Conscious Handwashing

Conscious Handwashing

In uncertain times, what can we do? While we are staying at home, we can certainly wash our hands, consciously! And there is a way to get really into washing our hands without becoming obsessive-compulsive germaphobes.

I appreciate the World Health Organization’s short video tutorial on the proper way to wash our hands. Washing every surface of the hands is proven to be an effective way to reduce the spread of viruses. So let us hope that if we have the resources, we have started to pay much closer attention to washing our hands with these precious resources: soap, water, and mindfulness.

Columbia University School of Nursing’s Handwashing expert, Elaine Larson says, “quality handwashing matters just as much as quantity. Count to twenty seconds, sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice — heck, blow through a whole aria — but it will be for naught if you are not washing every surface of your hand.”

Good advice. Wash every surface. But let’s also contemplate beyond the surface.

As a yogi, I would like to take the handwashing protocol a step further, if I may. From a yogic perspective, the whole routine of washing every surface of the hands will be for naught if we do not bring our most expanded awareness to our actions. Yes, wash every surface of the physical hands; but also, involve every layer of being in the action of washing hands.

Health professionals tell us that washing hands is the most cost-effective way to reduce the spread of respiratory infections. Good news. When we are deeply mindful, there is also a deeper effect than monetary savings. To yogis, any activity that involves our attention on the subtle levels of being can and does impact our physical well-being. If we make it a practice not only to concentrate on the act but also to personally consecrate the action of washing our hands, this subtle level sacred offering can be a simple way to achieve collective upliftment in the collective human subconscious. Bringing consciousness of the subtle realms during this time of social, physical “isolation” can help mitigate the stress we may experience from isolation. Also, bringing more sacredness and consciousness to the action of washing our hands can prevent the routine from becoming a boring, mindless chore. Instead, washing our hands will be a sadhana (a consciousness practice). Plus, making it sacred helps avoid making handwashing an obsessive-compulsive habit done out of fear.

This blog post offers a way to make handwashing into a yoga kriya that will activate multiple layers of experience. We will slow down, bring new consciousness to handwashing; plus, during this time when yoga studios are closed, washing your hands can be your yoga practice (please remember, yoga is not only asana / postural practice).

What is a Yoga Kriya?

A yoga kriya is a series of connected movements that infuse a certain kind of energy and consciousness into these movements. Yoga kriya gets us involved in our actions beyond physical experience. So, not only do the exercises engage the physical body, but they coordinate the physical body to harmonize with the mental body, the breath, the intuition, and non-physical dimension that, once we touch it, makes us blissful.

Why Practice a Yoga Kriya?

Yogis make it a practice to bring a certain frequency of consciousness to every movement, every action of every day. One way to do this is to internally chant a mantra while going about the day. This means that for a yogi, the advice to “slowly count to 20 or sing happy birthday while you wash your hands” seems frivolous or mindless in a way that risks not bringing multi-dimensional, slowed, calibrated attention to the task. When we wash our hands as a yoga kriya, we create an opportunity to bring more dimensional quality to our attention, and perhaps even give a sacred sense to our handwashing.

This yoga kriya involves all that we are in a slowed down moments when we are washing our hands. Please note, this practice is not coming from any yoga lineage, culture, or institution. This handwashing yoga kriya emerged due to our shared experience, and it is a kriya that invites you into the moment washing your hands to play and just be you here.

Handwashing Yoga Kriya Instructions (video is below)

  • Stand before a wash basin with hands in prayer mudra. Breathe long and deep for three long, slow, deep breaths. Be present with this moment as if you are in the presence of someone or something that you hold dear. In other words, bring a sense of endearment, or even sacredness, to this present moment.
  • Now open the palms and face the palms forward at the level of the shoulders. Continue to breathe deeply, and visualize a warm, white light beaming out from the centers of your palms. Greet the air around your hands with gratitude. Feel gratitude towards the air, the hands, and the breath. Dwell in gratitude with deep awareness of the element air.
  • Turn the water on and allow water to flow over the hands. Greet the water with gratitude.
  • Turn off the water (conserve water), and soap the hands.
  • Chant the Yoga Yoga Yogeshwaraya chant (or any mantra you like) with the movements:

Yoga Yoga Yogeshwaraya

( Move palms together in circles, circle in one direction then circle back. )

Bhuta Bhuta Bhuteshwaraya

( Touch all fingertips of one hand to opposite palms then move in circles,

left then right )

Kala Kal Kaleshwaraya

( Wring fingers within fisted palms, like wringing water out of a wet cloth, left on top then right on top. )

Shiva Shiva Sarveshwaraya

( Rub or massage interlaced fingers extended, right over left then left over right. )

Shambho Shambho Mahadevaya

( Rub or massage left thumb with right hand;

rub right thumb with left hand. )

  • Repeat the chant with movements, at least three times with soap.
  • If possible, use elbow to turn on the faucet and rinse the hands in a conscious set of hand positions: 1. Cup the hands to receive the water. 2. Turn fingers toward the drain, and let the water run off the hands. 3. Press palms together and rub in a circular motion under the water stream.
  • Use elbow to turn faucet off. Shake hands. Feel the air and water interacting. Feel the drops falling off the skin. Be so present with the elements of air and water that you identify with them. Gently towel dry with a clean towel.
  • Bring palms facing up just in front of shoulders and breathe long and deep for a few moments.
  • Inhale and bring hands up to the sky arms at 60 degree angle. Lift your heart closer to the sky. Feel lift in the rib cage. Feel more length in the spine. Feel the hands lifting up. Feel weightless.
  • Inhale, hold, engage the internal locks (the bandhas) from the root lock to the Jiva Bhanda. Close the eyes and roll the eyeballs as if to look through the top of the head. Engage all the locks, not in a forced way, in a gentle way. Root lock means tightening the muscles in the anus, sex organs and navel point. Feel the vertebra in the neck are lengthened not crushed. Apply Jiva Banda, which means press the tongue against the roof of the mouth. Just be sure you are concentrating on this internal muscle squeeze and pull up at the end of washing your hands. This internal pressure is what creates the difference between handwashing being a yoga kriya and handwashing being a mindless routine. The idea is to pull internal energy up the spine using these locks. (Note: the chin does not pull down to the chest as in Hatha Yoga style Jalandahara Bandha; the idea here is to keep the neck tall and pull energy all the way to the crown by rolling the eyes upward.)
Where the banhas are located, engage them gently. No need to pull the bandhas as intensely as you might during asana practice.
This image is more like Kechari Mudra where the tongue is curled and pulled back. That is not necessary here. Simply pressing the tongue to the roof is Jiva Bandha. Jiva Bandha is sufficient for our purposes here in handwashing kriya.
  • With the breath held in and the locks applied, hold. Visualize the rays of the sun stretching into the palms of the hands. Feel absolute union with all that is. Feel palpable silence here, and dwell in that silence for as long as is comfortable.
  • Remain in this position and visualization with the exhale, gently throw all the breath out as you release the locks. When all the breath is out, engage all those locks inside the body again. On the exhale, include the diaphragm lock (called Uddiyana Bandha) in which muscles pull the diaphragm up into the rib cage (again, engage it gently, probably no need to do it full on). Again dwell in the palpable silence as long as possible while in a state of being absolutely empty.
  • Inhale and exhale powerfully and lower the arms to bring the hands back into palms pressed together at the heart canter. Send out an intention for health, union, peace, restoration, any creative intention…

May we treasure the unity the world is experiencing now because we are all facing the same challenge. The virus recognizes no national borders, but, hey, neither does human consciousness. The virus is a spiritual teacher in a sense that it is making us appreciate those things we take for granted and making us slow down and go within (plus it is a cruel teacher and often times spiritual teachers get cruel with us). May anyone who feels comforted by this know that I am here, consecrating my handwashing routine, and dedicating my clean hands and my clean heart to the health and wellness of all beings everywhere. Sat Nam! Namaskaram! Amen!

