Wednesday, September 30, 2009
During this time of physical and spiritual transition, it is important to remember the role of animals and our connection to them. Many of us now live in cities, cut off from the animal world. Some who come to the national parks have, literally, never seen a wild animal before. As we know, many of our most beloved species are now threatened with extinction.
But some among us are dedicating their lives to the preservation and nurture of animals, either through public efforts or private activities. My friend Stephanie Marohn is one of these. She is committed to saving the animals, and has set up her own private sanctuary for large farm animals (donkeys, horses, sheep and such). She gives them love and protection, and, in return, receives their wisdom and guidance.
Stephanie is convinced that animals have a special role to play at this moment of global crisis, many having arrived at this time to help humanity save the planet. She is currently writing a novel entitled "The Animal Messengers," a spiritual history of the world as told by the animals. Here is the opening chapter:
The Animal Messengers
a novel by Stephanie Marohn
The Return of Wonder
Wonder returned to the Earth on March 2, 2007. He hadn’t thought he would be coming back again, but these were dark times on the planet. All the Animal Messengers were being called, some taking physical form, others appearing to humans in dreams or visions or showing up as animal guardians or spirit guides. Their mission was to wake up humans, and the reason why they had all been called was that this was the last chance.
The forces of war and hatred were taking over the human race. Humans seemed to have forgotten their natural way of love so completely that it was going to take all the Animal Messengers and all the other assistance that could be summoned from the other side to awaken them, to help them remember.
In the whole history of the world, Wonder had never known all the Animal Messengers to be called at the same time. There had been a number of times in the darkest days of the Earth’s history when many or even most of the Messengers were called, but never all.
Wonder knew before he arrived that this was going to be his hardest assignment ever. And he had been on some of the hardest. He wasn’t complaining. He was well suited to his difficult assignments because he loved Earth and was completely devoted to his work of helping to restore it the place it was meant to be. Like other Animal Messengers, he was humble, even though he possessed knowledge that humans had killed for.
Wonder held the secrets of all the mysteries of all time. He knew where Atlantis was and why it had disappeared. He knew why the horse-riding hordes from the north tried to wipe out the goddess-worshipping cultures of the plains of Old Europe. He knew who set flame to the Alexandria Library. He knew where Jesus went during the Lost Years. He knew from the beginning where the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gnostic Gospels were buried. He knew the truth behind the disappearance of Rumi’s beloved Shams. He knew what happened to the fabled Montségur treasure after the massacre of the Cathars. He even knew the truth about Marilyn Monroe’s death and the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which though of pressing interest to humans in certain parts of the world in the twentieth century was of little significance to the Animal Messengers, as these events paled before the enormity of the tragedies the Messengers had witnessed at other times in human history.
It wasn’t only Wonder who knew all the secrets of all time. Every Animal Messenger did. Knowledge wasn’t hoarded and traded among the Animal Messengers the way it was among humans. The Messengers knew how to access the universal archives, so all information was available to all. That was part of the natural birthright the Animal Messengers were trying to reawaken humans to. Most humans were no longer able to access the archives of all time, so they could not be wise in their daily lives or avoid repeating their mistakes. Although humans seemed fond of quoting the saying “Those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it,” they made the same mistakes over and over and seemed unable to remember and learn from what had happened on Earth before. They also seemed to have little or no awareness of where they were headed, and that too was the result of being cut off from the universal archives and their natural way of love, the deep knowledge of the connection between all beings—animal, vegetable, and mineral.
If Wonder hadn’t known the situation was serious before he arrived, he would have known it immediately upon his arrival. First, his base on Earth this time was an animal sanctuary. The fact that he and other Animal Messengers were to receive this kind of protection told him their assignment was going to be particularly arduous. Awakening humans was hard work at the best of times, and Wonder knew that if these were not the worst of times, they were close.
The second thing that signaled the seriousness of this mission was the fact that when Wonder arrived at the Animal Messenger Sanctuary, he found all the animals he had been with individually on previous missions all together for this one: Pegasus the horse, Gabriel the donkey, Angel the deer, his three closest sheep, and five cats he had worked with during the witch burnings in Europe. Whereas on previous missions, a few of them might have been together, now they were all here. Clearly, there was no time for the Messengers to develop a working relationship. Those who had worked with each other before were grouped together for this crucial endeavor. The fact that four of them were sheep (Wonder; his mother, Charlotte; his cousin Chloe; and his great-grandmother, Queenmere) was also an unusual occurrence. Obviously, the strength of the flock, the ability to act together in times of crisis, was going to be needed.
© 2007, Stephanie Marohn, all rights reserved.
Stephanie's project reminds me of Walt Whitman's famous line, "Sometimes I thinkI could turn and live with animals."
