January 3, 2014

Sno

Here in central NJ I’m watching the snow come down. Looks like we have a good ten inches or more. Startling to gaze at this east coast winter wonderland and realize it’s sunny and warm on the west coast and there’s a heat wave in Australia. To those readers in places with more serious blizzard conditions than we’re having here, I wish you warmth, safety, and the good fortune to be able to stay indoors until you choose to venture out…. To those facing the opposite weather extremes, I wish you cooling breezes and gentle rain. Weather extremes notwithstanding, I wish everyone a good beginning to 2014.

01a08a75fb7d3dbe22537bd9e713d19cdd31b1757e

suzingreen.com   It’s been an auspicious start for me. January 1, my new album and website both went live. These have been major projects and what a joy to see them launch. Please visit the website — http://www.suzingreen.com — we’re still fine tuning but the basics are there.

Album Cover - CopyThe Mantra Project, Vol. I: Daughter of the Mountain     Please click the tab at the top of this blog for details about this new release. Of course we’d love you to buy copies and/or download tracks, but you can also listen for free through the wonders of Sound Cloud and Spotify. Please help us get this music out to the world. Reviews on iTunes and CD Baby along with shout-outs on FB and Twitter are most appreciated.

Finally, to regular [and new] visitors to this blog, let me say I’m keenly aware that posting has been erratic bordering on remiss. It’s been impossible to stay current here while working on the new album and writing content for the website. Plus, we started a major house-painting project in October so I’ve been living and working in a semi-construction zone since then. I do record class every week so there’s quite a lot of material to post here. I’m truly looking forward to things settling down and being able to get back to some semblance of regular blogging. For now, I thank you for your enduring patience and ongoing support of my work.

With love and fond wishes to you all.

Suzin

 

Monday, September 16: The Great River of Being

euphoria

This week’s class shook up my long-time format of dharma talk at the beginning and silent meditation at the end. This change was not intended. I was simply going with the flow of the śaktī. While the notion of going with the flow has become a cliche, still, there’s a lot of truth to it. Attending to the present moment is always more interesting than being stuck in past or future whatever. Of course we have to be willing to risk leaving the known. And everything that encompasses.  Easier said than done and why practice practice practice is essential…

Here’s the opening dharana for this class. Which runs around 7 minutes and uses the metaphor of river to inspire silent meditation.

The sound quality on this week’s recording of class chanting Om Namah Shivaya is not great. Instead of posting that, I thought I’d make a small recording of me chanting solo. This will be easier on your ears.

Were I to give this week’s dharma talk a title, I’d call it “Operating Instructions for Consciousness.” It runs around 15 minutes, explores ways of working with thought and emotion, and reaffirms why chanting is a profound vehicle for awakening. This description makes it all sound rather dry and predictable. Which, heaven forbid, it most assuredly is not! If you hear bells jingling, you’re not imagining it. That’s my cat coming into the room…

I’ve recently discovered the poetry of Lorri Neilson Glenn. I did not read this poem at class but am moved to end this post with a short excerpt:

….
Listen,
nothing lasts. Quiet can be stolen like your bag
in the street. You will soon be awake in all the wrong places,
your words snatched out of time. Oblivion is a wise
old teacher: there is no try. It’s all right. You didn’t get it
until this moment, did you? Wake every chance you can, join
the chorus, praise the wild. Carry, light…

from Wild, by Lorri Neilson Glenn, from her collection, Lost Gospels, published by Brick Books, 2010.

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…

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.

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.