Thursday, September 30, 2010

i am praying so hard

i am praying for the courage, compassion and clarity to deal with the latest challenge, a health crisis in the immediate family. i pray for the strength to keep remembering again and again i am equal to the challenge. i pray for the sustained focus and fortitude to stay in the present moment. i'm praying for god to be on my side. i pray that i am on god's side, walking the path one small step at a time, impossibly difficult as it might look like at times.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

don't buy into the voice that says you can't do it

it's about time to make another batch of ghee. hwubby looks at the used jars and says, how am i going to clean them? i can't do it. i say, start with one, see how it goes. after some humming and hawing he picks up a sponge, squirts dishing liquid into it, digs the thing into the jar and goes at it. by the way he even scrapes out a nice dollop of ghee from the seemingly empty jar. wow. after a short while he shows me the jar and says, look. it's spotless, greaseless. he says, i thought i couldn't do it but look at this, what happened? i say, you didn't buy into the part of you that says you can't, you didn't allow it to drive your action, and you know what, you did it once, you  can do it again, and again. sure enough. he cleansed all three jars.

who is that 'you' that watches all over this? his own highest self.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

forgetting is the root of suffering

i have such a new-found appreciation for what the body has been tirelessly and quietly doing for me, supporting me and holding me up. how so? with a sprained right foot i can only sit cross-legged for a short while before the discomfort becomes unbearable. i realize i take so much for granted when everything in the body work well. in another word i forget. from now on when i meditate i will first thank the body for serving me so loyally, for being such a reliable companion on my spiritual journey. without the body i can't meditate, i can't chant, i can't study scriptures, i can't be in the sweetness of my own inner self. forgetting is truly the root of suffering.

Monday, September 27, 2010

out of present and an ankle sprained.

staying fully in the present is the way to plan the future. case in point. i am at the edge of the entrance to the sukka, the temporary outdoor hut, on the way to indoor when a person stops me in my tracks. we speak a little bit. i know i am not fully present because the mind is all about what i want to do next and the body is still in the forward momentum. and so it is when i turn around and put a foot forward i am not looking at where i am going and...whoops, i almost miss a step and end up with a sprained ankle. that, of  course, has impact on the moments in the future.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

suk wah in the sukka

today i'll sit in a temporary, fragile hut in rabbi's backyard with fellow israelites. by the way rabbi says, you wrestle with g-d, of course you are an israelite. sunbeams will shine on me through the cracks all over the patched walls and thatched roof. the gorgeous fruits and vegetables that are hanging down as decorations take on an extra vibrant glow.

we will study the book of solomon. yes, the king solomon who allegedly had a thousand wives and all the worldly power and pleasures in his hands. yet he says, to the effect, it's all futile, none of these last, enjoy them but if you think they are permanent and try to wrap your life around them you'll be in so much trouble. well, the wise king doesn't use exactly those words but that's my sense of the gist of it. the truth is the truth is the truth.

anyway i notice, in past years, sometimes it's hard to focus on the text because i can't keep my physical eyes off the beautiful abundance all around me and when i can, the inner eye couldn't resist the allure of the sweetness of my own self within the way iron dust is helplessly drawn towards magnet.

Friday, September 24, 2010

i have access to boundless strength and clarity

today's meditation is mostly....thought waves. and jolts of impatience. at several points i feel like i am on the verge of either exploding on the spot or i must get out of meditation. i summon up all the will i can gather and forcefully breathe in deep and breathe out long. again, again and again. eventually a tiny flash of insight shines forth. fear of uncertainty. discomforts of not knowing the outcome. then mysterious alchemy happens. the unbearable intensity of discomforts comes down little by little. i end up meditating almost two hours, feeling more anchored in my inner self, filled with the conviction that i have access to boundless strength and clarity.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

drink mid-autumn moon

snap awake two-thirty. three words appear in the clear inner quiet. mid autumn moon. i get up, look out the window and up. there she is, the dinner plate moon with a wide, misty aura. i say to hwubby, let's go drink the moon. we bundle up, step onto the back deck, sit down and bask in the moonshine. every breath i take is cool, light and comforting. i feel the warmth of hwubby's embrace and lock gaze with the moon. suddenly the gentle luminosity of the full moon switches into dazzling brilliance. only then i realize there has been cloud passing between my eye and the moon. i watch the luminosity level of the moon shift from moment to moment. yet without a doubt the fullness of the moon's radiance has not changed. it's the passing clouds that create the illusion that there is a dip in the glow. this is revelatory. the light of my inner self is ever fresh, ever full, ever bright. it's the clouds of thoughts, feelings and emotions that create the illusions that i am anything less and smaller than the full moon of the inner self.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

in the presence of of divine lights

what pleasure and delight to have business dealings with people who, besides know what they are doing, are kind, generous and act with integrity. not one. not two. but three. one of them says from the get go, i want to help you to get what you prefer. bear in mind that if and when i get what i prefer she doesn't get paid a penny. then there is this banker who says, you should go to this other bank. i say, you can't do it? he says, yes, i can, but you'll do better with the other bank. how about this other one who offers to advise me when she doesn't have to, and when i call her she is sweet, patient and generous with her abundant knowledge and experience.

kabbalah, the jewish mystical tradition, says the world as it is has shards of divine light. i am fortunate enough to have been face to face with three of them in half a day.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

strength and clarity are what i need now

there i am, waking up again and again in the night, looking at what's going on in the body. let me see. cold waves ripple through hands, arms, feet and legs. nauseating sensation in the throat. periodic punches in the solar plexus. while all this are going on i am aware of the steady, rhythmic movement of the breath. i fall back asleep a couple of times and get up at four to meditate. by the time i emerge from the formal meditation i feel stronger and clearer. it's all i need to face what's in front of me.

Monday, September 20, 2010

in shock? or calm?

within three days of a months-in-planning trip to hong kong, because mother's turning eighty and sister's ashes need to be taken care of, i have to call it off because hwubby's going through a rough healing process since his extensive gum surgery four weeks ago. and this is over and above all other challenges landing on our laps one after another. honestly i am not exactly sure if i am in shock or calm. i can see all kinds of negative thoughts and feelings lurking, looming and hovering. i am working hard at not getting sucked into them. i also feel shivers in the hands. probably a mixture of both.

anyhow i just realize i haven't had food since after one and it's after eight. i'd better eat something, sleep and get up early to meditate. i can't afford to diminish connection to the inner self in order to.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

be strong. be strong. be strengthened.

hwubby says, how are you doing? i say, one breath at a time, one step at a time. at the conclusion of every book in the five book of moses we sing this: be strong. be strong. be strengthened. this is my mantra of the moment. it's not that the inner self needs any strengthening or the reminder. it's the connection to the inner self that has to be vigilantly and constantly cultivated. it's the awareness, that has been so habituated to be populated with 'weedy' thoughts, has to be reminded over and over. now i am experiencing what mahatma ghandi was talking about: this is the war that i must engage in. and victory is guaranteed as long as i stand on the side of divine grace and keep putting in my effort. hwubby says, yeah, and i thought i could do it once and it would be done.

Friday, September 17, 2010

sometimes it involves saying no.

i am watching the twists and turns in outer circumstances while i am aware of the mental activity. who is watching? i am. who is aware? i am. am i the contents of the mental activity? no. do i need to take of them? yes, and sometimes taking care of them involves saying no. how will the other receive it? i don't know. but i do know for sure that whatever the other's reaction is it doesn't add to nor diminish the fullness of my inner self.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

i am in the center of an up-and-down see-saw

coming out of meditation and straight into one crisis after another. okay, change the word. it's not crisis. it's an opportunity to practice being anchored in my own self. it's a benchmark to see how anchored i am in my own self. in my peripheral vision i am aware that thoughts like, how am i going to get through this, this is too much, i can't believe this is happening now with all that is going on, are hovering. but i summon my free will. i tie attention to the present moment. how am i going to get this fax through to hong kong? ahhh. i remember noticing my cousin on facebook's chat room every so and often. so i go to take a look. there he is. i send off a msg. in the ensuing back and forth he finds out the machine has run out of ink. meanwhile another crisis comes on the scene. i really feel like in the center of a see-saw watching the ups and downs unfold. i have no idea how it's going to play out but i am determined to stick with what's necessary in the moment, including sipping my chai every now and then, one eye on the chat box, cell phone next to ear. and my breath is held steady in the shaft of golden light that runs between base of spine and top of head.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

i am fearlessness itself.

this morning's meditation is extra challenging because i had disrupted sleep. i put the phone next to the bed in case an emergency call comes from hong kong where, because it is fifteen hours ahead, is daytime. as it turns out i get three telemarketer calls.

anyhow i yawn crazy during meditation. for the most part. yet, unfailingly, eventually i settle into a place and state of sweet serenity and comforting contentment. from there i come out, fresh and ready for all the challenges awaiting. indeed, fear has no place when i know i am fearlessless itself. it doesn't mean i don't see thoughts and emotions borne out of fear. i just say, there they are, and i return to the boundless strength dwelling in the present moment.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

i don't have to prove i am right

i need to make a difficult phone call and i can see the mind going wild: they won't understand, they'll be so disappointed, i can't handle it, it's all too much. blah blah blah. so i do the only thing i know how. i say to myself, i'll go to sleep, get up super-duper early, meditate and then make the call.