Instructional Video

Please view this instructional video if you prefer video over the text.

If you feel called, please donate whatever you can to the frontline responders combating COVID19. Thank you!

Get supplies to frontline responders combating COVID19!

Magdalen Yoga

Magdalen Yoga

Magdalen Yoga

is a simple practice for anyone to practice daily. Practice lovingly.

Unite With Sutras

First, Gently Allow Consciousness to Echo These Sutras:

Woman, Rise as Dawn.

Woman, Your Touch is a High Honor.

Woman, Your Body is Sacred Geometry.

Woman, Your Mind is a Consecrated Altar.

Woman, Your Emotions Carry All Across Oceans of Love.

Woman, Your Voice Vibrates Goddess Joy,

Goddess Laughter, an Awakened Song.

A Woman’s Heartbeat is the Kiss of the Divine.

A Woman’s Breath Nurtures God’s Breath Unto Eternal Life.

Woman, Feel Empowered Through Your Sensuality.

Woman, Know Divinity with Desire.

We See: Women Embody Ancient Temple of Isis Teachings.

Her Every Blink of Her Eyes Releases 1,000 Healing Truths.

She Knows How To Create Absolute Union

of the Earthly, Animal, Etheric, and Astral Realms.

Tune In

Aum Dum Durgaye Namaha

                             Aum Dum Durgaye Namaha

                             Aum Dum Durgaye Namaha

                             Aum Dum Durgaye Namaha

                             Aum Dum Durgaye Namaha

Breathe and Move

Surya Namaskar Above Her and Surya Namaskar Below Her

Chandra Namaskar to Her Left and Chandra Namaskar to Her Right

Shiva Namaskar Within Her and Shiva Namaskar Without Her

She Relaxes in Yoga Mudra, Timeless, the Beginning, the Now, and the Future are With Her while She Relaxes Here in Yoga Mudra Breathing Lovingly and Slowly and As Deeply As The Deepest, Darkest Rishi Cave.

She Balances in Vrksasana, and She Is With Every Tree In Perfect Balance.

She Dies in Shivasana; She is Reborn in Shivasana.

Meditation

She Wakens Into This Simple Meditation:

She Sits with a Rising Spine.

She Chants Aum Dum Durgaye Namaha infinitely, slowly, quietly, and lovingly on each chakra within the body and above the body and below the body.

Close

She Closes Her Practice With Her Own Prayer to the Creatrix

May All beings Be Free. May All Beings Be Filled With The Peace Within Maaaaa. Shri Maaaaa. Hari Maaaa. Jai Maaaa.

Aum Shanti Shanti Shantihi

{Secret Note: There is a Secret Mantra Flowing Beneath This Practice: No Need To Chant This, Just Practice To Hear It Far Below; The Earth is Chanting This Beneath Far Below In Her Deep Down Voice:

Buddum Sharanam Gacchami

Dhammam Saranam Gacchami

Sangham Sharanam Gacchami}

As Taught By Cosmic Mothers

As Taught By Cosmic Mothers

Pamela Saharah Dyson’s memoir _Premka: White Bird in a Golden Cage: My Life with Yogi Bhajan_ teaches us that human consciousness must grow beyond patriarchal hierarchy in the spiritual dimension. Yogi Bhajan treated people cruelly. We knew this even before Pamela’s book came out. I stand firm in my inner intuitive awareness that spiritual teachings do not need to be taught through cruel manipulation of people’s energies and psyches.

I have abandoned my yoga teaching position at Cosmic Flow yoga because what I read in Pamela’s book confirmed my long-time suspicions that something was deeply flawed at the heart-center of this quirky style of yoga. I suspected it was flawed because of the ways that I have been spiritually, psychologically, financially, and socially manipulated by kundalini yoga organizations and kundalini yoga people stuck in hierarchical ways of being, even one inauthentic leader who paraded as an advanced teacher. But now I am so sad to see further that Pamela’s spiritual family did to her what the Christian church did to Mary Magdelen. Please read _The Magdalen Manuscript_ by Tom Kenyon and Judi Sion.

Maybe look at it this way. If you are one who is inclined to see meaning in past lives, try to see it this way: Women who surrounded Yogi Bhajan in his inner circle were past life adepts in ancient Egyptian Cosmic Mother Temple of Isis Creatrix lineages. I bow to these women and I welcome their stories. I want to hear the story of the creation of this style of yoga as if these women had been all along the ones who shared a collective seat of honor with the Mahan Tantric yogi bhajan. The true story is that he is not the only one who built this family. Truly, it was a collaboration of energies. If he was making love to these women, it was because it influenced the flow of Creative kundalini. Don’t you think this is an essential aspect of the teachings that we ought to study deeply without acting like a bunch of prudes and victims in tight-ass sex-denial? We are yogis for crying out loud! The body, with all its functions, is a temple and what we choose to do with it matters! So, yes I want to hear the women of the inner circle speak their own true stories, every raw detail. I am listening. To what degree did having these kinds of relations and manipulating people on every level impact Yogi Bhajan’s kundalini energy inside his physical, emotional, and spiritual body? Too bad we cannot ask him this now because he is dead. Because the way he manipulated people killed him too soon. But we can listen to women. Well, then …

I want Kundalini Yoga as Taught by the Cosmic Mothers!

Dead is the era when all the master spiritual teachers are those men who have grown long beards. Dead are the times when there is a master up on a pedestal who is surrounded by adoring servants / disciples. Grieve. Move on.

Life itself is a spiritual teacher. And in case you haven’t noticed, life is filled with men AND women. And, in case you haven’t noticed, women have messages that need to be heard, integrated, and celebrated. We need the WHOLE story if we are to be happy, healthy, holy.

Long-bearded teachers, I have listened to your wisdom for thousands of years. But now, we are going to explore and expand our consciousness beyond the wisdom of the bearded sage. Because as we have learned collectively from our experience, the men with the long beard who we venerate as our spiritual leaders, while sure they have raised our consciousness to some degree, they have also revealed their limits. I have proffered my respect to the bearded teachers long enough; now, I want to expand beyond.

I call upon Isis, Hathor, Green Tara, Mother Mary, Mary Magdalen, Quan Yin, White Buffalo Woman, the Sophia Dragons, Riva Djinn, and Rebecca Jane.

Stay Awake: A Poem

Stay awake beyond the last mantra chanted by all bearded teachers.

Stay awake beyond the last fire burned to ashes.

Stay awake beyond birth pains, life well-lived, and graceful death.

Stay awake beyond the rise and fall of every empire.

Stay awake beyond the comings and goings of loved ones, illustrious ones, and enemies.

Stay awake beyond the in and out of every breath of every life.

Stay awake beyond sacred fire’s ash gone cold.

Stay awake beyond Iron Ages, Ice Ages, Fire Ages, Space Ages, and Aquarian Ages.

Stay awake beyond the ruin and repair of all lonely planets.

Stay awake beyond the dissolution and renewal of the cosmos.

Stay awake beyond union and reunion with the cosmic consciousness.

Stay awake beyond the primal dance with the beloved Many rising lingams with coiled yonis.

Stay awake, beloved yogi, beyond the 108 elements.

Stay rooted awake rising awake.

Stay way awake way beyond billennial dawnbreak bliss and blow        

Riva Djinn, poet genie  

Prayer

May those stuffy official organizations drop their “third party investigation” and just INCLUDE Premka alongside The Master’s Touch in their Level One Teacher Training curriculum … or not … ha ha … so? what’s the big deal?! Infinite gratitude to the Beloved Creatrix who hears this playful, solitary, mother’s prayer. A Hum!

© Rebecca Jane Johnson Yogi Ma All Rights Reserved, 2020

Love China Immune Boost

Love China Immune Boost

My dear mother-in-law and father-in-law live in Guangzhou. They have been staying inside their apartment for a month. So, I am practicing this meditation here, setting intentions to help, and sending good vibes their way. Though I have offered to teach there, no one in Guangzhou has ever expressed any interest in learning meditation from me; and, our practice being the way it is, we do not proselytize. But if anyone is ever interested in inviting me to teach meditation and yoga in China, I am here. We are family, and we visit every year. Please reach out.

