Good Bye

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I’m generally a realistic optimist, but I’m going to just say it: 2014 was the worst year of my current physical manifestation.

For me, 2014 started in early December of 2013 when my department lost a few people and I was swept into a new role. I don’t regret that move, technically, but it set the stage for a lot of other things that haven’t been super pleasant. So I took the new position at work in early December 2013. Then, my lead at work was a woman named Tracey. She had a few admirable qualities but was mostly grade A bitch material. She reminded me far too much of my birth mother. So work got REAL crazy. Very stressful. Tracey was fired in May of 2014. (7 years later than she should have been fired!)

It was in early 2014 that I began suffering symptoms of anxiety and depression. And by only February I began to really struggle with these issues.

It was around Mother’s Day that my mother came into the picture. She’s always been “hands off” in her approach to mothering except when it came to slapping us around our touching me she wasn’t married to. She and my father divorced when I was a toddler and while I saw her off and on while I grew up, at one time a full 50% of my current life was spent with no contact from her (from just before I got my driver’s license until I was nearly 30 years old – not a word from her). Then this year she throws herself on the radar with a number of grave health concerns. I did my best to fill the role of doting first-born son, but mostly in service to the rest of my mother’s family and to my siblings who aren’t local. I also wanted to support my sister – she lives locally and was quite close to our mother. I felt simultaneously humbled and honored that so many members of my family turned to me in trust to understand everything said by the specialists and then to regurgitate it in a manner others can understand as I reported back. But it was stressful and something, quite frankly, I didn’t care to even do. My mother’s health problems would turn out to be something that would suck up more than the fair share of PTO and be something that would add to my general misery.

As the spring came to a close and summer progressed I found myself spread too thin between work, school, and family stuff. Around the end of summer, my Beloved came to take issue with one of our neighbors (we inhabited a towne home at the time and one of our neighbors – a very ghetto young man who fancied himself a composer – had become a noise nuisance) and so we decided to begin the home shopping process. When it comes to things like this, my Beloved and I are definitely “all or nothing” kind of guys. We don’t hang around deliberating on our decisions. We approach our goals with everything well-defined and thought out, and then when the approach is complete – we act. And it’s done.

Our home shopping process was no different. We put our home on the market briefly before coming to an arrangement with one of my friends where we would unlist the property and instead make it into an investment property and he would rent from us with the goal of eventual purchase. While all of this was being ironed out, we not only found but purchased a home more than twice the size of the towne home. Of course, while we weren’t in a rush, we wasted no time relocating our lives to the new address.

This actually brings us to November. In the weeks that passed during the home buying process, more nonsense with my mother and school and work all seemed to compound and the load became nearly unbearable for me. I’ve known many dark and wondrous things and moments in my life, but this period was dark only.

The Saturday before Thanksgiving this year (11/22/2014) my mother passed away. She was unmarried but living with a man. In Indiana, the oldest child is the nextest of kin for someone like my mother. Lucky me. Of course, all my siblings are technically “equal” to me when it comes to everything like this, but ultimately it all rests on my shoulders. Of course, my mother’s own siblings and her mother (her only surviving parent) seem to be under the impression that their sentiments and ideas are what should be supreme. So far, nothing has gotten particularly ugly but there have been times when I’ve needed to exert some authority. There have also been times when assistance from my siblings was necessary. At this point, we’ve only to decide what’s done with her ashes and go through a storage unit that is holding almost all of her possessions. The bulk of opportunities for familiar strife have passed, but we’re not out of the so-called woods yet. Hopefully, by the beginning of 2015 we’ll only have her ashes to deal with. I’ve some other posts planned for Sthapati dealing specifically with the wonder that is / was my birth mother.

Most recently, my own spiritual guide left his body. I’ve written about that already so I’ll not do it again here. Just what I needed, though.

The year hasn’t been a total blow, though. Earlier in the year I was able to spent a lovely long weekend in a part of the USA I’d never been to with my Beloved as we visited a friend I knew only from Facebook but who has been an incredible addition to my life. There was a week or so where I thought he’d left the planet and it distressed me immensely – but, however close a call it might have been, it was ultimately a false alarm. This year also brought not only my 10 year anniversary with my Beloved, but the legal recognition of our relationship by our state, Indiana. We were among the first couples in our county to marry after it was legalized. And while it was something carried on my shoulders during an already terribly stressful time of my life, my new home is a wonderful blessing. There were, of course, other highlights and good things that happened throughout the year – but these few things are only some that stand out to me.

All in all, this year needs to finish itself – and 2015 needs to more than make up for it. I don’t typically set resolutions that start in January (I usually use, instead, my birthday which is truly my body’s calendar start date), but I’m mulling over a few – a preemptive and hopefully proactive attempt at having a deliberately active hand in guiding the direction of my life in the coming year. I’m not likely to write about them here, but they’ll serve as pinpoints of focus that I can redirect my compass to as needed so that 2014 doesn’t repeat itself.

