The Numinous

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“Numinous /ˈnjuːmᵻnəs/ is an English adjective, derived from the Latin numen, meaning “arousing spiritual or religious emotion; mysterious or awe-inspiring”.”[1]

“Real love exists in the heart. The love that exists in the Heart cannot be spoken; it cannot be put in words. The heart is not the place for words. Words are in the intellect. The intellect can speak, but it is nothing more than a tape recorder. It records and spits out words and words and words – words that don’t have any feeling in them. The intellect cannot feel compassion; it cannot feel love or kindness.” Amma

As a spiritual aspirant, how can one even broach this abstract topic with mere words. I am capable of writing on many holistic topics, however it is the essence of spirituality and human transformation that captivate me, leaving me in deep water. Thus, I am at an impasse, trying to construct and galvanize something that in practicality, can not be caught and trapped by the finite demarcations of human language.

I will attempt to discuss the relationship of the devotee with their divine aspirations. Hence, the idea of the Numinous; the divine love that we all seek at some level, which is the unification with our own true sense of Self.

This experience is not something that one can even talk about. I rarely write or speak of my own deep personal connection to the Divine. However, I felt drawn to write this, due to a misconstrued sense of egoism I witnessed recently. The Numinous is not about hierarchy, popularity, power, or recognition for who we are, in the eyes of others.

“Lift the veil that obscures the heart, and there you will find what you are looking for.” Kabir

This relationship is so subtle, so personal and delicately intimate. The only similarity may be between lovers who are experiencing a higher expression of human love, not sensually based. The feeling of such a deep opening in your heart that you can not breath, you can not even speak of it, for it has possessed your soul. You are exhilarated, yet the subtle dance is only between you and your Beloved. There is no possible mechanism to translate this sublime love into any words that exist, for the feeling is one of being completely consumed. The dance of love, is so delicate and awe inspiring, it feels so deeply personal that to speak of such a precious thing would reduce its true essence to something of the worldly domain; losing all intrinsic value.

“What is the root of all these words? One thing: Love. But a love so deep and sweet it needed to express itself with scents, sounds, colours that never before existed.”  Hafiz

To engage at this level with the Divine; to taste the Numinous, is a delicate art that only very prolific poets may have half a hope of conveying, such as Rumi, Hafiz, and Kabir. The likes of, I used to literally have a stack of their books, which I would constantly be reading. Then life took me away from such things, down a different path, away from the essence of my heart.

“In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.” Rumi

It has taken a long time to return to this sacred place, to find my way back to who I am and honour my own unique sense of expression in this world. Poetry is the essence of true expression for such an experience, as other such writing and words do not suffice.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi

True love and contact with the Numinous is not something anyone would yell off the roof top. Instead,  one turns inward and can only be absorbed into the abstract experience.

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The Power of Nature

“Trees are the Earths endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.” Rabindranath Tagore

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Many love to be in nature and to experience the tranquil beauty and vibrance of lush green, as far as the eye can see. To experience the silence that comes, as you venture deeper into a wild forest or higher up a mountain terrain. In my life I have loved to experience this profound connection with the natural world, through sitting in nature or hiking along a mountain side. The power of nature is beyond our cognitive ability to conceptualize, we may visually enjoy what is before our eyes, yet can we feel the energy of all of the living species that create the landscape. I want to convey my experiences of being in nature, an experience that I often seek out, on a regular basis as it functions to restore my equilibrium better than anything else that I have ever found.

I grew up in a rural, extremely wild area of the world, in rugged untouched wilderness. My parents gave us a sense of freedom, that is almost not heard of in this day and age. We could roam through the endless forest, as we learned from a very young age where and how far to go. My earliest memories are being in nature. I felt this deep connection with the trees, animals and the natural world, in general. To such a degree that I could actually feel the tranquility of being in nature. Throughout my entire life, I was very attracted to very large trees, these special trees are what I think of as ‘fairy trees’, a term I learned while living in the U.K. These trees are special, often with other plants growing on or around them. They are often perched on a hill of sorts, created by the massive tangle of their roots. These trees are considered Mother Trees, from an ecological and biological perspetcive, where they literally repopulate the surrounding forest and their roots are an interwoven connection of communication and nutrient delivery system, that enables all the surrounding trees to thrive.

Throughout my life, I would always seek out one of these mother trees to go to, where I would sit and be alone. Even while I lived in various countries throughout the world, I would always seek out a very large tree to find some solace beneath. Its common knowledge that all of nature creates a frequency of energy, yet large trees have a very powerful energy.

I remember one time I was sitting in this massive tree in Totness England, and a small rabbit came out of the surrounding forest to sit near me. Interestingly, while quietly sitting within the folds of the natural world I have had numerous such experiences. One of the most significant experiences of enjoying the peace of nature and being visited by an animal occurred when I was in my early 20s, while I was in North India in the Himalayan mountains, in the late 1990’s. I had a great Golden Eagle, with a wingspan over 5 feet, come rest very near me. The eagle flew beside me, only a few feet, stayed for a very long time, watching me as I sat quietly. Then, he gracefully leaned out from the high perch of a rock, extended his massive wingspan and flew off. I was told many years later, by a practicing Shaman that eagle is my totem animal. Ironically, I see eagles very often in my life.

Another time, I was running in the forest behind my families property. I noticed a black shape running beside me, when I looked it was a black bear. She was running beside me for a distance. Then, the two dogs I was running with chased her up a tree.  Many years later, when I was studying Anthropology at University, one of my profs did her PhD on Shamanism, and she said that those who had the inclination to be Shamans in the society, were chosen by nature via having an animal come up to them, in an unusual way. This was an interesting point of reference, as for my entire life I have been deeply passionate about holistic healing, thus this did not surprise me.

