Nov 13 2010

There and Back

Sue_Callaway

She fell into the deep space between the words and was met by the unopened hand of fate.

At times I have let go into the what-is-ness, the OM, the void …free falling, unfettered into now. Going nowhere and everywhere all at once.

Moments that moved form the “form into the formless ”  pg 93

Once when I was about 17-years-old I was riding on a bus. I’d been meditating lots and feeling really free. I was at the back of the bus enjoying the ride one moment and then… there was no time and I was feeling incredible, heart-bursting love for all of the faces around me. And  then… there was no me looking at that but just the LOVE. I was it and it was me…all of it.

Another time…standing outside the Dakota building on Central Park West just days after John Lennon died. Thousands of voices sung through the tears … “all we are saying, is give peace a chance”. My heart was broken open both by the deep grief I was feeling and the tsunami of love in the aftermath of the earth quaking news of his death. I felt all of us as one heart singing out from the same soul place.

Krishna Das chanting me into beyond the beyond with Hey Ma Durga or Bhagavan Das taking me to the edge and back with deep, rhythmic, trance-y , incantational Jai Kali Ma

All of it a journey to my heart.

Why this matters is because it opens my heart to a deep compassion for all of us and helps inform the way I live my life.

In all of these moments “something gets so esencey you feel you are touching God”. (Pg 92).And in that space there is nothing to do. It just IS. And we all are it.

Moving from Form to Formless…from Being Here Now to Being Love Now.

For me, the pure ideas…the essency part of what is manifest was the bridge. Those essency parts were accessed by going fully into and beyond the form. Complete presence. I only get there by surrendering to Grace…by getting out of my own way.

It’s like going in through the out door.

Sometimes it happens through joy…sometimes through pain.

Moment

IT HAS HAPPENED NOW.

NO MORE WONDERING ABOUT THE WHEN OR HOW OF SUCH MOMENTS.

ANOTHER STEP TOWARD LIFE’S FULL EXPRESION OF KARMIC MAYHEM.

NEVER WOULD I HAVE IMAGINED THE MAGNITUDE OF THE FORCE OF SUCH AN INVISIBLE WIND THAT WOULD BLOW FROM FATE’S OVALLED MOUTH

TO SEND ME SOARING..FEET LONG SINCE FORGETTING THE PRESS OF EARTH

LIFTED…I THOUGHT…AND CARRIED AS IF ON A WAVE OF WORDS AND DOINGS…LIFE AND DEATH…SO POWERFUL AS TO TSUNAMI THE ME OF NOW INTO OBLIVION

HOPING FOR THAT I SUPPOSE

AN ANNIHILATION OF THIS CURRENT CONFIGURATION OF ME

INSTEAD…HERE REMAINS ALL OF MY ME-NESS

NOW BATTERED, NAKED, DRIPPING WET AND SHIVERING AS THE WAVE RETREATS

ME- STANDING STRONGER SOMEHOW FOR HAVING BEEN TAKEN ON THAT RIDE

There and back again.  It is all grace.


Nov 12 2010

No clue

Jonathan_Anderson

If nothing is going on, nothing is happening, nothing has ever happened, and nothing ever will happen, then there is nothing for me to know. I have no clue. No idea what’s going on. So why am I writing on this blog? So many others who are so much riper than me. This is my karma, I suppose.

I experience my experiences, but engage in my own illusions, indulge myself in it, project my own ideas onto the void, and call it “Jon.” How’s that? What projector? What illusion creator? Bzzzt. That’s the short circuit.

