Sunday, December 27, 2009

Experiencing the Screen

"By the power of her own free will does she (Citi) unfold the Universe upon her own screen."
~Pratyabhijnahrdyam ("The Heart of Recognition"), Sutra (Verse) 1.2

I have been thinking about writing about the past couple of months for a while... but somehow, it hasn’t happened; maybe it’s time now. This is going to be a long post, but it needs to be written all at once, so please bear with me.

Around the middle of October, I realized I was in a phase where nothing was touching me. I was going through life and I could feel this calmness within. It was not like anything I had experienced before... somehow it seemed more solid. I was of course waiting for this calmness to go away … it always has, before. I would have an opening, and a beautiful insight of some kind, enjoying it, and then letting it go, and, in the past at least, it always did go away, eventually. Then, it would be the same cycle of a bit of peace, of bit of upset; a bit of confusion, a bit of clarity, again for some time … followed by another opening, after a few weeks or a few months, which would last anywhere from a day, to maybe a few days.

However, this time, this feeling of not being touched by anything stayed with me for two weeks.

Then I met Nithyananda for a second time.

My first darshan with him had been six months prior to that, at the end of April. 

I was originally introduced to Paramahamsa Nithyananda a couple of years ago, when I was working with the gap technique; someone at the AYP forums posted a link to one of his videos.

I would spend hours listening to his videos on YouTube. I just resonated with his words, and he always seemed to have the right advice for me at the right time. 

So when I heard he was going to be in the U.S., I had to go see him. I remember being elated to see him in person, as he glided into the room. The day was divided into his disciples teaching and then Nithyananda teaching. When Nithyananda spoke, he said almost the same things his disciples did … but his words had a power to them that kind of shook me from within.

At the end of the day, Nithyananda offers you what he calls energy darshan (shaktipat) -- the direct experience of the guru’s consciousness. 

Just before that, though, he guides everyone through a kundalini raising meditation, in preparation. That meditation is very powerful, and it really opened up my heart, and made tears roll down my cheeks; my heart felt like it was overflowing with gratitude. 

When I was in line to receive darshan, just a few feet from Nithyananda, I was is a space of total surrender and gratitude and loving. 

I stood there thinking, "I can’t believe I’m actually here, in front of him! I’ve spent at least an hour or two, three or four days a week, listening to him on YouTube for the past two years, and now I’m here. I’m actually standing in front of this man, whose teachings have supported me through my journey, and who words have created openings in my life and consciousness beyond what I ever could have imagined."  I was so very, very grateful to him.

It was finally my turn to be in front of him. He looked at me and with a childlike smile, and he asked me, "Do you want to ask for something?"

I had tears rolling down my cheeks, and I could barely speak; I just nodded my head.

He said in a very caring voice, “Ask". 

I looked into his eyes and said, "I want enlightenment". 

His face lit up in a smile and he said, "It will happen". 

After this, I really don't remember anything. Total stillness is all I remember. I can tell you what happened physically, based on what I saw happening to the hundreds of other people there. Nithyananda places his thumb on your third eye, and then he hugs you. I don't remember any of it, though.

The very next thing I actually remember is that I was walking away from him, and him telling me to "keep unclutching".

I lived on a high for a week or more after that, but my mind was angry at me. I had so much more to ask from him. My questions should have been more structured. I should have told him how grateful I was for all his help. 

The next six months were turbo-charged with purification and openings. I had many, many dreams of him.

I also relaxed into sleep, connecting with him as a form of meditation or samyama, as described here. Whenever I had a question, I would ask him using this technique and I got answers, either through his discourses or through the AYP forums, or through something I read, etc. 

I found that I was getting really attached to him, even though I was sure I could never be attached to a guru. But here I was, wishing I could be in his presence again, to be able to spend more time with him.

Then the strangest thing happened. Someone at the forum pointed out to a website that spoke against Nithyananda.  It was so strange how the mind jumped in, and seemed so disappointed about how this amazing soul could actually be so harsh, in real life (based on the negative stories about him). 

I went through almost a week of feeling disconnected with him. A part of my mind was disappointed with him, a part of my mind was trying to convince the other part that it was stupid to believe such stories, and that I should just let it go etc. 

Then came one of the most beautiful openings I’ve ever experienced. 

Nithyanada appeared, smiling … and showing me how I was actually attached to the form of Nithyananda … when in reality, the guru that was guiding me was the Nithyananda in me. The form does not matter. The body-mind will do what the body-mind will do; the real connection with a master, and the real master … is at a level much deeper than that. 

A real master is guiding you from within. S/he is in you; S/he is you. The only thing that separates you from a master is you

I fell in love with Nithyananda all over again, but it was no longer with his form. Now, it wasn’t his form that touched my heart; it was that infinite stillness he showed me, when our eyes met for a minute or two during darshan. 

I’ve often wondered: how is it that when he touched me, I did not feel his thumb on my forehead? Or how, when he hugged me, I did not feel his hands around me, or smell him, or feel the fabric of his robe on my cheek? It's because he was not there. When he gave me darshan, his physical form was right there, but that is not what I experienced; I experienced the eternal bliss, the Nithya-ananda (eternal bliss) that he is to me.

This poem came to me right after the experience: Fall in love with...

I continued with my highs and lows. Some of the things I was experiencing I had written about here: Dropping the "me". There was a point when I was so tired of it that I asked him to please stop this, and to give me permanent enlightenment. 

The very next day I watched a video in which he said, "When you have surrendered to me, let me work on you. Trust in the master, bear with a bit of discomfort and allow the master to work on you".  So I let it go. 

I remember wishing I had an opportunity to meet him again, and the next day, someone at the forums posted about Nithyananda's next visit to the United States, at the end of October. 

Then around the middle of October, I had this shift of being the stillness … the shift I described at the beginning of this post.

Two weeks later I met him for a second time. 

Although I had wished this would be one more of those huge deal moments, it really was not. There was so much calmness in me, that being in his presence felt normal. He guided us through the kundalini raising meditation again. This time I had a sudden burst in emotions and I cried happily for a bit.

Then I was standing in front of him, once again. This time, I did not know what to ask him, so I simply thanked him for all his help over the past six months, and asked him to make enlightenment permanent.

I did not lose myself this time. I was aware through it all. But I still did not feel his touch or his hug nor did I smell him or feel his clothes. I saw the physical form of him, but he was not there. His eyes were beautifully empty, and you could see the vastness in them.  I walked away with no major “woo-hoo” feeling, this time … maybe that’s hard to feel, when you’re actually this wall of stillness.

I have been going through a very busy phase, recently. I worked with more than a dozen seven and eight year old kids a few weeks back, on a dance for a cultural program. I had done a similar program a few years back, and then, it was really stressful. This time I enjoyed it more than I could have imagined. The kids were, of course, kids … and they can get a bit out of control and loud at times. I found myself raising my voice at times to calm them down, and yet it would surprise me every time, because my inside did not realize the outside was showing disapproval to the noise; my experience as the stillness and peace on the inside, remained, throughout.

The best evidence of this was on the day of the program itself. In addition to choreography, I also helped with the stage setup for a group of kids that sing and play instruments.The setup is pretty complicated: microphones positioned in certain specific places, speakers in certain positions, and so on, so that the overall sound quality is good. I was finally all set… when I was unexpectedly told to move everything, because the opening act was a dance and they needed the stage cleared. Every year for this program, the song/instrumental piece is first … mainly because of the complexity of the stage/microphone setup.

So, when I was told I had to move the entire setup, I couldn’t believe it. However, what really surprised me was, when people around me started saying: "Calm down; It's Okay; it’s okay … we’ll get the original setup back in place real quick!"
  It was only then I realized, although I didn’t even feel touched by the situation at hand, that my body-mind was reacting … showing disapproval and anger, and basically reacting like it has always reacted, in similar situations.

This really took me by surprise; “Wow!” I thought, “So my inside and my outside are not in sync!”  I asked Yogani (founder of AYP and my guide and mentor since the beginning of my journey. His kindness and encouragement is what has kept me going and for that I am eternally grateful), if this was normal. Should I make an effort in being conscious of my behavior on the outside, or does the body mind automatically follow the calmness inside?

His reply as always, was so perfect:
"Conduct is a mixture of karmic habit (personality) and the choices coming from the perspective of abiding inner silence.