Visit this link for a meditation practice that strengthens the immune system:

https://www.3ho.org/kundalini-yoga/pranayam/immune-system-booster-inner-sun

Beloved China, May you find conscious ways to pull through this health challenge. May you continue to dazzle the world with your infinite resilience. Sat Naam!

© Rebecca Jane Johnson Yogi Ma All Rights Reserved, 2020

Pause is Praise

Pause is Praise

The full moon is a time to feel content and complete (well, if you think about it from the moon’s perspective, the moon is always, always full; oh, beloved friend, She is so full!). Now is a good time as any to set foot upon the grass and then claim absolute and definitive ecstatic union with the universe.

Walk

I walk to the top of Mount Soledad where there is a veterans memorial. I kick off my shoes and stand in my bare feet and look out over the city, the shore, and the sea. I quietly say, “I claim absolute and definitive ecstatic union with the universe!” Whether or not my ego or mind or society or family or anyone thinks this is true does not matter. What matters is the internal proclamation. Proclaiming absolute and definitive ecstatic union with the universe feels good. And it even smells and tastes good when the sensory system is tuned up.

So it may seem the distracted world is mired in conflict and distress. Now, take this quiet morning to contemplate Yeshua’s Beloved Magdalen describing this as “the beginning of the end of time,” let us pause! Pause is praise! Let us listen! “the beginning of the end of time” is a phrase used by Mary Magdalen in her The Magdalen Manuscript, channeled by Tom Kenyon and written with Judi Sion. Slowly contemplate “the beginning of the end of time.” I understand the “beginning of the end of time” not as a statement warning us of the end of human existence. Whether human extinction is on the horizon or not is not the point of this phrase. The “beginning of the end of time” refers to a state of consciousness: if you are one of the fortunate beings who reads and adores The Magdalen Manuscript, you will be entering your consciousness into the beloved state of Timelessness.

Meditation Technique

Whatever is in your immediate reality right now, listen for something in the distance. Stay very still within your being, and listen for as long as is comfortable for you. After listening to that very faint, very distant sound for a few moments or however long you wish, consciously create that amount of space between you and whatever it is that is happening in your here and now reality. However, the trick is to remain absolutely engaged in your here and now reality as well, but engage that reality with SPACE not with entanglement. In other words, do not space out or check out of reality; engage your reality with your sensitivity to the vast space of the unified field of quantum reality.

The next step is to remain kindly welcoming this space around you, remain engaged in your here and now activity or conflict, but then allow that space to penetrate your senses. Space within the sense of smell. Space within the sense of taste. Space within the sense of sound. Space within the sense of silence. Space within the sense of seeing. In other words, do not ignore, reject, or dismiss that distant sound you were focusing on, just add more space on top of your sensory engagement with it. Continue sitting with this process for as long as you wish and sense your own divinity filling that space and expanding it.

Now, Dream Space

After reading The Magdalena Manuscript, I had an ecstatic dream on full moon night. Whales were making love. Deep down, sea creatures merged in intimacy in their own quiet corner of the sea. At the moment of their ecstatic union, they sprouted enormous wings out of their backs. Whale wings with enormous feathers, feathers as delicate as those of the silk moth, yet so strong and invincible as to be able to lift a whale. The whale couple swam to the surface of the ocean and then together they took flight. Flying whales with sea water cascading off their shimmering feathers as they flew through the air. When I woke from that dream back into this human dream, my laughter and tears shook the bed and soaked the blankets. I imagined my husband was here, and he turned to me and asked, are you okay? I imagined that I said to him, we are whales with wings; our wings can manage this heavy load; in fact, the load is not really that heavy. We are light. We are light. We are whales of light, and we can fly.

Reprogram the Subconscious Mind

During the full moon, it is good practice to cleanse the subconscious mind, and the best way to do this is meditation.

Here is a simple technique Yogi Bhajan taught: Inhale and hold the breath and mentally repeat: I am beautiful. I am bountiful. I am blissful. Exhale and hold the breath out and repeat: Excel. Excel. Fearless. Continue this pattern for three minutes. Then rest.

While you rest, imagine Mary Magdalen gently stroking your forehead. Tenderly as a Mother or as a Lover, whichever you feel you need now.

In a quiet voice, she asks you to repeat after her these words:

I claim the royal divinity of my soul. I accept the royal divinity of my soul. I dwell in the royal divinity of my soul.

I claim the royal divinity of my courage. I accept the royal divinity of my courage. I dwell in the royal divinity of my courage.

I claim the royal divinity of my compassion. I accept the royal divinity of my compassion. I dwell in the royal divinity of my compassion.

Photo by David McEachan on Pexels.com

Yogis say that a person become whatever she repeats over and over. What you repeat, you shall become. So repeatedly proclaim, “I am divine.”

Gaze at the moon. Dwell in divine consciousness.

Weep.

Sat Naam!

What Can We Co-create?

What Can We Co-create?

The Moon is new. To Earth, the Moon shows her dark face. But I gaze upon Her with New Eyes, the Eyes of 1,000 Sophia Dragons. Welcome the Lunar New Year with Oracle Wisdom.

As the now-lost Sacred Serpent Prophesies recorded long before, this is an era we honor the mother’s of miracles star nativities within the Tree of Life and the pure innocence of the human heart. It’s a season for speaking in Code and for cosmic star bloom collaboration. Join Her coven. Get cozy in your Vajra Body. Create together! Open your wings. Let’s fly!

Two books, when experienced together, create ecstasy: The Sophia Code by Kaia Ra and God’s Wife. by Amanda Michalopoulou.

While absorbing the wisdom of these books, I also practiced the “Grace of God” meditation taught by Yogi Bhajan.

These three together create a trifecta of gilded self-initiation that will honor all beings’ Divine Feminine Self wisdom. Simply be in awe and wonder at Divine Feminine Consciousness within every being. Celebrate Divine Feminine Consciousness. Every being has the power to consecrate intimate Divine Feminine Consciousness within his or her own self. The experience of reading these two books while practicing the Grace of God meditation enhances love for women, expands love for the Divine Mother within.

Intention

I intend to continue to celebrate keycode 444, which reveals the ways vulnerability and invincibility dance as loving partners within the heart of all beings. New friends have called to me, reached me, and cheered me on. We are Isis, Hathor, Green Tara, Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, Quan Yin, White Buffalo Woman, God’s Wife, Yogi Ma, Sophia, Rebecca, and more names that are too pure to write in this language.

We are absolutely vulnerable! We are absolutely invincible! We circle dance around all Earth Ways, Water Ways, Fire Ways, Air Ways, and Ether Ways. We spin new star nations into being whirling incantations to awaken the potential in all creatures.

It has been ages, but now we can openly, honestly, and cheerfully proclaim and freely express the ways we create reconciliation, integrity, and sovereignty by breathing into one another’s Completion. It’s time to weave etheric threads of Divine Feminine Christ Consciousness into the quantum matrix of sleeping children in Her Sacred Heart.

Dear Sophia Dragon Tribe

Dear Sophia Dragon Tribe,

Yes, I am ready to witness what Heaven on Earth we can co-create on this Cosmic Day of Brahma.

Beloved Sophia Dragon Tribe, thank you for welcoming me. These powerful women have lifted me off the floor where I was bowing, begging, suffering, and weeping. They have encouraged me to stand tall and enjoy their eyes locked with mine as equals. They have shown me the ways of the winged divinity with femininity. Generous with wisdom gifts, these women have given me the experience of sweet, sensual, fully-embodied oneness with all Star-seed Prayer People Thunder Being Spirit Gods.