I am a walking paradox. I carry with me a great deal of burden because I still need to learn or ripen. I am so grateful that I do feel deep compassion, that it keeps me sane (most of the time).  We found feral kittens recently, and I knew that we’d need to catch them and help adopt them out so they could live healthy, happy lives with loving people–and one night I caught one, and as I took it to a waiting carrying case, it slipped from my grasp and ran back to it’s mother. I was already feeling terrible for taking a kitten from its mother before I had my hands on him. Apparently, I cannot knowingly separate a child from its mother, in spite of knowing that a growing feral community is not healthy for the kittens, or future kittens. But it’s not my place to decide kitty karma. My compassion overtook my intellectual mind and helped my unconscious knowing to come through. At the same time, I am glad that there was another person that was able to catch all 4 kittens, get them to a clinic, and get their shots and find a home for them. But I could not do it. I’ll kill a mosquito, and feel remorse as I wash the blood from my hands, but I won’t take a kitten from it’s mother to help find it a loving people home. I have no clue what’s going on with that, but I know it’s not a weakness of any sort. I don’t know whether to feel guilty or great, or nothing at all. This is all very confusing–fortunately, I see confusion as a reminder to slow down and pay attention. Continue reading


Nov 11 2010

There Is No Death

Parvati_Markus

Relax. It’s all an illusion. It’s yet another transformation in a long line of births and deaths—out of the formless into form, out of form into formlessness. Out of the void into compassion for the ten thousand things of earth, out of the world of things and back into the void. It sounds so easy.

When we first got back from India in 1972, we thought these moments of transition would be a snap, although back then it was the transformation of birth that occupied us. We were young, newly married, and pregnant or wanting to be. As far as we knew, we’d be spending our lives going back and forth to India to be with Maharajji, who would guide us and our children gently in the direction of liberation. He didn’t have disciples (as far as we knew); he had devotees, and devotees could be householders instead of renunciates.

We felt safe, protected under his blanket. Specially graced. What could go wrong?

A group of us landed at my father-in-law’s “farm” in Canada, holding tight to our Hindu-style beliefs and a mind set that anything natural was good. The first baby born at the farm arrived after six hours of picture-perfect labor. The mom barely uttered a sound as she concentrated on her breath, squatting to bring forth an infant in an effortless delivery. Wow, we thought, this is a piece of cake. Why does the medical world make such a big deal out of birth? Philistines, all.

The next birth followed soon after. Except this time, the mom screamed in agony. We soon found out why—the infant was breech, one tiny leg dangling through where the head should have been. We had no medical help, just an emergency booklet that one of us read while the dad-to-be went in, brought down the other foot, and pulled out a still, blue baby. After giving infant CPR, following the instructions being read out of the manual, the child finally gave a cry. Everyone in the room cried. We would never be blasé about the transition of birth again. (By the way, that child, now in his late thirties, just did a great job putting together the e-book for Be Here Now.)

Death has proven much the same. For some, a simple withdrawal from the world, a peaceful breath out followed by no breath in. My dad went that way, curled in a fetal position, old age looking just like a newborn. For Maharajji, physical death was an escape from “central jail.” For others, it’s a struggle—the desire to stay, the inability to let go of attachment to loved ones, and fear of the “nothingness” that lies beyond. These ones do not go peacefully into that good night.

Birth and death. The two big transitions—from formlessness to form and back again. As someone who coached many moms through labor in my early years and now is poised to deal with more deaths than births, I have felt the angel of birth and the angel of death as the same guardian of the sacred space of transformation.

All this just to say I don’t see the Bodhisattva thing as a problem. It’s not void versus compassion. Not nirvana or samsara, not birth or death. Brahma creates, Vishnu sustains, Shiva destroys so the natural cycle can start all over again.

Hail the goer!


Nov 10 2010

The NEXT MESSAGE is on a Toyota

Blake_Tedder

I am a bit under the weather and I severely don’t feel like writing this morning, but I have a few happy thoughts for my second to last blog post (::sniff::).

It inspires me to hear that the next message fo our journey is always here for us. Our readiness to hear it is the single factor that we can be concerned with–not where and from whom and when the message will be. That’s what I really dig about the spiritual perspective that most of us reading this blog share. If it’s all one; if ALL is right here and right now, then our next message and indeed the ultimate message is available in the present moment. That is to say, God(dess) is. Love is. We is. I and I is.

