Friday, December 31, 2010
Everyone wants to talk
Especially the poets.
How she was grabbed
and carried off,
how she was kept in darkness
so many months,
while her mother searched everywhere,
waited for her darling
to come home.
liked what had happened
(you know the story,
how women really want it
even when they say no),
others claim it is in fact
the mother who is at fault,
that it is she
who drove her daughter
away, forced her to
leave home and
flee into that hidden world,
because of her own impossible
And then of course
there are those
who read it as a simple
nature myth–three months of fertility and sun,
nine of winter and death
over the land.
What do I think?
I think she is the soul
of each of us,
going down to darkness and obscurity,
overwhelmed by despair,
then resurrecting like a flower
over and over
as the seasons return.
December 10, 2008
(This is a poem I have published before, but I like to put it up again "as the seasons return.")
(image found through google)
Thursday, December 30, 2010
I have been reading an interview in Nexus (a free spiritual/metaphysical journal for Colorado) with author Nicole Grace, who has recently published a book called "Boddhisattva: How to Be Free." Nicole, now on an extensive book tour, is a former organizational consultant who experienced a sudden, unexpected, and very dramatic awakening (we would call it Kundalini Awakening, though she does not use this term) and subsequently became a Buddhist monk, spiritual teacher, and writer on the topic of being a Boddhisattva in your own life.
For those who may not know. a Boddhisattva is (originally) one who foregoes enlightenment in this lifetime in order to help others attain this state. In earlier times, enlightenment was especially prized because it allowed one to enter nirvana and thus escape continuing rebirths into the human state, with its attendant sufferings and sorrows. Today we think of the Boddhisattva as someone who shows great compassion for others and who dedicates his/her life to alleviating the sufferings of this world.
Nicole's awakening occurred when she, as an adult, was simply listening to music. Suddenly, her crown opened, and "the light of the universe just poured in like a fire hose pointed down." Light (in both a metaphorical and literal sense) is often associated with spiritual awakening and with Kundalini. When it arrives in this fashion, it can in fact be quite disconcerting. I met one woman who said that when light visited her in this way, she was never really sure where to step, for everything, including the floor and her feet, seemed to be made of pure light.
Nicole is quite frank about her experience. She feels that it was not full enlightenment as such,
but rather a "glimpse" or "taste" of enlightenment. She makes the important point that there are in fact "levels of enlightenment" and that just because one has had an initial experience, one may not remain permanently in this state at all, but rather undergo intermittent moments of similarly expanded consciousness.
I resonated deeply with many of Nicole's descriptions and observations. She describes her path as Tantric Buddhist mysticism, and says "...it's essentially the pathway to enlightenment through direct experience of the Divine, without the formal organized structures of the Buddhist religion." She explains that Tantra has mistakenly become associated specifically with sexual activities through misunderstanding. "Tantra" means "weaving" and includes "mysticism from every possible corner: Hinduism, Christian mysticism, Kabbalah, anything that works."
Oddly, though she advocates following the "direct path" to the divine, she herself quickly located a teacher to lead her through her transformational process. I am not sure how she reconciles this apparent contradiction.
I will say more about her journey in future. The entire article can be read eventually on the website: www.nexuspub.com, though the current issue (January/February, 2011) is not yet on line.
Although she offers workshops and presentations to many thousands of listeners, she does not allow her picture to be posted on the internet or on her book cover, for fear of being turned into a guru (cult) figure. She also refuses to divulge the name of her teacher, considering this to be too private for public revelation.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
A New Mode of Being
According to Ilya Prigogine, systems brought to a higher and higher level of stress will ultimately spring to a new, more complex, level of organization, or else disintegrate entirely.
What then are our chances for such a leap--a propulsion into a new consciousness, given the current strains within the common psyche? And what form might such a dramatic transformation take? What new creatures will emerge as “us”?
We could, theoretically, abdicate the realm of the material entirely, becoming creations composed of and dwelling solely in the realm of the energies (considerable evidence exists for the existence of non-local consciousness--as out-of-body experience, esp, clairvoyance, the shared intuitive and psychic experiences of twins, etc.) This shucking of the mortal casement would presumably relieve us (the community) of many of our current social problems--such as universal suffering, violence, hunger, greed, etc. Where there is nothing to covet, there is nothing to seize. Tyranny is impractical in a realm where possessions do not exist and domination is not possible. We would, presumably, float about in radiant circles of light, free of threat or dangers. But how would our lives find focus? Toward what state or achievement would we strive? Is unbroken harmony the condition we truly desire?
Or--again--we might retain the familiar material veil, but with some sort of massive infusion of a new, transcendent principle or perspective into the society at large. This would be a grandiose and comprehensive conversion of our very way of perceiving (sensing, knowing, reacting to) the world around us. Perhaps it would be produced by a dramatic overhaul of the nervous system, possibly through widespread awakening of Kundalini power, all this conceivably triggered by astrological alignments sending new frequencies into the earth atmosphere. Or perhaps such “seed beings,” selves already experiencing and issuing the new frequencies, are already among us, awakening by their very presence others who will in turn resonate to the new frequencies.
Evolution occurs not in a state of tranquillity but in times of acute stress and crisis. Our crisis is upon us. The outcome remains to be seen.
(from Unmasking the Rose)
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
The Day After Christmas
The Creek today
was near deserted.
A ribbon of snow
lined the banks
(at first I mistook its lace
the water again so clear
you could see the
great slabs of rock
like the remains
of some sunken city
waiting to be found.
And then I met someone
who stepped out of vastness.
As I stopped to gaze
at the racing stream
and listen to its bell-like
a younger man paused alongside
and asked if there
was something I was looking at.
Only the water, I said.
Only the sound of the
O, he said,
I have a new tattoo!
On his forearm were
the phases of the moon, with
something even more elaborate above--
drawn, he told me,
by the lead man in
the group named “Incubus.”
