J and I had the honor of meditating with/learning from Sri Shivarudra Balayogi Maharaj the other evening. Great thanks to Yoga of Sausalito for hosting the evening in their very comfortable/warm/welcoming studio. And great thanks to Sri Shivarudra Balayogi Maharaj (and those who assist him on his mission) for sharing his peaceful energy and timeless wisdom. And the music and chanting were Wonderful!
This is the beautiful message I am carrying forth from the experience:
Practice, practice, practice!
Dedication, Discipline, and Patience will yield the results you desire.
You are secure and regular, daily meditation practice will teach you, remind you, of this.
The real guru is the Divinity Within (the silent wisdom) which is experienced as inspiration.
October 2, 1997:
In this entry I quote The Astrologer’s Manual by Landis Knight Green:
In Buddhist and Hindu Philosophy the conscious sense of purpose is called dharma, the law for living and developing one’s own character through fulfilling the right duties. A person’s entire horoscope is a key to understanding and defining these duties; however, it is the Sun that dictates the exact nature or heart of this conscious and mature relatedness. The planets which form aspects to the sun show exactly how this is carried out. Naturally, this refers mainly to a person who has developed self-awareness to a degree where he can determine many of the conditions of his present, as well as future, life. In the I Ching, he is called a “Superior Man.” Astrology, as it is being discussed here, would have little meaning for someone who is not assiduously seeking the truth about his being.
The solar individual is enlightened to the degree that he can utilize, direct, and project his energies and his will precisely there that life has the greatest meaning and value.
The conscious person (solar self) is even more receptive (lunar self) so that he can continue to learn the laws of life that make his survival easier while he develops himself spiritually.
October 5, 1997:
I want to ponder what is happening w/ my existence and how to react to it. And, more importantly I think, what I want to happen and how to work towards that. I feel like my life is 90% (mas o menos) me struggling against the tide.
What are the lessons I need to learn?
In The Wisdom of Insecurity by Allen Watts, he talks about how we are all searching for comfort and stability, but that those things are illusions, so we are really just fighting off life. Is that true? To a certain extent I believe it is, but where is that line between building a solid foundation and being able to sway and bend with the wind. If only I could solve maybe one mystery, maybe I’d get some confidence which would give me more energy to keep striving.
I am very happy, and grateful, to report that there is little struggle in my life these days. Still plenty of challenges, yes, but I have learned (by much trial and error) that struggling against them is a waste of energy and serves no purpose. I do a lot of “swaying and bending with the wind” while at the same time making that foundation ever more solid and stable. I don’t think there is “a line” between the two.
Through meditation, mindfulness, reflection, observation, exploration, study, and practice, I have come to see that the foundation is our infinite soul and the more we are aware of it and honor/care for it, the more it will keep us steady in the worst of storms and serve as firm ground for our personal evolution.
I’m beginning to believe that the insecurity Alan Watts is referring to is a result of our clinging to and grasping (things, people, events, expectations, etc), not wanting to accept the inevitable changes of life. But, with a strong foundation, supple body/mind/energy/spirit, and awareness of the infinitely fluid rhythm of life, we can begin to embrace it in all it’s magically mysterious glory. So that’s what I’m going for these days, thirteen and a half years later.
November 3, 1997:
Life seems so short to me sometimes, oftentimes, so I want to jump in and swim and be carried by the stream – without checking to see how cold the water is or if there’s a big rapid or waterfall ahead or a rock or branch in my path. I get bruised a lot. Cuts and scrapes are inevitable, cracking my head open kinda sucks, for awhile. If only I could figure out how to really apply this metaphor to my life. Just because the water is warm when you jump in doesn’t mean it stays that way. Life is not static. I’m not sitting in tide pools very often (I don’t like pollywogs sucking on my toes.) And how do I know if there’s a strong current up ahead – I can only see about 2 feet in front of me. And, even if there is , is it worth the risk if I really want to get there and there’s no way around? These are questions I can’t answer so I usually/sometimes decide that the only way to know is to find out.
Life is not short! At the same time, though, each moment is passing, replaced by a new one. The more richly we experience our Now, the more satisfying our life will be. That river metaphor is a bit muddy but I do think that we all must find a balance, that works for us, of being safe and grounded and diving into the rough waters and getting banged up a bit.
