Friday, May 31, 2013
As always, Jay Valusek truly "hits the nail on the head" with his latest observations. Indeed, our plethora of electronic devices serve in many instances simply to distract us from more significant concerns. The lack of focus in turn makes it more unlikely that we are prepared for more profound experiences, including Kundalini itself. Let's face it--serious spiritual exercises--whether traditional meditation, reading spiritual texts, or exploring Kundalini pathways--require a commitment of time and concentration, and too much time spent in casual conversation may leave precious little opportunity for cultivating our sacred connections through spiritual endeavors.
Personally, I use my cell phone only for travel and such, and I am grateful for the computer which provides us with easy connections with others via e-mail (including Jay's own essay), a veritable reference library by way of google, and even this blog on which I am now writing.
The Smartphone Sutra
“Wherever I am, the world comes after me. . . It does not believe that I do not want it.” —Mary Oliver
Not long ago, during a meeting of the local insight meditation community’s service committee, which I had just joined, the volunteer coordinator passed around a clipboard and asked us to write down our cell phone numbers. When the sheet arrived in my hands, I stared at it for a moment. “Uh, what if we don’t have a cell phone?” I said.
There was an interesting moment of silence, and I felt my face flush as everyone turned to look at me. “It’s a sort of lifestyle choice,” I added, unnecessarily. Surely they would understand. After all, these were veteran meditators.
Someone piped up. “I bet you don’t have a TV either!” I hesitated just long enough to keep everyone staring. “No, in fact, I don’t,” I replied, realizing I was sounding weirder every time I opened my mouth. A funny little discussion ensued about Luddites—a term originally applied to English workers who refused to adopt the machinery of the Industrial Revolution—and then we went on with our business. Whew.
Actually, I did have a cell phone, but I didn’t know the number. It’s a pay-as-you-go phone I got just in case my car, which has over 300,000 miles on it, decides to break down along the road some night. Kind of like a CB radio back in the 80s. We lived in the mountains for seven years in a cell phone dead zone, so I got used to living without one. And I still work at home, where I use a land line for my business calls.
Outside of work, frankly, I don’t want anyone to reach me any time they feel like it. I prefer my contemplative solitude to the world’s 24/7 electronic connectivity, thank you very much.
Amusingly, this is what came to mind as I pondered Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Old Poets of China” (Why I Wake Early, 2004).
Like me, Oliver doesn’t want the world coming after her, offering all its busyness. “Now I understand,” she writes, “why the old poets of China went so far and high into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.” They were, no doubt, trying to get out of cell phone range!
Jon Kabat-Zinn, a pioneer in bringing Buddhist meditation practices to people suffering from pain and illness, notes that electronic communication technologies are turning us into an “ADHD nation.” Indeed, studies show that a typical office worker stops to check email 30 to 40 times per hour—yet even a brief glance interrupts and scatters our ability to concentrate. As a nation, we are becoming increasingly distracted, anxious and stressed. Are we multitasking ourselves to death?
In The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains, Nicolas Carr notes, ominously, that “the contemplative mind is overwhelmed by the noisy world’s mechanical busyness”—an exact parallel with Oliver’s poetic observation.
Sadly, these wonderful tools may be eroding our capacity for slow, contemplative thought, our ability to stay present and aware of what really matters. Worse yet, experiments by psychologists and neurologists indicate that “the more distracted we become, the less able we are to experience the subtlest, most distinctively human forms of empathy, compassion, and other emotions.” As Carr says, a calm, attentive mind is essential to the cultivation of our deepest connections with others.
Researchers at the University of Essex discovered recently that the “mere presence” of a cell phone on a table between two individuals engaged in conversation harms their relationship in measurable ways. It undermines their sense of social connection, closeness and even trust. Why? That’s not entirely clear. But apparently the mobile phone represents a broader social network, beyond the immediate face-to-face encounter, unconsciously “crowding out” the full presence of the other person. Paradoxically, a device intended to connect us also diminishes intimacy—especially, it turns out, when we’re discussing deeply meaningful stuff. Aack.
I was encouraged, therefore, to find other contemplative Luddites out there.
On his website’s contact page, psychotherapist John Welwood—who wrote a lovely poem entitled “Forget About Enlightenment,” which you can find, ironically, on the Internet—says, If you want to contact me, write a letter. He graciously provides his street address. “I am trying,” he explains, unapologetically, “to reduce the time I spend in front of a computer screen.” How cool is that? How laudable!
But just so you don’t think I’m some sort of caveman, I want you to know that I got myself a smartphone about two weeks ago. Holy cow! There are “apps” for mindfulness! I can check email 30 times an hour now, even if I’m in the shower! How did I live without this thing for so long? It’s amazing!
Just don’t expect me to give you my number.
