Through The Looking Glass

“The new midlife is where you realize that even your failures make you more beautiful and are turned spiritually into success if you became a better person because of them. You became a more humble person. You became a more merciful and compassionate person.” ~ Marianne Williamson

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 I was reading a post on a friends social media, where she was going through a deep internal struggle related to the sequence of her entire life. Since I have been going through a similar internal conflict, I felt a sense of understanding, empathy and respect for the process.

What I found interesting, was that many of the comments were obviously trying to uplift her mood by stating profound spiritual truths and teachings. I found this such an intriguing circumstance of how we project all these highly idealistic perceptions of how we must face this inner process; through being in the moment and choosing to be happy right here, right now.

After reading all the very similar comments, I realize that unless one has been down this dark corridor, there is little to no comprehension of the process. The process of transformation, often can be very deep and excruciatingly painful. Even though you realize that some level of mental and emotional upliftment would be beneficial in this moment; often it’s not there to be found.

“Suffering is not enough. Life is both dreadful and wonderful…How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow? It is natural – you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow.” Thich Nhat Hanh

The process of having the outer ego removed and stripped away often provokes a disenchanting series of feelings. The person you were previously has radically shifted and the life you were striving to live, does not exist.

The axis of transformation is steep and can be something that is akin to a deep exfoliating of your skin, leaving it red and painful. It takes time for the new growth to take place and can not be ‘solved’, by some theoretical commentary.

We live in a society that does not allow or fully accept such inner transitions. There is a collective rule of having to continuously present a false sense of happy all the time, rather than show the deep suffering going on in that moment. If you are attempting to live life with greater awareness, you are doing your practice and allowing the process to flow.  Despite the fact your mind finds the content of the experience to be of a painful nature; it’s often necessary to facilitate the change that is needed.

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” Rumi

Transformation does not have to be difficult or even painful, however most people walking this path find that it often will fall more into a painful category, rather than joyful. Of course, the after affect of such transition is a greater sense of peace and happiness due to having to fight with some aspect of our sense of expectation; having to eventually let it go.

When challenges comes, there is always a lesson to learned and eventually some shift in our perspective in life. Hence, if we never suffer in our own lives, how can be truly embody empathy towards others suffering.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2017

 

 

 

 

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The Power of Forgiveness

“Compassion is the foundation of peace. Compassion resides within everyone. But it is difficult to experience it and express it in all of our actions. We must turn inwards to search deep within ourselves. ‘Is my heart still vibrant with life? Can I still experience the source of love and compassion within me? Does my heart still melt at the pain and sorrow of others? Have I cried along with those who are suffering? Have I really tried to wipe another’s tears to console them or given someone at least a single meal or a set of clothing?” Like this, we can honestly introspect. Then the soothing moonlight of compassion will spontaneously shine within our minds. If we want to bring peace to the external world, first our inner world needs to be at peace.” Amma

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There is a great ambiguity in the whole concept of ‘forgiveness’, thus many write about it and perhaps we all have moments where we can truly forgive. However, it has been my experience, despite feeling a deep need to find forgiveness and coming very near the entrance of this energy. I found that in some way I could not fully let go of the burden I had been carrying. I still choose to hang onto the suffering that I felt from my own actions and those of others.

The point is, when do we really get to a place to allowing this beautiful and divine energy to come into our hearts and cleanse them of all the anger, resentment, and other energy that we constantly hold on to and renegotiate with on a regular basis.

“Not causing harm requires staying awake. Part of being awake is slowing down enough to notice what we say and do. The more we witness our emotional chain reactions and understand how they work, the easier it is to refrain. It becomes a way of life to stay awake, slow down, and notice.” Pema Chödrön

My realization is that at the end of the day, you have no control over others or the external environment. However, you do have an element of control over who and how you choose to be as a person. 

I have tried to find this feeling throughout my life, yet never really managed to allow it to permeate my consciousness. Yet, with grace all things are possible and when the time comes, it can and will happen. When you are no longer willing to continue to carry the burden of emotional pain over something that is beyond your reach. This is when you can choose to either become hard, like an impermeable rock, or let it all go and allow the softness of love and forgiveness to awaken from within and flow throughout your life.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2016

A Conscious Life

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
Pema Chödrön

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What does it mean to be here, living this life. Is there a sense of deeper understanding, inspiration, or moments of tranquility where thoughts fall away. Are we living a conscious life where we are aware of our actions, not only what we are supporting, but also our every action that we direct outwardly.  Are we able to have some sense of control over how we choose to interface with the external world and the beings and objects that we find there. Are we motivated by a deeper inspiration and meaning to live our lives with a sense of growing awareness, where we fully comprehend our intention and how powerful our each action can affect change, in all ways.