i do all that. and then some. i meditate two and a half hours. for most of that time i watch all this tumultuous mental activity spinning out and all around me. but i do what i could to hang in there with the shaft of golden light that stands tall and strong from the base of spine to the top of head. eventually the body and mind settle down and i enjoy the sweet stability in my own self so much that i can just sit quietly like that all day long if i didn't have to take care of what's necessary.

while i prepare to come out of meditation two simple instructives appear: listen with full attention. simply state the facts. i know what they are for. they are telling me, drop the defenses, stay in the present with what is whatever it is. indeed. one of the ways that i have been 'off the mark' is being defensive, that i have to prove i am right, that i have to be understood and accepted. no. i don't.

hooooh. i feel so much lighter and clearer just having this understanding. anchored in this place and state i go on the phone. i listen with an open and patient mind. i explain the facts as i know it. i respond to clarifying questions. i can hear the disappointment in the person's voice. i acknowledge it, i thank her for being so understanding and kind and the dialogue keeps going. the situation itself is still difficult but the way i feel about it is different. some old knot deep within is untangled. it is so worth it to put in the effort to stay tight with what is.

Monday, September 13, 2010

walking with avraham

for me the great thing about the jewish high holidays is not just about the thrilling prayers, piercing torah commentaries and exhilarating singing and dancing. it is to have this block of blessed time and sacred space carved out for the purpose of examining where i have been 'off the mark' and direct the arrow of attention and awareness to returning to the bull's eye, the present moment, where yhvh dwells and the source of courage, strength and sweetness are. more often than not during the year i forget the inner self and stray from the path. i confuse between the process of thinking and the contents of thoughts. i am not the contents of the mental activity.

in the meditation the rabbi do with us on second day of rosh hashanah i see myself in the meadow surrounding the lake of holy waters in the ashram where i had the great good fortune to live for a few years. then i find myself in the presence of avraham. yes, if there's some figure in the torah i want to be it's avraham. why? he walks with g-d. i want to walk with g-d. i don't know how. so the next best thing is to walk with someone who walks with g-d. anyway, in the meditation, we walk in simple quiet. there's no sense of time. just  crystal clear openness.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

'off the mark' is away from the present moment

the way i see the purpose of the high holidays, as the rabbi teaches, is to examine those parts of me that were 'off the mark' last year. i love the beautiful and fantastic singing and praying and dancing that is a big part of the high holiday tradition. they really cheerlead me. it's like the sweet syrup in medicine. it's not pleasant to look at what i did, what i said and what i thought that were not true, kind, necessary and appropriate. but the singing and dancing make it easier to go through the discomforts, help me to stay connected to my inner self which is the source of kindness, courage, strength and joy. then it's not a matter of who's right, who's wrong, who's hurt me, i don't like this or that, i don't think i can make it, this is too much, or too little. blah blah blah.

in this morning's meditation i can see some thought waves of worry, anxiety about the coming day and weeks. i can see the tendency to feel daunted looming and hovering. with every inbreath i take in a fresh dose of sweetness and goodness from the universe. i rest in the open quiet during the brief pause between breaths. with every outbreath i sweep out a little more of the entrenched tendency to feel daunted and contracted. i watch the mind going through some activity. just that. what about the contents of the mental activity? they have nothing to do with what is in the present moment.

ahhh. the present moment is the bull's eye. 'off the mark' means the shooting arrow of mental activity sends me off the track of present moment.

Friday, September 10, 2010

cleaning out the inner world

the first day of jewish new year is also the occasion for celebrating the birth of the universe. in this simple mind, this is celebrating the birth of the physical universe as much as hailing the fresh beginning of my inner universe.

the culmination of a full day of praying and singing praises to yhvh, which, by the way, is so much fun, we are at the waters in a park, throwing pieces of challah into the running stream. what's going on here? we are tossing away whatever we want to remove from our inner world, all that which veil and block our highest vision of ourselves which is none other than the pure and powerful force of healing and transformation expressing as us in each of our unique and marvelous forms.

i know exactly what i want to throw out. impatience. unworthiness. more impatience. more unworthiness. hey, what about i just want to get up every morning to meditate no matter what? all those nagging thoughts and feelings that hold me back from getting out of bed. throw them all out. may it be so.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

happy jewish new year

may i just ask one little thing of yhvh, that i will dwell in your house forever? may i only remember kindness, generosity, laughter? may i always taste your sweetness in whoever i am with and wherever i am? may i be open and quiet within so i can always hear your guidance. may it be so.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

so happy to be with my spiritual study buddies

great to be back. it's so easy to experience the oneness in all when i chant and meditate with committed yogis, surrounded by gorgeous roses that are from shivaa's gardens. while chanting the vedic hymn i see the sweet and mischievous play of dusk lights on the roses and statues on shivaa's magnificent altar.

this is a fiery hymn. sure enough i sense the presence of a vibrant blaze surging in waves within me. i am not afraid of it. this is beneficial fire. quickly i see what's in the fire. anger. anger triggered in the earlier interaction with my editor. i gaze into it. it becomes clear that the fire is burning away impatience and something else is revealed. what is it? in the meditation immediately following the chant i get it. i am filled with the courage and strength to stand up to the challenge in front of me: i'm walking a path of light, i'm writing the book i want to write and who says it's easy? the only way to do it is to intensify what i'm doing with sustained discipline. have no doubt. i am equal to the challenge.

when i open my eyes coming out of meditation what do i see? a spread of divine food prepared by shivaa. as i grate nutmeg into the soup i have to be careful not to drool into it. it's hard because it's yummy and aromatic beyond measure. the mushroom stock brings everything together into a beautiful, harmonious whole. you can't see the onion paste and minced garlic but you can taste the complexity and purity in the soup. the blended carrot and turnip ground it. the baby lima beans, sweet corn add an extra dimension of richness. add a dollop of sesame pesto...the huge pot of soup is gone in no time with everybody having seconds.

what about the salad? just when we think shivaa's salads couldn't get better she breaks her own glass ceiling. slices of fresh fig, sparkles of pomegranate, roasted peanuts and blood orange bits turn a pile of green leaves into a one-dish sumptuous meal. i don't eat cold and raw but this i can't resist.

dessert is the generous and abundant shares of insights and understandings from our own experiences and reflections. i gobble them all up.

thanks everybody. lucky me indeed.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

have no fear. inner self is always with me

my teacher says again and again, to this effect, go higher into your own self, deeper into your own self, you'll see things you couldn't see before. i am having a powerful experience of that. here's how it goes down. at one point it looks like it's all but certain we have to sell our house. do i panic? no. am i upset? a little but i quickly see it as passing cloud. i don't attach my self worth to anything outside of myself. period.

a few days later, a question comes up in meditation. and then another. i take these questions to see the person i trust most in this kind of matter. by the end of our dialogue i see a road map to resolve the situation. there are actually two possible ways to resolve it and they are ways we can manage. hwubby says, this is unbelievable, one moment i am all but certain we are doomed, the next moment it all works out, i couldn't believe it.

as if that's not good enough, yet another insight comes to me in this morning's meditation. i see the pathway to blend in the two ways to become the third possibility. now we have not one, not two, but three options. actually, as i am journaling i see a fourth one. talk about abundance consciousness. which one to go with? i see a sequence. i'll try one. if that doesn't work, i'll go to the next. and so on and so forth. meanwhile i'll keep a close watch and an open mind to the ever-shifting circumstances. really. have no fear. the inner self is always with me.

Monday, September 6, 2010

singing 'shree ram jay ram' in sleep

hwubby says, you sing in your sleep. i say, what do i sing? he says, shree ram jay ram jay jay ram. i am stunned and thrilled. the divine name flows out of me in the sleep state? i see this as a really fantastic marker in my progress towards full realization. may this development expands and permeates the waking state. may the sound of shree ram jay ram jay jay ram reverberate in the mind always. may i be
'stuck' and 'trapped' in the present moment. there's nowhere else i'd rather be. may it be so.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

inner self guides neighborly relations. cool

this inner self of mine is really super cool. case in point. i say, i'm going to talk to the neighbors about this barking dog at night. hwubby says, how are you going to do that? totally without any thinking involved i say, definitely not confrontational, not accusatory, just sending a message. hwubby says, what message? again, without going through the mind, i hear words coming out from a place deep within: we need their help, we don't know whose dog it is, we just want to sleep. so we go to talk to one neighbor after another. we speak to three in total. all kind of located near where we think the dog's voice is from. one guy says, look, he's just a puppy, surely it's not my dog. i say, of course it's not yours, we are just trying to find a way to sleep and get some rest. he says, this person complains about her, i do this, and then that person complains about her, i do that, now tell me what do you want me to do? call animal control? i'll do it. i say, no, no, i can't tell you what to do, and i'm not complaining, we're just talking as good neighbors, we know you are doing the right thing, you're doing all you can. we thank him and move on the next one. the last person is a fiesty, elderly lady. i say to her, you've been around the block forever, you're the grande dame here, you know everything and everybody in the hood, we need help with something, there is this dog...