Also hearing RD describe how once the seed of awakening has been planted, there’s no turning back. Moth and the flame again. Which feels right in my life. Ypu know, sometimes I get the feeling that I HAVE to become be enlightened or awake in this lifetime. I can’t see it not happening. With all the purification and stripping away of layers. And gnashing of teeth I have done. It doesn’t feel like I’ll ever be satisfied if I don’t.  Which by definition is true of course. But also therein lies a juicy paradox. If I am truly satisfied I am enlightened. If I strive for satisfaction I am seeking ego gratification. But what the hell. The seed has been planted, right? It’s all happening lawfully and in it’s time, which reminds me of the greatest bumper sticker that I saw on the back of a Toyota Tacoma at Yogaville this past weekend.

“Everything in the universe is subject to change. And everything is on schedule.”


Nov 9 2010

And I say, Thank you.

Carin_Channing

I just Googled “multiples of 7″ to figure out what pages we’re on. In case you’re wondering, it’s 91 – 97. But who’s counting? It seems like we’re so deeply into this project that everything is relevant. But let me read a little bit here, and I’ll get back to you.

Again,

p. 91 going back, back, back . . . until you are the idea that lies behind the universe you are literally it you’re not making believe you’re it YOU ARE IT.

But yet the mind, the tool we’ve been/I’ve been most trained with in this life so far, can’t push beyond the skull, is trapped inside the limits of the ego.

It’s okay.

See, that’s the thing. The slice of me that’s turning these brown pages, looking loosely at words: duality . . . realized . . . ocean . . .

the part that tries to understand and tries to knock out through some barrier or another . . .

it’s all one and infinite and

the knowing is way beyond anything thoughts or the mind can understand or words can understand or really even point to. See, and that’s okay. I am/you are/we are it already and infinite and unknowable. It’s relieving.

Like Zach, in this moment I don’t feel like putting words to it.

Let me read some more.

p. 93 you go from form into formless

see,

I don’t even have to understand. In fact, I can’t understand.

Hilarious, the knocking from the inside.

p. 94 what has submitted to fate becomes part of the always so

Stop fighting. Just stop fighting. Just drop it and be here on the couch, back softly sunk into the hand-me-down leather, tongue in my mouth, poking between my teeth, chill fan breeze on the backs of my hands. No thoughts.

No thoughts.

The always so is completely silent and infinite – beyond thought. Submitting is ultimate liberation. These things are paradoxical. And we’re trained to fight and complain and push push push. Somewhere in A Course in Miracles it says that something in us thinks that by pitching a fit (pouring out heavy emotions) we can change the always so

the already so.

And I have seen a Bodhisattva Continue reading


Nov 8 2010

The Edge of Formlessness

Zach_Leary

I’m so happy to be back here with you, my brothers and sisters. Last week, I was contemplating the silent freeways while my head was in the clouds in Maui. Tough life I know. For whatever reason getting to a computer to write just didn’t seem to work out. Funny how that is – I was near the source with Mr. Be Love Now himself yet I felt like I had very little to say. Somehow just being with Ram Dass in the gorgeous manifestation of mother earth left me with few words, I was just floating from one moment to the next.

I always experience this very powerful visual metaphor when I’m Hawaii. I’m on the beach in Maui and I can see, very clearly, a birds eye view of my body sitting on that beach. I can see from deep outer space my little body on the edge of a tiny island that is the most remote land mass on planet Earth. There I am, just sitting on a spec of rock in the middle of the ocean. Because of the physical circumstance that this vision puts me in I can go deeper and really understand my connection to the rest of the universe. I am no different than the sand, the ocean, the fish in the ocean or than the earth itself.