I’ve heard of it,
What’s your name?
he asked politely.
I told him and asked
what was his.
Lucas, he answered and shook my hand
and wandered on.
But I stayed and gazed at the
leaping stream some more--
as if squirrels or monkeys
had turned to water--
you can never get enough of
watching mountain water
and thinking of what it might
be telling you,
what new phase
it might be heralding.
December 26, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
A blessing sent from Alaya Love, a Huna healer living in Hawaii part time and Colorado the rest
The Gift of Love
Love speaks to and through us In so many ways.
Why, then, is it so hard for us to hear?
We blot out the subtle whispers
Until it comes bursting upon us
In a blast of the unconditional.
It may not feel like love
And may stretch you to your furthestmost.
But stretch you can
And stretch you will,
‘Till seeming limits dissolve Into Grace.
For being limitless, We expand to forever.
This is the deepest secret.
There, in our hearts,
Open to the knowing
That Love binds us in our Oneness,
Open to the frequencies
That lift us in that knowing,
So may we breathe
Into the space of all that is.
Let all separation evaporate in this Love.
Know in every fiber of your Being
That you are loved and cared for.
This is the only thing that matters
We are worthy to be who we are.
(picture of Alaya with her Hawaiian teacher found on her website.)
Sunday, December 26, 2010
The issue of childhood suffering and abuse is central to the spiritual journey. Until these wounds are healed, spiritual seekers will encounter many, many blocks and challenges on their journeys. This is especially true of Kundalini. I believe that unresolved childhood issues are a major source of problems when Kundalini awakens.
Babara Harris Whitman (a dear friend of mine) is an authority on this topic. Her book on this subject has just been published. The endorsement is by Lawrence Edwards, Ph. D., who is the president of the board for the Kundalini Research Network.
Although I have not read this book, I am sure that it contains much extremely valuable information.
Victim to Survivor and Thriver: Carole's Story
Hope for survivors of childhood trauma, abuse or neglect
by Barbara Harris Whitfield and commentaries by Charles L. Whitfield, MD
Muse House Press Atlanta GA
Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold
"Barbara Harris Whitfield makes a deceptively easy read of such deep, complex, and rich material on the profound healing that takes place as a person moves from the horrors of victimhood to the glory of thriving in their true and authentic Self. She does this with her characteristic loving heart and genuine connectedness to the pain and suffering these dear souls have gone through, without loosing the vision and truth of how they can be free of that pain and live a joyous, creative life. This book can be a great help to professionals, to people who have been abused and to the spouses or children of those who have been through the dark sea journey of abuse. There is Light here to help survivors shine!"
Lawrence Edwards, Ph.D., LMHC, BCN
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Integrative Care Program Manager
New York Medical College Faculty, Dept. of Family Medicine
Saturday, December 25, 2010
A Christmas Walk
The water, ruffling outward from the banks:
wanton patterns in a repeated dance.
Stone hieroglyphics lining the bottom:
ready to speak to any discerning observer.
The smell of winter grass and barren shrubs
in the wooded section nearby.
Demure stone mosaics filling rectangles and
squares: sidewalk plots where flowers once flourished.
Stores with eyes shut tight:
In the outer lobby:
suddenly the milky smell
of my mother’s hand lotion (Jergen's),
so long ago.
The Santa doll
suspended on my neighbor’s door downstairs:
red gown, tousled white hair and twirling beard.
The elevator ascending: masculine scent of
woodsmoke and tweeds.
The friendly warmth of welcome:
The mountains in the distance
shouldering the sky
against the dying sun.
December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
O virga mediatrix / Alleluia-verse for the Virgin
By Hildegard of Bingen
(1098 - 1179)
English version by Barbara Newman
burst from your untouched
womb like a flower
on the farther side
of death. The world-tree
is blossoming. Two
realms become one.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
One of the more interesting "channels" on the scene today is called "Little Grandmother." She has many important things to say about our world today, including both the destructive and creative developments. Some have questioned her authority, but no one can dispute her facts (did you know that jelly fish are now so abundant in certain part of the Pacific that the other fish have disappeared?) Although she is deeply concerned about the devastation of the planet by humans, she is very optimistic about our ability to survive 2012, with its impending pole shift. (This message is included in another of her presentations on YouTube).
Check her out and see what you think!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Mating with Invisibles
Somehow I guessed that this was going
Something told me
this was a special night,
stars, angels, shepherds,
a time to be bookmarked
Perhaps I knew because
it had happened so often
this pairing of the realms.
Zeus coming down on Leda,
the swan feathers presaging
the angels’ wings,
the heavenly choir surely
there somewhere in
And of course
there was Dionysus,
born when the Immortal One
ignited Semele to flame,
coming again with
each season’s turn,
bringing wine and poetry
to free us
And Persephone, the maiden,
raped and carried away
to spend the dark months
with the nether King,
returned to her mother
in annual efflorescence,
of branch and bud,
field and farm.
Today they speak of aliens,
arriving in strange guises
to claim their earthly brides,
offspring compounded of dual
realms, strange amalgam
of disparate spheres.
What if we too
opened our bodies fully
to the formless Other,
made of our wombs
receptacles for light,
for overwhelming love?
What if we allowed
the mysterium to enter
Who might we then
What worlds might
December 21, 2010
(Zeus ravished Leda when he arrived in the form of a swan. Semele begged Zeus to see him in his full glory. When he allowed her to do so, she immediately turned to ash, but Zeus snatched Dionysus, their unborn child, from the flames. Persephone was carried away to the underworld by Hades, and kept there as his Queen for the fall and winter months, but allowed to return to her mother above in the spring. The union of the human and the divine (or some variant thereof) is a continuing motif in myth and history.)
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Annunciation to the Shepherds
It's hard not to laugh.
