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!

Is That a Song in Your Bowl?

Is That a Song in Your Bowl?

Beloved Friend,

When I play piano, I imagine giving a performance. I wear a long, dark gown, and the piano is a Fazioli F228. The venue is a dark, friendly place called the Prohibition Lounge on 5th Avenue in San Diego. I play Bach’s Solfeggietto in C Minor. And throughout the duration of the song, my hair is in flames. Though I am on fire, I play the song to the end without a flaw. And when I rise from the piano bench after the performance, I face the only two members of the audience, my two daughters — I bow. When (and if) they express their approval of my performance, the flame in my hair blows out instantly and my hair returns to sitting piled atop my head in a tidy bun that remains undisturbed by the flame that had danced in my hair moments before.

But since performing classical piano in a Blues nightclub while my hair is on fire is not in the cards for me, not in my destiny — except in my imagination — I will need to do the next best thing.

I am collaborating with my friend Heather Mezey. She will play crystal singing bowls to support a special meditation experience that we will offer at Cosmic Flow Yoga on August 25, 2019. The workshop is called Absorption Into Crystal Being.

Here is my humble attempt at a promotional teaser for the event… Oh, well, I admit, this is far less a promotional teaser and more of an actual excersice for your auditory imagination that you can engage in any moment.

What if you took some time now to imagine hearing the echoes of crystal singing bowls in common everyday household sounds?

  1. You hear the primal ring of crystal singing bowls in the bubbles rising out of your dirty-dish-filled kitchen sink.
  2. You hear angelic weeping of crystal singing bowls when your daughter towel dries her fresh-washed hair.
  3. You hear the slow-hum pillow talk of the crystal singing bowls when you fold laundry.
  4. You hear the msytical laughter of the crystal singing bowls in your dog’s sniffing at the rosemary bush before he lifts his leg to pee.
  5. You hear the soul song of the crystal singing bowls in your every inhale and exhale as you also hear the sweet longing of the singing bowls in your celestial heart beat.

For a while now, I have enjoyed exercising my auditory imagination in these five ways and countless more. Over time, hearing phantom crystal bowls ringing over all dimensions and situations in my life has filled me with this prayer:

May intimacy with the subtle layers — or celestial layers — of your being, your Crystal Geometric Consciousness, encourage you to see that whatever burden you carry is merely a denser form of your inner play of light and dark. And light and dark weigh nothing! All it takes to transform all that you thought of as your burden into all you can regard as your boon is to be Absorbed In the Crystal Being. It involves taking a care-free plunge into the Goddess’s fathomless Pool of Nectar.

Friend, what do you say we meet each other beyond the physical realm? What would you say if I asked you to appear at the Celestial Ball that is now taking place at the Heart Center of the Crystal Matrix? Would you reject me if I invited you to dance?

Sublime tenderness echoes throughout the expanse of the Heart Center of the Crystal Matrix. This is about brainwaves dancing with binaural beats. But beyond brainwaves, there are dream waves. Beyond dream waves, there are vibe waves. Beyond vibe waves, there are intergalactic waves. Beyond the intergalactic waves, there are zero waves. Beyond zero waves, there is One!

Yes, there are songs in your bowls! There are songs in my bowls. The bowls I am referring to here are not your food bowls. These bowls are within you. You have a song in your head bowl, your heart bowl, your eye bowls, your ear bowls. Hell, you even have a crystal song ringing in your butt bowl and your ass bowl. The sounds layer one upon the other creating glorious resonance that is your life.

This is the way I listen to you; this is the way I hear you, anyway. I keep a sharp ear out to listen to you with my supernatural hearing that can penetrate to hear the real You within you. I can hear the crystal bowls within you. Dear One, to me, your internal crystal song sounds so sublime.

And to that sound that is You within you, I offer infinite pranams. I bow to the divine sound within you.

I hope to share this meditative experience with you at 1:00 PM at Cosmic Flow Yoga on August 25, 2019.

Humbly,

Yogi Ma    

Thunder Within

Thunder Within

I embark on a journey off the map, off the yoga mat, out of time, and out of orbit.  Against Father’s wishes (naturally!). I find myself sitting in a dense forest of consciousness.  Human consciousness.  Light consciousness.  Flower consciousness.  Tree consciousness.  Stone consciousness.  Insect consciousness. God consciousness.  

