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

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!

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

40 Days of Radiant Words

Day One

According to yogic numerology, 2017 is a year to relate to the Radiant Body.

Yogis know that we are much greater than the limits of the physical body; so, cultivating awareness of all ten light bodies of consciousness is a reward and challenge of a daily yoga practice.  These are the ten bodies:  1.  The Soul Body.  2.  The Negative Mind.  3.  The Positive Mind.  4.  The Meditative Mind. 5.  The Physical Body.  6.  The Arc Line.  7.  The Aura.  8.  The Pranic Boday.  9.  The Subtle Body.  10.  The Radiant Body.

The Radiant Body implores a yogi to nourish the realms of consciousness that inspire creativity and courage.

Each day, one might ask this:  How can my unique radiant light body of my own consciousness best express its best creativity and courage in this particular time and space?

There is a meditation to practice to strengthen the radiant body.  The mantra to chant is “Ajai Alai”.

I adore this description of the mantra in The Aquarian Teacher text book: the mantra “Ajai Alai,” also known as the Ik Acharee Chand mantra is so effective that “[o]nce you recite the mantra correctly, it will give you the power that whatever you say must happen.”

I am always seduced by the promised benefits of practicing meditation, but the further I journey on my spiritual path, meditation becomes less and less a matter of something that I do in order to achieve the benefits.  Meditation becomes a habit of mind and being.  Any particular meditation receives a chance to express its own sacredness through my unique being.  Meditation is less about achieving benefits and more about the pure pleasure, pain, anger, boredom, or sadness of experiencing my own consciousness in relationship to this particular practice.

End notes in the meditation manual instruct us to chant each sound of the mantra and “hear each word as a world.”  Each word is projected from the throat and vibrates the whole head.

Yes.  I appreciate this sense: Every word is a world.  This is the kind of rich experience of reality that I am always seeking.  I am sure that I long to speak, listen to, read, and write every word as if each is an entire world.  Let me write that again…  I long to listen to every word as if it is a world.  Every word, a world.  Imagining the dimensions of words offers me a sense of reclaiming words as deep, dimensional, and sacred.  To my meditative mind, talk is never cheap.  To my meditative mind, there is no such things as empty words.  When I can consciously treat each word as a world–not just when chanting but always– then I can know how to speak and walk carefully, lightly in this world and with reverence.

I continue to cultivate a relationship with my own words so that I know their power.  That’s why most of what I want to say, write, think, or speak I try to express in the form of a humble prayer.

May I continue to walk tall, reach out and touch others with great love and royal courage. May I continue to feel the pure joy of sitting, breathing, chanting, and being.  May I vibrate the Cosmos so that the Cosmos may clear the path.  May the benefits of this practice be received by all beings.

Sat Nam!

Please join me in practicing this meditation for 40 days: Meditation to Develop the Radiant Body

 

radiance-seven

 

 

May You Prosper #10

The more space we can hold between each breath, the more prosperous we become.

There is a beautiful Lakota Prayer that I just adore.  It goes like this:

Great Mystery!  Teach us how to trust our hearts, our minds, our intuitions, our inner knowing, our senses of our bodies, the blessings of our spirits; teach us to trust these things so that we may enter our sacred spaces and love beyond our fears and thus Walk in Balance with the passing of each glorious Sun.

In the Lakota tradition, “Sacred Spaces” refers to the space between each inhale and each exhale.  When we begin to take time to breathe more slowly, a whole universe opens up, and we start to sense more fully the Creative Consciousness that we share and with which we play.

May we trust the infinite within us.  May we trust our infinite creative potential that it shall carry us through every experience in peace, balance, and harmony.

Sat Nam!

Boardwalk through the mangrove forest
Boardwalk through the mangrove forest

 

 

May You Prosper #9

Prosperity means you are YOU, you are real, and you are fully engaged in all of life with your most expansive awareness and biggest heart.  Prosperity means that your mind obeys your soul.  When you feel prosperous and acknowledge your prosperity, you feel so much gratitude that every breath of life and every beat of the heart is simply a repetition of thank you  thank you  thank you  thank you.  Doesn’t matter what comes your way:  thank you  thank you  thank you!

Sat Nam!

earth.sacred.geometry

 

May You Prosper #8

Hafiz once wrote, “Now that all your worry has proven such an unlucrative business, why not find a new job.”

Inhale for 7 seconds:  1,  2,   3,  4,  5,  6,  7.

Suspend the breath for 7 seconds:  1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  7.

Release the breath for 6 seconds:  1,  2  3,  4,  5,  6.

Continue this breath pattern for as long as you like, or as long as you live, or as long as you love.

Now drop your problems.  Just drop them all.

May you enjoy longevity, tranquility, self balance, and intuition.  And may this breathing business prove more and more lucrative with every breath.

Please join the global meditation to Activate Prosperity.

Sat Nam!

photo (8)

May You Prosper #7

“Your consciousness must have mastery over you.  Not your reason, not your logic, not your needs, not your projection and not your life.  When your consciousness states it is not worthwhile, then even if your life may be at stake, let it go.  When you touch that height, God comes to you.”  ~Yogi Bhajan

And there is also a line that is repeated over and over in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib that strongly encourages one to live life as if one is dead while still alive.

What this means to me–at this moment–is that each day I allow experience to move through me, roll around me, flow this way and that.  I engage this life with full enthusiasm, yet some facet of Me is lying in corpse pose, in a state of eternal, peaceful repose.

Yeah.  Who needs to cling to this one human life with ferocious, possessive energy anyway?  Instead, may I cling to the vibration of I am the light of my soul.  I am beautiful.  I am bountiful.  I am bliss. 

Consciousness exists beyond this one lifetime.  So, if this expression exists in a sacred text–this expression that regards life subordinate to  consciousness–what kind of implications does this present for us in times of mass violence?

One implication may be that my mind and my soul can now engage in life with more energy and attention focused on my personal present moment, which is really all I ever have.  I can focus my energy to serve and uplift myself and those around me, rather than being consumed by the loud clamor of mass media, a mass clamor whose reporting repeatedly reminds me that I am supposed to be fearful, on guard, and feeling separated from my fellow human beings.

May we grow more and more fully conscious, aware of our personal power and our bliss, our beauty, and our bounty.  May we grow less enamored with The Times and become more aware of how to bow to the inner wisdom that is timeless.

Please join Spirit Voyage’s Global Meditation to Activate Prosperity.

Sat Nam!

sunset

 

 

 

Diamond Mind, Creator’s Mind

Day Ten

“The mind is above time and space.  If you decide not to complain, the mind will immediately compensate you with intuition.” ~Yogi Bhajan

Besides, intuition feels so much better than complaining.  There’s so much too complain about: I’m underpaid.  The weather’s bad.  I don’t get enough sleep.  I don’t get enough love.  I’m surrounded by stupid people.

Such complaints are not worthy of diamond mind energy.  When salary is too low, revel in the expertise and heart you devote to your craft.  When the weather makes us physically uncomfortable, compose a song.  When sleep deprived, commit to exploring and discovering the space within you where there are wells of boundless pranic energy.  When love starved, give more love away.  When surrounded by stupid people, bathe them in the light of your mind.