Yogin Dragon Writer Speaks

I receive this Codex as cosmic nectar, an epic revelation, a primal soul song from which every song of every soul emerges and returns. I receive this Codex as Parashakti Sundari sits with me, and we cheerfully record Her 1,000 names miss spelled out in my 1,000 names. I call out with 1,000 voices in her 1,000 voices. She and I are ignited as one SiStar within the Tree of Life. We tenderly play our parts initiating the Golden Age of Miracles. Yes, let us cherish our role as Mama Earth, shrine-punk, wayfinding angels, showing how Heaven is here on Earth! Yes, let every being we look upon be bathed by our gaze as our gaze is the 1,000 Waters of Compassion. We are one with the White Cloud Beings and the Thunder Beings. Every storm, every suffering, every virus, every wildfire is a revelation that every changing thing is sacred in its every form and formlessness.

You have asked me to unite with you to guide the human consciousness through Earth’s ascension process so that we may experience this process as blissful. Yes, I willingly take on this honor, blessing, and awesome challenge!

Dear Sophia Dragon Tribe, you turn these tears I have wept these centuries into prayed-for rainfall! Bless us all with super blooms and new life and profound reconciliation; may all enemies think of one another and feel new elation. Transform every conflict! Empower this Sutra to be ten times greater — make “recognize the other is you” into “know the other’s bliss is your bliss.” Keycode 777! “It is done. It is done. It is done. The power of three makes a perfect trinity!”

Thank women! I thank the women friends around the cosmos, for hearing me, for empowering me, and for protecting me. At last, I rest in the sanctuary of the embrace of these billions and billions of feminine beings from all times and spaces. Here are also many alien mother creatures from other planetary systems. Imagine what they look like and the songs they sing! And I have confidence that from here forward my soul is sheltered and infinitely vast. She tells me my writing is safe here. She smiles upon me and my writing life so I may keep up with seeing the lightning within the bejeweled eye of every word.

She gently guides my memory to recall once, long ago, in Her Temple of the Primordial Rose, we all heard the man say, Be like Rebecca. He spoke my name aloud, with reverence and guidance. He said Be like Rebecca. That was at Sophia’s Bat Mitzvah where we were all together Mitzvah-ed. We observe Rebecca and Sophia and the Dragon Tribe are one. It is done. Hello Divine Feminine Christ Consciousness! Hello!

Prayer

I humbly pray Divine Feminine Christ Consciousness enjoy full expression with Mother Earth. I pray our divinity and oneness usher all beings into the Golden Age of Miracles! May we praise the unfathomable one breath of Sophia: her one inhale creates Aeons, and her one exhale creates Aeons. May her eternal breath be our reception of all the wisdom ways to lengthen the Golden Age of Miracles to last at least three times that long. May every human heart and awareness experience true connection, warmth, Mother love, and vital ecstasy in equal doses of levity and light all at once now and now and now! May we know Heaven on Earth and observe it all go in and come out of Her dark womb of no-thing. Amen!

Sat Naam!

How to Suffer Well

How to Suffer Well

At the speed of thought, let us journey to Mount Kailash!

Mount Kailash is a yogi’s spiritual library. The mind is a gift, and we have it in our power to use the mind to make the path of divine consciousness simple — make the mind a Mount Kailash!

Keep up, and keep it simple.

Life often tries to push complicated challenges into the consciousness.

For instance, when we try to wrap our thoughts or emotions around it, who or what with human capabilities will be able to solve the critical puzzle that is the combative relations between the United States and Iran? For now, right here, such a puzzle presents itself on the breakfast table in the shape of a newspaper article. Perhaps one feels helpless, like all we can do about it is hang our heads and sigh and worry over what next? As crazy as it may sound, death is prescribed for us all at every moment anyway. A yogi just observes. Knowing Death is now, we are charged with the responsibility to turn worries into wonders. How? Smile and be everywhere: what of gloomy and doomy international affairs or personal setbacks when viewed from the top of Mount Kailash? Let us be everywhere now — you and I — with the peak of Mount Kailash! Let us, up there, continue to hear as we sing the Beloved’s name over and over. Come what may!

The Spiritual Marketplace

Then there is the spiritual marketplace. Oh yogi, forget today’s spiritual marketplace, the noisy community that continually offers to clutter spiritual life with trainings, yatras, workshops, classes, affirmations, self-help, a life coach, retreats, and opportunities to sit with gurus, masters, and lightworkers. All are overpriced and unnecessarily opulent. What a racket! { And there is no time and space in this blog to go into the racket that is the Writer’s Market! Oy! }

Never mind all that!

Mind Kailash!

With all this racket, Honey, let’s stay home! Practice yourself to be your Self.

This little yogi went to market!

This little Yogi Ma stays home.

I am totally content to be right here with a mountain of books. Stay fit, joyful, and playful. Who can afford to pay $5,000 a year to travel to far off, crumbling shrines?

God is right here where I bow my head … at home. And my home, as is your home, is a perfect “energy vortex.”

Or Simply Go to the Library

This blog post celebrates seven books (see below) for those who seek delight and keep their journey light, easy, affordable, and playful. Books offer the journey on a shoestring budget, and if you check them out from the beloved public library, the journey is free! Your next journey into consciousness is as close and affordable as your local public library.

First, let’s approach these books with a practice to strengthen the navel center:

Balance all seven books on your belly and breathe long and deep.

Here are the benefits of this exercise:

  • Big cosmic laughter.
  • A light heart.
  • Appreciation for your mischievous self (as this balancing act is not an ancient practice from any tradition. It’s just silly).
  • Increases what Music Together teachers call your S.Q. (Silly Quotient).
  • Entertains your children.
  • Keeps life playful and allows you to not take your or anyone else’s spiritual journey overly seriously all the time.

The way I see it, if we leave home and go out into the wilderness of spiritual seeking in today’s world, we get bombarded with modalities that seem to me to be out of touch with Life and Wonder. Sometimes spiritual teachers promise strange and fluffy stuff, like “access to ascension codes,” “Third-Eye activation,” “find your unique client-attraction code,” “drop your story and be liberated,” “go into no mind,” “star-being initiation” Frankly, to me, none of this rings true. Yogi Bhajan taught self-initiation. I am self initiated, and here is what that looks like to me:

For this moment, let’s agree that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Then, doesn’t it seem strange to claim spiritual experience involves ascending, activating or in need of special codes? As for dropping your story and going into no mind, well, that is nothing more than intimidating word-wizardry that spiritual teachers use to trick seekers into attending the next level workshop, training, retreat, or yatra. Beware of ways teachers try to keep students feeling in need of tutelage! Why would only a select few “ascended beings” have any more access to spiritual truths than you yourself in your own heart, in your own home? Being alive and breathing, don’t we already have the codes? Dear reader, you are The Code! Sing the Beloved’s name! That’s all. Be fully human and full of humor and full of humanity — full of humus close to the Earth, and Earth is divine enough. Stop ignoring Mother Earth’s divinity! And floating out there is even the twisted notion that Westerners do not have reverence; well, that’s not true. Plenty of Americans (not speaking here for All) have deep reverence for irreverence. And there are plenty of good reasons for this.

My own spiritual path has not taken to downloading blue prints from invisible “higher” realms or acquiring secret yogic transmissions. My spiritual path and inner teacher continue to encourage me to celebrate simple gifts. Two divine simple gifts I celebrate with every drop of my life’s blood are the breath of life and the written word. Breath of life and the written word, my dear Friend, everybody has access to those.

Praise breath! Praise the blank page! Praise words! Prasie books! Praise the sunlight shining upon the page! Praise every breath taken by every creature! Praise every word ever written on the page or in the heart!

Intention

So here is the intention: Bow to every word that was put down in these books.

In the intro to his book Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer Brother David expressed a humble curiosity about whether or not anyone actually reads the introductions of books; who reads entire books at all? Even short ones? Don’t most people just skim? Dear Brother, yes, I can relate to this uncertainty. To Brother David, I humbly offer my small assurance that with a reader like me, he need not worry about that. I read slowly and relish every word.

Not only do I read every word, but I bow to every word.