—Jay E. Valusek
Thursday, May 30, 2013
The following excerpt appeared on a blog entitled "Interrupting the Silence":
What is too much for you? What is beyond your comprehension? What pushes you to the limits of your belief and trust? What reality lies at the furthest edge of your wildest imagination? What is unbearable? I don’t know what exactly that might be for you but I have some ideas that might point to that reality.
It is about deep personal presence. It is an intimacy that spills over and reveals itself as creativity, beauty, and joy. Love that cannot be contained, conditioned, or tamed. It is a unity and oneness that comes from looking into the face of another as that one looks into your face. It is experiencing your own wholeness, your “enoughness,” not by what you do but because you are. It is being fully alive. It is being swept up into a larger life that can only be described as, “I am.” It is participating in and becoming abundance. Nothing is held in reserve and nothing is lacking. It is relationships founded on the mutual recognition and calling forth of your own and the other’s own beauty and holiness.
You will know what is unbearable when you consider it for yourself, you try it on for size, and your first response is, “No. That couldn’t be. That’s not possible. That’s not me. I cannot bear that. It’s just too much, too big, too beautiful, too wild.” You have found what you cannot bear. Open yourself to the divine life and presence. You see, God is never more real, more present, than in that which we cannot bear.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Note: The following entry is out of place. It was intended to precede the entry on "The Field of Love."
I have just "returned" from one of the most remarkable gatherings I have attended in many years. The occasion was the "work" of Michael Regan, a spiritual teacher and counselor of high order.
Michael is unusual in his approach and his being. He utilizes dream work (of members of the group) as an entry point. Each participant is invited to describe a dream, and using this as focus for discussion, Michael enables the dreamer to see what the underlying message of the dream might be. Many times what surfaces is some aspect of the shadow that the speaker has been unwilling or unable to perceive. These revelations can be extremely emotional for the participants, and often they end up sobbing.
All of these transactions occur in a great field of love. Michael addresses each member with great respect and candor. He is like a surgeon probing gently and lovingly beneath the surface--revealing the wound so that it may be healed.
I found the experience amazing and transformative. First of all, I was unused to so much love--from both leader and participants--to be so openly expressed. And, to be honest, I was amazed by the willingness of others not only to bare their deepest emotions and fears, but sometimes to weep in so doing. I myself have trouble crying at all, and certainly would experience great shame to weep in front of others (childhood conditioning).
I had planned to attend this event as a "silent witness" observing others having "their" experience. But Michael cleverly drew me in as participant--my personal discovery was not traumatic, but it did draw my attention to an area of my life that needs to be addressed (essentially, the message was "do more in your life and don't hold back").
Michael is indeed an authentic teacher. He possesses the kind of profound wisdom that is rare on the spiritual path, where many speak from less evolved perspectives.
It even occurred to me that being with Michael is a kind of foretaste of heaven--for one is now with a loving, totally accepting collection of kindred souls, like the "group souls" I think we may experience in the other world. In this state (in my notion) we would participate in the "group soul," but at the same time we would preserve our individual identities. And we would know that state of consciousness in which we are fully possessed by love and thus the world and all it contains is revealed to us in its underlying radiance and enduring beauty.
Before I attended this gathering, I had assumed the focus would be essentially "personal psychology" rather than "transpersonal psychology," the realm of Kundalini and spiritual endeavors. But, with its emphasis on the power of love and the transformative power of inner healing through insight into one's essential nature, the experience incorporated the transpersonal realms, where profound changes can take place.
Kundalini itself is one of the most basic expression of love--of human for divine, of divine for human, and of love of each of us for others and the world and all it contains.
Michael's website contains the following description :
Michael’s work invites people from diverse backgrounds to explore an inborn vision of awakening that is rooted in a primal, divine essence and leans into new frontiers in empowerment, creative expression and the embodiment of love.
His website is www.michaelregan.us/
He presents most often in New Mexico (near Santa Fe), Colorado (Boulder), and the Bay Area in California. He also leads wilderness retreats.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Yesterday I wrote about the intense gathering for "dream analysis" that I attended over the weekend. Since then I have been musing on its impact and meaning, for it was (for me) a powerful event, not because of the "interpretations" per se but because of the sweet energy field that was created and the many expressions of love that each participant extended to the others.
What is love? I ask myself. We all recognize it when we experience it, but how do we define it?
There are of course many, many different kinds of love. Beyond romantic love, there is the love for the divine when it enters and embraces us through such means as Kundalini energies. The blissful currents we feel within at that time surpass all efforts to define or even describe, yet they convince us that we are now in sacred space and are, as it were, held in the arms of divine reality. We and it become one.
I think of this kind of love as vertical--as if there were a channel or path connecting human and divine, a fusion of two levels of truth.
Another kind of love is that of one human for another--not as romantic lovers, but rather as sacred friends, even those whom we barely know. When we enter this state, everyone looks lovely--as does all the world around us, even the trash at the corner or the "lost ones" on the street. This love is "horizontal," person to person, heart to heart, self to surroundings.
