Saturday, October 30, 2010

i want to be a carbon copy of avraham

there i said it. and i will say it again and again. whatever avraham stands for i want that. i feel so close to him. on many levels. i left where i was born and raised, crossed the ocean and settled in a foreign land. so when i learned that the first direct command avraham received from god is, go forth, leave your mother-and-father's land, i recognize the avraham in me.

avraham is devoted enough to circumcise at eighty-nine and, at the same time, confident enough to negotiate with god when god says, i want to destroy all the people in sodom. i want to become that.

and i have my own two-cents on the binding-son episode. from my simple, and others may consider simplistic, point of view, avraham realizes that his only son doesn't belong to him. god gave him this child and god can take it away. why? i don't know. i have come to the place that i accept that it's not for me to question and judge but to embrace what it is as it is and deal with it wholeheartedly with calm and clarity without attachment and letting go of the thoughts that say, this is mine, that is mine. and so it is i want to be a carbon copy of avraham.

Friday, October 29, 2010

we persevere our way through speed bumps and potholes

i didn't realize i love my weekly spiritual study session so much until it had to be canceled three weeks in a row. so today i go into it with an extra dose of appreciation and a refreshed sense of how precious it is to have a study companion who is so enthusiastic and committed to studying the scriptures and figuring out how to apply the teachings in day-to-day life. i truly feel energized as the session unfolds. i recognize that there is a mystical alchemy when dedicated seekers get together regularly to support each other as we persevere our way through the speed bumps and potholes on the path to become established in our own greatness. i am so fortunate.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

happy and content to be a one trick pony

a person in my life has been moaning, groaning and goes, i'm wrong, i can't do it, it's hopeless, can't you understand? do i understand? hey, i'm a one trick pony. all i know, from eighteen years of meditation, chanting, studying with the teacher, contemplating the teachings and many direct experiences, i have within me a solid and stable source of contentment, courage, strength, serenity and sweet joy. as long as i am anchored in that place i can see all kinds of dark mental clouds appear and say, o, it's weather. and you know what, all weather pass sooner or later. no exception. someone asks a swami, can meditation help me to get over all this negative stuff? without missing a beat he says with a smile and eyes sparkling with conviction, yes, unless you hold on to it. and so it is that i hold on to one thing and one thing only with my dear life. i am light, consciousness and bliss. everything else are weather. the only way i know how to become established in this place is...meditation. i'm happy and content to be a one trick pont

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

meditation uninterrupted, sort of

after forty days of circumstantial chaos (actually i like the yiddish word mishegas better) i finally get to meditate a couple of hours uninterrupted. sort of. why 'sort of?' because i'm on a colon cleanse. every morning i drink two glasses of liquid before doing anything else. so midway through meditation i feel i have to pee. but then, because i am able to have bowel movement before sitting into easy-lotus posture my meditations have been so much more open, relaxed and relaxing. the physical body is just that much more spacious. so is the subtle body. it makes total sense. there's less 'shit' within, making space for grace to flow through.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

facing whatever it is as it is

often, over the  years, i wonder, what's the meaning of acceptance? now i am granted experiences of it. acceptance turns out to be nothing but facing whatever it is as it is, not as what i would like it to be. real and true acceptance involves enthusiasm. there's no place for resentment and half-hearted efforts. okay, so this is what it is? sure, i'll take it and run with it, dive into it, plunge into it, and see what happens.

Monday, October 25, 2010

i'm a saint-in-training

what's my occupation? it comes down to this. what do i want to be? i want to be fully-realized. so what about fully-realized wannabee? that's a possibility. the other day i found out, from my facebook fellow yogi that a holy man in india listed on his hospital chart for his occupation: saint. really, this can only happen in india when practicing saintliness is acceptable as an occupation. anyhow a spark goes off inside me. that's it. 'saint-in-training' is what i'll put down on my hospital chart. or any chart. why can't i aspire to be a saint?! yes, i can. in fact, i am going to put it on my facebook profile.