I have spent most of my life interacting and socializing with a large volume of people. This is something that comes effortless to me, yet on a deeper level I am not really a people person. I prefer to find deep moments of introspection, solace, and inner awareness. Thus, within my own life I have spent more time in solitude, than interacting with others. Ironically, I have been know as being rather talkative and a friendly person, which can be true. Yet, for most of my lifetime, I have observed long days of silence, reflexivity, and silent practices that enable me to find some sense of inner peace. The time that I choose to spend alone, seeking inner solitude allows me to have a sense of dynamic energy when I relate to others.

Through interacting with numerous people, I am aware of so many people who are filled with a growing consciousness, which is incredibly powerful and beautiful. I have watched the actions of these people, literally change the world, in many small ways with their collective ideas, which eventually are becoming more ‘mainstream’. Thus, when we all have a choice within the folds of how we choose to live our lives, we no longer need to fear being ‘different’, if we choose to live a more conscious, aware, or ecologically sound lifestyle.

What path are we walking down in our lives, does it serve our higher good, or someone else’s? I ask this question, as I know the feeling of limitation, where we are working at a job that does not satisfy our own values or inspirations.

I have witnessed, many times, the conceptional sense of a microscopic sense of perceived power, that is so destructive, its unbelievable.  Through all these experiences, it has shown me, as a very clear mechanism of how not to be as a human being. I have had people behave many ways towards me, yet in each interaction I too have had a choice how to react in exchange.

In all of our lives, regardless of where we are or what we are doing, we all have the choice to remain true to who we are, strong within ourselves, disallowing others to try to take what they can. To find some sense of strength that is beyond others actions. True power, is silent, humble, yet there is self worth and confidence. To find inner strength, we must be aware of when to not react and when to stand our ground. This is the key to finding a deeper sense of inner freedom, for when others can no longer trigger or touch us, or these experiences become less and less; we feel more inner peace. Of course, for many of us, there will be times that we react and are trigger, yet each one of these experiences allows us a deeper insight into what we still need to be aware of and integrate at a deeper level.

To truly find inner strength and wisdom in life, we must learn what wisdom is, yet we also must practice and experience this phenomena many times before we can understand it. If we choose to live a life that is more conscious, as opposed to a life where we have little awareness over anything that is taking place; blindly running along with the masses. If we choose to find a deeper sense of autonomy, we must cultivate a sense of perception that is wider than our mere egocentrism. We must find a place within ourselves, where we can find a space that allows us to perceive the whole, integrated within our own sense of individuality.

We always have a choice, within each moment and each action; we are the ones who are in control to shape our reality through our conscious action. Even when our lives are apparently chaotic, we always have a choice how we choose to perceive our sense of suffering, even if we can’t find a solution or the change that we feel we would like to implement within our lives.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2015

 

Its All In The Name

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” Jack Kornfield

Idaho, central, lightning storm over the White Cloud Mountains at sunset

Idaho, central, lightning storm over the White Cloud Mountains at sunset

We all come into this world with names given to us by our families. Traditionally, names were used to extend the family lineage, through the reuse of various family members names and the continual usage of the paternal last name. However, in this day and age, there is more freedom of lateral movement against the traditional practices of the past. We have more freedom to work with our own identity, finding greater use of self expression through what feels right to each one of us.

Of course, many people lack the awareness or consciousness to actually question the ‘identity’ assigned to them through their families and society. Most people feel much safer abiding very closely by the norms of society and the traditional practices of the family. However, in this way life can be an endless expression of conditioning, with very little true authenticity of real freedom to have the awareness to make choices that are based on real knowledge. Most, if not all of us are caught in this massive and hegemonic pull of fitting into a homogenized sense of ‘norm’, that is actually very disturbing, as it benefits many institutional bodies, far more than us as individuals.In my own experience of life, I understand the necessity of abiding by certain cultural and social norms, yet I also see a strong benefit in living my life as the person I feel myself to be. Perhaps, this can be seen as egocentric and selfish, yet identity for me is something that I feel on a very deep inner level. One example is how we use our name as our means of prime identity. In my own life, I never ever resonated with my birth name, it meant nothing to me, it felt odd and hollow, yet I used it until I became more engrossed in spirituality and realized I could use a spiritual name. I could not wait to change my name to something that resonated with who I felt myself to be.

