Water

I checked my phone for the weather in Lackawaxen.

“No rain for the rest of the day, just cloudy,” I said to my husband. “Let’s take our walk.”

We got about half-way around the big U-shaped dirt road. It started raining. Slow at first, but then real heavy. We laughed and tried to shelter under tree branches.

At least I had my hiking rain jacket with a hood, so I didn’t get as soaked as Frank, who was wearing shorts and a cotton shirt.

Lesson learned …

Maybe we’ve all been programmed to rely too much on technology? (LOL, no kidding!)

Although the science of weather forecast, observing, analyzing and predicting, is one we’ve been able to get better at – it will NEVER suffice to know what’s beyond our control and understanding.

Like the Nature of Creation.

Creation is way beyond our real understanding. We can only use symbols to allude to its unfathomable and infinite BEING.

As I laughed and sang in the rain, I contemplated …

How awesome is this Creation?

How amazing is our Creator?

A Creator Always conspiring to open our hearts to God’s Truth

Everything in Nature is showing us that God is the Only Truth

As I laughed and sang in the rain, I prayed .;..

May we find remembrance and remain hopeful that we’ve not gone so far into forgetfulness that we’re beyond return.

May we remember that Science is about measurement and predictions of matter but that God is the Source of Matter.

May we never forget to honor the Mystery of Divinity in every waking moment of our lives.

May we remember the Divinity of Nature and always be in Awe.

May we remember to laugh and to sing in the rain.

The Spiritual Meaning of Water:

being love

“One of the best definitions which I have come across is that which defines evolution as “the unfolding of a continually increasing power to respond.”
― Alice A. Bailey, The Consciousness of the Atom

Finding myself in a place that feels like I’ve grown/evolved/changed in so many ways. Yet there’s an awareness that knows it’s somehow happening for reasons I can’t possibly understand. My neighbor, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia takes long walks with me when she’s home from her treatments. She is very religious, and during our walk today she shared something with me.

She said, “Sometimes our suffering is for someone else’s sake.”

I may have heard this before, but today it resonated more deeply. Not in a religious way. But in a way that affirmed that this Life Experience is beyond our limited knowledge of human existence.

Recently, I’ve had strong feelings/intuitions/awareness of my choice in every situation/relationship/communication with others of how to respond/behave/communicate.

It is NOT for my own sake. Because there is no my own.

I AM an expression of God’s Love. God is radiant, and It’s power is in the expansion of It’s Infinite Potentiality to show it’s True Nature.

I am Here to Be that (Love) for the other. In turn, it will expand and reflect Itself back to me. And how beautifully peaceful it feels when one recognizes that Truth and experiences it’s manifestations in the material world.

That means even through pain and illness and suffering, I am Here to Be that (Love) for the other.

I wish I had a more eloquent way of expressing this idea. But more importantly, I hope to remember to respond as if I know it is my purpose in life.

natural

NATURAL

A picture memory appears in my mind…

The movie Mrs. Doubtfire. When the bus driver notices her hairy knee and says, “Natural, healthy, just the way God made ya.”

As I take my morning bath, I observe the soft hairs growing on my shins.

I’ve lost ALL of my body hair so many times through endless chemotherapy infusions. But after a deliberate 2-month chemo holiday my hair is finally growing back.  I’m grateful to see my body’s ability to grow hair again! I sense a feeling of natural health, just the way God made me.

(Simultaneously, I know that my well being is not dependent upon the state of my physical body).

After a few deep breaths I contemplate the question,

What is NATURAL?

And I notice my mind’s tendency to want to find an answer; but I know from a deeper level that the answer doesn’t exist through my thinking process.

In fact, I also know from a deeper level that NO ANSWERS exist through the thinking processes. So why do I keep going there?

A few more deep breaths. I contemplate the deeper knowing that shows up as an intuitive feeling, and I simply open my heart to listen …

Something informs me … IT Says,

You are a sacred Being.