Before all grows dark here, there is opportunity to read Spirituality and the Writer by Thomas Larson. 

No need to move the body.  Let the eyes move across the page.  Let the mind process the meaning of words, but that is not all the consciousness experiences now.  There is also the awareness of primal stillness, a silence so heavy with presence that we could wear it as a warm garment in the cold Himalayas.  Let the presence of primal stillness be the robe you wear! And look at the spaces between these words!  Sense the borderless, the unfathomable, limitless uncertainty, the heartbeat of Ardhanareeshwara and Saint Augustine.  Sense the synaptic activity within the brain of both Kabir and Leo Tolstoy.  Indulge the solitary visions of Dattatreya and Julian of Norwich. Is it possible to open up and allow the tears of Rumi and Margery Kempe to burn these reading eyes?  Is it possible to listen so deeply and with such longing that by reading these words, these ears hear a fierce roar that is a collective cry from the depths of all these beings’ collective consciousness…? Is it possible to open this heart even more to allow every word such pulmonary impact as to oxygenate the blood flowing through these veins now? 

Thomas Larson’s personal inquiry into the history of spiritual writing ignites fire within me.  Poised aflame in this way, I embark upon a literary pilgrimage, a word yatra… There are no temple walls, no paths, no teachers, no teachings.  There is only willingness to be sucked into this black hole that is the unambivalent, exuberant absorption into the subject of Larson’s inquiry: contemplate the extent and the ways of “the writer’s ability to bring his spirituality into syntactic being.”

If only I could shout out and make echo my cry through the tunnels of time:  “Beloved ones, all your words have a passionate Lover…  Yogi Ma! 

I deeply appreciate the reverent way Laron writes about Peter Mattheissen’s Snow Leopard. His respect for Mattheissen’s process presents the layers and beauty of the inner journey that inspire me to be alert to every eternity within this moment. Zen with infinite Zero within one single breath that is with me and one with the Pavan Guru.

So, I add Thomas Larson to my ever-growing list of men for whom I chant So Purkh.  I cannot say that I am chanting for any particular reason or means to any end. I have lost faith and am not religious. I simply love the feeling of this Shabad on my tongue and the way it dances on the upper palate of my mouth. Delicious! I roar. Delicious! It’s pure and simple infinite sensual pleasure.  Roaring the So Purkh Shabad makes my heart grow large enough to fit everything into its embrace.  Roaring the So Purkh Shabad gives me strength to fall madly in love with myself and the universe. Thomas Larson and many of these other men will never know that I roar So Purkh on their behalf (such is the ignorance of men!). Oh why is it that sometimes I still like to squirm and wonder and wrestle over a maddening contemplation: what difference does it make to chant So Purkh for men and total strangers? And when this line of inquiry makes me mad, I roar that Shabad some more. Beloved Guru Ram Das, can you hear me?    

Thank you, Spirituality and the Writer for being here with me.  As I go, I hang this book upon the Pole Star.  I watch the book float weightless at midnight. I ride this book on the heaving surf of the Primordial Ocean.  And when the pages are wet with sea water, I use them to wash my body clean. I am happy. My interior horizons quiver and quake with In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God.  The beings in this beginning realm never intended books as sources of knowledge. Maybe books are beings that cradle the Word / God and bend time and space and illuminate the inner life with deeper wonder and awe. Books are the tantric shelter. Books are bridges. 

I cannot contain the expressive storm much longer. Silence between these two heart beats grows louder than thunder.  I have already begged the Primal Being make me Her / His / or Its humble scribe.  I have already roared and screamed and sang out crazy wisdom to no one. No one reads a joyful writer. Why is it that writers must always give best expression to the tortured soul to win praises from cool guys like Thomas Larson? Oh, great, have I written myself into a corner where I can finally mope and brood? Ugh! Help!

I am empty.

So, now I shall wait.  

Yogi Bhajan said the highest art is to sit and wait and let it come. Am I supposed to believe that when I had embraced with my heart the highest art is literature…? Oh, well. I have no more faith in any of it at all anymore, not art, not yoga. So now is the best moment to sit and wait and let it come. Imagine reading an endless book called The History of Waiting. Let’s hang that one on the Pole Star!

Come, thunder!  Come, lightning!  Come, all dark intensity! 

This one quiet yogi awaits You.

Surjot Kaur is Dead

Surjot Kaur is Dead

In Fall 2013, I began my journey into devotion. I set out to practice and study kundalini yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. I set out with sincerity, on a path with heart.

When I observed that people who practice the teachings of Yogi Bhajan feel inclined to embrace spiritual names, I grew curious.

I wondered what my spiritual name might be.

So, I followed the current process of acquiring a spiritual name. In the days when Yogi Bhajan walked upon this Earth in a physical body, he gave his students spiritual names. Yogi Bhajan no longer dwells in his physical body, so to acquire a spiritual name, I needed to visit the 3HO website to fill out an online form to request a spiritual name. I happily offered a donation for this service.

I must admit this online process did not feel warm or ceremonious. In my heart I had hoped for something quiet and sacred, imagining an austere GuruDevi speaking my destiny name off her tongue and into my heart; I imagined an organic process with fire, water, and fragrance that would crystalize my destiny into the cosmic consciousness. I must admit I longed for something more intimate and ceremonious than this online routine that felt no different from filling out paperwork at the DMV.

I clicked “submit,” and a few days later, I received an e mail. My spiritual name arrived to me in a formulated missive that said “Sat Nam dear sister in divine. You have been blessed to live as Surjot Kaur…”. The message continued, graciously, to explain what the name means. There was no explanation as to how someone arrived at this name, nor who that someone wat. I read the message on my cell phone while I was pumping gas. When the tank was full, I closed my eyes for a moment and held in my breath. Inwardly I repeated the name several times. I tried to feel that this name belonged to me. Surjot Kaur. Surjot Kaur. Surjot Kaur? Hmmmm.

At the moment I shrugged and thought to myself, Oh, I still like Rebecca better.

When I shared my name with my teacher, Krishna Kaur, she said, “We should be calling you by that name.” When she said this, she was so true and pure in her projection of love and endurance that I had to surrender to her guidance. As someone who “goes with the flow,” I embraced the name Surjot Kaur and have been using it ever since.

But recently, I suffered a broken heart. It’s not a broken heart of a lost romantic love. No. This break goes deeper than that, and there are not sufficient words for this pain. I have suffered injury in my Spiritual Heart. The yogis say there is an etheric place behind the heart where there burns a flame of infinite one heart consciousness. For Surjot Kaur, some strange intruder had moved in upon that flame and compromised its Akashic Prana. A cold and careless force had tricked that flame and sucked out its mystical essence. The flame lost its dance. Weird energy betrayed the radiance of that flame. Ever since this Spiritual Heart was injured, Surjot Kaur endured severe physical, mental, and energetic pain. She had a difficult time focusing, and she really did not want to live any longer.

Alas, she has given up the ghost. Surjot Kaur is dead.

In some spiritual dimension, this afront to the spiritual heart killed Surjot Kaur. Gratefully, she took her last breath while watching Jimmy Fallon’s “Ew!” with her two daughters. Such a silly show! What a weird death! But Surjot was laughing with her daughters. There is no greater joy in the universe. That Mama laughter turned hard and primal and expanded to laughter at All of Life and laughter at Death and Great Cosmic Laughter. In that moment, Surjot Kaur’s heart stopped beating. Right there, she died. She felt released forever from living with a heart that had gotten tossed out in the cold and was abandoned. Surjot Kaur discarded this body.

Surjot Kaur died laughing.

If it sounds unbelievable, just relax into feeling this is just a story. It’s very true in some aspects but may seem embellished and strange, depending on the reader’s states of consciousness. It doesn’t matter; sit back, relax, and enjoy. But get this — after Surjot died, an unknown yogi who had been searching for a new body took up residency in Surjot Kaur’s body. Contrary to what Surjot had always assumed, it is actually surprisingly easy to discard the body, and surprisingly easy for transference of consciousness to occur. And now the flame in the Spiritual Heart of this physical body dances again, and it dances with Breath of God and the Breath of Life and Lord Shiva and Allah, Jehova, Rama, Jesus Christ, Sat Nam, Mother Nature, and Hallelujah!

Now, I continue on my path as Yogi Ma. This is a name that arose from within me. This is a name Surjot Kaur died into and the name that shall give rebirth to this Spiritual Heart. Yogi Ma is easy for everyone to say, and it suits me.

Yogi Ma shall live a destiny that Kabir advises: “We come into this world crying, and everyone around us is laughing. We must live in such a way that when we leave this world, we leave laughing while everyone else around us is crying.”

I have a dear friend and fellow yoga practitioner, Mariel, who has also recently witnessed a death to her being. So, together we went to the beach, burned some herbs, sticks, flowers, grains, and money. We rubbed the hot ashes on our foreheads. We carried more hot ashes to the ocean. We tossed the remains to the vastness as we spoke some gentle parting words to say goodbye to Surjot Kaur and to Mariel. This was intimate. This was a ceremony. This felt sacred.

She and I sat for a long while in silence. We rose from our meditation, reborn.

I bless myself to live as Yogi Ma. I am destined to live as Yogi Ma, whose flame shall dance on, a dance with true friends, the stars, the cosmos, the heavens, and Mother Earth.

Yogi Ma is a mother to the world.

I am Yogi Ma.

Sat Nam!

Mother the World

Mother the World

Some wise men have offered their insights about motherhood.

Sadhguru says, “Be a mother to the world.” I like this wisdom. It brings tears to my eyes. Mothering the world means including all beings in a mother’s embrace. Being a mother to the world is humbling. It takes strength and guts. In my experience, a strong yoga practice is needed to maintain and sustain such strength and guts. Let’s continue to practice together.

Yogi Bhajan talked about God standing second in line to a mother’s prayer. That’s how powerful a mother’s prayer is, assuming she is full of faith and brings her own humility to the prayer. Living life as a prayer helps keep a mother sane and glad. Lately, I have been reading a lot about the silent life of Benedictine monks I am using their wisdom to help me to be a better mother. I find it fascinating that Yogi Bhajan spent some formative years being educated at an all-girls Catholic school. This is what helped shape him, a good foundation for his reverence and devotion to his mission of uplifting all women.

I like to contemplate the many facets, dimensions, and layers of motherhood. There are the ways that a mother truly is, which rarely anyone sees. Then there are all the perceptions of mothers and the different faces, masks, hats that a mother wears. There are the infinite expectations of what a mother is supposed to be. What she is supposed to be is not nearly as dimensional and wondrous as what she truly is. Behold, the matriarch! When we behold the Matriarch, we are willing to see a mother as she truly is, strong in her infinite grace; she is the primal holder of the wisdom of the womb.

Behold, the matriarch! When we behold her as she truly is, we can awaken the mother within our own consciousness and allow that she is powerful beyond our perception. What a glorious thing it is to possess a womb and be a mother! Wise men may have had a lot to say about the womb and the mother, but the fact is that they do not know the direct experience. And in the wisdom of yogic teachings, direct experience reins supreme. But a mother always must transcend the silly psychological games of hierarchy and supremacy. These games are exactly what have poisoned this Earth and all Her beings. There is nothing higher or lower, nothing great or small, nothing in or out. All opposites merge and meet in the primal point of divine love consciousness.

Mother consciousness is divine love consciousness. When she knows this, she mothers all of the world.

May all mothers be guards for those who need protection, guides for those on the path, boats, rafts, and bridges for those who wish to cross the flood. May all mothers be lamps in the darkness, resting places for the weary, healing medicines for the sick, vases of plenty, and trees of miracles. May all mothers bring sustenance and awareness to the boundless multitudes of beings. May she endure like earth and sky until all beings are freed from sorrow and all are awakened. Sat Naam!

Inhale Poetry; Exhale Prayer

Inhale Poetry; Exhale Prayer

A tribute and dedication to the

Corrymeela Community

It is April! Celebrate poetry!

A poet whom I had not heard of before a month ago has entered into my awareness, and I write this post to honor the significance of my encounter with his work.

The poet’s name is Pádraig Ó Tuama.

In the beginning of March, I received an e mail from “Poem-a-Day,” an e mail list I subscribe to. I subscribe to so many lists that I quickly glance at message subject lines and am very selective about taking time to open a message. But on this day, the subject line “Makebelieve” intrigued me enough to click open the e mail message that contained Pádraig Ó Tuama’s poem, “Makebelieve.” One click is all…

One never knows where as small a gesture as clicking open an e mail message may lead, especially when that message contains a poem with these opening lines: “And on the first day / god made / something up.”

