Monday, September 9, 2013: Twisted out of inner alignment by the tree of desire :)

Vakratunda

This week’s class fell on Ganesha Puja so we opened with chanting the Ganesha mantra Vakratunda Mahakaya. Since the sound quality on the class recording is not great, I thought I’d give visitors to this blog a special treat. As many of you know, Daniel and I have been in the recording studio working on an album of mantras and chants. This is a preview clip from our version of Vakratunda Mahakaya, which will be the first track on the CD.  Btw, please stay tuned for updates on the production of this amazing album. It’s been ten years in the making and well worth the wait. I’m hoping for a December 1 release.

Here’s transliterated Sanskrit text and translation/commentary:

vakratunda mahakāya

suryakoti samaprabha

nirvighnam kuru me deva

sarva kāryeśu sarvada

 Oh Lord with twisted trunk and massive form

whose splendor is equal to a billion suns

bless me that no obstacles impede my endeavors

 This chant is sung to the form of Ganesha called Vakratunda, who is personified as having five elephant heads with five twisted trunks. The twisted trunks can be understood as metaphors of the spiraling energy of kundalini; also Ganesha is associated with blessing new beginnings, removing obstacles, and guarding the sanctuary of the inner being. So as Vakratunda with five heads, these powers are quintupled!

The word “vakratunda” translates as “vakra” [twisted] and “tunda” [trunk], which got me thinking about the notion of being twisted in or out of alignment. How we can go either way. How great a deep spinal twist feels and conversely, how wretched we make ourselves feel when we get all twisted up in the dramas of daily life. Think greed, desire, and their numerous offspring… and factor in the ego’s tendency to identify [aka twist into] these lovely machinations of mind…

Yoga offers a profound system for transformation of body.mind.spirit. In a way though we can reduce the whole thing down to this simple notion: how to untwist from the twists that yank us out of alignment by twisting back into the spiraling luminosity of the Self.

Here’s this week’s dharma talk, playing on this idea of twisting and untwisting… It runs just over 7 minutes.

Here’s a simple dharana, chanting of Om Namah Shivaya, and a few more words before silent meditation.

Monday, August 26, 2013: “And for what he has become, There is no name…”

Hummingbird logo

I’ve been in end of summer vacation mode which has been lovely for the soul but threw a wrench into my blogging schedule. Rather than stay in chronological order however, I’m posting last week’s class. Which focused on the topic of “Desire.” Desire gets everyone into all sorts of trouble. For those who walk a wisdom path, it’s very good to make friends with this powerful force. We want to get it working for rather than against us.

Here’s my dharma talk which opens with a short breath meditation and ends with a reading from Thomas Byrom’s wonderful translation of Ashtavakra Gita. I’ve titled this post with the final lines from this glorious text…

Here’s the Byrom text:
From The Heart of Awareness: A Translation of Ashtavakra Gita, Thomas Byrom, Shambhala Dragon Editions.

17. Beyond All
 
1.
The man who is happy and pure
And likes his own company
Gathers the fruit of his practice
And the fruit of wisdom.
 
2.
The man who knows the truth
is never unhappy in the world.
 
For he alone fills the universe.
 
3.
Just as the elephant loves
The leaves of the sallaki tree,
But not the neem tree,
So the man who loves himself
Always spurns the senses.
 
4.
It is hard to find
A man who has no desire
For what he has not tasted,
Or who tastes the world
And is untouched.
 
5.
Here in the world
Some crave pleasure,
Some seek freedom.
But it is hard to find
A man who wants neither.
 
He is a great soul.
 
6.
It is hard to find
A man who has an open mind,
Who neither seeks nor shuns
Wealth or pleasure,
Duty or liberation,
Life or death. . .
 
7.
He does not want the world to end.
He does not mind if it lasts.
 
Whatever befalls him,
He lives in happiness.
 
For he is truly blessed.
 
8.
Now that he understands,
He is fulfilled.
His mind is drawn within,
And he is fulfilled.
 
He sees and he hears,
He touches and smells and tastes,
And he is happy.
 
9.
What he does is without purpose.
His senses have been stilled.
His eyes are empty.
 
He is without desire or aversion.
 
For him the waters of the world
Have all dried up!
 
