Some Love

The truth

Lies somewhere in the middle

Let me find that place

Between what I want

And what you want

Between

All wanting

*

Beyond that

*

Beyond fear

Beyond rage

Beyond hopelessness

Or complacency

Beyond even

A sense of urgency to fix what is broken

What is un-healed

*

Beyond that

Or maybe underneath it

Let me sit with you

Hold your hand

And just feel what is

*

What is

Right now

And now

And now

*

Don’t Gaslight Yourself

A friend and I have been discussing the experience of facing the truth – in relationships, in the world, in how we show up as ourselves or not as ourselves, in how we treat our bodies, in how we treat those close to us, and in how we experience the inner-voice.

First of all, any message – within our own minds, from the media, from a lover or a friend or a group or a cause or a family member or a psychic or a guru or a teacher or a guardian – any message we receive that tells us we are inherently bad, or “they” are inherently bad  – is bullshit.

In so many ways – we must re-learn how to trust our gut.

If the message feels bad, that’s our first cue to check it out.  

Why does it feel bad?

Before having another beer or going shopping or watching porn or yelling at someone or going cold inside or eating too much or driving too fast or having disconnected sex or making another compromise or going after more money or proving your point — pause for a minute and ask:  Why do I feel bad right now?  What is the feeling inside that I’m trying to get away from?  What is it, and what is it telling me? 

Is it uneasy?

Is it hard to pinpoint?

Is it grotesque?

Does it contrast (at all) with the feeling of being inherently OK?

Does it derail me (even a little) from knowing that I am good?

What is this feeling that is telling me to escape?

Don’t feel this this.

What is this feeling that keeps me from letting myself pause?

Rest.

Feel.

For many of us, pausing will feel uncomfortable, especially if we’re out of practice.

Pausing can feel downright irritating, painful or even horrifying.

Like the whole house of cards might come crashing down.  

These illusions about what we are chasing and what we are running away from….they might not survive the fire of awareness that exists in one singular pause.

Pausing  and noticing will often sound like a terrible idea (or even a terribly boring idea) when there is inner work waiting patiently for us to show up and buckle up.

For me personally, I don’t know how I would be able to handle the inner work at all without the experience of Guru, without my beloved chant teacher, without the healing love from family and a few close friends.  Although I have been blessed with my share of struggles, I also recognize that my soul was drawn to certain experiences to lead me to Guru, which I understand as Supreme Consciousness and Bliss.  Less of me and more of That,  please.  

And yet, I continue to find myself faced with experiences of needing to create boundaries, dealing with ego, finding out how to become more truthful within myself, how to change patterns, how to pause when I feel angry, how to pause when my heart is closed, how to pause when I feel doubt.

When we follow any train of thought that derails us from knowing that we are (inherently) OK, that we are (inherently) good, and that we are (in fact) the embodiment of pure love — we naturally want to escape.

Because want to feel better.  

And because somewhere, deep inside, we know that those self-destructive thoughts are simply NOT TRUE.

Even our subconscious mind is pulling us back to recognizing our essential nature, and even in our ignorance we are chiseling away at uncovering the true brilliance that is our birthright.

Even self-sabotaging behavior is another way of trying to feel better.  We want to distract ourselves from the real pain and the real feelings by creating alternate overwhelming feelings or numbness to feelings.  We are pulling the wool  over our own eyes.

The common self-sabotaging behaviors that are discussed widely include: remaining in abusive relationships, seeking out abusive relationships, food/eating disorders, cutting, alcohol/substance addiction, gambling addiction, porn addiction, you-name-it addiction, etc., etc.

But it can also look like not speaking our truth in our relationships, and even in our day-to-day dealings with people. It can look like all the little transgressions that we don’t speak up about, that we settle for, that we perpetuate.  It can look like staying on the surface of things and sweeping important issues under the rug.

Smiling when we feel like shit inside.

This kind of self-sabotage, or what I call “self-gaslighting,” can look like experiencing jealousy and not talking about it because I’m not supposed to feel jealousy.  Because feeling jealous is not very cool or evolved or hot or sexy or mature or kind or whatever it is I’m supposed to be.

If I hold that energy inside, I don’t feel good.  If I go into denial about having jealous feelings, I’m suppressing my own awareness.  The more I attempt to numb out to that feeling, the more I am derailing myself.  The mind will likely chip in a few thoughts of condemnation (like “wow, you are so weak for having this feeling” or even “you’re so self-absorbed for feeling jealous; someone more evolved wouldn’t have that problem”). This kind of situation can become its own catch-22, full of feeling bad about feeling bad!  