The world of nature is of utmost importance to all of us, and can offer us moments of profound transcendence as well as quiet and mystical connection. This contact with the sublime is especially essential to those undergoing spiritual transformation, especially those experiencing kundalini awakening.
Recently, I went for a walk along the beautiful creek which runs through this city and encountered the deer in the above photograph. For a moment, our eyes met, and I was deeply moved.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
These are two very large topics, and I am no expert in either. Yet I believe that all of us can gain glimpses of a higher truth when we study the ancient texts or view some scientific presentation on the physical cosmos as it has been revealed to us in recent years.
Today I happened to pull down a translation of the Diamond Sutra, a foundational text of Buddhism that dates from the 4th century BCE. It is called the Diamond Sutra because it is held to cut through all untruths to reveal the one truth of nondual reality. I opened to the chapter entitled "All Modes of Mind are Really Only Mind." What, I wondered, could this possibly mean.
Now, it would take a Buddhist scholar to render a full explanation, but as I read through the chapter certain possibilities came to my "mind." The writings are set up as a dialogue, with one Subhuti (one of Buddha's followers) and Buddha, the "World-Honored One", in a manner suggesting an early "version" of the contemporary "Conversations with God."
In this passage, Buddha, explaining the essence of that which we call mind, says:
Subhuti, if there were as many Ganges rivers as the sand grains of the Ganges and there was a buddha-land for each sand grain in all those Ganges riers, would those buddha-lands be many?
....Subhuti, however many living beings there are in all those buddha-lands, though they have manifold modes of mind, the Tathagata (Buddha) understands them all. Wherefore? Because the Tathagata teaches that all these are not mind; they are merely called mind. Subhuti, it is impossible to retain past mind, impossible to hold on to present mind, and impossible to grasp future mind."
Recently, I watched a Nova presentation on the universe, which used the same metaphor--grains of sand on all the beaches and deserts of our planet--to indicate how many other planets, stars, and universes there were in the cosmos. Indeed, the number is infinite, and unthinkable to us with our limited human intellect.
What if these distant planets were indeed places where intelligent life did exist? Would the "Great Mind" (sometimes called Buddha, sometimes God, sometimes the Oversoul, sometimes Divine Reality, sometimes Ultimate Creative Source) be able to know and comprehend the various forms of consciousness to be found on these distant locations? When Buddha tells us that what we think of as mind does not exist, is he saying that the only authentic consciousness is that of the Higher Reality itself, and that when we imagine we are "real" apart from that Consciousness, we are deluded.
In the moment of ultimate transcendence (which many call Enlightenment) the discovery is in fact that we do not exist as separate beings, that we are merely tiny atoms in the greater reality, for that reality is all that exists and the rest is appearance and fantasy.
This news is hard to swallow. We are not eager to surrender the sense of a separate self (ego).
Kundalini, though we can never adequately describe it nor totally penetrate its mysteries, is what tells us that we can experience oneness with the transcendent. The transcendent comes to us as bliss. In the moment of bliss, we forget all that makes us "us"--our occupations, our past experiences, our issues we are struggling with, our successes in the world. Truth has now been "stepped down" to our level. Appearances are stripped away, and we are lost in a new awareness. We are given that which we can comprehend with our feeling body, our energies which come from the source of all, for everything is made manifest from that Source which is Infinite Consciousness and Mind.
Yeats said, "Man can embody truth but never know it."
But--I do not think that because we realize the "non-existence" of the myriad appearances of this world, we can therefore turn away from the events that surround us on the grounds that they are not "real." For us, it is obligatory to know what is occurring here, now, on this planet, at this time of ultimate crisis, and do all we can to help meet the current challenges. I believe that many of us have come here just for this purpose. We are helpers, not rejectors, and we do all we can to promote what is rightly called evolution of consciousness.
Friday, September 25, 2009
by Larry Robinson
Fog drip, they say,
replenishes the aquifer.
Redwood needles pull
moisture from the mist,
guiding it down to the roots -
Even in the driest years
these patient old ones
remain ever green.
Some elders are like that.
They find the goodness there is
and draw it down,
while feeding the deeper stream.
They don't demand attention;
they don't seek profit or approval.
Usually they don't even know
they are doing this.
Do the redwoods know - or care -
where the water goes?
Francis of Assisi called down grace
by the simple act of gratitude.
The foxes and the sparrows
drank deeply from his fog drip.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Autumn is not like other seasons.
you knew where you stood.
a blazing sun,
lazy clouds drifting
over the distant peaks.
Spring had its own
whole hillsides in bloom
streams running free,
you knew would
never be kept.
But fall is different,
Some days sleek with
others already becoming
hints of snow
on the ridges.
Soon it will be time
to buckle our spirits,
build a fire,
sit around with
hot cider in our hands
(at least, according
to the story tales.)
there is work to be done.
Boxes to unpack,
clothing to sort
decide which books
we can part with at last,
now that the shelves
are so crowded.
And try to remember
which poem it was
that struck us
at so deep a level
sudden wind and rain
took down the aspen leaves
to see them.
September 23, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
We have learned
To keep our heads down,
never expect too much,
a portion more bitter
Who knows when
the next wave
will wipe out
a familiar city,
fire swallow a country
where we once visited,
from the sky
what we hold dear.
This is our lot,
our chosen destiny,
to be alive
in this moment
and nothing is predictable.
We wish it
would stop happening,
would make it
We long for childhood churches
schools with teachers
high necked dresses,
bankers we could trust
with our piggy banks.
We are weary
that we do not comprehend.
In the meantime
we comfort one another
as best we can,
cling to the subtle beauty of
words and images,
which remind us
that joy is still possible,
impulses woven into
that exalts us,
meditations that quiet the spirit,
nature in its raw purity,
until we remember
that our world
is embedded in the midst
of chaos and confusion,
growing clangor and din.
And even then,
something happens inside,
a flowing sweetness,
again a knowing of
oneness with all,
a voice that tells us,
this is not the end,
there is never an end
only cycles of becoming,
the world heart opening,
spring birthing itself once more,
always new beginnings,
and whispers of
new universes to come.
September 22, 2009
The above picture is from the Hubble Website, which has this to say about this galaxy:
This giant spiral disk of stars, dust and gas is 170,000 light-years across, or nearly twice the diameter of our Milky Way galaxy. M101 is estimated to contain at least one trillion stars. About 100 billion of them could be similar to our Sun.
We should always keep in mind that Kundalini is not just an energy that runs through our individual bodies, it is the great creative force of the universe itself. Its manifestations are vast, its power immeasurable. Some call it God.
(Credit for Hubble Image: NASA, ESA, K. Kuntz (JHU), F. Bresolin (University of Hawaii), J. Trauger (Jet Propulsion Lab), J. Mould (NOAO), Y.-H. Chu (University of Illinois, Urbana), and STScI
Credit for CFHT Image: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope/ J.-C. Cuillandre/Coelum
Credit for NOAO Image: G. Jacoby, B. Bohannan, M. Hanna/ NOAO/AURA/NSF)
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The Cave Painters of Lascaux
they were more alive.
Their eyes beheld
what has long since
from the scan of
their flesh quivered
in ways we can
When they went
out for the hunt,
magic carried them
their wives and old ones
mumbling incantations over
as they stalked
their sacred prey
carved from flint,
When they entered
their primal powers
wreathing the walls
with delicate beasts
who were their friends
as well as their sustenance.
Red, ocher, gold—
they knew how to mix
and apply their vivid
tones like any skillful artist,
the color of flame,
color of earth.
But it was the vitality
of the image itself
now rendered in its
from the artist’s moving hands
onto the cave walls,
into the darkest recesses,
creature and human
again becoming one.
September 21, 2009
Lascaux is the setting of a complex of caves in southwestern France famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings. The original caves are located near the village of Montignac, in the Dordogne département. They contain some of the best-known Upper Paleolithic art. These paintings are estimated to be 16,000 years old. They primarily consist of realistic images of large animals, most of which are known from fossil evidence to have lived in the area at the time. In 1979, Lascaux was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list along with other prehistoric sites in the Vézère valley.
The cave was discovered on September 12, 1940 by four teenagers, Marcel Ravidat, Jacques Marsal, Georges Agnel, and Simon Coencas, as well as Marcel's dog, Robot. Public access was made easier after World War II. By 1955, the carbon dioxide produced by 1,200 visitors per day had visibly damaged the paintings. The cave was closed to the public in 1963 in order to preserve the art. After the cave was closed, the paintings were restored to their original state, and were monitored on a daily basis. Rooms in the cave include The Great Hall of the Bulls, the Lateral Passage, the Shaft of the Dead Man, the Chamber of Engravings, the Painted Gallery, and the Chamber of Felines
Lascaux II, a replica of two of the cave halls - the Great Hall of the Bulls and the Painted Gallery — was opened in 1983, 200 meters from the original. Reproductions of other Lascaux artwork can be seen at the Centre of Prehistoric Art at Le Thot, France.
Since the year 1998 the cave has been beset with a fungus, variously blamed on a new air conditioning system that was installed in the caves, the use of high-powered lights, and the presence of too many visitors. As of 2008, the cave contained black mold which scientists were and still are trying to keep away from the paintings. In January 2008, authorities closed the cave for three months even to scientists and preservationists. A single individual was allowed to enter the cave for 20 minutes once a week to monitor climatic conditions. Now only a few scientific experts are allowed to work inside the cave and just for a few days a month but the methods of removing this fungi has taken it's toll and left dark patched where it happened ruining the pigmentation.
(above from Wikipedia)
When we consider early humans, we wonder whether or not they did not "feel" at a different level from contemporary people. Babies come into the world "wide open," ready to receive and react to the many vibrations coming at them from all angles. With time, these infants learn to "close down," not to feel with the intensity and resonance of their first months.
I wonder if what is shut down is perhaps an innate kundalini energy, and whether or not primal human was in touch with this great power as a force of nature that flowed through her/him. The early shamans and their tribes were comfortable with magic, which depends on alliance with unseen spirits. The ancients spoke with and associated with the gods. Most today have lost this capacity.
We of a later age must go through a "recovery process" to reclaim this earlier level of response. We have gained something of left brain rationalism at the expense of right brain function.
(Note: the above is my own speculation, not really provable but offered for your own speculation.
Larry Robinson's wonderful poem inspired me to write my own on the subject of the early cave paintings.)
Monday, September 21, 2009
Cave Painting At Font du Gaume
Of course, even his bones
are now dust,
his flowing mane
taken by the wind,
those sturdy hooves
and solid flesh consumed
and reborn in endless forms.
Even so, through two hundred centuries
of darkness and lamplight
he is still running free
across that vast savannah of time.
And the hand that captured,
in a few spare lines
on the limestone wall,
that wild grace,
sending it down through the years -
hand of my ancestor,
hand of our ancestor -
has long since returned
to the formless.
A day will come,
when all this
will be gone:
you and I,
even the wall,
carved by ages of
drip and flow,
through uplifted memories
of countless tiny beings
who spent their short lives
in that primordial sea.
And yet this beauty -
this grace -
offers itself to us
in this moment,
the only time we have.
(picture of cave wall of Lascaux, courtesy of Art Serve)
Thursday, September 17, 2009
(Here is the newsletter from Anam Cara, a spiritual organization headed by Lawrence Edwards, Ph. D.,a leading authority on Kundalini. I strongly recommend his workshops and retreats for those who can attend.)
September 17, 2009
Anam Cara Foundation
Perennial Wisdom For The Soul's Journey
* The Divine Within
* Kundalini Rising: Exploring the Energy of Awakening
* Upcoming Programs
* Newsletter Archive
* Lawrence Edwards, Ph.D.
* Sacred Poetry
Join our mailing list!
Greetings and Namaste!
What if there was a hidden program on your computer capable of unleashing quantum advances in all the functions of the hardware and software on your computer, unlocking uniquely designed programs that stun you with their elegant beauty, simplify your life in numerous ways and ease all kinds of suffering?
Wouldn't you be extremely eager to know about such a secret component on the computer you already own? You might even want to run home right this minute to check it out!
The Divine Within
by Lawrence Edwards
Now, what if that computer is really your mind/body and the secret built-in program is the inherent power of grace - known as Kundalini in the ancient yogic traditions - the power of transformation and revelation - awaiting its time to awaken and totally transform your experience of life?
For Christians this is the true baptism of Fire, the influx of the Holy Spirit that transforms the vessel of our individuality to hold Divine Wisdom and Grace, thus allowing us to genuinely know and serve the Divine.
For Buddhists it is awakening to the Buddha within, the true empowerment that extinguishes the cause of suffering and enables one to live spontaneously as a perfect expression of Dharma, relieving the suffering of all beings who take refuge there.
For the yogi this is the awakening of Kundalini, the ultimate innate power of transformation and revelation that purifies mind and body of all obstructions, bringing the ego mind into surrendered service to the Divine.
The Kabbalist awakens to the knowledge that individuals appear empty, like cracked vessels made of God's Light and longing to be full. We are instantly filled with the living Light of the Divine when the leaks are sealed by good and loving deeds.
Every spiritual tradition has its ways of speaking of this Power of Grace, Illumination, and Revelation. They also point out the dynamics of the ordinary ego mind's resistance to surrendering to It. Most teachings, in fact, aim at the workings of the mind. No words can approach the Divine, so all that's left to speak of is the mind! How to get it to become still, how to cajole it into submission, how to prevent it from inflicting suffering on others or itself, and rules and practices to accomplish this!
The ego-mind loathes to truly admit a Power and Presence greater than itself, but when confronted with the overwhelming power of the revelation and transformation, it folds to the floor in awe and wonder! When Lord Krisha reveals his true nature to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, the great warrior Arjuna, overwhelmed, ends up on his knees begging the Lord to return to his ordinary form. In the end Arjuna surrenders completely, famously stating to the Lord, "I shall do thy bidding."
True seekers throughout time have sought the wellspring of the power of Grace that effortlessly brings the mind into its proper place. The wellspring lies within. Tat Twam Asi. "Though art that," proclaims the Vedas. "The Kingdom of Heaven lies within," proclaimed the Christ.
So where do you think the King and Queen dwell?
Go within, go within - this is the message of every spiritual tradition. Go beyond mere philosophies and techniques. Go to the Source, go to the Wellspring. Meditate with enthusiasm and joy!
Kundalini Rising: Exploring the Energy of Awakening
A new book by Lawrence Edwards, et al
From book cover "Kundalini Rising: Exploring the Energy of Awakening is the contemporary voice to guide a new generation of seekers through the uncertainty of life's most intimate journey. This is the book that you'll hand to your children with pride while wishing "
Gregg Bradden, New York Times bestselling author of The Divine Matrix and Fractal Time.
Anam Cara Foundation, Bedford, NY
Fri. Oct 2nd - Sun. Oct. 4th
Autumn Biofeedback and Yoga Conference Retreat
Northeast Regional Biofeedback Society and the Himalayan Institute team up to offer this uniquely informative weekend at the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, PA. Dr. Edwards will be one of the presenters. Visit the Himalayan Institute or NRBS for details.
Nov. 6-9, 2009, Friday Evening-Sunday Afternoon
Mysteries of the Divine Feminine and Kundalini Empowerment Retreat
Led by Lawrence Edwards, Ph.D.
The extraordinary power of Consciousness that allows us to directly know the Infinite is called Kundalini in the yogic tradition. In this retreat you will be guided through ancient practices that awaken and unfold the inner power of meditation and yoga, Kundalini
Through this innate power of Consciousness we will explore the archetypal realms of transcendence, wisdom and grace. Through the power of mantra, chanting, breath work, and the profound tales of mystical traditions, including the Black Madonna, Inanna, Kali and Kundalini, we will further access the inner source of true knowledge and ultimate freedom. That source is the Divine within. Through this process you will be empowered to deepen and sustain your meditation practice at home. Many people take this retreat repeatedly in order to delve more and more deeply into the mysteries of true meditation and further unfold the power of Kundalini.
Sharings from others who have taken the retreat can be found through the program link below.
Pre-registration is required. Fee: $270, includes meals but not accommodations.
Sat. Sept. 26th and Oct. 31st- 7:00pm
Monthly Kirtan Night!
With Satya, Ma and Kalidas. Join us in this ancient and ecstatic practice of chanting the names of the Divine. Everyone is welcome!
Meditation Group Every Tuesday Evening:
Starts promptly at 7:30pm at our center at the Anam Cara Foundation in Bedford, NY. All are welcome! Directions are on the Anam Cara website. If you wonder whether the group is being held on a particular Tuesday evening there will always be a message stating if it is cancelled on that night on 914-234-4800.
Fall Courses will soon be posted to the website!
For more information please visit our Events page (click here)
Thank you all for your notes of appreciation for our newsletter.
Everyone has the heart to be a true friend of the soul, an Anam Cara. By embodying that ideal ourselves we may serve to help another to find love and compassion within themselves.
Our highest nature is always manifest in relationship - to all other beings, to the environment, in relation to our own body and mind. Becoming mindful of the quality of our relationships allows us to learn where the light shines and where it needs to shine more. The ideal of Anam Cara is to continuously endeaver to expand the depth and the inclusiveness of the loving kindness we bring into every relationship, every moment, every breath.
If you have any suggestions, comments or sharings, for our newsletter please don't hesitate to e-mail me and I'll do my best to respond.
The Anam Cara Foundation is a 501 (C) 3, non-profit educational organization dedicated to teaching meditative practices. Our non- denominational programs are open to all. There are free meditation instructions and downloadable audio files of guided meditations on our website.
Thank you for the many ways you have shown support for The Anam Cara Foundation. Because of your gifts we can offer free programs and instruction to thousands of people. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation please send it to address listed below.
I look forward to welcoming you in person to our programs.
With all my appreciation and love,
I thank you all.
May all beings realize complete freedom from suffering and may all our actions reflect only wisdom, compassion, patience and loving kindness.
Lawrence Edwards, Ph.D.
Founder and Director
The Anam Cara Foundation
All newsletter contents copyrighted 2009
The Anam Cara Foundation | P.O. Box 215 | Bedford Hills | NY | 10507
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Yesterday was a day of unexpected blessing. On my morning walk, I decided to check out Naropa University, which is located a few blocks from my house. As I stood in the hall, I noticed a monk clad in a beautiful golden robe passing the other way. As always, I was fascinated by the monk in his robe, and (as often happens) my fascination was tinged with a bit of jealousy (where is my robe, I wondered? Past life memory? Very likely.)
I decided to turn around and look for him once again--perhaps I would catch another glimpse of this (to me) mesmerizing figure. Through an open doorway I saw him at the back of a classroom, which was set with chairs in a large circle. I could not keep from staring at this intriguing being.
As I stood gazing at him in hypnotic rapture, he crossed the room and came to me in the doorway. In the sweetest possible tone, he asked if I was a visitor. Somewhat embarrassed, I tried to explain that I lived nearby and had just paused to look around the school. I had assumed he was the teacher of the class, but no, he was in fact a student. I realized that he was indeed quite young. He explained that though he did not teach, he sometimes gave workshops.
Now, a lot more went on in this conversation than was conveyed by the words we exchanged. Something very deep resonated for me merely by his presence. He was, it turned out, from Bangladesh. As I left I realized that I had received a very gentle and tender vibration from him, which remained with me as I continued my walk along Boulder Creek, feeling as though I had received a blessing. How often do we get to meet a beautiful monk from Bangladesh?
(Note: the picture above is not one of this monk, but rather another monk I saw a few months ago in San Francisco--I thought it interesting that he was photographing a performance going on at the front of the room. Is it my imagination, or is there an aura surrounding his body, even the hand holding the camera?)
Monday, September 14, 2009
On Behalf of Bliss
Man in his ignorance identifies himself
with the material sheath
his true self.
Transcending these, he becomes
one with Brahman,
who is pure bliss.
Recently, I have been reading a weighty tome which offers detailed descriptions of virtually every aspect of the Kundalini process, including much technical as well as more general commentary. But in the midst of this plethora of information, almost nothing is said about bliss as such, other than to acknowledge briefly that the "Bliss Sheath" is the ultimate spiritual goal, and that the culmination of all Kundalini (and spiritual) experience is the attainment of the One beyond all phenomenon.
First of all, this description of the final realization is quite similar to that of most mystical paths, where the aspirant seeks to be "annihilated in God."
Experiences of bliss and rapture are inherent in this process, witness depictions of Saint Teresa in ecstasy as well as the quasi-erotic love poems of St. John of the Cross. Many, many Eastern yogis and holy men appear to exist in a state of perpetual bliss. I always love the story of the holy man (was it Ramana Maharshi?) who inevitably fell into ecstasy when he tried to explain to his pupils the nature of bliss.
Bliss itself is a powerful teacher. It is the guru above all gurus, the ultimate union with the Inscrutable and Unnameable Divine. It dispenses with words and theories, casts aside speculation and notions, and takes the devotee directly into the heart of Mystery. No one can explain it, no one can control it, no one can grant it if the moment is not right. To experience bliss is to enter the Holy of Holies, the place where the soul is alone with its Beloved in mystical embrace.
Yet, teachers ignore it, or urge the pupil to "go beyond" it (go beyond God?) Or else they insist it is not referred to in the "texts", or urge the student to repress such feelings.
The Divine Feminine necessarily involves the uniting of spirit and body, feeling and flesh. To deny or repress the "Bliss Body" is to turn our backs on the most important element of transformation--discovering one's true nature as one tiny particle in the great currents of ecstatic joy that sweep through all creation continuously.
Bliss is the teacher, bliss is the guide, bliss is who we are. Indeed, Brahman is pure bliss.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Love beyond all telling
By Jacopone da Todi (Jacopone Benedetti)
(1230 - 1306)
English version by Serge and Elizabeth Hughes
Love beyond all telling,
Goodness beyond imagining,
Light of infinite intensity
Glows in my heart.
I once thought that reason
Had led me to You,
And that through feeling
I sensed Your presence,
Caught a glimpse of You in similitudes,
Knew You in Your perfection.
I know now that I was wrong,
That that truth was flawed.
Light beyond metaphor,
Why did You deign to come into this darkness?
Your light does not illumine those who think they see You
And believe they sound Your depths.
Night, I know now, is day,
Virtue no more to be found.
He who witnesses Your splendor
Can never describe it.
On achieving their desired end
Human powers cease to function,
And the soul sees that what it thought was right
Was wrong. A new exchange occurs
At that point where all light disappears;
A new and unsought state is needed:
The soul has what it did not love,
And is stripped of all it possessed, no matter how dear.
In God the spiritual faculties
Come to their desired end,
Lose all sense of self and self-consciousness,
And are swept into infinity.
The soul, made new again,
Marveling to find itself
In that immensity, drowns.
How this comes about it does not know.
from Jacopone da Todi: Lauds
(Photo by N. M. Rai)
This poem by the early Italian monk is, of course, describing the soul's progress as it comes to and is fully smitten by God. For Jacopone de Todi, the journey is the path of the Christian devotee, whose spirit is reborn (in the best sense) when it discovers that what it has experienced thus far is trivial once it attains full illumination of heavenly splendor.