The trip about being human is that we’re aware that we’re aware. We may be the only species that is aware that we’re aware. So I see that I’m just this sentient life form in the middle of nowhere – I can vibrate into oneness with the one, the formlessness. Touching the sand and feeling the warm water I can blend into matter. Slowly though, balance kicks in. I become aware of sight, sound, touch, ego, responsibility, perceptions. The role that I am a man with relationships, jobs, money and speech weighs on me and suddenly I’m back to participating in this incarnation. Oh no. Is there illusion here?

Page 93 cracks it open “A fully realized being – you must delight in the exquisiteness at every single level. you must take joy in your maleness or femaleness.”

It’s that expression of love found within my role that I don’t subscribe to the notion that it’s all just a meaningless illusion. Sure, we made up the idea of working 9 to 5. But the energy that I put forth in all my actions contributes to the energy that I find when I’m just being in oneness at the beach. It all has to work together.

In fact, if I had to summarize one lesson from “Be Here Now” it would be that this path encourages me to be present in every moment – mundane or not. You still have to “chop wood and carry water” (pg 96). The dance here is really finding the balance that makes it all work together. If I go too far one way I bliss out and don’t do much of anything. If I go too far the other way I perform meaningless actions that are unconscious and robotic.

It’s fun to live on the edge. I have a friend who once said that he lives on the edge because “that’s where all the action is.” Damn straight. When I sit on the beach in Maui I seriously contemplate selling everything I own just so I can continue sitting on that beach. But then I fall in love with my role and some of my desires. I learn to embrace them as sometimes flawed but always perfect. I relish in the deliciousness of kissing my mate, or eating ice cream, or the miracle of sound that comes through my iPod. Ram Dass has told me over and over again that I must “love the chair because it’s a perfect manifestation of the one.” If “flow in harmony with the universe. i can still do my thing” (pg 96).

That edge where consciousness, love, God and being human all play together is what’s really giving me a lot to think about these days. It’s so far out to think that I’m eternal and “can be anything this time around.”

Om Maui Om


Nov 7 2010

Pain as a Catalyst

Melissa_Duncan

Flash back to this morning. I am sitting on the carpet with my 2 boys, playing “choo choo train” with my 2 year old (Clavey) as my 3 month old (Canyon) sits in my lap. Bob Marley comes on the radio. Clavey LOVES Bob Marley. He runs up to Canyon, filled with excitement, and tries to lift him out of my lap by his head. He wants to dance with Canyon. I quickly move Clavey away from Canyon, and in the process pull my neck and back out. It feels as though I have never stained a muscle so much. Excruciating. It continues to hurt throughout the day, but gets better. It is mostly a constant ache, with an occasional stabbing sensation. However, there are moments when the pain completely subsides. When this happens, I feel absolutely blissful. I feel as though I want to run up to my husband and kids, hug and kiss them, and tell them how much I love them. In these pain-free moments, I feel this intense love and contentment with life. These are short moments, but they are a welcome relief.

I imagine that in these gaps of pain, I am getting very close to the “place of pure being”. Maybe I am even touching it. The thing that is so hard is to not hang on to those moments. If I do this, I suffer double-time. When in pain, I am also yearning for that blissful state, which causes me to be even more miserable.

The thing that blows my mind is that the pain-free moments are the norm in my everyday life. My body usually feels pretty good. However, the blissful feeling only arises when preceded by a painful moment. The bliss is always there. The pain is a catalyst that helps bring it to the surface. I am working on being thankful for the painful moments. It is easy to be thankful for them during a blissful moment, but in the midst of the pain, not so easy.

I am doing the same thing with some family drama I have been having go on around me. Trying to be thankful for the opportunities for growth that this drama presents. In the midst of the drama, I have a hard time not getting all worked up. Only when the encounter is over do I see the lessons presented. Thanks to Blake’s post, treating it as dRAMa rather than Drama has helped.

All this family drama has helped me turn inward. I see myself as the eye of the storm. So much family debris flying all around me, but from my seat, complete stillness. I tried to extricate myself physically from it all, but quickly saw that by doing that, I am only adding to the drama. By being right in the thick of it, extricating my consciousness from it, and turning it inward, I feel myself going Om.

