sneak in a 2 hour nap though. Anyways, I have an important lesson to learn. And right now, no matter which way the fish flops, it looks like it’s going to hurt. Do I hold on, trust in very real feeling? See something through? Be confronted with a LOT of my gritty ‘stuff’ and often. Sort of paddling against the flow to an inviting campsite some indeterminate distance back upstream. Or listen to those voices that tell me to let go completely and watch a fantasy painfully crumble? That is to say, in essence, to forget about resting at that campsite and ending up …well… who knows where. Which is about the last thing I want to do of course because that will hurt the most and involve confusion and uncertainty. Big blows to my ego. I’m not opposed to a challenge of working on myself. I have done a lot of inner work already around this issue. (Yes, still vague…. I am protecting something).

I actually don’t know what to do. Which is a big statement for me. I realized recently that I have always had to take a stance. Always have a decision and an opinion. And right now, I am at a point where I am actually to the point of giving up on having ‘my take’ on it. Because. I don’t f*cking know what to do!

This has happened to me before. A lot of my big decisions in life come down to this juncture. Face you deepest work through friction. Or face your fears through letting go.. Grad school in Boone, NC was like that for me. When I finally stopped fighting what – just – wouldn’t – be, I threw my hands up and allowed the river to take me down the mountain and gracefully into yoga teacher training,my radio show, my house, my dog, my girlfriend and my wonderful life here in Carrboro.

Why is this trip so hard? I know I can’t opt out. I have tasted that peace which doesn’t come from another. I have already taken my dose. I’ve got to take the trip. And yet I am so scared of doing it alone. I want to stand on that timeless bridge and watch Blake surrender and go by, knowing he has let go and freed his troubled mind. But I keep passing under these bridges where I am supposed to be standing, ever-fighting the current. I forget everything in my frenzied paddling. And every time, I hear that familiar foreboding banjo tune, warning me of further meddling and resisting. I know where I am again. I see that I am fighting the river. To what end? The only way I ever end up seeing clearly, is to recognize that I don’t even know what I am searching and fighting for. Realizing I don’t know where I stand. No opinions. No stance. And simply pray for grace. And pray for that merciful deliverance.

Ah yes. To pray. I hadn’t thought of that in a while. I think I may have just found what’s needed right now. Thanks for bearing witness.

Blake

_____

I don’t know what else to say. I am signing this in as my last post. I think Zach says we have one more, but I only have 6 or so pages left in the way I have read. This has been an incredible project. I am greatly honored to have used this blog as a sounding board for some pretty intimate thoughts. And I am deeply gracious for those of you who have read my posts and responded to me and showed love to me. And I am grateful to have done this with 6 wonderful collabortors and the staff at HarperOne.


Nov 16 2010

If You Want to Bake a Yogini From Scratch

Carin_Channing

I don’t know how long these changes will last. If they are something you come back from. It doesn’t feel like it now. Can’t go back to human once vampire. No more caterpillar, eh moth? Further. That’s the course of this transformation.

Who can say when it started? If you want to bake a yogini from scratch, first you have to create the Universe.

Parts are dying away. Some parts are not going quietly. Others are already gone, gently dispersed. The peace that buzzes within keeps me from going completely crazy. From being admitted to the mental hospital with the rest of the boys who’ve seen the light. I’m more likely to freak out and melt-down at life circumstances, not the fact that I’m shifting into unfamiliar territory. It is, in fact, the life circumstances that provide the grist for this proverbial mill of awakening.

MAGIC THEATRE

FOR MADMEN ONLY

PRICE OF ADMISSION

YOUR

MIND

(see p. 102)

Take it. I know I have no choice. It’s a sweet way to live, not having to make choices. I mean, instead the information is obvious to me when it needs to be. The only choice I have to make is to wake up, moment to moment. But am I even choosing that?

All grace. All grace.

It’s a trippy life. But this is how it is for me. I wouldn’t change it, even though people are dropping away because I really only want that satsang, and even then, only on the fringe. And really only those who are going where I’m going, and no one really can go where another must go (“That path is for your steps alone.” Right Blake? Right Zach? Right Jerry?)

I’m in an interesting position where I’ve just had a massive love-infusion ~ that continues in my heart and via Skype ~ all occurring during this massive tuck-in I’ve been doing over the last several months. I feel loved and supported greatly from the Universe and feel very little need or desire for human interaction. Well, maybe little desire is the best way to explain that. I do feel craving for it at times, but I just can’t bear the small talk. And I’m not speaking the same language as most people I know right now. As most people, across the board, I’d say.

It’s one of the things I love about my mate. He doesn’t stir my mind up with head-spinny chatter, dramatic or otherwise. We just get to be. I can carry on with my shape-shifting, he can carry on with his zombies, and we’ll meet on the couch at ten for the next disc of The Wire. He gives me love and support all the while contributing to a grounded stillness in my being. And I don’t really have to talk to anyone else.

I’m grateful for the cocoon.

Remember the days of travel before cell phones, internet, email, Facebook? One could head out on a journey, a pilgrimage, and not be in touch all that much. Liberation! I realize even as I type this that the sense of not being liberated to go out-of-touch is as much a false construct as anything else.

Does it require a gentle apology? Friends? Family? I don’t know what to say because I feel that I don’t know how to put it in language — verbal or otherwise.  I’m just doing something different right now. The hero’s journey is always a solo one. I don’t use that language to dramatize, only to draw the metaphor. We all have our version of it. And once the seed has been planted . . . you don’t have any choice! (p. 101)

You gotta die to be born. (p. 98)

Parts fall away. Into the nothingness out of which they arise. The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

To continue the conversation, please also visit

www.NowStayOpen.com

where you can sign up for newsletter updates

and

www.facebook.com/StayOpen

where by becoming a fan you’re automatically entered in a drawing to win a copy of Ram Dass’s new book, Be Love Now



Nov 15 2010

Funny about that!

