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

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Nature and God

Daaji arrived at Ahmedabad airport to begin his trip to Mumbai. He was sitting with a small group in the lounge when the flight was delayed. He was remembering his travels with Babuji Maharaj. It was Babuji’s flight to Delhi after the Surat Birthday Celebrations. Babuji was at the airport waiting for a flight to Delhi. The flight was supposed to go to Jaipur first and then to Delhi, and Daaji was also travelling with him.

Daaji was waitlisted at number 136, so normally there would have been no chance of him getting on the flight. Soon the airline announced that there were sand storms around Jaipur area and the flight would not be landing there. Many cancelled their trip and so eventually Daaji got a seat. Babuji looked at him with a smile and said, “You are happy now!” Daaji happily recalled other incidents about Babuji. These small stories took everyone somewhere!

The spiritual life is about remembrance in the heart and love for the Beloved.

It was supposed to be a short flight to Mumbai, but it took a long time to land. During the flight, a lady walked up to Daaji and said, “You look like my son’s friend Marg!” She was happy and surprised by this unexpected meeting.

Later in Mumbai, at 5:45 p.m. in the evening, it was nice weather, so after finishing his work, Daaji went out to sit in the garden. A small group of industrialists had come to meet him. Daaji spoke to them about spirituality and how an experiential approach is the most practical one which leaves one with no ambiguity. He also spoke about the idea of being and non-being. Then he offered the guests the immediate experience of meditation with him. After meditation, there was a short informal interaction with newcomers about consciousness and Yoga. He encouraged them all to meditate and explore further.

Here are some snippets from the session:

“Quality of work drastically changes for good in the spiritual environment.”

“Meditation improves our moral and work ethics.”

“Evolution is not a matter of choice. It has to happen.”

“Many people argue: why can’t an all-powerful God change humanity for good? How can you change without willingness? One should invite change willingly.

If I have to become like my cherished personality,

“… I have to imbibe those qualities. If I have to become like that individual personality, I have to imbibe creativity in me if I dream to become like God – that is point number one.

“Then there are other qualities that can be observed in Nature: I have to become simple and in tune with Nature. What is Nature? Take trees, for example: they take the minimum and give out the maximum. So, am I able to receive the minimum, or nothing at all, and give the maximum? That is God-like. So, even though I may not have happiness, I have to give that. I then become that, and I don’t even care for it anymore. So the second principle, which comes from Nature, is efficiency – taking in the minimum and giving out the maximum.

“The third principle, also from Nature, can be seen when we observe the trees in the US, shedding their leaves just before the winter commences. They adjust themselves for the colder weather. The trees have to preserve all their energy and resources in their roots. They do not have the luxury of extra leaves on their branches. They shed them, sacrificing. In our case, are we able to adjust with the external in our relationships? To do so, we have to sacrifice some of our habits. It is better if we can adjust.

“The fourth thing is that Nature is its simplicity, NO complexities.

“The fifth thing that I find is automatism. For example, trees bear flowers automatically when the season comes. That automatic response is not there in us. Our response is, ‘What do I get out of this?’ Based on that we play with it.

“So these five things help us to be in tune with Nature and God.”

 

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti

Daaji’s Yoga Nidra

Ganesha In Yoga Nidra

 

I will sometimes get into talks with people (friendly, no-argumentative talks) about sleep. Many people claim that once they are asleep, they are out cold. Others tell about how they are such light sleepers. Some people toss and turn. While everyone sleeps in their own way, it seems like everyone can relate to how others sleep – except for when I detail to them how I sleep. To be clear, there are times when I’m out cold and sleeping so deeply that all disappears. And there are times when I sleep like my birth mother did when she lived: So lightly that if someone gently sighs three rooms away – with the door closed – it’ll wake me up. But mostly it’s neither of these. More often than not, I am awake (aware?) while I’m asleep. I really don’t know how else to describe it. My body goes to sleep. And I would say, too, that my mind also goes to sleep. But “I” stay awake and aware for most of every night’s rest. It’s dark and and quiet and very still (stiller and quieter than your home when the electricity goes out and you notice the screaming silence that happens as a result of things like the refrigerator not running. Y’know – that really LOUD silence?). I’m keenly ware that my body rests. I’m just as aware that my mind’s thoughts are passing by at a slower pace (if at all) than when I’m awake. The whole time, I just….. am. It’s nice. So nice.

