Alison

 

Tonight my husband and I went to Ikea to do some light shopping (he wants some new furniture for his He-Man room) and while there we decided to get dinner. This visit to the store was probably the fifth time I’ve been since it opened in late 2017 and was the first time I didn’t have to park a football field away or sift through crowds to get through the place or wait in long lines at the cafeteria or checkout.

While eating, a certain song started playing over the Ikea store’s sound system. It was a Wild Cherry song called, “Play That Funky Music White Boy.” It’s a song I hardly ever hear and which actually predates me by four years. At the risk of sounding like a old man, it reminds me of a time when pop stars had to possess far more quality than they seem to need now. Back then, artists didn’t really have anything in the way of voice scrubbing or synthesizers to “fake” music. But that’s neither here nor there.

At first when the music came on and my mind picked up on it I boogied a little in my seat while biting into my meal. I imagined how I might dance to the song, were I to stand from the dinner table. While seeing myself dance around before my mind’s eye, I was soon joined by an unexpected guest. Her name was Alison. It’s not Alison anymore because she’s dead. Her name is either Nothing or else perhaps she’s transmigrated, taken a new human body, and been born again as someone else with a new name. Before Alison died last time, she worked where I do. I never really interacted with her. In fact, I’m not really sure what she did for the company aside from thinking I remember hearing that she was in our legal department. I think she was a smoker and I think that’s what killed her, but I’m not sure. What I am sure of, though, and it’s the reason Alison joined me for a dinnertime dance tonight, is that she LOVED to dance. She’d dance with anybody or she’d dance by herself. I know this only because the one real memory I have of Alison is from one company holiday party. The Wild Cherry song came on and for a few minutes Alison was the only person on the dance floor, utterly unaffected by that fact. She had shoulder-length, fine, bleach blonde hair and when she danced she would do a certain movement with her head and neck so as to cause her hair to fly a bit. Alison wasn’t a tiny gal by any means and I think that limited her range of possible dance moves. Her generation, the one before mine, also seemed to be fonder of more generalized ways of dancing. You just got out there and moved. You might do a certain, specific dance move sometimes but a lot of what I’ve seen is just good ole rug cutting. Just get out there and jam! Alison would get out there and shuffle her butt all over the place!

(Back at Ikea) While the song was playing still, and when I found a quick second to stop dancing with Alison, I returned to the dinner table and mentioned her to my husband. He worked there even before me and he was well aware of Alison and her “prowess” on the dance floor. His face lit up a little when I mentioned the song playing and my clear memory of Alison gettin’ out there and doin’ her stuff. (FACT: My husband’s face should ALWAYS light up. His smile is darling. His blue eyes are amazing. And the smile lines at the outside corners of those blue eyes not only make me melt but also fill me with all the gratitude – so lucky am I to be with him. It’s the handsomest vision of God I’ve known.) I was glad that my husband was seeing in his mind what I saw in mine.

As the song finished and my dinner dance with Alison from the legal department ended, I found myself unexpectedly overcome. Literally. I had to put my head down and in a very real way fight back tears and I almost openly wept there in the Ikea cafeteria. Trust me – my husband would confirm that my version of openly weeping is NOT gorgeous. But I was so overcome, and even now recounting it causes me to cry some. You see, the SOLE memory I have of this human is that of her dancing. If I were to bump into her family and reminisce at all, the ONLY thing I would be able to say is, “Boy – she LOVED to dance!”

I’m not fooled into thinking that lonesome dancing is all there was to Alison. Like every other human, she entered this life with baggage. She carried that baggage throughout her life’s duration, and when she departed this life (…if cause and effect mean anything in this universe…) she probably took some of it with her. But it – my memory of her – strikes me as wholly precious. She could have stayed on the sidelines like I was at the company party – talking with people about how the President is terrible or how the parking garage badly needs repaired. But she danced. What kinda world might we inhabit if we lived our lives in such a way that the only memories anyone had of us – the only memories we gave to others – were sweet and simple and the kind that make handsome husbands broadly smile?