Zach_Leary

A great yogi once was asked what’s the secret to enlightenment, he replied “when I’m happy I laugh, when I’m sad I cry, when I’m hungry I eat and when I’m tired I sleep.”

Simplify everything. Our egos and emotions want to complicate it to no end making us think that our issues are somehow the defining factor in our experience. That may be true as it relates to our perception but the trick at getting through our issues and being here and happy right now is to simplify everything. This is not an original thought I know, I’m just saying it because it rings true to my heart at this moment and I need to feel that.

I’ve always found that my tendency is to want to go “through the doorway too fast.” My intellectual mind wants there to be some trick to being on the path like I have to learn all of these complicated mantras, I have to be a level 3 yogi, I have to be a scholar of the vedas, etc. All of these things are great I guess but most of the time I think it’s ego that’s driving my motivation to do all of these things faster and better. My favorite beautiful yogi teacher Saul David Raye always reminds his students that the ancient yogi mystics never heard of Level 3 yogis, that we made that up. And I’m learning that all of the conflicting motivation makes it hard to deal with my issues (or with others) a problem. Matters of the heart when infused with ego sure does make for some confusing realities.

I feel that there’s a little misunderstanding with how eastern spirituality is being practiced in the west. Because of the explosion of yoga and bhakti there is a whole new world that is being exposed to us in the west. So many new ideas, texts, asanas, chants, teachers and traditions. We get so hungry to learn them all but as we all know the far out thing is that they are all telling us to Be Here Now. That it’s all ready within. Just don’t go “through the doorway with your ego” (pg 98). That’s it. Again, simplify everything.

It’s so frustratingly perfect that Maharaj-ji would constantly reply to queries with “love people. feed people. remember God.” I can see it now – all of these smart westerners coming to him with all of these complicated problems and questions and then he would just look at you and say that. Over and over again. Ram ram ram ram ram. Over and over again. Ram ram ram ram.

It all sort of lies in the “funny about that” place. Whenever I find myself in conflict I just want to reply “love serve remember” or repeat the maha mantra. I want to go there so badly but I have to learn that even though I want things to be that simple I must understand that everybody else’s experiences are different. We are all unique and are in different spots on the path. Furthermore I’ve also learned that if you try to force your trip on somebody who doesn’t want to hear it then you just make matters worse. When in suffering or conflict finding that delicate place where there is beautiful common ground is the sacred dance. That’s the place where you realize that most of the conflict you may be in is actually quite small and insignificant. You go through so much struggle to realize that love really is such a sweet solution.

We are nearing the end of our blogging journey. Only one more post left. I feel that this week is inspiring me to report back on how this book can be applied to my daily life. What it did for our culture is immense, what Maharaj-ji was like is very interesting but how we can apply this to our lives and be better people needs to be said. It’s my hope that I can contribute in a small way.

Being in love, sharing sacred song


Nov 14 2010

Contentment

Melissa_Duncan

Yesterday, I broke down, emotionally speaking. During this “breakdown”, it felt as if I was being thrashed around by my emotions in the midst of an enormous tornado. So many thoughts…such fear! My thinking mind was resisting the Now so much that it had nothing to do but snap, cave in. So I snapped. Then, it was

Quiet

“Hold fast enough to quietness” p 94

I feel filled with this deep quiet peace now. Prior to this, I felt that I just could not talk enough about all these things going on in my life to others. Chatterbox. Constantly trying to gain ground with my words, only to find myself running up a steep hill covered in thick mud, sliding back as I desperately try to propel myself forward.

It is hard to put into words a wordless state.

Similarly, I used to try so hard to turn others on to the Now. I wanted to “run down the streets, shouting- spreading the good news” (p 97). Now, I am learning to “watch it” (p 97). They will hear the message when they are ready to hear the message, right?

I share my Be Here Now book with my 2 year old. He likes the imagery. I think a part of him feels the high vibrations of the book. Nonetheless, this sharing has caused the cover to be stripped off, the new cover now being the page with the labyrinth picture. As I sat on the couch, thinking about the reading for the week, this picture just sat there next to me. I began to stare at it. It has been the cover for quite some time now, but I have never really contemplated it. I realized how similar this little finger labyrinth is to life. I slowly traced it with my finger. There were moments when I thought I was getting closer to the center, to the Om, only to be directed away from it the next. Also, if my eyes moved ahead of the point where my fingers were at, it looked like I was on the wrong path. It made it look like I should move my finger to another spot. Only when I focused my attention on the exact point where I was did I know that that was where I belonged. The rest was just an illusion.

It’s all an illusion (p 92)

This brings me full circle. Back to my life situation. My life situation is not my Life. I have created this dramatic life situation. All the fear, stress, sadness…it is all made up! The moment is being tainted by my mind made problems. Right now, everything is perfect. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, only be here now. That is where I find my quiet place. The future and the past are too noisy in my mind. Too thick of a screen. Such distortion. This moment is where the clarity is at.

As I take a deep breath into this moment, I find space in my heart. This space is healing. In this open heart space, the desire to find solace in some imagined future situations falls away. I find myself not necessarily happy with my life situation, but content. This, after all, is the only way it could be. So here I am, chopping wood and carrying water. Learning to watch myself. Content with the is-ness of it all.