Now, receiving these words delighted me. Fun! To perceive the entire creation can be, quite possibly, one exuberant jazz improvisation! It is great fun to make something up. You go, god! It’s playful! In my own experience, playfulness is the closest I come to divinity. So, yes, I’m in, here we go, let’s play!

In the spirit of improvisation, I encounter this poem, wondering what I can make up here. Suppose this is a first day because, really, it must be a first day of something somewhere for someone. Today is Day One of “Makebelieve.”

Yogi Bhajan taught a meditation that repeats the mantra, “God and Me. Me and God are One.” Repetition of such words primes consciousness to realize Self, God and Creation are one great, shimmering, spinning thrum of spontaneity. With such awareness, the Self may encounter “Makebelieve” as inspiring a creation.

Hello to the flow of possibility!

“Makebelieve” enters my consciousness and begins its elfin dance in my world.

I inhale the entire poem deeply. Let open my cells, nerves, muscles, organs, glands. May I embrace the poem’s vibration within my body. Even the space between each word in the poem enters into my tissues, cells, and nerves. Let words of “Makebelieve” resonate throughout my 72,000 nadis and add to the gospel according to Ida, Pingala, and Sushmana!

And on the first day

god made

something up.

Then everything came along:

seconds, sex and

beasts and breaths and rabies;

hunger and healings,

lust and lust’s rejections;

swarming things that swarm

inside the dirt;

girth and grind

and grit and shit and all shit’s

functions;

rings inside the treetrunk

and branches broken by the snow;

pig’s hearts and stars,

mystery, suspense and stingrays;

insects, blood

and interests and death;

eventually, us,

with all our viruses, laments and

curiosities;

all our songs and made-up stories;

and our songs about the stories

we’ve forgotten;

and all that we’ve forgotten we’ve

forgotten;

and to hold it all together god made

time

and those rhyming seasons

that display decay.


Pádraig Ó Tuama

Read it again over long moments and visualize welcoming this poem into my pineal gland, and inviting the pineal gland to secrete its Nectar of Mystic Pleasure.

I read the poem over and over aloud and then in a whisper and then silently. I inhale and suspend the breath inside while I silently repeat the poem.

Then I exhale and suspend the breath out while I silently repeat the poem.

Filling and emptying myself with poem and with breath in this way I can amuse / observe myself for hours. I combine a simple, ancient yogic breathing pattern with deeply experiencing this one good contemporary poem. And guess what, Mister Pádraig Ó Tuama? I am meditating with your poem, and breathing consciously all while sitting in my yogi cave! And after regarding your work, sir, I do know how you feel about caves. Hello to the Cave between my eyebrows! Welcome in! You, sir, have nothing to fear in this yogi cave as you are welcomed here with great reverence. Friend, you are known in here as

The Lord of the Rings Inside Tree Trunks!

Not that you created the rings inside tree trunks, but you created my fresh-colored awareness of them. Before I read your poem, the rings inside tree trunks were brown. After reading your poem, for me, the rings inside tree trunks are brown tinged with gold.

Let’s just sit here the day long and breathe this poem. Let every word and thought be intimately entwined with breath awareness. Any poem worth reading demands The Slowed-Breath Reading. Elongate the moments of the poem; take it word by word with lots of pause and be aware of the eye’s movements: ask, over which words or spaces do my lids close then open, close then open? What unseen dust do my lashes flit off? What of the play of light the words toss inside these eyes? When I happen upon a word or groups of words I adore, am I open to regarding their effect inside my body as miraculous as, say, news of the birth of our world’s beloved Savior?

Can breathing and being with this one poem align me up for longed-for, deep-connection encounters with my fellow word-lovers who delight in the wordly realm of divine play?

I seek and find a travel companion in this complete stranger, this Gay Irish Catholic poet named Pádraig, who knows nothing whatsoever of my own queer existence. Now, a shadow of me may lurk in his subconscious mind somewhere as “the reader,” but the way his writing resonates with me, I would have to insist I know him too well. I want to proclaim I am his Brother.