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti

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The Second Purnam

 

January 2018 actually started off REALLY rough for me. I’ll spare you the details and really those who are closest to me had front row seats, so… probably not much more needs said. What I can say about all that is that, painful as it was, 2018 started off with learning and further confirmation of  my suspicion that 2018 would perhaps be a time of personal change. A lot of people will roll their eyes and think, “Typical new year’s resolutioner…new year new me nonsense.” But that’s not what this is about.

Anyone who knows me knows that I use my body’s clock to observe my New Year – not something based on someone else’s calendar. So my resolutions are actually set in August. Having said that, there’s a movement of energy that happens at the start of year that we all feed into and I’ve no issue admitting that that will likely affect the goals I set my sights on back in August.

January 2018 started with a full moon (purnima) and it ended with one, too! We see the same happen in March and there’s a purnima on my birthday this year. (Fun Fact: There was also a full moon on the day I was born and actually VERY close to the time of my birth) My mind sees this as auspicious and perhaps as a sign that fullness will be the tone of 2018. It’s now the second full moon of January and the second full moon of 2018.

Without going into great detail, which would surely bore you, the resolutions I set for myself last August all relate to simplification of life. So many challenges walk into our life when we open our eyes for the first time – and they often seem to compound as we age. And now, with plenty of age of my own, I’m feeling drawn to streamline things a bit – especially in 2018. To eliminate as much unnecessary burden as is practical to.

The Sahaj Marg / Heartfulness Maxims have been in mind for a while – probably more so lately because Daaji has spoken so much on a few of them recently. Good timing, too, because the ones that have been on my mind are some of those which he’s touched upon. Those Maxims are 4, 5, and 6. Maxim Four advises us to simplify our lives so as to be identical with Nature. This really sums it up, but to add to that, Maxim Five continues with advising us to always be truthful and accept miseries that come with life and to see the good in them. Finally, as the richest icing on any cake, Maxim Six is a rewording of one of the holiest and most profound ideas known to humans, “Know all people as thy brethren and treat them as such.” (NOTE: This is NOT the same as the Golden Rule or the idea of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s far deeper than that and touches on really meaty spirituality.)

These three combine to create a really wholesome, full, satisfying, and amazingly simple picture for the basic and strongest framework for one’s life and self-governance. These three can teach us a lot – not the least of which is how to eliminate drama from one’s life, how to gain better control of finances, how to make and keep new friends, how to heal familial rifts, and when applied properly to many contexts – even how to overcome addiction.

Fantastic! Such strength at the fingertips of (any)one who understands and implements these Maxims. Heartfulness, along with January’s two purnimas, helps me understand a positive and complete view of what 2018 might bring.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti

 

Daaji & Ganeshji

 

From a recent Heartfulness news letter….

Two elderly sisters from Babuji’s time had come to Kanha to visit Daaji. During a long discussion with them on various topics at Gokul Point under the neem tree, Daaji’s thoughts flowed one after the other in a natural way.

“In ancient times, the figure of Lord Ganesh was known for bringing happiness and joy. Look at how much joy such a jolly figure brings! Imagine for a moment, Lord Ganesh is taking his vehicle, a little mouse, on a walk while it is raining, carrying his tiny little umbrella. When you look at the image of Lord Ganesh it provokes joy and happiness. But I have another understanding too. In Sahaj Marg we believe that we move from animal man to human man to divine man. When you see the image of Lord Ganesh, it shows an animal that wants to be human and there is also one image of Ganesh with an umbrella dancing in the rain which I would say is a blissful state. It is hilarious. So, he is a combination of an animal and a man who is now blissful. So it is a total journey depicted with this image. You cannot depict ‘beyond bliss’ with a pen and pencil. Also, Lord Ganesh is depicted riding on a mouse. You know, an elephant can’t sit on a mouse but you can carry the mightiest with a humble heart. You have to be humble to carry the Lord in you. You have to become small to carry the big – egolessness.”