It can’t repeat itself.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha

Aum Shanti

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Acharya Kedar

Acharya Kedar

Last night while I was writing a paper for school and contemplating making some rakhis for a holiday coming up, my beloved was doing He-Man stuff and watching some show on some television channel. He’s always watching some kind of alien or ghost show.

This show was no exception, except that it seemed to be a continuation of another show I’d once been familiar with. Some time ago, images on our television screen were frequently from some kind of “Celebrity Ghost Stories” show. Invariably throughout the show you were either seeing some celebrity, or former celebrity, sitting in an entirely black room telling a story from their past wherein they encountered a ghost of demon or something, or you were seeing recreations of the ghost story being told by that celebrity at that moment. This show still pertained to celebs and their ghost stories, but now a well-known psychic travels with them (to them?) to some place that they’re connected to or once were connected to, and gives them one helluva psychic assessment.

Last night’s episode detailed the ghostly adventure of a middle-aged black male celebrity, who I did not recognize. The two were walking around a home he once had to leave – the site of his ghostly encounter. While this psychic gal was speaking, she referenced his brother and asked if he could call his brother and have him come over. He did, and his brother did.

When his brother arrived, he came to where they were on some stairs and instantly I was like, “Whoa. That dude’s a Hindu monk!” This man was black and also middle-aged, but was wearing the standard orange/saffron colored garb typical of Hindu monkery, including the hunting toboggan. At first his face wasn’t visible, but soon enough he turned. Low-and-behold, a “dot” of kum-kum at least the size of an American quarter rested right between his brows and slightly above.

I’ll be damned.

As it turns out, his name is Kedar and he’s officially known as Acharya Kedar. He practices Kashmiri Shaivism, of the Siddha lineage, and is himself apparently now a Siddha Master.

As would be expected, the paper I’d been working on suddenly was pushed to another screen and I began a Google search for Acharya Kedar, which turned up a number of results. One of them – this one – is about him specifically. Like any other living teacher, he has that tell-tale shanti written across his face and exuding from his eyeballs.

I found this group’s approach to liberation (moksha, mukti) interesting and immensely traditional and specialized. Apparently, the lineage traces itself back to Lord Shiva, Himself, who is the Guru of all Siddhas. I haven’t looked much into their website, to be honest, but they’re clear that in the 20th century, the Siddha Yoga dharma was led by a Siddha saint named Bhagavan Nityananda and from his guidance a number of other successful and powerful Siddha gurus emerged and led others. This denomination of Hindus now has a specialized practice of yoga known as Supreme Meditation. The website most of my recent education on this group centered around can be accessed by clicking here. Overall, they prescribe a daily sadhana as any sect would, however they also focus muchly on the practice of Shaktipat.

Shaktipat has long fascinated me. I can’t consider it very long without also thinking about charismatic Christians becoming “filled” with the Holy Ghost, gettin’ all dance-y and twitchy, and then getting bonked on the head by the pastor – which naturally lays them out flat before the congregation. Truly, I think Shaktipat is less… unbelievable? Shaktipat can take the form of a physical touch, a glance, within a dream, or in a number of other contexts. Generally, as far as I understand, the purpose is to awaken one’s inherent Kundalini, and thereafter induces a journey of spiritual growth. In all my Hindu journeys, I’ve seen far less said of Kundalini from the Vaishnav sects than I have of Smartas and definitely this talk is found mostly within Shaiva and Shakta sects. I think as Kali Yuga progresses, Skatipat will increasingly become a thing of the past – and future.

Something I found endearing about this little education field trip regarding the Siddha Yoga dharma, is that siddhas (supernatural) are not being sought. A number of Hindu texts warn of potential dangers of siddhas achieved. I think that’s mostly because of the influence of Kali Yuga and how people generally are today – so many would misuse them, if they weren’t already too lazy to do the work necessary to achieve one siddha or another. Beyond that, there’s nothing inherently bad about obtaining one siddha or another, and these are even signs of progression.

I view them as a kind of reward though, as well as a tool. You bust your ass working on yourself and you may well achieve one siddha or another. This then might draw people to you, not so that you can put on a show, but so that you can share the wisdom you’ve realized. Also, depending on the siddha, you will hopefully have developed enough to recognize a way in which usage of said siddha can further your own progress. They’re like signposts and instruments. Surely, performing austerities or doing sadhana JUST to get a siddha is bad – just as bad as taking a job JUST because of the money involved. It usually results in undesirable consequences.

At any rate, this group seems to specialize in developing siddha gurus, which in turn, have demonstrated a history of using Shaktipat to help awaken others. In my opinion, it’s rather authenticating that they aren’t broadcasting everywhere and their site indicates people don’t even have to change their religion to partake and benefit.

And there you have it.

Om Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Om Shanti