A side note I thought I would add. The other day, I was having a particularly rough day. Both boys were fussing a lot, and my energy was way off. I hit a point where I thought I may snap. At that moment, I began chanting “Om Namah Shivaya” for maybe a minute. Clavey had never heard that chant before. Later that night, I was nursing Clavey to sleep. All of a sudden, he stopped nursing, cuddled his little head into the crook of my neck, started chanting “Om Namah Shivaya”, and then just fell asleep. It warmed me up all the way to my soul.




Nov 6 2010

the round tripi-ness of it all

Sue_Callaway

I am watching the waves from a window.

My mother’s 80th birthday was this week and I brought her here to Maine to see the ocean. She brought my children and I here for a week every summer after summer of their childhood years, but for the past two years her health wouldn’t allow the long trip from her Pennsylvania home. She wanted to see the ocean again and although summer is long gone and this seaside town is quiet and shuttered, the ocean never notices.

I got us a room, with a full ocean view and as my mother sleeps peacefully I am sitting beside the window watching the steady roll of wave after wave break into white foam rising from the still, expansive steel blue/gray waters. Perpetual, peaceful motion.

The line between the sky and sea is barely perceptible because of the early November clouds and I wonder…is there really a line anyway? I find my breathing slowing to match the cadence of the flow and the steady roar of the waves I hear muffled through the glass of the window. In all of my visits to the beach, I have never stayed in a place with an ocean view. There’s something so different about watching the show from here. It takes me out of the scene a bit to a witnessing place.

It all just is. The ocean, the sky, the sounds, my mother sleeping, me sitting here typing….all one connected happening in the now.

Eternal moments…  I am “calmly watching this drama unfold” BHN pg.88

This past week I attended a memorial service for my uncle who passed away recently. It was held at the sweet, little country church where he and my aunt took me  on Sundays when I visited them as a child. I loved coming to stay at their house in the mountains where I could spend hours in the heavy, scented woods beside a trickling stream and come back to  the house to find the best chocolate milkshake on the planet in a frosty glass mug made just for me. My uncle was so gracious and taught me much about the ways of  kindness.

The memorial service was a traditional, Catholic mass and all of the words, gestures and emotions of the prayers of my youth flowed easily from inside me without the least bit of thought. It all came from a deeper place. The entire mass was sung with much call and response and I smiled at the recognition of this being perhaps the birthplace of my love of kirtan. The devotional rituals of the mass still  take me into the rich mystery and magic of the divinity within my own heart…a place of loving awareness as Ram Dass says.

At the end of the service, family members were invited to light a candle to commemorate the soul’s passing. I walked to the altar and my hand shook as I held the long, slender white candle to light it from the center candle’s flame. It took a long time for the flame to catch , but once it did I placed it upright in the circle of sand by then filled with many other glowing candles. I said a silent prayer to my uncle and cried softly.

I stepped back from the altar and felt my heart warmed by the sight of all of those small candles burning together as one bright light in testament to a life. I was brought again to a place outside the drama of my life and to the peaceful center of the moment.

The circle of life, the round tripi-ness of it all, the wave after eternal wave emanating from the still center….beautiful.


Nov 5 2010

All your senses

Jonathan_Anderson

The ‘Hail the Goer’ mantra has particular significance for me. Right beside it is all of pg 88. The comfort of this almost chaotic looking page is that it’s presentation may make you look particularly carefully to make sure that you’re reading the words that are actually written. . . if you’re like me, you have to ‘work at it’ to see it, literally. But the message is so comforting that the work leading up to it is completely worth it.

