Monday, April 23, 2012
Sadhana is the spiritual disciplines given to the sadhak and is the means of gaining integrity with Guru, Ishta, and ones True Nature. Sadhana is often translated as "spiritual practice", but the word "practice" doesn't really resonate with the imminence and immediacy of each "event" (practice implies doing something for some future "event"). There are several factors that go into making a powerful sadhana, but the "who" factors are always more important than the "what" factors. People don't like to deal with the "who" factors because everything becomes Real and they become accountable. It is a confrontation in many ways and that makes people uncomfortable. The common impulse is to deal in less controversial "whats" like "that mantra is really great", "that Tantric text is awesome", or "that Deity (picture) sure is great". If someone is dead, then they can become a safe "what" also, "gee that old dead saint sure is great". But the "who's" are where the action is, and one can't hide behind the proximity of the "what". In the living tradition, there should be no difference between the "who" and the "what".
It seems sort of (sadly) typical that one encounters a spiritual discipline like a three year old child. Someone once told me that they tried the worship of Krishna, tried Buddhism, and tried a bunch of other things, but "none of them worked". I told that there was a common element in that equation and maybe the problem wasn't with those "paths". A good sadhak will get results from any spiritual endeavor because they will throw all of themselves into it, while a typical moron will not get any result even if they are given the most powerful mantra from the mouth of the greatest Guru. A pranam mantra in the heart of a true sadhak is powerful and the universe shakes, while a bija mantra in the mouth of a idiot is powerless. Who beats what, and not all 'who's" (in whoville) are equal. People throw about all kinds of words and lay down the campy wisdom speak, but when push comes to shove they often reveal themselves. Time is either a redeemer or a revealer.
The sadhana will ultimately be what one puts into it. If you are tired and insincere, then your sadhana will lack intensity. It is not a deficiency of the sadhana, it is time to question one’s heart. Certain sentiments one of sincerity cannot and will never relate too. One should never come out of sadhana the same being that they went into it. There is always more to give of yourself and there is always a greater depth. Real sadhaks get nervous feelings before sadhana...everyday! It is the type of nervous one would get before a big event/encounter, and the sadhana should be a big event. People don't feel this because they think they have time, but your going to be dead fairly soon. Then your going to flop around like a fish out of water when your identity (you) gets crushed. A clever slogan or sly manipulation at this point is meaningless. One is left with the (uncontrived) substance that is not under the control of thought. Unless a sadhana hits upon the substantive nature (substance in terms of reality which in a way is insubstantial), then anything "gathered" is just more food for Death. Please understand that there will be no choices. Now is the time of choice, and one can choose to go all out or one can be a typical lukewarm fetishist who never fully commits. There are actualities, and it is actualities that should be the primary interest of the sadhak. One announces clearly what they are made of in every sadhana. This is KNOWN. One may think that its all a personal secret in their personal little box that "sadhana" is a part of. But when you enter a serious path then "Being"/”Reality” takes note. When one is serious, then the subtle realms are influenced, and something responds without doubt. An uncompromising sincerity is like a thorn in the side of creation, and it cannot be ignored. If one is really bold and persistent, then one may face some irritants. If one does encounter challenge then take it as a compliment and a potential source of power.
One should seek a integrity with the living source which reveals the primordial source. This is a bit of a discomfort because people can only assume that other people are (neurotically) reflective in the way that they are (so make assumptions). However, in encountering a “mirror” nakedly, one may encounter their true nature. One must admit that it is a slight embarrassment to the snark culture as well as an actual embarrassment to ones self deceptions to see the highest as mudra in another. However, to not be able to do so reveals that one is not capable of seeing it within themselves and harbours serious doubts about their own nature. It is the danger that the ego/self senses which makes it draw back. Let just deal with "the Goddess" (I like her) and those photos and murthis....lets say "namaste" and "jai ma" and wish people "blessings". Much nicer then an actual encounter which gives those words meaning. And one may have to deal with other words...less nice words! A good sadhak is a challenge to the Guru because they are always giving more and stripping bare, and this means there must be a response. These are not matters of choice. The Guru doesn't say "I will give love and blessings to Frank today and Betty tomorrow". The substance of what Frank or Betty puts forth makes that choiceless determination. Love is irresistible and is the easiest path. Most are not open enough to be truly touched by love, but the irony is that it is effortlessly one own birth right. . So why not see? As an experiment, one can just open up and be willing to experience, and in that openness challenge Reality. A true sadhak is always a challenge to a Guru (Ishta, Reality) from heart. One should always push the depths. Be willing to see how heart breaking a love can be. How intense the fire can get. Be willing to die. One must be willing to die! To die into... There is so much to what can take place, but people are self limiting. Why? What is there to loose? We only have a short time in this precious life…don’t waste opportunity.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
There is often an indulgent self-pity laden mentality surrounding the issue of trust. Regardless if it is surrounding an issue of spiritual relationship (with guru, mentor etc.) or regular interpersonal relationship, the issue of trust is oft emphasized as a critical requirement. It is largely an exaggeration of clinging identification which depends upon an outlook of fragility. Granted, most people are extremely fragile because identity is extremely fragile, but this is great…if it can be broken, then let it break. All that is truly required is that one trust themselves in the deepest possible way. This sort of trust is not dependent upon the whims of others, nor does it hold back for fear of being hurt in some way because one trusts in the infinitely resilient true nature. There is no shame is trusting the substantive quality even if the perceived object “betrays” that trust. In fact, this is “snatching the diamond within the muck” or as is the case for a paramahamsa (“great swan”), extracting the milk from the water. In the case of love (which is at the heart of many trust issues), ones love can never be betrayed, a person may act in ways contrary to how one would like or not appreciate the feeling, but the love (as a substantive quality) is never harmed. Certainly, attachments can be harmed/broken, and there is a certain “sting” associated when someone acts contrary to a substantive feeling, but real trust involves being willing to take or absorb that sting.
A person needs to cease feeling sorry for themselves, and it can indeed be as simple as a strongly convicted decision to cease. As soon as you decide to live in that openness, one is going to get tested. People often sense openness as weakness and are going to introduce something “sharp”. In lay terms, someone may introduce an irritant or make a jab, so that will be the test. Will you close up, divide yourself, and protect yourself, or do you have trust in yourself (and the indivisible nature that can’t be harmed). In tantric terms, one may not “just take it” when presented with such a challenge, but may act skillfully from that nature and impose something. However, if one cannot take a challenge in openness, then any action (though maybe justified in “tantric” terms of exercising victory etc.) would just be a common defense. So to act skillfully, one has to trust themselves to remain open and trust action (and in a certain sense defense) to spring forth from that open ground (and the Ishta that “dwells” therein).
Trust belongs to you. Love belongs to you…in a deep sense is you (unconditionally). It is an interesting subjective experiment to see experientially if there are actually any differences in love. Feel how it feels inside to be loved…feel loved. And then feel how it feels to love someone/thing. And finally feel how it feels to just love. One who is earnest and sharp in perception will discover that there is no difference, and that the real substance does not depend upon other (or even self).
There comes a point when the idea of moving in openness (or closed etc.) becomes absolutely meaningless. Or the idea of letting the Ishta move from that openness also becomes meaningless. That is a point of a different type of trust. One really doesn't even have a choice for/after that.
Life is going to provide some blows, and one should take those blows nakedly. I like the word "blow" because when one openly encounters life, it can indeed feel like a punch to the gut. The difficult situations that arise are great opportunities to meet energy in a raw state. However, the impulse is usually one of contraction, and this contraction creates "knots". The contraction (and thus knots) are reinforced by the rationalizations that provide further defense for the hit. Taking the "hit" fully is a profound dharma which continually opens and reveals. The immediate pain can even transmute in the moment to bliss when the energy is accepted without story or defense. Moreover, the defense (in the contraction) usually relates to the protection of self (identity) and the wise sadhak will use situation/interaction and any blows there from to help break that which is breakable (and reveal “that” which is not).
The nature of the "blows" will differ based on person/situation, and can be a heartbreak, an illness, or be as simple as a harsh word (or as simple as life itself). While it is best to directly encounter in the moment, one can engage directly with past "blows" that were not "taken" because the contraction/defense leaves the energetic residue. It is important to note that this is not about a psychological process (which is largely the contraction process), nor the indulgence in memory (or hurt), but rather a direct encounter. The nature of ego sense/self identity is very fragile, so it usually doesn't take much for people to feel hurt and defensive. In fact, most people are not ready to take even a harsh word or a sharp wisdom. (It runs contraction, defense, and then aggression). To be ready to take a sharp energy, one must be able to encounter life situation (and the myriad poke and barbs both subtle and gross) and take the hit without closing up. To take challenge as path, means that one is without obstruction, as everything indicates freedom.
All this does not mean that one should let people piss on them, and one should also stand and protect the dignity within. But part of that dignity is being able to absorb (which is to say disperse) blows. The engagement without defense is in actuality a profound defense since the energy lacks a place to "land". It just "pings" the heart and then is liberated. As one sees energy liberated and begins the see "self" in such terms, then all is liberated. Of course, all this is not to suggest that one should "allow" people to dump their garbage on them or invade the subtle body. These are different matters, the distinction of which is either apparent or one may need to see the distinction in their own life.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
"The going forth of consciousness is in actuality a contraction" Yoginihridaya
The above quote really points to something profound when considered a bit deeper. When one thinks about the Universe and its mind blowing vastness with billions of galaxies and countless stars, seen in the context of nearly immeasurable time, then one has the sense of “the going forth of consciousness”. Often though, the intuition (or teaching) is that this “going forth” is the expansion of consciousness, but what is indicated here is that it is a contraction. The implication is truly stunning, as it indicates the true endless depth of consciousness which is verily ones true nature. Even within the smaller context of a life or a life stream, the manifestation (going forth) is a contraction within the vast backdrop of the limitless consciousness. To recognize the contraction allows one to open through it or penetrate it, and to recognize a contraction in something so vast (as the Universe itself) is an opportunity to awaken deeply to what one always has been (when not contracted). It is just so beautiful and thrilling, and such a vast mystery!!! One will never “solve” the mystery, but can only get out of the way and be it.