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?

morning meditation

Light moves in and out water dropping from sky

It looks like rain 

but it’s just the wind shaking water off the leaves

I’m awake to see through my eyes

Quietly

I’m Aware

I contemplate, Where am I?  …..

Am I Really?

Until I know that

I know nothing

It’s just seeing trees, rain, birds, sunlight, out my window

Nothing is what I think it is

It’s beautiful

Everything is so much more than what
I think it is

But really I know nothing

Somehow I know everything 

meditation

so busy
doing this, doing that
mind flutter
going here, going there
distractions
ooooh yes, ooooh no
The month has been kind of hectic, and I’ve lapsed in my precious quiet sitting time.
So today, I took the time to sit in awareness …… of awareness.

“It is more useful and certainly easier  to think of meditation as the art of acknowledging what is already present. This can happen when you’re sitting in meditation, which is great, but you can also do it at any time. It takes only a few seconds to notice that awareness and quiet are always and already the background of every experience. Start with little moments of meditation – ten seconds, fifteen seconds – and repeat them during the day. Gradually do nothing but this acknowledgement practice for two, ten, twenty seconds, whatever- but do not turn it into a battle, and do not turn it into something that is frustrating or makes you feel defeated. These small moments of meditation can change what you are noticing. In a certain sense, you will be changing your consciousness, opening and beginning to observe and feel and sense into – become sensitive tothe sacred and the timeless. It may or may not start out that way the first time you do it, but the sacred and the timeless are always and already present. All we need to do is take a moment to notice, and that is what meditation is.”

excerpt from the most important thing, Adyashanti (italics and bold are mine)