after we take leave, hwubby says, you handled it beautifully. i say, the message is sent, let's see what happens.

so far it has been totally quiet for one night. i go into meditation thinking, let's go to the neighbors and thank them. before i bring it up, hwubby says, do you think we should send notes to thank the neighbors? i say, absolutely, and not a word about the dog, just say they are such nice and wonderful neighbors.

give credit where credit is due. i wouldn't have behaved the way i did if i am not anchored in the calm and kindness of the inner self. the simple truth is nothing anybody says or does adds to or diminishes the fullness and greatness of my own inner self. from that state and understanding i am confident to take care of any situation with clarity and respect. thanks again, inner self.

Friday, September 3, 2010

someday i may thank the barking dog. not just yet.

hwubby asks, how's your meditation today? i say, it goes well, how's yours? he says, really good, getting clearer and clearer on who's who and what's what? true. i go into meditation today after a night of disturbed sleep. some neighbor's dog barked all night. it helps somewhat with the earplugs. i can see myself getting angry with the dog parent and the mind yelling things like, be a responsible dog parent, that's what you signed up when you decided to have a dog. blah blah blah. this would not be a good state to be in. then, as i sit through the hour-and-a-half i can see some alchemy happening little by little. the anger subsides like the morning fog. every inbreath absorbs a little bit of it. every outbreath takes away a little bit of it. by the time i'm ready to come out of mediation i know what i'm going to do. i'll go to the person who knows what's going on in the neighborhood, and actually hwubby suspects the dog belongs to one of her family members, and i'll say to her, politely and firmly, since you know everything and everyone in the hood, i need you help in something, do you know anything about this dog? it barked all night. my husband and i couldn't sleep. hwubby says, what if nobody does anything about it? i say, let's see what happens. i'm just taking care of it as it is as i see it. stay in the present. stay open. it's all i can do. as a matter of fact, it's all i need to do. what else can i do?! someday i may have to thank this barking dog for keeping me connected to my inner self. but not just yet.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

unintended benefit from meditation

i get a thrill every time i say this: it never ceases to amaze me how the inner self looks out for all things, from the lofty to the mundane. a flash from the inner self can be poetic or, in this case, financial. there i am meditating nicely, reveling in the strength and beauty of my easy lotus posture, afloat in the vast and open quiet that is sparkling with sweet clarity and...what do i hear? a number. a percentage. and i know immediately what it means. it points to a possibility to review a situation, that we thought irreversible, and a whole bunch of number crunching. om namah shivaya. it's so exciting. i feel the impulse to jump out of meditation and grab the calculator. i have to summon all my willpower and guide attention to the breathing movement. and i do. this is a great opportunity to practice staying in the present moment. also i need the meditation to really firm myself in the calm and focus of the inner self to take care of this ever-shifting situation properly.

on the note of ever-shifting situation, so much has happened in twenty-four hours. no, actually, in an instant. we are listening to this person giving us good advice. it all looks like we are doomed. do i panic? i ask myself as i listen to her. no. my inner being is quiet and calm and clear. that situation may be doomed but it doesn't diminish my inner self. i am still who i am. from that place and state a question comes up. i ask. the person responds. i ask a clarifying question. she responds. the back and forth keeps going in a steady and relaxed and pleasant manner. before we know it the veneer of inevitability cracks and the light of possibility shines through. we leave the meeting with a handful of possibilities. whoa. wow. if i was paralyzed like a deer caught in headlight i wouldn't have heard the question coming from the inner self. true that i meditate to be fully realized. but i also welcome the unintended benefit of being able to take care of worldly affairs in a way i couldn't have if i am disconnected from the inner self.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

marraige is fantastic for spiritual growth

why did i go to portland? because hwubby has to go through a dental implant procedure and it breaks my heart that he has to come back to the hotel after it and be alone with the swelling and discomforts. he says, you don't have to go. i say, i want to go. he says, that would be so nice. and if it were me he would have done it ten times over for me.  we are so fortunate to have each other as we strive to recognize our highest selves more and more in each moment. if we hold our hands and see the ego self in each other we would have divorced a long time ago. instead we support each other in seeing and being in our supreme inner self. is that selfish? no. because as a result i am better able to see the highest self in him. and in others. i've come a long way but i still have a lot of work to do before fully realized. nonetheless i see the greatness of marriage. it's a fantastic way for spiritual growth. and when it's the right one it's so much fun. i am lucked out, really. i can't even imagine living with my former full-blown ego self. brave hwubby.