In the last five years, I received a name that deeply resonated with me and began using it exclusively. Many people, mostly in my own family thought that I was using another name to be someone else. The truth of the matter is that the birth name that I used most of my life was not me, while my spiritual name resonated so deeply, it is my true name. I have even had many dreams where I am explaining to others how when I first received my name, it was like I finally had my real name in this life. This is something that is very difficult to explain to others, as it must be directly experienced, rather than theoretically discussed. The feeling was as though I finally had my own name, a name that expressed who I am on an inner level, who I have always been.

Through this experience I recently had a job, where they called me by my birth name as it’s my ‘legal’ name. I felt a deep emptiness and only registered to that name because I know it used to be what I was previous called. After one year, I realized that I can no longer go by my birth name, it means nothing to me, I have no connection to it, in any way. Thus, I am changing my name legally to what resonates with me, as the person who I am in this life.

In my life, I feel I have the autonomy and freedom to make such choices for myself and I will continue to make many similar choices regarding how I wish to live my life, as my life belongs to me and me alone.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2015

Truth Through Action

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brené Brown

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We are all searching for some tangible sense of contentment, happiness, and truth that helps us to understand the life that we are all collectively living. Of course, there are numerous paradigms that we prescribe to for various reasons, as a means of searching for something greater than ourselves. The question I have, is what stops us from really practising what we believe; really being the energy of what we speak and write. This is why, I only write about subjects that I am experiencing through my own actions; rather than just write about all of the health, philosophical, or holistic concepts that I have spent a considerable amount of time studying. I find tranquility through: simplicity, awareness, and working each day to really practice what I deeply believe within the teachings that I follow on a holistic level. The daily health and holistic advice that I give to others, has come about not only through the years of theoretical training, but also a lifetime of experience and observing how these aspects affect the human body, mind, and spirit.

In my own life, I have been interested in many aspects of spirituality, philosophy, and understanding the human condition. However, one thing that I have always done is to find some level of awareness and observation. I try to be observant of my environment, through watching others and the related dynamics that ensure, including my own actions. Through this process, I have seen time and time again how easy it is to write or speak words of various meanings, yet unless you can fully embody what you believe through these truths; it becomes meaningless to repeat such things to others. Inevitable, it does not matter what or how much you know, if it’s not transfered through your actions, it profoundly lacks any real meaning.

I felt inspired to write on this subject, as I tend to read numerous articles and blogs on health and spirituality. In addition, I tend to spend time with many people who are trying to find meaning in these two areas. I notice time and time again, we as individuals don’t practice what we deeply believe, on a large scale. Yes, there are many people who do make a huge effort and their truth is easily seen through all of their actions. However, I have witnesses people who are spiritual seekers, yet still their actions are not in direct correlation with what they inevitably believe. This phenomena is very prevalent, where most people create their own ideologies around others, allowing them excuses to treat others poorly or wreak havoc on someone else’s life through creative gossip and untruths.

Through such experiences, I find a sense of incredible resolve to focus on developing greater levels of awareness and not inflicting harm into my environment. Inevitable, it is only through our own actions that we should be concerned, even if someone else is at fault or has done the wrong action and you are the one blamed, for your reaction – to their poor action. Still, you must continue to bring the awareness back to your own actions; this is true self empowerment and will make your life much more authentic, transparent, and honest. Thus, bringing a congruence with your thoughts and beliefs, aligning these with all of your actions.

Often, it is through our greatest suffering that we make the greatest effort to change, or through our witness of someone else’s very destructive patterns that have touched our lives. If you witness others behaving in ways that are based on poor judgment; remember that action will ONLY ever harm them.

The real reality is that what we believe is inevitably conveyed through our actions, regardless of what we think or say; if we are not able to convey these into action, then we have a lot of work to do. As many of us know, this can pertain to anything, from negative mental and emotional patterns that we constantly play out in our minds, to cruel and destructive tendencies that we justify to ourselves. The truth is that regardless of who someone is or how they behave, no one deserves to be treated poorly. Moreover, if we find ourselves treating another person poorly because of what someone else has told us through their transfer of hate; we should be very cautious with our actions by taking on someone else’s issue, which may not even be a real phenomena.

In our society, we as a collective love to discriminate against others and demonize them, even if it’s to justify our own self created ideas.