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti

Autophagy

From a recent Heartfulness newsletter…

“Autophagy happens when we fast, so that the body has an opportunity to rejuvenate. Otherwise we are always busy assimilating and metabolising food. You see, Ekadashi has a logic behind it, a scientific reason behind it. When you observe the tides in the oceans of the Earth – the high tide and low tide – they are in sync with the lunar cycle. Now, our body is almost 70% water so imagine what the lunar cycle does to our system. Its effect starts becoming pronounced from the eighth day, and by the fifteenth day the effect is maximum. So, to nullify the lunar effect we fast on the eleventh day, which is the midpoint. Farmers also use the farmer’s almanac based on the cycles of the moon to plant above-ground crops, vine crops, root crops and grains, clear ground etc. All living creatures respond to the lunar cycles.”

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti

A Certain Lunacy

Every generation sees change to the world it didn’t anticipate. It seems to be an on-going joke with every new generation that the ones before it (which are still living) are crotchety, grumpy old people who dislike whatever happens to define modernity simply because the change of the times is something older people struggle more and more to keep up with. (In defense of older people everywhere – things ARE changing faster than they ever have in world history and so it IS tougher and tougher to keep up with!)

I can picture my great-grandparents rolling their eyes that my grandparents got to work in factories and offices instead of in the field and factories – such a posh life working indoors! “Young people have no idea how easy they have it today!” And my grandparents probably were grouches about the generation following them. “Damned hippies! What’s this crap about peace, love, and flower power?!?! Get a job and keep it!” My parents’ generation has worked really hard (often responsibly and often irresponsibly) to give my generation the easiest life we could have – we were probably one of the first generations to really want for nothing…. for the most part. Now they are the generation griping. “Kids get trophies JUST for showing up! Everyone these days is so sensitive – so easily offended!” The very people who themselves worked their fingers to the bones to spoil so much of my generation are now vocal about how people today need to toughen up and work hard for what they have in life. Complaining about the perceived faults of subsequent generations seems pretty par for the course of being a human. What will be my generation’s complaint? Although time will tell if I’m wrong, I think our biggest complaint will relate to those who came before instead of those who came after.

From the reading I’ve done, it seems like those who are coming after my generation (there are a few “generations” between what I would consider to me mine and the generation my generation is currently producing) are making their own way. Articles I read and people I speak with indicate that there is a different set of priorities at work with those groups. They seem to be mostly responsible. They recognize the world’s current and unnecessary weaknesses and exploitations and want to change them – or at least not be contributors. They’re spending their monies differently. There seems to be a bit of a break between my generation and the ones coming of age at this moment. And my generation, mostly, doesn’t seem to care about those differences. We don’t care that they not only don’t want to own homes but also are willing to pay three mortgages worth of rent on a space the size of my bedroom closet – all just to be in the city. In the past, the older people were annoyed or upset whenever those coming of age broke from what existed. My dad’s generation caught shit from their dad’s generation just for letting their hair grow. My generation doesn’t care so much about forcing what is on those who will be.

What seems to send my generation into orbit is the rigidity of attitudes and beliefs of those who came before. To be clear, the rigidity is the issue more than the other. My generation is saying “Be a voice, not an echo.” Those starting to come after us are saying, “This is my voice and I’ll say what I will in whatever language I choose.” But those from generations before mine are perceived to mostly say, “God – you’re whiny! Why can’t your voice be more like mine – AND – in English? What’s wrong with mine?”

I have a feeling this will show itself to be a new cycle of things. Growing pains may be scary severe…. old habits die hard, they say. Right?

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti

Chakra Journey

 

The following was taken from a recent Heartfulness newsletter which is sent out to abhyasis. The words are those of Daaji and I’m adding this here for additional visibility and also to highlight some of the more esoteric and mystical aspects of the very simple path of Sahaj Marg / Heartfulness. If you’re reading this and 1) not an abhyasi or practitioner of Heartfulness meditation, or 2) don’t possess much of the Sahaj Marg library, or 3) have experienced only the “surface level” of our path (which itself at that level is still quite deep), or 4) all the above – then this might be confusing to you. No worries. Just read it and keep moving.

