Monday, March 08, 2010
Though I'm enmeshed in study for the next few days, certain concerns have gripped me....which has resulted in having difficulty finding the "juice" I need to stay focused (not only with study, but with self-care issues in general). I often find myself near despair at situations in my immediate world, as well as further out there, spiraling into my neighborhood and state and country and continent and hemisphere and this aching, suffering planet.
I know that the only solution is doing the inner work of purifying my own heart with the resulting reassigning of my priorities, and each of us on the planet has the same responsibility. I look at my own mediocre success at this undertaking, even with all the teachers and resources and pointers I'm privileged to have in this life. Then I shake my head...that it's no wonder indeed that so many on the planet are deeply suffering.
Without realizing how minimally really that the material profit will REALLY "profit" us, we continue grasping for more and more, and at a more global level, the western powers go on greedily pushing forward, creating a model that other developing countries blindly follow for those same material gains. And for what, finally...?
My teacher, Sri Swami Satchidananda spoke about deep realization of these truths and this also hit home in a very profound way:
"You cannot say exactly what will open your mind and when it will happen. The real knowledge or wisdom will not dawn slowly. Once you get it, you have it. If you don't get it, you don't have it. The realization doesn't come little by little. Realization is instantaneous. When will it happen? Nobody can tell you. Even a small, trifling thing could do it.
"I will tell you a story about a saint named Patinatar. His father was a very rich man who had made a lot of money from shipping and other businesses. The father had seen many saints and sages and had studied a lot, but nothing had opened his mind to the Truth. He repeated his mantra regularly, performed religious rituals, did all the spiritual practices, but wisdom didn't dawn in him. One day he asked his son, Patinatar, to take his ship and go buy some merchandise. Patinatar went to an island and saw the poor people there. He spent all the money, millions of dollars, on helping these people. Patinatar realized that he couldn't go home with an empty ship, so he filled the entire ship with cow dung cakes, which were probably worth a hundred dollars or less. Then he sailed home.
"As soon as the boat arrived, some of the boatmen ran to the father and told him, 'Your son has gone crazy. He spent all of your money, and all he came back with is cow dung.' The father was so upset that he didn't even want to see his son. When Patinatar arrived at the house, his father was not even there to greet him.
"Patinatar gave a small package to his mother and said, 'Please give this to my father when he comes. I will see you later.' With that, he walked out. When the father came home, he asked, 'Where is my son?' His wife told him that Patinatar had come and gone, and gave him the package. When the father opened the package, he found a broken sewing needle and a note. The note said, 'Even the eye of a broken needle will not come with you on your final journey.' As soon as he read those words, he immediately took off his fancy clothes, put on a loin cloth, said goodbye to his house and his businesses, and walked out. Realization had dawned in him. He had heard many hundreds of stories before, he had read volumes, he knew all the philosophy, but nothing had opened his eyes until he saw these few words.
"Realization can dawn with the smallest thing. It doesn't have to be a big blow. That trifling thing is what you call the final straw. Wisdom dawns that way. At any moment, anything could be the last straw for you. Then you are enlightened. Until then, you are still preparing yourself. You are getting ready for that moment."
I'm sorry to be so sober and pensive this morning, but Swami Satchidananda's and Sri Easwarn's words spoke deeply to me and seemed worth sharing with my SparkFriends. I hope they strike a chord with you. Here now is Eknath Easwaran:
The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.
-- William Blake
One day, when I was a growing boy, my grandmother asked me a question, "Have you ever looked in Hasti's eyes?" Hasti was one of the elephants that frequently served in our religious ceremonies and that I had been learning to ride. Hasti's eyes, like the eyes of all elephants, were tiny-- ridiculously small, really, for an animal so huge. "She has no idea how big she is," Granny said, "because she looks out at the world through such tiny eyes."
If the world seems hostile and lifeless, and if we seem insignificant in it, it is because, like the elephant, we look at it through such tiny eyes. Through those small eyes, shrunken by the desire for profit and personal gratification, we appear just as insignificant as all the green things-- and all the other human beings, animals, fish, birds, and insects-- that stand in the way.
When we are absorbed in the pursuit of profit and desires, we live in the narrow world of the bottom line. In that world, our only neighbors are buyers and sellers, our only concerns property, profit, and possessions. Yet all around us is a world teeming with people, animals, organisms, and elements-- a deeply interconnected environment that responds to all we do.
Thursday, March 04, 2010
Perhaps a more *productive* use of this space would be to share the thoughts of my journey to body-mind-spirit wellness, with ideas about the various skills I can develop and make use of to facilitate that.
But I often need to step back from all the good advice of my own mind and that of my SparkFriends...and listen to the poets, the seers, the wisdom teachers...for the wisdom THEY offer on this journey.