Inevitably, each negative action that has come to slice through my life; I have become much more diligent with my own transformation, focusing on trying very hard not to be this way myself. In addition, we must become more aware of our actions and the consequences that follow. If we have contributed to some harm, due to our actions, the most benevolent role to play is to take accountability and do your best to amend the action. It takes a certain level of self honesty to really find a sense of self awareness. Even though I make an effort to attempt to be more and more aware and be mindful of my own actions, I also make many mistakes. The thing that I am trying to convey is the importance of having this awareness, thus making our lives an expression of who we are and what we believe, seen through the quiet simplicity of our actions.

The most powerful truth is only see through action, this is something we see with the Mahatma’s (great saints) of the world. Their actions are completely in alignment with the universal truth, there is no hypocrisy. All of us can practice some level of truth through repeatedly invoking them within all of our actions. By becoming more observant of our own actions, we can mediate them as we go along to become more harmonious with the universal truth. I find that one of the most motivating factors, as discussed above is to become aware of the actions from others that we have found painful and try very hard not to inflict those onto other people. If we find ourselves in the process of doing this, we always have the chance to retract our steps and make amends. This is my ongoing practice that requires tremendous patience and self forgiveness, to continue practising. Self forgiveness, when our actions are not in harmony with peace and love and inflict harm onto another; to become aware of this and try and correct this action. If we make the effort, it’s really amazing how we can find greater inner peace, love, and harmony in our relationships.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2015

To Begin Again

“Accept failure as experience you need for your growth. Be glad that some karma is complete. See your failure as a lesson, learn from it, and move on.” Amma

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When we suddenly find ourselves, seemingly back at the beginning; despite having contributed tremendous effort towards something, how do we feel? I have witnessed this phenomena and experienced it more than once in my life. Hence, knowing as I do, there is a feeling of frustrated loss, accompanied by a feeling of disbelief that despite having gained something, we are back at square one, or so it seems.

There are many perceptions that we all collectively harbour about our position in life. Possibly, one of the most prevalent is the feeling of accomplishment, the need to feel as though during the course of our lives, we are constantly moving forward and progressing. The collective fabric and conditioning of our society reinforces this necessity of moving up the ladder of success, which comes with a certain power; that inevitably leads to the possession of more material items, and thus the entire concept of upgrading in life occurs.

Through this process, we are bombarded by the consumeristic idealism of consumption, that we must be more, have more, and seemingly become someone who has more power. What happens when we find ourselves not within this paradigm of thought, can we accept it and find contentment? Or do we feel some way inadequate, as compared to those around us? I ask these question, as even when I have found myself, starting again in life, there is a feeling of failure, even if it was not by my own doing.

The reality is that we all have many lessons to learn in life and we are not all meant to be living a homogenized identity. Most of society is moving as a flock of blind sheep; everyone is moving in one direction, so we all just follow along. Yet, what happens if you are not one of these people, who feels that they are part of this unconscious mass movement; inevitably heading off the cliff?

What happens when you strongly feel that there is a much richer, simplistic, and more real way of living life, rather than going along with the masses? When we realize that we are at a new point of beginning, we also must realize that with this feeling of emptiness, all things become possible. Oftentimes, we forget that the most powerful gift we can have is a space in our lives to recreate a life that is more suited to what we envision for ourselves.

In my own life, I recently walked away from a lucrative opportunity, because it did not feel right and there were far too many moral and ethical boundaries that potentially would be crossed, in the name of business and success. I felt that letting go of something that I spent six months creating, was a much wiser move than to continue working on a project that I had never had a good feeling about. I was caught up in someone elses idea, one in which I did not have any passion for or believe in. The one thing I did have was the experience and the knowledge, thus contributing the majority of intellectual property. This was the only factor that made it difficult to finally let go, losing a part of my own creation.

Moreover, the truth of the matter is that I clearly had resented the fact that I was not working on my own project, one I had already begun yet put aside in the name of working with friends. I fully realize that I made a huge mistake, having corrected this, there is a space of potential to continue with my own project.