Either form can be difficult to bear (though they are not mutually exclusive). Many are totally terrified when Kundalini ecstasy makes itself known within. They are unaccustomed to such overwhelming affirmation. Likewise, the open expression of love of one person for another can also be difficult to bear. We are not used to such dissolution of the barriers that generally keep us "safe" within our own space when we encounter others. We learn from early on that to express love fully is dangerous, for we may be demeaned or even rejected. We keep our distance, staying in our own "safety zone."
The experience of the weekend was one in which a love field emerged that embraced all the participants. We felt and freely expressed our love one for another. Our hearts were indeed opened. Our "leader" (Michael Regan) was of course primarily responsible for this--he conveyed his own sense that love itself is the means by which we discover who we are and taste our undeniable connection to source and one another.
What would happen if the entire world became such a "field of love"? As I suggested earlier, I think it would be heaven on earth.
Friday, May 24, 2013
I Think Continually of Those
I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul's history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the spirit clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.
What is precious is never to forget
The delight of the blood drawn from ancient springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth;
Never to deny its pleasure in the simple morning light,
Nor its grave evening demand for love;
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.
Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
See how these names are fêted by the waving grass,
And by the streamers of white cloud,
And whispers of wind in the listening sky;
The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire's center.
Born of the sun, they traveled a short while towards the sun,
And left the vivid air signed with their honor.
~ Stephen Spender ~
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Love is an infinite Sea whose skies are a bubble of foam.
Know that it is the waves of Love that turn the wheels of Heaven,
Without Love, nothing in the world would have life.
How is an inorganic thing transformed into a plant?
How are plants sacrificed to become rich with spirit?
How is spirit sacrificed to become Breath,
One scent of which is potent enough to make Mary pregnant?
Every single atom is drunk on this Perfection and runs towards It
And what does this running secretly say but "Glory be to God!"
- Jalal-ud-Din Rumi
(Translated by Andrew Harvey from A Year of Rumi)
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The birds don't alter space.
They reveal it. The sky
never fills with any
leftover flying. They leave
nothing to trace. It is our own
in chill air. Be glad.
They equal their due
moment never begging,
and enter ours
without parting day. See
how three birds in a winter tree
make the tree barer.
Two fly away, and new rooms
open in December.
Give up what you guessed
about a whirring heart, the little
beaks and claws, their constant hunger.
We're the nervous ones.
If even one of our violent number
could be gentle
long enough that one of them
found it safe inside
our finally untroubled and untroubling gaze,
who wouldn't hear
what singing completes us?
~ Li-Young Lee ~
(Book of My Nights)
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
The above youtube link is to an interview with Ellen Emmet in the UK who promises to be quite interesting in her approach and ideas. She is involved in Authentic Movement--Janet Adler is one of the founders of this movement and Janet wrote "Arching Backward," an intimate account of her own Kundalini awakening. The article also mentions Francis Lucile, an interesting teacher of the Kashmiri Shaivism non-duality school.
Yes, movement definitely helps to promote the state of oneness or non-duality, since in this condition mind and body meld as one. It is (for folks like me) important to keep in mind that the "movement"need not be very much for the state of oneness to emerge--indeed, very subtle movement can often produce a more pronounced state of non -duality than large or gross movements.
Here is a synopsis of the tracks on this youtube video from the interview with Ellen Emmet by Jerry Katz, editor of ND Highlights:
0:00 - 7:08 Some banter, Ellen's background, self-introduction. Authentic Movement introduced. Janet Adler mentioned and her book Arching Backwards. Some of Janet Adler's story of her Kundalini awakening and her description of direct experience. Ellen being drawn to Adler's writing. The Amazon.oom link for Arching Backwards: The Mystical Initiation of a Contemporary Woman, by Janet Adler is http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0892815469/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0892815469&linkCode=as2&tag=nondualitysal-20
7:08 - 13:23 Inclusion of Authentic Movement under the umbrella of nonduality as inspiring to Ellen. Adler's use of the terms nonduality and unitive state. Varieties and roots of Authentic Movement.
13:23 - 21:06 Ellen describes what Authentic Movement is. Roles of mover and witness profoundly described.
21:06 - 24:45 Responsibilities of the witness and facilitator of Authentic Movement. Formalizing of AM by Adler. The people drawn to AM. AM being like therapy.
24:45 - 27:38 Use of the term "longing" by Adler in Offering from the Conscious Body. Conjecture of what Adler meant by longing. Significance of longing. The Amazon.com link for Offering From the Conscious Body is a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0892819669/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0892819669&linkCode=as2&tag=nondualitysal-20
27:38 - 31:22 The form of Authentic Movement discussed. Shifts in the quality of the atmosphere and time. Sacredness of repetition of movement.
31:22 - 36:24 "Being moved" compared to "I'm moving." Oneness with creativity or shakti. Longing re-visited. Experience of unitive states and value of knowing about nondual teachings.