I’m feeling pretty good about my balance these days.
January 4, 1998:
I’ve been feeling that I’ve been sacrificing and avoiding focusing on my inner reality and my future goals and dreams and my healthy. Well, I would like those to be my new focuses – I believe they are way more important to true peace and balance than the exterior realities (distractions and diversions a lot of the time) and they have been sorely neglected for a long time now. If the Universe is listening, I say a little prayer to be thankful for all I have and to ask for the strength to make these changes in my life and stick to my goals.
Thanks for listening!
I had the pleasure of hearing Rick Hanson speak at Spirit Rock a few months back. It was an afternoon to honor volunteers and donors and he spoke about gratitude. I found his particular blend of spiritual development and understanding how the mind works interesting. And I also felt an affinity for the positive, calm, and light energy he puts forth. Visiting his website, I discovered he hosts a weekly meditation group in my home town. That was great news as I’ve been looking for a group that is closer, and more intimate, than Spirit Rock Monday nights. I love going out there and will definitely continue experiencing and learning there. But having a group I can participate in that is only a 5-10 minute drive (or a 10-15 minute walk) means less resistance. And the smaller size of Rick’s group is more conducive to getting to know people. The 1:1 sharing we do each week is a particularly nice way to connect with, and be of service to, others, and I know I will be writing more about those exchanges as their value is always tangible.
What I have begun to notice is that I feel better in the days after I attend and I miss its positive effects on the weeks I don’t attend. November and December have been challenging months for me, with some old and deeply embedded insecurities rearing their heads, demanding to be seen and reckoned with. So it was perfect timing for me to find the group. As it happens in life, when we are open and awake to it, what I needed found me!
When I am there, sitting in silence with the group, it is definitely a challenge to relax and Let Go, and especially to calm my mind down. But is is So worth the effort. I remind myself, every time I meditate, that even if I have just a minute or two, here and there, of being fully present, Awake and Aware, that is beautiful and that will have a profoundly positive effect on my life.
Because it is all about this moment. This is where Wisdom and Grace, Love and Potential are.
So, the moments I am able to connect with all of that, as fleeting as they may be, are full of power. That is what matters – the quality of the moment. There’s no need to worry about the quantity.
As with all practices, the more we do it, the more natural it becomes. It can still be challenging, and there may still be resistance to cut through, but once we are really Here again, it begins feeling familiar, like an old friend, a familiar place. And in that comfort we are able to begin taking off the layers of our Being – what we put on to go out into the world and protect ourselves from all that we fear. In Here, in this moment, as our True Self, it is warm and safe and so we don’t need all the layers. Taking them off is a slow and tentative process. The more we remove, the more naked and exposed we feel. But that is why it is so beautiful to do this as our personal practice. Because we know we are safe Here. We know it’s just our infinite self and our connection to the Universal Source of Goodness. When we are really present, we can begin to know our Self and feel that interconnection, and that knowing brings a feeling of safety. So let’s start Here, removing one layer at a time.
If you can imagine it, it is real. You are connected to what already exists.
One of the regular causes of suffering for me is neediness – needing attention, love, respect, and other gestures of affection from the people in my life. Though I understand this to be a cause of suffering, to some degree, for most people, I recognize it as one of my primary life lessons. I look back on my life and see that it has always been there – opportunity disguised as challenge. So much of my life has been spent focusing on what I need and want from others, from the world, and so little time/energy spent on what I am receiving (and what I can offer.) And therein lies the opportunity, a great one for sure: to shift the focus from needing and wanting to receiving gratefully and giving generously.
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself feeling a bit “out of sorts” and was able to identify the primary cause of my unhappiness. Needing and wanting were occupying a big part of my mind, and heart, and really getting in the way of healthy, productive thinking/feeling/being/doing. I was able to clearly observe what was happening. It’s fairly new for me to understand, on a personal level, that we’ll never be truly happy when we’re focused on need and want. So, I celebrate that progress!
Once we are aware of the causes of our unhappiness/suffering, we can choose more positive approaches. Experimenting with the approaches we’ve learned about through our studies (external and internal), we begin to recognize what works best for us, which ways of thinking/feeling/being/doing bring happiness and health. From there it’s all about practice – practice, practice, practice.