When we finally let go of how we think our lives should be, or the things we cling to because they seem like a good opportunity; this is when we really see the direction and value in the life that we wish to live. Its when we can walk away from something that we know, no longer serves us, despite the fact that there is some inevitable loss. This is when we have enough strength to continue along within our own terms, finding a greater sense of autonomy within ourselves and our lives.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2015

The Holistic Balancing Act

“Some medical experts have shown that constant anger and fear undermine our health by eating into our immune system. Meanwhile, they find that the compassionate mind is good for our physical well-being.” – Dalai Lama, Ladakh, India

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The main question that I always find myself asking, is what truly constitutes living a holistic lifestyle. There is a massive amount of multimedia regarding living a healthier lifestyle. However, in my opinion all of these are just fragments to what really constitutes living a truly holistic lifestyle. I too have almost an entire lifetime of expertise in regards to almost every facet of what constitutes a truly healthy, organic lifestyle. From what I have personally witnessed in my own life and in the lives of many other, very dedicated health driven individuals, the focus primarily on the physical body is actually the least important area of focus.

I have seen this in my own life, if we go through an extremely traumatic or stressful situation in life; there is no amount of anything we can put into our bodies to maintain our health. Once we lose our emotional balance, it radically affects our physical body. Thus, most people who are fanatically into ‘health’ are mostly focused on what they put into their bodies, or the external environment of their physical body, rather than their inner mental and emotional body. I also have seen that people who have very strong minds, thus who can maintain an equanimous approach to life, tend to be much healthier regardless of what they consume physically. This phenomena has been widely studied, how our mind and thoughts directly affect not only our physical body, but our environment.

In my early twenties I was very driven by finding this notion of ‘wholeness’, seeking it through the medium of holistic health. Even though I was touching the foundation of living a holistic life, I was not aware of it at that time due to the inner turbulence of my mind. On a physical level, I have had to undergo over a decade of chronic, undiagnosed health issues; despite having access to medical opinions and every facet of alternative health care. Despite the tremendous amount of effort, time, and money exerted by me, still nothing shifted. I was living one of the purest, cleanest lifestyles that exists, yet still the underlying problems of exhaustion and a weak physical constitution did not change. During this time in my life I learned the most about what holistic health really means, in addition to a suffering that has allowed me to embody a tremendous capacity of compassion for others suffering. This is something that I previously did not have when I was extremely healthy with a strong young constitution.

It was during this time, I never gave up, continuing to try new avenues of medicine and natural remedies. Finally through extensive testing from a Naturopath, I was able to find greater physical healing. The most amazing thing really was that true healing only came when I took self responsibility towards helping myself overcome this issue. Something more fascinating and a much longer discussion, was that this entire experience was outlined and discussed in detail when I became interested in Vedic astrology. I was told that most of what I was going through was ‘karmic’, thus nothing would shift it until the time for it to be over came. Sure enough, when that time came and a new planetary influence came to direct my life, the suffering ended completely. I have experienced many astounding phenomena like this in the many years I have been interested in such things as Vedic astrology. Through this knowledge we can easily see that nothing is relative or as straightforward as we would like it to be. We are conditioned to perceive the body as a mere physiological organism, which in many retrospects, it is. However, there are numerous other factors that most of us can not understand or conceive of, such as the profound effect our thoughts and emotions have on our physical body, or karmic effects we may have to undergo on a physical or psychological level.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is well know that when someone has a health imbalance, there are actually three possibilities: physical, mental/emotional, or spiritual causes. The first cause you treat with physical medicine, the second needs to be treated at a mental & emotional level, and the third is a spiritual cause that must be treated at that level. When a very famous Ayurvedic practitioner first came to the U.S many decades ago, one of the first assumptions that he immediately had was that most of the diseases in the West actually originated at a mental and emotional level, rather than merely a physical level. He also thought that Western society was actually quite ‘crazy’, due to our way of perceiving and living life. This perception is actually a very astute observation of a society whose adults have little to no control over their emotions. Thus, the tendency for most people to get angry at others is a very common occurrence in most of our lives.

However, this was not always the case in smaller indigenous societies, such as when early anthropologist first began to study the Inuit, in the very Northern area of Canada. The anthropologist realized right away that adults in this society were not permitted to show anger towards others. When the anthropologist became overtly angry, he was compared to a two year old child, as those were the only members of the society who would react in a fit of uncontrolled angry tendencies. Thus, the majority of our modern societies are very immature, lacking any real wisdom or true knowledge, and most people are focused merely on the most superficial aspects of consumerism and materialism.

Therefore, if there are severe challenges in our lives, especially with our physical health, it may be beneficial to also observe our inner mental and emotional landscape. Through being more aware of how our minds and emotions function on a daily basis, we can find a more thorough comprehension of what could also be contributing to our lack of health, joy, peace of mind, and ability to fully feel alive and grateful to be living life.