“Polarity exists in the Heart Region; opposites are there. Once you cross the Heart Region or Pind Pradesh, all the dwandwas (opposites) related to the pancha bhutas are dropped. If you are still stuck between dwandwas it is an impossibility for you to enter the Cosmic Region. So polarity finishes in the Heart Region. Then, what remains in the Cosmic Region? More and more of less and less of the ego. It is no longer a matter of opposites; it is only the extent of the ego that is refined. Then, once you enter the Central Region, it is a different ball game again; more and more of less and less of bliss, to the extent that it is zeroed out.”

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti

The 37th

 

Yesterday (the 26th) at around 5:06am the prior year of my life became history and a new one has started. For me observing this New Year has usually been more significant than observing the one marked by western calendars. If you want to read what I wrote about on last year’s New Year (for me) you can click here and visit that post.

On my New Year I often spend time in reflection and meditation, reviewing how the prior year has gone and thinking about what to allow onto my plate for the coming year. Keep reading if you’re interested in this year’s New Year thoughts and observations and plans.

  1. Although much of me is the same from last year, much of me is very different. Between work and home lives, family life, religious or spiritual lives (I maintain the two are independent of each other), and all the other things that go into the making of a person – I continue to evolve. I’m so glad for this! Every inch of progress made in my personal evolution is intended and sought after with a hunger I still can’t name. My darling husband, my precious family, my many sweet friends, and my path with Heartfulness / Sahaj Marg / Hinduism continue to challenge and shape me in fantastic ways! Regardless of what kind of “me” you might consider me to be, I am a continually improving me and few things could make me happier.
  2. The world I inhabit is also different and evolving. It becomes increasingly (and sadly) true that someone’s silence speaks louder than any words their mouth might form. What people speak about and how they speak about it can say just about all you’d need or want to know about them. But where they place their silence says volumes more.

 

If you clicked the link I provided above you would have been taken to a list of 36 random things (plus one bonus item) about me. I have reviewed this list and find that virtually none of it has changed. So if you knew me a year ago, you can count on at least that much remaining true. However, below you will find a list of things either I simply didn’t include last year but which were just as true then, or which are true now and might not have been a year ago.

 

  1. Addiction is a disease. Literally. People who think addiction simply comes down to making a choice aren’t totally wrong – but they are being overly simplistic…. and so they are wrong enough. It is not at all as simple as the decision not to do something and anyone who thinks that is just as sick in the head as the person with an addiction.
  2. Skinny is not always or automatically sexy or beautiful, and neither is it any sure sign of health. Please believe. Anyone who self-describes as “fit” simply because their waist is 30″ is full of shit.
  3. Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” – just read it. And then reread it.
  4. I’m gonna start studying Judaism soon.
  5. I happen to LOVE crochet. And I’m good at it.
  6. Autoimmune issues are a thing. Like, a real and nasty and painful thing.
  7. I love my new home. Getting here was painful and started to kill me (kinda literally) but has been SO worth it.
  8. Although it’s how I primarily identify, I don’t always feel like I’m a male human. I’m not saying I feel like a female human, either. I’m learning something significant about myself here. When I mentioned it to my husband over dinner he gave me some side eye and said I might be queer. Isn’t that nice?
  9. I am (apparently) too despicable to tolerate for some people. Or for just one person, anyway. That’s not always been super pleasurable to digest, but I’m okay with it. It seems to have been Nature’s way of clearing out dead vegetation in favor of new, vibrant growth. I’m having fun trusting that process & making kind new friends often which I suspect will have a positive impact on my next year of life. Some of those friends are pictured here with me.

 

Alright – that’ll do. This is me as I head into another year of life – let’s see how 37 turns out! Jaya Ganesha!

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti