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7/28/2010

Mourning the Enemy











What if we built monuments not only for our own dead, but for those we have killed? Walls full of names of Afghans, Iraqis, of North Vietnamese and Japanese and Germans, of Native Americans and African slaves? Wars will only cease when we mourn the 'enemy' dead as well as ours, because he is a mother's son, a daughter's father. Then war memorials will become peace memorials.

7/17/2010

Judgment Day

I can connect to the world through Love, or I can connect to the world through Judgment. One or the other, not both. This choice is the last judgment.

The world doesn't need my judgments, and neither do I. But the world desperately needs my love, almost as much as I do.

7/15/2010

Ye Gods

"I have said, Ye are gods." Psalm 82:6

The deepest Vision Quest is not to go alone into the wilderness, but to gaze into the eyes of another human being.

We are not particles but waves of one another. In the fabric of consciousness, our essences intertwine.

One aspect of awareness is Shiva, the separate solitary Witness. Our spiritual literature emphasizes this aspect because almost all of it, Eastern and Western, was written by monks. In the new age, the complimentary aspect is equally vital, if not more so. She is called Shakti, or the Holy Spirit. She is too wild for wilderness, too frisky for solitude.

Shakti is the luminous ambrosial Spirit-dew who weaves the tissue of our inter-connectedness. Fibers of Shakti thread through our hearts, knitting them like droplets on Indra's web. This web is the virtual Sangha of pre-existent and eternal human community. That is why in the New Testament, the Spirit is described  as a "Cloud of Witnesses": a collective rather than an individual.

Through contemporary physics, we know that the void is really not empty. The vacuum is an ocean of virtual relationships, sub-nuclear "strings" of inter-dimensional connectivity. These vibrating threads of emptiness reach the surface of creation as "particles" of "matter." What a magical illusion! The Spirit is like this. The deeper we sink into its silence, the more we mingle with the souls of other sentient beings. Solitude is an illusion too.

You are not a separate "I," but a heart-string of communion. You are never alone. You are, each moment, the other end of a thread that vibrates from someone's heart. It makes no difference whether they are physically present or not. When you resonate with me, the whole universe trembles.

This is the secret of the Biblical name for God, Elohim. Scripture does not use the singular Hebrew word, El, but the plural, Elohim, meaning "Gods." There is not one God, but one field of conscious communion teeming with the divine We.

What then  is the role of meditation?

Meditation roots and replenishes Shakti in Shiva. He is the stillness in her vibration, the ocean in her wave. A few minutes of silence reinvigorates the dance. Morning and evening meditation in Shiva's silence recharges the inner light of relationship. We meditate for the Other as well as the Self.

Namasteh.

7/12/2010

Fierce


If you experience profound transformation through a spiritual Master at this time in your life, honor the Master and stay devoted to the daily Sadhana into which the Master has initiated you. But don't assume that your Master is the only Master and his teaching is the only way. For this is the seed of fundamentalism & spiritual death. It has happened to some of the world's greatest religions.

Know that your experience is part of a wave of transformation sweeping the planet, blessing all who open to it, and it flows into humanity through mutiple rivulets and channels. A profound human flowering is occurring in the grace of many spiritual Masters today. This flowering in you and in others is the second coming of Christ-Consciousness.

If your path seems diminished by the realization that others are also flowering as you are, on other paths, then there is some weakness, some insecurity in your root and stem. Strengthen your root, so that the judgment that other Masters as less than yours will fade away. In Islam, there is a little known principle called 'Rasala.' It refers to the equality of all prophets. Muslims do not believe that Muhammad is greater than Jesus or Moses. They believe he is the final prophet, not 'better.' There is no 'better' or 'worse' among the saints. It is a sin to create a hierarchy of Masters and to proclaim one above another. Such judgments come from the narrow egotism of the intellect. 

Your Master has come to free you, not to addict you to his or her form. The true Master is fierce and will roar at you if you treat the Master like a breast, full of milk. Become weaned after awhile. Don't be a spiritual infant forever. Be free and get on with YOUR life, not his.

Jai Guru Dev!
_________
Pictured: Sat Guru Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati, Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, Master of Maharshi Mahesh Yogi and Shri Shri Ravi Shankar

Eyes of the Divine Feminine: Bougeureau

I am in love with the divine feminine soul who gazes out of each one of these marvelous faces painted by Bougeureau, a French artist who was wildly popular in his time, but utterly disdained by the avant garde (though Degas appreciated him). This film also reminds me how much I am in love with the divine feminine in the artist, and in you, and in myself.

