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.

July 15, 2013: Shiva’s in the House — The Maha Mrtunjaya Mantra

Shiva for MahaMrtunjaya

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be immersing ourselves in Maha Mrtunjaya, the go-to mantra for healing and longevity. For Monday Night Blog visitors unfamiliar with this mantra, Maha Mrtunjaya is a vedic chant addressed to Lord Shiva as Tryambaka, the “Three-Eyed One.” So for starters, understand that this mantra works with the third eye, opening a portal so the blaze of inner luminosity can cut through all the layers of stuff that keep us bound…

The literal translation of Maha Mrtunjaya is the great victory over death mantra. While traditionalists believe chanting this mantra bestows immortality, I come from a less literal perspective. More on this in my dharma talk. Here’s the text and a lovely translation from Thomas Ashley-Farrand:

Om Tryambhakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam |
Urvarukamiva Bandhanan
Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat ||

Shelter me, O three-eyed Lord Shiva.
Bless me with health and immortality
and sever me from the clutches of death,
even as a cucumber is cut from its creeper.

Here’s my dharma talk and a dharana for working with this mantra. My apologies for the sound quality on tonight’s recordings. That awful drone you’ll hear is the air conditioner. Awful background noise not withstanding, if you can bear it, this talk is worth a listen. Some thought-provoking points and a fresh approach to practice…

Here’s the mantra itself which resolves into several rounds of Om Namah Shivaya

I’m also including a bit of the opening kirtan. The sound quality tonight is so poor I won’t post the entire 15 minutes. But here’s a small taste…

Finally, a poem by Dorothy Walters that for me epitomizes the essence and being of the Maha Mrtunjaya Mantra.

Don’t Make Lists

Every day a new flower rises
from your body’s fresh soil.
Don’t go around looking
for fallen petals
in a fairy tale, when you’ve
got the golden plant
right here, now,
shooting forth in light from your eyes,
your awakening crown.

Don’t make lists,
or explore ancient accounts.
Forget everything you know
and open.

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.

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.

“By ceasing to question the sun, I have become light” — Dharma talk, chanting, & dharanas from 10.22.12

Becoming Light

I’m titling this post with a quote from the Thomas Merton poem I read at class on 10.22. “By ceasing to question the sun, I have become light…”  For me, this line offers the essence of the path of heart. The mystery, the teaching, the practice. The poem itself is like a mantra. Radiant with shakti. Read it over ten thousand times. It will shape your inner being in its bliss…

O Sweet Irrational Worship
-Thomas Merton

Wind and a bobwhite
And the afternoon sun.

By ceasing to question the sun
I have become light,

Bird and wind.

My leaves sing.

I am earth, earth

All these lighted things
Grow from my heart.

A tall, spare pine
Stands like the initial of my first
Name when I had one.

When I had a spirit,
When I was on fire
When this valley was
Made out of fresh air
You spoke my name
In naming Your silence:
O sweet, irrational worship!

I am earth, earth

My heart’s love
Bursts with hay and flowers.
I am a lake of blue air
In which my own appointed place
Field and valley
Stand reflected.

I am earth, earth

Out of my grass heart
Rises the bobwhite.

Out of my nameless weeds
His foolish worship.

Here’s a clip of my 10.22 dharma talk. It runs around twenty minutes, riffs on poetry from Denise Levertov and Dorothy Waters, and ends with Merton.

 

This audio clip of class chanting Om Namah Shivaya runs around 13 minutes and ends with a 2-minute dharana on the Merton poem.

Here are the Levertov and Waters poems:

The Secret
-Denise Levertov

Two girls discover

the secret of life
in a sudden line of
poetry.

I who don’t know the
secret wrote
the line. They
told me

(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
not even

what line it was. No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the secret,

the line, the name of
the poem. I love them
for finding what
I can’t find,

and for loving me
for the line I wrote,
and for forgetting it
so that

a thousand times, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other
lines

in other
happenings. And for
wanting to know it,
for

assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
for that
most of all.

 

Taken

-Dorothy Walters

First, you must let your heart
be broken open
in a way you have never
felt before,
cannot imagine.

You will
not know if what you are
feeling
is anguish or joy,
something predestined
or merely old wounds
flowing once more,
reminders of all that is
unfinished in your life.

Something will flood into
your chest
like air sweetened by
desert honeysuckle,
love that is too
strong.

You will stand there,
very still,
not seeing what this is.
Later, you will not remember
any of this
until the next time
when you will say,
yes, yes, I have known this before,
it has come again,
just as your eyes fold under
once more.

 

I sit at my computer assembling the elements of this post and there is so much I want to say to you. My heart overflows with the longing. But listening to the talk, re-living the poems, anything more seems redundant. So I will leave off here, bidding you adieu until we meet again, from my heart to yours…

The Fire of Love: Dharma Talk, Dharanas, and Chanting from 10.15.12

It’s been nearly three months since I’ve written here. Coming back this evening I discovered content that’s been sitting since October, waiting to be fleshed out and published.

This is a talk I gave on 10.15. While the Path of Heart was still my principal focus, I was beginning to weave the Kali Work back into the tapestry. For the last few years, I’ve moved away from metaphors of the Sacred Feminine. This talk on the fire of love marks a shift back into that perceptual framework and articulates where we find ourselves when Kali awakens on the Path of Heart…

Here’s the Mary Oliver poem I read as a dharana at the end of my talk:

Maybe
 -Mary Oliver
 
Sweet Jesus, talking
his melancholy madness,
stood up in the boat
and the sea lay down,
silky and sorry.
So everybody was saved
that night.
But you know how it is
 
when something
different crosses
the threshold — the uncles
mutter together,
 
the women walk away,
the young brother begins
to sharpen his knife.
Nobody knows what the soul is.
 
It comes and goes
like the wind over the water —
sometimes, for days,
you don’t think of it.
 
Maybe, after the sermon,
after the multitude was fed,
one or two of them felt
the soul slip forth
like a tremor of pure sunlight
before exhaustion,
that wants to swallow everything,
gripped their bones and left them
 
miserable and sleepy,
as they are now, forgetting
how the wind tore at the sails
before he rose and talked to it —
 
tender and luminous and demanding
as he always was —
a thousand times more frightening
than the killer storm.

Here are mantras [om namah shivaya and navarna] with a short dharana at the end of the clip:

And the last word goes to Mirabai/Bly.  If you’re still wondering how to walk the Fire Path of Heart, here are operating instructions…

The Heat of Midnight Tears

-Mirabai
English version by Robert Bly
 
Listen, my friend, this road is the heart opening,
Kissing his feet, resistance broken, tears all night.
 
If we could reach the Lord through immersion in water,
I would have asked to be born a fish in this life.
If we could reach Him through nothing but berries and wild nuts,
Then surely the saints would have been monkeys when they came from the womb!
If we could reach him by munching lettuce and dry leaves,
Then the goats would surely go to the Holy One before us!
 
If the worship of stone statues could bring us all the way,
I would have adored a granite mountain years ago.
 
Mirabai says: The heat of midnight tears will bring you to God.
 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Although we had class on Monday, October 1, the recording quality was sub par, so no dharma talk or chanting posts for that week. Since turnout was small, we kind of had a re-do on 10/8. So this post covers both classes…

When I last left off on this blog, we were taking Monday Night inspiration from the Jewish High Holidays. Now that the “Days of Awe” have passed, leaving sweetness in their wake, we’re shifting focus to paths of love, devotion, the heart. Down the road we’ll probably spend time with classic yogic heart texts like the Bhakti Sutras and Pratyabhijna Hridayam. For now though, I’m not much interested in technique or philosophy. So these classes on the Heart will be mostly chanting, meditation, devotion-soaked poetry, and those handfuls of words that insist on coming through me as dharma talks…

These two classes opened with chanting of the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra. For those unfamiliar with this great mantra, here’s the text:

May we be freed from all the attachments that keep us bound….

The traditional claim is that this mantra bestows immortality. From my perspective, this is a bit of a stretch. It does however, facilitate a letting go. The kind of letting go we feel in that moment of Love before attachment enters the room. So it seems a perfect mantra to work with over this next cycle of classes.

Here’s a clip of the chanting:

This week’s dharma talk is a freewheeling riff on Love and the Heart… There’s an interesting anecdote about the Heart Cakra, along with references to Carlos Castaneda’s alter ego, Don Juan. Definitely worth a listen…

Finally, here’s a clip of Om Namah Shivaya with poems read at the end as dharanas before silent meditation…

Here’s a beautiful quote I did not bring to class but will add it for those brave souls on the path:

The Path of Love
is like a bridge of hair
across a chasm of fire.

-Irina Tweedie

And the last word goes to the poems:

The madness of love
is a blessed fate;
And if we understood this
We would seek no other:
It brings into unity
What was divided,
And this is the truth:
Bitterness it makes sweet,
It makes the stranger a neighbor,
And what was lowly it raises on high.
-HADEWIJCH OF ANTWERP

Anyone who has waded
Through Love’s turbulent waters,
Now feeling hunger and now satiety,
is untouched by the season
Of withering or blooing,
For in the deepest
and most dangerous waters,
On the highest peaks,
Love is always the same.
-HADEWIJCH OF ANTWERP

So long as this breath fills your nostrils,
Why seek out fragrant flowers?
Peaceful, compassionate, patient, already your own master,
Why do you need to cross your legs to Know?
Once the entire world is yourself,
What could a life of solitude add?
O white Jasmine Lord-
-AKKA MAHADEVI

I do not call it his sign,
I do not call it becoming one with his sign.
I do not call it union,
I do not call it harmony with union.
I do not say something has happened,
I do not say nothing has happened.
I will not name it You.
I will not name it I.
Now that the White Jasmine Lord is myself,
What use for words at all?
-AKKA MAHADEVI

On the Spirit of the Heart as Moon-Disk
 

Merely to know
The Flawless Moon dwells pure
In the human heart
Is to find the Darkness of the night
Vanished under clearing skies.
-KOJIJU

Birth, old age,
Sickness, and death:
From the beginning,
This is the way
Things have always been.
Any thought
Of release from this life
Will wrap you only more tightly
In its snares.
The sleeping person
Looks for a Buddha,
The troubled person
Turns towards meditation.
But the one who knows
That there’s nothing to seek
Knows too that there’s nothing to say.
She keeps her mouth closed.
-LY NGOC KIEU