Now, I know I can be perceived to be wearing a woman’s body. But the hug I imagine giving my Brother to thank him for his writings, the heart hug I imagine giving him, is a hug that I give him with a man’s arms, with a man’s heart, with a generous amount of gratitude and admiration transferred through all my man-muscles squeezing. And when we regularly squeeze tension into our muscles and then release, we learn how to let go of tension. Hug often. Squeeze often. Let go often.

But now back to “Poem-a-Day.” This daily e mail offers so much more in one e mail message than one poem per day.

Now I choose to create infinite amounts of time, leisure, open hours, quiet light that urges me to listen to the voice of my soul that says, yes, explore here! Though I have a list of “things to do,” I am choosing to listen to my soul and take a heartfelt dive into this here rich library of resources before me offered by Poetry.org. What truth does this tell about my relationship to my “to do” list?

This e mail message relays all sorts of things that relate to the poem, “Makebelieve.” Welcome all this now to relate to all of me. Let me dwell and draw out this moment when my first encounter with this poem, this poet, this stranger exudes its power. The power of this Stranger is that he piques my curiosity, invites me into a fresh realm of the contemplative journey, a new mystery, and fabulous play. Over the month of March, I have been submersing myself in his writing, and my encounter with this writer is guiding me on a lyrical pilgrimage.

He is returning me, after a long time exploring a variety of sacred texts and bowing to the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, his work is returning me to explore love for the The Holy Bible.

The “Makebelieve” poem comes with a list of titles by the author, plus any links to further resources. In the first encounter, I learned a bit of biographical information about Pádraig Ó Tuama. Here is his insight that instantly invited my joyful participation.

“When it comes to ‘Freedom of Religion’, much attention is given to the words freedom and religion. However, the of is also worthy of mention. Religion is free; it is free to query, to make meaning, to break things, to make things up. Religion is—or should be—free to change too, or to wrap itself around the delight and devastation of the human condition. Religion does not only provide a storypoem about the earth’s creation, it also provides a form by which we can create, and recreate, break and makebelieve. We are made of humus, the old texts tell us—we are also made of rot and time; danger and demand. In the beginning was a…what? You tell me.”


Pádraig Ó Tuama

In this beginning right now is longing for friendship. So, I continue to be here. I learn he wrote a book of poems called Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community. Reading a bit further, I learn that The Corrymeela Community is Ireland’s oldest reconciliation community. An easy click on the content below that leads me to the Corrymeela Community homepage.

In the “About Us” page, I read that the Corrymeela Community is a people of “prayers, conversation, curiosity, and questioning.” Instantly, I think, Yes, I adore these people! This is my kind of community. How I long to retreat to such a place where people are devoted to sitting fireside together, drinking cups of tea and engaging in deep, honest conversations about difficult subjects.

How I long to spend every Spring season reading poetry, meditating, practicing yoga kriya, and praying my radiant heart out. Then wouldn’t it be nice to sit down with any person, idea, or state of being that has hurt or helped me and engage in a good, long, difficult talk?

Hello to the distance between us.

Hello to closing that distance with sharing contemplative writing.

Instantly, I ordered my own copy of Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community. When it arrived to my home in California several days later, I read it over and over. And to dive into the details of how my physical, mental, emotional, energetic, and etheric bodies encounter these quiet poems will take so much longer than this blog post. So now all that and all I wish to contemplate and write while slowly reading through his book In the Shelter is filling page after page of my quiet notebooks.

Hello to pure contentment.

Hello to my solitary cloister.

I like to contemplate the different ways we sit with the body when we are in prayer; more specifically, I wonder at the various ways we place the hands to pray. Friend, when you pray, do you fold your hands in what yogis refer to as a Venus lock, with the fingers interlaced and finger tips resting on the back of the hands; or do you press your palms together with the fingers aligned upright pointing each skyward, palm flat against palm, and pressing with a bit of pressure between the palms? Do you pray with the forehead kissing the Earth? What gesture do you use to express that your head serves your heart? What ways do you proclaim to the cosmos your sense of humility and awe in the presence of the divine? Perhaps you find comfort in returning to the curled position humans assume in the womb, all curled up, you pray? In what position do you pray? I wonder: How did Jesus hold his hands and his body, privately, while he was making his most private, inward, anguished prayer? What did Jesus feel within his spine? What word did he use to describe the sensations within his Brahmarandhra?

