Sep 24 2010

You’re gone


“Because if you’re truthfully here and now there’s no more you . . . That’s the way it works” (Pg 46).

We’ve all been truthfully here at some point. And we’ve all experienced the grief of losing that center, and the longing for it to return. We’ve all chased it, given up, then stumbled on it, often landing face first. And it doesn’t always hurt. Nor does it always smell of roses or jasmine.

The other day, I saw a pink balloon at the base of my stairs, it was barely inflated, just a small sack of air with a pink ribbon. I decided to pop it, pick it up, and toss it in the trash. So I stepped on it and felt it pop, and was thrust into a moment of clarity . Nothing dramatic . . . Just the simple realization that we are all balloons of skin, filled with spirit . . . with the word of God, breath of Maharaj-ji, Jesus, Buddha, etc . And either we slowly deflate and allow our spirit-breath to return to the wholeness of it all, or somebody/something comes along and pops us, freeing our spirit-breath. Either way, we always return to “non-you-ness” somehow . . . and it does not need to be at the moment of our death.

I meditated after this. I didn’t totally dissolve, but I did become more present. I did re-member that being fully in the now means the acceptance that everything co-exists at the same time: Now.  Where fully present means that you are fully connected with everything, everywhere.  When you are literally that connected (and we all really are–read up on quantum physics if you need the science of it), there is no separation from God because you ARE God–you may still be in a pink balloon,  but “it’s all the same stuff,” so there’s no “you” to experience, no set reference point for observation of anything.

You don’t stop existing, you just stop thinking that you do . . . then you may be on the way to freedom; your thoughts are free to roam (since you have a brain while you’re in your balloon); your spirit can mingle with “whoever-ji” (thanks Blake).

So, Hail The Goer. . . then Hail us All. We’re all already gone, we’re just visiting in a balloon, often thinking that we’re separate (ie ‘not here’) and sometimes suffering, sometimes content as a result. Until we either deflate or pop. I never considered a balloon a teacher until the other day.

Great teachers and sages (Jesus, Ghandi, Meher Baba, Yogananda, Maharaj-ji, Ram Dass, etc) fill us in a way that helps us all float so high that we pop, or just as beautifully, land in some new place where we can deflate peacefully. What a great flight! Thank you, Ram Dass, for filling balloons, and for popping them. Namaste’.  _/|\_


Sep 22 2010



“All I can do ALL the time is to COOL MYSELF OUT.”

This phrase jumped out at me. it helped me “RE MEMBER” something that always gets covered over. My main Big Y Yoga teacher gave me the meditation technique of “….sssshhhhhh….” It’s one of the best teachings for me. I so easily get caught up in juggling methods and techniques around that I have gone through 4 or 5 in a 30 minute meditation. I am thankful I know of many techniques. But what good is a technique, if I can’t stay with it? The most profound ‘technique’ at my still-beginner stage of meditating is just to cool down. Become quiet. Stillness. ….ssssshhhhhh…..

And really that’s my technique all the time like RD is talking about on page 44. Everything becomes sadhana. To become quiet. To develop that calm center. Constantly working on myself. But I have one thought that I toss around here…. If I am constantly working on myself and trying to take care of my spiritual evolution, it seems to me that there is a lack of trust in the unfolding of it all naturally. Do we have to do this sadhana? I can fork out a couple of answers here, but what do you think.

I guess not getting bent out of shape about my sadhana is important, regardless. Also, I think there is a fine line between “ahh sadhana…” and “whoa… I need to do this practice to feel better about myself…. to have done something productive.” For neurotics like myself and Dr. Richard Alpert (and … well… you, too…), sadhana can be trap of the ego. Dharmic sadhana is a different thing. It’s easy. There’s very little effort. But when the ego is involved as it tends to be, any sadhana can become just another method of grasping at a fantasy future. Enlightenment or what have you.

The other side of this is that. Of course you must use the ego to “work on yourself”. Only then can you get to a place where the ego can fall away. Using the thorn to remove the thorn. But then again. What we read a few weeks ago…. it’s determined through karma. So I really don’t have to make decisions about my sadhana, right? “Will I do it? When do I do it? Shouldn’t I do it? I should have done it better.” Because: the moment we are going to wake up is totally determined. We’ll do the amount of sadhana appropriate to our readiness to receive it’s effect–everytime. The thing that frustrates me about a lot of this is of course that it doesn’t make sense to my thinking mind. So I have to trust that it makes sense on another level. Do I do or not do? I think at some level, there’s not even decisions being made. And there’s not paradox. And conflict. And frustration. That’s when you have to let Meher Baba or Whoever-ji help.

