ananda

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism):

The Four Types of Bliss (ānanda) are part of the Sixteen Aspects (ṣoḍaśākārā) of Gnosis (jñāna) in terms of conventional reality.

  1. the bliss of the mind (cittānanda),
  2. the bliss of the body (kāyānanda),
  3. the bliss of speech (vāg-ānanda),
  4. the bliss of gnosis (jāñānanda).

Google Books: The Inner Kalacakratantra: A Buddhist Tantric View of the Individual

Ananda is a Sanskrit word I learned about back in the day when studied with my teacher, Gail, for my initial yoga teacher training. I understood the word to mean Pure Joy or Bliss or Absolute Happiness.

The word, Ananda, was first introduced to me in the context of Sat Chit Ananda (Truth, Consciousness, Bliss), a Sanskrit expression of the Absolute state of Being – or even the word God could be fitting.

When my friend, Nancy, shared this photo with me this morning, it was this word, Ananda, that I decided was the perfect description for the expression the dogs were exuding in the moment.

How serendipitous to receive this photo today, a very trying day, a day that called upon all of my yogic awareness to recall Ananda’s absolute presence through all of life’s challenges.

I awoke to a new and unusual pain in my chest, upon each breath, a pressure behind my right chest wall. I thought, Oh, this is interesting. What could this be now?

Today being chemo treatment #5 day, I would ready myself for the long drive. Although the pain lessened with each hour, my husband reaffirmed the importance of telling my oncologist about this new pain development.

Unfortunately, the Oncologist said a CAT scan would be necessary to rule out a potential blood clot, only as a precautionary measure.

Off we went to the hospital, for a STAT scan reading, a CAT scan with Contrast.

Yikes, Contrast? Although I was warned by the technician exactly what I would “feel” with the contrast, I was not prepared for the actual experience.

“Okay, it’s going to go fast” she warned, “you’ll feel hot, taste metal in your mouth, and feel like you’re urinating, but you’re not. You may get nauseous or vomit.”

Oh, how delightful, I thought, as I tensed every muscle in my body awaiting the surge. (This was after she stabbed me several times before finding a vein).

Now comes the hot surge. My imagination went haywire. Hot lava is being pushed into my heart, I’m going to explode from the inside out, this is going to fucking kill me, I thought. I winced at the foul metallic taste in my mouth, and panicked as the imaginary hot piss poured down my legs.

Fuck, calm down, I’m going to be okay. I’m going to be okay, I’m going to be okay. I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay. I tried to convince myself.

Then, the picture. I imagined the picture. I conjured the image of those dog expressions in my mind. I remembered the idea, Ananda. Quite remarkably, my awareness shifted. I knew I would be okay. I said the words, “I AM OKAY“.

And, of course, I was okay. But it could have gone so much worse had I let my imagination take me down the path of doom.

Later, the technician gave me the news, “It’s negative.”

Thank you, Nancy and Gary. You and your beloved dogs carried me through the day.

Photo Credit: Nancy and Gary Mahon

what is truth?

This memory I’m about to share probably occurred about 51-53 years ago.

As a 6 to 8-year-old girl I would often watch the black and white TV set with Mom.

There was a movie, a Nazi story. I have no recall what movie it was.

I’ll set the scene as I remember it:

Nazi soldiers are looking for escaped prisoners in a convent. The nuns had hidden a bunch of folks somewhere within the convent property. A soldier is interrogating one of the nuns.

He begins to yell at her, and he slaps her really hard across the face with his hand.

I BURST INTO TEARS.

Now, as a child of this age I had a very cozy, middle income kind of cultural upbringing. There was no trauma, abuse, or anything that I could have identified with at that time that would have reactivated such a harsh emotional reaction to this (subtle, by today’s standards) act of violence.  I was sobbing. Holding back the uncontrollable emotion and tears as much as I could, but I was unable to continue watching the movie. I remember that Mom consoled me.

If Mom were still here, I’d ask her if she had any recollection of the incident. But mom passed last year and she had dementia. So her memory wouldn’t have been very helpful.

Why did that particular incident bring up so much agony and despair for me at that age?

Thinking about this today, it leads me to contemplate:

  • Is our consciousness REALLY inside our brain?
  • Is our consciousness more accurately outside of our brain which would allow access to more than this dimension, this realm, this lifetime, this world?
  • When we’re children, just prior to the unavoidable fact of cultural indoctrination, aren’t we more deeply connected to the reality of our True Conscious Being?

Here’s another childhood memory. About 49-50 years ago, I had an experience while walking home from the school bus up. I’d walk up the hill on Johanna Lane every day, but on this day I had a very sudden moment’s awareness. It was a cognitive sense of being AWARE of more than my little persona, a KNOWING that I WAS ACTUALLY AWARE of MY OWN AWARENESS. How could a 10-year-old process that? I didn’t. I simply remember a feeling as if I had something inside that was more than I could understand. And I liked the feeling. I had something special inside. I became aware of awareness itself just by being quiet, watching my feet take each single step by step along the road’s dark, wet, leafy pavement (it was Fall), and like a Zen meditation, IT appeared, it showed ITSELF, unexpectedly. I received a GIFT.

I would love to hear of any childhood experiences that any readers may have had which reveals a moments’ access to a more open truth of conscious awareness. Please do share ……

I’ll end with a beautiful piece about Truth from one of my favorite Zen masters:  

Most people think that they are basically truthful

But when you look at it for a given day,

How do I embody the truth of being?

Well, you start by telling the truth all the time,

Okay great,

What is the truth then?

What seems to be true for you?

You could look at it as being totally honest all the time

Never deceptive

Never deceiving

Not twisting the sentence where you’re not being completely honest

When you really look at this, even for a single day, you will probably be surprised, maybe even shocked by how often you find yourself shading truths, whether out of fear or out of subtle or overt deception (because you have a fear of being real, being exposed)

There’s hundreds of reason why you might not tell the truth

What is truth then?

It’s not just mere opinion.

It is not unloading your judgements on somebody.

That’s not telling the truth.

It’s more about being deeply and precisely honest, and being very open to having your truth change.

Someone else may inform you. It might alter what’s true for you.

As human beings we clutch on to what we think is true, and when we do state it we state it with a fair amount of defensiveness. So we’re often in a kind of competition, even in the most seemingly casual conversation. You will often notice a quiet, well cultured competition of ideas going on, or just a complete lack of listening. In the average conversation, usually each person is waiting for a gap to jump in and say what they want. This is common in conversation. In a truth sense, conversation is listening to what might be true in any situation. Unless you listen, you’re not going to get anywhere.

No this is not very esoteric, but it’s demanding, it’s real, kind of where the rubber hits the road.

We never like to admit to ourselves when we’re lying. We think we’re doing it for their sake.

If you have a little sensitivity, you can say something truthful or honest without being so overt.

If you want to really start to embody some of your deepest realizations of being, start by telling the truth all the time.

Will there be consequences?  Yes.

How am I delivering the truth? Am I saying what’s really true? Or am I insisting on the truth?

If you get lots of negative feedback on your truth telling, examine how am I delivering this truth, how insistent am I, or am I very simply being honest and real?

One of the ways human beings manipulate each other is by shading the truth.

It’s hard to manipulate somebody when you’re totally honest.

This practice of truth will transform your life. You can’t say how, until you do it.

You can’t control how it will work out.

How could you possibly embody the enlightened condition and be anything less than truthful?

Your experience of being tends to become richer, deeper, more profound, more connected with your human relative life. That inner private space of being and outer human existence are no longer felt as two things, that illusion that there are two things. It’s actually ONE thing.

The more truthful you are, the deeper your sense of connection becomes. That exquisite feeling of spontaneous balanced flow feeling, all of you together, your internal division has come together. If you want to be divided, tell lies. You will feel conflicted inside. Sometimes overtly and sometimes very subtle.

Truth is a unifier. It brings the force of your psychology, your emotions together.

When it’s just truth, there’s something inside of you that comes deeply together.

This is not a direct translation of the YouTube recording. It is my paraphrased excerpts from Adyashanti’s talk titled, ‘What is Truth?

now

Oh I’ve had these moments of darkness

then I remember the truth that can’t be expressed

that LIFE is bigger than anything I can see

and somehow, I feel like it’s all okay for a moment

But I will revisit doubt and uncertainty

I question my divine purpose, will I fulfill it?

I ask myself, did I LOVE enough?

Was I honest ….. with others ……. with myself?

When we ask the real questions

Life says,

You are ALIVE in this moment

That’s IT

All you have is this MOMENT to express the life pulsing out of your heart,

to experience the soul’s yearning to LIVE through ONE being

for the sake of every other being

NOW

And don’t fucking wait another moment

Knowledge?

“knowledge is not the things that are usually associated with it. It is not ideas. It is not a body of information. It is not a system of belief. It is not a process of self-evaluation. It is the great mystery of your life. Its outward manifestations are

profound intuition

great insight

inexplicable knowing

wise perception in the present and in the future

and wise understanding of the past

But despite these great achievements of mind, Knowledge is greater than this.

It is your True Self,

a Self that is not apart from life.”

Marshall Vian Summers

Today’s communion with nature provided some of the outward manifestations of this “knowledge”

The water, its mystery. It’s flowing nature, its sound and vibration over the earth’s rocks. How I’ve taken this magnificent element for granted.

How I don’t even know what water really is.

The trees. The moss. The soaring wings of the turkey buzzards high above the mountain tops. The white puffs of cloud against perfect blue space.

Tears barely expressed my joy. amazement and gratitude for being present as part of the magnificence of Life’s expression.

I thought to myself, I should be screaming and singing and jumping for joy. But no one would have understood. So just tears.

Today, in Nature’s beauty, I saw and felt and heard and embodied inexplicable knowing that is not apart from Life.

Mercury retrograde

A good time to reflect on where you “are”

Last night’s Sleep Dream:

The street is a sloping downward hill, and I am witnessing some passengers in a small (red?) vehicle slowly rolling BACKWARDS down the hill.

I perceive that they are attempting to slow the car by using the brakes (there’s a loud screeching sound of the brakes) so they don’t go flying down the hill backwards.

As I witness this, I am concerned, thinking, Wow, the brakes are barely working.

Then I observe the dog. A sweet mid-sized mutt, white with brown/black spots.

The dog is sitting on the street, and I realize he is leashed to the front of the vehicle, his back facing the car, and he is either being dragged down the hill with the car or he is purposely slowing down the roll by his body weight.

The dog does not appear distressed at all; however, I am infuriated and appalled at the sight of this.

Determined, angry, I decide to go put a stop to this. I must catch up with them and reprimand these people for dragging this dog down the hill backwards!

But first, I must grab my pocketbook. As I go to gather it up, there are two identical bags on the ground. Which one is mine? I rummage through the contents of each to see which is mine.

End of dream ……..

There ARE SO MANY SYMBOLIC indications in this dream. But the one that resonates for me is the Mercury retrograde in our present astrological configuration. A sense of either being “pulled” backward or willingly “reflecting” backward. In the “awake” dream, I am also experiencing a deep calling to look back, reflect on where I’ve been to discern where I’m “going”, both personally and collectively.

I’m working on a new website, called TheYogaofDreaming. I hope to soon have a community forum to share our dreams …..

the endless sky

My head is always in the clouds

contemplating

dreaming

imagining

in awe

do the clouds take the shape of our thoughts?

I recall when Mom was in the very beginning stages of dementia (what is medically accepted to be dementia, an MRI scan showing shrinkage in the brain matter).

She awoke in terror early morning hours, called up to me from her bedroom downstairs.

“Janet, please come down here.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Something happened, please come down,” she was crying.

I ran downstairs.

Shaking, horrified, “Janet, something terrible happened.”

“Calm down, RoRo, (Mom’s nickname), it’s okay. Tell me what happened.”

“I woke up, and I was in another world. It was terrifying. I can’t explain it. It was like ….. a completely other world.”

“Okay, maybe it was a dream. It’s okay now, everything is okay.”

“No, it was not a dream. I know you don’t believe me, but it was real, and I was so scared, I don’t know how to explain it,” still shaking and still crying. “It wasn’t this world. It was a completely different place. I’ve never been so scared in my whole life.

I held her hands and reassured her again and again, that she was safe now, everything was okay, and that I was there for her.

But I will never forget the terror on her face. Kind of like the terror I felt years prior when I had my own out-of-body experience. But that story for another time ……

If we could even glimpse the enormity of LIFE, from our little mind’s limited view, yes, it would be terrifying, I imagine. And then maybe, after the initial fear subsides, maybe it could even be mind-blowing orgasmic, unspeakable?

Of course, we DON’T KNOW. Which leads me to trust, intuit, sense that there must be purpose to having this “veil”, this ignorance, these limited beliefs we hold about time, reality, about LIFE.

I can attest to the scariness of seeing through the illusive qualities of this world. It is disconcerting at first. All that you believed to be true ….. puff, gone.  When you “see” something that you’ve always believed is impossible. I’ve had my share of seeing through. I’ve experienced consciousness from different perspectives.

But these were only tiny glimpses of the potentiality of it ALL.

I remain humbly in awe.

 

 

 

 

Ode to Opossum

On my front porch stoop, I sit
cold February day, but sun-lit

Petting Goldie, my feral cat
she’s behaving strangely, I can sense that

Lady, can’t you see?
she urges me

Below the stoop to the left, I glance
to view a dead opossum, by chance

Innards half eaten, and frozen stiff
a raccoon, or a coyote, I wonder if

His spirit still there?
does he sense that I care?

I fetch the shovel to carry away
the petrified corpse, now free from affray

Far behind the house I choose the plot
frozen leaves and branches, I clear a slot

I make a blanket with sticks and dried leaves
to cover his corpse that no longer grieves

Now you are free from the body cage-jail
I honor my dead friend with the prehensile tail

It has been such an interesting week. I have had so many synchronistic occurrences, and I’m noticing more and more how every single thought manifests itself through form (a body). I recognize more deeply how Father Time veils our wisdom, hiding the reality that it’s actually all occurring simultaneously. I think I’m learning something new, but it’s actually what I know already. Thankfully, my dream time opens up my mind again, at least while I’m in deep sleep. But damn, that illusive “time” covers it over with ignorance when my morning alarm goes off.

It has become obvious to me the meaninglessness of the labels we get stuck to. But they’re sooooo energetically sticky, like Superglue.

Vegan/ Carnivore
White/ Black
Nationalist/Globalist
Christian/Jew
Left/Right
Straight/Gay
Theist/Atheist
Human/Alien
Elite/Blue collar

We get stuck to the label, and then BELIEVE IN the label, and the mind closes up!
None of it is true. We don’t even know what consciousness IS.

“You can’t be open-minded when you label yourself with anything!” Freedom Fighters Florida