That the water just goes on down stream, just like your senses just do what they do (and on this page, you get great exercise in the visual ‘doing’ something) . . . that you can overcome attachment through a simple exercise (karma yoga, candle focus) truly practiced, is relieving; this makes a lot of sense to me.  And what’s in sharp focus? Waiting for you to be drawn towards it (maybe as soon as you look at the page)? The clear Om Mani Padme Hum mantra. I mean, it’s literally the clearest thing on the page, visually. Where his heart rests, watching the unfolding happen. That’s just a warm sounding place, no matter what’s going on– it’s comforting to know that somebody’s there, in that warm place, and knowing it, and giving you a mantra to focus yourself so that you can find it too.

And not just that . . . also that there’s no claim to need to attain a permenant state of non-thinking just yet; and that the thoughts that you DO have can be appreciated for what they are (” . . . few people who know me don’t appreciate the fact that I think and have keen discrimination and have not lost my mind and I am a sophisticated aware being”).

So you work pretty hard to actually read the page, and to get the tone and rhythm of it (though I guess many may not work at it at all and read it easily, but I think y’all will know what I’m referring to), only to find that, like water,  you do what you do, but you neither have to be attached to it, nor absent from living life. Take heart that there’s somebody guiding you home either way. Om Mani Padme Hum.

When I got Be Love Now, I opened to a random page to see what was revealed to me. Page 116 talks of what the guru does. I think he’s the one that’s sitting in that warm heart place calling you home, waiting for your awareness to merge into one with with the mantra. Far out as that sounds to me, the idea resonates with something in me; I’m not entirely clear on what yet, but it’s comforting in the same way as pg. 88 of BHN.

I haven’t finished Be Love Now yet, but I can say that it is truly as beautiful in it’s essence and presentation as Be Here Now–and it goes beyond that too. When you read it, notice the voice that it sounds like it’s in–I like to imagine Ram Dass speaking the words out loud, in conversational style with me. For me, it’s a laid back, deeply heart-felt tone speaking to comfort, not just inform. I could go on . . . but suffice it to say that I’d suggest getting a copy. Please stop by www.BeLoveNowBook.com and take a look around, watch the video, and get a copy of the book. Really. Watch the video. “. . . You. . .Love everybody.”

Namaste’
Jon
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Nov 4 2010

A Round Trip Ticket to Ride

Parvati_Markus

I’ve been reading Be Love Now and I love the way Ram Dass is revisiting his early experiences with Maharajji, looking back at the beginning, filling in the blanks in between the layers of the stories we’ve heard before. When I think about those first awful weeks after his massive stroke, when we didn’t know how much brain function he would recover and the prognosis looked grim, and then read the way his memories pour out in the new book, I’m so grateful for the round trip Ram Dass been able to make.

He talks about the six months he spent at Kainchi after first meeting Maharajji and how they seemed like “one timeless moment.” I understand. I also keep revisiting the time I spent in Maharajji’s presence. And revisiting is the wrong word for a timeless experience that lies at the core of who I am and who I’ve been for the last four decades—a devotee of Spirit who tries to live with no “scruple of change” as the drama plays itself out. Rereading Be Here Now, and first reading Be Love Now, is like having a round trip ticket to ride once again the waves of love and surrender, joy and despair, of that timeless moment.

Like Ram Dass writing his new book, I’ve been immersed in the past. I’ve started archiving the stories of those of us Westerners who were with Maharajji during those few brief years in the early 70s before he left his body. Looking back four decades, what is amazing for all of us is how vividly that time stands out. We may not remember everything he said, or the exact progression of whether it happened in Kainchi or Brindavan or Allahabad, but the feeling, the space, the connection is always there—timeless.

What can erase from memory the greatest love story of your life?

One of the things that those of us who kept journals during our time with Maharajji did was to write down quotes that were relevant to us. I don’t have a lot of words today. Instead, here’s a quote I’d written in my journal back then.

“When love beckons to you, follow him, though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you, yield to him, though the sword hidden amongst his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him, though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, so shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.”
–Gibran, The Prophet

A page from Maharajji's "journal"--all RAMs