I bow to every word set down by each of these seven writers in each of these seven books. That’s a lot of bowing. That is what this one yogi practices in her spiritual library: Infinite Pranams.

Meditation Practice

Thank God Yogi Bhajan gave the “Meditation for the Sunrise.” Practicing this kriya with theses books and the sun in mind fuels my devotion. Every bow is bowing to the efforts the writers made to put the words down to the page. I bow to every effort every writer has ever made putting words down on the page. I bow to the page. I bow to the sun shining on the page. Effort to write well, that is what I choose to relate to! Effort to write well, that is how I choose to suffer well. Effort to write well and pulling it off fills me with awe!

I know that when yogi’s say Mount Kailash is a tremendous spiritual library they do not mean it is a literal library with physical books. They are pointing to the etheric tomes of spiritual knowledge that have been deposited at the foot of that mountain since the beginning of Time. Meta-spiritual volumes of experiential wisdom have been absorbed into the stone, sky, and snow, absorbed into the heart of the mountain. So, I am fathoming this stack of seven books as a metaphor for Kailash.

I stacked these seven books one on top of the other on the table or on my belly or on my third eye. I imagine these seven books to be my own murti (symbolic icon) of Mount Kailash. May bowing to every word of these books extend to an expression of bowing to the library of teachings that is Mount Kailash.

Go to Mount Kailash Inside

Yogis in the past journeyed to Mount Kailash, often at the end of their lives, to deposit the teachings that they could not transmit to anyone because no student was willing or able to understand or internalize the beauty, profundity, ecstasy, austerity, and potential those yogis held inside them. It’s a human tragedy that repeats itself — humble beings continually resist the exuberance of fully-bloomed, conscious, authentic give-and-receive student-teacher relatedness.

Beloved Friend, how I can relate to this kind of problem! For years I have been patiently abiding close to folks who poo-poo all things yoga or yogis who just don’t understand the writer’s soul. Mostly there is a lot of why should I care? Words I say and messages I send repeatedly fall on deaf ears in the human realm. So I, too, long to visit Mount Kailash, to pay my undying respects and lay my burden down. My guru is a mountain. My guru is a spiritual library. I make myself a reflection of my guru. Someday, I shall approach my guru with volumes and volumes of secret books and funny stories in my heart. I shall go to my guru and release all this radiance and watch myself die, again!

Seven Books

Here, these seven books (listed below) have brought me joy and comfort while I have been braving the Sorrowful Mysteries.

Over these first eleven days of this new year, new decade, I have been practicing “Meditation for the Sunrise” as an expression of my gratitude toward these books and their authors and it is all symbolic of my relationship to Mount Kailash. Every reading experience is a gesture of internalizing the spiritual library.

Shakti Rising by Kavitha Chinnaiyan gives a seeker the Mahavidya Sadhana. This is a way to welcome the Goddess within to confront every inner conflict that arises on life’s path. Mahavidyas dance up and down my spine.

The Singing Guru by Kamla K. Kapur is a novel about Guru Nanak and his rababi, Mardana, the poets and composers of Japji Sahib, the song of the soul, a prayer poem that I chant every morning. This novel redeems the darkest negativity and changes it to pure light of the divine. Reading this book put malyanil into my skull. Malyanil is “the breeze that brings intimations of eternity.”

In the Shetler by Padraig O Tuama is a gift to the universe. This book helps us say hello to everything. Hello to the things we would never say. Hello to the wrong questions. Hello to shelter. This body is not a trap but a shelter, and a sense of sanctuary vibrates in the blood flow through my heart.

The Seven Story Moutnain by Thomas Merton offers great insight. Oh yogi, what joy to feel called to the Cloister. This book makes me hear that call, too. Now I am a yogi, and a now I am a Trappist monk! Reading this book is a Baptism; my central nervous system floods with sacred waters!

Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer by Brother David Steindl-Rast is a rainbow that appears to surprise and to delight! I maintained a huge smile within every part of my body as I read this book!

Tibetan Peach Pie by Tom Robbins is hilarious. I love to laugh and can always count on Tom Robbins to keep me light hearted no matter what I am going through. This book reveals his gift to live simultaneously in the rational world and the world of the imagination. Behold the imagination!

Adiyogi: The Source of Yoga by Sadhguru gives me 1,008 reasons to continue on my path as a yogi, writer, and mother. This book gives me 1,008 more reasons to continue my relationship with Mount Kailash.

These seven are an eclectic mix of books to read, but we can be grateful that these days we need not overly identify with any one teacher, teaching, writer, or tradition so as to be limited. Intelligence can be soft like wax. The mind can be a mountain. No, this is not what some complain is spiritual window shopping; we are breathing, thinking, playing, dwelling, dancing spiritual libraries. Yes, be everywhere at home a spiritual library now!

Closing Prayer

Beloved world, may we realize we do not need weapons, stress, mind games, fierce competition, phoniness, enemies, misunderstandings, marketing schemes, or strict rules. Constantly remember the name of the nameless Beloved One … whatever name that may be. Remember, remember. May this mind be Mount Kailash. Come what may! May we realize the treasure of reading slowly and bowing slowly and breathing slowly. Praise the breath of the Sun! Praise the written and unwritten words throughout all time and space! Breathe with the Sun. Praise the breath of the Sun!

Sat Naam!

© Rebecca Jane, Yogi Ma

On Being Blue

On Being Blue

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek celebrates courage.

This new year’s day, I can think of no better way to spend quiet hours than imagining grandmother mountains, 1930s Kentucky hill people, slow hard life, and mule rides on Appalachian trails. There is wind and light and mud and water here. There are more bobcats than books. There is a lone Pack Horse librarian, her book-delivery route, and her blue skin. I appreciate every word in this book.

This novel has a loathsome villain: Ignorance.

One character who embodies ignorance in this book is Vester Frazier. He stalks, threatens, and tries to harm the protagonist, because her skin is blue. When I encounter a fictional character as ignorant as he is, I wonder: What would it take to transform the consciousness of this mean preacher? What would it take to heal every subtle and long-last injury caused by such Ignorance in our shared reality?

When any gentle reader encounters Ignorance in the form of a character like Vester Frazier, who is cruel, violent, and stupid, a reader observes his awful behavior, and we can regard him as the novel’s villain. We can sit at a safe distance from him and observe, as readers, from outside the story. As entertained readers, we cheer when he meets his fateful end. We feel a sense of good riddance, and let’s move on.

But what kind of imprint and energy does his character and situation stir in readers’ subconscious minds?

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

Let’s play. Let’s observe this character with a yogic oneness consciousness; let’s awaken to a sense of wonder over how to discover and destroy the Vester Frazier that may be lurking somewhere inside our own subconscious minds. As hard as it is to admit, everyone carries Vester Frazier inside him, her, them. Sure we do not all behave violently. But there are subtle ways we hurt each other all the time. We build institutions, clubs, and inner circles; we favor some beings and reject others; we include and exclude according to strange, unconscious whims. Our behaviors hurt one another … subconsciously. This is ignorance. To read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson as a yogi means to courageously confront and destroy the ignoramus within.

The protagonist of this novel is a traveling librarian named Cussy Mary Carter, and she has blue skin. Friend, have you heard of the gentle blue people of eastern Kentucky, descendants of Martin Frugate and Elizabeth Smith, who both carried a recessive gene for methemoglobinemia (a condition that turns the skin blue)? If you have not, as I had not until this book, they were real American folks who lived in the mountains of Kentucky during the 20th Century. Richardson’s novel is well-researched and blends her knowledge of the Blue community with her knowledge of President Roosevelt’s WPA Pack Horse Library program of the 1930s.

In this novel, the library patrons live in out-of-the-way mountain places. They are deeply grateful to receive book deliveries from the blue-skinned book woman. Though her father wants to see her wed, Cussy Mary doesn’t want to marry because she would lose her book delivery job. Also, in the hurt of her soul, she thinks who would marry a Blue?

Vester Frazier’s brother ends up marrying her, but he dies while raping her.