10.
He is not asleep.
He is not awake.
He  never closes his eyes.
Or opens them.
 
Wherever he is,
He is beyond everything.
He is free.
 
11.
And the man who is free
Always lives in his heart.
His heart is always pure.
 
Whatever happens,
He is free of all desires.
 
12.
Whatever he sees or hears or touches,
Whatever he smells or tastes,
Whatever he acquires,
He is free.
 
Free from striving,
And from stillness.
 
For he is indeed a great soul.
 
13.
Without blame or praise,
Anger or rejoicing.
 
He gives nothing.
He takes nothing.
 
He wants nothing,
Nothing at all.
 
14.
And whoever draws near him,
A woman full of passion
Or Death Himself,
He is not shaken.
 
He stays in his heart.
 
He is free indeed!
 
15.
It is all the same to him.
Man or woman,
Good fortune or bad,
Happiness or sorrow.
 
It makes no difference.
He is serene.
 
16.
The world no longer holds him.
He has gone beyond
The bounds of human nature.
 
Without compassion
Or the wish to harm,
Without pride or humility.
 
Nothing disturbs him.
Nothing surprises him.
 
17. Because he is free,
He neither craves nor disdains
The things of the world.
 
He takes them as they come.
 
His mind is always detached.
 
18.
His mind is empty.
He is not concerned with meditation,
Or the absence of it,
Or the struggle between good and evil.
 
He is beyond all,
Alone.
 
19.
No “I,”
No “mine.”
 
He knows there is nothing.
 
All his inner desires have melted away.
 
Whatever he does,
He does nothing.
 
20.
His mind has stopped working!
 
It has simply melted away . . .
 
And with it,
Dreams and delusions and dullness.
 
And for what he has become,
There is no name.

 

I tried a new microphone placement this week which alas did not work so well. I’m therefore not including opening chanting from this class. Here however is our final recitation of the Maha Mrtunjaya Mantra resolving into Om Namah Shivaya and a closing dharana. Enjoy…

Monday, August 5, 2013: “Getting answers to my questions is not the goal of spiritual life. Living in the presence of God is the greater call.” [Henri Nouwen]

I’ve been chanting the Maha Mrtunjaya Mantra for many years. Full disclosure: it never really sang to me until now, when I begin to find an inexhaustible depth inside its sonic vehicle. Why does a mantra choose to break open inside us at a certain moment? A riddle worthy of contemplation although I’d sooner chant than puzzle it out. Mantras pulsate with consciousness that is way beyond our normal mind state. They initiate us into their mysteries. We can knock at the door until our knuckles hurt. But there will be no entry until they’re ready to receive us. Sometimes it’s love at first sight. Sometimes a decade or two of practice. As one of my teachers always said, it’s the effort that draws the grace. And there is so much grace in the practice of this mantra….

Along with chanting practice of the Maha Mrtunjaya, this week’s class was inspired by parallel readings from the Christian tradition. Here’s a morsel from the longer excerpt I read from Henri Nouwen’s wonderful book, Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life. He’s writing about a life-changing meeting with Mother Teresa:

Her response startled me. I had expected her to diagnose and discuss my very pressing questions, but I suddenly realized that I had asked questions “from below” and she had given an answer “from above,” pointing me in the direction of divine presence. She knew that even if I better understood my distractions and problems, something else remained: a call to live closer to the heart of God. At first her answer didn’t seem to fit my questions, but then I began to see that her answer came from God’s place of healing and not from my place of complaints. Getting answers to my questions is not the goal of spiritual life. Living in the presence of God is the greater call…

Here’s this week’s dharma talk:

Here’s complete text of the poem from St. John of the Cross’ I Came into the Unknown, [English version by Willis Barnstone]. If you’re reading this before listening to my talk, please note that the word here translated as “science” is perhaps more closely understood as “logic” and/or rational, linear thought.

I came into the unknown
and stayed there unknowing
rising beyond all science.

I did not know the door
but when I found the way,
unknowing where I was,
I learned enormous things,
but what I felt I cannot say,
for I remained unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

It was the perfect realm
of holiness and peace.
In deepest solitude
I found the narrow way:
a secret giving such release
that I was stunned and stammering,
rising beyond all science.