Sternness has a purpose, as does all conduct. Some of the greatest sages could be pretty grumpy. Yogananda was known to fly into rages, and then wink at his disciples as if to say, "The divine is still in here, but you have to cope with this raging body/mind for now."

It will go eventually where you want it to go. The fact that you are noticing (witnessing) gives you increasing choice. It is not a fixed situation. Our relationship with action continues to evolve as we do.

There is also the automatic aspect that takes care of everything like you described. It all becomes more like that. Then our choice is to let it happen. Stillness in action..." 

A few days later the poem Harmony flowed, but I still did not have words to express this calmness/stillness I was experiencing. Then the Movie Screen analogy came to me … and I still don't have better words than that to describe what I am experiencing.

The thing that is a bit unclear is the loss in the bhakti aspect. It is not hurting me, I guess, but here is missing that connection with the master. Not just Nithyananda; I’ve always had a very strong connection with Ramakrishna and Ma Kali, too … but I don't feel those connections, any more, either. Practices continue as usual, but bhakti seems to have diminished. This could be because there is no sense of needing to achieve anything anymore or be something else or somewhere else anymore. There is just living what is happening in this moment. 

Am I worried or upset? No, not at all. I think it's a phase thing, but it may not be. I have never read about any of the masters talking about losing their bhakti toward their ishta. However, currently, I cannot feel that connection any more. Though I have full faith that if it has to be back, it will be back. Till then, this … whatever “this” is, is awesomely beautiful and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Have all the comforts and discomforts of living life gone? No, like in the poem Harmony: it is all still here... the challenges, the drama, the craziness, the happiness, the loving, the busyness, the silliness, the laughing, the crying … it's all still right here, but it is all happening on a screen of stillness, and that screen is not touched. 
It all happens … and the next minute when it’s gone, it is like a dream that happened. Things flow like they are flowing. There is doing, but the doer strangely feels like a dream. Like that touch and hug of Nithyananda... it happened, but it never really did, because if it did my physical body should have registered it.

When living happens moment by moment, the present moment is real, but only while it is here, then it's a dream.  The future exists out there somewhere, but like that touch, exists and yet it does not. 

Is it going to be like this forever? I don't really know, nor do I care to know.

I have this present right now, and that is all that matters.

Does this place I am in have a name? Who wants to know that? The only one who would like to know answers to questions like that is not here right now. But if she is ever back, I will let you know. If you are still reading, I would like to thank you for sharing this part of my journey with me.

I asked Yogani about the loss in bhakti I have been experiencing. Here is his answer:
"It is very normal, since bhakti is a play in duality and non-duality simply is. Which is not to say bhakti ends. It only shifts to become more a deep appreciation (love) than a seeking. It is present in our service, where we move for the Oneness of all. It may be unspoken and ordinary (with no mind assessment), chopping the wood and carrying the water. Good things are... " ~Yogani

Thank You Yogani. This definitely clears things up.

Was just listening to Nithyananda, and he said, "You will not miss me, you will be in me, how will you miss me?"  (Deeper Insights into Life 25 min into the video) 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Shakti (doing/action) and Buddhi (knowing)

You may have heard of a prayer called, Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

There is a tantra technique that Nithyananda explains in this video: Practising Living Enlightenment (about 33 min into this).

Nithyananda says in order to be enlightened, you need to have shakti (doing/action) to change what you can change and buddhi (knowing) to know and accept what you can't change. When you have this, there is no conflict. Living enlightenment is finally living a (internal) conflict free life.

So how do you know, what can be changed and what needs to be accepted. If in your sleep state, you are restless, many dreams, you feel stressed out, then there is something happening in your waking state that needs your shakti, your action to change. Like get organized or get your chores that you have been putting off for awhile, completed.

If you feel restless and stressed out in your waking state, then you need to apply buddhi (knowing) to your life.. look into your life and see there is something you are not accepting, something that "is" but you are not ready to accept "what is". Like your partner does not listen to you or your partner has moved on, but you cannot let go, or your parents don't help you, many of the other mind stories that keep us bound to suffering.