What a picture it makes—
the dumbfounded shepherds
and the stricken sheep,
the cacophony of bleating
and the barking of sheepdogs
dashing and nipping
in a vain attempt at order,
and over it all the angels
trying to make their
shimmery voices heard.
“A who? Wrapped in what?”
the shepherds holler back.
“Where are we supposed to go?”
Poor guys. They wanted directions,
a purpose, some sense of how
the story might end.
And all they got,
all any of us ever get,
was the sound of angels,
somewhere beyond the din,
singing “Glory, Hosanna”
across the improbable night.
(Is it possible that for many of us--the coming of full blown Kundalini, bringing as it may near unsupportable bliss as well as the sense of the presence of angels, is itself a form of "annunciation," the revelation of a new birth, which is ourselves, shaped into a different being, a coming into existence of an identity unlike what we have known (been ) before? And is it possible that the world itself can undergo such a rebirth, and come forth from darkness into the light of its full possibility? Why not? Those who have undergone such seemingly miraculous transformations know that anything is possible, and that the key is love--universal, all embracing, and ready to take us in its arms if we will but allow it to happen.)
(Picture from bibleencyclopedia.com)
Monday, December 20, 2010
(The Poet Reflects on her Work)
I am not going to gush or mewl.
They will not say, “She did not
probe deep enough
into life’s exigencies,
the shadow that always
beneath the surface,
like the silver underside
of the mirror,
hidden but essential.”
Let it be more like
of an ancient Irish king,
waiting untouched for
at last noticed,
of lost imagining.
December 10, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
At last, "don't ask, don't tell" has been rescinded by vote of the Congress. Many of us wonder why it has taken so long, and when the right to marry will also be extended to gays and lesbians throughout the country, allowing them (us) to become full citizens, with all the rights and privileges that other citizens enjoy.
Nonetheless, this decision is a great gift to all who value equality in our society.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE1
Saturday, December 18, 2010
The Sadhu Expresses His Devotion
If this is not Union,
then dismember my body
and scatter it to the many directions,
food for birds.
If this is not becoming Oneness,
then let my flesh freeze over
hardened and stiff as the metals
into a statue.
If this is not
who I am,
let Shiva forget me,
never dance with me again.
December 11, 2010
(photo from Wikipedia)
Friday, December 17, 2010
I received this message from the Shift Network--the presentation begins at 1 p.m. Pacific time.
To register, you should go to: http://theshiftcouncil.com/ It is free, but you will need the access code to listen. You can also listen later if you like. I know some of those involved in setting up this council. It is quite wonderful--female elders from many ethnic backgrounds speaking great wisdom.
I am delighted to invite you to Return of the Light - a Winter Solstice event on Saturday featuring several members of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers. It will be a free teleseminar event focused on prayer, healing and wisdom for the world at this time.
Winter Solstice is the time of deepest darkness - an auspicious time for us to focus on the return of the light, which is a profound metaphor for our times.
Find out more
I see the work of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers as vitally important for our planet, which is why we've been hosting gatherings with them at each seasonal turning. When you sign up for Saturday, you also get access to the two previous recordings, each featuring different elders.
The coming together of this group represents the fulfillment of many prophecies and they have been tirelessly traveling the world to hold ceremony and prayer to heal ancient wounds and restore a sacred relationship with Mother Earth. They each represent prayer lineages that offer essential medicine for our times.
Our women leaders Devaa Haley and Elayne will also play a role in this event, so it will be an opportunity for intergenerational dialogue, prayer, and blessing. There will also be a time to add your own prayers and intention. By joining together live, we can create a powerful wave of love and prayer to spread across the world.
Sign up now
Please do share this invitation with friends and allies - all are warmly welcome to participate. The more people who participate in this free event, the greater the blessings that ripple outward from it.
This will be our last event of 2010, so it will be a perfect moment to come together as a global community before we all spend time on holiday with family.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Are your an evolutionary? If you are reading this, the answer is most likely "yes." Kundalini is surely a major engine of evolution of consciousness, and those of us undergoing its awakening process are therefore, by definition, "evolutionaries." We are in the forefront of this all important phenomenon, and--I feel--that what we do and experience is in service to the higher cause of the advancement of humanity.
This evening, there will be an important radio presentation by Carter Phipps, who is the executive editor of EnlightenNext, a major publication dedicated to the study of expanding consciousness. Carter is an extremely perceptive and articulate spokesperson for the evolution of consciousness. Further, he and I share a special bond.
A few years ago, his magazine (then called What Is Enlightenment?) was doing a piece on the use of the internet for spiritual purposes, and he was conducting a telephone interview with me about my (this) blog. In the course of our conversation we discovered that we both grew up in the same state (Oklahoma) and had attended the same university (Oklahoma University). Carter then mentioned that his mother had attended graduate school there (in English) and it turned out that I knew her for I had also taken graduate work in English at the same time she was there. I thought this was a rather remarkable synchronicity, and since then have felt a special connection with Carter.
I urge you to listen to his talk tonight or, if that is not possible, then you can hear it later by following the instructions given below. Here is more information from the internet:
Please join us for:
Are You An Evolutionary?
The Birth of a New Kind of Spiritual Practitioner
with Carter Phipps
Today, Thursday, December 16th
at 5:00pm Pacific (GMT-8)
I hope you'll join me tonight for my dialogue with Carter Phipps. Carter is an fresh and authentic observer of the leading edge of consciousness and culture. Every time I hear him speak, new connections, provocative insights, and inspiring possibilities emerge. Our subject: how a new understanding of "evolutionary" spirituality is creating a powerful bridge between the worlds of spirituality and social activism.
Carter has recently been finishing his important new book, slated for release in the fall of 2011, Evolutionaries: The People, Passions, and Perspectives That Are Shaping a New Synthesis of Science and Spirit. He asserts that something new and important is emerging at the leading edge of the evolution of consciousness and culture. Maybe you've seen and felt it yourself -- are you an Evolutionary?