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Reconciliation With Oneself

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Marianne Williamson

 Screen-Shot-2014-03-24-at-4.24.22-PMToday, the rain has been coming down, leaving the dense green vegetation covered in the drops that fall from the sky, from the branches, onto the lower leaves. The birds have all flown to cover, yet I am here alone witnessed only by the dimly lit sky, overcast and shedding its tears upon the earth. I feel a deep sadness and emptiness filling me, something much deeper and painful than just a passing mood or feeling. I deeply contemplate the life I have thus far lived, at this vantage point very little makes sense to me. I wonder how I ended up at this temporary destination. A dull hopelessness fills me so completely, that I can do nothing to keep it at bay. There are no distractions to take my mind away from the clouds that have covered the sun within my heart, which normally cast its brilliance in an expansive exuberance.

“There is nothing to practice. To know yourself, be yourself. To be yourself, stop imagining yourself to be this or that. Just be. Let your true nature emerge. Don’t disturb your mind with seeking.” Nisargadatta Maharaj

The rain has a purifying effect on nature, through the dissolution of the previous energetic imprints, now pure vibrance is being rained back down upon the earth. Even though, its as if the falling of each drop carries a secret sadness. Through the deepest expression of this indescribable sadness, perhaps as one sheds tears, there is a deeper cleansing of our negative tendencies. A deeper surrender into the folds of a universal power and intelligence that is far superior than our own limited minds. I feel as though I have fallen into the impossible, fighting for something that perhaps does not exist, nor will ever exits; the dreams I have carried for most of my life, the goals that have taken shape through the life I have lived, and the dreams that have filled my heart. All of these beautiful intentions, continuously transforming as I myself constantly change. Yet, it feels that regardless of my best effort, still I am as far away from the metamorphosis of these dreams, into reality.

“You cannot transcend what you do not know. To go beyond yourself, you must know yourself.” Nisargatta Maharaj

I dreamed a dream, perhaps an impossible dream; it was magnificently perfect, a life I longed to live. Now, is a time of letting such dreams fall away, as rain cleanses the earth, so too is it time to begin anew. To embrace the new, the person that I am today, allowing a deeper expression of creativity and freedom to fill my life; rather than clinging to ideals that began almost half my lifetime ago. Its a cosmic lesson in letting go of the old, despite the pain associated. One must completely allow the past to become just that, the past. In order for one to fully reach within to our deepest potential, to truly feel alive in the present moment. I realize only now, that I trapped myself in a self deterministic prison, with all of these goals and dreams. Thus, they created such a constricted sense of confinement to the pure expression of who I am, as a person. I only allowed myself to reach towards a limited array of options, which fit only a very small aspect of who I have always been.

“Just let go. Let go of how you thought your life should be, and embrace the life that is trying to work its way into your consciousness.” Caroline Myss

The wind has started to slightly blow the branches of the giant fir tree, like a huge guardian, his branches sway back and forth. I can see numerous small, delicately transparent drops of water clinging to each branch, like an exquisite tapestry created through the perfection of natures organic and unstructured patterns. Perhaps, its time that I started living my life through the perfect, unstructured, beautifully organic matrix that life offers to each and every one of us. To be free of our outdated confines, is a truly freeing feeling, even with a reminisce of sadness, bidding farewell to that which no longer serves our greatest expression.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2014

The Subversive Nature of Being

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?” Rumi

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We live in a predominantly homogenized society, despite the fact that a large percentage of the younger generations are acting as a unified force to counter this form of social conformity. Although, throughout history the majority of brilliant scholars, artists, musicians, philosophers, and mystics were all focused on living non-conventional lives due to their awareness of the confining aspects of homogeneity. The most brilliant minds of even today, use the faculty of discrimination, critical thinking, and even intuition to assess and weigh what is accurate and what is not.

Even Einstein was a great advocate of using one’s intuitive faculties,“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. We will not solve the problems of the world from the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. More than anything else, this new century demands new thinking: We must change our materially based analyses of the world around us to include broader, more multidimensional perspectives.” Albert Einstein

In essence, through the intellectual and intuitive faculties which we all have a certain degree of access to, we should be able to discern what is of relevance and what is not. Yet, how many of us actually question the relevance of certain social patterns that most people blindly follow. 

The act of being subversive is a tactic that is used everyday by numerous people who have the awareness that becoming fully homogenized within society is not a true representation of imbibing their highest potential, nor a clear representation of what they would like their lives to emulate. The act of living a life that is based on subversive actions; to have the awareness to contest even basic issues lacking in transparency, reveal our basic need to know the truth of what is going on in society and the larger global world.

