Friday, April 30, 2010

if i were to die right now...

let the mind become inseparable from the inner self. that's what comes to me as i contemplate on the question 'how do i know whether it's the heart or the mind talking?'

hwubby says, yeah, there's this voice that says you can do this, and then there's this voice that goes neah neah neah, and then you are pulled all over the place.

that's where meditation comes in. as far as i am concerned, it's only with a mediation practice that i'm more and more able to ground myself in the present. only then, when i am coming from that place i'm not mistaking mental noise for the voice of the inner self.

what if there's doubt? then i take a pause, turn attention to the breath, breathe in deep, breathe out long, and apply this question, if i were to die right now what would i wish i had done in this moment?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

remember i am the self

here's another expression that i need to watch out for. i feel...  sad, angry, upset, overwhelmed, whatever. the thing about this is really subtle. it sucks me into being that feeling when in fact i am the self. so i am making a conscious effort to say something like, i see sadness coming up. hwubby says, yeah, it's like weather. yep, mental weather.

what about uplifting feelings? i notice a difference in how i say it. i am happy. i am grateful. i am contented. and i hold the understanding that they are not dependent on anything outside of me. they are part and parcel of the inner self. remember, i am the inner self. the self-efforts i put in are all about helping me to remember that. hwubby says, it's called self-effort because they are efforts towards connecting with the self.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

how easy it is to be out of the present

as i enjoy my meditation more and more i notice a subtle shift in the way i express myself. one example. i can't wait to...  on the surface the expression seems fine. yet little by little i feel less and less comfortable with it. this morning while i am reveling in the rich and dynamic energy flowing through the ever deepening and refining breath and the resonance that go with it it dawns on me that in the moment when i think, feel or say 'i can't wait to do this or that, go here or there, be with this person or that person' i'm out of the present, stepping out of connection to the inner self.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

looking at it, not being it.

i've been working at a simple and direct way to articulate it and hwubby nails it. looking at it, not being it.

indeed. all those thoughts and feelings that go through the mind. each has its own shape and size. some are smaller and others are larger. yet somehow they seem to speak something about life. what meditation teaches me is showing me what i am really about. i am the inner self. and yet i have the capability to forget in an instant what i've learned in many years and, boom, i'm all caught up in some thought and feeling. i don't like this. i don't like that. i like this person. i don't like this person. i'm sad. i'm happy. i'm angry. i want this. i want more of this. i'm not enough. i'm not good enough. i don't have enough. i feel great. i feel awful.

hwubby says, it's like stepping aside, noticing this and that coming up, then i say to myself, i am the self, and the 'this and that' goes away, just like that, and i feel something loosen within, like a knot untied.

Monday, April 26, 2010

visiting a friend in convalescence

i never know when i get presented with a opportunity to work on a tendency, or dare i say, residual tendency, since i have been putting in steady, sweet efforts to not getting caught up in it.

here's a scenario. i've been spending time with a dear spiritual sister who is recuperating from 'sudden death syndrome,' a riveting heart drama. all i can do is to be with her, help her arrange things around the living space to make it work for her. things like putting out the pans and pots she need to use frequently because she can't bend down or lift her arms, set up a blender, a toaster-oven, and, most important of all, unclutter. she says, i realize i don't need half of the things. it's been really sweet.

the tendency i'm referring to is 'judging.' here's how it goes. while on one hand most visitors are kind, considerate and sensitive, there are people, she says, are just....and i can't think of a nice and generous word for it right now. there was this one who stayed for hours and my friend felt like she had to entertain the visitor. there was that one who, seeing my friend making a chicken dish for her lunch, asked, do you have more of it? then there was this one who, soon after walking through the door, couldn't wait to start unload her own emotional misery.

as my sweet-natured friend tells me all this, i have to make a conscious effort to turn my attention to the breathing movement and the soothing hum flowing through it while i say to myself, what's up with these people, what are they thinking?

my inner self says, they are what they are. that helps. the mental agitation fades.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

another old habit

here's a habit that i still have a lot to work on. holding grudges. i awake this morning to a state of mind that is like an old record stuck in a groove. a particular thought and feeling towards a person about things that are in the past. and this person, may she rest in peace, is dead. i manage to meditate for 2 hours. a lot of it is without regular consciousness, i.e. some sort of meditative sleep. i come out of meditation feeling clearer and lighter. the strangle of the habit is no longer strong enough to seize me. i just watch it. it is not influencing, much less controlling, my thought, speech and behavior.

Friday, April 23, 2010

inner hubbel telescope

since i've been meditating two hours a day i notice a difference in the inner world which i dub 'the world of closed eyes.' i have been trying to find the right words for it. nothing seems right until i hear the story of the hubbel telescope and see some of what it sees. that's it. it's like i now have an inner hubbel telescope and, little by little, it's sharpening its focus. one by one, it's looking at the infinite corners of the inner universe. gazing into these spectacular images from deep outer space i feel like i've been there.

indeed the ancient sages have been telling us, and it's my own experience, there's nothing you can find on the outside that doesn't exist within. but to see these wonders i need to keep all the parts of the inner hubbel in proper alignment. and that's what meditation does to awareness.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

twin guiding lights in my day-to-day life

one is a question, the other a statement. as far as i am concerned they work.

for example, soon after i settle into a nice and sweet meditation i see some thoughts and feelings loom in the mental horizon. i quickly recognize they all have to do with comparing and inadequacy. and, voom, the statement appears bright and bold. nothing adds to or diminishes the inner self. like sunshine burning away the morning fog those mental activity lose their juice and dissipate.

the question? i can't live without it when i have to make a choice or decision and not sure what is the right thing to do. it goes like this. what will i wish i had done in this moment in my life when i am dying? unfailingly looking at the situation through this question takes 'fear of the unknown' and 'fear of doing the wrong thing' out of the mind. instead i am looking at it through the eye of the inner self that is always calm, confident and focused. i can't think of another way to make sure that i live a life of no regrets. i can't think of another way to make sure that i stay connected to the inner self without my meditation practice.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

best way to multi-task? stay in the present

hwubby says, i like to do many things at the same time, wify likes to do one thing at a time. i think he's right...up to a point. after all at any given moment he can only be doing one thing even though his eyes are on the email screen, ears glued to the cell and fingers typing a doc.

anyhow it comes to me in meditation that the best way to multi-task is stay in the present. because the inner self is eternally in the present. i may look like i am doing only one thing. but what about the mind? hwubby would put it kindly. wify likes to think ahead. but the truth is the habitual tendency to worry runs old and deep. totally fear-based. i acknowledge i am doing better. now i see the thoughts and feelings that take me out of the present before they seize me up. a huge step forward.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

i see things i couldn't

i said this before. i'll say this again. and again. my meditation practice makes me see things i couldn't see.

case in point. hwubby and i are working through a difficult situation. not very, very difficult. just difficult. it involves dealing with a bunch of people over a period of time. i watch mental activity with a recurring theme arise. i don't like this. i don't like that. i don't like this person. i don't like that person. blah blah blah.

in today's meditation, as well as yesterday's, once my body has settled into the easy lotus posture so comfortably that i have no desire to come out of meditation any time soon, i find my awareness in a super-duper refined and clear state. from here i hear and see subtle things. there's nothing wrong having feelings and thoughts. the only thing wrong is when you allow them to disconnect you from the inner self.

with this knowledge and understanding i have been able to come up with responses and actions that are respectful and kind and truthful to the other person as well as myself. a win-win situation. i could not have done it without meditation. and the funny thing is i don't sit down to meditate with the intention to find a solution to the problem. all i want is to cultivate the connection to the inner self. and all these incredible things happen. isn't it great?! stress? what stress?!

Monday, April 19, 2010

out of the present and can't see what i ought to see

one thing after another appear from unexpected directions. this week is going to be a jam packed one. as i see yet one more to-do come up i also sense the old habit of feeling overwhelmed and inadequate rearing its head along the mental horizon. fortunately the cumulative power of meditation and practices come to my rescue. much quicker and sooner than what it used to be. consciously i return awareness to the humming sound in the nice and flowing breath as well as the understanding that as long as i stay connected to the inner self i will know what to do (or not to to) in the present moment. the truth of the matter is if i am stuck in such feelings i am increasing the probability of doing the wrong thing because i am out of the present and can't see what i ought to see.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

ice cream and meditation

let this simple mind connect the dots between ice cream and meditation.

having ice cream is a pleasure. i wouldn't go so far as to say it's a guarantee but it would not be way off to say it's enjoyable for most people. what happens when i see, say, haagen daz vanilla cream? the mind says, i want it. what happens when i put a nice spoonful into the mouth? hmmm. soft. sweet. smooth. cool. a desire is fulfilled. the mind quiets down. and the light of the inner self shines through the silence. in that brief while, i experience pure bliss. not for long. another thought appears in the mind. i want more. here's the thing. more of what? for so long in my life i reach outward for more ice cream. now i know better. the bliss is from within. not from ice cream.

i really shouldn't take credit for this. i first heard this nineteen years ago. but i don't get it until i have a meditation practice in place. hey, never too late.

really, the desire for ice cream is a veiled expression of the longing to reach for the inner self.

Friday, April 16, 2010

there is just one life

once a fabulous monk says, on one hand you can meditate for a few minutes and that's fine and great. on another hand i find that when i sit for an hour, 45 minutes are for settling in and quieting down before i can go into a deeper state.

i never get what she means. today i have an experience of that. after almost an hour i realize i'm so comfortable in my easy lotus posture and easy, steady breath that i can effortlessly keep sitting. meanwhile this deep, substantive serenity permeates my awareness. every now and then i see an insight which, in a subtle way, illuminates something i couldn't see before. quietly jot a keyword down and i return to meditation. by the time i'm ready to come out of meditation i feel cool, clear and confident. the necessary tasks of the day are also mapped out. indeed there is not this life and that life. there is just one life. when i am anchored in the inner self my whole life flows properly.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

dreaming bhagavan nityananda

after humming aum 36 rounds i keep going. at some point my awareness plunges into a place where i lose the sense of time. it's deep, rich silence. when i emerge from it i feel the physical and mental agitation that had been around since the day before is gone. thank you, my inner self.

part of my dream last night goes like this. i'm facing this person who's been the trigger of much mental turmoil. in the dream i find my body and feet lift off the ground until i am like one of those superheroes in a horizontal, ready-to-fly position. i place my palms touching and index fingers pointing towards the forehead of this person. i start repeating om namah shivayya slowly and loud with all my heart and might. i see tremendous churning of yellow muddiness below this person's forehead. the crown of her head is transparent. through it i see bhagavan nityananda, my great-grand teacher. at first i think it is a picture or statue. after a couple of rounds of the mantra he comes alive, turns to look at me and bursts into a huge smile. it is a marvelous, auspicious feeling.

i've never chanted om namah shivayya like this. and to see and be seen by my beloved great-grand teacher in this intimate way is priceless. no wonder i wake up feeling light, cool and centered.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

we meditators eat like kings and queens

i say, meditating together with my yogi buddies is like immersing in molten honey. that sense of sweet fluidity, that sensation of being in the ocean deep moving along in a warm current carries over to the next morning's meditation.

i'm sure the pure and yummy food that shivaa prepared with thoughtful, loving care has a lot to do with it. her tweak on presto, replacing pine nuts with roasted sesame seeds, is a brilliant stroke. it takes out the heaviness while keeping the rich aroma and flavor but so very lighthearted. it complements the adjuki bean soup wonderfully. a nice balance. and the gluten-free, dairy-free cornbread in a skillet. it's a winner. a simple, lovely taste. looks gorgeously golden. toss bits of it into the soup and there you have it, gluten-free croutons. what about the salad? with the refreshing tang of blood orange, juicy ripe mango, the roasted walnuts tossed among the fresh, young greens make this a fantastic meal on its own.

thanks to shivaa, we meditators eat like kings and queens.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

the inner self takes care of the mystical and pragmatic.

i am finished with the simple hatha yoga stretches, moments away from sitting down to meditate when, quietly, one after another, reminders and instructions come into my mind. all have to do with taking care of affairs properly in a timely fashion. i jot down the keywords and only the keywords just to jolt my memory when it is time to execute them. but for now i move on keeping my eye on the task at hand. meditate.

it takes a while to calm down the mental activity. but it happens. the cumulative power of my practices lift me up and carry me through. little by little i settle into the rhythm of the humming sound of the breath. off i go for two hours to be with my inner self. in a subtle manner i experience moving through a range of consciousness levels. some are deeper than others. some are higher than others. but they are all part and parcel of my vast mystical world within. it's an awesome feeling.

without a doubt the inner self takes care of mystical experiences as well as pragmatic affairs. there's no separation. i have them all.

Monday, April 12, 2010

meditation retreat experiences

moments after the first session in the all day meditation retreat kicks off i see contours of a storyline that i've been working at emerging and shaping. it's so exciting. i couldn't help but go along with it when i realize no, there's a time for everything and it's is not the time for this. i summon up the will to turn the attention around. breath by breath, little by little, my awareness settles into the cooling river of the humming sound in the breath. when the session is over i quietly jot down the keywords. only the keywords. i make conscious, sustained efforts to stay with what's at hand. to hold the mind clear and quiet.

in the third session i see a column of lights. beautiful vibrant lights. opal lights. i don't see the top and bottom of it. it is clear to me that it stretches up to the crown of head and base of spine. and beyond. lovely hues. shimmering, sparkling, shifting luminance of young green, clear sky blue, powder pink, hot pink, marigold yellow, lemon yellow. absolutely pleasing to the senses. i revel in it. after a while it all becomes a dazzling brilliance of white and the contours of the column disappear. just when i wonder why the inner self says, you are in the light. yes. i am the light. i own a trove of top quality gemstones within.

in the finale session my posture is as great and fresh as can be. hey, that's after meditating for almost seven hours since i did two hours beforehand.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

the inner self gets a little bigger

i went to bed last night thinking i would not meditate this morning since i'll be in a meditation retreat today so i'll be meditating all day long. but i was wide awake 2.50am. what to do?!:) what a treat.

a really nice thing happened. i've been propping up my crossed legs with extra pillows. at some point while i was paying attention to the column of light running from the crown of head to the base of spine and enjoying the lovely humming sound in the breath i just knew i could remove some of those pillows. i did. the foundation of the posture opened up. i experienced an expansion within. the inner self which has no limits has just become a little bit bigger.

it's gonna be a great day of meditation.

Friday, April 9, 2010

be myself. everyone else is taken.

comparing with others. haven't heard from this old, old tendency for a while. and there it is, coming for a visit. this time i treat it differently. i watch it come. i watch it mutate. i watch it try to seduce me with various disguises. meanwhile i keep returning again and again to the stabilizing sound of the easy breath. i know for sure that i have finally passed the tipping point that i am so much more drawn to the light of the inner self than a tendency like this. it no longer has the power to take me away from meditating on the rich, beautiful silence of the inner self. it no longer has the power to trick me into identifying with that which is not who and what i am.

i am happy and content to be myself. besides, who else can i be? everyone else is taken:)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

old habits out. wonderful habits in.

here's a clear sign that i've made progress. after sitting cross-legged for a while i feel the right leg is going numb. but i want to keep meditating. so gently and carefully i rub it, adjust the supporting pillows and keep going. how does that make it progress? well, there was a time when i would just stop meditating. o, it's so uncomfortable, i can't sit like this anymore, and so on and so forth. it's evident that those old mental circuits can no longer drive my actions. some wonderful, marvelous new habits have taken root. and they are aligned with the inner self.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

garbage is garbage

i was telling hwubby about my difficult meditation when i remember a metaphor.

say you are sitting by a river. you watch the clear, cool, sparkling water streaming by. then you notice stuff coming down from the upstream. one thing after another. you can see some broken branches, rotting leaves, rocks, even a dead animal. what do you do? do you get into the river to find out what exactly are there in the garbage? no. you stay where you are, let them go by and out of your sight. garbage is garbage. no need to poke your head into it and go through its contents.

thoughts, emotions in meditation are like that. debris in the river. let it go. turn my awareness back to the sparkling river of the breath.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

a difficult meditation

haven't had such eruptions of thoughts, emotions and memory in a long time. i didn't feel like i wanted to give up, get up and leave. whenever i caught my awareness going under in waves of mental activity i just summoned up a little more will, breathed in a little deeper and breathed out a little longer.

i know what the trigger was. the 30 min phone call with mother. i managed to say a few 'hai-ah, hai-ah' which means nothing in particular. other than that i was just working hard inside myself. reminding myself. suk wah, you are not the guilt, you are not bad, you are enough, nothing adds to or diminishes who and what you are.

on a pragmatic level, that's the only way i know how to get my mind into a place where i can see what need to be taken care of and what the proper and appropriate actions are to do that. sometimes the action involves making difficult choices, like saying no. we'll see.

Monday, April 5, 2010

i can plan ahead better when i am in the present

there i am meditating in the sweet vibration of the vedic hymn, aloft in the quiet ocean deep of the breath and i see clearly an insight illuminating on something i'm working on in the novel. i write down the key words and return my awareness to the breath.

a little while later i begin chanting a sanskrit sacred text of 182 verses with my bright and marvelous yogic community. on one hand i am into it with all my body, all my mind, and all my might. one another hand one bright and clear insight comes after another. they are all instructions or questions that guide me to properly take care of certain life situations, some of which have long term implications . in fact i can see subtle things beneath the surface of circumstantial twists that i didn't see before. i am able to connect dots in a surprising way. you bet i write all of them down. i have to apply all of my will not to keep going with them but return again and again to the chant.

as i am meditating after the chant, soaking in the waves of subtle reverberations, a realization comes up. i can plan ahead better when i am in the present. to be in the present is no different from being connected to my inner self. the implication is huge. now it makes sense to let go of worry. worry takes me out of the present, disconnecting from the inner self. and i would end up doing dumb things, being foolish.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

the lights are so bright in the inner self

so much light i see. it's so bright that i feel like i have to close my eyes. but here's the thing. they are already closed. my awareness is roaming in the deep space of the inner self. the brilliant light is truly black. yes. black light. it has an incredible purity to it. it's...clean. on one hand it shines to somewhere beyond my vision. on another hand i'm keenly aware of the contours of my body. the arms and hands are filled with vibrant, throbbing energy. it feel a little strange to realize i'm holding both.

Friday, April 2, 2010

the naked inner self

over the years often i wonder why the ancient sages say the predawn hours are golden time for meditation. now i have an experience of that.

for years i couldn't get a meditation practice up and running during the predawn time slot. so i just meditated whenever i could. and that was that. today i meditate from four to six. i feel this closeness with my inner self that is so direct and straightforward. i'm trying to find a metaphor and all i can remember is what secretary clinton describes the relation between israel and usa. there's no daylight between the two. hmmm. i can use that. there's no daylight between my individual consciousness and universal consciousness. i am acutely aware of the body and the boundless universe all at once.

i am holding the naked body of the inner self with all its warmth and tenderness.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

hold-cation. snug-cation

it's so very sweet to hold each other and snuggle into each other before getting out of bed. the stillness in the air complements the stillness within just right. the separateness between the individual consciousness and the supreme consciousness seems like a vague, unreal notion even if it occurs to me. right now i am enjoying the joyous abundance of togetherness. the warmth and tenderness permeating my consciousness, our consciousness, draw forth strength and stamina. that is real to me.

hwubby says, we love holdcation. we do.