Regardless…. …..sssshhhhhh…..

With you on the Autumnal Equinox… reading to begin new things and turn inward and quiet down. Fall is my lucid and quiet season. ahhhhhhhh.

– bt

Aug 13 2010

We are all total compassion unfolding


So it’s all the same thing. It’s all made of the same energy. God is everything. . . including me, and you, and that table. I like the comment that we are all fingers on God’s hand.  I like it because it really seems to fit—we may be God’s pinky, but until the pinky ‘remembers’ that it’s a pinky, it’s just a pinky dressed in the projections of an ego; but when it remembers that it’s God, that pinky becomes God—it strips itself of the ego; rather, the ego is, well, absorbed into God, into everything-ness. Is-ness.

Unbearable compassion. Hridayam, heart cave. Sameness. For a long time, I tried to meditate and ‘pretend’ that I was directly connected to the things around me; this used my brain and did a wonderful job of entertaining my ego.  Then came Be Here Now and that heart cave. The whole idea of going into your heart to really experience same-ness shook me up a bit—I had been so proud of my intellectual understanding that I had forgotten that experiential knowing comes from the heart. . . and REALLY knowing that you are the same as everything MUST involve total, unbearable compassion because it not only involves direct knowing of beauty in ways that go way out there, but also the same one-ness with deep pain, sorrow, confusion; what a beautiful arrangement, that even knowing pain is a direct expression of the highest form of Love: Compassion. Compassion is beauty; it is one of the greatest transformations to witness.

So, while meditation has changed in its form, I am grateful for having gone through the more ego-based ‘thinking’ that was masquerading as meditation . . . for that was a part of my path; without it, I would not have realized the difference, or that it’s all part of the same thing. It’s still all the same thing, even if we ‘get it wrong,’ we still get it right. Compassion for yourself folks. If you are starting a path of meditation, and things seem to get noisy at first, it’s ok; have compassion for yourself because you’re just going through exactly what you’re supposed to go through.

I’ll wrap up my first post by sharing that I’ve been at the beach for the past several days, with beautiful people. I’ve learned so much from the beach, from watching children catch minnows, then set them free because they are God’s children, too. Children get total, unbearable compassion.

Jonathan F. Anderson

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

Here We Are


Ram Ram

Ram Ram

Ram Ram

I’m grateful to be with you. We are here having the only conversation there is. We could be singing Ram’s name or talking about chocolate cake and pudding and we would be having the same conversation. We are here to express gratitude to our teachers, and we are the teachers. Can we empty our slates so that the great teacher may write upon them messages of love?

I’m a licensed therapist and musician whose primary gig is her spiritual trip and who has somehow loved writing since birth. I’m thrilled to be participating in this project. Be Here Now and I are simultaneously celebrating our 40th birthdays, and not long ago I launched my column, Stay Open: Spiritual and Self-Care Space. It’s a Dear Abby-style spiritual counseling column that naturally combines my love of writing and my desire to share truth so that we all may experience relief, space, joy and real peace.

Stay Open: Spiritual and Self-Care Space would not exist without Be Here Now.

We seek to share the good news, like yet another great Jewish teacher who lived a few thousand years ago. We are so fortunate to live in a time when awakening is celebrated on a pervasive scale. Yoga, meditation, chanting: we are infused in this country with devotional celebration of spirit; and Be Here Now opened the door.

The honor that it is to write on this project is equal to stillness within that is holding up a mirror so I can see myself. So that I can see you.

There is only one conversation.

I’m so grateful to be with you and expect that we are at the trailhead of a deep journey, one that has started with so many people coming across this oddly square-shaped book and subsequently seeing their own mirror.

Thank you so much.

(Composed to Wade Imre Morrisette’s beautiful song, Prayer. Check him out.)

June 24, 2010

Austin, TX

Carin Channing (Carina ShantiOm)

Taken by Steve Silberman at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, Phish show, 8/6/10