I love to imagine myself present while the Corrymeela Community prays. I image myself engaging in conversations, arguments, question and answer sessions with everyday people who have endured great suffering and conflict. Let me pour you a cup of tea. Let us bow our heads. Let us pray. Let us breathe. Though I am far away and a complete stranger, please feel me close to you. Feel a friend near, a yogi with a big, generous heart. Please welcome me as one who longs to hear your stories of all that troubles you and all that comforts you.

Here is what I admire about the Corrymeela Community: they sincerely work “to be engaged with the world at its points of fracture, faith and potential.” This resonates with me as a kundalini yogi because Kundalini is defined as “the creative potential within a being.” Potential is always beloved of yogis and this potential blooms from within.

Sadhguru says it like this:


If you know how to be equanimous and exuberant at the same time, there will be no fear. Whatever situation you may face, life will always be beautiful. Once there is exuberance and equanimity in you, your destiny will not be ruled by what happens around you, but only by what happens within you.

Sadhguru

I am full of exuberance about this poet I have met through the written word. In my mind and heart I behold his writing…slowly. Perhaps it seems that circumstances prohibit me from physically visiting the Corrymeela Community at this time, other than through my online journey. But as a yogi, I intend to project my subtle body, my intention, and my prayers, which know no bounds. I practice yogic art of subtle transmission to pay my visit to Corrymeela Community. Dear Friends, I am listening.

Here is how I intend to be present and celebrate and be with this community:

I dedicate my own 40 days of kundalini yoga practice of Creative Energy Kriya and the Meditation for Word Power to the Corrymeela Community in “[The] North[ern] [of] Ireland.” Throughout these 40 days, may whatever shifts I observe in my body, my thoughts, my energy, and my consciousness be a dedication to all beings who encounter fracture, faith, and potential. May we engage in these encounters with sensitivity, awareness, listening, and longing for peace. May this practice resonate loving solidarity with those who pray from a place of witness, from a place of humility, from a place of feeling the touch of God’s grace within the depths of human longing.

I repeat: one never knows where as small a gesture as clicking open an e mail may lead. Embracing this mystery compels me to wonder at and imagine the ripples, ramifications and consequences of my larger gestures, the great actions I embark upon throughout the day. What will my hands touch? Where will these feet take me? What words will this tongue speak and what impact will all of that movement have, if any? Would it be better or worse if I keep quiet and be still?

So, to close, I shall bow–forehead smooching dirt–to that singular moment when I clicked open that “Poem-a-Day” message. I bow again to the flow that carried me with my own curiosity through the caves within the land of “Makebelieve.” And I bow to every small gesture that guided the poet,
Pádraig Ó Tuama, to complete and share his poem “Makebelieve.” I bow to everyone who reads the poem and encounters it with their full consciousness. As this will keep me bowing for quite some time, I surrender some part of my Self to dwell in an inward repetition of Infinite Pranams.

Here is a prayer: May this forty-day Sadhana be a journey into deeper awareness of how creative energy works and what we do now, and can do, with creative energy. May there be realization of heart-to-heart connection. And though each personal “here and now” may seem distant, different, dissonant, or distinct from one another, may we perceive at the heart a brotherhood of glory and a brotherhood of grace. May we come to appreciate the ways in which we are co-creators of peace, conscious repeaters of hurts and reconciliations, and quiet strugglers with internal conflict in a universe of ever-shifting bounds and seasons. May I feel the courage to ask: Is there room enough at your table, you who explore the “Spirituality of Conflict,” to be open to a dialogue with one who wants to learn more about you as she also studies the very-softly-whispering gospels according to Ida, Pingala and Shushmana (the three subtle energy channels that run on the left, right and middle of the human spine that are most important to ancient yogis)?

May every inhale gift a poem; may every exhale give a prayer.

Sat Nam!



In the Shelter Talk with dear Pádraig

When Mothers Pray, Infinity Must Listen

Yogi Bhajan said, “The most powerful prayer in the universe is the prayer of the mother.”

So, envision a whole collective of mothers coming together to pray for schools and communities that are safe, nurturing, and conscious.  This collective prayer is for communities that encourage mothers to raise blissful children.  This prayer is for every human being to heal and uplift the mother within and the child deep within everyone.

Sat Naam!

 

Divine Mother