7/11/2010

Why is Loitering a Crime?

"I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loafe at my ease, observing a spear of summer grass." (Walt Whitman)

For Whitman, the bottom line was poetry. Whitman, Keats, Shelly and Wordsworth spent quality time mindfully loafing. Out of their moments of non-doing came sublime literature.

For Jesus and the poets of the Bible, the bottom line was prophecy. Fasting in the desert, they also fasted from work. But their vision changed civilizations.

Even scientists practice periods of intentional loafing. Einstein's theory of relativity had its inception in a daydream, when he imagined what it would be like to slide down a beam of sunlight.

In our corporate culture, the bottom line isn't poetry or prophecy, but profit. In many American cities, you can get arrested for loitering. Daydreaming is considered a waste of time. Loafing is no longer a respectable spiritual practice, but a threat to monthly production quotas, and the national GNP.

What happened on BP's oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico is a direct result of corporate thinking. Maintain frenetic productivity each minute of every hour. Take whatever short-cuts you need to meet production quotas. Don't stop for a single moment to listen, reflect, and ask, "What the hell are we really accomplishing? Is this happiness?" Even the multi-millionaire president of the company ends up whining, "I want my life back."

Corporate America wants your children to become diligent, productive little drones who never practice the subversive art of mindful loafing. They are already learning this lifestyle in their schools. The oligarchs who run this country know that, if we spend time loafing, we might actually become aware. 

God forbid the worker bee doubt the fate of the hive. God forbid we come to realize, in a precious moment of loitering, that our cultural hive is bound to collapse, because it is based on a contradiction.

Our philosophical, religious and literary heritage teaches us that happiness is the fruit of simplicity, temperance and the renunciation of gross materialism. Yet our economy runs on constant spending and expansion of GNP: every citizen's duty is the accumulation of far more than anyone actually needs.

Clearly, the solution to our social, political, and environmental problems is a new lifestyle: a lifestyle of simpler, more sustainable earth-friendly living. Yet the fact is, if we ever stopped buying extraneous junk, redundant technologies, and more shoes than we could wear out in a lifetime, our economy would collapse.

You really don't want to think about this, do you? Better get back to work. Besides, if you start asking too many questions, you might get arrested for loitering.

7/10/2010

Having Fun Yet?


Reasoning thus seems to take all the fun out of life:

Despite the status of the vineyard, the bottle or the year, wine is just a fragrant delivery system for injecting alcohol into the bloodstream. Likewise, all food is just food.

Despite the glamor of anticipation, fantasy and desire, sexual intercourse is finally just a biological phenomenon through which a species reproduces its kind.

Despite the promise of wealth, the quality of Now is not affected by the quantity or cost of its content.

Despite the excitement of the senses, experience of the body is not the Self. Despite the drama of like and dislike, the play of emotion is not the Self. Despite the pride of knowledge, the mind is not the Self.

Reasoning thus, we discriminate between the transient and the eternal. We understand that there never actually was any fun out there in the world of things, sensations, or their residue of memory in the mind.

The only fun is discovering what's deep inside us at the eternal core: discovering the divine No-thing again and again through every transient perception of the glittering dissolving illusory phenomenal world, and then revealing That to our friends.

The only fun is sharing the bliss of the Self, the Self we already are before we eat, drink, like, dislike, have sex or acquire wealth.

Om Namah Shivaya Namasteh: To Shiva, the Supreme Light Within, Uncreated Eternal Bliss of the Self, I bow down, and I bow down to That in you.


7/09/2010

Listening Before Dawn

When I awoke this morning, I was already awake. There are ways to exist before existence. Had you been singing forever, and only now I listened? We arrive from vast spaces where we have never gone. All this in a robin's song, and the sun had not yet risen!

7/08/2010

Don't Remain

 
To dwell in the present moment is not enough. The true Now dissolves in blissful annihilation. To protect myself from that golden chaos, I think. Thinking "spiritual thoughts" is the mind's escape from the glory of its destruction. The trick is to fall into this Radiance without forming a single concept about it. Where spirit and matter gush into each other, keep billions of doors open.

7/05/2010

Alchemy


Just as there is sacred memory, there is sacred forgetting. Ask water to bless & heal, washing away time. Ask stones & crystals to remember, holding sacred memory. Ask fire for energy & transformation. Ask wind for what is new.

