Nov 14 2010



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


“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.

Oct 17 2010

Not Quite Ripe


I have been thinking about death a lot lately. My death. I close my eyes, and picture myself dying. When I “come to”, and see that I really am not dead, what is left is Love. Pure love.

In an instant, any one of us could perish. Well, our bodies could perish. This simple thought fills me with intense love for this very moment.

There was a time in my life when I thought I was dying. I wrote letters to those that were close to me, with a plan to hand them out in my last moments. There were a lot of strange things happening to me during this time, but there are two particularly vivid memories that I want to share. During this time, I often felt sharp pain rising up my spine. It scared me. Every time it happened, I was sure I was about to have a heart attack. I remember calling my brother in tears during one of these episodes, so afraid that my heart was taking its last beat. The other memory I have made the people I told about it look at me like I had gone crazy. There was this bush up the street from my house that looked like my hair, at least to me. I was positive that my hair was made of this bush. I thought that somehow, my hair had been taken over by the bush. The bush and my hair were the same. Needless to say, after conveying this and many other similar experiences (too many to write about right now) to people, I was told it may be best if I seek a therapist. A lot of people thought I was on drugs. No drugs. I also want to make note that even though I was very scared that I was going to die, during this time I was also feeling huge amounts of love for everything around me. More love than I had ever felt.

Instead of a therapist, I went and got CAT scans, MRI’s, EEG’s, EKG’s, you name it. I was sure they would find some terrible disease in me and tell me that I had one month left in this body. Nobody found anything. I was in “perfect health”. But I knew something was not right. I decided to go to an energy medicine specialist. She diagnosed me as having “heart fire”, too much energy buildup in my heart. I did acupuncture, took herbs, and the symptoms went away. This happened about 4 years ago. I have not thought about it deeply until recently. I now see it as much more. My kundalini was being awakened, which I took as a sign of a heart attack. I thought my body was going to die, but it was my ego that was getting close to death. I thought my hair was a bush, but I was really merging into the One.

The thing is, I was not ready for the experience at the time. I wasn’t quite ripe for it. Here was this transformational experience happening to me, but I was unable to receive its teaching. It’s the same with the Guru. The Guru could be my dog for all I know. Right in front of me, everyday. I am not going to know until I am ready.

Treating everyone as if they could be your Guru. A beautiful way to go about life. I had a conversation with a man at the Farmer’s Market yesterday, while in the back of my mind thinking “he could be my Guru”. It made the conversation so much fun! And I am pretty sure all we talked about was the fact that he had a son in medical school, and how fast kids grow up.

The bottom line is, you just never know. You never know when you are going to die, you never know when you are ready to receive a particular teaching, and you never know when you are going to meet your Guru. That is, until you Know. When you Know, then you will know.

Sep 5 2010

You’ve Got Them Good Vibrations


I am at the market, getting food for dinner. I have my 2 year old in the cart, and I am wearing my 8 week old in a front pack. My 8 week old starts crying…he wants to nurse… but I need to get food!..he gets more upset…my 2 year old keeps telling me Canyon (my baby) is sad…I know!..I try to go faster, and faster…I am getting sweaty, he is NOT happy. As I walk, trying to rock him back and forth while I move forward at the same time, I think about Coby, and the story on page 24.

I stop.

As I look into my baby’s eyes, I see him for the first time since we have been in the store. Not in terms of seeing with my eyes, but seeing with my heart. He starts to calm down as I calm myself down. His look of total innocence takes any cover I had over my heart and rips it right off. I leave the store, not getting half the things I had intended to get. But it does not matter. Staying in there was costing way too much! And not in terms of money.

As Canyon was crying, I kept telling him that it was ok, that I loved him. When I decided to stop and REALLY look at him, when he stopped crying, I said the same exact thing. Why did he not stop crying before? The words were the same. Well, it is simple. He was picking up on my vibrations. He could care less what I said. My stress was directly absorbed into his being, and when I was able to stop and calm my mind, he did so as well.

So often, I feel as though I need to use words to express myself. I was with a friend today, and she was telling me about a tragic incident that had happened to her. I felt such compassion towards her. It seemed like nothing I was saying to her could relate this feeling back to her. It was frustrating. I really wanted her to know how much love and empathy I was feeling. But nothing could…quite…you know how it is. Then I just looked at her in her eyes for a while, and that was it. She finally felt it. Again, it wasn’t in the words, it was in the vibrations.

As a side note, in honor of something I said in my last post (not living my life to be who others want me to be anymore), I decided to stop shaving. I have never liked shaving! Take that society!

It is so wonderful being here now with y’all. I hope you can feel my love, because I am not about to try and explain it.