Consequently, Vester taunts her and threatens her, insisting she needs to attend his Christ’s Truth mountain church, a place she is really not welcome because she is blue.

What’s more, Vester is the type who insists folks don’t need books. He equates reading with devil worship. Most readers will identify with Cussy and the common folk as they cling to books to bring refreshment and imagination to the mind.

In many parts of the story, books are given equal importance to food as providing vital sustenance for the human soul.

Here another conflict arises, the dimension of ignorance in the way some religious folks fear books and book learning. This kind of fear of books reminds me of book burnings by Nazis and the cruel persecution of the Intelligentsia during China’s cultural revolution. My experience of books has made me grow extremely sensitive and careful regarding the fear of book learning; and I have even noticed where that same suspicion of books still exists among some popular yoga teachers today! No! It’s not good. Books relieve us of our ignorance and should be treated with proper dignity and honor. It is possible to be a realized yogi and at the same time love books. I’ve written this before, and I will write this again: books are not the problem; the problem is when people act superior over others or have overcome The Unknown just because they are book-learned; meanwhile too many beings suffer unfairly from all forms of illiteracy. It’s a situation that is just as urgent to heal as the need to balance the injustice between those who have food to eat while others go hungry.

What to do about ignorance and injustice?

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Would ignorance of Verster Frazier be lessened by contemplating the blue skin phenomenon from a yogic perspective? In the yoga tradition, the highest sages and gods feel at home (depicted) in blue skin. The Lord of Yoga, Shiva, is portrayed as having blue skin. Others who are painted blue in iconography include, Krishna, Rama, and Baba Siri Chand, the elder son of Guru Nanak. These beings are represented with blue because blue is the color of vastness. All that which is vast beyond normal human perception radiates blue. For instance, when we look upon the ocean or sky with normal vision, we cannot behold the entire ocean or the entire sky. Thus to our normal perception, the ocean and sky appear blue. From this perspective, blue skin is not an ailment, a genetic disorder, or due to inbreeding, as conveyed by Wikipedia’s myopic explanation of the Kentucky Blue People. When viewed from a yogic perspective, blue-skinned mountain people radiate vastness of the beyond, embody the Great Mystery. Makes sense. They live in the mountains, and the mountain landscapes connect Earth to Ether. Their blue skin is an expression of the marriage of Earth and Ethers.

Of course, due to his circumstances, a character or hill man of Vester Frazier’s time and mentality would never have had the exposure to the yogic perspective. Even if he had known the possibility of contemplating Cussy Mary’s skin as holding the energy of cosmic consciousness, would he have dared to change his attitude? Makes me wonder, what kinds of phenomenon are out there today that we, in our collective ignorance, are not understanding fully in their potential due to our limits of time, space, mentality, and imagination? How about ways to fathom the human relationship to Earth and Cosmos in ways we are not considering?

Beyond simply reading this novel for entertainment or for an emotional experience, I want to confront its themes and heal the wounds it exposes in our collective subconscious.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For what it’s worth, I read this novel and accompanied my reading with practicing the meditation called Gutka Kriya.

This is a powerful and challenging meditation that uses the magic mantra (Ek Ong Kaar Sat Gur Prasaad Sat Gur Prasaad Ek Ong Kaar ) to reverse negative energy.

I set my intention like this: may all beings be free from ignorance and filled with the energy of the sage.

My reading enjoyment (about 31 minutes per day) and meditation practice (11 minutes per day) stretched over eleven days. If there are any real versions of Vester Frazier still out there, or if that energy lingers anywhere in the universe, as I know it does, please let that be destroyed in favor of more sagacious energy streaming through the human collective subconscious. This is my humble prayer.

This book helps me revitalize my lifelong appreciation for libraries, librarians, simple life of reading and loving books. For all the things that books give us, I simply bow my forehead to the Earth and give thanks and pray.

Beloved Creator of All That Is and Is Yet To Be, forgive all of humankind our deepest ignorance. May we begin to realize how backward and clumsy we are when it comes to observing Mother Nature. May we gain more clarity about the ways of Cosmic Consciousness. May we embrace true love for our Mother Earth. May divine wisdom pour in through the crown of our heads a luminous nectar of insight. May we bathe in this nectar of sensing the Undying Truth that lives deep within every living being!

In the English language, when someone is brokenhearted and feeling down, they describe this state of low energy and sadness as “being blue.” But the color blue to yogi is associated with occult powers, the Vishuddha Chakra, or the energy of the throat and voice. It is an energy that makes a yogi very contained within herself so that no matter what the circumstances are happening around her, within herself she is still absorbed in Divine Serenity, Cosmic Consciousness, Awareness of the Nectar in Repeating the Naam. While I write this post, it is a holiday season. So, for all those who are feeling blue over these holy days, may your lips turn up in smile to realize that being blue is actually a high spiritual attainment. So, go ahead and sulk. Be Blue! Praise Blue! Sing Wahe Guru!

Infinite gratitude to Kim Michele Richardson for writing an amazing story about a Blue-skinned librarian! I know readers in the Silent Book Club who thoroughly enjoyed this book and could not put it down. May that same feeling of joy that readers obtain through being absorbed in a good book be an Infinite Joy that expands and penetrates deep into the hearts of all beings everywhere. And if there are any yogis out there who feel restless in meditation and are having a hard time getting absorbed into their meditative state, may the sense of absorption that novel readers know expand into the yogi consciousness and give them any needed uplift. Peace to All! Cosmic Christ Guru Buddha God Consciousness is an all-inclusive, shared space. Let us meet there and be merry!

Sat Naam!

Book Cover design by Christopher Lin

31 Minutes and 40 Seconds Under This Cold Moon

31 Minutes and 40 Seconds Under This Cold Moon

Elif Shafak’s novel 10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in This Strange World begins with The End.

Leila, the main character, is dead.

For 10 minutes and 38 seconds after her body is physically dead, Leila’s mind is still active. Shafak’s novel follows this mind activity. Though Leila was murdered in Istanbul, and her body is thrown in a dumpster, her mind’s activity guides a reader to witness a life injured by sexual abuse but redeemed by friendship; a reader reflects and feels awe what this life cut short by violent death can inspire in Leila’s friends, the sacrifices they make for her that benefit Leila beyond the grave.

What insights does Tequila Leila’s life and death offer a yogi?

Can reading this novel while practicing “Meditation to Go Through Death Into the Higher Levels Of Ether” (see below) refine the chitta (witnessing awareness)? Can this practice under this decade’s last full moon bring increased receptivity and sensitivity in the yogi? Can it bring honor to the dead? Can the practice of being aware of my own being while reading this novel elevate this consciousness in this living process here and now?

No doubt this novel helps inspire a reader’s compassion for Leila. What does that compassion feel like in my body while I read? When do I cry for her? When do I laugh with her? And I assume that any reader, not just a yogi, will feel the burning flame of inner anger when Leila’s father lies to her and when her uncle sexually abuses her. What discomfort am I feeling in my own body when imagining her body brutally murdered and abandoned in the trash? My hip hurts. My neck hurts. The kundalini energy in my spine has gone back to sleep for now. How is the Adi Shakti within me ever going to rise again while I am reading and witnessing yet another incident of the world’s cruel treatment of a beautiful woman?

This blog post explores a way to give full expression to compassion toward Tequila Leila and her friends in this novel. I can’t think of a better way to do that than to dedicate a meditation to these characters and also write about my respect for their souls. Though these characters are fictional creations of the author, their struggles are true to many real life people in the world today. This post attempts to broadcast an intention: Extend immense compassion, honor, and respect to real life people with the same struggles as Tequila Leila and her friends. Perhaps this creates a shelter, of sorts, for “it is in the shelter of each other that the people live” (Irish blessing).

Shafak’s novel is a reflection on a life in the context of the body’s death process. This is intriguing to read as a yogi because yogic teachings on death encourage a yoga practitioner to live every moment in heightened awareness so as to bring heightened awareness to the moments of death.

