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Showing posts from March, 2009

Reiki Dance

I am so full from three days of doing spiritual practice with a group of 20 wonderful souls - for eight hours a day - and from being in the presence of my Reiki teacher for that time as well...

I cannot begin to describe the experience, but will include a poem I wrote about the weekend.

The Reiki that Frans Stiene, my Reiki teacher shares, is Japanese and Buddhist in origin, and very different from our Western forms and understandings of Reiki. It is all about spiritual practice and self development - and going into that space of Oneness.

As Frans reminded us:

"Spiritual practice is about connecting to your essence,
which is a river of energy.
Awakening never ends.
There are layers and layers of awakening."

Taking the Shinpiden class the first time will radically change the way you think about Reiki. If you already have a spiritual practice, it will make more sense and deepen it. But practicing for a year will radically transform your life. You will be taken deeper within, in a way …

Riding the Waves of Grace

My heart is full...

I end one week - and step into a new one - riding the waves and currents of grace...

I have a deep longing to go to the river - so desiring to be one with the water - but in my depths I know I always carry the river in my heart...

I cannot begin to enumerate or share the many blessings received this week - but they are treasures I ponder in my heart...

So many sacred moments, in meditations, initiations, deep practice, and connecting deeply with another precious soul, a magnificent yogini, visiting from out of town, as we marvel at our budding relationship...

I am blessed to spend three days with my Reiki teacher once again - to be in his presence and energy - and to be led more deeply into practice and into my heart and soul...

I cannot describe the many experiences of bliss, and of stepping into the heart and center of the cosmos, pulsating with the Divine...

Everything is happening as it should, and I am exactly where I need to be...

I still carry this empty place withi…

Back on the Water

As I ran some errands this afternoon, I spontaneously decided to go "eye-ball" the river. It was warm and inviting, and the next few days were going to be busy for me.

Noticing that the water was still and calm, I headed back home to get Grace and place her on the water. It felt absolutely euphoric to push away from the landing with the first few strokes and be free on the water once again.

In a few weeks, the trees will be covered with leaves once again, and the broad expanse of the river will no longer be visible in the same way.

For the first time in months, I paddled all the way to that favorite spot of mine between two islands and two states.

A motor boat went by and created some waves that tossed Grace about, and it took a while for them to subside. Then I was passed by a group of men whose conversation I could not help but overhear. They were discussing how many euros a prostitute cost and where to find them. That was NOT what I wanted to hear! As a good friend of mine of…

We are Born of Divine Consciousness

I continue to enjoy reviewing my notes from Paul Muller-Ortega's presentation this weekend...

"You are a walking temple of the Divine...

The body is the place where the Divine manifested as Lord Siva, recognizes himself after losing himself. How did we arrive at our present set of circumstances? Is it because of sin? No - there is a huge vastness of infinite possibilities that seeks to express itself. Siva imposes on himself forgetfulness.

Siva says to himself: May I forget that I am infinitely capable - and therefore permit the arising of the rainbow dance of existence. In that forgetfulness - each of the waves of our individual consciousness arises. We are the product of that forgetfulness which is an act of the will. Every possible form of existence arises in that forgetfulness - including unimaginable sentient beings in other universes.

Why are we here? There is a great purpose to our lives, but it is shrouded in mystery. Why did my individual life wave arise? We must uncover…

You are a Wave on the Ocean of Consciousness

I continue to read, re-read, imbibe, and immerse myself in the notes from last weekend's workshop with Paul Muller-Ortega. So many gems that touched my heart deeply. I will share some of my notes...

"You are a wave on the ocean of consciousness. A wave is a movement of energy or life force - it is the arising of the universality into a particular expression. You come from parents - and you have bodies that are not only physical, but subtle, and transcendental as well.

Life teaches many life lessons. What is our true home? There is a nostalgia we have for lost paradise. This is an intricate feeling in the heart. It is both sweet and sour. We are wanting to remember a place, time, and person that has been left behind.

We are currently in the midst of a planetary awakening - and just like in our lives - changes are occurring and an awakening is happening. Everything on the outside of our lives is going to change - sometimes it does so slowly - but sometimes it does dramatically. Ho…

You are in the Heart - and the Heart is in You.

I have not been able to write for a few days due to a flurry of activities, and the next few days will be equally busy...

I had the amazing gift and opportunity to take a workshop with Paul Muller-Ortega this weekend. He is an internationally known Siva and Sanskrit scholar. This was my third opportunity to imbibe from his wisdom, and I am looking forward to spending a week with him in Denver, and continuing to study the Siva Sutras ingreater depth.

At the end of the second day, Paul said this to us:

"You are in the heart - and the heart is in you."

This is the essence of the Tantric teachings. And yet all spiritual paths talk about the heart and it's place in one's spirituality.

As one raised Catholic, I am very comfortable with such images and devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus - something that was often very mysterious to Christian friends of other traditions. As a theologian, I immersed myself in the Patristic writings and Desert Mysticism of the early Church - d…

Setting Your Heart on Fire II

And here are the remaining invitations described in Setting Your Heart on Fire: Seven Invitations to Liberate Your Life, by Raphael Cushnir:

The Fifth Invitation: Live Like You're Dreaming

In the FifthInvitation, love calls you to awaken
to the power of your unconscious.
This power leads you to new depths
of personal insight, and infuses your life
with possibility and wonder.

"In dreams and in love
there are no responsibilities."
- Janos Arany

"There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as if everything is."
- Albert Einstein

The Sixth Invitation: Love Like You're Dancing

In the Sixth Invitation, love calls you
to transform all your relationships into a dance
of self-discovery. When dancing together
in unison, through every step and stumble,
each partner reveals the other.

"Dance when you're broken open.
Dance if you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance when you&#…

Setting Your Heart on Fire

Today is the first day of spring, and it is still feeling more like winter, even though the skies have been bright and sunny.

As we prepare for spring, many of us engage in cleaning or making pertinent changes in our lives. The following comes from a book titled, Setting Your Heart on Fire: Seven Invitations to Liberate Your Life, by Raphael Cushnir, a book that was recommended to me by a friend and mentor last summer.

The book begins with this Invocation:

Love, speak to me
Render me willing
Receptive
Humble enough to hear your words
Strong enough to live your light
To meet your gaze in all things
To bless them, join them,
In your sacred heart of hearts

The First Invitation: Feel Everything

In the First Invitation, love calls you to experience
your emotions fully. To do so requires learning
when and why you deny them, and developing
the capacity for reconnection.

"Sometimes we kill our heart
in order not to feel."
- Tennessee Williams

"The master gives himself up to
whatever the moment bri…

Light a Fire in Your Soul

Recently, I received Jamie Allison's newsletter, which is always very inspirational. Jamie is an Anusara Yoga certified teacher, and a wonderful one at that. The following excerpts come from her newsletter:

"I hope this day delights your heart, inspires your imagination and lights a fire in your soul! A pretty tall order, but what if every day was just like that? I, for one, would be thrilled. I think we all recognize that this kind of enthusiasm doesn't just happen. We have to work at it if we want it.

Paradoxically, joy is our birthright. It is, in fact, the very ground of Being from which we have arisen. Why, then, is it so hard to sustain this joy? We need contrast to revel in the brilliant moments and to truly appreciate the sacredness of this life. We are a part of a very clearly defined mission. The Sacred Supreme is seeking to know Herself. She is eternally Blissful, Perfect and Full, Purnatva. In the realm of the Absolute there is no contrast. She needs us to know …

Cave in the Snow II

Yesterday, I wrote about Tenzin Palmo, and her experience meditating in a cave in the Himalayas for 12 years of her life. When it came time for her to leave, she traveled to a number of places in the West to lecture on Buddhism and meditation - though she discloses very little about her own personal experiences.

Here is a passage that spoke to me, because it is similar to something I constantly come across in the writings of Paramahansa Yogananda and other sages and Eastern scriptures:

"There is the thought [we have], and then there is the knowing of the thought. And the difference between being aware of the thought and just thinking is immense. It's enormous...Normally we are so identified with our thoughts and emotions, that we are them. We are the happiness, we are the anger, we are the fear. We have to learn to step back and know our thoughts and emotions are just thoughts and emotions. They're just mental states. They're not solid, they're transparent. One has…

Cave in the Snow

I have been able to get a lot of reading in of late, and a couple of nights ago I finished the book, Cave in the Snow - A Western Woman's Quest for Enlightenment, by Vicki Mackenzie. It documents the story of Tenzin Palmo, an Englishwoman who was the first Western woman to be ordained a Buddhist nun. She spent 12 years in a cave meditating, 3 of them without any human contact whatsoever.

This is a book I had been meaning to read for years, and I literally shuffled it from one room of the house to another. Finally, I passed by it last week, and it caught my eye. I picked it up, and couldn't put it down. There is a right time for everything, and since I have spent so much time in meditation and some isolation these last two years, it spoke to me.

After meeting Tenzin Palmo on a retreat, the author, Vicki Mackenzie, asks if she can write her story. Though Tenzin is initially reluctant, she allows it, describing her life in the following manner:

"My life has been like a river, i…

Endings and Beginnings III

I find myself contemplating endings and beginnings... For the last couple of days, my reflections have focused on this topic.

Last night, before going to bed, having finished one book, and looking for another, I picked up one I had read some time back, when its contents did not harbor the same meaning it now does. The book I took from my bookshelf is titled Sacred Threshold - Crossing the Inner Barrier to a Deeper Love, and it was written by Paula D'Arcy, who embodied and endured her own share of endings and beginnings, in a very brutal way.

I opened the book and read this quote by Ethel Person, a celebrated psychoanalyst:

"Something does not have to end well
for it to have been
one of the most valuable experiences
of a lifetime."

I had never considered that. Instead, I always sought some tidy resolution to events or endings in my own life - especially regarding relationships, as unrealistic as that may be. More often than not, things do not end well. Then it came to me, that a…

Robin in the Snow

I come home from teaching two classes, and notice that a former student of mine, now a disk jockey in Minnesota, is on duty. I stream the live feed from the Internet, and listen to this song, that touches so many parts inside of me...

Spring is trying to peak through, days that tease us with warmth, juxtaposed with days of cold and biting wind, and I think of the three robins I saw earlier this week, dancing in my backyard...

Robin in the Snow

I saw a robin flying in the snow
fluttering low.
Isn't it the season, how could he not know?
It's much too cold

I sawa robin captive to the wind
Time, running thin.
I said, "Dear robin, what a state you're in.
You can't get out again."

And just like that
Simple as the sight of feathered wings
The robin was gone
And only I saw this bird of spring
Sing one very last winter song.

And who will miss you when you're gone?
Who will miss you when you're gone?
I will miss you if you go away.
Please don't leave me here.

Candles burned ou…

Inner Guidance

As I meditated this morning, the thought came to me, that when we are connected to Divine Will, we plug into a source of wisdom, which serves as our inner guidance. The more we are connected, the more this guidance serves us.

In the Bhagavad Gita, there are 4 paths to God: The Yoga of Wisdom, of Devotion, of Action, and Meditation. Each one is unique and important in its own right.

There is much that we can do to cultivate this inner wisdom or guidance, but the most important thing we can do is to give ourselves the time to rest in God in the practice of meditation. The more we sit, and dedicate our time to this path, the less we tend to err or avoid opportunities where we are misguided or ruled by human will rather than Divine Will.

Paramahansa Yogananda, in the spiritual reading for the day, notes that the more we are attuned to Divine Will, the more we avoid instances of misery.

Several times in the last couple of weeks, wisdom has been cited to me as an important attribute to cultiva…

Forgiving the Unforgivable

Recently, I finished reading the book - Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, by Immaculee Ilibagiza, whose whole family, except for one brother, was brutally murdered during three months of genocide in Rwanda. She survived by being hidden, along with 6 other women, in a very small bathroom in the house of a pastor, where none could truly sit or lie down. She went in weighing 115 lbs., and came out weighing 65 lbs.

The people who murdered her family and tried so unsuccessfully to hunt her down, were life long friends and neighbors she had grown up with. Even her childhood friends turned their backs on her because she did not belong to the right tribe. One of her brothers was hacked to death by friends, because other friends disclosed his whereabouts.

Even in the midst of this, Immaculee survives and does what is almost unimaginable - she forgives the unforgivable.

I thought of this, as I rode to my yoga class today. Like Immaculee, I could not understand how people …

Numerology

Numbers are significant. And the last few weeks I have been seeing a pattern of various kinds of repetitions...

Lately, I have seen a lot of 444's and 888's...

Recently, I came across a newsletter that indicated that seeing a lot of 444's had to do with setting foundations. I liked that. So, I started to think that what I am doing right now is setting foundations for what is to come in my life.

And 888 - has to do with abundance. I liked that even better!

Yesterday, throughout the course of my day - the repetition of several numbers just jumped at me.

As I had breakfast with a friend yesterday, I told her how in the morning I had noticed that I had made a total of 444 blog entries since I began writing. When I picked up the bill, the amount came to: $22.22.

My odometer recently has been sporting all kinds of 888's in various configurations.

When I came home - I had one phone call on my recorder left at 11:11 AM.

Last night I sent off an email to a friend telling her about all …

Basking in the Afterglow of Mahasamadhi Blessings

It is a day of many blessings...

I go into altered space and time, and receive sacred messages and special gifts, from the beyond, through the grace of a dearly beloved intuitive...

Everything looks surreal - and ethereal - I am in a place that is here - but not here - and there is a deep knowing in the affirmations given and received...

These messages are meant to be pondered and meditated on, for they will continue to unfold in ways I can hardly begin to surmise...

Gifts exchanged, writings - and insights conveyed - reminiscent of the gifts shared between Mary and Elizabeth...

Clarity is given, and a perspective is gained - which could not have occurred in this way - even a few weeks ago...

I have concluded two days of Mahasamdhis, and today is the Full Moon...My last meeting with this gifted friend was on the Full Moon in November, which was also my birthday - a day I stepped into the river - and into my soul's transition even more deeply...

I have no sense of the passage of time and …

Mahasamadhi Blessings II

Today is the Mahasamadhi of Sri Yukteswar, who is Paramahansa Yogananda's guru, and I recall the incredible opportunity I had to meditate with other devotees a year ago, on this day. It was a day in which I was showered with many blessings...

This day also holds other memories for me, of a surgery that occurred four years ago on this day, and of a relationship that began to deepen in tandem...

The day is beautiful - sunny and breezy, and I began it at dawn by meditating, and reading a couple of my favorite passages where Yogananda quotes his guru's sayings to him. They warm my heart and soul every time I read them:

"I will be your friend from now to Eternity,
no matter whether you are on the lowest mental plane
or on the highest plane of wisdom.

I will be your friend even if you should err,
for then you will need my friendship
even more than at any other time."

"Grieve not for me...
You and I shall smile together,
so long as our two forms
appear different in the maya-dream…

Mahasamadhi Blessings

I intend to wake up in the middle of the night to meditate, in celebration of Paramahansa Yogananda's Mahasamadhi, commemorating his conscious exit from the body, which very enlightened yogis and masters are able to do...

But I sleep better than I have in a long time, so I cannot be roused. Instead, I awaken in the early morning, and meditate in that sacred time when the night yields its spirit into the new dawn...

I hear birds in the background as the sun rises, and I sit for longer than I have in a long time...

This is a time for the bestowal of special blessings, so I lay my requests at the feet of God and guru, reflecting on these words of Yogananda:

"The friendship that exists between guru
and the disciple is eternal.
There is complete surrender,
there is no compulsion,
when a disciple accepts
the guru's training."

"My body shall pass
but my work shall go on.
And my spirit shall live on.
Even when I am taken away
I shall work with you
for the deliverance of the world
wit…

An Anticipation of Spring

The day dawns beautifully and magnificently, and I drive, for the first time in months, to meet friends I worked with a decade ago, with my window down...

I breathe in the wonderful air bursting with prana - the very life force of God, its freshness, heralding the anticipation of spring...

I enjoy shared laughter over a fine meal, and re-connect with vibrant spirits I have not seen in a while, remembering the fun we have had in the past...

I come home, and go on a wonderful walk, the sun shining not only in my body, but in my heart, as I register, not only the anticipation of the coming spring, but the celebration tomorrow, of Paramahansa Yogananda's Mahasamadhi. I look forward to meditating on the anniversary of his transition...

In one week, we have gone from receiving several inches of snow, to having a teaser of the coming season. March comes in like a lion - will it leave like a lamb?

The snow is mostly gone, but there are little puddles of it here and there. I reverently bend dow…

The River, Music, and Shri

Haunting melodies of a liturgical nature, written by Arvo Part, an Estonian, fill my senses, as the sun goes down, on what has been an exquisite day, filled with blissful meditation, a joyful class, and re-connecting with friends...

I begin my walk with "Salve Reginas, " and am transported to sacred time and space by music that is evocative of Byzantine chants, composed in minor keys, dissonance rendered harmonious at times, so captivating, and I lament that I can no longer sight read music, or indeed, read it at all...

I visit the river in the early afternoon, and watch two kayakers launch, with barely any ice visibly clinging to the river banks. I look on longingly, and know that soon, the river and I will enter more profoundly into our dance and dialogue, and in its waters I will unravel more lessons, that now simply await patiently...

I am grateful for my new teacher, and realize that for the first time, in a year and half, I am blossoming in her class, as my body feels bet…

Inspirations II

As I organized piles of papers today, in a lame attempt at some preliminary spring cleaning, I came across these various quotes that I had been saving...

"If each of us sweeps
in front of our own steps,
the whole world would be clean."
- Goethe

"It is by failure that a lover
stays aware of how they've loved.
Failure is the key
to the kingdom within."
- Rumi

"Work is not always required.
There is such a thing
as sacred idleness,
the cultivation of which
is now fearfully neglected."
- George McDonald

"Rest is not idleness,
and to lie sometimes
on the grass on a summer day
listening to the murmur of water,
or watching the clouds float
across the sky,
is hardly a waste of time."
- Sir J. Lubbock

The River in Bliss

I stop by to visit the river on my way home from a wonderful session of meditation and healing to see it blanketed in snow...

Parts of the river have frozen again along its banks, and the currents are strong, and lapping very confidently and exuberantly at it banks...It is hard to believe that only a week ago, Grace and I, were paddling in the river...

I re-visit so many blessings experienced on so many levels and insights received through many means - meditation, and through the generous gifts of others...

I breathe in the crisp cold air, and it fills my lungs with prana - the very life force of God, and I think how very lucky I am to be alive in this moment. Despite all the difficulties experienced in the last year or so, I know they are like mere drops of water in this river, flowing downstream, and that all in all, what has been asked of me is so very little...

I think of Paramahansa Yogananda's teachings on resurrection, and know that on several levels, in this liturgical season,…

The Rose Garden of Love

On the first day of this month, into the second day, we are blanketed with the first true snow fall of the season, its beauty and purity captivates my heart, taking my breath away...

As one season wanes and prepares to give birth to another, joyously dancing arm in arm with the liturgical season we have just commenced, both culminating in re-birth and resurrection, I think of Rumi, and what Andrew Harvey once wrote about him:

"He know everything about love...
all the suffering,
all the ecstasy,
all the beauty."

I sit with a warm cup of coffee with sunlight now streaming in and warming my soul, and I savor verses from Rumi, feeling that he is a kindred soul to my own experiences of suffering, now evaporating into more moments and periods of ecstasy and beauty:

"In the driest
whitest stretch
of pain's
infinite desert
I lost my sanity
and found this rose..."

"It is the time of resurrection,
the time of eternity.
It is the time of generosity,
the sea of lavish splendor.
The t…

Awareness, Aligning, and Opening

I received the following newsletter, from "Jewels of the Lotus," and wish to share some of its insights, because it echoes much of what I have been receiving:
"This month is all about the heart. Opening to the waves of divine LOVE that are flowing through the universe right now, it is time to remind yourself to tap into this flow. It can be easy to fall back into the old ways, and to go into default mode - as we have lived that way for so long. It is important to stay vigilant about how you feel in any given moment.

With the two eclipses, specific planetary alignments, shifting consciousness, a new surge of hope, a new president and countless other factors - what's an ordinary human to do? There is no question now that we are in the midst of radical changes. We are feeling them on an individual level, in community and on a universal scale. Humanity is riding the wave of change and our task is to be aware. Even when life gets intense, the best we can do for ourselves i…