Please join us to find out and to engage the conversation!
How to Participate:
"Are You An Evolutionary?"
Thursday, December 16th at 5:00pm Pacific* (GMT-8); 6:00pm Mountain; 7:00pm Central; 8:00pm Eastern.
*Find your local time here.
Listen live by phone or online, or download the recording anytime.
To listen live by phone, dial: 216-258-0785
Then, enter Access Code: 272072#
To listen live online go to: http://InstantTeleseminar.com/?eventid=16531230
To download the audio after the teleseminar is complete go to the Beyond Awakening Audio Page
Join the Dialogue: About one hour into the dialogue, we'll open up the lines and you'll have the opportunity to interact with us directly over the phone or via instant message. Here's what to do:
1. To interact live by voice, dial into the conference line number and wait until we ask for a question from someone in your region, or
2. Send us your question via instant message in the teleseminar window on your computer
Connect with us! Join the dialogue, before, during and after all the Beyond Awakening dialogues by posting your questions and comments on our Beyond Awakening blog.
You can also engage with Beyond Awakening's many fans, on our Facebook page.
If you missed our recent dialogue with Dr. Marc Gafni or want to listen to any of our previous Beyond Awakening presentations, please visit our audio archive page.
About Today's Guest:
Carter Phipps is the executive editor of EnlightenNext magazine. In his ten years with the magazine, he has been responsible for some of its most in-depth investigative features, including the "The Real Evolution Debate," a spiritual and scientific analysis of evolutionary worldviews. Phipps has also helped to forge the magazine's reputation as the premier popular publication espousing the ideas of integral philosophy through his feature articles on the work of Ken Wilber ("A Philosopher of Everything") and on Steve McIntosh ("Integral Politics Comes of Age"). He regularly represents EnlightenNext magazine at conferences and leadership gatherings, including the Evolutionary Leaders Forum, the Parliament of the World's Religions, and the 2008 Edinburgh Festival of Spirituality and Peace. Phipps has appeared on BBC Radio's "Reporting Religion" and on New Dimensions radio, and he is a regular guest on Deepak Chopra's Wellness Radio on Sirius. His first book, Evolutionaries, a manifesto for the emerging evolutionary spirituality, will be published by Harper Perennial in fall 2011.
About Terry Patten:
Terry Patten is the host of Beyond Awakening and a leading voice in the emerging fields of integral evolutionary leadership and spirituality. In his cutting-edge writings, talks and teaching, he not only inspires transcendental awakening, love and freedom, but calls us to accept and incarnate our full humanity. In his current work, he is helping to articulate an authentic spirituality that illuminates the vital relationship between sincere care, discriminative intelligence, personal responsibility and spiritual awakening. A coach, consultant, teacher, and author of four books, Terry lives in Marin County near San Francisco, CA. He is the author, with Ken Wilber, of Integral Life Practice: A 21st-Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening. His personal web site is http://integralspiritualpractice.com.
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(image comes from the site quoted above.)
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
The Sadhu Expresses his Devotion
Shiva, I give myself to you.
You are my body
and my breath.
What I have that is
I fling away.
It is trash,
baubles worth nothing.
What you have given me,
cannot be weighed,
This is treasure
that has no value
on the market
of commercial wares.
This is the jewel
that cannot be purchased.
December 11, 2010
(Image from Wikipedia)
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The Stages of Enlightenment
We tend to speak of “enlightenment” as if it were a single thing, a fixed level of being (consciousness). But there are in fact many stages of enlightenment, and we need to distinguish between them in our thinking. Here is one approach to the topic. The stages are not mutually exclusive, and often overlap.
The first level is that referred to in the classical literature of India and the East. It is the phenomenon of “awakening” that occurs when the yogic practitioner succeeds in bringing the energies through the chakras up to the crown, at which point divine bliss enters the head as a stream of effulgent energy and the yogi realizes that this great field or source of endless creative outpouring is the ultimate reality. She then grasps that one’s own sense of self (ego) is delusion and that each of us is merely a miniscule particle in this great wave of divine pulsation that creates and maintains the cosmos.
This state of knowing can also be attained through spontaneous awakening of the Kundalini, rather than after years of dedicated practice. Near Death Experience can also bring a similar result, in terms of the recognition it brings.
Often these states are accompanied with a profound sense of “Oneness” in a literal sense, as the initiate identifies with all that her eyes encounter, both human and other. The world may be infused with great beauty, as if the “mystery” had at last unveiled. She sees with “saint’s eyes” and responds with “beginner’s mind.”
The second stage of Enlightenment is that of integration. The practitioner, whatever his/her background and culture, and however the awakening has occurred, must come to terms with this totally transformative experience. She must find a way to interpret what has happened in a way that is comprehensible with respect to her own world view and life story. She needs a stable foundation, a mental accompaniment for the new experience, whether this comes from traditional perspectives or authentic teachers or her own reading and investigations, or guidance from the “inner guru.”
Furthermore, she will now be open to entirely new streams of energy originating from within and (seemingly) entering from outside her own body. She is literally being refashioned into a new being, and this renovation involves every cell and system in her physical body and each facet of her psyche. Her outlook and life practice will now become something quite different from her former “ego-self.” She must learn to “ride the wave” of this new energetic body, to act in accord with its directions, to follow rather than try to lead or coerce it into new configurations.
The third is a level that only certain initiates will seek or achieve. It is not a requirement, but functions as an extra benefit. It has to do with seeking and incorporating a greater scope of “world knowledge” into the new scheme. The disciple will explore many fields of investigation--world history, archeology, political systems, art and poetry, religion and philosophy, the new science, and others, and see them in a new perspective, one not inherent in most scholarly or academic approaches.