Anyone who has allowed self-defeating thoughts to derail them a lot or a little will relate to the rabbit hole of self-criticism we can wander into — the checklist of failures appears and suddenly the proof is all there for the various ways that we have somehow not measured up.

In a situation that happened earlier this year, an experience of Grace occurred when I was staying out at my friend’s house on the island.  I had gone there to clear my head and my heart and reground.  It was late, and I was lying in bed under clean sheets in a room that is filled with my Guru’s energy.  Suddenly, I was prompted to energetically pull all of the love that I had been giving back into myself, and I could reach back for years or even lifetimes and pull all that love and all that effort into my current self, the one experiencing the suffering of jealousy.

The love of my ancestors was also present, like love attracting more of itself and pulling even greater love into the receptive vessel that is my heart.  My Gurus and my Angels were in the room, as well.  It was truly bright, and I have never felt so protected.

I suddenly realized: I can trust myself.  

I can constantly turn to this Love that is completely free and ever-available.

All I have to do is open my heart to receive it.

I went to sleep content that night, knowing I didn’t have to be or do anything to be cradled by the Infinite experience of Love.  Knowing…in truth….I am That.

And when I woke up, guess what?

The work was still waiting for me.  It was still necessary to deal with that icky feeling.  It hadn’t quite left yet.

Jealousy.

Dammit.  Gross.  

I feel ugly.  

I feel less than whole.

 I feel less worthy.  

I feel unloved.  

I feel abandoned, rejected, lonely, scared.

I feel out of control.

I feel blah blah blah.

It doesn’t matter if I’m in a relationship or not.

I don’t actually need another person to fix this for me.

I need to hear an inner voice (the voice of Truth) say:

I love you.
You’re OK.
Your outer identity is not you.
Your experiences are not you.
Your feelings and thoughts are not you.
The life within you is good.
The life within you is sacred.
You are more than OK.

*

And if you ARE in relationship, having these feelings – hopefully both you and your partner have the bandwidth to hold space for each other when jealousy or other sticky-tricky emotions come up.

When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to share our truth, however awkward and shadowy it may be, we are honoring the is-ness of our state of being.

When others receive us with love and kindness in our vulnerability, they are also honoring the is-ness of our state of being.

Most likely this comes from their ability to honor themselves.

*

For me personally, telling my shadows to be quiet and invisible has never actually worked.

Telling my uncomfortable feelings and my intuition to shut-up was the self-gaslighting that let me stay in more than one shitty relationship.

It is quite possible to drive yourself mad through self-gaslighting.

*

If you have forgotten that you are OK, don’t run and don’t go numb, just pause and feel for a moment.

Most of us don’t transform our lives and behaviors overnight.

It becomes a series of remembering, bringing our attention back to the truth of our nature, which is goodness and effortlessly deserving of love.

If I am full of bad feelings, I can pause.

I might cry or breathe or cuddle my cat or pray or call somebody or go into a process of self-inquiry, with real curiosity and non-judgement.

From a more loving place, I might still drink a beer or eat more ice cream.  But I might enjoy it more.  I might have less desperate and escapist feelings about it.  I might even consciously free myself of any thought that is not compassionate, kind and loving toward myself.

Eventually, I might not even go for the ice cream or the beer.

But that won’t make me a better person.

The objective is love.

If I can love myself more, as I wake up daily to this thing called life…then I know I am on the right track.

*

Grace be with you.

Namaste.

*

 

 

 

The Walk

God-Realization is beautiful and terrifying, it is so vast.

Redemption is beautiful and terrifying, it is so vast.

Love.

Is beautiful.

And terrifying.

It is so vast.

My friends,

You know all there is to know.

The secret is out,

The whispers have become murmurs and the murmurs have become songs

And now more and more people are chanting

And knocking at the door of Truth

Because, what else is there?

The Love Paradigm exists: brilliantly, flawlessly, ceaselessly, unconditionally.

The Love Paradigm will be there when everything else falls away –

Even if you were to experience loss like Job in the Bible,

The Love Paradigm will reveal itself to you….It leaves no corner of the Universe untouched; It dwells within every closet, valley, illness, shadow and dark corner we can imagine.

It is so vast.

*

The ones who know are generally silent about it

I speak because I have so much left to know

And I speak because I am a seeker, yearning to describe the experience of unveiling Truth within my own life, within my own mind.

I have seen the Vastness

It has popped the bubble of my small mind

It has been carving windows into my heart

And these windows are portals to Grace

The light flows in and out of them,

And when I sit by these windows, within my own heart,

I am witness to unspeakable Love.

*

One of my best friends has described her first vision of an angel as “a golden wheel on fire with many eyeballs.”  She saw this as a teenager, without the use of drugs.  She was actually sitting in a church when it happened.  She later learned that many awakened souls have seen angels in the form of a wheel.

The wheel makes sense: the full cycle of formation, evolution and completion – over and over.  The turning of life.  The eyeballs, too: seeing, knowing, experiencing.  Perceiving, witnessing, absorbing.  And the fire: Moses saw God in the form of a burning bush.  What is it about flames that represent our divine nature?

*

We are formless

Deathless

Intrinsically connected

The merging of our atoms takes place energetically on this physical plane

And who’s to say how our souls merge when we are no longer in this body?

There is nothing to hide from and nothing to withhold.

Spirit is calling out to anyone who will listen:

“Love now, Children!  We are in a time of great need.”

Spirit calls us sweetly, but like a Mother, She resorts to any measure to get you to come home.

If the yodeling and serenade don’t work outside your window,

You may feel a huge gust of wind, an earthquake or a storm.

The tumultuous forces of change are also Grace,

Waking us up from aimlessness, boredom, fear, hatred and doubt.

Look around: you will see the human affliction every day.

But today, rather than creating a shield –

Today, may we feel more deeply

See more clearly

Hear more dearly

and love fearlessly

Today,

May we honor the heart in every soul we meet.

Let that be the service

The practice

The walk

*

 

 

 

Darshan

The face of God looked at me last Saturday.

She was leaving the hall around 2 a.m.  I rushed to stand behind a woman with her baby – what luck because Amma is drawn to babies, and She (of course) walked over and wrestled with his cheeks, giving him love.  The word “Ma” quietly escaped my lips, and that’s when She looked at me, taking me in.  Her face looked youthful and bright with wide eyes.  Her face appeared to elongate as if mirroring my face – I know that sounds strange and even self-absorbed, but I have also felt and seen a mirror reflection when looking at the face of Jesus as replicated from the Shroud of Turin.  God’s face is every face.  Every single face.

God is our true nature, and truly every being contains the inner guru.  As we sort out our karma and seek to live out our dharma, the true nature resides ceaselessly in us and as us.  But there are also Those who come as a Gift.  They contain no trappings of ego or karma.  They are fully liberated.  The pull to love and serve is so strong that they come to show the endless power that love is, the endless power that we are when we surrender to it.

Looking into the face of God is looking into Moksha, supreme liberation.

I received darshan twice over the weekend.  The first night I placed a garland upon Her shoulders and then wept in Her arms like a small child, clinging to Ma.  The next night I waited until 6:30 a.m. to go up for darshan.  It was the spacious time after completing Archana (chanting the 1,000 of the Divine Mother).  The line up to the stage was thinning, and there was a quiet stillness like pregnant moments, even as people talked and music continued.  I got in line, taking the last chair and showing the person with a green scarf the lettered token I’d been carrying.  I shyly kept my Jap Ji book wrapped in a scarf on my lap as I moved through the musical chairs that is the line taking you all the way up to Amma’s arms.

When I was placed in front of Her, I offered up the book while lowering my head.  She quickly handed it to one of Her attendants without giving it any attention, and immediately pulled me close to Her, wrapping me in Her embrace, turning my head one way, then the other, repeating in my ear the words She began telling me last year: “Mah Dohh-Tah, Mah Dohh-Tah, Mah Dohh-Tah” – Her accented way of calling me Her daughter, Her daughter, Her daughter.

Lifetimes of karma are lifted by Amma’s embrace.

I replay Her voice in my head.  I replay Her embrace.  I long to be held in Her arms again.  I long to offer Her all of me.  All of this self-identification.  All of this love.  All of this karma.  All of this beauty, darkness and light.  Everything ugly, everything I hide.  Everything I remember and everything I have forgotten.  I wash this entire being that I am in Amma’s love.  I am dough, I am clay, I soften.

*

But the high from Amma’s love is not static or permanent.  I’ve had a very hard week, full of horrible feelings and emotional turmoil.  I have felt a stark sense of loss. Am I grieving the death of false beliefs and conceptions?  Unfriendly thoughts stampede through my mind, stronger than ever before it seems.  They are like monsters, revealing the ugly faces of jealousy, fear, disappointment, anger, loss, grief.  Why now?

The monster remains in my reflection.  The ego is planted firmly within my consciousness.

