The Author's Note at the other end of this document may serve as a more proper introduction, if you like.
These notes are to remind and encourage me, but you can use them too. I do like feedback, so be encouraged to talk to me!
My own favorite way to re-read these, because I do like that, is one at a time, like this:
A tiny bit of Sanskrit vocabulary was hard to expunge so here.
There you go.
Allow the mind two choices: silence or love.
Be without story, predicative I/me/mine, time, or emotional regulation.
I am here to experience the Self. To become established in that. To receive the spiritual awakening that will lead me to the final goal.
Let's acknowledge that you, dear reader, you too have an ancient and lifelong spiritual path.
To connect with the awakening energy of a divine teacher in the form of uplifting practices, the awakened thought or mantra, a regular time to meditate.
Mind is friend or enemy. In the time of contemplation after meditation, we can learn from what we experienced, some lesson that can uplift us, an expression that reaches our mind or understanding, and let our mind think about it later and be our uplifting friend.
Be at the boundary. Learn something! Here, where you have a chance! Don't dismiss your power of higher insight, want to get up and go, and lose it. Footnote: discover a higher truth Now.
The Teacher is You.
The Teacher is Stillness.
Majestic, infinite, conscious, present.
Give yourself fully to begin to see.
Practice humility to keep learning.
(Inner emotional conscious) Truth is one. Contexts are many.
Oneness in action is service.
Oneness in mind is meditation.
Oneness in feeling is liberation.
Oneness in relationship is love.
Oneness in blaming is forgiveness.
Oneness in intellect is self recognition.
Oneness in sensation is flow.
Oneness in status consciousness is humility.
Oneness in virtue is non-judgement.
Oneness in breathing is conscious non-agency.
Oneness in time is now.
Oneness means oneness of emotional interpretation.
You could memorize a list for all the contexts you are in, or just focus on oneness, wherever you are.
Non-operation of your inner judge.
Innocence. Openness. Delight. Inner surrender.
Progress: Who can say, am I different from what I was? Struggling with ego has been a lifelong task, but every attempt is progress.
Progress in emotional understanding and wisdom comes in free meditation having focussed the heart on the goal.
Efforts and trust thereof: stronger discipline? I'm just a rat in a corner, if my discipline increases it's the only thing I can do. My character lets me see the walls surrounding me. My heart becomes more knowable.
What is effort?:
- The usual meanings, of course. But also...
- Surrender to the higher intention, simplifying.
- Mental inadequacy known.
- The subtlety of Om in the space between the breaths.
Discipline: I hope to learn to reside in the absolute.
On the importance of being human, and how to become a true human being: Inner divinity is not change. Become who you are, aware of your own inner divinity. Tom, Come out of your shyness and passivity.
Relate deeply. Discover God's deepest desire and vision by listening to the real one in another, one after another, and asking after it and showing it so you both see it. Thus be with that more deeply.
When you treat things with love, they become divine. Greater love, for all including ourselves. On time or not; preferentially odd numbered; traumatized or not.
Tom, polish, empty, clean, uncover, silence that inner judge!
The root of any stuckness is in an operation of the inner judge. Full freedom and emotional flow with depth is the actual reality. It is to be expected; the true default state. So root out the judge's operations.
Get yourself a redeeming mantra from your own wise teacher. These are some notes about mine, Om Namah Shivaaya.
Om: refers to that supreme pervading stillness.
Namah (I bow): releases you from all this. Na: the quick, the changing, the new. Mah: the same, the unchanging, the relished.
Shivaaya (to Shiva); to the Self. Sh[i]: Silence!, with self-awareness arising; [V|W]aa: heart opening, acceptance, release; Ya!: celebration concomitant with understanding, grace
From stillness that quality which arises is spontaneous, authentic. Therefore use the mantra to orient toward stillness, move toward stillness, attain inner stillness, and after that allow spontaneity to flow. See if your heart's desire is not attained when you surrender inwardly.
To give a share: Breathe throughout. Use your own experience. Share knowledge that reveals the heart. Speak simply. Refined, edited teachings are powerful. Quote with due credit. Aim for an attitude or experience. Prepare well. No or few notes when speaking.
Khechari (Sanskrit for the sky of consciousness; refers to the mystical yogic experience of an inner sky, and often connected to the tongue curling up and back in the throat, which in my tradition is recognized as a canonical yet spontaneous event that follows some time after an energy-awakening, life-changing initiation) makes a toy of life's mental games. Khechari!!
Om. Like 2 elephants:
Bowing down: surrender.
Standing up: obedience: surrender.
Responsible dominant intellect (1): a metaphor for the power and greatness of the Self (2).
I experienced 40 minutes of tandra (a conscious but sleep-like state without body- or time-awareness), forehead to floor, with an urgent intention to stay in the khechari state
Touch, untouch, touch, study the grip of the mind, the seriousness of suffering Ownership, touch, what is this mystery?
Footnote: Must I be so serious, so committed to owning these attributes? Does it benefit me? Isn't it really optional?
What is most important to me?
- About others: Authenticity not ideals. Why? Fake is ugly to others, doesn't teach, is painful to the faker.
- About me: Grace in the heart. Understatedness.
- About institutions: Cult dynamics are hugely
important. A manipulating fool once said, you're not a good
person unless you go do such and such volunteer service, with a
big request conflicting with my life commitments, and I stayed
away for 14 years. Honoring everyone not just interpersonally
but in the policies and requests of a voluntary institution, in
whose larger-than-life evidently-self-important form and in the
scary reification of fat egos (or just scared people), retaining
this humility and respect is key. My institution seems to have
learned this lesson, since after these 14 years after those 14
years I haven't seen this fault again.
- (As First Teacher taught Second Teacher) Never beg.
(Observations and impressions from a film of First Teacher:)
Three gestures upward: Lift! Open! Transcend!