These will give added depth and texture to the original experience, which was intimately personal (as well as universal). She will thus fuse knowledge of both Eastern and Western approaches to culture and human experience, and develop the capacity to share these insights with the world at large.
The last stage is the most critical. The central lesson of the awakening was the all pervasive reality of the giant field of love of which the cosmos is constructed, whether that field is named Brahma or God or Allah or Shiva or the Goddess or the Beloved Within or the Great Father or simply “The Divine.” The field itself and the energies it projects is the reality.
Now this truth is embodied in the human who is in fact enlightened, full of light, a carrier of divine love and nurturance to the world, whether in the context of daily contacts or personal service or revelation through artistic endeavor or other means. And--the human vessel of love does not even need an encompassing philosophy or schema to express the love force.
Furthermore, some attain this state in the ordinary course of their human life activities, without passage through a specific moment of awakening. The humblest among us performing the lowliest task can function as a vehicle of love. No degrees or formal ceremonies are required. As Ram Dass says in the title of his recent book, “Be Love Now.” We can each do this in our daily lives, and thus we can each be enlightened moment by moment.
December 13, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Kundalini, Enlightenment, and the Near Death Experience
Tonight I watched a T. V. program on the Biography channel focusing on the Near Death Experience. Three NDE survivors told their stories--one was Barbara Harris Whitfield, a friend who is also on the Board of the Kundalini Research Network. As many may know, a Near Death Experience is considered to be much like a Kundalini awakening, and the groups follow parallel paths in many ways.
I will not relate the individual stories here, other than to say that the three persons who described their experiences all left their bodies, and were judged clinically dead for many minutes, one for almost an hour. All told of the bliss and serenity they felt as they watched the medical teams labor below to resuscitate them, and of their reluctance to return to their physical bodies with its attendant pain and challenges.
Each one told of feeling as though they were enveloped in a vast field of love while they were no longer connected with their physical beings. They felt that this--their spirit body--was their real identity. When they “returned” (and recovered) they brought with them a new realization of the true values of their own lives. As Barbara put it, they knew that the truth lay “inside” (the life of the spirit)rather than “outside” (the world of “things” and mundane activities.) For each one, love became the supreme focus of their lives, and loving and receiving love the most important aspect of living.
It occurred to me after I watched this program, that what they learned is also the lesson of Enlightenment itself. The lesson is that reality (truth) in fact is a great field of energy whose tone and texture is love itself. To be enlightened in the ancient sense is to learn that one is merely a part of this great sea of love energy, and that loving others is the supreme reflection of this truth.
So--we do not have to sit in a cave and bring the energies up through the Sushumna in order to reach Enlightenment (though this is one method, for it culminates in union with divine love). Nor must we undergo a Near Death Experience to reach this state. There is another way and it is open to each of us every minute of our lives. It has nothing to do with religion or religious institutions as such. We need only to practice love, to offer and receive love, and know that we are all connected through love. As Ram Dass urges in the title of his latest book, “Be Love Now.”
Thus--we can each Be Love Now and Be Enlightened Now. It’s that simple.
December 12, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Some people try to reach enlightenment through reading and study alone. In yoga philosophy there is a branch called "jnana" yoga, suitable to these disciples. Yet though mental perception will do a great deal to build a strong foundation for later awakening, mind alone cannot take you there. At a certain point, after you have studied and considered, pondered and tested, you come up against a brick wall.
To get through the wall, you must allow the mind to dissolve completely. You must surrender all your attachments to concepts, notions, ideas. You must arrive naked at the source, and thus you must strip away all your mental armor, which now becomes a hindrance, not an aid, in your forward progress. As Bhagwan Shree Rashneesh said, "The mind must drop before enlightenment can occur."
Let us suppose that you have never heard a bird sing but you long to do so. You will not get your wish by reading books about birds, or cataloguing all the known species of fowl. Only if you set aside your books and go out into nature and sit still and listen will you hear the music you are seeking. But of course, to do this, you must go where the birds are--and you must have ears able to hear.
But even if you do give up mental seeking for Oneness, there is no guarantee that you will find it. For this, an act of grace is required. You can only wait and pray, prepare yourself in whatever way you can for the supreme moment, which may or may not come.
Therefore, it is best to continue on your path from wherever you are--incorporating not only text but practice, allowing sweet energies to flow when they come, encouraging your own psyche to unite with the beauty about you, and, above all, feeling and giving love to others who enter your life, even from a distance. Remember compassionate action. Find ways to better the world. Seek out fellow travelers who will encourage you on your journey. Learn from teachers but never fully surrender your power to external authority. Your "inner guru" will lead you to whatever level is best suited for you at this stage of your life.
(Image from google--girlscientist.blogspot.com)
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Beethoven the Mighty
with your madness
and your grief,
your raging tones
and blocked ears
that shut out
all but your fury and
that defied it all,
even the gods,
that would drag you down,
nothing to love
but the fickle boy,
not even clean linen
just the pulsing
heartbeat of the universe
in your crazed brain.
December 3. 2010
Like many creative geniuses, Beethoven (1770-1827) seemed possessed by a brain that was "on fire." His level of functioning in terms of his productivity was so far beyond the "normal" that to the ordinary person he might seem "crazed" or suffering from some rare form of madness. Certainly he was obsessed, and this was part of the price he had to pay for his massive gift. And "the boy" was his nephew, possibly the only love object in Beethoven's life until even he too rejected his eccentric uncle and left the composer to cope alone with his growing deafness and isolation.
Was his fervent outpouring the result of sublimated Kundalini? Many think there is in fact a connection between Kundalini and creativity.
(picture from Wikipedia)
Friday, December 10, 2010
This Constant Song
by Dorothy Walters
...who wouldn’t hear
what singing completes us?
And this the singing
that goes with us
this constant ingathering
among the trees
denuded or rich with
the sound of the water
ringing down from
the boulders above,
rhythms of the stars wheeling
in their celestial rounds,
like foamy whales,
the wind playing
its plaintive lute
even as we sleep.
And also this Vivaldi,
his flute or cello,
a man who listened deep
December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Reconciling the Opposites
In order to complete initiation, we must discover a way--or become possessed by a way--to reconcile the opposites. Yet, all around us, on personal and transpersonal levels, in private and cosmic realms, the evidence piles up that the split between the disparates continues to widen, moving toward a seemingly irreconcilable rift.
Consider, for example, Bliss and the Shadow. I myself have known a good deal of bliss in my life. In meditation, in movement, in group energy experiences--in yoga, in breathing, in holding still--a rapture flows. I am “ravished by the god,” I enter a realm of such deep sensuous delight I forget that I am a mere mortal, subject to the contingencies of the everyday. I become nothing but bliss awareness. I am ananda, ananda is my self and substance.
But then I awaken. I come back to “reality” and find myself, once again, in California, at the center of ever recurring catastrophe. Here the ground roars and opens beneath your very feet; giant sheets of fire incinerate not just houses but people, neighborhoods, entire communities. Cars pile up in massive collisions on fog darkened freeways, floods threaten cities in the south.
And all around us is evidence of such individual suffering as we had not dreamt of. Mothers with children in arms beg in the street, human wrecks huddle on sidewalks, old women wrap themselves in blankets against the cold as they curl up in doorways.
The indecencies of government and various national and international institutions are too familiar to catalogue. Powerful commercial interests poison air, water, or soil, as common citizens wonder what to do; these same interests loot the national treasury through various schemes (who got the money from the S & L scandals? the HUD scandals? the banking scandals? the housing debacle? the offshore tax havens? the munitions sales that fuel our seemingly eternal wars? Does anyone know? or care?)
The airways are filled with indecencies unimaginable in a previous age. Our language is polluted with what used to be thought of as obscenities. Our children absorb and reflect the false values inculcated by the T. V. screen and the movie theaters.
And so it goes. Evidence of the Shadow--of universal disintegration of values and behavior, of recurrent disaster--is massive on all levels, personal, public, and cosmic. Each day reveals its new scenario of grief, of suffering, of massive corruption and decay. And yet--each time we return to that deep center, each instant we make contact with that something which convinces that we have not yet discovered who we truly are--we are filled again with a bliss which whispers of that which exists beyond suffering. We know that we are linked to an inscrutable power which pervades our consciousness and carries our body to near insupportable levels of rapture. We feel that here, in this way, abiding in this reality, we once again verify the ever present bond between human and divine, world and source, striving and being.
But this--the Transcendent Moment and the Contingent Universe, Universal Love and Private Suffering--is but the first of many oppositions. Consider, also, Ecstasy (the bliss of total union with the invisible) and Awareness (the mundane consciousness that intervenes and orders our lives in all our “non-blissful” states of being). We live, alternately, in two worlds--the world of being and the world of knowing, the absolute realm of conceptless awareness and the idea-ridden universe of daily life. In the former, we suspend not only awareness but judgment and critical faculty. In the latter, we explore the ideational realm, we contemplate, weigh, measure, and judge. We challenge and correct. The exercise of the rational faculty is essential to our well being. It saves us from charlatans and protects us from the false gods, whether secular or sacred. But--how much easier was the task of the saints in their cells, the hermits in their mountain caves--how much simpler to embrace a single, coherent vision of truth, to remain fixed in perpetual bliss, rather than being pressed to travel constantly between the two realms, now flooded with bliss of union, now challenging the very evidence of one’s own experience. We are neither saints nor skeptics, neither committed sectarians nor scornful disbelievers. We are explorers, vacillating constantly between the two domains (one holy, one profane), as if our brains were a condo leased to separate tenants on a “time share” basis. When one is in residence, the other must be absent. They know of each other’s presence only by notes left on the refrigerator or taped to the telephone.
And we could continue our list of antinomies: Universal Love and Private Grief; Evolution of Consciousness vs. evidence of a Disintegrating Society. We could consider the oppositions inherent in the many potential approaches to and interpretations of “reality”--as obtained through the perspectives of body wisdom, mind sense, societal issues, depth psychology, art, music, poetry, movement, etc. Each conveys a conviction of truth in the paradigm it embodies, but none offers a totally comprehensive or convincing vision. (The body-worker, for example, discovers a “storehouse of the past” carried in the body’s own tissues and cells, and effects a seeming cure; the astronomer constructs a cosmic record from far more abstract evidence.)
Again, there are the many layers and levels of consciousness that have unfolded in history, with its many competing world-views and modes of perception. We cannot reenter the ancient shaman’s world, even as it beckons. For all we know, it--or another equally anachronistic mode--may have been the true entryway, a window opening onto reality itself, a vision now lost to us forever.
And there is the dichotomy of the immutable other (god? emanation? higher self? the transcendent?) and the shape changer within. For we, in our most private and essential nature, are never at rest--we are moody, distraught, joyous, and calm, all within a single day--or hour. We ourselves perpetually shift, now exultant, now sad, now caught in reflection, now swept by passionate feeling. The divine melody may be fixed in eternity, but we, the instruments, are called to play many variations on the score.
Yet each time we return to that deep center, each instant we make contact with that awareness that convinces us that there is ever more to discover about our source and who we truly are--we are filled again with a bliss that whispers of that which lies beyond the state of suffering and grief. We know we are linked to an inscrutable power that pervades our own systems and often carries us to near unsupportable levels of rapture.
We realize that here, in this way, abiding in this reality, we once more verity the immutable bond human and divine, world and source.