These stories, these fantasies, these nightmares – all of these illusions are in my way, like leftover rubble after an earthquake.  Broken, of no use, but still there all the same.  The mind wanders away from truth, seeking shadows, seeking the familiar.

I am so very human, so very low of thought so much of the time.  Can I face the light?  Can I let all of this hideousness be seen?

FACE THE LIGHT
LET IT BURN “YOU” AWAY

ALL OF YOUR NOTIONS, ALL OF YOUR TENDENCIES TO JUDGE AND SEPARATE

“GOOD” AND “BAD” EXIST SIMULTANEOUSLY AND EFFORTLESSLY

IT ALL EXISTS, ALL OF THE TIME, AND MEANWHILE, IN THE CENTER OF TRUTH IS PERFECT LOVE

PERFECT ACCEPTANCE

PERFECT FORGIVENESS

PERFECT UNDERSTANDING

PERFECT PEACE

*

Call it Grace, call it Allah.

Call it Jesus, Shiva, Ram.

Call it Ma.

Call it anything that makes sense to you.

“It” contains everything.

Everything is enervated and alive by the power of “It”.

So, what is it that we are trying to control?

What is it that we are trying to kill?

What is it that divides me or you or anyone from seeing each other as we truly are – as stardust, God-dust, exquisitely unique formations of the Divine?

What else is there to know?

*

The darshan continues.

Through service to others.  Through connections and synchronicities.  Through the light in your eyes.  Through my smile.  Through honesty, however uncomfortable.  Through silence and listening.  Through tears and falling apart.  Through the gritty and uncomfortable, through the resistance, through the shadow dance.

Everything becomes the darshan.  Every face is God.  This greater reality is ever-present, so sublime we don’t see it.  In fact, often we run in the opposite direction from truth, biting hooks, chasing karma.  When will it stop?  When will “we” stop?

Amma gives a key.  She is not the first realized being to manifest in a human body.  She won’t be the last.  The key is your birthright.  Anyone can access it.

I’m less tormented today.  My shadows appear a little smaller, more like wild animals that I am learning to care for.  I have begun to think of my firmly-planted ego as my pet cactus.  It is so prickly, it doesn’t need much watering, but it is still my plant to care for.  And inside, cut open, even the cactus has something wonderful to offer.  The guru is everywhere.

I walk slowly today.

Sweeping the floor of my heart.

Opening the windows of my mind.

Letting in the air that is Shakti.

Namaste.

*

 

Nothingness

 

Nothing lasts forever.

Nothing does.

For nothing is not

A thing that can be kept.

In fact, it is not a thing at all.

It is not a philosophy or a religion.

It is not our core values, or lack thereof.

We know it is not the body.

It is not any of your relationships,

even the ones that break the laws of space and time.

It is not Karma or Destiny.

It is not our feelings or our will.

It is not instinct, nor impulse, nor gravitational pull.

It is not the elements, or made of the elements.

It is not concepts or ideas, or born from them.

Tell me then,

What is it?

The mind seeks resolution,

longing for the union of understanding.

Is it God, is it Energy, is it Love?

Is it Peace, is it Bliss?

Is it Transcendence?

How is Everything contained in Nothing?

The mind is mulling over these thoughts,

like a child with too many toys

Wondering, pondering, yearning

But the answer isn’t given through the head.

*

Follow the chakras down to the base, and hold.

Pull in the second chakra, two inches below the navel.

There is an energy portal at the spine’s foundation.

Back and forth through this gate, the breath moves in waves.

I have only experienced this acutely through yoga; specifically through the spine-strengthening series from the Ghosh lineage.

I am physically taken to the edge, and there is no room for thoughts.

These breaths are the only thing that matters.

Keep the mouth closed so the body can cool down.

Breathe in through the nose, out through the throat.

Lips are closed, jaw is soft, tongue resting on the soft palate.

There is a noise like tunneling wind as air travels through the chambers of the nose, mouth, throat, trachea, lungs.

My breath is the Ocean.

In through the nose, all the way down my spine to the sacrum –

Waves comes in

Flowing down the channel back to the source

Exhale

Waves go out

The pleasure astounds me

Up my spine

Down my legs

Frothy, bubbling, thrilling waves

Invigorating my cells with life

The tide pulls back while the breath is still letting go

Inhaling back to the base

Harnessing the energy

Feasting upon the breath

Building, mounting, filling up

The release happens naturally, without thought

Waves

In letting go, the gift of life is passing through

It is not mine to keep

There is no “me”

There is no “mine”

There is no thing to hold onto.