Through all of our actions and words, when we choose to questions certain patters in society and go against them, there can be repercussions. I recently experienced this phenomena, in which a certain individual launched an attack against the conceptual discourse and content of the discussion related to the social, political, and ecological importance of choosing organic food, over the other choices available. I realized instantly, that when people are highly homogenized, or when they are faced with concepts that they view as subversive, or even intellectual discussions that question the pattern of their ‘normal’ social conditioning; they become highly defensive. 

I first experienced this when I became a vegetarian 23 years ago, during a time when it was not mainstream or even remotely cool to practice this form of dietary choice. I was actually a vegan vegetarian, due to reading John Robins “Diet For A New America”, and several other related books. Given the information I was able to assimilate on this topic, I made a very clear choice to eat a diet that did not cause harm to animals, supported a holistic principle to health, and was more viable within the parameter of being more ecologically sound. Even though the choice was mine to make, I found myself constantly running into people who would become immediately confrontational and defensive against the choices that were inevitably affecting me, not them. I found this phenomena rather interesting as I realized that people’s deep seated fear of others doing something that is considered subversive triggers massive fear, defensive mechanisms, and can make people very confrontational.

In todays world, most of us are homogenized to some degree within the cultural norm of our social milieu. Therefore, the use of subversive action can be a mechanism to create small circles of change through discussions, or it can occur on a much large scale, such as being highly aware of the social economy of what we inevitably support with our time, money, and actions. To this day, I have lived my entire life attempting to liver more subversively than allowing myself to fall into the homogenization of becoming en-mass, like a drone in a vacuous society devoid of any depth of meaning. To live a life bound by social conformity, accepting everything at face value, and without questioning the larger social and political paradigm is to be completely asleep. “Some people live as though they are already dead. There are people moving around us who are consumed by their past, terrified of their future, and stuck in their anger and jealousy. They are not alive; they are just walking corpses.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Today when I meet people who become defensive and confrontational over the choices that I make, I clearly state that if they don’t like what I write or how I live my life, its absolutely fine, as the actions I make only affect me, no one else. Thus, “my only true belongings in life are my actions.” Thich Nhat Hanh

To choose to live a non-conventional life one must be very strong, strong enough to confront others ignorance in a non-confrontational, grounded, and calm way. Ironically, many things that were seen as subversive at one point in time, soon become mainstream. Several of todays trends were once limited to much smaller subcultures and seen as highly subversive. A few of these are: organic food, vegetarianism, other heath based dietary regimes, yoga, meditation, consuming herbs or health supplements, etc. Yet, today it seems most people have some awareness of all of the above topics.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2014

Seeking The Divine

“India chose her places of pilgrimages on the top of hills and mountains, by the side of the holy rivers, in the heart of forests and by the shores of the ocean, which along with the sky, is our nearest visible symbol of the vast, the boundless, the I.” Rabindranath Tagore

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Amritapuri is the ashram of Sri MataAmritanandaMayaDevi, who is a world renowned spiritual figure. She is considered to be an enlightened master or SatGuru. The ashram has been considered an ashram for over 30 years and originated as Amma’s families property. Today, its a sprawling ever expanding village that houses between two thousand to four thousand people, depending on if Amma is here or touring throughout the world, as She is accustom to doing. The ashram is located in a very remote area of India, right beside the Arabian sea and surrounded by a dense, dark green forested area, as far as the eye can see. The ecosystem here, due to the lack of development is very close to being pristine, with dense trees, which are mostly coconut trees and a vast array of natural birds and other animals that inhabit this area of the world. The air is pure and fresh with a sky that is clear without pollution or other such chemicals.

The ashram has multiple huge areas that provide filtered drinking water and all of the food is made fresh each day. The thing I love about the food is that there is an abundance of tree ripened local fruit that can be purchased for a very reasonable fee. In addition, there is a coconut stall where freshly picked coconuts can be consumed via drinking the fresh raw coconut water, then eating the inner flesh. I enjoy being able to consume several coconuts per day, in addition to making a hydration water with filtered water, several fresh limes (they are very small), some raw wild honey, and himalayan sea salt. Due to the heat and how much one is prone to perspire, as a Westerner its extremely important to consume both the fresh coconut water and the hydration water.