For instance, Joy Harjo -- of Native American Canadian ancestry -- has been a hero of mine for a long time. She was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, May 9, 1951. She is an American poet, musician, and author. Known primarily as a poet, Harjo has also taught at the college level, played tenor saxophone with a band called Poetic Justice, edited literary journals, and written screenplays. She is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma and is of Cherokee descent. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.
She helps me remember the preciousness of this human life, and the value of caring lovingly for this *temple* that houses my soul.
Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star's stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is. I met her
in a bar once in Iowa City.
Remember the sun's birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother's, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe. I heard her singing Kiowa war
dance songs at the corner of Fourth and Central once.
Remember that you are all people and that all people are you.
Remember that you are this universe and that this universe is you.
Remember that all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember that language comes from this.
Remember the dance that language is, that life is.
~ Joy Harjo ~
(How We Become Human)
Monday, March 01, 2010
This redux of a phenomenal piece is dedicated to Noreen, who reminded me, and Sandra, who loves St. Francis, the mystic:
ST. FRANCIS AND THE SOW
stands for all things,
even those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as St. Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking
and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.
~ Galway Kinnell ~
(Mortal Acts, Mortal Words)
Saturday, February 27, 2010
FULL MOON IN VIRGO
Sunday, February 28, 2010
8:38am PST - 11:38am EST
Sun at 9.59 Pisces
Moon at 9.59 Virgo
You need set aside less than five minutes for this powerful ritual:
Drawing down the moon...
Imagine above you the round glowing disc of the moon, bathing you in a protective circle of light. Vibrant with energy, your space is transformed, filled with the purity of spirit. Stand and raise your arms above your head. Let your palms face each other and curve slightly toward the moon. Feel as though you're a sacred chalice, drawing the power of the Great Mother into every cell of your being -- from your toes, to your womb, to your breasts, to your jaw, and your eyes. Feel the pleasure of this energy. It is vibrant with the power to give, to receive, to nurture life, and manifest what is possible.
Sending your blessings...
Draw your hands to your heart. Massage this area. Feel that you have become the goddess, capable of balancing the earth and harmonizing its opposing forces. In particular you are tuned to the energies of Virgo and Pisces, signs devoted to magic, service and healing, although they approach their spiritual work from opposite directions.
Virgo is that aspect of the goddess who knows the right herb or the proper incantation to fix any problem; she is observant, discerning and analytical. Pisces is your blissful goddess nature. Compassionate, intuitive, and holistic, she sees into the heart of the world. Out of balance, Virgo is constipated, judgmental and perfectionistic. Pisces is helpless and disorganized; she escapes into an unhealthy world of addictions. When these shadow expressions run amok, we feel like our world is imperfect and falling apart. We feel like victims without any protectors. We feel like the diseases of the world will win.
Imagine this negativity circles the globe like a dark smoke. Know that if you breathe in this smoke you have the power to transform it in your heart -- breathing it out as the pure white light of the goddess. Read the affirmations and visualize the world's darkness dissolving with your breath. Find a comfortable rhythm and repeat the statements until your light has transformed the world.
fear of wild forces beyond our control.
the power to endure with strength and grace.
the world's sickness, its worries and blame,
a world that is radiant, healthy and harmonious.
whole cities torn asunder by disaster and war.
the power of the angels to set everything right.
Grounding the energy...
See the world bathed in the purifying light of your offering: the sleeping babies, the politicians arguing, the starving children, liars and thieves. See the world transforming with this light, growing peaceful and calm. When you are ready, bring your hands to your sides, palms facing the earth. Send your divine light deep into the earth. See this energy take shape as a round moon, gathering below you in the center of the earth. Feel yourself slowly coming back into your body. Rest in this peace until you are ready to return to your life.
The wonderful link:
Saturday, February 27, 2010
The body is mortal, but that one dwelling in the body is immortal and immeasurable.
-- Bhagavad Gita
When I say that this body is not me, I am not making an intellectual statement. It is an experiential statement. If you were to ask me, "Who is this body?" I would make an awful pun: "This is my buddy. I give him good food and good exercise, and I look after him very well, but he is not me."
My body has always been my faithful buddy, through many trials, and during many difficult times; and I let him know how much I appreciate his faithful service. We have an understanding: I take very good care of him, and he looks up to me as the boss. As Saint Francis used to say, "This body is Brother Donkey. I feed him, I wash him, but I am going to ride on him." Whenever we use drugs, or smoke, or drink immoderately, or overeat, the donkey is riding on us. Francis challenges us: "Don't you want to get that donkey off your back and ride on it?"
-- Eknath Easwaran
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