I’ve written about it here before, in the past. It’s always a tough thing to try to effectively describe. Almost no one understands what I’m talking about. This seems to say that I’m either describing my experience in a way that others cannot at all relate to (read: I’m using the wrong words), or else there really are so few others that have this experience that I’ve yet to encounter one. It can be frustrating. And it IS frustrating when I’m in talks with someone who claims I’m entirely mistaken – that we ALL dream every night, whether we recall as much or not. Thank god for people who know my own life experience better than I do! (#Sarcasm)

Anyway, What you will read below the line is something I pulled from a newsletter or maybe a publication from Daaji’s Desk or something. I forget the exact source, but I suppose that doesn’t matter so much as you understand it’s not something I composed. Daaji was questioned by some students about falling asleep during meditation and his answer feels like it touches a bit on how I experience sleep. Just thought I’d share.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti


It was a quiet morning. Daaji came to the meditation room around 7:30 a.m. and conducted satsangh. Afterwards he answered questions from new seekers. Here are some excerpts:

Q: While meditating, I find that I am leaning either forward or sideways by the time I finish. So how do I know that I am meditating and not sleeping?

Daaji: I will start with the second part of your question. How to know whether you are meditating or sleeping? Often when we conduct such programs in universities, especially when there are 500 or 1000 students in a hall and generally they would be having fun. After meditation, they ask, “Sir, did we go to sleep?” So I respond, “Okay, let’s do an experiment. Sit in a chair and I will not transmit to you. Now, try to go to sleep in the chair within 5 minutes. Can you do it?” So it is the relaxing effect produced by transmission that creates a state akin to yoga nidra. At the same time, if you pay attention, you are aware of what is happening outside, even though you are in a sleep-like state.

Now, to the first part of your question: often we seem to lean forward or sideways. It is a very good state actually. It happens when the mind relaxes and our emotional heart surrenders. In that state of submission the head bows down, unknowingly, unconsciously. It is arising out of our subconscious submission to Divinity.

The Child

Daaji came back to the cottage and attended many meetings. A small group of children met him and one child looked quite serious, saying, “I have a question for you.” Daaji replied, “Please go ahead and ask.” The child to Daaji asked, “Master is in the heart. So why are people greedy to see him physically?” Daaji answered, “That is my question and my problem also.”

Daaji was so happy with this wise youngster. Later, the child’s father said that the whole morning he was upset watching those people who were demanding to see Master. Here again a small but profound incident showed that the wisdom of the heart does not depend on age or knowledge.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti

Reality: Static & Dynamic

My contribution to this post will be minimal because I plan to share original content from another source. If you’re interested, you can look into the Complete Works of Ram Chandra, Volume One. Else, please continue reading below for excerpts I’ve pulled from a chapter titled, “Reality – Its Static and Dynamic Aspects” which deals with how God is defined.


There has been a great deal of controversy over the question of the existence of God, the Ultimate Reality. The real problem of my mind, is not that of proving or disproving the existence of an Eternal Absolute but that of defining it in an adequate and satisfactory way. The factor of blind and enthusiastic faith, created and strengthened by individual miseries and cravings in different cultural contexts, has added more and more confusions. Consequently, the man of reason and thought rightly feels disgusted at the very mention of the word “God.”

There are various conceptions of the Ultimate Reality. People look upon Him differently according to their capacity and understanding… But philosophic view includes the idea of Nirguna Brahman (Indeterminate Absolute) which is above all multiplicity and distinction. This Nirguna Brahman is regarded to be the ultimate cause and substratum of existence, the superactive center of the entire manifestation. It is also known as Para Brahman.

Next comes the idea of God as Supreme Existence. We see the universe with all its diversities and differentiations and we are led to believe in its creator and controller. We call him Ishwara, or Saguna Brahman (Determinate Absolute). We think of him as an Eternal Existence which is omipotent and omniscient, posessing all the finest attributes. He is the efficient cause of the world and also its preserver and destroyer.

It is only when viewed from the lower standpoint that God becomes an object of worship, which is the final approach of almost all the religions. This Saguna Brahman is also known as Apara Brahman. Much is said in religious books about the above-mentioned two conceptions. Some think that the concept of indeterminate or attributeless God is better than that of determinate God. Others hold just the opposite view. In fact, both of them are erring… There are no doubt the two ways, but the goal is one… Both the conceptions, as generally understood, are greatly misleading. Truly God is neither Nirguna nor Saguna, but is beyond both… It is we who conceive Him to be Nirguna; and it is we who make him Saguna. What we must do to avoid these quarrels is that we must fix our view on the original element (Adi Tattva) – be it Nirguna or Saguna. Whatever it is we must love it.

Religion is only a preliminary stage for preparing a man for his march on the path for freedom. The end of religion is the beginning of spirituality; the end of spirituality is the beginning of Reality; and the end of Reality is the real Bliss. When that too is gone, we have reached the destination. This is the highest mark which is almost inexpressible in words.

Thus God is not to be found within the folds of a particular religion or sect. He is neither to be confined within certain forms or rituals nor is He to be traced out within the scriptures. Him we have to seek in the innermost core of our heart.


After this post, I’ll add another to pick up where this left off. The next will begin by starting at the place of understanding held by an Atheist and will employ some basic mathematical concepts to illustrate.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti