Monday, May 31, 2010

connecting heaven and earth

just when i think i am done with the residual tendency of pride and inadequacy...boom, here they come again. my editor says, you must connect heaven and it is it feels like 2 separate books. i see a sinking feeling in the belly. i thought i had worked hard to blend them. now what? what am i going to do? how am i going to do it? i don't think i....and so on and so forth. blah blah blah.

after a little while, not days or weeks, it is clear to me that there is an inner turnaround happening within. my attention is being drawn to the sound and motion of the breath like iron dust to magnet. it's like my awareness is a giant yo-yo. but instead of getting stuck in wild swings that go nowhere the downward momentum comes to a pause at the end of a swing cycle. and then a lift appears. it takes my awareness onward and upward in a steady manner. the yo-yo string of habitual tendency is broken.

do i know what to do? nope. not yet. do i know how to get there from here? nope. not yet. but i know i will. this is what happens, and shall happen, when i stay connected to my own inner self. keep meditating, suk wah.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

meditating on loneliness

for me the most awful feeling is...drum roll please...loneliness. i can't even bring myself to recall the kinds of dumb, stupid things i do out of loneliness. but what i've come to realize through the light of meditation is this lonely feeling is really a twisted expression of yearning. the yearning to be connected. the yearning for the experience of connectedness with other human beings. but here's the thing. this connectedness i am looking for can be found only within me through meditation. all the wonderful and marvelous people in the world can trigger in me a fleeting experience of it and it is not because of them. what's going on is my mind quiets down and the light of the inner self shines forth. that is the true source of the experience of connectedness. but, aiya, i don't't see it for what it is. so i keep searching for the next right, perfect person. and the cycle goes on. until i seek within.

here's the miracle. once i am able to connect with my own inner self i find it so natural to connect with others. hwubby says, yeah, because you are not needy.

Friday, May 28, 2010

what is jealousy?

during torah study rabbi lerner asks, what do you think jealousy is? this is while we are examining a torah portion about making a woman drink 'cursed' muddy water if her husband has a fit of jealousy. it doesn't matter if she has really committed adultery. i can see why women over the ages are outraged over this. but then, coming from a culture and tradition where women suspected of adultery were bound up, locked in a cage and thrown alive into water i can see why i sort of feel like, well, at least she is not drowned alive. it doesn't make the practice less humiliating, shaming and traumatic though.

i digress.

what is jealousy? i'm really grateful that my rabbi is always looking for a way to make the ancient torah relevant to me right here right now. i think jealousy has to do with feeling not enough, not good enough, not having enough. it has to do with the fear of losing control. o yes, i know these feeling so, so well. for so long i was so caught up into them, totally bought into them. not anymore. through the power of meditation i realize that the sense of enough-ness that i crave can only be found within me. i cannot find it in anyone else and in anything else. i may have the illusion that so-and-so makes me feel so great about myself. i may think if only i had this or that i would be so happy. but what really happens is when i get what i want the mind goes quiet. the light of my self shines forth. it is that light that gives me the experience of being enough, having enough. but, aiya, the experience only lasts as long as i am connected to the self and the mind thinks that to sustain the connection i have to go for more stuff, more control. meditation is the only way i know how to strengthen and purify the connection in a real, lasting way.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

sacred bath ritual

i didn't meditate this morning. what happened? because i was in the ashram temple at 4 for a sacred bath ritual. to do that i had to get up and get going at 3.

as i wait outside the temple before the temple is open i take it all in. the silence is deep and beautiful. the light is low. through the glasses in the double doors i watch a beehive of activity inside. an army of sari clad beautiful women of all ages, and some men, strong and dedicated in indian outfits or suits, doing a whole range of tasks. nothing is too small to pay full attention to. stacks of trays of small cups of fresh fruit salad to be gifted to all the participants. garlands and bouquets of fresh flowers. piles of folded blankets to keep everybody warm. special chanting books for the occasion. under dim lighting and from the distance i see people doing seating, putting out lines of chairs and blanket squares to make sure as many people as possible can be seated comfortably in an orderly and easeful manner. audio equipment are set up. permeating in the atmosphere is the exquisite fragrance of devotion, experience and focus blended in perfect balance.

time and time again throughout the vedic prayers i lose grasp of the sanskrit syllables and find myself plunged into depths below the ocean of sound. there, time is not linear. we are not separate individuals. it is the experience of being and being one. when i emerge from this formless, timeless consciousness i am right back into the sacred sound ocean.

no sooner than the ritual is completed it begins to drizzle gently. in vedic beliefs this is a sign that nature, the universe, heaven and the deities are pleased with what we are offering. as i revel in the soothing sound of raindrops caressing the tarp scaffolding over us i am wrapped in this sense of bright and luminous gratitude.

i didn't sit down formally for meditation but i meditated as deep as can be in the presence of all these dedicated and selfless yogis.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

meditaton keeps the lake of mind calm and clear

my inner self never ceases to amaze me. case in point. there is a person i need to reconnect. it turns out that the phone numbers and email address that i have are no good anymore. it was someone i knew at my old workplace and the workplace doesn't exist anymore either. so after a few frazzled moments i decide to do what i know how to do. i breathe in and out deep and long for a little while. the message from within is unmistakable. i will find her. the power of conviction calms me down. i watch the worry and anxiety huffing and puffing and dissipating instead of letting them tearing my mind in ten thousand directions.

fast forward several days later. at some point in meditation when i have no expectation about it whatsoever. i am just reveling in the sweet and easy breath and the soothing resonance humming through the vast consciousness when i hear one word loud and clear. livermore. i know right away what it means. i write it down while holding my meditation state in place.

later, when it comes time to take care of business, i key in the person's name and 'livermore' a phone number shows up. i call, leave a message. less than a day later i got a voice message from this person. after taking care of business she says, how do you know my home number? i say, the last time we spoke you told me you were moving to livermore. she says, i did? i don't remember, i don't tell people where i live. indeed. i don't usually ask people where they live either. somehow the question popped out of me and this piece of data got stored somewhere in my consciousness, like a coin at the bottom of a lake. once i can get the lake to be calm and clear i can see the coin when i need to see it.

that's what meditation can do. to keep the lake of mind calm and clear. so i can hear the message from the inner self and see what i need to see.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

habits are neural circuitries

favorite activity. snug-cation, hold-cation, fold-cation rolled in one with hwubby before meditation. couldn't imagine nicer preparation than this. pretzel up and supple up the body.

hwubby says, it's so fascinating. i watch these negativities come up, not strong, just kind of making their way in. i can really see them for what they are. habits. old habits. i breathe in, pray to god and they go away. then they come up again. i breathe in and out, pray to god and they go away. just like that. i say, yup, where the light goes, darkness dissolves.

gone are the days when i thought once i turned away from a negative tendency it's goodbye once and for all. nope. that's not how habits work. they are neural circuitries. they don't just go away forever. but they weaken over time as i build up the meditation energy deposits and new circuitries. for instance i still see the fear of a mouse sprinting out from some unexpected corner when i walk into the kitchen. but it is no longer strong enough to control my thought, feeling, speech and action. now it is a residual habit. it's only going to get weaker and weaker unless i feed it. instead, i watch it, breathe in deep, let the light of the inner self shine through and get on with what i intend to do in the kitchen.

Monday, May 24, 2010

untangling necklace turns out to be meditation in action

as it turns out i have the opportunity to untangle a messes of wrangled fine-gold necklace. at first look, i say to myself, o, no, no way, how am i going to do this, i don't even know how to begin. here's the thing though. i no longer buy into this. i see the thought coming up. i feel the murmur of trepidation based on fear of unknown, fear of uncertainty. but i take a deep breath in and a long breath out. and i begin. i focus on what i can do in this very moment. a cautious tiny movement with a needle point poking into here. and there. i make sure i keep the breath going in a steady and slow pace. soon i am immersed in the teeny tiny movements happening in the tangle of tiny gold hoops. for a while nothing much seems to happen. a couple of times i see a whiff of whining. this is going nowhere. but i know this is residual tendency. i refuse to give in. i refuse to give up. then i see subtle stuff going on. the needle point begins to go deeper into the mess. i know it means something is loosening in there. after a while it dawns on me that now i can actually undo the clasp. this turns out to be the breakthrough moment. from then on i can gently lift up one end of the chain and carefully guide it through one tiny crevice, then another. soon the mess becomes distinctly smaller. and smaller and smaller. until it is a mess no more. just a fine chain of hoops lying flat and somewhat twisted like a braid. from here on it is a piece of cake. i lift up the necklace, now restored to its original splendor. the sense of fulfillment and contentment is beyond measure. i feel like i come out of deep meditation. truly meditation in action.

i realize in any given moment i have what it takes and i know what to do unless i am disconnected to the inner self. when i am in the river of moments in this way i move away from fear and i am taking care of what need to be taken care of properly. untangling a seemingly impossible mess starts with a gentle poke.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

do what takes me closer to the inner self.

there we were gobbling up shivaa's yummy food and reflecting on how to make choices and decisions. i say, i imagine i am dying and my life is flashing across my mental screen. when i come to this particular point i pause and ask myself, what do i wish i had done? what this exercise does, i find, is i can see through the fears in all their shapes and sizes and get at what truly matters. and what truly matters is, as shivaa says, does it make me feel closer to god than i did before i made the choice/decision?

for me, without a doubt, 'closer to god' is no different from 'connected to the inner self.' as every day goes by, the experience of being connected to my inner self builds, little by little, through meditation. when i find myself asking, what is the right thing to do, is this the right thing to do, when to do it, i draw on this measuring meter within. sometimes i know the answer right away because i get this sense of being at ease with myself. sometimes i have to leave the question and the options at the door of the meditation closet and really settle into the humming, throbbing silence of the inner self permeating the easy breath. i don't go into meditation expecting any answer in a certain way i would prefer. i just pray to be on the right track, whatever it is, that which takes me closer to the inner self. and more often than not i find i need to draw on the courage and strength and stamina, forces from the inner self, in order to stay on track. it's not always easy but it's absolutely worth it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

surviving a mental storm

there is one tendency i really thought i had uprooted it. every last tendril of it. this is boring. i'm not having any meditation experience.

not so fast. it returns this morning. for a little while i see a variety of same-o same-o reactions clouding in on the mental horizon. i couldn't believe it. what's going on? why? i've had it. i can't deal with this anymore. same-o same-o feelings. agitation. restlessness. the body is fidgeting like a gazillion ants crawling all over me.

at a moment like this the only thing i have to fall back on is the power of the practices. it's like i've been saving up a pile in a bank account for rainy days. and this is a rainy day to draw on my savings.
so i turn attention over to the sound and movement of the breath. i say to the inner self, i can't do this on my own, please take me across, i need your help. i make a conscious effort to let awareness plunge into the ocean of the breath. again and again. it works. i come out of meditation feeling like surviving after a storm. stronger. surer. inner sky clear and calm. ready to take care of what need to be done today with determined focus.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

meditation and wheat-free-gluten-free brownies

meditation is so fascinating and exciting. really. there i am enjoying the lovely sound of the easy breath flowing through a comfortable posture when i feel this longing to....make brownies. almost instantaneously i see limiting thoughts rear their heads. no baking chocolates. no cocoa powder. no double boiler. it's a crisis moment. seriously. if it were not for the cumulative effect of the practices i would have gone bananas. seriously. because i would have been sucked into the stormy mental weather. instead, i make conscious efforts to turn attention to the divine humming sound in the breathing movement. soon i hear a message from within. you have what it takes. you know what to do. in another couple of rounds of breath i go a little deeper and higher within. where the source of courage and strength is.

fast forward to after meditation. i feel a gentle prompting from within to go dig deep into the pantry. i follow it. and so it is way in the back behind and underneath provisions i see a small ziplock bag of 4 unsweetened baking choc squares and a few spoonfuls of premium cocoa powder in a can. just enough for a batch of brownies.

as for the double boiler i look at what i have in terms of pots and pans, play around with a few things and discover a small saucepan that has a lip. i place it over a small pot. there i have it. an adorable double boiler.

my wheat-free, gluten-free brownies are...dare i say, sublime. i can't help but amaze at myself:) i mean, the inner self.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

miracle hwubbies, miracle food. miracle buddies.

i'm walking through shivaa's gardens ready to rock'n roll another evening of wonderful and marvelous meditation, chanting, studying and... eating. so there i am oooh-ing and aaahhh-ing at the abundantly blooming roses and who leaps into my vision but norm's beaming, welcoming presence. of course i'm opinionated. i think my hwubby is the best of the best but i have to say norm comes in a really close second:) this is his day off and he is totally blissed out having us taking up his house for a greater part of the day. he is always happy, really happy, infectiously happy. i say, hey, what are you doing? he chuckles, i'm mowing and i'm happy. there you have it. meditation in action. he's humble too. such a great combo.

we chant amidst veils of rose scents rolling in through the windows. gives an extra lift to the vedic hymn. feel it in my voice. feel it in our one voice. 

shivaa puts me in charge of getting her garden greens into the salad bowl. i almost ruin it. i see some pretty little lavender blooms sprinkled around the lettuce leaves. i just jump to the conclusion that they are overgrown weed that got mixed up into the lettuces. so i ignore the little nudge from within that says, ask shivaa, and toss them into the food scrap tin as i break up the lettuces, dill, fennel. the refreshing scent coming off the bowl builds and builds. shivaa throws in mango chunks, instructs me to add cranberries, raisins, roasted peanuts. i say to myself, i'm doing such a good job. and i hear shivaa say, where are the thyme flowers? ooops.

here's the thing. being around generous spirits like shivaa makes it that much easier to not get sucked into the tendency to beat up myself. it helps that much more to weaken the impact of negative tendency when i am around dedicated yogis who understand that nothing takes away or add to the inner self and so accept me as i am along with all those, let's say, residual habits. an even greater thing is they care about me enough to call me in moments of forgetting and disconnecting from the inner self. case in point, i am kind of rambling on and ruth, in her clear and bright voice, kindly says, get to the point. love it. i'm truly fortunate to have buddies who are so present.

as we share our reflections on our spiritual journey we listen to each other with an open mind, laugh our hearts out and munch our way through those yummy dishes that shivaa skillfully prepared with so much sweetness and thoughtfulness. the lima bean soup is sublime. the shittake base infuses an ethereal fragrance to the earthy, creamy soup that looks like molten alabaster. it's a beauty to behold with petite peas floating, red quinoa, carrot bits. taking it straight up to the seventh heaven with an inspired move shivaa made a mint yogurt chutney. i slurp down two nice bowl-fuls besides hummus with tapernade and chunky quacamole with a touch of tangerine. it's a miracle that i could meditate after all this for no reason other than they are truly miracle food.

miracle food. miracle buddies. lucky me. inner growth, truth growth, has never been easier. and fun too. lots of yuummy fun.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

moosewood banana bread and inner self

i thought i had perfected wheat-free, gluten-free banana bread. really. until i see the recipe from the moosewood cookbook.

by the way, the edition i have is itself a work of love. really. ms molly katzen compiled, editied, illustrated and hand-lettered the whole thing. seriously. she even hand-wrote cross-references of main ingredients. i am simply in awe of it. its loveliness and sweetness come off the pages. her pure heart, golden dedication touch my heart. this is a bundle of joy.

what about the recipes? say, banana bread. here's a tweak that puts me in disbelief. '2 cups mashed up ripe banana soaked in 1 cup strong black coffee.'

first of all i don't drink coffee but, over the last several months, i've been requesting hwubby to bring home all those single-cup-brew hotel packages whenever he does a work travel. part of me goes, what are you doing, suk wah, hoarding? is this residual tendency from poverty consciousness? but i just have this feeling from deep within that i can't let go of them. not just yet.

it all becomes clear when i see the moosewood banana bread recipe calling for strong black coffee. i say, i'm ready to go. so i make a cup of coffee with 5 single-cup-brew bags. let it cool, put in the mashed up banana, cover it, put it in the fridge and then go to bed. in the morning i strain out the coffee, let the mashed banana sit in the fine sieve and gravity does its thing while i work through the other parts of the recipe.

i don't know if this is the cause but this banana bread surely is the best ever. texture is more refined. sort of al dente. the little bite and bounce to the teeth is delightful. contrasts and balance the walnut bits just right. the subtle sweet taste has a roundness and fullness to it. the last teeny bit of soda taste is totally gone. flavor is a little richer. yet it is lighter.

salutations to ms molly katzen. and salutations to my inner self. i'm so glad i listened to you and saved up all those coffee.

Monday, May 17, 2010

i don't care if i could get enlightened as long as i keep meditating

in those days and years when i couldn't even sit still for 5 min i felt this sense of desperation, like, when would i get self-realized? i would never get liberated? by the way i didn't even really know what that meant. but this much i did know for sure. i wanted perfection.

so chasing perfection outside became my life. if only i got this or that i would feel perfect, my life would  be perfect. unfailingly it didn't. in fact in the midst of feverish pursuits i would hear, periodically, an inner voice that said, no, this is not it. did i ever listen? no.

i digress.

now i meditate 2 hr a day. i even do 1 hr on sunday. not that some drill sargeant drags me out of bed. i want to do it. saturday evening i tell the mind, we are going to sleep in tomorrow, isn't that great? come sunday predawn i find myself coming awake, the mind clearly filled with the thought, i want to meditate.

but i am still digressing.

what i really want to note is i am just thrilled to be able to be with my inner self. will i ever get fully, totally, absolutely, irrevocably enlightened this lifetime? that is not a burning question anymore. as a matter of fact i would be so happy if i could just keep my meditation practice going strong. little by little i realize that there is so much perfection within me, the resources of all that i need to take care of anything are within me. hey, and so much laughter too.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

empathy involves listening without judgment

yesterday hwubby says, what is a simple definition of empathy? i say, i don't know for sure but i think it involves listening without judgment, jumping to conclusion and 'fixing the problem.' hwubby says, o, that's very good. i say, so what's your definition. he says, well then, for now, i think it is 'accepting and/or listening to the other's experience without judgment, jumping to conclusion and 'fixing the problem.' do you think it's 'accepting', or 'listening', or both. i think a moment and say, listening is good, it's a simple and direct action, neutral. somehow accepting, in my simple mind, carries an implication of going along with it even though you don't agree with it, you don't like it.

this morning i'm already having an opportunity to be empathetic towards myself. i see thoughts, appearing every now and then, all to do with going back into the past, beating myself up and wishing things to be different. i watch them upping and downing in intensity while i recognize them as residual tendency. all they do is take me away from the present moment, out of my inner self and disconnect me from the capability to see the situation as it is right now and deal with it the way it is. really, my inner self stays full and undiminished however things turn out. that's the real bottom line.

Friday, May 14, 2010

nothing, nobody adds to or diminish the inner self.

i realize something as i wrap up another two hours of being with my priceless inner self through meditation. i listen better as a result of making efforts to stay with the humming sound in the breath. by the way it's not that the inner self goes away when i am not in formal sitting meditation. it's the mind getting caught up in thoughts, feelings and the body in actions that i forget that the self is always with me.

for a long, long time i was filled with anguish about this. where is god? by and large, the anguish is gone because i know from my own experience that god is in my breath.  nobody, nothing can take it away from me. not know how.

and so i hang on to this understanding with my dear life as i look at the retirement account statements that are showing losses. in the end they are situations to take care of. they don't add to nor diminish the inner self. and only when i am firmly footed in the open quiet and clarity of the inner self can i take care of them properly.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

even good insights can take me away from being with the self

it never ceases to amaze me what i can see that i didn't see before when the mind is immersed in the quiet and clarity of the inner self. case in point. a while back i received the response regarding a proposal i made. it was a 'no.' since then i moved on.

so there i am meditating away in robust, dynamic contentment, my awareness aloft in the divine humming flowing through the easy breath and, voom, i see it. i see where that 'no' was coming from. it was a justifiable 'no' given the circumstances at that point in time. but between then and now things have changed. and so, if needs be, i can go back to the person and ask for reconsideration.

then the real challenge rears its head. i can feel excitement roar and thunder. along with it agitation and restlessness in the body and mind, like, i can't wait to write this all down, tell hwubby all about it, and so on and so forth. all pushing the mind to keep going with more thoughts and feelings. very tempting indeed. it is in such a moment that i really appreciate the cumulative efforts i've been putting in to anchor my awareness in the true purpose of meditation. to be with the inner self. no more. no less. having insights that guide me in worldly affairs is fine but i have to keep my eye on the ball. or else even good and helpful insights can, in the end, take me away from the real goal. to realize i am the inner self. no more. no less.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

very special yummy chicken feet

rosemary and thyme infused chicken feet. so good. never had it till now. all came out of the goodness of my spiritual sister ellie. she is recovering from 'sudden death syndrome.' one day she got this call. it turned out to be a vendor in the farmers market that she has been going to for ten years. the vendor dug out ellie's phone number from the check copies, called out of concern. so a friend took ellie to the market. the vendor was so happy to see her and gave her a chicken, eggs and asparagus.

i said, do you want the feet? ellie said, no. so i clipped a bunch of rosemary and thyme and meyer lemons from ellie's beautiful garden, stuffed, covered the bird, baked it in foil and took the feeties home.

what a special treat. i still taste the refreshing herb and gelatinous texture in meditation this morning. the gentle aroma of the meyer lemon adds an extra pizazz in consciousness.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

imminent and transcendent all at once

a twinkling galaxy of promptings, guidance, instructions in today's meditation. the effort i have to make is to write down the keywords for each one without interrupting the meditative state. it never ceases to amaze me how far and deep the inner self sees. in a couple of short, succinct instructions i get the framework of a complex transaction i have to take care of. with one word i receive the gist of a email response i have to make. in a phrase i read the pulse of the beneath-the-surface emotional currents in a situation i am in and that illumines me to the appropriate way to interact with the other. now i see the behavior of the other in a new light, a clear and quiet eye. 3 alphabets illumine the doorway to a backup plan in case plan a doesn't work out.

i can go on and on like this. i don't intend to meditate for the purpose of planning the day. and yet that's what happens as an unintended benefit. but what i am really thrilled about is that i really feel like i am in this natural meditative state as i go about the day. i can see the knee-jerk reaction tendency is still around but it's no longer in the driver seat.

thank you, my inner self. you are truly both imminent and transcendent all at once.

Monday, May 10, 2010

inner self is the crown jewel

carefully i place the gift from ellie, a sweet and dear spiritual sister, in front of the books of writings by my beloved meditation teacher. a dazzling thing it is. the surfaces of the petite box are covered by cut color glasses each of which is set like a jewel and framed by a thin band of golden filigree. the whole arrangement is supported by a sturdy golden frame. i can't get my eyes off the panoply of lights reflected and refracted from them. amber. ruby. lavender. yellow.

when i first saw it i felt this sense of recognition. i said to myself, i've seen this before. this morning in meditation it comes to me that i have all these splendid lights within myself. i know these lights of mine. they are part and parcel of the infinite magnificence emanating from the crown jewel, the inner self. it is brilliantly beautiful and it is sturdy and strong.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

all this fabulous existence is, in the end, a fabulous movie.

this thing about 'remember your own death' works like a charm for me. as i contemplate on it i realize what happens is it takes away all the edge and bondage of fear. fear of unknown. fear of uncertainty. fear of doing something wrong. fear of getting 'no' as the response. fear of losing money, house, whatever, but no exception. fear of no praise. fear of blame. fear of criticism. seeing that none of this matters when i am dying frees me up. my awareness becomes steeped in the inner self which is that part of me that is immortal.

a flash of this understanding is great. and what i need to do is keep my meditation practice going to make sure the flash builds, and builds, and builds, until i am one with the understanding. i am none other than the inner self. all this fabulous, fantastic existence is, in the end, a fabulous, fantastic movie. a grand and dazzling play of lights of consciousness.

Friday, May 7, 2010

i meditate to become aware of the self within

do i meditate to become the self? nope. i meditate to become aware of the self within. i already have the self. i just have to remember that. as a matter of fact, remembering that and my own death are all i need to hold myself in the present moment. the rest are just things to take care of.

having said that i have to remind myself that staying in the present is not the same as being stuck. i accept myself as it is in the context of moving forward on the path to become constantly aware that there is no difference between my individual consciousness and supreme consciousness. my mind is clear sky.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

meditation, inner self and tax refund

there i am, getting ready to meditate. the night is quiet and clear. so is the mind. it is steeped deep in the vast inner world. then i hear it. a gentle whisper. car expenses. i know right away what the prompting means. the car expenses in schedule c of tax return. i make a note of it and go on with my meditation.

when it's the time of day to take care of business i pull out the draft 09 return, go straight to the 'car expense' line in the first schedule c. what do i see? blank. i am shocked. i flip through the pages into the second schedule c. there is a number in the 'car expense' line. i say to myself, this doesn't make sense. i get on the phone with our tax person. she looks at it. it doesn't make sense to her either. she looks into it. it turns out to be a software malfunction. a piece of data that should have flowed into one part of the return from another part didn't. she corrects it and says, suk wah, you are going to have a refund.

now i get why earlier in april when we were considering whether or not to file an extension i kept having the sense to do an extension when it looked like it was ready to go. hwubby said, why are we filing for extension? i said, i don't know why but i just really feel it's the right thing to do. hwubby said, alright, i trust you. the way it has unfolded enhances my trust in the voice of the inner self. the experience really strengthens my willingness to follow through with the prompting from the inner self even though in the moment i may not grasp the meaning and implication of it. with this experience i am even more resolved to maintain a quiet and clear mind to make sure i hear the inner self with an open, receptive mind and not mental noise through filters of limitations.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

there's no place i'd rather be on tuesdays.

several times today i drop out of aum-ing and into the inner world of exquisite silence. i see no outer edges, no bottom. there's the feeling that i can go as deep and high as i can into the source of joy within. by the time i utter the last round of aum my awareness is thoroughly reveling in the tenderly sweet movement and sound of the easy breath.

without a doubt i know this is the spillover effect from doing the practices with my spiritual buddies last evening. there we were sitting in the comforts of shivaa's divine house anad chanting the sacred text from vedas, the same scripture that prince siddhartha heard the brahmins chanting in the palace. every syllable throbs powerfully with pure kindness in my entire being. there's phenomenal alchemy in chanting holy text with dedicated yogis. the collective power of pure intention helps me to connect a little stronger with the supreme self which is no different from my inner self. riding on the waves of sublime resonance that transcends the linear passage of time the self of me and the buddha are one.

the spread of food that shivaa prepared was yummy scriptures. the salad, with greens all from her garden, enhanced all that holy power we gathered from the chant prior. with a touch of fennel, arugula, mango chunks, roasted cashew and golden raisins, my stomach is full and light all at once. i'm like, hey, i can meditate and chant all night, let's go. she made this super-duper spring soup out of shittake broth throwing in fresh corn, finely shredded carrot, rice and turmeric. my soul is nourished and afloat in golden glory. and what about the cilantro pecan dip? what a delightful surprise to the palate. the flavor profile sweeps from clean, refreshing to rich, nutty. i love it. it really got me going for the meditation and chants to come.

last, but not the least, we were amidst shivaa's 200 wildly blooming roses. paradise out there somewhere? nope. it's right here.

i am truly fortunate to be in such marvelous company. there's no place i'd rather be on tuesdays.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

jumping into action with an agitated mind? no more

awake in a snap at 3. i see the connection between two dots and have a panic attack. pretty much all at once. here's what happens. i knew hwubby would be away all next week. meanwhile yesterday i was notified that 5/14 would be the last day to submit a certain application packet. so i thought i have 2 weeks to prepare. but it isn't until my mind is in that quiet and clear mode that i see all the papers that need hwubby's signature have to be drawn up this week. and then i see something else. there is an affidavit required in the packet. o. no. and so in a blink the old tendency of getting worked up bursts and flares. i definitely see agitation and restlessness in the mind.

by now i know for sure the antidote is turn attention with all my might to the breathing sound and movement and get ready for meditation. to jump into any action in such a state only guarantees an ugly mess. then what? i have to clean it up.

coming out of meditation two hours later i feel centered and clear-headed enough to take a look at the situation with a fresh eye and steady hand. i will listen intently to the promptings from the inner self moment by moment, see what i need to see, remember what i need to remember, and take care of what's necessary step by step.

Monday, May 3, 2010

being with inner self is letting go of fear of unknown

the mind comes awake in a snap but the body is lying totally still. for a while in the night my entire existence is being aware of the deep and long breathing roaming the vast inner world that has no ends and edges. the experience is exquisite. the silence is throbbing with a sense of full and rich being. there's no place outside i'd rather be.

after a while i hear with the inner ear this message. staying in the present is how you plan the future. this is the answer to the tendency to worry. i am facing a whole host of issues that i can't see how they might turn out. meanwhile unexpected twists and turns are showing up left and right. i can see the tendency to know what is going to happen lurking. but really the best way to take care of them is to keep myself firmly anchored in the inner self. only then can i see with a clear sky mind what might be an entryway that eventually leads to an outcome that i am not even aware of its existence right now. it's only through moment-by-moment presence that i can be with the play of consciousness, that i am not shutting out the possibility of possibilities. 

ultimately, it's all about letting go of the fear of the unknown. and the only way i know how to do that is to strengthen and deepen my connection with the inner self through meditation.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

i know this place. i've been there. sabbath

it's truly my great good fortune that my rabbi would open his house for sabbath service, not to mention torah studies. studying in the teacher's house is an ancient tradition in china. i love it.

on the threshold of entering sabbath rabbi lerner asks each of us, what do you want to let go as go you into sabbath? i say, i can't think of any for myself but i would like hwubby to let go of the suffering and pain as a result of having two teeth pulled unexpectedly.

a fun and thoughtful congregant says, i already let go of what i need to let go and my intention going into sabbath is to be the person that i am now, not the person i was in the past, not the person i wish to be in the future.

i say, rabbi, can i have an intention going into sabbath too? he says, yes. i say, may i always remember two things, remember god and remember my own death.

we have a ball with the service. as i sing at the top of my lungs all those wonderful and marvelous songs i am in awe of the spectacular sunset unfolding through the wall-to-wall window. god is not far away. god is so close. in fact when i look at the images of deep outer space from the hubbel telescope i say to myself, i know this place, i've been there. indeed. everyday when i close my eyes i go a little deeper and a little higher into the inner world, the mystical world, that has no outer edges and has infinite wonders and marvels.

anyhow, i must have been a hebrew, maybe even a cantor, dare i say, in some lifetime. my top fave tune is the finale that have the lyrics, all names, all names, all names are one. ushemo echad.