I was so far inside,
so dazed and far away
my senses were released
from feelings of my own.
My mind had found a surer way:
a knowledge of unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

And he who does arrive
collapses as in sleep,
for all he knew before
now seems a lowly thing,
and so his knowledge grows so deep
that he remains unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

The higher he ascends
the darker is the wood;
it is the shadowy cloud
that clarified the night,
and so the one who understood
remains always unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

This knowledge by unknowing
is such a soaring force
that scholars argue long
but never leave the ground.
Their knowledge always fails the source:
to understand unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

This knowledge is supreme
crossing a blazing height;
though formal reason tries
it crumbles in the dark,
but one who would control the night
by knowledge of unknowing
will rise beyond all science.

And if you wish to hear:
the highest science leads
to an ecstatic feeling
of the most holy Being;
and from his mercy comes his deed:
to let us stay unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

Here’s text from The Cloud of Unknowing:

For He can well be loved, but he cannot be thought. By love he can be grasped and held, but by thought, neither grasped nor held. And therefore, though it may be good at times to think specifically of the kindness and excellence of God, and though this may be a light and a part of contemplation, all the same, in the work of contemplation itself, it must be cast down and covered with a cloud of forgetting. And you must step above it stoutly but deftly, with a devout and delightful stirring of love, and struggle to pierce that darkness above you; and beat on that thick cloud of unknowing with a sharp dart of longing love, and do not give up, whatever happens….

 

And so I urge you, go after experience rather than knowledge. On account of pride, knowledge may often deceive you, but this gentle, loving affection will not deceive you. Knowledge tends to breed conceit, but love builds. Knowledge is full of labor, but love, full of rest.

Here’s this week’s dharana, a small exercise that plays with shifting back and forth from thinking to witness…

Much as I’d like to include this week’s chanting of the Maha Mrtunjaya Mantra, the recording quality is problematic. So I’ll include a clip from a previous post:

 

 

Monday, July 29, 2013: It can seem very dark down there, but ah, there is so much light…..

Shiva Dance Abstract

We continue our immersion in the shakti of Maha Mrtunjaya Mantra… I’ve been thinking a lot this week about the descriptive phrase for Shiva as “spacious as the sky…” I love this metaphor for the way it whispers our human possibility…  Spacious as the sky. We can become that. And yet to touch this interior hugeness, let alone merge into it, there’s the challenge… it’s way too big for grasp of hands and mind. We have to tiptoe into it and rest there. In the space between the breaths, in those sublime moments of pure stillness, in the profound release of an “aha.”

In those moments we are at one with Everything. As the beloved Tibetan dakini Yeshe Tsogyel says so beautifully, “Then the joy of the One will hold you like a lake…”
I was driving home the other night at sunset listening to the Maha Mrtunjaya mantra in my car. The sky was ablaze in pink, blue, and purple. As I came over the ridge, I saw the sun sitting at the edge of the horizon. The light was pure gold. The mantra was blasting. It was a moment of pure magnificence, so much deeper than joy or power or exultation. The sky, the sun, the mantra, Shiva, Devi, Light, Dark, the Everythingness of Life. I was part of it. It was all of me. And what more can I say….
This is the experience of Maha Mrtunjaya Mantra. It is the touching into what some call Unity-Awareness. The Shaivites call it Shiva. The Shaktites call it Devi. We refer to it more generically as the Inner Self. But it so doesn’t matter what we call it. It’s not listening when we try to contain it. In fact it turns the other way. It’s the inner experience blazing in every cell. That’s what it’s about. That’s why we meditate. That’s why we chant. That’s why we cultivate awareness, kindness, generosity, selflessness, sacrifice… That’s what we find in Love…
Here’s this week’s dharma talk:
Here’s mantra chanting and a dharana:

Here are the Mary Oliver poems. Scroll down to last week’s post for text of the Devara Dasimaya poems I read again this week…

THE FISH
Mary Oliver

The first fish
I ever caught
would not lie down
quiet in the pail
but flailed and sucked
at the burning
amazement of the air
and died
in the slow pouring off
of rainbows. Later
I opened his body and separated
the flesh from the bones
and ate him. Now the sea
is in me: I am the fish, the fish
glitters in me; we are
risen, tangled together, certain to fall
back to the sea. Out of pain,
and pain, and more pain
we feed this feverish plot, we are nourished
by the mystery.

HONEY AT THE TABLE
Mary Oliver

It fills you with the soft
essence of vanished flowers, it becomes
a trickle sharp as a hair that you follow
from the honey pot over the table

and out the door and over the ground,
and all the while it thickens,

grows deeper and wilder, edged
with pine boughs and wet boulders,
pawprints of bobcat and bear, until

deep in the forest you
shuffle up some tree, you rip the bark,

you float into and swallow the dripping combs,
bits  of tree, crushed bees – a taste
composed of everything lost, in which everything
lost is found.

Monday, July 22, 2013: “Whatever It was that made this earth…to that Mystery, indifferent to differences, to it I pray…”

Shiva3

I’ve titled this post with a quote from one of the Devara Dasimayya poems I read towards the end of class. Whether we respond to form or formless, literal or metaphor, silence or the roar, underneath it all is the triadic heart of wisdom, simplicity, and love so clearly articulated in these poetic lines…

Monday Night Class continues our sojourn into the Maha Mrtunjaya mantra. Nowadays we can google a mantra and find pages of commentary and videos. Which can be a decent introduction. However, in my experience, if you want a mantra to come alive inside of you, if you want to receive the power of that mantra, chanting it over and over again is the portal…  Nothing I [or anyone] can say is as important as your own practice.

So during this cycle of classes, I’m keeping my dharma talks rather brief, focusing on the experiential process of chanting the Maha Mrtunjaya mantra:

Here’s an audio clip from the first round of chanting:

Here’s my dharma talk:

Here’s a clip of of second round of Maha Mrtunjaya moving into Om Namah Shivaya:

Here’s a lovely dharana on the Maha Mrtunjaya mantra:

And here are the four Devara Dasimayya poems I read towards the end of class. Text follows this audio clip:

87.
Whatever It was
that made this earth
the base,
the world its life,
the wind its pillar,
arranged the lotus and the moon,
and covered it all with folds
of sky
with Itself inside,
to that Mystery
indifferent to differences,
to It I pray…
 

80.
The earth is your gift,
the growing grain your gift,
the blowing wind your gift.
 
What shall I call these fools
who eat out of your hand
and praise everyone else?
 

98.
To the utterly at-one with Shiva
there’s no dawn,
no new moon,
no noonday,
nor equinoxes,
nor sunsets,
nor full moons;
his front yard
is the true Benares…

144.
Suppose you cut a tall bamboo
in two;
make the bottom piece a woman,
the headpiece a man;
rub them together
till they kindle:
                             tell me now,
the fire that’s born,
is it male or female?

Finally, just to note that this week’s class fell on Guru Purnima, the full moon of July holiday when yogis honor their guru. Tainted though it’s been by scandal and all too human clay feet, the guru principle is profound. The syllable “gu” translates as ignorance and “ru” as that which removes ignorance. So the guru is the wisdom force that obliterates the darkness of ignorance, leaving in its place, the light of the Self.

The great full moon of mid-summer is a potent mirror of that light…  and to that Mystery in all its myriad names, paths, and forms, indifferent to differences, I bow…

June 9 Devi Yoga Retreat: Long Day’s Journey Into Light: Dharma Talk, “What Do You Want To Take Refuge In?”

light forest

Although this blog is mostly dedicated to Monday Night Class, I’ll also be posting audio clips from last month’s retreat, “Long Day’s Journey into Light. ” Btw, thanks for your patience with my less than frequent updates here. I keep thinking time and space will open for regular posting and then it does not.

As the name implies, “Long Day’s Journey into Light” was just that, a day constellated around the Mystery of Light.  Opening into light, merging with light, resting in light, becoming light, discovering light in the fertile darkness, knowing that light as source, beacon, and luminous path of the heart…

Ordinarily I would edit my talks in the order they were given so I could post them in context. People have requested I get this one up first however, so here it is.  In this talk I’m drawing connections between our deep creative nature and light — and posing the question, what do you want to take refuge in… your story or that light?

The talk ends with a reading of Mary Oliver’s poem, “When I Am Among the Trees.”  If you want an example of deep creative nature completely at one with its source, here it is. I love teaching and some have said I’m rather good in this role. However, let us say it like it is:  it is the trees who are our great teachers….

When I Am Among the Trees
-Mary Oliver

 
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
 
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
 
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
 
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you to have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

Monday, April 22, 2013, Happy Birthday SG! Class

Since it’s been awhile since I’ve written here, I thought I’d post the class that fell on my birthday. For those who visit this blog but have never been to class, I thought you might enjoy seeing photos:

SG Birthday

Birthday cake1

Cutting cake

SG cropped  Birthday

Bday cake2

Here’s my birthday dharma talk…

Here’s the text of the Mirabai poem I read:

Why Mira Can’t Go Back to Her Old House

The colors of the Dark One have penetrated Mira’s body; all the other colors washed out.
Making love with the Dark One and eating little, those are my pearls and my carnelians.
Meditation beads and the forehead streak, those are my scarves and rings.
That’s enough feminine wiles for me. My teacher taught me this.
Approve me or disapprove me: I praise the Mountain Energy night and day.
I take the path that ecstatic human beings have taken for centuries.
I don’t steal money, I don’t hit anyone. What will you charge me with?
I have felt the swaying of the elephant’s shoulders; and now you want me to climb on a jackass?
Try to be serious.  [tr. by Robert Bly]

And here’s a clip of chanting from this class. With apologies for sound quality. But the spirit and energy are certainly here. This is Narayana and Kali Durge.

Monday, February 25, 2013: “And this is life… we think it’s one thing and then it’s something else…”

Kali Yantra

This week’s class wove seemingly disparate elements that are actually deeply connected into a meditation on sitting in the presence of this incredible dance called life… Full disclosure: this talk is somewhat hilarious and irreverent. And, fyi, because my own daily life will soon shift into a much simpler dance, some time in April I should begin tending this blog in ways that have been impossible over the last few years.

For now though, I still need to keep it simple. Here’s my dharma talk from February 25:

You’ll have to listen for Sheik Nasruddin stories. I don’t have time to write them out. Here however, are the poems:

SITTING ZEN
David Whyte
 
After three days of sitting
hard by the window
following grief through
the breath
like a hunter
who has tracked for days
the blood spots
of his injured prey
I came to the lake
where the deer had run
exhausted
refusing to save
its life in the
dark water
and there it fell
to ground
in our mutual
and respectful quiet
pierced
by
the pale diamond
edge of the breath’s
listening
presence.

WHAT I SAID TO THE WANTING-CREATURE
Kabir/Bly

I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is the river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.
Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or resting?
There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no towrope either, and no one to pull it.
There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no ford!
And there is no body, and no mind!
Do you believe there is some place that will make the soul less thirsty?
In that great absence you will find nothing.
Be strong then and enter into your own body; there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don’t go off somewhere else!
Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of imaginary things. and stand firm in that which you are.
 

Finally, two clips of chanting. The first is Om Namah Shivaya and a dharana; the second is Sri Krsna Chaitana Prabhu Nityananda.

The Saraswati Work: Dharma Talk & Chanting from Monday, February 11, 2013

Cubist Saraswati

 

 

 

 

 

 

We continue swimming in the waters of the deity field personified in the Indian tradition as the goddess Saraswati. Here’s my dharma talk from February 11th. It opens with a commentary/exposition on the Saraswti Bija Mantra and goes on to explore the dance between embrace, descent, and reclamation on the spiritual, creative, transformational journey…

 

Here’s a clip of chanting from this class: Saraswati Bija Mantra gliding into Om Namah Shivaya followed by a dharana on the luminosity of Saraswati:

 

Here’s text of the David White poems I read in my dharma talk:

THE STATUE OF SHIVA
–David Whyte
 
The statue of Shiva
entwined with his lover
– the way
we love to hold closely
what is ours.
 
Their speech
so plain to the attentive ear
bowing close to listen.
 
“The universe refuses the vows
of the celibate.
Preparing them instead with
songs for marriage.
Everything it knows
was born of the great embrace.”

THE HUSK OF YOUR VOICE
–David Whyte
 
The husk of your voice
is like a chrysalis
grown round something
hidden,
waiting to be born
and waiting for you
to stop.
 
What is inside
wants you to know itself fully
before it is born.
 
That’s why it refuses
to reveal itself,
sure as you are
that you need not slip down
that long branch of your body
to the very root
and in that earth
hear the damp echo
of everything
you have not touched
reflected
in your voice, and the air
suddenly quicken
as if innocent speech
could rise again
from that rich and
impossible soil
composed
of your neglected
past.
 
Like sap rising
in the steady tree
of your life.
 
Your voice opens
and shows
the strong outline
of that tree
against the sky,
 
where another
shadow
takes flight
startled by your
new cry,
 
the shadow
of something leaving
to find its own way
in the world.
 
Something you carried
as a black weight
for many years.
 
You watch it go
relieved
as if it might return
blessed by world
which
allows its going,
refusing to be held
and refusing to hold
you again,
free and finally
in its flight
to another’s mouth
untroubled by your breath.

 

And the last word goes to Kabir. This beloved poet-weaver of Varanasi is, in my opinion, one of the greatest channels for the insight-wisdom-luminosity-stream personified as the goddess Saraswati:

THE CLAY JUG
Kabir [version by Robert Bly]
 
Inside this clay jug there are canyons and pine
mountains, and the maker of canyons and pine
mountains!
All seven oceans are inside, and hundreds of millions of
stars.
The acid that tests gold is there, and the one who judges
jewels.
And the music from the strings no one touches, and the
source of all water.
 
If you want the truth, I will tell you the truth:
Friend, listen: the God whom I love is inside.

 

Part I: “Naked and bowed low…”

Image

2.9.2013

I was ill for much of January, brought to my knees by the flu. Confined to bed and couch, the key word was surrender. Each time I tried to go vertical before horizontal was done with me, I found myself crashing back down.  Which had me thinking a lot about the Sumerian myth of Inanna’s Descent. In this story, Inanna, Queen of Heaven & Earth must descend to the Underworld realm of her sister Ereshkigal, Queen of the Dark Below.  If you know the story, you’ll remember Inanna must pass through seven gates, surrendering an article of clothing at each one. So she arrives in the Underworld, “naked and bowed low.” Inanna’s chief hindrance is pride. Within moments of coming into Ereshkigal’s presence, she insults her, and ends up hanging on a meat hook for three days. A rather drastic purification, but this is the Dark Below. No sugarcoating of Reality down here…

Which is pretty much how I felt during the worst days of the flu. Illness does this, stripping us down to bare essence.

Descents can be physically devastating and emotionally brutal. So we need to learn to honor our descent time, holding onto awareness as we make the journey down. Counter-intuitive though it sounds, the more we embrace descent, surrendering to the fertile darkness, the more we return from the journey, renewed, refreshed, and inspired. In Devi Yoga, we call this process The Kali Work.

Here’s a dharma talk, inspired by the notion of descent, from January 1.28.13. I was somewhere between the under and above worlds when I gave this talk. Feeling well enough to teach class, I was far from recovered. This is therefore not the most coherent talk I’ve ever given, but the points are worth making.  I’ll also include chanting clips and text from the excerpt I read from Stephen Mitchell’s excellent translation of Bhagavad Gita.

Here’s an audio clip of my dharma talk:

This class opened with chanting of the Navarna mantra. Regular visitors to this Blog will by now have discerned that this mantra is a regular part of our practice. Although the seed syllables are associated with other deity fields, the heart of the mantra, Chamunda, is an extremely potent aspect — perhaps the most potent aspect — of the deity field personified in the Indian tradition as Kali Ma. The Sumerians drew her as Ereshkigal. It really doesn’t matter how we name or image the archetype. And much as I love goddess theology, to reduce it to goddess form is like playing with dolls. This is the primal power of Truth, the internal force that pulsates around and through our authenticity. This is the power of consciousness that destroys the ties that bind us, demolishing thieves of the heart, and drawing us down, into the luminous vortex of Self. So we don’t want to contemplate Descent without paying homage to this radiant force…

Here’s text from Stephen Mitchell’s beautiful translation and commentary on Bhagavad Gita:

from Chapter 2: The Practice of Yoga

THE BLESSED LORD SPOKE

 

When a man gives up all desires

that emerge from the mind, and rests

contented in the Self by the Self,

he is called a man of firm wisdom.

 

He whose mind is untroubled

by any misfortune, whose craving

for pleasures has disappeared,

who is free from greed, fear, anger,

who is unattached to all things,

who neither grieves nor rejoices

if good or bad things happen —

that man is a man of firm wisdom.