Three gestures down: [Brush away, throw away] worldliness! [Release] attachment! [Abandon] suffering!
My self, First Teacher, has these qualities:
Innocence. Courage of innocence and childlikeness in speech.
Support in transcendence the way you already are now.
Childlike delight in chanting.
I understand from him, It is always there and I am completely protected.
Where are these tears coming from?
In the spring of 1981, I first entered the main chanting hall of one of Second Teacher's ashrams, a place I lived for four months later on that year. On the wall were large photos of several more or less naked mendicant saints from modern India, and portraits of a few clothed women saints and goddesses. Above Second Teacher's seat, in the place of highest honor, was a photo of a man, head slightly back, forehead slightly wrinkled, mouth expressionless, eyes intent with something that I recognized.
I recognized myself there, and immediately, somehow, knew that this was a picture of me. Strangely enough he didn't look much like me, but I knew without question, I was that man, he was me.
I knew because I was just a year or two out of that period of my youth which I had spent in nearly constant and intense concentration on my youthful tasks of school, sports, and other activities, overcoming my own inner insecurities by climbing my available dominance hierarchies with the greatest personal focus and effort, in order to try my hardest, do my very very best, be my best, achieve the most. (From the intensity of insecurity came the intensity of effort.) In sports or math where maximum effort is called for, and mentally concentrated intensity achieves and finds its maximum effect at the limit of one's best effort, trying even harder at such a moment brings the awareness of one's own effort and concentration, brings the awareness of the instrument of effort itself, the agentive mental apparatus itself, the part of you that tries most intensely to understand and to do. In such a long-lasting cauldron of great effort and discipline one comes to recognize, and learn as familiar, the feeling of intense, self aware concentration.
I saw in his eyes the self awareness that I knew as my own experience of myself, which I had by then for years simply referred to in my own mind as: Me. Equally intense and certain, equally self-aware. I hadn't seen it recognizeably in anyone else, but I knew it as my own essential nature, because that's what I experienced when I was trying my hardest for a long time. When you are really trying your hardest, you get to know what you are.
From that earliest date, seeing First Teacher on the wall, I always had complete faith in my tradition. Everyone has their own tradition, and I wish them faith in it. I know I am blessed to have such great faith in mine.
A Square Brown Linoleum Tile An essay on selfless service.
Your inner mission is to heal and tenderly care for yourself. You are his.
You may bow and give yourself to him (First Teacher), but you are his, already his, fully his.
If you're not sure, check that your thoughts are to the good, for the highest good of yourself and others. Check with your inner guidance: Choose love or silence for your mind, either. Maybe you do have to surrender more. But maybe you also have to enjoy the moment, go with the flow, experience the love and peace, the acceptance.
After "I bow" has burned your ownership and given surrender of it all to the Divine Teacher and nothing is left of the "mine" game, then "I bow" can be followed by "I am". Shivo'ham, so'ham, Om'ham, Om. Sh... Waa.. and the still resonance of silence. Ya! Containing the thought of serenity, and the experience of non-down-regulated emotion, liberated.
I am so empty.
All this is so meaningless.
My ambitions seem playtime games, made up.
My inner judge, so harsh, critical, uncompassionate.
Instead, give some love to sister, to mother. Send Hi to an old advocate and thanks for his teachings.
Hey at least let serenity and passion flow when they do, live fully, don't down-regulate, you mental obstacle. Shut your story-telling moral-deriving down-regulating mouth. Be fucking crazy it's not your job to be someone else's or even your own "normal". Be a lunatic poet, make no sense, laugh at pain, cry at nothing, flow all in what ever.
"Please comment about post meditation contemplation, specifically."
Most thinking and discussion of sadhana, whether negative (e.g., calling one's profound meditation experience a "coma") or positive (about how to try to go deeper, how to let go of the mind, its negative impressions, to go deeper from here) is representative of the striving, frazzled, actually suffering, mind, it arises from your own greater ignorance instead of your own greater knowledge, which is likeliest to be experienced toward the end of an period, say an evening program, of chanting and meditation. Therefore, instead,
Sit to contemplate, after.Pratyabhijna Hrdayam says
Repeatedly examining the oneness of consciousness while filled with the after-effects of samadhi, samadhi is attained. (Verse 19)
(Must I repeat? It says to repeatedly contemplate the oneness of consciousness during the period after meditation. Is this difficult to understand, somehow? It's the time after that matters. Pay attention during the time after. This is why darshan occurs after meditation, because you spent all this time chanting and meditating to bring your consciousness to the point that it might possibly be open to a spiritual insight, so make your relationship with the divine teacher at THAT time, go up and have darshan at THAT time, and go sit down and contemplate what all this means THEN, when you have a chance of having a higher viewpoint. Now, finally, is the time the apple is most ripe on the tree; pluck it Now! Don't think, okay the program's over, let's get back to normal consciousness and pack up and go, nothing else to do here folks. No! It doesn't take a long time to capture an insight; you have spent your evening to grow this amazing fruit, now it needs to be picked.)
So I say, upon coming out, come slowly, to keep the energy, or perhaps the inner belief system, ongoingly. Usually we get these instructions: wiggle your toes, open your eyes, come out of meditation now. You've had your fun, now it's time to pack up and go home. Actually, No. I don't want to come out; I am trying to find a greater truth through this meditation and these spiritual practices, the truth that is something permanent, always present, something subtle that I don't always see in my anxious and frazzled day to day life. Rather than "coming out" of meditation my serious purpose is to raise my understanding to be more profound in and through and after meditation.
(So especially then,) Attend to That.
Learn something, discover something. Go up to bow down to the Teacher's presence, symbolic or otherwise, and get yourself the knowledge that you came here for. Then you, then I can carry home some permanent relief, a ratchet of progress in my inner development.
Go deeper by meditation on love.
Meditate on that which stills the mind and brings you into that state.
Hang the pennant of gurubhava on every breath.
[Gurubhava: becoming the Guru; identifying with what the true wise teacher identifies with.]
What comes up, what comes out,
these are all expressions of love.
These are all your heart's creations.
Love them because your nature is love and bliss and freedom.
Dharma, the law, sky and earth in their place, harmony.
Your sincere project's themes are valid.
With compassion for yourself do them.
The inner love is the key.
The mind gets just enough gas from the infinite inner power that it can think it's in charge.
Always know otherwise.
Later: Head popping up swimming in an unfamiliar ocean, still, starlit.
Powerfully sucked away to oblivion,
I remember only that I thought I had been thinking a thought,
but not able to remember what it was.
Dharma ∝ time: in time we realize the timeless.
Give meditation and practice time.
All this is my creation, in and of love, love it.
Confused mind? Be more humble.
- Discriminate between the eternal and non-eternal.
- Be in the now.
- Stop the storytelling.
- Recognize transitive I AM: I am X - So you can reject it. Just, I am.
- Recognize suffering.
- Engage the heart in the heart's action: love and wisdom infinitely.
- Make sacred space and enter it. Meditate on the divine teacher's grace.
- Eagerly seek that pain of abandoning your ego, until ego is gone. Learn how.
- Cultivate the desire for liberation.
- Don't let society be an excuse for egotistic fantasies, for false identifications. Be together with immediacy of presence, with inner surrender, humility, gratitude, forgiveness, clarity of perception, removal of stultifying distorting false concepts.
Clarify your perception to see what is. Be present.
The smells and texture in the carpet under my face, real and surprising but not shocking
Recognizing that if any experience is divine, then this moment of darshan, forehead on the carpet, is divine. Therefore...
Opening to my world of sensation and experience,
willing openness even to shocks.
Suddenly, devotional love arose.
I was gone. Sweet.
In darshan, some pain but great great love, and tears. My goal: see my awake experience as of oneness, as samadhi. (How? Sadhana, mumukshutva; grace.)
My intention this 6 weeks has been to awaken the inner music of So'Ham ("I am That", in Sanskrit, said to be heard as music, independently played, with the breath, at a subtle level). I asked it of Third Teacher, she gave her blessing.
For 2 weeks I have been feeling it in the navel region. With inward focus the emotion of a situation resolves into its cause, the inner place of stillness and awareness and emotional presence. Mystical qualities are perceived there.
Last week, I saw that the center of breath initiation and the center of emotional response activation are the same center.
Two days ago: Attending to situation again, energy rises into heart and becomes actively emotional tied to the situation. Noticing this path of pain I re-orient to the point of arising, again in the navel area.
My sleep has been practice in so'ham all this time. Awaken in anxiety, do so'ham, about 1x or 2x, then next thing I know I'm awakening from a 2nd dream several hours later.
Chanting a holy text is a great yoga. A powerful concentration exercise. It teaches grace in all experiences. Devotional song is even more attainable since slower, a bit.
I can enumerate and classify all the elements of experience during and by means of such a practice: All are conscious emanations like sparks from the same core of being, a core experienced as stillness. All: even those I had, have, or might see confusedly, as to be identified with. The sensation of pressed brows, I once identified with Self, since that had co-occurred so much for me in my teens, is just a spark like the rest. The inner thought of myself, my enthused and bright intellect, also is a spark of the same invisible steady flame. All, I have enumerated them all, and all are from, products of, the core, none are true Identity (if grabbed and held as Me or Mine, and from there confusedly wondering what to do next or how to react to the dramas, gripping that false Identity, in my ignorance and even panicked grip on it, I imagine it might soothe me but I am hardly soothed).
No task but the awareness of I am That. The formal inner encounter with the Teacher is egoless, simple, you could say utterly surrendered, past surrendered, yet miracles continue to arise. A vision of the column of energy, like a flash, miracles and blessings, canonical [mystical] realization coming unrequested, by grace. Thank you.
See others' words as the energy that brings samadhi [stillness in meditation].
Don't just ask questions to learn, ask questions to appreciate.
Friday program's chant:राम राघव रक्श माम्क्रिश्न केशव पाही माम्
Protected, watched over, as a baby bird in the nest,
seeking the peace and liberation of yoga,
seeking the music of सोहम्
My Ego rides fearful and controlling on the reins of breath. Doesn't even know how to let go.
Letting go of sensory or other concepts whether conceptual, egoic, or even emotional/postural, experience breathing in, inner eyes wide open. Refine your perception to the subtle. Deliciousness of breathing in. Anti ego. As release. Reiterative. Return. Remember.
Darshan: O talking mind, where is your value?
[The four goals of life according to Hindu philosophy, are] Dharma [duty] Artha [wealth] Kaama [love] Moksha [liberation] : In all of these is the spirit of giving. Generous charity makes one a giver, opens the heart, stops the stone-like ego from owning us, calculating its gain. In the flow of take-with-give and give-with-take is the possibility of inner surrender.
What learned and how applied? Economic and spiritual life are not non-intersecting. Renew my practice.
By means of That, from mind, the Divine Self.
My Darshan - Tonight's experience: happiness for my prosperity in giving. Gratitude. Wondering for what, out of all that is going on. Obviously for all of it. A lesson to contemplate for me.
[To clarify, I haven't normally felt a lot of gratitude for my anxiety filled miserable life. So this was a great gift, and worthy of contemplation, for me.]
The quick, flexible, snake-like cognizing intellect,
thinking it is something, has not become soft with surrendered love, yet.
Now give and give, even give the quivering and quick * inner self-knowing.
[*: even fearful and reactive thus not stilling that ego-grasping]
After that you will recognize and know you are That.
