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Come meander with me on the pathless path of the Heart
in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of Life...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mary Oliver - "The Journey"


One day you finally knew
what you had to do,
and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice…
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible
it was already late enough,
and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.

But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do…
determined to save
the only life you could save…

Mary Oliver



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Family Shadow...


There is a huge family shadow that engulfs my family.  Some know it as “the elephant in the room.”  We dance around this shadow elephant, not wanting to make it angry, by confronting it with its dysfunction, and how it has impacted the family. We walk on eggshells so as not to disturb the elephant.  But Saturday night “the elephant” reared its head and spoke about her shadow – her life story of pain, struggle and suffering.  Of course, we knew most of it already, because we have been a silent partner to it all her life, but the shadow elephant needed to speak about her darkness – to tell us what she thought we didn’t know.  More to relieve herself from her pain, than for us, and for the shock value I think.  But it didn’t shock. We have heard and witnessed most of the story before.  Because I have done this dance with the elephant for so long and seen how the elephant *likes* her story, to wallow in the graphic details of her drug addictions, her pain, abuse, and her blame for those she deems at fault, and for some reason is unwilling to be open to healing, to take action on her own behalf, to participate in any help that has been offered – I felt nothing…  Which surprised me actually…  This may sound unkind, I know, to those of you who have not lived with a family elephant in the room.  I would have liked to have conjured up a deep well of compassion – but I couldn’t. 

And I’ve been thrashing about it ever since; about my lack of compassion, and the anger that arose.  I wrestle with the difference between compassion, co-dependency and enabling. Not to make this about me, but there are things to be seen in the telling.  And I’m needing a change of perspective…  I’m having to learn, once again, to see differently,  learning to accept what is, to try to see the elephant for who she really is behind the shadow, knowing that the broken elephant doesn’t *want* to be fixed, and be okay with that.

It has been enlightening to watch my reaction unfold, acutely seeing how the mind does not want to embrace what is.  Mind wants life, and other people to change, to be a certain way, to stop being the dysfunctional people they are, at least my mind does.  And mind wants life to conform to the image of what mind thinks *should* be, a recipe for struggling and suffering as I discovered – for all of us.  I saw this clearly in the shadow elephant, and in myself.  The shadow elephant in a sense has become my guru, to show me where I am still in darkness, struggling with the shadow of myself, and my mind.  I started questioning my “spiritual path” and wondered, despite any “awakening” that has occurred, what’s really real...  Wondering if I am deluding myself and still swimming in a sea of unconscious blindness – caught in the family shadow.  I certainly can’t claim full “awakening”, only glimpses that have faded over time as the veils of my own shadow self surround me again, not allowing me to see clearly.

So instead of meeting the elephant from a place of inner Beingness, from Love, I became agitated, frustrated and angry – internally, not expressed - which took several days to unwind.  I became part of the shadow dance, and it triggered those shadow aspects in myself.  I was disappointed in myself that I couldn’t access innate wisdom, that I couldn’t step back into my True Nature.  I couldn’t tap into the reserves of compassion, but felt numbness as her drunken dumping flooded the room for two hours.  There was too much emotional baggage with the family shadows to be of any real “help” – although there were offerings of insight and support.  They were met with blank stares, and “yes, but...”  My husband seemed to be able to break through at times, beyond the glazed-over eyes.  But she kept going back into her story, as if to validate and perpetuate her trauma.  I was silently incredulous at the psychology of this…

I realized that the anger I experienced has to do with feeling out of control and not knowing what to do.  It has to do with the fear of having to pay the consequences for her unconscious life choices that led to her debilitation.  I know her choices, and lack of choices, were born out of pain, and wounding by others that she had no control over.  And I know I have done and continue to do the same at times, making choices out of pain and wounding – the shadow – unawake to the Wholeness that we all really are, even in our shadow. 

This poem, by Danna Faulds, says what I really want to say to “the elephant.”  So I sent it to her today…  May you find peace…


“Despite illness of body or mind,
in spite of blinding despair
or habitual belief,
who you are is whole…

Let nothing keep you separate from the Truth.
The soul, illumined from within,
longs to be known for what it is.

Undying, untouched by fire or storms of life,
there is a place inside where stillness
and abiding peace reside.
You can ride the breath to go there.

Despite doubt or hopeless turns of mind,
you are not broken.
Spirit surrounds, embraces, fills you
from the inside out.
Release everything that isn’t your true nature.
What’s left…
the fullness,
light and shadow.
Claim all that as your birthright.”

Danna Faulds



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Window Perspective...


I have been an insomniac the last couple of nights. Last night I went to the window to sit.  For those of you who haven’t been reading here long, I started a “practice” for myself about 2 years ago that I call “Window Sitting” – as a way of being aware of and communing with deep Silence.  See  "Window Sitting" Has Resumed.         .

Anyway, I haven’t been “window sitting” in a lonnnng time – months - due to life circumstances that changed our sleeping schedule and didn’t allow for late sitting, and activities next door at the times I wanted to sit.

But last night around 2am, unable to sleep, I went to the window.  I was immediately drawn in to the Silence that is always there/here – waiting to be noticed.  I recognized the deep Silence and took a deep breath.  After basking in the Silence for some time noticings and words flowed – as they always do at the window…



Crickets chirp a slow, subdued rhythm tonight.
 A short, gentle rain shower abruptly passes through
 in a simple wave of sound and movement.
It catches my curiosity for the ways of Life.
 Raindrops plop on the broad leaves of the neighbor’s garden,
as if fairy folk were at play.
A car passes through the neighborhood delivering morning papers,
headlights and sound stirring the darkness,
while the night still sleeps.
  The cool night air, the smell of moisture,
 and the feel of my breath fills my nostrils.
   The rhythm of the night, the steady, soothing pulse of Silence
 finally subdues this mind, body and heart…

At night life is sleeping and awake all at the same time.
Maybe we are too…



An occasional breeze wafts through the screen,
and touches my face, as if to say –
Hello - I remember you. 

I smile -
and silently reply,
I remember you too…




  The quiet is palpable, refreshing, comforting...
  Odd noises I cannot identify do not disturb this Silence.
 All sound at the window
soothes…
Only the inner turmoil of a body-mind malfunctioning
 ringing through these ears attempts to drown out the Silence…
  But being at the window crumbles the constructs
about what is happening in this body
that keeps me from sleep…

I *love* the silence of the night.
  It allows me to be *awake* to Infinite Silence,
 to experience the Silent *Aliveness* of Life,
 more poignantly…
 
The Heart of The Infinite speaks
 more clearly at the window – at night.


A new perspective is born out of Silence…

Everything drops away into silent peace,
 into the stillness of the Heart,
 and I know all is well…
Entrained to a new rhythm,
no longer feeling out of sync.



I have found my “sanctuary” again,
the sanctuary of Silence
 where “The Beloved’s” pulse and mine
 synchronize,
 and rest returns…

I have missed the heightened awareness of experiencing
 just this moment,
just this sound,
just this smell,
the infusion of Life
 at the window.

I have missed this rendezvous with Silence –
the intimacy with the Heart of “The Beloved” –
 that always “waits” in Silence…


I am immersed in Silence,
 wrapped in Quiet,
 comforted, consoled by “The Beloved’s”
 living Breath…
 

I am grateful for this sleepless night,
 to get to hear the music of Life,
 the Symphony of Silence once again,
that only stillness can hear.

I forget -
 this opening,
 this portal,
 this window,
of Silence
that lies
beyond the veils and shadows of life,
 where the simple rhythm of Life lives
 at the pleasure of “The Beloved”
 who plays all the chords and all the notes of the symphony….
 In Silence…

 My body begins to find the rhythm - recognizing the symphony…

Amazing how a simple window can change perspective…


Mystic Meandering
Meditative Writings
Aug. 23, 2012


Note: “The Beloved” here refers to Pure Awareness,
Pure Beingness, Pure Consciousness,
which is the Source and Ground of all Life.





Monday, August 20, 2012

Spontaneous Dancing Light...


This was a lovely spontaneous moment of Seeing.  As I walked down the hall I noticed the color that reflected on the wall coming from a cut glass crystal orb sitting in the window in our bedroom from the other end of the hall.  In that instant of seeing I ran for the camera because I knew the specter wouldn’t last long as the sun set quickly.  The dance of light was only but a moment…

Enjoy The Dance!



When through realization we come to understand
the divine energy that causes us to exist,
we cease to impede its natural flow
in and through ourselves…

Existence is really a patterned
flowing movement of the real;
a motion in space;
a flowing of all life…

Realization then is the conscious understanding of the unity
[ fluid seamlessness]
of life
and the unity [seamlessness]
of the living Self…


Manly P. Hall
Metaphysician
1940’s






Friday, August 17, 2012

Seeing Red... It's not what you think!


Seeing color was an exercise from The Practice of Contemplative Photography by Andy Karr and Michael Wood.  See their website here.  The idea was to only see color, not to identify the object of the color – as in red *car*, yellow *sign*, blue *house* - but to just see the color – any color – all colors.

~~~



This photo was taken last Fall
outside a restaurant.


 ~~~



~~~

I was out in the car doing errands one day this last week and thought I’d try the exercise.  No camera to tempt me to snap every shot of color I saw…  I just had to be aware…   I began to see red – naturally drawn to it… Interesting…  I just became naturally *aware* of the color red as it passed by me or in front of me, and wondered if this is what the authors meant: The object itself  is not important – don’t need to identify it – only see color…

~~~



~~~

And then – a couple of days later I began to see red all around the house. (We have red trim, red car, red fence, red doors, red curtains – all shades and hues of red. J)  Only this time the camera was readily available and I began snapping like a snappin’ fool.  After all, it was an *assignment* and my mind evidently took it seriously. Intuitive seeing left the room and thinking took over.  I became obsessed with red, on an expedition to find red, planning, and arranging – oh-oh…  I broke one of the rules of contemplative photography – no contrivance – if I understand them right.  According to the authors – contrivance is “how we want things to appear and not how things actually are - directly *seeing* your immediate experience unfabricated and uncontrived.”  I started to specifically *look* for anything red, looking for “good” shots – not just spontaneous “flashes of perception/seeing” as they call it in the book – but purposely *looking.*  And I could tell the difference.  There wasn’t a *natural* relaxed, spontaneous *feeling* of perception that flowed from within.  I wasn’t just being *aware* - but conceptual thought took over the process.  I didn’t get absorbed in the moment of awareness, just noticing, instead, my mind became the controller of the moment. I felt stressed and anxious about “getting the shot.”  I think you can see the difference in the two photos at the end of this post with the previous photos.  

The authors say that “true seeing comes through seeing from your basic nature/Beingness which gets ‘reflected’– producing ‘equivalents’ of what you saw from your basic Being, drawing on a deeper level of intelligence than the usual way of seeing..... through being present to something in an open space (of awareness) that is created by letting go of the currents of mental activity that obscure our natural insight and awareness.”  One could call it the awakened eye, just *seeing* life as you find it, rather than manipulating it…   Am not saying I’m there yet… Just sayin’ what they said…


~~~

contrived




So – obviously - I am learning to *see* without the conceptual overlay, without manipulation, without interpretation, judgment, or contrivance – just seeing what is - from that sense of Aware Beingness – that which is seeing through the mask of me.  Not as easy as I *thought.* J


“In reality only the Ultimate is…
The rest is a matter of name and form.
When you understand that names and shapes
are hollow shells without content,
and what is real is nameless and formless,
just pure energy of the life and light
of Consciousness,
you will be at peace -
immersed in the deep Silence of reality…”

Nisargadatta






Monday, August 13, 2012

Dancing With Shadow and Light...

I’ve been reading The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes.  It has inspired me to be more aware of the world around me, to pay attention to what I am actually seeing, whether through the lens of my own eyes, or through the lens of the camera.  According to the authors, Andy Karr and Michael Wood, contemplative photography is about the immediate direct experience of pure seeing without the overlay of conceptual thinking – without labeling what we are seeing.  They say that “labeling things as beautiful or ugly masks what they really look like.”  According to them, “artistic living” – or living artistically - has more to do with HOW we see than trying to be creative.   It has to do with “resting in an innate intelligence, that some call Awareness, and allowing the basic qualities of form to be recognized by this innate, nonconceptual intelligence…..allowing things to emerge, rather than trying to interpret the nature of the perception…”    Seems this applies to our spiritual practice, and life, as well!  Are we seeing with the HEART of Awareness, or with the conceptual mind that wants to figure things out, to analyze and interpret…  So I am experimenting with “seeing” and how I see what I see – and from where am I really seeing - WHO/WHAT is really seeing…  In most non-dual spiritual practices, this is really what it all comes down to – seeing WHO is really seeing…  Abstract, I know :)

One morning I became aware of the dance of shadow and light that was going on in the den, as the morning sun managed to find its way through the slits in the closed blinds that let the light in anyway.  I snapped the photos below that show this interplay of light and dark – the interplay of life really.  The shadow does not obscure what is really there.  It’s all a matter of how we see it.

I also included some meditative writings under the photos that I wrote several years ago (2004) while meditating that have to do with the dance of shadow and light that we participate in every day in our minds – some know it as the shadow self.

 

It’s all just a dance,
a playful dance of light and dark.
Allow the dance of shadow to play itself out in your life,
and be grateful for the dance.


  
The shadow self is just a consciousness.
It is the consciousness spawned by the *belief* in separation from Infinite Consciousness…
A *belief* in separateness creates a consciousness of darkness and fear…
For the most part humanity functions from this consciousness.
A consciousness of separation dominates the mind – creating suffering.
The fear feeds on fear, creating more darkness.
It manifests a consciousness of darkness
that you *believe* to be real.



But the shadow self is just a mist, an illusion…
It is not “darkness” in the negative sense…
The consciousness of darkness is only a thin layer, a thin veil.
It creates much dysfunction, but really has no power to sustain.
It gives the illusion of power to seemingly rob you of your
True Consciousness…



You have become caught in the net of fear,
*thinking* it is real.
You can emerge through this layer of darkness by becoming aware of the
Consciousness of Infinite Beingness/Awareness.
This creates a new reality,
a new consciousness.
Whatever your consciousness is,
that is your reality.
Shift the *identity* with the consciousness of shadow self
and you create a whole new reality…



The gift of the shadow is the Light of Awareness,
the call to awareness of the Light
that we are...



Thursday, August 9, 2012

Not Settling...


My mind wants to tell me that ‘just sitting’
 – sitting meditation - is not enough.
  But my Heart knows that ‘just sitting’
 is exquisitely enough…

 It is communion with the Infinite Beingness of all life.

It is the “medicine” for every ailment…

It is the Light that brings awareness
to all hidden places…

It is the Spaciousness from which all knowing
and all needed action arises
with clarity…

Heart says:
Spend as much time as possible
’just sitting’
in the depths of Silence
communing
with the Tao of life -
the inner movement of Beingness -
experiencing the embrace
and intelligence
of what lives us;
not resigned to
”just being human…”
not settling…

Being aware
of Humanness and Infiniteness -
as One Rhythm…
The Infinite manifest in the finite
The Truth of Existence…

Humanness infused with
such Suchness
that we are enlivened with a Life
much vaster
than “just” our humanness…

Can we embrace
that
Life
as
who
we
are

The
Pure
Conscious
Awareness

that
breathes
us
into
existence
as
ItSelf.

Do we want to remember
who we are, what we are,
beyond
disturbances of the mind,
our insecurities,
our thoughts,
our feelings,
our beliefs,
and
impairments
of whatever kind…

Can we allow ourselves
to see/sense/know
The Infinite Presence
that
we
really
are
behind
these eyes,
this persona,
and
that which animates
this
body

That Heart of Being that we have longed for all our lives…

and not settle…

Can we quit pretending
that “we’re only human”
that we can’t know,
and take off the shadowy masks
that blind us
and see
the
pure
Light
of
Being
that
is
Here

You don’t have to wait lifetimes…
It’s right here, right now -
everywhere…

Just be still
and look…

Open the inner eyes of the Heart
and
see
with
the Heart

It has always been here…

Feel it.
Experience it.

Don’t settle…



Mystic Meandering
August 3, 1012


Art: Infinite Light


“We have been raised to fear…our deepest cravings [longings/passion].
And the fear of our deepest cravings [longings/passion] keeps them suspect,
keeps us docile and loyal and obedient,
and leads us to settle…”

Audre Lourde

From Finding True Refuge Blog
Tara Brach




Monday, August 6, 2012

Shift and Change = Flow ~


Last Friday morning all angst about life and living lifted – for the moment.  I know it doesn't look it by this photo. ;)  

I usually know I am going through some kind of internal shift when I need to start moving things around – like things in rooms around, or rooms themselves.  We had decided long ago to use the rooms of our home unconventionally.  We have a cookie cutter 35 year old home with Living Room, Dining Room, Den, and Kitchen with eating area.  You know the usual burb floor plan. We turned the formal dining room into a “reading room” with bookshelves, which is actually an “L” off the living room, so is very spacious and open, but out of the way and quiet. We could actually do without a living room or den, but they came with the house. J  We have used bedrooms as office/work/creative space for the two of us and there’s a small room, which is off the Den on the ground floor, that I used when I was doing therapeutic massage from home on a regular basis over 10 years ago, which became my meditation space.

But the meditation space has been feeling like a dark cave lately and I end up not meditating as regularly.  I realized Friday that I wanted a space that is more open and spacious feeling – allowing the light and air in.  And – I thought it would help to have the computer further away, less accessible, so I can hopefully break the computer – er cyberspace addiction - and not go there first thing in the morning to “check” for messages – but to patter down the hall and meditate – checking for messages there instead. J

So – Friday a new movement began to stir within, envisioning the two spaces and how I could switch them out – my office/creative space and my meditation space.  I had to get creative.  What I ended up with is making an “office” out of the meditation space (the cave) - with computer desk, computer, side table and printer cabinet in the small meditation room – leaving the massage table there up against the wall as a kind of day bed with pillows.  And bring my meditation space into what I now call my “creative space” which had been across the room from my “office” space, which is only a matter of about 5 feet from my creative work table.  Although it is a nice size room, we’re not talking huge space here. It’s not like a “STUDIO.” J  However, this room is more open and spacious (especially without desk and assorted office furniture) and has two archway openings on one side that overlook the den that has a skylight, almost like a loft, allowing more light in.  The idea was to create space to incubate creativity and bring more flow to meditation. J  Brilliant don’t you think.  Although am sure I’m not the first one to think of that one! LOL.

I am anticipating starting a 5 week online intuitive art course called Brave Intuitive You - True Bloom Art e-course, in September, and have wanted to create a “studio” since July 1st, but could not see how this would happen in the space that we have.  I wrote “Create Studio” on a sticky note and put in on the kitchen counter. The idea was to remind myself to clean up and organize my then existing “creative/office” space in preparation for the course – so I would actually have space to work in. J  I did not intend that I would create a “studio.”  And yet… a creative “studio” of sorts is emerging…  You can see in the photo below that I’m not quite finished with the “creative studio” side of the room.  J

DH and I spent Saturday rearranging space. Oh my, the bod isn’t what it used to be, lugging stuff up and down two flights of stairs.  That “meditation” chair was a little tricky to maneuver.  I can no longer sit on a cushion on the floor.  But am lovin’ my little meditation corner. J   And my office is cozy and quiet, out of the way, and not on the way to the kitchen in the morning - tempting me. J   

Voila:  New Space! New Flow ~ ~ ~







Friday, August 3, 2012

"Allow" - by Danna Faulds


“There is no controlling life…
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado.
Dam a stream
and it will create
a new channel.

Resist, and the tide will sweep you off your feet.

Allow, and grace will carry you to higher ground.

The only safety lies in letting it all in

The wild and the weak;
fear, fantasies, failure and success.

When loss rips off the doors of
the heart,
and sadness
 veils your vision
with despair,
practice becomes
simply bearing the truth…

In the choice to let go of your known
way of being,
the whole world
is revealed
to your new eyes.”


Danna Faulds
From: Prayers to the Infinite


Danna Faulds’ poetry comes from the heart of her spiritual practice – Kripalu Yoga and meditation.
She writes: “…I had long since given up any rigid notion of an
 anthropomorphic, judging God,  yet here I was

 in intimate dialogue with something bigger than myself.
Over time I uncovered a remarkable fact:
 the very act of personally addressing
the Infinite opened me to a different experience of self and other,
one in which I sensed divinity as an interior part of all things.”
(A woman after my own Heart!
J)

*

Art – “The Infinite”
Mystic Meandering

*

For an exquisite poem see
Uma’s “Flow”
Secret Notebooks…Wild Pages



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

From Fear To Stillness...


Yesterday I was perusing the internet with its plethora of “spiritual teachers” looking for YouTube videos that might give me insight on this deep-seated anxiety that I’ve been experiencing…  I don’t know what made me look up Mooji, as I sometimes do– a big gentle Jamaican (www.mooji.org).  There were several videos with the word “fear” in the title.  I picked two.  I found Truth in his words, bringing me back to the Truth in myself.  Sometimes that’s all it takes, someone to point you back to the Truth of your Self – your True Nature.

The following words are excerpts from the two videos.  I have put Mooji's words in poetic form, but they are not meant to be a poem.


“The mind fears…

What is the message in the fear?
Find the message in the fear…

Fear empties itself as soon as there is revelation…

YOU (the True Self) *are* before the movement of fear that arises…
Realize your Self that is before time, before phenomenon…

Wake up to the recognition of your Eternal Self.

[That is] the Awareness in which fear occurs.

Just keep quiet.

Don’t identify the reactions and interactions,
just *feel* your Existence

and

let the fear burn off…

Identify the Presence that sees,
and stay with this Presence,
and you’ll come to a place of
complete [internal] Stillness…

There is Stillness in that space of fear…

When fear is met
what expands is a sense of spaciousness…

There is an intuitive sense that you and the spaciousness
of Stillness are one.
There *is* no separation…

In this place your mind of fear will not have much power
because you’re in your
Natural State of Awareness…”
Mooji

I have a long way to go on this adventure of meeting this life-long anxiety and its message, but I am committed to the journey.  As Mooji has also said – “Stay in the Heart.  Only keep your eyes on ‘The Beloved’” – meaning the inner spaciousness of Stillness, Awareness, Self, or Buddha Nature, or Christ Consciousness – however you know that to be.  Home…

These are the links for Mooji’s videos.


There are of course many other “teachers” with videos and books who address such issues.
It just happened that I found these…