Aug 15 2010

My Children, My Little Guru’s


I am sitting on the couch with my 4-week-old baby, Canyon, asleep in my arms. As I close my eyes in this moment, I can just feel the Love of God, the Love of the Universe, pouring through me. “I am the bliss of the Universe, Everything am I”. I am here, now, and isn’t life just beautiful…

My 2 year old, Clavey, wakes up, crying for mommy. All of a sudden it feels like I had been floating on a cloud of bliss in the sky and then catapulted at an amazing speed back into “reality”.

I go in to get my son out of bed, and he is not in a state of harmony. I try to help him regroup, but he pushes me away. He is 2. He can do everything by himself. How did I forget this? Meanwhile, my 4 week old is crying to nurse. I try to nurse him, but my 2 year old throws a fit because he wants me to play with HIM. I feel lost. Where did God go? Why am I not floating in the clouds anymore? All I can think about is how to make it through the rest of the day, and then I remember page one…


I realize that is why I feel no God-presence in moments like these. Instead of opening up, letting the energy come in, I go in lock-down mode. But once I throw up my arms and rip open my heart, ahhhh. The fussing continues, but ahhhh. I can handle this now.  I ask Clavey if he wants to have “mommy milk” with Canyon. Problem solved. Once again I find myself on the couch, one child in each arm, nursing both of them back into harmony…and finding my own harmony at the same time.

This is how it is with my children. One moment is up, then the next down. I know that it is not this way simply to test my patience. It is this way because they live so intensely in the moment. For them, this moment is all there is. As I see both of them so absorbed in the Now, I can’t help but go back to page one…

“Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of Heaven”

It comes so naturally for them. Me, I have to really work on it. But as I sit with them, becoming as they are, seeing the Universe through their eyes, my whole being feels full of light. My heart is open, and God comes in. Residing in my heart cave, my hridayam, the next tantrum doesn’t make me want to run. Instead of the feeling of frustration running through my veins, I am able to look at Clavey and Canyon with…


…and say “this is hard sometimes, isn’t it?” This whole life thing is tricky at times. But the great thing is, we are all here together, just figuring it out.  Sometimes, this whole surrendering business is easy. Other times, my ego takes over and the idea of surrender is off in some far away land. But the more I work on it, the more natural in becomes. And with these two beautiful boys, I get PLENTY of time to work on it. My children. My little guru’s.

Aug 11 2010

I’m tackling page ONE


I woke up this morning and felt, “You know what? I just don’t have any f***ing idea about a HEART CAVE. This heart cave thing is just spiritual BS. [Right off the bat…I know…eek!] Wait Wait Wait, there’s got to be a hridayam, a spiritual heart. Well, I don’t feel it right now! I want to write about it in my first blog post. Should I make something up and sound super-spiritual? Nah that wouldn’t be authentic! And boy…. you want to be authentic. You’ll step all over yourself and even fake it to be authentic. Wait… you’ve got to feel it Blake. Heart Cave Heart Cave Heart Cave…. h-e-a-r-t-c-a-v-e…” And then I remembered something.

{OK, I’m putting it out there… I have memory problems (ie. more grist for the mill).}

I have felt this heart cave before. I just wasnt feeling it right now. Isn’t it strange how, in any given moment, we shift into almost completely different version of who we think we are? This whole morning I was a 25 year old guy that couldn’t make any sense or connection out of the first page of a book I was supposed to blog about for 108 days. Just two weeks ago, I was not only a 25 year old guy who felt deeply about a heart cave, but I was also leading a heart cave guided visualization during savasana in my hatha yoga classes. It went something like the following:

“The whole ribcage from back to front is soft and more pliable. And the sternum over the heart center is so soft, it’s less like cartilage and maybe more like a waterfall. And this waterfall is one that you can reach your hand through and even step through to reveal the secret and silent cave of your heart. You can see the water gushing and falling outside and see the light dancing through, yet this damp and cool inner chamber is silent and serene.”

Something like that. It amazes me, yes, that I didn’t remember leading this visualization. But then again I have known I have had some memory issues related to PTSD following my plane crash and hospitalization (9 years ago this Sunday). See, it amazes me more that when leading this guided visualization I felt that the thoughts were completely original to me. I have read BHN at least twice and thumbed it many times, but somehow I didn’t remember this HEART CAVE page. That is…. page 1. So naturally, I am up in my head now trying to figure out how I am supposed to digest all of this…. how I integrate it into my understanding of the mind. Here’s my thoughts:

1. Trust that I don’t always consciously remember everything. My subconscious receives tons of information. Stuff gets in. Quit trying so hard to readreadread learnlearnlearn. My subconscious remembered the Heart Cave from reading BHN.

2. The Heart Cave is an archetype of our collective unconscious and I just tapped into that leading the visualization. I didn’t actually remember reading the book.

3. Maybe I shouldn’t concern myself with what comes out of me. It’s all happening by divine grace–memory problems and feeling like a different person from moment to moment, taboot. The Heart Cave idea came to me, in the moment, from God.