However, given this knowledge I have had no desire to study what is modern day Shamanism, for it’s not my path in life. I prefer to just be conscious of the energy of nature. Thus, when the world of activity and the frenetic energy of human life becomes too much, I retreat into the natural world to find a sense of peace and equilibrium.

There is no experience more profound than the silence of nature, where you are receptive to the silence and the life giving vibrance that nature has to offer. If you are feeling stagnant, exhausted or depressed, take some time to walk by the ocean, through a beautiful park and be present with what surrounds you. To behold nature as a living entity gives you the ability to tap into the energetic frequency that is emitted from each plant and tree. In this space, there exists a quiet magic that only those who are able to be still enough may experience, leaving you with a deep feeling of peace, silence and joy.

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.

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Stepping Out From The Shadow

“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” The Dalai Lama

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I was fortunate to be part of the audience for a live interview with my spiritual teacher, Sri Mata Amritananda Mayi Devi, widely known as ‘Amma’ meaning ‘Mother’. The interview was held at Stanford University by Dr. Doty on Conversations on Compassion that took place the beginning of last July 2014. Dr. Doty has interview other great spiritual leaders, such as The Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Desmond Tutu, and many others. Amma, said that it does not matter how long you spend with the Master; it depends on how great your desire is to be free and make the effort, like the baby chicken who pecks their way out of the egg. She said the true Guru is your experiences in life, these teach you the most, if you are willing to learn.

Most of us, myself included live life, or have lived life based on numerous preconceived notions about our identity: social and family positionally; our monetary social status; how well we are liked in our friend and cohort groups; and our acquisition of material gain. Thus, all of us are constantly attempting to live a life that has some meaning, contentment, and joy. Inevitably, we are prisoners of our self imposing conceptions that we use to negotiate our identity and identify ourselves in reference to our external social landscape. We live with a sense of reality that is predominantly covered by shadows, all of which are our own creation and perception. We live our lives in such a way, where we choose to stay trapped in a self created cage within our minds, often closing our heart and emotions to the large scope of reality. In this way, we find the path of limitation a safe and secure place to walk; rather than finding the courage within to confront the wilderness of the unknown. However, through our desperation to find and live a life of authenticity and security, we find ourselves beneath a sky of grey clouds, for we can never evolve into our highest potential or into our true identity by living a life constantly measured by infinite self imposed limitations.

I am sure most people can relate, to some degree with what I am discussing, as we have all experienced some component of this phenomena within our lives. Where we felt very frustrated and confined; unable to break free, even though we are aware enough to isolate the real issue that is constricting us. The truth is that the freedom and answers that we seek can only be found within ourselves, for we always know which direction we need to pursue. Regardless of when we arrive at this consciousness, of being trapped by something, we can then find a means of moving beyond whatever it may be. I strongly believe and have experienced that once we are aware of all the places within ourselves, where we allow ourselves to be small and limited, with enough determination and effort we can break free eventually of even the most painful feelings of limitation. With enough focus, dedication, and practice everything in our lives will change, our bodies, our minds, and even the negative tendencies that we are so attached to.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi

Once we open the doors to our limitation and leap out of the self imposing cage, who do we then become. The answer is that the more we let go of everything that once burdened or limited us, we realize that we are a unique expression of the universe, similar to everyone else. Yet, each of us are as diverse and unique as the pattern of each snowflake, we are all falling together in our own authenticity, beauty, and interconnected senses of being. There is a realization that life will most likely bring us numerous challenges that we must face, yet we have the strength and resilience to go through all of them. It was said by a saint, that each and every challenge and difficulty that we must confront in our lives, is meant only for us, as we have the innate capacity and inner strength to transcend whatever it may be. Thus, we should never compare ourselves to anyone else, especially when it comes to the various challenges that all of us have to inevitable face in our lives, at some point or another.

In essence, regardless of where we find ourselves in this moment, we always have the choice to find contentment and be grateful for what we have. Even in the darkest moments of life, there are still shards of beautiful light that are all around us, it is within our own consciousness to choose to perceive the beauty and delicate frailty of life. To inevitable be free of our own limitations, we must know that we always have a choice; a choice to perceive ourselves, our lives, and our social landscape in a language that brings us to a higher level of our own innate potential, that we all embody.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2014

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

Finding The Sacred Through Tea

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.” Thich Nhat Hanh 

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Finding a serene moment to enjoy a delectable cup of tea is the mantra of my life, through mindfully enjoying the experience in all its nuances, delights, and contemplative intrigues; that naturally follow such a ritual of consumption. 

I purchase most of my tea from a local company, O5  Tea that sources all of their product directly from very small organic farmers, mostly in Korea. The owner of the business travels to each farm and has a personal relationship with the farmers, honoring them and the tea that they produce. One of my favourites from O5 Tea is a white tea called, White Moonlight which has a taste experience of, “nose of wild orchid and apricot, notes of berries, honey clover sensation on the palate”. 

The following quote from Thich Nhat Hanh, summarizes my own personal experience of enjoying a cup of tea, through transforming an often unconscious experience into something very sacred that allows one to be in the present moment, even if just for a few minutes.

“You must be completely awake in the present to enjoy the tea.

 Only in the awareness of the present, can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup.

 Only in the present, can you savor the aroma, taste the sweetness, appreciate the delicacy.

 If you are ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future, you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of tea.

 You will look down at the cup, and the tea will be gone.

 Life is like that.

 If you are not fully present, you will look around and it will be gone.

 You will have missed the feel, the aroma, the delicacy and beauty of life.

 It will seem to be speeding past you. The past is finished.

 Learn from it and let it go.

 The future is not even here yet. Plan for it, but do not waste your time worrying about it.

 Worrying is worthless.”

© All Rights Reserved 2013