So in the waking state if you feel stressed out, you need to apply your buddhi (knowing) to accept things as they are. If you are restless in your sleep state, you need to apply shakti (doing) in your waking state to change things that can be changed.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Breathing Into the Heart

Here is another technique that came to me, and I find really powerful: 

It is like a combination of heart breathing and spinal breathing.  

During in breath, you drop your awareness from the head to heart... like I talked about in the Dropping Into The Heart technique, drop into your heart and at the same time move your awareness and energy from root to heart. In the out breath you let go in the heart and let it expand.

It feels like the union of energy/shakti and silence/Shiva. There is a feeling of complete stillness in the heart which moves outward. The expansion changes from emptiness to light. It is beautiful.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Talking To God

One of my favorite techniques: At the point when you are just falling asleep and yet you are awake, talk to your Ishta(chosen ideal) or God. 

You are really relaxed and on the verge of falling asleep and yet you are awake enough that you are subtly aware (without being consciously aware) of your body and surrounding and know you are not unconscious yet. 

This is a very powerful place to pray from. I generally talk to Nithyananda from here and the beauty is, generally Nithyananda never is in the form of Nithyananda, he has morphed from Krishna to Jesus to Ma Kali to Durga to Ramakrishna and some gurus I don't even know. 

Any intention you have at this point will manifest... mainly I think its because your mind is relaxed and ready to sleep and is out of the way and your intentions at this point is pure.

Dropping Into The Heart

When I would find myself really caught up in mind, I would bring my attention down to the heart. The way I did this is I would use my mind to put my awareness on my heart and think from my heart.  

But there is a more effective way to bring attention to the heart... just drop into the heart from the inside.  

So you are in your head, now just drop from head thru your throat into your heart. It's a subtle relaxing movement from head to heart while following your awareness from head to heart.  

The mind is not involved in bringing attention to the heart, the mind is left back in your head. When you can do this, there is an experience of emptiness and thoughtlessness (even if for a few second) when you "drop" in here. (Works great for solar centering too.)

A variation to this technique was posted at the AYP Forums by Scott:

Dropping into the heart...

Something you can try instead of starting from the head and dropping down, is beginning with the awareness within the heart and imagining/feeling that you're shining or radiating outward.  Then the energy in the head is naturally sucked down without trying.

Everyone is different, so this is just a perspective shift that may make it easier for some.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Movie Screen.

For years I have heard about the "us being a screen and life projecting it's movie on us" analogy. I have used it many times. It is so perfect. Really, watch the screen, it is not touched by what is going on in the movie. This screen is the silence on which the colors of life project and make the movie.

Well, over a bit more than a month there has been a shift. I did not have words to explain what this shift felt like, but it came to me this morning.

So far when I give the movie screen analogy, I am looking at a movie screen and how the movie with all its drama is passing over it without touching it.  Well, the shift that has happened is that now, I am the movie screen and the drama of life is passing over this screen.

Read the next few lines from the perspective of "I am a screen" and not "what the screen out there is experiencing". Like when in school,  they made us write autobiography of inanimate objects, like a book... you become the book and say what the book is experiencing... like that read the rest of the lines in this post as tho it is the screen talking and not me talking for the screen.

When I say I am the screen, I am not talking about this body mind, I am talking about something that cannot be expressed in words, not a witness, not something separate from me... more like a solid (and yet made of air, completely transparent and hollow) wall of silence (the canvas of silence on which things are happening.

The body mind reacts to things going on around me... there is laughing and crying and happiness and anger and singing and loving and hugging and being silly.

The difference, when I am the screen, I don't experience the movie... so the body mind which seems like a part of the movie right now... reacts to external stimuli, however being the screen I don't get to partake in any of it since it is all being projected on me. Like, unless you stand in front of a mirror you cannot see yourself, so if people have painted your face and put some silly clothes on you and put signs all over you, you would have no clue what was happening and you can happily go about your day without knowing what has happened to you... unless you look in a mirror you don't see things on you. Like that the screen has no idea what is going on on it.

When the scene being projected changes, the previous scene is gone without leavening a mark and the next scene is enjoyed.  There is no evaluation of what is happening and hence there is no attachment or aversion to the previous moment or current or future.

Since the projection is happening on me, I don't see the reds and blues and yellows and greens... since I don't see them I don't label them red, blue, yellow and green, there is no evaluation,  the reds and blues and greens and yellows all become a part of the same picture and blend in perfect harmony.