4. It doesn’t matter in the slightest if and how I came about remembering it or not remembering it. In this moment I remembered it. In the next I may forget it. Big whup! I am just performing mental flagellation and well-rehearsed cranial circus tricks trying to figure out how my mind works. Be Here Now.Be Here Now. Be Here Now.

I like 3 and 4.

– bt

Aug 10 2010

That Path is for Your Steps Alone


“It is only when you rest quietly in your own Hridayam . . .”

(Ram Dass, Be Here Now, page 5)

My Hridayam: what you get to peek at when Hanuman tears open his chest. I love how it’s dripping with blood. It’s not a clean, simple cut. It’s ragged. And as I’m typing this I hear Deepak Chopra say, “I will see myself as the Seer in the ever-changing field.”

The Seer watches from Hridayam.

When I took up the book to read last night, I was deep in a fog of mind and emotion. No clarity. Peace unfamiliar. And I just felt complicated by the early part of the brown pages. There was some faint specter of that trusting open surrendered being, but it was just out of my grasp, like a memory you can’t quite put together and you’re not entirely sure you actually experienced.

The next few pages are filled with ink: swirling dense pictures, repeated images and almost hidden language, and my mind said, “You don’t understand this.” Basically saying, “You suck.” I was nowhere near feeling UNBEARABLE COMPASSION though I desperately longed for it. Reading the word Hridayam – the root of my first mantra (that I picked up from Ram Dass in Journey of Awakening, and that I saw printed on a license plate in the parking garage of Whole Foods the other day) – was a tiny puff of space in my thought-laden mind.

But as I turned the pages, that mind-noise was trying really hard to figure out what all of this writing was about. Thinking, and working really hard, pushing itself, as if that would help make sense of the language and the concepts. And then,

page 7.

And then my whole system went, “Oh yeah,” exhaled, and relaxed. Space pours from this page, and ahhhh.

We’re heady people, man. I love how Zach said he loves to panic about what’s going to happen the next morning. I – or my mind – loves to try to logic my way out of my muck. In such moments, when the gentle peace of being right now is slopped over with wet mud and rejection, I am so convinced that this moment is a problem. I try to figure it out.

I scrap and grab for this teaching or the other, some training, something some great baba said, something to make the shift.

On some level, and at some point, I suppose I realize that thinking my way into an open heart just ain’t gonna happen and I eventually can see again. And there’s always that sweet joy of relief.  Remembering: I know, and I know that I know.

The butterfly – its own creation –

Here’s more from the Ram Tirtha quote at the bottom of page 7 along with my great thanks.

I have no scruple of change, nor fear of death,
Nor was I ever born,
Nor had I parents.
I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, Bliss Absolute,
I am That, I am That,

I cause no misery, nor am I miserable;
I have no enemy, nor am I enemy.
I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, Bliss Absolute,
I am That, I am That,

I am without form, without limit,
Beyond space, beyond time,
I am in everything, everything is in me.
I am the bliss of the universe,
Everywhere am I.
I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, Bliss Absolute,
I am That, I am That,

I am without body or change of the body,
I am neither senses, nor object of the senses,
I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, Bliss Absolute,
I am That, I am That,

I am neither sin, nor virtue,
Nor temple, nor worship
Nor pilgrimage, nor books.
I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, Bliss Absolute,
I am That, I am That.

See you next week, my friends. We’ll be here every day.

For more writing from Carin (aka Carina ShantiOm), please visit

Aug 3 2010

And This Too


Life is a series of moments. Some of these moments are to be used in this lifetime, and others perhaps to be saved in our deepest memories and used in another incarnation.

The moment I opened Be Here Now is one of those moments that has changed this life I am living in a way that I will never forget. Ram Dass has helped me to remember what I had forgotten sometime between birth and adulthood. It was not as if he was there teaching me new concepts. Each page I read felt as though I was reading something that I already knew, but was not able to remember until that very moment. I was able to see that the path to God was not through my mind, which is where I had been looking from my whole life. Ram Dass has showed me how to look at the universe from the stillness within my heart. Living life in this way has helped me in every aspect of my life. Now, as a mother to two young boys under the age if 2, living life from my heart, not identifying with my ego, has been invaluable. In turn, I am trying to help my kids not to forget what they already know deep within their hearts. How we forget to “be here now” as we grow older is something I still do not know the answer to. Yet it shows in watching my children each and every day that they have not forgotten this.

“Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of Heaven”. Ram Dass was the first to help me remember this, and now my children are helping me to not forget this each day.

I have found that each moment holds an opportunity for awakening. While I used to try and run away from the darker moments in life, I have learned that often times, those dark, sticky moments are opportunities for some of the largest spiritual transformations. Ram Dass has reminded me to stay with those moments, stare at them head on, and meet them with grace. Instead of turn my back on the difficult times, I have finally remembered to simply say to myself “and this too”.

It is all part of the trip, and what a fascinating trip it has been so far. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to participate in this blog, and look forward to the insights and transformations that will come about in the process.


Melissa Duncan