If we ask water to hold on to the past, it becomes stagnant. If we ask stones for what is new, they shake violently. If we ask wind for transformation, we get the whirlwind. If we ask fire for blessing, we must be willing to burn. Original medicine is letting each element do its own work for bodily & planetary harmony.

This is not a doctrine of 'truth,' just my personal alchemy for health. Find your own! See the elements of earth, water, wind & fire as living beings!

Not Allowed To Be Happy?













I am not allowed to be happy

until I have ended every environmental catastrophe.

I am not allowed to be happy

until I have abolished war and global injustice.

I am not allowed to be happy

until I have eradicated world hunger, poverty & AIDS.

I am not allowed to be happy

until I spend a year on the Perfection Diet

cleansing every toxin from my body.

I am not allowed to be happy

until I remove all the old fillings from my teeth

so I am no longer haunted by the suspicion

that some trace mineral is making me miserable.

I am not allowed to be happy

until I am free of pain.

I am not allowed to be happy

until I am perfectly pure and kind

without a moment's anger.

I am not allowed to be happy

until I am Good, and behold, Very Good.

I am not allowed, not allowed, not allowed... but tell me:

Who is the Allower?

.  .  .  .  .  .  .

Happiness has no cause.

Happiness need not be deserved or justified.

Happiness is not a reward for good behavior.

Happiness has nothing to do with solving world problems.

Happiness IS, before the world was.

Happiness not of my creation,

for I am the creation of Happiness.

Happiness not "mine" or "yours."

Happiness suffering no postponement by fools.

Happiness the wave I catch or I don't:

it's up to me.

Happiness the radiance in my heart's core

before any thought of "I."

Happiness watching worlds sparkle and fade

in a limitless ocean of consciousness

without a single problem anywhere.

Happiness containing suns, galaxies,

the dissolution and re-creation of planets.

Happiness that does not end when the body ends,

or when the earth ends, or when the cosmos ends.

Happiness that never sleeps, but watches sleep,

as a mother watches her infant.

Happiness the wild innocence overflowing

from the luminosity of pure Awareness.

Happiness the elemental sea-surge that bears me,

washes me, dissolves me, welcomes me home.

Happiness the boundless AM before I.

Happiness I choose but do not earn.

Happiness the final truth:

If I am not Happy,

If I am not Happiness itself,

I will never

bring Happiness

to anyone.

7/03/2010

Prana, Depression & PTSD

Prana is Life-Force. Breath is its vehicle. Prana is called 'Chi' in Chinese medicine. Prana is 'Ruach' in the Bible. 'Ruach' means both 'breath' and 'spirit' in Hebrew. In New Testament Greek, Prana is 'Pneuma', which means both 'spirit' and 'breath.'

A great master of breath-science, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, says:

"Prana is present in everything. In fact, we are floating in air, in prana, an ocean of prana. When the unit of expression varies, it makes a difference.

"Stones have got one unit of prana. Water has got two units of prana. Fire has got three units of prana. Air has got four units of prana. Plants have got five units of prana. Animals have got six units of prana. Human beings are capable of holding from seven to 16 units of prana. The expression of prana is the whole universe.

"When prana is lower than one, that’s when you feel depressed. When prana goes even lower, you feel suicidal. When prana is normal, you feel normal. When prana is higher, you feel enthusiastic. When prana is very high, you feel energetic and blissful. That is why when people are depressed, just giving counseling doesn’t work; what needs to be done is to raise the level of prana.

"When prana is high there is joy, vibrancy, understanding. When prana is low, then the mind starts complaining and depression, lethargy, suicidal tendencies arise. All is play and display of prana." (Shri Shri Ravi Shankar)

COMMENT
Counseling is not enough for handling PTSD. The stressed nervous system must be flooded with prana, cleansed at the cellular level with healing energy, vital breath. Working with buried memories on the level of mind only invites disaster: an endless loop of violent, guilty, terrifying thoughts. Practices of Yoga and Pranayama (breath science) are essential for programs that address PTSD. It is high time for this ancient inner technology to be applied to the health crisis of our modern world.

If you know a soldier or soldier's spouse dealing with the inner terrorism of PTSD, please gently guide them to the following website: Project Welcome Home Troops: www.PWHT.org/

7/02/2010

Christ Love

Christ is not to be believed in, not followed or obeyed, but felt to the bone, down to the marrow and through the atoms, as a vibration of love so intimate yet all-pervading, that it dissolves every distinction between spirit and matter, God and Man.