No thing, at all.

We will live, we will die, we will all cease to exist as who we know ourselves to be.

And the thing that is not a thing, the source of our life energy, will remain

Unstatic

Alive

Conscious

Free

*

 

 

 

 

 

Carry Less

 

Pierce the heart

In all you do

May you pierce the heart

And peer

Into the very light of life that inhabits this form

That form

And every form

*

Can you see

The quintessential hope for recognition?

“See me for what I am!” – we are crying

To do so,

We can soften our gaze

And for just a moment

We let the boundary between you and I cease to exist

*

Now do you remember?

*

A Buddhist teaching says that by now, we have all re-incarnated enough times that at some point, every face you see has been your mother.  And you have been theirs.

Can we even imagine a love this wide?

For one instant, will you contemplate?

And in that moment, will you simply forgive everyone, including yourself?

Will you simply accept everyone, including yourself?

Can you see how hungry this world is for the light of acceptance and love?

Can you face it for one second,

The thought of zero hierarchy happening throughout creation?

I speak of hierarchy of WORTH, not privilege.

There is no one less worthy of love than you.

Truly.

There is no one more worthy of love than you.

Deal with it.

*

At times, I feel myself shaken down to the core of my being.

I have to let so many things go!

It becomes the art of letting go.

I watch the pull to attach

To this reaction and that story

To this narrative that won’t shut-up

To that emotion, swallowing me whole

But none of it holds up to the light of truth now.

*

At times, I fall like Alice down the rabbit hole.

As I fall, I am passing all of these preconceived notions, all these relics from beliefs I once held.

I remember their shape and feel – I reach out to touch –

But they are nothing I can take with me now.

All of it, is only for observation.

The truth lies much deeper

My gravity pulls me to it

And I find myself having

A new kind of adventure

*

Now is the time to carry less

Care more

Carry less

Love more

And let everything else go

*

 

Neural Pathways

I’m following my thoughts, or they are following me.  Paved neural pathways carry me down trails of self-doubt, I don’t even notice.  Thoughts are chasing me into corners, but it’s my own voice speaking, so I am not alarmed.  It happens every day, this predictable demise of self-love.

Sometimes it is the small thoughts that wake me up.  Small, repetitive, tedious thoughts.  Nagging, list-making, flaw-finding thoughts.  Insidious thoughts – they take over and I don’t stop them.  They sound like the voice of reason, driving down these neural pathways that are more like neural ruts.  I am beginning to catch them before hours go by, before my whole day has been shadowed by doubt and dissatisfaction.

More and more, these life-sucking thoughts are being caught by the light of my own inner awareness.  They are becoming more noticeable, like red flags.  More and more, I bring myself to back away from the abyss of self-loathing….for that is exactly where the neural ruts lead me.  They all tell me I am garbage, in so many words.  Even (and sometimes especially) the “self-improvement” thoughts also lead me to that trashy feeling.  These thoughts are tricky, like I said!

They often present as subtle, grating, fear-based reasons for pervasive, fear-based questions.

Like:

“What is wrong with me?”

“Why am I fucked up?”

“Why do I do everything wrong?”

“Why do I suck at ______________?” (parenting, relationships, adulting, etc.)

“Why am I a horrible_______________?” (insert noun)

depression

When I look behind these thoughts – that are actually narrow, self-absorbed and self-loathing fantasies – I see where they are coming from.

I see the scared me.

The exhausted me.

The hurting me.

I see the me that has almost given up, but not quite, and if I could just have a hug and some love and some grounding energy, then maybe I’d be okay.

But I am alone.

It is up to me.

“It’s okay, baby” I say.

I stroke my own arm.

“You’re all good, kid” I whisper, hugging myself.

“This life shit is hard sometimes.  You are human.  You are on a spiritual quest with all the trappings of the body: Pleasure, Pain, Duality.  Joy, Loss, Grief.  Anger, Hate, Jealousy, Despair.  Fear and Desire.  Empathy.  Love.”

And with this quiet reminder, my tears are flowing and my heart is bursting with forgiveness – for this struggle, for the precarious nature of life, for myself, my friends, and for those who would be my enemies.

My neural pathways are being weeded and plowed.  The farmer of my mind is not my thoughts.

The Farmer tills the soil of my very heart.

My mind gives up resistance, in glimpses, here and there.  New neural pathways are explored.

This is more pleasure than I thought possible!  Are you sure this is allowed?

“Yes,” says the Farmer, “It’s your life.”

*