Friday, October 22, 2010

even fools can have spiritual experiences

have to come out of meditation abruptly. not a pretty sight. lingering headache. at several points in time i catch my attention completely caught up in everything that my own great self is not: impatient, exasperated, wishing things could be different.

but while i am in meditation i am anchored and afloat in this wide open, lovely space within my own being.

no wonder the teacher says, again and again, to the effect, that even fools can have spiritual experiences but what counts is whether i can hold the experience while i am not sitting cross-legged.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

refreshing and reaffirming conviction

i say to myself, there was a relatively peaceful period yesterday that lasted into the evening but that was then, now is now, do not compare, stick with what is. indeed what's been unfolding in the last five weeks or so is an intense experience of practicing staying anchored in my own great self. there i see steady strength, detachment from expectation of outcome, and aloft in deep tranquility, cool and calm. this morning's meditation is refreshing and reaffirming my conviction in this experience.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

i draw so much grace

'in sickness and in health, for better or worse, richer or poorer.' hey, i am having the full range of experience as laid out in the vow. the teacher says, all this is grace, all this and all this is grace, everything is grace. and guess what? this morning's meditation is a two hour of sweet peace and strong contentment and deep sense of security. no wonder the teachers says, grace is that which takes you back to the source. wow. i draw so much grace. amazing. fantastic.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

keep my eye on the ultimate goal

here's the thing. while being up to my eyeballs in the shifting sands of life i carry this unshakable conviction that whatever the outcome of any or all of those things add to or subtract from my own great self. i am, at my core, pure lights, pristine consciousness and steady bliss. as a matter of fact, as all this mishegas (o how i love this yiddish word) unrelentingly pull me in i refuse to be sucked out of the present moment. i ask again and again, what is it that i have to learn to further expand and elevate my understanding? the response from withing? pretty much the same. give up any expectation of any sort of outcome. focus on the task at hand no matter how trivial and mundane it seems to be. keep my eye on the ultimate goal. to be fully realized.

Monday, October 18, 2010

hanging in there

my teacher says, you are equal to the challenge in front of you, no bigger, no smaller. i keep telling myself, okay, suk wah, fake it till you make it. and so i keep going. what is real? what is unreal? i don't know anymore. all i can do is to hang on to the present moment with my dear life.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

possibilities are like sparks within lapis lazuli

this morning's meditation is magnificent. i go deeper and higher than i recall i ever have. the inner being is so vast, so pristine, so strongly quiet, so clear and light. it is not sheltered by the body. on the contrary, the body is within this subtle yet tangible conscious realm. as awareness rests and roams in this i realize i am having an experience of what 'being refreshed' means. there's a sense of opening everywhere in the entire being. from this place i look at how i was shocked into panic by an unexpected development. now i can see its root cause is a deeply-rooted conditioning, that the reality that i find myself in is the only reality. this illusion is a killer. it blocks grace. it blinds out peripheral vision. it renders me incapable to see possibilities and openings sparkling the way delicate golden sparks are embedded within lapis lazuli.
the moment i recognize this i lift my awareness out of that lower vantage point. my inner vision opens up. i am once again in the clear sky of pure consciousness. hey, this twist actually points the way to do something that previously i thought i couldn't pursue. the limitation is dissolved.

happy anniversary, hwubby and suk wah.

Friday, October 15, 2010

must sit in center of seesaw

someone asks a monk, what's the difference between psychotherapy and meditation? he says, to the effect, psychotherapy can get you to separate somewhat from all that you are caught up in when you are so far into the tangle that you can't get out of the tangle, and you are the tangle. it's like sitting on a seesaw. psychotherapy can help you to find some equilibrium on either side of the plank. what meditation does is to get you to the center of the seesaw from where you sit still and watch the ups and downs without being drawn into it and affected by it. but sometimes a person is so deep into the ups and downs that psychotherapy is necessary to help him/her to get some distance from the end of the plank before the person can meditate.

this is what i must keep in mind as i go through the biggest challenge yet of my life.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

this body is a temporary garment

hwubby and i take a walk basking in the afternoon sun. it's so nice holding hands and feeling the warmth of each other. one warmth. it's been such a long time since we've been able to do that. i remember something my teacher say when she was a teenager. as an indian and knowing little english, she was given the task to translate her teacher's teaching talks in front of large audiences of foreigners. she asks her beloved teacher, why do you give me so little time to prepare? he says, to the effect, then you can truly appreciate the power of grace. as the question and answer appear on the screen of the bright and quiet mind i realize i am having just that, an experience of the power of grace. there are so many challenges and uncertainties in our lives. yet my inner space is sweet, warm, pristine and permeating the fragrance of freedom. from this vantage point it is clear, without a doubt, that everything in the physical universe, circumstances, situations, are simply reflections in the mirror of my pure consciousness. this body is a temporary garment sheltering the ever-great, ever-full, ever-fresh inner self.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

please don't give me more than i can handle

just when i think things have turned a corner i'm presented with another test. today is no different. it has been like this for what i feel like eons. each day i jump through hurdles, go through fire hoops, one or more positive development happens and, boom, it looks like everything is going to fall apart all over again. what else can i do but to refuse to get out of the present moment and focus on the task at hand?! this morning's meditation is nothing but deep quiet. i feel safe in my own self. anchored there i just take care of everything as it is. really, please, i want to get fully realized but please don't give me more than i can handle. please.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

it's not my life.

here's what it comes down to. anything that takes me away from the task at hand, unless it's a real life or death emergency, means taking me out of the present moment, out of the calm and centered state of my own great self. anything. no exception. i must be brutal about it. i can offer understanding and compassion, lend a listening ear. having said that i have to be clear that i refuse to be an enabler and get dragged into other's drama. period. once i heard a person going on and on to a monk about the vivid details of his life woes. now i have to make it clear that they have known each other a long time. the monk listens intently without a sound. finally when the man is done he asks, what should i do with my life, swamiji? without missing a beat the monk bursts into laughter, gives him a pat on the back, and says, it's not my life. for a moment the man is stunned. then he starts to laugh too.

Monday, October 11, 2010

how else but to be in own great self

i ask rabbi, can you explain in a way that i can comprehend, what is it about noah that he walks with god? rabbi says, in hebrew one of the qualities about noah is he is imple. that stirs a recognition in me. then rabbi leads us into a visualization. what does it mean for me to walk with god? quickly it comes to me. to see god in me as me. to see god in others. from that place, for me, there's no where else to go, no other way to walk but with god. indeed, the complex challenges i am facing are growing fast. i don't know how else to stay calm and centered if i am not anchored in that simple place within. it is uncluttered. it is quiet. it is open. my own great self.

Friday, October 8, 2010

i can sit cross-legged again. yay.

i never know what awaits me. expectation of outcome does nothing but limiting myself. case in point. i have to go through a sleepless night. so soon after midnight and the initial moments of dread i say to myself, i can't fall asleep anyway, i might as well go to meditate. so i do. i go to sit down on the chair on which i have been sitting for formal meditation for more than a week because of the sprained foot. somehow on this night i just feel so much discomforts in the foot while sitting in the chair that i say to myself, what the heck, i'll just try sitting on the floor. so i do. guess what? the sprained foot feels just fine in the cross-legged position. just like that i am ecstatic. i can meditate cross-legged again. this is so great. i am so happy about it. really, who knew what something apparently unpleasant could turn out to be so fantastic.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

i refuse to be tossed around.

there's always something. if it's not one thing, it's another. just when i think it couldn't get any worse, i have to go through another sleepless night. then no sooner than i say to myself, okay, it is what it is, marvelous development lands in the inbox. i check in with my inner self. nothing has changed. the inner self is as it always has been. nothing can add to it, nor subtract from it. and so it is i find myself calm, quiet and clear. taking in each moment as it is. thankful for all the opportunities to sharpen and strengthen the connection with my inner self, to anchor in the sky of pure consciousness, rather than being tossed around, physically and emotionally. i refuse to.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

circumcising the heart

i love the tradition of singing certain prayers at a particular time year after year. case in point. this yom kippur this particular phrase in a hymn that has been sung for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. we ask yhvh to grant us the courage and strength to remove the coverings of the heart. circumcision of the heart, if you will. i've been yah-lah-lah-ing this year after year but this time, for a fleeting moment, something about it resonates deep within me. indeed. my heart is pure but there are layer upon layer of covering over it. all habitual tendencies of one form or another. conditionings. accepted social norms. attachments. expectations. unmet expectations. identification with appearances. confusing perceptions with what's real. desire to be liked, to please, to look good. mistaking acquired stuff as true security. panic in the face of fear. blah blah blah. but, enough is enough. they all have to go because i want to be fully-realized. as in yom kippur, i see the image of avraham accepting the covenance with yhvh and circumcised at the age of eighty. to me it means doing whatever is necessary in order to walk with yhvh.