36:24 - 39:56 What clients of Authentic Movement are looking for.
39:56 - 44:24 AM as a source for all creative endeavors. A brief reading from Adler's Offering from the Conscious Body. Meaning of "energetic phenomena."
44:24 - 54:24 Ellen's discovery of Francis Lucille while working with Janet Adler. Ellen responds to question about role of AM as a portal to nondual discovery. Francis's teaching of yoga and its profound focus and outcome. The real body as awareness. Rupert Spira's clarity mentioned.
54:24 - 58:16 Nature of Francis Lucille's message and teaching. The real body as awareness. Clarity of Rupert Spira. "You can be as clear as you are clear." Ellen addresses the question, "How has Authentic Movement been of value to you in communicating nonduality?" Being "intimate with the unfolding of experience."
58:16 - 1:02:56 Applying some of the form and purpose of Authentic Movement to nondual discussion groups. The gift of witnessing. Incorporation of a witness. Silence.
1:02:56 - 1:07:39 Ellen's interest in bringing Authentic Movement to her nondual offering. Ellen questioning herself on how the "less nondual" teachings fit in with her nondual offering.
1:07:39 - 1:14:36 Feminine nature of these offerings. Meeting at a connection of the heart. Sharings beyond the body/mind as where Ellen received glimpses of the nondual. "The sense of hearing the space was exquisite." Combing strands of space. Glimpses not being completely met.
1:14:36 - 1:20:11 It's all art. What Ellen will be doing at the Science and Nonduality Conference Europe 2013. Her other work. Talking about interviewing Rupert. Facing the places of resistance. Finishing the interview. Casual conversation.
(Note: personally, I think it is exciting that the internet allows us to make such continuing connections--thus Janet Adler (whose book on Kundalini is well known) is associated with Francis Lucille (prominent teacher of Kashmiri Shaivism) and both are influential in the work of a therapist/movement teacher in Oxford, England).
Monday, May 20, 2013
What is green in me
If woman is inconstant,
good, I am faithful to
ebb and flow, I fall
in season and now
is a time of ripening.
If her part
is to be true,
a north star,
good, I hold steady
in the black sky
and vanish by day,
yet burn there
in blue or above
quilts of cloud.
There is no savor
more sweet, more salt
than to be glad to be
and who, myself,
I am, a shadow
that grows longer as the sun
moves, drawn out
on a thread of wonder.
If I bear burdens
they begin to be remembered
as gifts, goods, a basket
of bread that hurts
my shoulders but closes me
in fragrance. I can
eat as I go.
- Denise Levertov
Friday, May 17, 2013
The surest sign of spiritual progress is a total
lack of concern about progress. There is an utter
absence of anxiety about anything like liberation
and a sort of hollowness in one's being, a kind of
looseness and involuntary surrender to whatever
~Ramesh S. Balsekar
via Along The Way
"There is no greater inspiration and no greater courage than the intention to lead
all beings to the perfect freedom and complete well-being of recognizing their
Whether you accomplish the goal isn't important.
The intention alone has such power that as you work with it, your mind will become
stronger, your mental and emotional habits will diminish, and you'll become more
skillful in helping other beings.
In so doing, you'll create the causes and conditions for your own well-being."
~Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
From the book, "Joyful Wisdom: Embracing Change and Finding Freedom,"
published by Three Rivers Press.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.
It could, you know. That's why we wake
and look out -- no guarantees
in this life.
But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
~ William Stafford ~
(The Way It Is)
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
First, this explanation from TED
The debate about Rupert Sheldrake’s talk
Posted by: Tedstaff
March 19, 2013 at 12:01 pm EDT
At TEDxWhitechapel on January 13, 2013, Rupert Sheldrake gave a provocative talk in which he suggests that modern science is based on ten dogmas, and makes the case that none of them hold up to scrutiny. According to him, these dogmas — including, for example, that nature is mechanical and purposeless, that the laws and constants of nature are fixed, and that psychic phenomena like telepathy are impossible — have held back the pursuit of knowledge.
TED’s scientific advisors have questioned whether his list is a fair description of scientific assumptions — indeed, several of the dogmas are actually active areas of science inquiry (including whether physical ‘constants’ are really unchanging) — and believe there is little evidence for some of Sheldrake’s more radical claims, such as his theory of morphic resonance, and claim that the speed of light has been changing. They recommended that the talk be should not be distributed without being framed with caution. Accordingly, we have reposted his talk here, with the above cautionary introduction. We invite scientists, skeptics, knowledge-seekers and supporters — and Sheldrake himself, if he’s willing — to join in a conversation over this talk.
(from Dorothy: This conversation is now closed, but it is possible to view many comments online at the TEDX site. For more information, check out Sheldrake's own website, as well as that of Graham Hancock, whose talk was also removed from the mian TED site. TED claimed that they took down the talks on the advice of a board of anonymous scientists, who insisted his views were "pseudo-science". This is interesting because the purpose of the Whitechapel conference was to investigate challenges to the mainstream scientific paradigms. Apparently, they did repost the talk but under a different category--TEDX. Rupert Sheldrake called this being put in "the naughty corner."
Rupert Sheldrake himself is a highly credentialed scientist, whose unorthodox theories have circulated for many years. Right or wrong, his theories have provided interesting materials for consideration and discussion. Like all innovative thinkers, his views have sparked much controversy in orthodox (establishment) circles.
As Sheldrake himself pointed out, the act of suppression proved his point--that "science" as a field is tied to certain dogmas (beliefs that cannot be challenged) and thus will not tolerate any questioning of these dogmas. Somehow, for me, the whole controversy is strongly reminiscent of the famous case in earlier centuries when Galileo was punished by the Church for claiming that earth was not in fact the center of the universe--only today the "establishment" is science itself which is intolerant of any challenge to its enshrined belief systems.
This dispute is of special importance to all of us who experience or believe in the reality of Kundalini --an experience totally outside the purview of mainstream science, which ignores its actual presence and, if confronted, would, I suspect vigorously deny that Kundalini exists. In the meantime, those of us blessed with the pleasures and pains of Kundalini, experience in our own bodies its constant presence in our lives.)
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Themes for Operas
(dedicated to all who have ever suffered a broken heart, for whatever reason)
The broken heart:
how many ways
the motif plays over
in its myriad forms.
The deceitful lover:
that is one of the favorites.
First the trusting partner,
the adoring mate.
Then the surprise of
a ship wreck,
on a deserted island,
a voice sobbing
in the night.
Who knows why it happens?
filled with bravado
leading to excess,
not sturdy enough
to play the game?
Naivete punished for its
Are our lives nothing
of lost loves?
April 13, 2013
Monday, May 13, 2013
ACCESSING THE SUBTLE SUBTLE ENERGIES
FIRST OF ALL, LET US ASK, “WHAT ARE THE SUBTLE SUBTLE ENERGIES?
Yoga, of course, when properly done, deals in the “subtle energies” of the body. These are the “feelings” of the bliss currents within, the sometimes gentle, sometimes intense waves of ecstasy and rapture that can accompany the asanas themselves. Many today imagine that yoga has a totally different purpose—to relax the system, or to tone and make more supple and athletic the muscles and other structures that make up what we think of as “who we are.” The asanas can, of course, achieve these ends, but such is not its essential purpose.
The original and ultimate purpose of yoga is to give us connection to the divine—yoga translated means “yoke” and hatha yoga is but one aspect of this sacred system.
But for some—perhaps suddenly, perhaps after years of practice—there are even other ways of awakening the “bliss currents” within. Some do it with music, when dedicated listening brings forth the streams of sweet rapture. This is a definite physical sensation, occurring in and through the recognized subtle network (the yogis speak of these many inner channels as the “nadis” and there are many thousands of these.)
Others pursue other modalities,, such as aromatherapy, gentle movement (t’ai chi, chi gong and the like), free form movement, dancing, crystal magic, sexual pleasure—all of these can awaken and circulate the sacred currents.
Some employ these subtle energies for more “outward” pursuits—such as observing the auras surrounding the body, energy healing, channeling, artistic endeavors, creative outlets of many kinds.
But—beyond the awakened muscular self and the sweet and often delicate inner energies that may accompany such awakening, there is yet another, even more subtle, even more delicate energy system—this is what I call the “subtle subtle energy body.”
Over the years (say, about 30), I had explored many of the practices mentioned above. But I had never really explored aroma therapy, and it was through this gateway that the energies I am describing made themselves known. I had already reached a point in my practice when I felt the delightful flow through extremely gentle movement, perhaps by circling my hands over my arms and torso; sometimes I could move these currents simply by imperceptibly flexing my fingers or even by moving my eyes back and forth.
But it was when I discovered a bottle of tinctures from Australia and—after a few deep inhalations-- held this vial as I moved my hands in circles over, across, and around my body-- that I seemed to reach yet another level. First my face and ears opened, then my scalp, then—as I moved my hand downward—each chakra in turn was awakened into bliss. I held the bottle several inches from my body—it was my “subtle body,” not my physical body that I was sensing.
Recently, I seem to have discovered yet another subtle subtle response. My wonderful craniosacral practitioner recently showed me a very gentle, easy set of neck and shoulder stretches to alleviate the upper back pain that I have carried for years. I have discovered that not only do these movements help to relieve the pain, but each often produces a special opening into the blissful channels of other, often unrelated parts of the body. As I turn my neck toward my shoulder, I sometimes feel the currents moving up my spine in delightful ripples. Sometimes a similar feeling awakens in some major chakra.
And this morning, there was yet another novel sensation. I often perform gentle hip rotation as I do this set of moves, and I discovered that merely by moving my hips in gentle, small circles, I could in fact send delightful energies across my upper back (the place of previous pain) and shoulders.
These are what I call the “subtle subtle eneriges”. They arouse feeling well beyond the familiar bliss of hatha yoga, operating as it does generally through the major chakras. Such diffuse pleasure offers a source of joy to many who can no longer perform the traditional asanas (perhaps because of age or physical limitations). There is no end to blissful awakening.
Are these responses well known in the yoga community? I have no idea, but I have never heard them discussed or read of them in spiritual journals. And, unfortunately, I have no way to “teach” these practices to others. I think each of us is on a solitary path where we must make our own essential discoveries, albeit we can often learn from more advanced teachers or guides.
I call my own journey that of the “sacred pathway.” I call what I feel Kundalini bliss, for I believe that Kundalini is the ultimate source of the creative energies of the universe, and that we are extremely blessed when we tap into its amazing capacities to give us a taste of its boundless delight.
I also believe (with Gopi Krishna) that these are the energetic awakenings that—through Kundalini (creative energies of the universe, sacred union , holy spirit, god power) will bring us all into a new level of consciousness, universal awakening into a state where matter (humanity) is infused with divine essence.
P. S. In all honesty, I also must confess that even after I do these delightful exercises, even after I feel the exquisite energies flowing in virtually all the places in my physical body, my muscles are still sore later on. I know energies heal when they are sent through the places that ache or hurt, so I am puzzled as to why the bliss currents are replaced by soreness or pain once I stop. Maybe the fact that the weather is cold and rainy has something to do with it. Wish I could do the energetic movements all day some time and see if that helps. But, alas, I must be about my business in the world and be grateful for the half hour or so of joy that comes my way.
P. P. S. When I wrote the above paragraph (several days ago), there was indeed snow on the ground and chilly temperatures. However, when I posted it on this blog, the weather had turned around--the snow was long gone and the thermometer read 86 degrees--far too hot for comfort.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
In a world of constant change and stress the wisdom of the Tao is a calm refuge for the mind and heart.
One big positive change that is happening for Anam Cara is that we are relocating back to Westchester County, NY this summer. We'll miss our friends here in Cincinnati even as we look forward to finding a new home in New York where we can offer weekly programs, courses and retreats as we did in the past.
We'll be having the monthly Saturday evening meditation program at Katonah Yoga in Bedford Hills, NY on May 18th at 7pm. Everyone is welcome! Then we will begin again later in the summer after we've completed the move. Please stay in touch for information on our new location and new programs.
Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu
Stephen Mitchell, translator and editor
The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It is content with the low places that people disdain.
Thus it is like the Tao.
In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don't try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.
When you are content to be simply yourself
and don't compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.
Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner.
Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.
We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.
We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.
We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.
Anam Cara Meditation Foundation
Everyone is welcome to our non-denominational meditation programs. No experience is necessary.
Katonah, NY Monthly Meditation Sessions
Saturday May 18th: 7-8:45 pm (No June program, please stay tuned for July & August schedule) Fee: By donation. Suggested donation: $20
Location: Katonah Yoga is generously hosting us once again! We're delighted to be back at the Katonah Yoga studio with their expertly trained yoga teachers and great programs.
39 Main Street, Bedford Hills, NY 10507
Everyone is welcome!
Lawrence Edwards, Ph.D.
Founder and Director
Anam Cara Meditation Foundation
ll newsletter contents copyrighted 2013
phone: 513-439-9668 or 845-304-4965
(Note from Dorothy: I have been offline a few days because of computer problems. A good friend solved these, and I am once more back in business.
The wisdom of the Tao Te Ching is timeless--it lifts the spirit each time you read it.)
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Mr. Bus Driver,
for not waiting
at the corner of
Sacramento and Octavia
even though you
must have seen
me running across
the street towards you.
arriving on foot at the corner of
California and Gough,
Grace overwhelmed me with
for San Francisco,
for its moist air and dazzling light,
its hills and architecture and
above all, its humanity,
that suddenly everything
and everyone, including you,
was transformed into a messenger of
Monday, May 06, 2013
Shakti is Kundalini, Kundalini is Shakti. Each is the energy of the divine mother, the creative life force of the universe. Sounds like a wonderful gathering.
Discount Tickets for Shakti Fest
Joshua Tree, CA
May 17 ~ 19
Pre-Shakti Fest Offerings
THESE GATHERINGS ARE NOW FULL
SEE YOU AT SHAKTI FEST!
Long Beach, CA
May 10 ~ 11
Dear Yoginis and Yogis,
The yoginis of the Kali Kula are on the move! A small group of courageous and dedicated practitioners are making their way on pilgrimage to Long Beach and to Shakti Fest to drink in the nectar of the Kali Practices in community. Join as we dive deeply into the richness of Kali sadhanas and rituals under the night sky.
There is such joy in community! There is such joy in Kali's lap!
Sending all my love and fierce blessings,
May 17 -19 Joshua Tree, CA
Use the discount code 2013aditi
and receive $50 off
your weekend festival pass!
Day passes and student tickets are also available
Shakti Fest is a more intimate version of our September Festival, Bhakti Fest. It is celebration of the Divine Feminine in all. Shakti Fest is a three-day music festival celebrating devotion through chanting, yoga, meditation and community. All of our presenters embody the spirit of Bhakti-deep devotion.
We gather on 450 acres of inspiring desert land to express our love and devotion as one community through an enchanting array of activities, including:
Constant Kirtan Concerts
Private and Group Meditation
Vegetarian, Vegan, and Raw Vegan Cuisine
Fire Ceremonies (Pujas)
Eco-Friendly Vendor Village
Camping, Cottages and Cabin Accommodations
Wellness Sanctuary: with massage, reiki, channeling, and other unique healing sessions.
A substantial portion of the festival's proceeds are donated to charitable organizations
I'm honored to once again be part of this weekend of Shakti-infused devotional offerings to Ma. It is an opportunity for us to dive deeply into the devotional embodied practices of the Divine Mother through kirtan, yoga, workshops, and reuniting with our practice community.
There will be a late night Kali Puja and I'm also part of a the Shakti Circle, a conversation with yoginis Shiva Rea, Dawn Cartwright, Mirabai, and Laura Amazzone.
please check schedule upon arrival for most up to date timings
Saturday 1:30am (late night Friday)
Come honor the ecstatic and blissful Goddess Kali Ma through ritual, music, and dance. This is a gathering of devotees under the late night/early morning sky to practice our fierce devotion to the loving and nourishing Mother. We gather up the energies, make offerings, suffuse ourselves with them, and then send the blessings out into world. This is a highly inclusive and intimate form of ritual and offering; everyone may participate to the extent that they wish. Aditi Devi Ma, an authorized Shakta pujarini, will lead us in the puja offering to invoke the radiant presence and grace of Kali Ma. We are joined by Shakti Fest musicians. Your dance offering is welcome.
Shakti Circle Workshop
with Dawn Cartwright, Shiva Rea, Laura Amazzone, and Mirabai
THE LONG BEACH GATHERINGS ARE NOW FULL.
SEE YOU AT SHAKTI FEST!
Pre-Shakti Fest Offerings
Long Beach, CA
Kali Kula Practices
Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11
Nisha Bhairavi and Geanna Gonzalez Wood
THESE GATHERINGS ARE NOW FULL. SEE YOU AT SHAKTI FEST!
Registration ~ Space is limited ~ Your paid donation is what reserves your space. Please email Nita at firstname.lastname@example.org with which modules you will be attending and the amount of your donation for each module. You will see the suggested donation scale beneath each description. No one turned away for lack of funds. You will then make your donation via paypal or by handing Nita check or cash in person or via snail mail.
All details such as address, what to bring, info on our lunch and snack breaks will be given upon registration and as we move closer to the weekend.
Women's Yogini Circle: The Yoga of Union
Friday, May 10
7pm ~ 10pm
We come together in sacred circle with other women to explore the nature of sacred relationship. How does the Feminine live as the love offering that she truly is? What is the nature of Union? What is the Radha of existence? We will explore the Yoga of Union as it manifests in our bodies through discussion, pranayama, movement, and other yogas to move love and awareness through our open bodies. We will celebrate embodiment in the female body, with deep relationality, in a tender and nourishing circle of sisterhood.
Suggested Donation Scale $20 ~ $40
The Faces of the Goddess: The Song of the Hundred Names of Adya Kali
for Women and Men
Saturday, May 11
10am ~ 4pm
Do you love the Dark Goddesses and want to go deeper in your relationship to Her? In this daylong gathering, we will immerse ourselves more of in the embodied practices of the Goddess Kali. Along with learning more about the lineage of the Kali Kula and the worship of women as the divine, we focus on the sadhana of the recitation of the hundred names of the Dark Mother Kali (aadyaa kaalikaadevyaah shatanaama stotram). This practice can be done alone as the foundation of one's daily practice, or in community. The recitation of Her names is a form of embodied devotion, where the deity and the devotee become one. Join us in this blissful exploration of the faces of Ma Kali.
Suggested Donation Scale $80 ~ $125
Kali Fire Puja
Saturday, May 11
7pm ~ 10pm (or later?)
Come honor the ecstatic and blissful Goddess Kali Ma through ritual (and possibly music and dance). This is a gathering of devotees under the night sky to practice our fierce devotion to the loving and nourishing Mother. We gather up the energies, make offerings, suffuse ourselves with them, and then send the blessings out into world. This is a highly inclusive and intimate form of ritual and offering; everyone may participate to the extent that they wish. Aditi Devi Ma, an authorized Shakta pujarini, will lead us in the puja offering to invoke the radiant presence and grace of Kali Ma.
Suggested Donation Scale $30 ~ $60
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Aditi Devi | A remote yogini mandir | Boulder | CO | 00000
Saturday, May 04, 2013
I received the following from my friend Barbara Whitfield and am passing it along to anyone interested:
Sharon Cormier and I are giving the Kindle version of our new AFGE book away starting tonight at Mid-night through Monday night.
Here is the link to our new book:
Please feel free to pass this along to anyone on your list that may be interested. [If you don't have a Kindle you can download the free Kindle App to your computer or iPad and read the book on that.]
The Back cover carries strong endorsements by Bruce Greyson and Kenneth Ring, but for some reason I cannot paste them onto this site. Sharon "spends much of her energy developing new ways to apply yoga and Buddhist philosophy to her own life and sharing this knowledge with others in workshops and classes. Barbara is especially known for her work in the fields of NDE as well as healing repeated childhood trauma.
Friday, May 03, 2013
IVAN GRANGER'S BOOK SIGNING
I received the following note yesterday from Ivan Granger, someone many of you are familiar with as the creator of the internet site Poetry Chaikhana, which publishes some of the finest poets in the spiritual tradition. Ivan's new book, called "Real Thirst," is available from Amazon and also from this site. I was honored to write the introduction to this volume, Ivan's first published book. (Longmont is near Denver, for those of you not familiar with the location.)
I am going to be doing a book signing this Saturday at a coffee shop in Longmont. My day is going to be full, so I can't offer any rides, so I realize you may not be able to make it out here, but I'd love to see you if you do have a way out to Longmont. It will be on Saturday, between 1:00 and 3:00 pm at La Vita Bella coffee shop, on the corner of 3rd and Main in downtown Longmont.
PERFORMANCE BY ANDREA GIBSON
Last night I attended an outstanding poetry performance by Andrea Gibson, a local artist who performs nationally and has won several awards for outstanding poetry slam presentations. She combined fire with insight, dedication with talent. It was an electrifying evening for her enthusiastic audience of over one hundred listeners (mostly lesbians, these mostly under the age of 40.) To me, she seemed to be a wonderful combination of Sylvia Plath (lots of pain poems), Lawrence Ferlinghetti (plenty of anti-establishment fervor), and Lily Tomlin (great comic sensibility). It was deeply inspirational, to find an up and coming poet of such talent ready to share her creative work with a live audience. The fact that this audience was totally receptive was also encouraging, in a time when many have simply "tuned out" poetry. As a long time teacher of poetry and a poet as well, I was much heartened by the entire process--poetry is not dead at all, but still lives in a vibrant way through voices such as Andrea. I expect to hear much more from her in future--talent such as hers will take her far.
She has a website that you can google and also several pieces on Youtube which you can check out to get the full flavor of her work.
(She also had a wonderful musical buddy who offered great selections along the way, but unfortunately I did not catch her name--she is also is someone with impressive talent.)
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Say I am You
I am dust particles in sunlight.
I am the round sun.
To the bits of dust I say, Stay.
To the sun, Keep moving.
I am morning mist,
and the breathing of evening.
I am wind in the top of a grove,
and surf on the cliff.
Mast, rudder, helmsman, and keel,
I am also the coral reef they founder on.
I am a tree with a trained parrot in its branches.
Silence, thought, and voice.
The musical air coming through a flute,
a spark of stone, a flickering in metal.
Both candle and the moth crazy around it.
Rose, and the nightingale lost in the fragrance.
I am all orders of being, the circling galaxy,
the evolutionary intelligence, the lift, and the falling away.
What is, and what isn't.
You who know, Jelaluddin,
You the one in all, say who I am.
Say I am you.
- Jellaludin Rumi
(translation by Coleman Barks)
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
all at once I was there the Presence
a torrent of ecstasy seamlessly pitched
beyond our range of hearing a Light
too blindingly pure--unseeable by eyes
I don't know why it descended on me
abruptly out of nowhere everywhere
splitting me open like a milkweed pod
piercing straight to my defenseless soul
snowy seeds of awe and pain rapture
and longing spilled into the drastic air
they're numberless the names of God
who can say one's right one's wrong?
each is born from ravished awakening!
the name that now unerringly struck
transfixing me, was this: Infinitely Holy
I felt this loved this died this knew this
This is what I am you are everything
no matter how outrageously we forget
I wept at human folly the difference
between how we live and what we are
This beautiful poem by Bob Savino captures in a very special way the moment of awakening to divine presence. Many who undergo spontaneous Kundalini awakening undergo such experience--unexpected, rapturous, and nearly overwhelming.
(Note: the above picture is what I am (again) seeing from my window today. Once again, we are having substantial snow, even though it is now May.)