We may call this stream of love by the name of Christ, Krishna, Buddha, Ishq, or Shakti. What is truly alive exists not through its definition but through its Presence. 'Ekam Sat vipra, bahuda vedantahi' says the Veda: 'Truth is One, the wise have called it by many names.'

This Christ-love is not a theological abstraction, but an organic sensation, awakened by the grace of a living Master. Then the Holy Spirit breathes us, and becomes our own Holy Breath, now, in this world.

Jai Shri Shri Guru Dev

7/01/2010

Cry River: A Prayer for the Amazon

O River Mother, May it Be.
May it Be, Star Father.
May it Be for Water and Wind.
May it Be for Sunlight and Moonlight.
For the Earth, the Winged and Creeping Ones,
The Four Leggeds and Two Leggeds,
Those with Words and those with Songs,
For the river and its children, May it Be.
May it be on Earth as in Heaven.
May it be as it was in the Beginning
When the Spirit said, 'Flow!'
And pure Waters moved through holiness
Up from empty darkness into light.
May it be as in the Beginning
When the Spirit said, 'Breathe!'
And a mighty wind blew seeds from East to West,
Many-colored wings beating in green shadows
Or flashing in sunbeams,
Gold and Purple Wings of Quetzalcoatl, Blue Seraphic wings,
Christ's diamond wing over the jade forest.
May it be as in the Beginning
When the Spirit cried 'Sun!' and it was warm,
The Spirit whispered 'Moon' and it was cool,
And two lights opened their eyes, nurturing blossoms to bear
The Brazil-nut, Acai and Guarana,
Sweetening our lips, strengthening our bones.
May it Be as on the morning when the Spirit cried 'Earth'
And her green body stirred, her brown hills awoke;
They rolled over, making valleys;
She parted her lips and the forest sighed, the rain laughed,
The river was a river singing
A song we have not forgotten,
Song of the Mother 'Amasonna':
'Destroyer of Boats,' Shelterer of Tribes,
Mistress of Sacred Medicine, Giver of Visions,
Lung of the Planet, Breath of the World.
May it Be for the trees,
May it Be for the voiceless creatures,
May it be for her deep black veins that must never be pierced again,
May it Be for the healing of her waters,
May it Be for her supple arms of sunlight and wind,
May it Be for the people who dwell upon her banks
And for those so far away we cannot smell
Her flower-scented rain:
May it be as on the first day
a New Creation,
Birthing the River and the River's children once again.
May we all say, 'Flow!'
'FLOW!'
May we all say, 'Breathe!'
'BREATHE!'
May we all say, 'Shine!'
'SHINE!'
May we all cry, 'River!'
'RIVER!'
In the name of the Father, and of the Mother,
and of the Holy Children - We.

Ameen
_________
Written for Bishop Vincent Warner, who read this prayer at The Talking Trees Concert to save the Amazon rain forest at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, Seattle, June 19, 2010

Privacy

Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, text messaging, self-publishing, the blogosphere: we live in a culture of exposure, and a crisis of privacy.

Recently the CEO of Facebook stated that he doesn't even believe in privacy. Andie Warhol noted that in this media culture, everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. It's so easy to share everything about ourselves, we get confused about what not to share. Some of us are tempted to imagine that, by refusing to share intimacies, we are keeping toxic secrets.

Isn't it time to distinguish between privacy and secrecy?

Secrecy is the shadow of shame, rooted in denial. Therefor, it can be healthy to share secrets with someone we trust.

But privacy nourishes what is intimate, tender, sublime. Privacy is the handmaid of wisdom.

How often, in the din and rattle of our media, do we hear the old words 'temperance,' 'prudence,' or 'discretion'? How often does American culture encourage us to practice 'discrimination'? In fact, discrimination has become a vice rather than a virtue, prudence is confused with puritanism, discretion is for meek old ladies, and temperance died with prohibition.

Yet those who claim to be on a spiritual path make no progress without privacy and its attendant virtues. The soul is shaped by its subtractions, nurtured by what it leaves unsaid. We cannot meditate unless we cultivate silence, like an inner garden filled with blossoms of the unspoken.

Darkness, not sunlight, nurtures a seed. Exposed too soon to light, it dies. So silence preserves an intimate moment's sweetness, fermenting it to wisdom.

To be open-hearted and honest, never feel that you must share all. What you do not reveal gives light to your eye, resonance to your well-chosen words, and subtlety to your passion.

Love is anointed by privacy.

In a culture of over-exposure, have courage to wear the veil. Nourish the intimate. Magnify your mystery.