friends ask, are you ok? my heart is fine. the heart is always fine. the rest are just circumstances to go through and things to take care of.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

in order to attain what you want to attain...

no wonder the ancient wisdom says, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. i wish for full-realization. and look what i am getting. one challenge upon another. just when i think this is as intense as it gets, the scale and proportion keep getting more intense as time goes by relentlessly. tick tock tick tock. all i can do now is to stay in each moment, be with it as it is and pour forth all the cumulative powers of the spiritual practices and understanding to anchor me tight in the present no matter what. periodically i remember something a person say the other day, over sunday chai, i have a dream with the teacher, in it she says, sometimes you have to go through suffering in order to attain what you want to attain. i take it as a message meant for me. i thank the person for sharing it. the simple statement sounds bitter to the mind which is under the influence of old baggage. at the same time it feels right and releasing. if i could attain what i want to attain without suffering, that would be nice. but if i couldn't what can i do?! i can't back down.

Monday, October 4, 2010

sacred bath. ocean of devotion

i practiced daily for a week to prepare for the role i am invited to play in the ancient ritual of bathing the statue of a saint. so i enter the temple with the expectation that the tray that i am about to pick up has the following five substances in the following order: honey, powdered sugar, yogurt, milk and ghee. it is not conducive to staying in the present moment that i have a sari drama right before this. the choli (sari top) laid out for me is too small. (i ruined my own the day before with an iron that is too hot.) the slip that i have is elastic. it has to be draw-stringed in order to hold up the nine yards of sari fabrics. so ten minutes before the ritual is scheduled to begin the sari specialist unwraps me and starts all over again with a proper slip.

anyhow, back to the moment when i lay my eyes on the tray and the first thought is, where is the honey? why is it not next to the powdered sugar? bang, wham, i am out of the present moment. i don't even know it. and so it goes in the next moment, and the next. until the event director steps in and starts giving me specific instructions. for a couple of moments the mind is still hanging onto what should have been instead of staying with what it is. in another word i am still not following the given instructions. then the event director, who has served in this role many, many times, does something inspiring and inspired. she says, with a clear and firm voice, suk wah, you are radiant, you are beautiful, have a good time. somehow some mystical alchemy clicks through. i am back in the moment. i settle into my own self. i have a great time coming from the heart.

the great being doesn't need the bath ritual. but, being devoted to seekers, the external ritual is yet another fantastic opportunity to guide seekers to turn inward, to roam in their hearts. a short while later, i watch two gorgeous ladies dressing the statue with one-pointed focus in the presence of a temple full of participants. the silence is grand and fresh. i gasp in awe as they place a garland of fresh flowers on him. it has three huge full-bloom gardenias hanging down his chest and a long necklace of tiny rose buds. i cannot imagine the many hours of work gone into this creation. the devotion driving it is inspiring and humbling all at once.

Friday, October 1, 2010

it's fine whatever the outcome is

i absolutely refuse to stay outside of the present moment. that's pretty much my stance yesterday. i keep my focus one-pointedly on the task at hand even when it triggers worrying thoughts, like, she won't like me if i say this, i'll miss this important deadline, what if i am wrong and the situation keeps getting worse. i am aware of them and i keep my eye on the task at hand no matter who says what to me. now i realize i am enjoying the fruits of my practices. i may not consciously remember nothing adds to or diminish the fullness of my own self but the mind and body are already wired enough to default into a beneficial state where i think, speak and act from the place of conviction and courage.

what about the expectation of outcome? in the day's flow of melodramatic twists and turns i find myself free of such concern. as my teacher says, to the effect, we pray not to ask for a certain outcome, we pray to ask for the courage and strength to be with the outcome, whatever it is. if it happens to turn out well, the way it has been so far, it is fine. if it isn't, it is fine too. i mean it. yesterday at several points i find myself having the thought, what if such and such extreme scenario happens? right away i receive a crystal response from within. that's fine too. and i immediately feel this sigh of relief releasing from the belly. i take a brief moment to relish this experience of true freedom. i move on.