I have discussed in the last few blogs how my husband and I have come to arrive at Amritapuri, thus I will not reiterate the subject. Currently, it has been a little over two months since we first arrived on September 7, 2013 for an initial stay to 6 months. Of course, in the beginning of our stay we were bombarded by several challenges. Since we were originally placed in a very old building, our room was very sparse and basic, to say the least. Not to mention, all the water has traces of iron oxide, due to the aging pipes, in conjunction with the nature of the climate here. Thus, to wash all of the whites that are worn in the ashram, one must use a water filter and be very careful when doing laundry. There is a laundry service, yet for two people the cost is extremely expensive when one choses to stay long term, costing more than what it would cost to do laundry in the West in a laundromat.

Therefore, each day or every second day we do our laundry by hand, then walk up to the roof to hang the laundry. At this point, it feels very natural and does not feel like a lot of work. However, when we arrived it was still monsoon season with almost constant rain. As the ashram is located very near the beach, all the ground is made up of red sand, which when you get it on the bottoms of your pants or skirts, it is extremely difficult to wash out. The solution, is some super strong India bleach, which I never used previously in life, yet here a little is necessary to keep everything clean. Another factor was the mosquitoes, since our initial room was very basic and did not have netting over the windows. Hence, we put a net on the window to keep the birds out, yet the mosquitoes could easily come in. Thus, waking up at 2am to spray natural repellant on is not fun, especially when the morning wake up bell sounds at 4am and Archana (chanting of the 108 names of the Divine Mother and the 1000 names of the Sri Lalita Sahasranamavali) begins around 4:45am for men and 5am for woman. As this is an ashram, these are held at two separate locations.

When we arrived it was at a historically all time high for the amount of people staying here, due to Amma’s 60th birthday event. There were people from all over the world here, in addition to around half a million people on the birthday itself, which was held offsite. Therefore, it took around a month to feel grounded and adapt to this place after figuring out what foods to eat, hydration water, when to avoid going outside for too long, and also doing a daily Seva. Seva is volunteer work that contributes to the functioning of the ashram, everyone staying here must participate in something. My husband and I did several Seva’s in the beginning that were in the afternoon, which was extremely hot and we could barely survive working during that time of day. Later we got an opportunity to do an early morning Seva, while its still cool enough. The afternoon heat and the feeling of having a high level of humidity in the air creates the feeling of perspiring constantly, thus it has taken me awhile to get used to this type of humid climate.

Just before Amma left in early October, friends of our allowed us to stay in their very nice flat. It was just before Amma left for the Europe tour that we finally felt settled in and were able to take in the amazing splendor of the ashram and the beautiful environment. To be here with Amma is something that defies words, as its magical, despite the numerous crowds and the various cultural nuances that are diametrically opposite to our Western standards of personal conduct and politeness. In this part of India, people are extremely physically pushy and will not hesitate to bud in front of you in any line, or push you out of the way. It was initially challenging, yet now that I recognize this factor I stand my ground and make sure the person waits their turn.

Now, our daily lives are steeped in a daily routine, of waking up at 4am almost everyday, of course we have slept to 6:30am. Yet sleeping in only by two additional hours leaves us feeling the drowsiness of having over slept. In addition, the notion of time is very different here, its as though one day lasts forever; its endless and the amount one can get done seems infinite. Since its an ashram there is a structure to each day, with various events that are set up for everyone to attend and participate. We do have some free time, which we use to relax in our room, go to the beach to gaze out over the Arabian sea, or to meditate. The room that we are currently staying in, is on the 10th floor giving us the most beautiful view of the ocean. In addition, the sound of the waves crashing along the shore is a familiar sound that I hear whenever I am in the room, like right now. I have always felt an extremely strong connection to the beautiful ocean, therefore to have an entire wall view of it, as well as listen to the rhythmic melody of her rolling waves, is so sublime. 

After Amma left the beginning of October, both my husband and I started to experience this extremely expansive joy and gratitude to be here. We both have this extremely strong feeling that we have always been here, doing these things in perfect harmony; like our lives have been going on for an eternity.

Being here, feels like being at home which is a feeling that both my husband and I have never experienced before. Amritapuri is not like being on a magical holiday, yet a place where a lot of discipline and work is required to move towards the goal of deepening one’s inner awareness and to inevitable realize our true nature. Thus, with this perspective in mind we are enjoying each new day with a beautiful graciousness of fully enjoying our precious time here.

For more info on Amma or Amritapuri go to:

http://www.amma.org

http://www.amritapuri.com

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2013