(from "Unmasking the Rose")
(Image from unknown internet source)
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
On Kundalini and the Sacred
Today, with the recent increase in Kundalini phenomena, many investigations are attempting to reduce the experience to a “nothing but” event: to a measurable psycho-physiological play of the nervous system; to a series of symptoms ranging from the bizarre to the psychotic; to a singular component of a larger delusional syndrome.
Kundalini may include aspects of any or all of the above. It may bring with it curious readjustments of the psyche as well as the bio-network; it may trigger a passing symptomology both unfamiliar and disturbing; it may awaken deep memory, buried racial and archetypal themes. But Kundalini is far more than an electromagnetic impulse; it is not merely another pathology of mind or body; it is based on far other than delusion. Kundalini is well documented as part of the practice of seekers in ancient times. Today, Kundalini is one of the last remaining instruments we as humans possess for entry into the world of the sacred. It is the unimaginably powerful agent for putting us--we, the intellectually sophisticated ones of the contemporary world--in touch with those lost realms in which our ancestors dwelt in intimate relation with an unseen but powerful reality.
Kundalini is often compared to a snake which bites as it rises--and indeed it cuts through--it conveys us quickly into the heart of the “self-validating experience.” It is also often depicted as a goddess, indeed sometimes it is termed "the goddess above all other goddesses." Kundaini is the energy behind the image, the vibrational emanation empowering the symbol. It is the divine in its purest, most naked form. On the human level itt is a feeling, not an assertion, and thus because it is experienced with such fullness and finality at the very core of being, we feel that it needs no confirmation through intellectual affirmation or mental acknowledgment. This is not to say we do not ask, “What is this mysterious power?”, nor seek to discover the secrets of its origin and its mode of operation. But--beyond these--the discernible physiological facts, the electromagnetic observations--emerges an entire body of evidence, non-measurable, unweighed, yet of infinite intensity and conviction.
Like the aesthetic response, it carries a convincingness beyond the explainable. Like the mystic moment, it rests within the assurance of its own ineffable reality.
What, then, is Kundalini? Most immediately, it is an experience of the body/spirit which yields bliss not accessible to the ordinary senses. And this moment of transcendent rapture carries with it deep conviction of union with that which exists beyond the mere self. It confirms, however transitorily, that we, as conscious beings, are part and parcel of a larger reality whose outlines and composition we can but barely guess. For that time, words, pronouncements, the idle chatter within, are suspended--we are,as the cliché would have it, at one with the infinite. We have heard these words too many times to accept them without challenge. Yet, simple and shopworn as they are, they tell us of our perennial yearning to connect--to join--to locate and consciously merge with our own original source, which we may not accurately name but whose presence stirs in us perpetually.
Kundalini opens the gates to sacred space. One who seeks access to these precincts in order merely to probe or gauge or measure will miss its identifying features entirely. He might as well cut open the heart to locate the seat of the soul, or explore the essence of matter merely by reducing a substance into finer and finer particles. This one will discover no spirit guide, no sacred groves. Like the investigator who seeks to explore with a lantern the nature of darkness, he will drive before him the evidence he seeks. For him the charms will fail, the alchemy falter. He lacks the language of this foreign territory, and hence will never unlock its meaning or capture its truth.
(from "Unmasking the Rose")
(image from Bhutanese sacred art.jpg on internet)
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
The Saint Tries to Return
I could, of course, put
on my forehead
(and don’t think
I wouldn’t like
to do this)
or I might wander
about in a robe
(and never believe
I wouldn’t wish
to clothe myself this way).
I could stand beneath
and recite ancient verses,
give blessings as
someone with strange eyes
fondles a flute
or a stringed instrument
(and I would do this gratefully,
indeed I would.)
I could infuse the crowd
and watch them cry out,
fall to the ground.
Now I have silence,
sometimes these words,
from that other world
that I say to myself
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
December 7, 2010
(I wrote this poem earlier tonight while I was waiting for a spiritual speaker to begin his talk.)
(Image from http://wearabout.wordpress.com)
Monday, December 06, 2010
Recommending readings on Enlightenment (from Lawrence Edwards, Ph. D., on www.kundalinisupport.org/ )
Study Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, especially the sections on samadhi. Read the Buddha's words - the Dhammapada, Eknath Easwaren's translation is wonderful. Read Jaidaiva Singh's Shiva Sutras. Read the Kularnava Tantra. Read Swami Muktananda's works dealing with sahaja samadhi - living samadhi. Read Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi. Read Kabir, Rumi, Hafiz and as many other poet saints as possible. Read the Zen masters and the great Taoists. Every tradition has its exemplars of enlightenment and they are all humbled by it since words can't help but fail to convey the magnificence, the glory, the ordinariness, the simplicity, the love, the compassion and the all-embracing qualities of this state.
(These recommendations are clearly intended for the serious student. To read more about Lawrence Edwards' views on Enlightenment, check out the Kundalini support website listed above.)
(Image from unknown internet source)
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Whatever the Name
One said, "Batter my heart,
The Other said, "I clutch you, Mother. . .
cut this black snarl of acts, cut through it."
Whatever the name,
give me at least a kiss.
December 4, 2010
(The first quote is from George Herbert, renowned Renaissance mystic. The second is from Ramprasad Sen, early Bengali poet of the bhakti tradition.)
Friday, December 03, 2010
A valuable website:
An extremely helpful website on Kundalini (with answers to basic questions) is located at http://www.kundalinisupport.org/ Most of this website was contributed by Lawrence Edwards, Ph. D., who is a recognized master teacher of meditation as well as a Jungian therapist who is a world wide authority on Kundalini itself. I also contributed to some of the (later) sections on this site, particularly those relating to a feminist and/or lesbian perspectives.
I am going to post some of the sections from this site, even when they seem to duplicate entries already posted, because I feel that listening to more than one voice is extremely useful when we have questions about Kundalini awakening.