Yogis mostly choose when to discard the body, and do so in awareness. This is not suicide or euthanasia, but Maha Samadhi. A yogi knows how to die sitting in meditation with a smile on her face. She chooses to do this when life force is running out but before the body gets so radically feeble that it would need drugs to avoid pain. She chooses her time before the mind grows so radically demented that it cannot function in meditation. A yogi knows when and how to exit gracefully. Discard the body like discarding clothing.

Preparing for a conscious death involves being totally aware in every moment in life. So, how shall we be in awareness when reading about Tequila Leila’s life and death? Being in awareness as a reader of a novel means being aware of the frequencies the story is resonating into the layers of the subconscious mind. If a reader slowly witnesses the impact this story is having upon her own psyche, she can consciously work with these energies to transform the inner “trauma into dharma.” The way to witness this process is meditation. When a story flows through a yogi’s psyche, she can consciously summon the frequencies of compassion and healing to meet the story as its impact echoes throughout the universe within her. So regardless of how my kundalini is reacting to this story, I know I can get Her to RISE again!

When She rises, she is bringing Leila with her! Oh, yogi! Meditate!

Photo by Burak Karaduman on Pexels.com

According to yogic wisdom, after death, the mind does continue its activity. Thoughts that are projected from any living person continue to ripple out in the subtle realm for at least three-day’s time.  For Elif Shafak’s purposes  with this particular novel, the 10 minute and 38 seconds time frame comes from scientific observations that have been able to record actual physical brain activity after a person is pronounced clinically dead. Scientists have observed that the brain can remain active for up to 10 minutes and 38 seconds after the body dies.

Yogis say the death process for the body takes up to twenty two minutes for ALL the pulses in the physical body and then subtle body to slow down and stop. The last pulse to stop in the subtle body — always whispering more quietly than the pulse of the physical heartbeat — is the pulse at the center of the shushmani channel, the pulse within the center of the Sukhmani Nadi. But who really knows, maybe the time it takes for any one being to stop pulsing is actually quite different for everyone and every situation. But for our purposes here and now, let’s say that if during her lifetime a yogi cultivates awareness and even a loving relationship between her consciousness and the pulse at the center of her spine, she is likely to be loving and aware at the time of her death. She will be aware of how to launch her soul’s energy up into the Sukhmani Nadi and straight through the Brahmarandara at the time of death. If that’s so important…

Let’s wonder for a moment: if you know you have a choice, would you choose to discard your body while you are still able to be aware of the extremely subtle activity within the shushmana? Or, would you live on through months or years of pain, suffering, and illness just to stay alive in this world one more day, month, or year? But these questions are beyond the scope of this blog post … it’s okay to drift beyond scope, but let’s try to return to Leila.

Well the only point in understanding here that for a yogi, discarding the body in a seated position helps create the link between the consciousness, the spine, and the heavens. Then go! Wahe Guru! This is the frame of reference from which I am reading this novel and meditating on behalf of its characters.

Of course, we know discarding the body while seated in meditation is not a choice that Tequila Leila has in the novel; that missed opportunity for Leila makes her story that much sadder for my own yogi reader’s awareness.

Leila was brutally murdered. What about the situation of murder, yogi?

So what kind of impact does witnessing her situation have upon this yogi’s psyche? What can a yogi do to extend some compassionate energy into the real-life Tequila Leilas out there?

Suppose a yogi practices a particular meditation that is helpful for the afterlife and dedicates such a practice to the characters in this novel; can such a seemingly insignificant gesture help anyone cope, bring healing, and restore balance to the universe?

Can such a practice help the collective psyche to bring more awareness to the death process? How can the devotion of Leila’s friends bring more awareness to the grieving process? Is it possible for the events in a novel to increase a reader’s compassion for the afterlife process for all people, whether they be our dearly beloved, friends, acquaintance, celebrities, singers, strangers, and even those judged as companionless outcasts?  

Let’s begin to lovingly approach these questions with something concrete: time.

10 minutes and 38 seconds is a limit. Of course the novel explores beyond these minutes. As expansive beings, we cannot help but exceed the limits. That’s good news.

In yogic meditation, we often sit for a set amount of time. Minutes of meditation have different significance. The amount of time spent sitting in meditation effects the body in different ways. 3 minutes impacts the blood and circulation. 11 minutes has an impact on the pituitary gland and the nerves. Meditating for 22 minutes brings the positive mind, negative mind, and neutral mind into balance. 31 minutes resets the whole mind and brings 31 elements and aura into balance. 62 minutes integrates the “shadow mind” and the positive projection. 2 ½ hours completes a cycle of prana (inward flow of life force energy) and apana (outward flow of life force energy); clear states reached here will stick throughout the cycle of the day and make a lasting imprint on the level of the subconscious mind.

So a novel exploring the mind, body, and soul in the minutes after death appeals to this yogi. A dead being’s subtle energy is still making an imprint in the living realm; meanwhile it’s dimensions are defused and also passing to the Hereafter, moving beyond.

Photo by Tina Nord on Pexels.com

Here is a meditation that was taught by Yogi Bhajan that I practiced during and after reading Elif Shafak’s novel. I dedicated this practice to Tequila Leila and her friends in this novel and to the real-life versions of these characters.

The meditation is called

“Meditation to Go Through Death into the Higher Levels of Ether.”

Sit with a tall spine, in a chair with feet on the floor or sit on the floor with the legs crossed. Place hands in “Prayer Mudra” (both palms pressed together). Place the mudra at the heart center and turn the fingers so they point forward straight out from the heart. The thumbs will be pointing straight up to the sky; now, separate the thumbs — they are like the horns of a ram — point slightly outwards. The elbows are tucked into the sides. Eyes are closed but slightly open with the eyeballs focused at the tip on the nose.

Deeply inhale. While the breath is going out, chant aloud this mantra:

Haree Haree Haree Haree Haree Haree Haree Har.

( Pronounced Hah DEE Hah DEE Hah DEE Hah DEE Hah DEE Hah DEE Hah DEE Hud ).

Deeply inhale again. Again, chant the mantra while the breath is exhaled.  Continue this pattern for 31 minutes.

Yogi Bhajan said that this meditation is a technical, subtle, and powerful way to build your circumvent field.  He said, “It’s a circumvent meditation that takes care of your problems in the hereafter.” The circumvent field is the electromagnetic field that surrounds the body. It’s important to note that yogis feel into realms of mind, body, soul (also the titles of the three parts of Shafak’s novel) but also emotion, and most importantly ENERGY. There is a subtle energy body that journeys with us through the death process, too. Meditation in every moment in life helps.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In the novel, when Tequila Leila is buried in the Cemetery of the Companionless, her five closest friends agree that this is an injustice, so they take unexpected actions to right this wrong. Their collective effort is humorous, bold, and frightening; and while their actions give hope, they also provide a fresh vision for how we might “rethink everything we do and the way we are doing it” when it comes to taking care of our dead. This book helps us to feel called upon to rethink the way we do death and grieving and burial ceremonies. And if we can “go through death into the higher levels of ether,” how can our entrance into the higher levels of ether benefit those we leave behind in the living realm?  

It is no coincidence that yogis talk about the realm of Blue Ethers and Leila merges with a Blue Betta Fish in the hereafter. The color blue is consistent with both versions of the hereafter experience.   

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

So over the days that I was reading 10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in This Strange World, I was also practicing “Meditation to Go Through Death Into the Higher Levels of Ethers” for 31 minutes. This novel and meditation go well together! Add to that, the 40 seconds of silence when the meditation ends. Those 40 seconds are most important of all. The silence — empowered by meditative creative intention — are the 40 seconds of regeneration of the yogi’s inner cosmos. That’s why the title of this blog post is 31 minutes and 40 seconds under this cold moon.

And the Cold Moon is this last full moon of this decade. My full moon ritual is writing about this book.