I feel that these lines apply equally well to those who undergo full awakening through Kundalini, the goddess of transformation. We too are reborn into another realm of feeling. In the full rising of Kundalini, the soul does not know itself as separate and confined, but merges with the infinite power which now overtakes it. It loves what it did not love before, because it did not know that this reality existed. And, above ll, it is consumed by "love beyond all telling."
This description might also apply to mystical awakening in any tradition--Sufism, Islam, and even in some forms of Buddhism (the lightning flash of enlightenment?) Certainly such transformations are life changing, indeed they give you a perspective that you did not have before the "soul drowns itself in immensity."
Friday, September 11, 2009
A Blessing Of Angels
by John O'Donohue
May the angels in their beauty bless you.
May they turn toward you streams of blessing.
May the Angel of Awakening stir your heart
To come alive to the eternal within you,
To all the invitations that quietly surround you.
May the Angel of Healing turn your wounds
Into sources of refreshment.
May the Angel of the Imagination enable you
To stand on the true thresholds,
At ease with your ambivalence
And drawn in new directions
Through the glow of your contradictions.
May the Angel of Compassion open your eyes
To the unseen suffering around you.
May the Angel of Wildness disturb the places
Where your life is domesticated and safe,
Take you to the territories of true otherness
Where all that is awkward in you
Can fall into its own rhythm.
May the Angel of Eros introduce you
To the beauty of your senses
To celebrate your inheritance
As a temple of the holy spirit.
May the Angel of Justice disturb you
To take the side of the poor and the wronged.
May the Angel of Encouragement confirm you
In worth and self-respect,
That you may live with the dignity
That presides in your soul.
May the Angel of Death arrive only
When your life is complete
And you have brought every given gift
To the threshold where its infinity can shine.
May all the Angels be your sheltering
And joyful guardians.
© John O’Donohue. All rights reserved.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
The Rose Waiting
If you want to know about love,
then I really can't tell you.
To learn about rose gardens at midnight,
you must go into the garden,
inhale the sacred fragrance,
let this become who you are.
Your nose will show you how.
Don't stop to
look for maps or ask directions.
Go where the rose is waiting
to embrace you,
enfold you in its soft blooms.
September 9, 2009
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
I manifest for thee
those hundred thousand thousand shapes
I show thee all my semblances,
infinite, rich, divine,
my changeful hues,
my countless forms.
from the Bhagavad Gita
(picture is from unknown source)
I will be away from the blog for about a week. In the meantime, enjoy the hundred thousand thousand shapes of this world that is given to us to love.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Recently I received a letter from someone who also sent a copy of this excerpt from the writings of Bradford Keene:
That Shaking Feeling and How to Get There
Shaking medicine is different from any spiritual dancing, aerobics, trance dancing, or bodywork I have experienced or witnessed. It is not the ecstatic dancing of Gabrielle Roth or the organized whirling of the Sufis. You don't consciously create the shake. The shake shakes you. Once you get going, you may find that some of your automatic movements seem familiar, but here they serve to bring forth the shaking medicine. In this spirited expression, the shake and the vibration are more important than the dance.
Here are some possible experiences:
• Highly charged excitement
• Simultaneous deep relaxation and heightened arousal
• Vibrating, prickling, or tingling sensations; sensations of energy or electricity-like currents circulating in the body
• Intense heat or cold
• Muscle twitches and involuntary body movements: jerking, tremors, quaking, and shaking
• Desire to move into an unusual body posture
• Awareness of an inner force moving inside you or an inner voice that guides
• Feeling of being high ("drunk from the shake")
• Intensified sexual desire
• Increased heartbeat
• Spontaneous expression such as laughing or weeping
• Improvised vocalizations
• Hearing inner sounds like bees buzzing, drumming, moving water or wind, roaring, whooshing, thunder, ringing, or music
• Altered states of consciousness: expanded awareness, trance, or mystical experience
• Blissful feelings in the head, particularly the crown area
• Pervasive and indescribable bliss
• Intensified feelings of love, peace, and compassion
• Visionary and out-of-body experiences and imagined flight
• Belief that you are acquiring a healing power
• Stimulation of the desire for creative expression
• Deepened understanding of life; enlightenment, conversion, or transcendent experiences
Knowing that what you are experiencing is "normal" can make it more acceptable and pleasurable.
A GOOD PATH TO THE SHAKE
Shaking in the company of others is one of the most powerful experiences I know. Your shaking can be catalyzed and deepened by the presence of others. You can join me and others for that experience, or you can begin on your own:
1 | Focus on good feelings -- preferably love, compassion, and kindness -- and stay connected to them. It doesn't matter what words or phrases, if any, come to mind.
2 | Turn on some spirited rhythmic music and start wiggling and moving.
3 | It doesn't matter whether your eyes are open, half-closed, or closed. Do whatever feels natural.
4 | Activate your muscles, wiggling and moving them from head to toe.
5 | Gradually increase the rate of breathing until you are breathing rapidly.
6 | Assume an active attitude toward becoming excitable. Encourage yourself to tremble, shake, and quake.
7 | Continue shaking for as long as you wish. This is not an indulgence.
8 | At the end of the exercise, let your body do what it wants -- lie down, sit, walk, or whatever feels right.
9 | Do this when you desire, even once a day, but at least once a week.
(End of excerpt)
I wrote my correspondent a rather lengthy response, which I am posting here. Some of you may be quite familiar with the ideas here, but others may not.
I just read with interest the article on the shaking medicine. All of the symptoms mentioned are common in kundalini awakening (whether spontaneous or induced), though not everyone will experience all of them, or even some of them the same way. This method described is similar to what was offered by the guru then known as Shree Baghwan Rashneesh, now deceased. Apparently the shaking practice is designed to awaken the kundalini, and might be helpful for some who were desiring to arouse it.
But I would definitely not recommend it for those already into the process. They will have enough of such effects arriving spontaneously--shaking and involuntary vocalization and unexpected postures (kriyas) can be quite disturbing (especially when they occur in public), and I think it is best to try to quieten the energies until the process is more fully developed and under some feeling of control.
I tried something like this practice once and it was very uncomfortable for me. I have not had most of the symptoms described--my path has been a mixture of bliss and pain--often one following the other in cycles of days or months or hours. (Does the writer of the article explain the connection with Kundalini? I hope so.)
I am still experiencing both bliss and pain--the bliss comes up mainly when I listen to sacred music or am in the company of highly evolved persons or groups or read sacred poetry or feel sacred earth energies-or when the energies are already aroused and lead me to slow movement, sometimes mere micromovement, sometimes more obvious moves, never heavy or strong (like those Gabrielle Roth's fast music arouses). This is a process that has unfolded over many years of time, as the energies have become ever higher in tone and more subtle in feeling, but always delightful.
When I go into such ecstatic states, I am apt to write "ecstasy poetry" such as I put up on my blog yesterday. The rest of the time, I tend to be in "normal" (everyday) consciousness), such as now while I write this letter and am concentrating on thought, rather than inner feelings.
Different kinds of practice work for different kinds of people, just as some people prefer soft, dreamy music and others the quick tempo of jazz or other dance music.
(Then my correspondent mentioned some reports from some famous psychics and channels .) The first says that it is getting more difficult for him to contact the "other side" because of all the confusion on the globe. He is of course right in that the world is in tumult, the energies of the planet seem to be whirling out of control and the social/ecological devastation is immense. As a highly sensitive psychic, he probably feels these disturbing currents more than most. Indeed, it is very easy to become depressed during this time.
However, I feel that this is the special challenge for all of us--to acknowledge the shadow, but not to be swallowed up by it, to inform ourselves on what is occurring now (totally depressing), but not to become part of the problem. How do we do this? By holding to our divine connection, to allow the bliss of union to enter (in whatever form it takes), to know that the seemingly impossible is in fact totally possible--that no one of us knows the total "game plan," why the world is falling apart and rebuilding all at the same time.
It is our responsibility to find how we can aid in this process of restructuring of consciousness, how we can know love and joy even in the midst of chaos and fear, and then hang on for the ride. This is why we have come here at this time and we are finding one another to give strength and encouragement. Yes, there will be dark moments, but there will also be times when we are bathed in light as we move into the next phase.
The second psychic/channel the writer refers to is a lovely man and his energies are powerful. I have attended one of his workshops and also have some of his C. D.'s, and, frankly, his energies are too strong for me, though I am fascinated by them.
Much of what comes through in his channeled communications is good and persuasive, but personally I do not believe that swine flu is a conspiracy (as some would hold), any more than any other pandemic in history was the result of conspiracy. (such as the Black Plague of the Middle Ages or the Influenza epidemic after World War I). In the world of nature, these things simply happen, though even the medical profession doesn' t always know why.
And, yes, cellular fatigue can be one aspect of personal transformation. Transformation is a tough job--it calls for total restructuring of the entire system, from the cells to the spirit. But it does get easier with time as the system adjusts and moves to new levels.
Namaste to all in transformation (and that includes all of us),
(The picture at the top is from the Hubble site and is called "Tadpole Galaxies." I think that is what we are also--tadpoles transforming into other forms of being--together becoming new galaxies.)