The following entry comes from Lawrence Edwards. Lawrence trained as a monk with Muktananda in India and the U. S., and wrote his doctoral dissertation on Kundalini. He is an invaluable resource for the Kundalini community.
FAQ’s about Kundalini and Kundalini awakening.
1. What are the signs and symptoms of a Kundalini Awakening (KA)?
For countless centuries Kundalini awakening has been viewed by yogis as the greatest blessing and the esoteric goal of all forms of yoga - hatha yoga, mantra yoga, laya yoga, raja yoga, etc. To understand the range of possible experiences that go with Kundalini's blessings it is important to remember from the outset that Her domain encompasses all mental and physical types of experience and all transpersonal and transcendent types of experience as well. Every dimension of our lives can reflect activity, called kriyas - movements of Shakti, the awakened energy of Kundalini - and many dimensions of experience that transcend ordinary waking, dream and deep sleep states of consciousness and ego-bound awareness. Ordinarily all of our experiences fit within the categories or waking, dream and deep sleep - the ordinary states of consciousness in which ego awareness, defined by identification with mind/body and the roles and relationships it inhabits, operates on some level. Thus we think of ourselves as awake or asleep, a man or woman, husband or wife, son or daughter, blue collar or white collar worker, etc., etc., as we identify with various aspects of the mind and body functioning in the world. All of which are ephemeral and reveal only tiny, fractured reflections of our true Self, like shards of a broken mirror reflecting a few brilliant rays of the sun. The Buddha said “as we think, so we become.” By identifying with the containers of consciousness – the mind and body – we have the experience of being those containers with all their limitations, suffering, desires, etc.
Kundalini is the power of the Self to know its Self in complete unity consciousness and transform these vehicles of Consciousness, the mind and body, to be capable of manifesting more than just limited ego awareness and lower instinctual brain impulses. In that process of awakening and transformation Kundalini runs Shakti - the power of pure Consciousness - through all the systems of the subtle body and physical body, healing, purifying, expanding, breaking through blockages and burning through karmas. Because each individual differs in their karmic make up, the subtle impressions, the samskaras, being worked on by the Shakti through kriyas, each individual will have their own unique experiences. To blame Kundalini for what karmas and samskaras our physical and subtle bodies contain is another game of the mind trying to avoid responsibility for the consequences of its actions - past and present.
Physical kriyas include shaking, trembling, involuntary movements, sensations of heat or cold, horripilation, spontaneous hatha yoga postures, spontaneous alterations in breathing - pranayama, rushes of energy, rushes of sensual/sexual/orgasmic energy, stimulation of sex organs and orgasms, cessation of sexual desire or interest, loss of appetite, food cravings, tingling sensations, sparking/electricity sensations, the feeling of ants crawling all over one's skin, roaring like a lion, spontaneous sounds chanted or spoken aloud, spontaneous mudras and dance-like movements, gentle swaying during meditation, rocking back and forth, heart racing or pounding, breathing coming to a full stop and staying still, and more and more. People write poetry, sing, dance, paint, draw, create in new and never-before expressed ways, all inspired by Kundalini's grace. The gentle movements, breath alterations, rushes of energy, feeling of heat and cold, tingling, sounds and mantras, and sexual stimulation are most common, along with euphoric, blissful feelings and expansive states of love and unity awareness.
Each of our senses can manifest the movements of Kundalini. There are visions, colors, blue pearls and every conceivable archetypal form to be seen. There are divine scents, exquisite sounds, supersensuous touch, and ambrosial tastes to be experienced as gift of Shri Kundalini.
There are also very rare but attention grabbing instances of people getting rashes, diarrhea, and various painful conditions, food sensitivities or allergies, and the manifestation of latent, karmicly held diseases or disorders surfacing to be released.
Kundalini works to free our consciousness from polarities, including bondage to attraction and aversion. So regardless of what comes up in the process of Kundalini sadhana one practices the inner posture of detached awareness, watching, witnessing, neither pursuing nor avoiding.
Every form of emotion and mental event can also be manifested as kriyas. One can laugh, cry, go into ecstasy, grief, fury, bliss, etc. etc. As with all kriyas, these are viewed with the detachment of Witness Consciousness, neither pursuing nor avoiding what is arising. NONE OF THESE EXPERIENCES IS THE GOAL. THEY ARE SCENERY ALONG THE WAY, GIFTS OF THE SHAKTI TO BE APPRECIATED AND RECEIVED FOR WHAT THEY REVEAL, BUT NOT TO DISTRACT ONE FROM THE GOAL. As long as there is an experience and an experiencer, i.e. an object and a subject, one is in a lower state of duality, no matter how alluring that experience may be. These experiences have a very real danger of inflating the ego as it attempts to possess them and identify with them. For this reason spiritual traditions have practices for keeping the ego deflated and grounded, which is part of the role of the teacher/guru/master, as well as teachings about not becoming overly fascinated by various transcendent phenomenon.
ANY KRIYA, PHYSICAL OR MENTAL/EMOTIONAL, THAT MAY HAVE MEDICAL, NEUROLOGICAL OR PSYCHIATRIC SIGNIFICANCE SHOULD BE CHECKED OUT BY THE APPROPRIATE HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS. I've seen cases where someone dismissed a symptom as a kriya and it turned out to the symptom of a medical or psychiatric disorder like high blood pressure, diabetes, bipolar disorder, etc. It's always worth having such things checked out medically even if it is only to rule out a possible problem.
To begin with read: Swami Muktananda: Play of Consciousness; Swami Tirtha: Devatma Shakti; Sir John Woodruffe: Serpent Power; Lawrence Edwards: The Soul's Journey (www.thesoulsjourney.com), Dorothy Walters: Unmasking The Rose; and there’s also a reading list on www.thesoulsjourney.com.
(by Lawrence Edwards)