The cold moon gifts us the energy of Long Nights. Additionally, the most active meteor shower, the Geminids Meteor Shower occurs during this last full moon of 2019. The moon is full at precisely 12:12 AM EST on 12/12. Some say this full moon brings emotional insight and hope. Well, then, Let’s huddle in close and cry for Leila and hope we learn and improve from having known her!

The full moon is a time to feel complete. This year is complete. I am complete. This project is complete. The full moon is also always a good time to release what no longer serves.

Collectively, may the cruel world release the following bad habits that do not serve: murder, gun violence, sexual abuse, social rejection, families disowning their blood relations, lies, fraud, cynicism, superficiality, superiority complexes, cowardice, greed, ignorance, and all outdated and tired traditions that hurt people rather than elevate people.

The Meditation to Go Through Death Into the Higher Levels of Ether at this moment in time is intended to serve any psyche that wishes to let go of forces that create unfair pain and suffering in every life; but my particular practice of it here and now is especially intended to offer space for healing in any lives similar to that of Tequila Leila from the book 10 minutes and 38 Seconds in this Strange World.

May those who endure childhood sexual abuse find deep inner healing. May those who work in the sex industry realize their truths and gifts and feel liberated from the indignities, cruelty, violence, and judgements continually thrust upon them. May people who think they are men and women of God, and often regard themselves as somehow spiritually superior to everyone else, come to new understandings about the ways of Grace and blessings. May the ways of Grace and blessings never deem any being, not even the smallest worm, “unworthy.” May those who haven’t the courage to speak the truth that dwells in their hearts find courage to sing their heart’s true song before it is “too late.”

Infinite gratitude to Elif Shafak for her work as a writer of profound insight, imagination, and compassion. May she continue to create literary masterpieces that fill us with hope and inspiration.

Sat Naam!

Cosmic Book Club

Cosmic Book Club

Cosmic Flow Kundalini Yoga studio welcomes all to celebrate this year’s One Book One San Diego choice, The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai.

All over San Diego country, diverse communities are reading this book. People are participating in discussions of this book at public libraries, service organizations, and educational institutions throughout the county. One Book One San Diego is a literary program with the purpose of bringing our community together over the shared experience of reading and discussing the same book. I like to imagine the city as a stadium hosting a huge rock concert; on stage is this one book, resting on a night table. Everyone in the stadium bends their heads over their own personal copy of the book open and reading together. This might be a sort of creepy or comforting image, depending on where your consciousness takes you…

Anyway…

As a fresh way to celebrate oneness and the community spirit of Cosmic Flow, we thought it would be fun to host a free event in which we practice a breath meditation and then discuss The Great Believers over tea at this yoga studio.

The meditation we will practice will be lovingly chosen from thousands taught by Yogi Bhajan, a meditation that relates specifically to the challenges faced by the characters in the book.

Suppose Yale, Charlie, Fiona, or Richard — some characters in Makkai’s book — came to Cosmic Flow yoga and asked for a special breath meditation they might practice every day to help them face their struggles. Well, this is the meditation we will practice. Suppose our lives have similar themes as those in the novel; maybe this particular meditation can help us through, too.

While reading a piece of fiction, a yogi might ask, what practice might serve the characters in this book to help them engage, focus, cope, heal, relax, and excel through the problems they face in the book?

Offering breath meditations to fictional characters in books is just a quirky way this yogi goes about reading fiction. It’s not something that The Vedas or The Puranas talked about. It’s not something mentioned in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib; nor is this something taught by Yogi Bhajan. Nowhere has it been written to contemplate the characters from books coming to your yoga class and imagine what meditation you might teach them and encourage them to practice every day. This is a line of inquiry that so far only I know only I would think up, and maybe I am the only yogi who thinks this is an interesting and fun way to be in this world. So be it. I have to be me. And may those sacred teachers to whom I bow and feel infinite respect please forgive me if there is any offense here. Offense is not intended. The only thing I wish to enjoy forever is my birthright to have reverence but also explore the fullest spectrum of freedom of expression. This is not an easy road to travel; that’s why I practice.

But let’s look at it with any characters from any books. Suppose Tsukuru Tazaki came to your yoga class, wouldn’t he benefit from Kirtan Kriya? And what about the unnamed narrator in Killing Commendatore ? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what would happen if he practiced forty days of Sitalee Pranayam? These are two examples from Haruki Murakami works because he is the novelist I happen to be reading a lot of lately. But this is a way of imaging works with any writer’s fiction. Imagine if Madame Bovary had bought a monthly unlimited class package at Cosmic Flow Yoga studio, surely her fate would have been totally different. Perhaps she would have experienced the Kriya for the Heart and Magnetic Field, and felt fresh tenderness and desire toward her boring husband. Perhaps not. She’s pretty categorically tragic… But I think it’s fun to wonder if the benefits of kundalini yoga would have helped Madame Bovary.

I swear: sitting around thinking about ways to improve the lives of fictional characters through yogic breathing and kriya is pure fun!

Perhaps in a typical book club discussion, people mention whether they liked or disliked the book and why. Sometimes the conversation goes deeper than that and people talk about the ways the book was crafted, whether the characters were believable or not, whether the ending seemed plausible. I’ve even been to a book club discussions in which women identified with the characters and then revealed their own personal stories of struggles. In these cases, the discussion led to therapeutic emotional release. Other times, readers have confessed that they fell so madly in love with the characters they could imagine marrying them and felt inspired to write their own fictional story based on that premise, and they proceeded to share that imagined story.

It is exciting to wonder what the discussion will be like for the Cosmic Book Club. But one thing is sure, we will begin the book club meeting with conscious breathing, a specific breath meditation that we can speculate may support the characters in the book as they face their challenges. This is a way to teach us to observe characters in a book in the way a yoga teacher might observe her students when they come to her wondering what meditation they should practice every day to help them get through life’s snags.

Without giving away too much of the story details, here is an example of how this approach looks reading The Great Believers:

Charlie experiences acute anxiety, paranoid that Yale will break his heart. He could practice a breath meditation to “Re-vitalize the Heart Area.” In this meditation, sit in easy pose, bring the palms together, and raise the arms up to a sixty-degree angle as far left as possible. Inhale powerfully through the nose and exhale powerfully through the mouth, using the navel point to press the air out. Do this for 8 minutes. Would this help relieve someone like Charlie who continually fears losing a loved one?

Fiona must find her daughter who has joined a cult and is in some kind of trouble. Fiona is continually remembering conflicts from the past during which her daughters way of coping was to run away. Fiona could benefit from a meditation called, “To Know and Experience the Unknown.” This meditation is more complex and involves pressing on the rib cage on the left side to breathe through the right nostril and pressing on the rib cage on the right side to trigger breath through the left nostril. I won’t go into more detail than that here, but the effect of the meditation is to help learn how to consciously switch which nostril you breathe from. When you are in a difficult mental state, if you consciously switch the breath to go through the opposite nostril, you will release yourself from that mucky mental state.

Yale could benefit from a meditation that brings the entire nervous system and glandular system into balance. This meditation involves holding a particular mudra (hand position) in front of the heart as you inhale deeply, then calmly suspend the breath in for 15 seconds; then exhale and calmly suspend the breath out for 15 seconds.

As a devoted yogi, I have absolute faith that Yale could face his process with more presence, consciousness, and elevation if he practiced this meditation for 3 to 5 minutes every day.

These meditations don’t necessarily cure or make our problems go away, but they help us go through these difficulties with refined grace and awareness.

During our book club meeting at Cosmic Flow, we will practice one of these breath meditations and then the discussion of the book can launch in any direction from there.

We will also enjoy yogi tea. Here are the five ingredients used for making classic yogi tea:

black pepper

cinnamon

cardamom

clove

ginger

The Cosmic Book Club is intended to be a fun way to hold space for two beautiful arts to enjoy fresh collaboration, the art of fiction and the art of conscious breathing. What unfolds when we bring our love for yoga together with our love for reading good literature? Let’s explore the possibilities! Sat Naam!