“Just do the practice and all is coming.”
A favorite piece of guidance I received reading ‘Fully Fertile: A 12-Week Holistic Plan for Optimal Fertility’. It’s become a mantra I repeat regularly. Such simple wisdom – the best kind! By consciously shifting our thoughts/feelings/actions towards that which is positive and productive, we are doing the practice.
So a couple of weeks ago when I identified the main source of my unhappiness as needing and wanting, I remembered the lesson about how we get more of what we focus our energy and attention on – the Law of Attraction. It’s kind of like how when we give a plant water and nutrients, it grows and blooms. So the question we should ask ourselves, continuously, is,
“What do I want to grow?”
Whatever it is, feed that. That’s mindful focusing of our energy and attention. That’s conscious choice.
There’s no benefit to needing and wanting so that’s not something I want to feed. I made a conscious choice to shift my thinking/feeling towards the gifts I am given each moment. I thought about the people in my life, near and far, and all that they have shared and are sharing with me. I opened my heart to those offerings and the needing and wanting began to fade away. And into that open space came new gifts. I was receiving more of what I was focused on – the Law of Attraction at work!
The practice of Gratitude is very powerful. As we feed the gratitude tree, it grows healthy and strong. We see it’s fruit, flowers, shade and shelter more clearly and easily and, through our focused energy and attention, all of its best qualities multiply.
The abundance of life is there for us, all of us. It is there in the seeds which the winds of change blow and scatter on the soil of our life. When we tend to our soil, feeding and nurturing through our positive practices, those seeds take root and sprout, bloom and fruit.
Suzanna Stinnett’s ‘Cloud Alchemy: Manifesto for the Conscious Web Citizen’ came to me synchronistically the other day. Suzanna founded and runs Bay Area Bloggers Society (BABS) which I learned about through Meetup, a resource suggested in The Creative Pathfinder course (see my two previous posts on the course) for connecting with local people with similar interests. I visited her website to see what she’s up to and that brought me to her ‘Tribute to 9 Notable Innovators’. Guess who’s in the mix?: Mark McGuinness, the man behind The Creative Pathfinder. A circular synchronicity!
The Cloud Alchemy manifesto is a really powerful statement of intention for our rapidly evolving collective consciousness. And who should be mentioned in the second sentence but Peter Russell, who’s approach to being I had the privilege of experiencing at the Science and Nonduality conference a couple of weeks ago, and has continued to synchronize my life . If it wasn’t clear to me already, at this point I understood I should be Paying Attention!
A few of the many worthy points of the manifesto, resonated through my lens:
- We are all here to share and connect – the web is one, far reaching, pathway.
Recognize that you are an agent.
- We are all completely unique creatures, never to be repeated again. If we do not recognize our greatest potential and share our unique gifts, the world is missing out, and so are we. Make communication a priority.
There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And, if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.
- Spread the good news – there’s plenty of it each day. So, start by noticing the good stuff going on in your world, being grateful for it, and celebrating it. Then let that practice grow to encompass life beyond your sphere, and share what you are observing, experiencing, and hearing about. We create more of what we focus our energy on, so let’s build the positive momentum.
- No matter how global our communications, local communities are nourishing in a way that only in-person sharing can. For most of us, still predominantly living at the physical level, the flow of energy is more powerful with the people/creatures/elements within sensory range.
- We have much more than words in our communication toolbox. Put your body, heart, and energy into it – draw/paint/make, capture moments in photos, tell stories through videos/audio pieces/live presentations, do good for others and the world around you, etc. These are all forms of communication and using a diverse array of channels and mediums keeps us holistically engaged.
- See beyond yourself, feel your interconnection with all life, and let that guide your thoughts, words, and actions. By being fully present and really hearing, really seeing, we begin to recognize the wisdom and value of what others (including the younger generations, elders, and those from all walks of life) are expressing. A great way for us to be of service is to honor and raise awareness of their work.
Think collaboratively and use a reciprocal approach. Then ask yourself: What is the best way I can help the most people, right now? The answer to this question is your north star. Progress steadily towards it.
Suzanna’s work inspires me to do good work, and the words of another visionary activist come to mind:
Cooperation is a stronger evolutionary force than competition.