Every part of your body, even the cells that your human eye cannot observe.

And there is no separation from what is within to what appears to be outside.

This sacredness is the Only quality that comes close to an accurate understanding of the word Natural.

And when you remember and feel and honor and acknowledge that sacredness – down to the last hair on your body  – you are in a state of connection with God as you are made to BE.

Why would you want to alter/change/improve upon/fix/intellectualize this Natural and sacred state of Being that you are?

What could you possibly Know more than this unfathomable Force of Creation that Made you?

That is the question I want you to ask yourself every time you get lost in thought and indecision.

Remember and recognize that through your intellect you have the ability to control and manipulate and profit and alter Life to your preferences  – but you also have the ability to seek action based on the higher purpose of what is Sacred and Natural, to serve something other than your own personal mind’s agenda.

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God.

Matthew 6:32-34

my prayer song

(sung to music from Give Me Love, George Harrison)

speak through me

help me see

through this heavy veil                              

free my mind

keep me kind

show me how to love

Let me serve

teach me truth, in this crazy world

feeling lost, it’s so dark that my

spirit dies      

Om m m m m m m m m m m
M m m my lord …

Please pry open my eyes so

I might truly see   

Oh yes See, oh yes See

forgive me    

forgive us     

let us live our truth  

teach us how           

to be free,     

keep us without fear           

learning to,

Hear your voice, in this noisy world   

learning to, trust and know You through

Love and Light        

Om m m m m m m m mm

M m m my lord …

knowledge

Today’s contemplation …

Step 115: Today I will listen to the Power of Knowledge: Upon the hour, remind yourself to listen to Knowledge and take a moment to do so in whatever circumstance you find yourself. Steps to Knowledge, Marshall Vian Summers

I’ve begun to realize that Knowledge is always available. When we remove ourselves from the incessant wanting (desire) to possess something that is impossible to grasp (Absolute Truth), the pointers are in everything that IS.

Upon becoming still and open-hearted, placing one’s attention on receiving (hearing, seeing, feeling), IT presents Itself in infinite forms.

I don’t claim any religious belief as the only way, and I don’t claim any intellectual belief as the only way. In fact, I don’t claim any belief as “the way.”

Perhaps that’s one of my pitfalls to Knowledge. I’m open to everything that invokes Wisdom (knowledge).

Today, I found Wisdom in both of these seemingly opposing perspectives; a Neoplatonist and an Hasidic rabbi. Knowledge is found in infinite forms – always pointing to the same Truth.

(entirety of talks are linked below the quotations)

“Some people only study physical phenomena. They slice it up and stick it in a microscope and that’s all they know. That’s all well and fine, but a true rounded person is interested in the totality of cosmic mechanics, what is and what is not, and how the universe works – is interested, as the greatest and wisest minds were, definitively, undeniably, interested in both physics and metaphysics, which are in totality a holos, just a one. You know a coin is not a head or a tail, it’s the coin and the silver of the coin, so these are not two different things.” 

Ken Wheeler

“Love is a tricky word. We don’t need to be told to love ourselves, we need to be told to share some of the love we have for ourselves. That’s the whole code of morality. You love yourself, can you give a little away? All your natural instincts are not meant for you . That is a huge lesson in life.

***   We are taught that study is extremely important, why?  So then you can teach. Even studying is not for yourself it’s so you can teach. Knowledge, information, wisdom, very important because then you can share it. Get yourself healthy, so you can turn your attention to others.

Rabbi Manis Friedman

heart cloud photo credit: Annette Adams

unlocked

Today’s Contemplation:

is your heart and mind like a locked box?

are old beliefs locked inside and new beliefs locked out?

what if you could unlock your heart and mind?

allowing the old conditioned ideas to be released

accepting the possibility that those ideas/beliefs were never really true

Now new ideas and possibilities can enter

Leave the lock off

Leave the box open

Now the hearts True Voice can be deciphered.

Now the mind is open to resonate with the heart

the heart’s innate ability is to choose each action in the present moment without attachment to outcome

Today’s Prayer:

Creator of Life Itself

I open my heart and mind to your True Voice

I offer my ignorance up to You and humbly request your True Wisdom

to inform my action in the present moment

Help me to remember to leave the lock off

Unlock my heart and mind

To receive your Infinite Presence and Truth

And to serve Life through That Wisdom

Show me the way to serve in each moment

I’ve unlocked the box for YOU to enter

freedom

“While they are promising them freedom, they themselves are slaves of corruption, for if anyone is overcome by someone, he is his slave.”  2Peter 2:19

“Of all things that human beings fear (and they are a timorous race) the one that strikes them with abject and utterly demoralizing terror is freedom. They are so afraid of it for other people that almost simultaneously they come to dread it for themselves. So they devise systems of checks and balances, restraints, moral sanctions, conventions and moral mass-expectations of one kind and another; they are willing to go to the most fantastic lengths in restriction and repression; but the one thing that they never yet have shown the courage to try is simple freedom, which some day they will have the happy surprise of discovering to be the only thing that really works.” A Matter of No Curiosity, Albert Jay Nock

I witness the insanity.

Our veiled hearts and minds, it’s heartbreaking.

Our Home is not a physical structure or a material plane or dimension.

We’ve lost that Knowledge.

Hence, FEAR.

Prayer

Oh Sacred Creator

In Your All-ness

of Infinite worlds

You look through my eyes

How ridiculous and ignorant and lost and disconnected

we appear through my eyes

I am disheartened

That the Reality of One

Is unknowable here

But my heart’s voice says

“Love them to the best of your ability”

Oh Sacred Creator

Is this Your True Voice?

Bestow upon my simple existence

Your Divine Knowledge

So that I may properly serve this World

Living Non-Duality

A surge of anger, discontent, pain, disappointment, misunderstanding, judgement, has seemingly overtaken me. Who me? I ask myself in disbelief. Yes, me. I answer myself irrefutably.

What’s wrong with me? (This is not my typical emotional behavior).

Not so long ago I reached what felt like a pivotal moment in time – seeing through the illusions of separation, seeing myself in the dirt beneath my feet and the bark of the tree. I was able to perceive the unconditional Loving Presence, in it all, regardless of the circumstance. I was actively practicing in each moment, How can I BE this love?

How did I forget the wisdom of my heart?

  • The state of the world, politics, the insanity of the collective consciousness seems to have won in pulling me down with it.
  • The discord in my own family/intimate relations has won in rearing my judgemental expectations.
  • Cancer’s aggressive reappearance has suceeded in making me fear a painful death.

Today, an angel seemingly landed gently on my shoulder. She said, No, you will not forget the foundation of your inner stability. What has sustained your understanding for all these years is ever-present. You’ve just fallen away from remembering.

Among shelves and shelves of books, my eyes landed on just one. I pulled it off the shelf, and opened a random page. My inner knowing was gloriously reignited.

Glory, glory hallelujah, the Truth is marching on …..

“Here in our Western culture, where we are accustomed to attempt to exert maximal control, it is difficult for us to bear in mind that things are always unfolding in the way that they are bound to do.

As could be expected in a culture which so emphasizes the value of human life (as, for example, over the value of other species’), this tendency is particularly evident in our reaction to the manifestation of chronic or terminal illness – in us, or another person.

If the condition of health changes for the “better”, we can accept that. If it changes for the “worse”, we can’t accept that. The only unfolding of life events that we meet with equanimity are the positive ones. The implication in our attitude toward negative changes is that they must be met with resistance.

Sooner or later, every fact in life must be accepted.

Each of us will do whatever it is that we do, when the time comes. And nature will do whatever it is that it does, regardless of whatever it is that we do.

Yet notice the implication in the reaction to a change in health: if you are ill, you shouldn’t be: if you are not anxious about your condition, you should be.

‘The dark threads are as needful, in the Weaver’s skillful hand, as the threads of gold and silver in the pattern that shall stand,’ if I recall an old poem.

Can we relate to what is, as it is-for ourselves and others-even at the most pivotal junction?” (Living Nonduality, by Robert Wolfe)

And then I read on and remember… This clarity feels most true to my heart – It’s all unfolding as the Self experiencing it’s self:

“The creator (the formless) and created (the forms) – as well as the creating- are the same thing, an indivisible (no “parts”) whole.

Because the created, creator and creating are all One immediate actuality, there is no ‘creation’ in the sense that a plan or design has been culminated. There is no ‘intelligence’ APART from all these manifestations that has (prior to manifesting) desired or decided that what is ‘will be as it is’.

All of the ‘creating’ is going on at this very moment, moment by moment, without having to be accounted for (as a ‘purpose’) to anyone or anything. The formless, being WITHOUT a separate ‘self’, need not even justify what is unfolding to its own ‘self’. No matter WHAT happens-without an ‘intent’ – nothing can go wrong, as far as the formless actuality could be concerned. The formless IS the unfolding, in these forms.” Robert Wolfe.

Photo Credit: Annette Adams

Magic green carpet

There’s a statement by Mahatma Ghandi that remains implanted in my mind. He said, “If anyone is to find writings of mine, please use the latter on the same subject.” 

For me, this token of wisdom affirms that our ideas and opinions have an infinitely changing nature. What we perceive through the mind has the unlimited capacity to change.  

Over a decade ago, I wrote about a mind-altering experience while sitting in meditation:

My interpretation of the experience was being in infinitely big space (like being in outer space). It was completely dark, as the vast night sky with no stars. The silence was so huge that it was beyond anything my imagination could create. The feeling was like having no body, no time, and no words. And so I couldn’t process this, having nothing to compare it to. I didn’t even know where to begin, so I kind of just let it go. I knew it “happened” but I couldn’t relate to any of it through my cognitive mind.

In my memoir, which is presently a work in progress, I wrote about this again and revisit the experience within context.

CHAPTER __:

 The Magic Green Carpet

I had already lived 46 years when I met Gail. It was a time of transition for me, and I felt called to do something in my typical way – unexpectedly. One day, the inner voice simply made its choice to be heard, and the body felt compelled to pursue its direction.

Sitting in my office at a desktop computer, I stared at the monitor’s screen jam-packed with the medical notes I had diligently transcribed. All of the words that I had typed became blurred.  I removed my earphones, stopped typing, and placed my attention on sitting quietly and listening to a feeling sense that arose out of nowhere. It sounded like my own voice to my thinking mind, but I recognized a quality of deeper resonance than the usual mind chatter.

It said, “You need to study yoga. It’s time to train as a yoga teacher.”

The idea appeared out of nowhere, but I didn’t question it. My mind complied, and I made a silent agreement just like that, Okay, I’ll choose a place to get my yoga certification.

My friend, Inga, often spoke about Ronda – a yoga teacher at Yoga Mountain.  

Decision made. I’ll call Yoga Mountain and apply.

The Yoga Mountain dwelling was a residential space that had turned commercial, and it looked pleasant enough, humble and welcoming from the outside. A small glass door entryway led to the reception area where I would be directed to go upstairs to the yoga studio. A narrow spiral staircase led to the studio upstairs. This struck me as wholly symbolic – a mysterious new pathway into the unknown.

At the top of the stairway what appeared to be a closet door led into the yoga studio from the rear.  I opened the door, and allowed my eyes to adapt to the dimmed lights.

A woman sitting cross-legged at the front of the room looked up, “Hello, welcome. Please come in and sit down.”

In that instant, from that 15-foot distance across the room, I could feel her immense warmth, kindness and loving presence. I knew I was in the right place.

It perhaps had not even been a full year when my yoga teacher, Gail, instructed, “It’s time for you to teach”. Her belief was, there’s no “right” time when you’re ready to teach yoga. Her method was, throw the student into the water and they’ll learn to swim- to teach what they know – from their heart.

That’s when she chose me to take on a private student. I was a new teacher, very inexperienced, and still studying with Gail for my 200-hour certification. But my foundation was strong with Gail’s guidance, and I grasped the magnitude of the breath and meditation. Though my confidence often wavered, I trusted that I possessed something of value – something I could share with another person.

The only information I was given about Dawn was that she was a 30-something year old mom who wanted private yoga instruction. On the day we met for our first yoga session, it was her timid nature that affirmed for me her reluctance to attend a group yoga class. A fair-skinned, blonde with blue-gray eyes, she was soft-spoken, a gentle soul, and I could clearly sense her fear of not being good enough. She wasn’t ready to try something she didn’t know how to do in a group setting.   

As I guided Dawn through the most basic of stretching and strengthening postures, I encouraged her to be less judgmental about the right way and the wrong way. Then I invited her to sit down. The studio had a tight-weaved wall-to-wall carpet, a dark shade of green, which was almost dowdy but strangely soothing. I stacked two folded blankets, placed them down on the carpet, and asked Dawn to sit down.  Then I placed my blankets directly across from her, and I sat down. We sat face to face.

I invited Dawn to explore a breath I had studied called 3-part breathing, also known as dirga pranayama, which can be translated as complete, or long or deep breathing from the low belly all the way up to the collar bones. We practiced the breathing together until I sensed the student had reached a deeper relaxation, and I said, “Okay, let’s return to normal breathing, close our eyes, and sit together in silent meditation”.

That’s when it happened …

Within moments of sitting quietly with my own breath, the observer (me) disappeared, and all there was to be experienced and observed was NOTHING.

Time and space completely vanished.

Yet somewhere, like an infinitesimal spec of light, the observer (me) was able to witness this huge, black, ENDLESS space with a silence I had never imagined could exist.

Then I actually MERGED with the dark, silent, space.

That is, until the spec of light that could observe this space reappeared. And that’s when the spec of light spoke.

It said, “You have to teach yoga now.”

On hearing those words, my mind became alert and aware of the physical space my body was occupying.

I wondered, How much time has passed?

I looked at Dawn. Her eyes were still closed. Everything seemed completely intact. But I had no idea how much time had passed, if any at all. I glanced at the clock on the wall – it was almost 10:30 a.m., precisely the right time for our session to conclude.

As astounded as I was over this inexplicable state of consciousness I had just experienced, there remained a calm grounding presence that continued to guide me, and so I resumed my role as teacher and gently directed Dawn to deepen her breath and slowly open her eyes.  

I ruminated, “Could she possibly know what just happened? Don’t be ridiculous, that’s impossible. She seems perfectly fine.”

But I knew something immense had occurred. However, I had no understanding what it was or what it meant to me.  

I would spend the next decade delving into every aspect of yogic esoteric knowledge to help me process what this experience could possibly mean. I studied the classics, the Vedic and Tantric philosophies, the Sutras, Taoism, Zen Buddhism, the ancient yoga masters, and the new age masters.

At the time of this writing, I persevere in recognition and gratitude that this was a moment of grace. The reality of no-time was given to me, just a glimpse, enough to spark the light of wisdom within me. I was graced to witness the reality of non-duality prior to my conditioned and learned understanding of such an idea.  It was a foresight of everything I would come to learn, study, and experience through the mastery of the yogic path.

As I write this now, I am reminded of the unchanging quality of that magic green carpet experience.  Simultaneously, I’m reminded how my understanding of it holds the potential for infinite evolution.  

As Gandhi wisely advised, “If anyone is to find writings of mine, please use the latter on the same subject.” 

Photo credit: Annie Brightstar