It is hard for me to see that universal love. But after food, meditation, mantra restarting, came some gasps on a walk with my partner: acceptance, love, and joy in all things.
- Life's a symphony of notes each arising, enduring, subsiding into its witness, into purity, into grace.
- Wondering? How to see it, to react? All things, and no-things are notes of love.
Your pure intellect does exist; its purpose is not just (to know) every kind of crap. So clear the crap out of the way. The intellect without an object is pure. The All Encompassing Heart is pure. Connect (not with ego story telling but emotionally) to each atomic experience, thus purifying both each experience and each emotional moment.
Darshan: One connection is through your innate desire and to the grace of the Divine Teacher. That connection opens and flows and supports you fully.
As humility becomes perfect, even the sense of self is given without ownership or attachment to the Beloved, to the Teacher!
Then when that sense of inner self-awareness of "I am" arises, it returns as a divine gift, its limits are erased, floodgates open. The sun enters.
My inner self is the greatest power of determination, of hope, of undefeatability, the intensity of concentration, that which never leaves in the best or worst circumstances, the power of attention, of focus.
Tom, practice humility!
Darshan: overwhelming infinite love.
Connect the outgoing self with the Supreme Self...
- as ground
- as worthy of giving to the Teacher
- as a gift from the Teacher
- as a divine gift to recieve,
- to experience with openness and receptivity and gentle acceptance.
- as transitory as cherry blossoms or cottonwood fluff in the air
- as having a divine meaning, but not its own inner story meaning.
Darshan Note: Only the activity of the inner judge prevents the most natural effortless light filled experience of everything as pure, free, emotionally whole, safe, blessed, loved, loving, and love.सभि एक् तो हe ही.and more surrender to the Teacher attains it effortlessly.
Mom's note: Always bring pain pills.
In darshan I understood:
Go ahead and have a nice fat ego. It is food for God. Offer it. Give it. Be sure you don't get wrapped up in it. But let its feeling of I am flourish. Give it to God. Then discover it, see it, receive it, and have it as God's gift back to you. If you give it, you get it. And merge it into everything.
Bless you bless you and so much love to you!
Darshan: Having Given
All, What is not the Teacher's?
What, received, is not her gift?
What is not Her?
You are. I am. All is. Allow yourself to become Calm.
- Love is all that matters.
- Where I live there are many needy people and many givers. In balance, a happy place.
- Plants, like onions, save (they are perennials and store energy for the winter and future spring); others, like dandylions, spread (they are annuals and spend their all now). What are you? Onion or dandylion, or both?
In a dream First Teacher appeared standing
I saw him and went to full pranaam, he hit me on the back with a stick:
- 1st time, pain, and my spine full straight (it made me so happy!)
- 2nd time, bliss (gratitude, happiness)
- 3rd time, can't remember, I was out.
What a lucky, auspicious, blessed dream!
Footnote: it occurs to me that this can only be interpreted in the context of unconditional love for a completely trusted saint whose every action is understood as the highest love. No, I wouldn't probably like it if anyone else hit me with a stick, on an average day somewhat due to the stick and somewhat due to an inference of hostile intention. But a beloved saint might be a different situation. Just something to consider.
To me this was a healing of my anxiety, a statement like, Get out, vile self-oppression! And it worked, and brought me joy.
Footnote: Bliss in non-ego-calculating, in ignorance, means it is in animals, in babies, even in sleep; it is a default, and even death returns to it. Only sleep's awakening brings you back.
Everyone recognizes their divine value. This is visible in self-respect, hope, determination, and umbrage on insult.
Out for a while in meditation. Then noisy mind for a while. Then breath, large in view, everything else quiet, and quiet.
Then noticing something like a playful fountain
but without place of origin or direction
my visual field arose from it
my thoughts arose from it
I saw/knew this is the heart space
Just because it was emotionally fully present
but it was neither high above head nor low below neck
of the fountain of experience coming out with a sense of play in everything.
I worried, will I lose this? Probably.
But it is at the root, for sure.
The insight of the least effort,
from or toward the "place" at the center of every actual place.
Wow. Later I wondered, how can it be described, or taught, and saw many have tried.
It has the feeling of fascinating revelation.
Reality is amazingly emitting from this,
seeable if attention is within, at the
most profound, the earliest part of any experience.
To see it is to see where the thoughts arise from.
Is my time of tears done?
Shall I now just laugh and delight?
No, still some tears. But hope.
Perhaps I may dare to hope.
During pranaam, of course all is pure (divine) consciousness including sparks, integrated spark surfaces, impression reactions, spatial and all self awareness but it is then, in the action of bowing down, the act of surrender, sincerely and fully, that it is seen, and the non-egoistic nature of all experience can be detected, and God, Teacher, divine Consciousness, and her play, and you all in aspects equally your own Self and witnessing self-awareness, all are that ultimate field of energy, melted, merged, vibrating, emotionally liberated beyond tears or attachment or historical pain. Real, here, now, all.
Thank you. Perfect.
A Testimonial: From childhood my dreams were all in a theme of inescapable out-of-control situations: anxiety. Just after the recent intensive, while waking up one morning, that knowledge came to me, Ah I know, and instantly that lifelong anxiety disappeared. Poof! Complete relief. Then, gratitude. A month later, still no anxiety in dreams that I can remember. So yes, an intensive is worth it.
(Note 9/29/2019: anxiety in dreams is identifiable but usually not inescapable since this note was written. Now the suffering when it appears is a layer deeper; the dream situations are more constructive and less dramatically and obviously anxiety-ridden; I seem to recognize myself suffering, recognize it is not my dream story making me suffer, wake up enough to drink some water and have an aspirin, and vow again to eat no simple sugars the next day, which strongly predict my insomnia, night-time headaches and anxiety, and nightmares. So yes, there was a real and significant emotional step forward documented here.)
The breath arises, perceptibly in hard crying at the center of the diaphragm. There, emotion arises. There freedom and spontaneity exist fully. It is spacious.
Our story is fascinating, O teller, player, and audience. Go deeper, where are: you, and final bliss in every color, door, and face. Light. The story is (itself) a play of your own consciousness. Love. Bliss bliss bliss bliss bliss bliss bliss. Again all dried up emotionally? Ask: Who am I?
(In chemistry a solvent makes a solution by dissolving a solute, up to a limiting concentration above which the solute can dissolve no more and precipitates out of the solution as a solid. This is called ab-solute, out of the solute, when the solution has reached its limit and can carry no more.)
As the cup runneth over, thus the solute fills full and the absolute is attained that thou art. Such a time demands respect as stillness and openness, intellectual surrender. Om.
I learned: The Self, the undying flame in the heart. The initiator of breath. The unknown, not as something to know, but the category of facing unknown-ness.
I learned: Observe breath initiation within violent crying. There: Life, activation level, emotions, freedom, and open space.
Head down on the floor is not just an action, but an intention.
Tom: Even as I learn and delve and learn and the chakras even develop I feel my ignorance, my true ignorance remains complete. I remain a toy of my imagination, pulled about by greed, excitement, and fear.
Here is the form of my ignorance: Experience in the now is taken as an excuse by the basically frightened, confused, (spiritually) ignorant (me) for assessment, story-telling or -incorporating. Enjoyment of sense immediately provides ignorant emotional volition an opportunity to jump headward and put it together with mysteried situation.
- Step up, see yourself amidst that symphony.
- Step up, see your choice to become subject or object in your drama.
- Step up, choose otherwise, maybe.
- Step up, see you, your emotional being and the fountain of it all within as the chooser.
- Step up, surrender your story your agency your victimhood your subjecthood your objecthood your choice to hold within the story and role.
- Step up, you are sat chit ananda. As sat you are all roles, all sparks, all spaces, all notes, and all silences. As chit you are the seer, the seeing, and the seen, and it need not be your choice to limit, constrain and regulate yourself by one role herein.
- Step up, let go, see the ground of being, the living uniformity of all, the sat and the chit, and in your meditation confirm your achievement's reality by the bliss there arising. If not, you didn't; keep trying.
- Step up, step up, step up!
All is bliss if you're not telling a story over it.
Dance: bliss flying in a circle uplifted.
Bliss via inwardness
surrender, practice, meditate,
Thank you Thank you. Love as much as you can. Be loving be generous.
Takeaways for my life:
- Keep trying, stepping up.
- Love is ready to burst out in all things.
- Learn your ego's trick, and discipline your discrimination and detachment.
- Give yourself fully to all you do.
- Dharma and generosity in work and relationships, from strength.
- Creativity is the god working through you; take it and serve it but don't be locked down by it, consider and allow also the alternatives, and none. For all are true, you, loving, and free.
The proper activity of the mind is to bow down: namo namo namah [I bow, I bow, I bow].
Clarification: Given the emotional function of the mind whereby it binds the emotions, its proper activity in so binding them is what it does when it bows down. "Proper" as in: healthy, not just soothing but also soothing, wise, loving, actualizing.
Dear One who has sought me out by reading these words, who seeks to know who and what I am, my being and presence with you in fullness and truth:
Dear One, I seek by these words to bless you with a complete and satisfying blessing. Your Self that you experience is my Self that I experience. What I am is what you are. I am the same cloth that you are. I am you. When you are in your own self awareness, know you are with me. My beloved, as long as you experience your own inner being, alive, with great emotional capacity, know that I am alive, with great emotion, as you.
(Hold my) baby child (self) (in the form of a) pillow to chest, or, stroke and hold my right shoulder with my left hand. (This) gives more reality to the self/infant as needing time, not just food enough, but time, loved and held, just to be.
Imagine my inner infant, hurried during nursing for a Mom who didn't have time.
Did I learn to hurry, to feel that my feelings didn't matter, to be sad.
The pace of being... is the pace to be at.
The flame (dopamine) is fascinating, but the log (serotonin) is essential.
To have a dream, a dream for one's life: Comes from a creative egoless space, and seeking the dream in life is at root seeking reconnection with that egoless and creative flow state.
Love only. Let yourself serve love, let your state, your focus, your expressions, your energy flow like oil on the table, spreading slowly at its own pace, with its being. Everything of course has its own pace, fireworks, thoughts, snappy comebacks, but what is the way you want to be with yourself and others? Pour the oil of love over the sacrificial fire of every task and relationship. (Allow its pace to be the pace, see its flame.) Love, oh lover!
Darshan today: Too short! Then my tears of yearning for that flame of love created their own fulfillment.
Achieve emotional significance in each word.
Gratitude for my Life.
Uncertainty is a path to lightness of grip on self-attribution.
Upon completion of all duties arises happiness, perhaps it is relief. It is a time for the great mantra to play, for the flow of things to be appreciated, for recognition that That occurs Now.
Footnote after 9 months: If your grip on your so called identity is heavy handed, perhaps because you learned lack of self-soothing and lack of self-care as a child, then you might not allow yourself relief, not just until every last duty is complete, but also some other unreasonably heavy weight of pain, suffering, or self-torturing discipline has increased to finally surpass your own personal threshold of when you'll let go a little. I'm saying, if you are like me, maybe lighten the heck up. Do your duty, sure, postpone some gratification for later better outcomes, sure, but excessive self-torture isn't necessary to allow yourself some mental relief. Then these wise benefits can come.
"Worship your Self": Consider intellectually as an object of devotion, volitionally experience devotion towards, and love: one and every thing that your self may be: Your experience of volition, your experience of any action tied as it is to your believed agency, the sense of identification and proprietariness or ownership towards any person, thing, characteristic, or quality, the feeling as well as the intellectual assessment of any of those things, the light in every chakra, the dominant energy of every state, the essence which others perceive in you in the twinkle of your eyes, the social value and role which you work to assert, work to deny or suffer from the imposition of.
Every self: set it up as an object of devotion and worship. Every bit of yourself is a doorway to the infinite. I don't mean the continued intellectual elaboration of your thinking about it, but rather the hopefully intense encompassing and engrossing ultimately melting attentiveness you can give it or through which comes that melting or the merger into the featureless light, the white tandra, the samadhi.
And upon the return therefrom to normal body consciousness the easy method to again and again transform this world into universal love wisdom and the vibration and energy of bliss. As an example a tired body laying down to darshan is a formation of self, another opportunity to follow the Teacher's word and worship the self, yes also in that form. Yes and this form too.
The mind cannot capture infinity of love, only devotion and inner humility encompasses all. By grace, perhaps from a divine teacher, we are lifted above the limitations of story, attribute, identity, and time, and merge into the Conscious All, the essence.
I recognized and cultivated my desire for the experience of being out, for samadhi to pervade my normal consciousness. Back and forth, out, to the edge of out, and back to normal awareness and re-orienting with "mumukshutva" [the desire for liberation], forth again, and back and forth.
In darshan: the desire to be out during this awareness of this, yes with forehead on the floor and the long stick asana I found the love and power and shaktipat experience of First Teacher coming toward me and pervading me and my experience exactly as and as powerfully and as intently and directionally as I with my desire oriented in devotion towards him, the saint, the True Guru. Did his presence enter me and suffuse my awareness from his photograph? Or from my devotional intention as part of my innate capacity for pervasive love, evoked in the context of satsang, chant, meditation, darshan. More than meeting in the middle, desire meeting love, the forces pass through and empower and strengthen each other. Om Namo Bhagavate ... Om Namo ... Om Why would I ever stop expressing this! Om ..
[I'll clarify the point here: after 35 years of going Out and having the benefit of that soothing pure restfulness when frazzled and burnt by my ego-engaged worldly periods of a day a week a quarter, after consistently finding that tandra state through my tradition's books, programs, and practices and my sincere and faithful engagement with them, finally after so long I noticed that maybe I might make use of my own desire for this oneness to be part of my normal awareness. Remembering my own desire, after coming back from tandra, I returned to tandra. Remembering it, my normal consciousness became suffused with something different. The key, this desire, is the pole star, providing an orientation for consciousness, intention, and re-focussing, after tandra erases all thought and emotional echoes of past actions. Since confusion arises in the disciple doing their sadhana, seeking liberation vaguely or in some long term but without immediacy, then with no direction, no where to go to achieve the goal, having erased even desire, I sit resting only until interest arises and then I return to wander aimlessly through normal worldly life again. But with mumukshutva, with the desire for liberation, the direction is clear, and the return to consciousness is not so much as in the past an opportunity to wander again, but now an opportunity to rest my forehead again at the feet of the true Guru and experience the love and merger in an intent focus in him, that he knows and experiences. Without that desire is 35 years of aimlessness even in the sadhana of a devotee. With that desire is direct immediate experience as deep and pure and encompassing as can be. Therefore cultivate the desire for liberation.]
Devotion makes the finite infinite.
Focussed passionate continued action imbued with the spirits of service, devotion, humility, love, builds a reservoir of energy in the heart. It allows us to see more deeply and for longer moments the infinite tenderness, expansion, freedom, the real love there.
Learned from seeing Second and Third Teacher: Focus always, as the door. Any focus, but focus with devotion and full attention, connects to That.
From seeing First Teacher: paraa paraa paraa (beyond beyond beyond), don't try to hold it in your mind, it is beyond. He is the far beyond, the unimaginable pure. Awe beyond reason or concept is a description that suggests it slightly. Wipe everything in a snap, that far, he is there. Om Guru Om Guru Om Guru!
Note to readers: One who can't immediately understand this may benefit from the following words. Some emotionally significant experiences can be shared with others who are in something like the same emotional space. But the same words don't fully communicate it to a person who isn't emotionally prepared for it, for example by sharing a seeker's sense of commitment, long search, and relief upon finding the Wise Beloved, or perhaps by a getting-ready period of calming oneself down, quieting the mind a bit, preparing one's breath and posture to more deeply receive truths that a superficial and cosmopolitan mind might be unable to appreciate at the intended and proper depth of understanding. The fact that someone's enthusiastic, direct, and emotional words seem strange might be a fact of one's own limitations rather than the speaker's wierdness, irrationality, or lack of anything to more concretely say. Take this hint, therefore, and prepare with fastidious inner cleanliness your independently operating, calmer, loving and deep aspects of yourself, to hear what is being shared in an authentic seeker's joyous discovery. Then not only will the words heard make greater sense and have their rightful and intended positive impact on you, but your own process of emotional self-respectfulness and deepening wisdom will have their own significant and positive impact. Try it before you criticize it, or else no, actually, you really didn't get it. So try it again. Maybe.
Here is: an unobtrusive space of devotional practice. Matriarchal for decades, a space supporting silence, inner unfolding and inner freedom, by voluntary disciplines and periodic opportunities for reconnection. Experience coached and humbly contemplated programs of universalised Hindu-derived philosophy, culture, and practice, the living best of rich, ancient traditions. Sincere seekers, welcomed, will find peers here.
After darshan:I know, but tears come up, thank you and thank you and tears,
forehead still down between elbows, the "long stick salutation"दीर्घदण्डम् नमह्
and after tears after moments
arises self-consciousness again, that ever-new, the arising-again, steady power, the spark, that.
I know, but to know again,
to practice sincere humility
opens again the emotional depth,
To bow down and offer my soul to the power of grace,
merges with the ocean of grace.गुरु ओम्
I am you. Is it just me?
An echoing sound is an obvious metaphor for emotional self-projection, but we as listener fail to detect our obvious echoes as our own, and detaching and taking responsibility is even harder. A wise teacher friend modelling helps; a break, a good sadhana, helps. A Friday night program helps.
Tom: What is the intersection of stillness, freedom, emotional power, and love?
Liz: Being. Being is stillness, freedom, emotional power, and love. Being is different from existing.
"Silence" is witnessing without ownership and reactivity.
Experience is like stars in a firmament.
Darshan: Letting loose the actions of ego, the concepts of me and mine, is like slipping into a relaxing bath, warm and gentle. After a time when challenges arise, it also asks for determination and strength.
Liz: Being. Being is stillness, freedom, emotional power, and love. Being is different from existing.
This collection of aphorisms, short notes reaching toward inner surrender are offered to you with great respect and love, by someone who is
A Brother, An Uncle, A Friend, Someone who wishes you well.
Everyone has their own experience, and not everyone can easily or perhaps ever slip into mine without some translation. It might not make any sense. And it might seem hopeless to try, if differences are so great.
Still, there is a need. Here we are in the latest crazed age, and there is hardly a soothing wise voice to be heard. A few pieces of music might help, maybe there is some poetry to be found I don't know where. I find myself browsing for relief and never finding it. My intention?: Try this!
Have you observed reading scriptures or certain spiritual documents, written from a certain kind of a voice, that you actually can open to a random page, and it speaks to your particular situation? I believe we all suffer from the same broken emotional regulation system, and the same solution, however expressed, in whatever situation or language, answers the suffering and brings a kind of relief.
The voice that soothes with perfect, perhaps irrational wisdom is the voice of the sincere seeker who has discovered a path to inner surrender. The voice that doesn't have a relationship of identification with, a posture of attachment to, a moral, judged position in a moral judged world, that is a voice that is internally free. To be actually capable of universal love and wisdom, which could heal us all, requires letting go of whatever you think you are. Good or bad, you are not that; you are the all encompassing light of consciousness, the unspeakable divine flame, the un limited.
My own path in this direction has been through forests of anxiety and sensitivity to negative emotion -- now I think mostly due to simple carbs in my diet. This may be something about my own unique metabolic physiology but symptoms include night-time nightmares and headaches within 24 or 36 hours of even a tablespoon of sugar. Meaning: always. From childhood until recently. Because I always was a sugar freak.
So you take a basically healthy person, twist up their emotional life with constant low-grade anxiety, and have him explore deeply and forever to try to figure out how to resolve it by cognitive and spiritual self-management, for 30 or 40 years, say: that's exactly me.
So my simple-carb metabolism has supported, nay, driven, a lifetime of seeking and finding inner peace. If such a person can do anything constructive with this, then hopefully, if you also suffer or have any kind of emotional or spiritual hunger or need, you can extract something useful from what I have learned and brought back for you. The positive lessons from my experience may be applicable beyond the dietary.
I have found regular, but always temporary, success by putting out sincere effort under a truly wise teacher following a valid, effective path, and it seems to me that the history of these small victories may aid others, perhaps also you.
Perhaps the story begins in college. My intent and focus was to discover the highest good, extracting what the West offers by way of wisdom (summary: Nietszche says, make up your own; William James says, if it works for you, it's true enough.) This is a call for introspection, at best, so then I went to the East, to India, found a Guru, Second Teacher, learned a bit about grace and humility and stillness, lived in his ashrams for a year or two.
He told me, Study what interests you. My own highest good, my dharma, is a life of intellectual exploration in service to the world. And that's been my life since, modulo practical demands. Yes I feel licensed to develop inspired, even outrageous, opinions and ideas in seemingly every domain (why, don't you feel the same way?) from math to physics to molecular biology to vowels to humor to play. Yes an unlimited scope of interest, yet wherever the spotlight lands, intensely interesting. Perhaps not coincidentally, interest is itself anesthetic (dopamine). But generally my hunger, what I want to do is, to figure out what's really going on, what's the truth. Proving it to other people is not always my forte, but I really want to know what the real truth is, in whatever I'm thinking about. I will noodle and re-think and fuss over a subject many times trying to get deeper and farther into it, to the dismay of loved ones who have heard each story so many times before. Perhaps I have a bit of Asperger's in me, but so, it is said, does any engineer or scientist. It's all good.
To me the most interesting thing for a suffering human being like we all are is actually the difficult-to-impossible task of emotional self-management. How to run the show in here, and maybe not suffer as much, or better yet find meaning and happiness, or even better yet, find bliss and serenity. Given my own simple-carbohydrate-driven metabolic anxiety, that is to say, an unresolveable, eternal, medium-intense burden of constant misery and suffering, I might have some findings to share. That's what I'm trying to do here.
After India, I spent a couple decades slowly developing, you might say, baking, on my own spiritual path, by nibbling at Second Teacher's writings, a few sentences before bedtime every night, and here: It gave me anxiety and nightmare free sleep for decades. There is something about the right voice, which brings relief.
Have you noticed this? People have a voice. Most of the things I have to say and write come from a curious but somewhat urgent, pure intellectual voice of advocacy. Trying to figure stuff out, and hopefully bring people along with what I'm figuring out. Not soothing. No relief. Somehow my intellectual posture could never capture that mystical, right voice. Really, I could spend a lifetime and never be able to speak with the simple, saintly wisdom which would soothe myself, let alone others. Believe me I've tried it, the results are not pretty.
It seems this mystery of the miraculously wise voice is associated with (cessation of) self-attribution within the cognitive/emotional regulatory system. And self-attribution is a process which can seem hard to stop, if you're used to it.
Yet it is possible, I believe, and I think I can share how; anyhow these notes show, and share with you, some records of my own process, in hopes they may be a relief to you as well.
So the habit of my last 15 years or so has been: to spend a work week accumulating greater and greater desire for liberation; to go, burning with misery and desire, to a Friday night program in my meditation tradition; to chant for 20-45 minutes, to meditate for 20-45 minutes; thus prepared, to go up to the Teacher's place at the front of the room for the personal moment we call "Darshan"; to bow down shamelessly in the long stick salutation and mentally greet my teachers who I imagine to be present there, in the form of their photographs, maybe a candle, maybe their shoes, and at that moment, to seek with all my capability to learn something that the Teacher can teach me now.
For many years the inner exchange has been me offering something to them. Cash in the box, to make it realistic, of course; would it pass the sniff test if you don't think your teachers are giving you something that is worth something? But offering something interiorly, something greater and greater, each time: whatever I could now imagine as being more and greater than the last time. My spiritual knowledge and growth, I have thought, could perhaps be measured by the nature of my inner offering. After mentally making this offering, I remained open inwardly, and without exception something would come to me, that was some deeper insight, some knowledge, some change in perspective, something apparently I had bought with my gift.
For example, I offered the embarrassment I felt on doing this full-body, on-the-floor, face-in-the-carpet, arms straight, hands together, gross violation of personal dignity and over-the-top signal of excessive subservience. Noone else does it, or even comments on it, clearly I get no points with anyone from it, but Who am I, trying-to-be-humble Tom, to be so vulgar and ostentatious in such a display? Anyway I thought Oh Guru, what shall I do, I offer you, I give you this feeling of embarrassment. And I got an answer right away: Don't worry, it is scripturally prescribed.(Guru Gita verse 28). That was easy. Rest in your duty.
I always get an answer right away. It's like, in that state, emotionally prepared by a good, long, devotional chant, intellectually prepared by a good long meditation, now before the Teacher's place, forehead on the carpet, my sincerity, preparation, intention, and openness somehow meets their wisdom and some alchemy occurs to bring me a deep and satisfying, wiser insight, something I could never invent in my usual mind.
Gradually I offered more and more. Some emotional stuckness. My relationship with a difficult person. My suffering of the week. That my intentions not be greedy. That my choices be selfless. Then, things with which I felt a sense of identification. For example, the wrinkled inner forehead of intense concentration, is a sensation a person can sense while concentrating hard on some task, and it is something I have felt as a sensory feedback indicator of the presence of my own most focussed, determined, striving concentration; I identified with that sensation of the wrinkled inner forehead. I offered that. And answer came, you are That (inclusive). To put it in words, Yes I am that, for sure, but that doesn't limit what you are, you are All.
Every time, some higher deeper truth and insight would come to me. I think sincerity and intensity of purpose found its appropriate context. I would go back to my seat, and sit and ponder what I learned and received and sometimes I would write it down. It seemed to me over time there was a theme of increasingly thorough and complete inner surrender, though that may not be apparent to a reader today. From a thick stack of those notes accumulated over those 15 years, during a health scare (stented), realizing the significance, to me, of sharing this before I die, I typed them in here.
"Notes from (a forehead) on the ground" is an edited subset, aphorisms which could perhaps stand alone, or be understandable by others, mostly outside of the jargon of a certain Hindu-derived, Sanskritic tradition, which by the way I do not officially represent nor here advertise: find your own way. "Darshan Notes" is how I thought of them, and the unfiltered superset keeps that name. The new title, a riff on Dostoevsky, brings a wider resonance, while communicating the same profundity that I've felt, so it's for the wider audience.
You may wonder, What is your intention, Tom, with all this religiosity and God talk? Intellectually, I am actually an atheist. My Dad's Dad would say, I'm from Missouri, I'll believe it when I can see it. I'm with Grampa (Mom too, see #4, here). In the normal understanding of entities and relationships and existence and reality, there is actually and with certainty no god, let me just say it. No, it's not a matter of unknowability like the agnostics say, it's not possible-but-unknown if there is some kind of supernatural entity floating out there, invisible because maybe it's hiding behind a planet or some star, whether shaped like an old man with a beard or otherwise, listening to, much less delivering on, children's on-bent-knee and adults' however-expressed prayers, verbal emissions of grocery lists, like Santa in his workshop, somehow somewhere. No, there isn't any doubt. That's NOT true. Obviously.
Why do discussions of religious life and experience have to always walk tippy-toe around this question of the existence of God. Of course not. We all know what "exists" means, rocks exist, trees exist, and, obviously, God does not exist. I say let's get over being unable to say that.
Still, there's something else actually going on in this domain, and it's a different matter entirely from entities that might or might not exist and whether they do or don't. I think that what it is is the apparently unrelated but universal problem of emotional self-management, and that religious or spiritual practices, teachings, stories, experiences all have the primary and essential purpose of helping us with our own emotional self-management. So although upon entry to this subject, for scientific clarity, I do have to declare the baseline facts, it doesn't mean there isn't a baby in that bathwater to be pulled out.
And Second Teacher said, you have to be an idiot to be an atheist, and I won't argue with that, being happy to be rather on the dumb side in many ways, what can I do? Nothing in these Notes is authoritative or intended as other than personal, subjective, and observational, and actually as data for scientists (current theory here). I hope you are your own kind of scientist, seeking truth and Truth in your own way, coming from where you come from, with the abilities and limitations that you have, just as I come from some place with some abilities and some limitations. Seeking truth that is true enough, and relief, an end to the inner suffering.
So I offer these notes to you, so maybe you don't have to mentally suffer quite as much or as long as someone like me, and maybe you can find and hold onto some of the happiness I have also touched in these years, decades, of seeking, and with my forehead on the ground, of finding.
Bless you; may you suffer as little as possible, may you find great, true happiness, irrational bliss and serenity, effortlessly, may you know and rest in your own Self.