Then there is no wishing for anything different since every scene, every color has a part in the movie, no part is more or less intense to the movie screen.


The Blues and Reds and Yellows and Blacks and Whites all merge to make a beautiful painting.
You may love the color red
but dislike the color blue.
And yet
When they are together in a painting,
You see the beauty in the harmony of all the colors
not individual ones.

Life is like that.
There is laughing and crying and joy and sorrow...
There is praising and scolding and accepting and blaming...
There is loving and rejecting and hugging and brushing aside.
But together they make a beautiful painting on the canvas of silence.

If you just look at only the red color in the painting because you are attracted to it
and ignore the blue...
You don't see the harmony of the painting
If you look for only the good in life and ignore the bad
you miss the beauty of the painting of life.

All of it is present in perfect harmony,
Unless we decide we prefer one color over the other.


Friday, November 20, 2009



The Blues and Reds and Yellows and Blacks and Whites all merge to make a beautiful painting.
You may love the color red
but dislike the color blue.
And yet
When they are together in a painting,
You see the beauty in the harmony of all the colors
not individual ones.

Life is like that.
There is laughing and crying and joy and sorrow...
There is praising and scolding and accepting and blaming...
There is loving and rejecting and hugging and brushing aside.
But together they make a beautiful painting on the canvas of silence.

If you just look at only the red color in the painting because you are attracted to it
and ignore the blue...
You don't see the harmony of the painting
If you look for only the good in life and ignore the bad
you miss the beauty of the painting of life.

All of it is present in perfect harmony,
Unless we decide we prefer one color over the other.


Breaking The Mind Shaft.

When I started with the "Gap technique", someone at the AYP forums told me about some videos to watch on the Shiva Sutras by Swami Nithyananda.

Swami Nithyananda's main teaching is to "be unclutched". He explained how every moment in our lives is a new moment. We however connect these moments and make a long shaft of pleasure or pain (shaft of "depression" or "poverty" or "unhappiness" or "happiness"). We connect every moment and say the pain I feel today, and the pain I felt yesterday and the pain I felt a week back are all connected.

The day we can see that each moment is individual, unconnected moments.. the min. we unclutch from the shaft,  find the "gap" between every moment, we see none of the moments are connected. But we connect it all and make a shaft of pain and/or pleasure.

We try to break a pain shaft and try to elongate a pleasure shaft using external means. Neither of them will help. We need to stop connecting the moments that make the shaft (through methods like meditation, self inquiry). He said when you ask for healing.. all he does is replace the pain shaft with a wellness shaft.. but only YOU can stop making shafts.

So how do we break the shaft? 

This can be done at two levels.

The first one is at a practical level

It can be practiced as we go about our day.

At the end of the day, when we decide to label the day as a "bad day" or "stressful day" or "depressing day", go through the day in your mind and make mental notes of things that  happened based on which we are labeling the day as we are.

Now, if it was a "bad day" or a "feeling down day",  make an effort to pick on the moments in the day when you were happy, if you enjoyed your morning tea, if you smiled at someone or someone smiled at you, if you laughed at a joke, if you saw something that made you smile.. watch how these break the lows in the day... Identify these moments that don't fit into the label of "low day" and break the day up into moments of happiness and moments of lows...  don't connect the lows.

We use up a lot of mental energy (hence the mental tiredness, depression) in connecting the lows to make a shaft of one big low.. when we stop connecting we free up a lot of mental energy. We need to break the mind shafts we have formed. We also need to break the mental pattern of thinking we have created that make these mind shafts stronger.  It wont happen in a day, but starting out with small things, observing the day is made up of moment by moment by moment.. and each moment  is free of the previous (memory) and next (imagination).. will help you break shafts and you will find you have freed up the mind so it can rest.

At first the shaft may be years long... for instance, a person thinks:

"I have been suffering from depression for 10 years." 

Well the depression you felt 10 years ago and the one you felt 5 years ago, and the one you experienced 6 months ago and the one you experienced a week ago are not the same. We connect these and make it one long shaft. 

And, so to to dissolve the shaft, we can go back and identify the moments when we were not depressed. We can remember how we enjoyed a party or a movie or a vacation or a night out or a book or a trip or a job.... and see how these broke the depression of 10 years. So the one shaft of 10 year long depression is now broken into smaller shafts of depression. It no longer is a huge monster, but little ones that came up in the 10 years.

Then we try to break up the day... maybe break it to  half a day.. then as you keep identifying the breaks in the day.. breaks when you are not feeling low... your moments will refine to hours, minutes, seconds... you will be able to actually watch how each second is independent of the previous and next.

The second technique is actually finding the gap (which is experienced as silence) and live from this.

The second technique is based on the technique described here:

One way to catch the gap is between inhaling and exhaling:

inhale <--gap--> exhale <--gap--> inhale <--gap--> exhale <--gap--> inhale <--gap--> exhale

We don't hold our breaths between inhale and exhale. However we catch the gaps, the slight pause between the inhale and exhale. Notice how during the gaps there are no thoughts. Try to catch and remember how it feels between in breath and out breath. Now try to take that feeling, that silence with you into the breathing. It's a very subtle movement of stillness into your inhale and exhale. At first it will be a very short moment of silence that may be easy to miss.. but you will soon be able to feel the stillness moving into your every moment.

Another way to access the gap, the silence is between two thoughts.

So we try to find a gap between two thoughts. A thought arises and subsides and the next one arises. Between the points of a thought subsiding and the next thought arising is a gap.
               u                                                  u                                                u
           o      g                                        o         g                                     o        g

       h                  h                             h                 h                            h               h
 t                             t<--gap--> t                          t<--gap--> t                        t<--gap-->
 Need a new pair <--gap--> Sales at Macy's <--gap--> cant afford it  <--gap-->
      of shoes                                                                                         this month    

So we identify these gaps and experience the silence there is between two thoughts. Try and remember this experience and without effort (very subtly)  try and pull this experience into the next thought. Also try  to increase the duration of these gaps between the thoughts. So make an effort to delay the next thought hence prolonging the gap.

As Nithyananda explains in one of his videos... the duration of the gap and the duration of a thought are the same. However we experience the thoughts more than the gap because we focus more on the thoughts. If we can slowly move our focus, our attention to the gap, we can actually increase the time we spend in the gap/the stillness for longer periods than we do in thoughts.

Another way to access the gap is with sight. Focus on an object.. then slowly get that object out of your focus and focus on something else... the point when neither of the objects are in focus you should feel be able to experience the gap.

If you can do this with your thought.. you don't need to practice it with your breath.. doing it with your breath is what you need to do when you cannot access the gaps in your thoughts.

Work on it with your thought or breath through the day.. every time you remember take yourself into the gap and take this gap into your activity... operate from this gap.

The other thing to try is keeping part awareness on yourself no matter what else you are doing. So if you are reading this post.. you will find yourself completely focused on that task.. but consciously bring part of the focus into yourself.

Finally you should be able to live from this gap all the time.. while you are completely engaged in this world. These are just tools we use between our sitting practice session to cultivate the habit of accessing the gap and staying in it for as long as we can. Some people are lucky to wake up and be in this place.. some of us have to practice unlearning living externally and learn to live in the internal bliss once we have access to some .

Helpful videos: 

Monday, November 16, 2009

Does the mind chatter ever stop?

In my experience, the chatter does not stop.. at least it hasn't here... but the attachment and judgment of the chatter is less and less and less. 

Before practices.. it's like your mind has a 100 acres filled with thoughts. When you start meditation, the 100 acre increases to maybe 200 acres with 100 acres of thoughts and 100 acres of silence. As you keep going, you experience your mind as 100,000 acres with 100 acres of thoughts. The 100 acres of thoughts stays there always, that is what the mind does.. but the silence increases and so the thoughts seem like a tiny spec in  that vast silence.

I waited for a long time for the mind to stop the chatter.. but clearly it has no plans of stopping.. and the harder I tried, the more frustrated I got and the focus on the mind chatter got stronger. 

One thing that did help was the Drop till "You" Drop  technique, when you realize you are thinking, drop the thought, don't give it a logical end, don't give it any explanations or importance by saying "I have to get this chatter to stop".. chatter.. drop.. chatter.. drop again... so on. 

This technique is not for thoughts that need self inquiry. But random (at times annoying) thoughts that surface all day long and take up so much on our energy... like "Oh, the sun is so warm, I just love walking around in the sunshine. I don't get why I have to tell myself I am enjoying the walk. Why does my mind need to tell me what I am already experiencing. Why? Why? Why? Shut Up mind!!!".. when you realize you are thinking the thought.. just drop.. stop thinking the thought.

How do you pray?

I ask in silence and let go. Not expecting anything, just knowing and trusting the silence (which has many names like Jesus, Buddha, Shiva, Krishna, truth, stillness) knows and will grant you your prayer in whatever way is right for you (not necessarily the way your mind thinks it should be).

Practice.. Open.. Allow...

When someone tells us .. we will meet God.. we have an image of what God is.. and when he brushes our face as a butterfly.. we miss it.. because we are waiting for him to show up in the form we have made up in our mind.

This journey is a journey to achieve "nothing". If people tell us this.. no one will follow the path. So spirituality is made to sound like something that is so magnificent and so vast and so very out there (which it is because it is beyond the mind's comprehension that "nothing" can be so awesome).. when in reality.. it is right here.. right now.. and if we just stop trying to measure our progress with the measurement scale we have let our mind create.. we will find we have actually moved far ahead and we don't know it because we are trying to see it with what our "ego" has defined progress in our mind. We have a preconceived idea of what we should feel and see.. and when we are stuck to this.. we miss the endless blessing and miracles happening every second in our life.

The hardest part of yoga is to unlearn all the concepts we have imagined.. and when we drop that.. when we drop imagination.. when we drop the concepts.. when we drop the ego stories of what it should be.. we will experience "what is". Just because our mind is not getting the satisfaction of seeing progress like it thinks progress should be.. we think there is nothing happening. If we drop the thought.. "I need to experience bliss", "I need to see through my third eye", "I need to experience scenery".. we will actually experience all we are looking for.. just not in the form we are expecting it. 

Just allow.. just open.. be ready to accept whatever comes our way, in whatever form, with an open heart, without analyzing, explaining, contemplating. 

Practice.. Open.. Allow... that is all there is for us to do.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dropping the "me"

Aug 06 2009

Before self inquiry, any time I suffered, it was someone else's fault. After self inquiry, I saw how no one else was responsible for me. I create my "heaven" and "hell". I could then drop many many many stories, labels and be free from suffering. The bigger ones (like people should behave a certain way, I should be treated a certain way, I should have all these things to make me happy, etc. ) are easier to drop, but the ones that are closer to heart and an ingrained part of our conditioning (subtle) are harder to drop.

Over the past couple of months, I have been going through loads of highs and lows. None of them last long, but they were getting thrown my way left, right and center. Although in my heart I knew it was important, I was really getting tired of this. Over the two months I have had many openings and realizations. But after every opening, the longing, uneasiness in my heart just came right back. It was like my bhakti was not going to let me rest in my opening and enjoy the high that came with it. I was getting frustrated, because I know and have experienced how the mind keeps all the suffering in place, and yet when in a low, I was completely pulled in. No self inquiry helped.

Here is how I saw it:

Awareness <-------------> Me (mind/body)
      |                    |
      |                    |
      V                    V
(stillness)             (highs/lows)

Things happen and when I am closer to awareness (stillness) I can let it all go.. I know its not happening to me.. it just is. When I am tired, or going thru purification, and the exact same thing happens, I now believe this is all happening to "Me". The beauty is while in awareness and when stuff happens, I can let the attachment to things go.. this becomes a habit, so when in the middle of "identifying with me".. the natural habit of identifying with me now drops faster. Hence the suffering of 3 years can be 3 min now. However, when identified with the "Me", self inquiry did not seem to help at all.

Whenever there is a true letting go, the situation will not cause any reaction, doesn't matter if we are identified with awareness or with our body/mind. If something can cause us any kind of flutter even for a second, we have not let it go completely. But I could not see how to let go the things that were causing me these flutters. That is when I realized, there was more to this than just the mind level self inquiry I was doing. There was healing and letting go needed at levels beyond the mind.

Anyways, three days back I was blessed with a huge opening without the usual "high", just stillness.. access to complete stillness and expansion. I have also had something major revealed to me. I could actually bring up and feel the emotions that accompanied many of the attachments I have not been able to separate myself from. It came to me to bring up the stories and let them go into the stillness I was experiencing. Like samyama. So I did. I brought one up, "my children may not love me in the future", and let it go in stillness. "My mom-in-law may come live with us", let it go, "I may be able to write, but I cannot teach in public, I may make a fool of myself in front of people", let it go, and a few others. As I continued with this, I saw the common thread in all of this... "fear". I saw how everything, everything that was bothering me and that I could not let go had the common emotion "fear" driving it.
So I began to do samyama on the situation, dropped it into silence, then "fear" and dropped it into silence (bringing up the situation brings fear to the heart, so along with the word, I dropped the emotion) and then the "I" and dropped it into silence. I could not see how the "I" fit into this, but since it was "I" feeling this emotion due to the situation, I just went with it.

Soon the situations dissolved and only the emotion of fear remained. I remember someone once telling me or reading somewhere, "you can let go one situation at a time, or you can let it all go at one time. The first way will take forever, but the second will work in an instant". I was clueless as to how I can drop it all at once. There are so many things that make me sad or upset or scared. So I have been going with one thing at a time. Flutter.. hmmmm look into it.. ahh.. identify the story.. OK now drop it.. For the first time, after I saw the common emotion in every situation was "fear". I got how I can let it all go at one time by identifying the one common thread that keeps the string of suffering together.

So I continued samyama on the energy of "fear" and "I". Other than doing a sitting practice of this, outside my meditation time, I started doing this all through the day any time I felt a flutter in me. I looked into what caused the flutter, looked for the underlying emotion, it was always fear, fear of not being perfect, of being judged. So I picked up "fear" and dropped it in silence, then the word "I" and dropped it in silence. I still could not see how the "I" fit into this.

Then yesterday, while doing this practice, I suddenly saw..

"Who is this fear happening to?", "Me".

Who is this me? The container of this energy.

What me? A mother/friend/daughter-in-law.

    |                                     |           |
    |                                     |           |
    |                                     |           |
    v                                     v           v
The situation (not a good mother) -----> fear-----> "Me"

So the mother (label), the fear (emotion) and Me (the container), were three components that kept the "I" in place. No wonder I could never really completely let go. Now when the final component of "me" is dropped the "I" dissolves. I am still working on it. But it seems big and so I thought I'd share it here. Maybe it will help someone else who is having a tough time with "who am I" kind of inquiry.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fall in love with...

Sept 23 2009
 Fall in love with...

Fall in love with the gift being given to you
Not the box it comes in.

Fall in love with the silence
Not the practices that bring you silence.

Fall in love with the truth being revealed to you
Not the guru or system that is delivering the truth.

We miss so much by focusing on the form that delivers the truth to us.
The ego will analyze, judge, defend, a guru or a system.
That is what the ego loves to do.. engage itself in something.
But when we let go the judgment, the analyzing, the defending...
We let the actual teachings in.
These teachings are real subtle and beyond the mind.
Hence the mind does not get it.


Let go the attachment to the gift box
And start enjoying the gift.
The truths being sent to us
The blessings being poured into our lives.

Fall in love with....
The guru in you...
The silence.


Let go

Sept 17 2009
 Let go

Let it go my dear

Don't hold on to what is no more
Let it go
Let go so you can make room
For something new...
Something that is waiting patiently round the corner
Waiting for you to let go and make some space
So it can sneak in and fill your heart.

This one came to me in meditation and at that point it seemed to be especially for a dear friend. I felt her presence and a strong connection with her during meditation and then the above words arose. But the words above were so true for me and many I know that I thought I'd put it out here. It is for anyone who is touched by it.

Turn around..

Aug 25 2009
Turn around..

Walking backward into the ocean..

Wondering if the next wave will hit me hard or be gentle..
Afraid of the unknown I step into...
based on the memories of the past waves that hit me.

Just turn around..
Now you can see the waves as they form..
Each one has nothing to do with the waves that passed by..
Each wave is new.

Walking backwards into the future..
Looking into the past..
Afraid of the unknown I step into..
based on the memories of the past experiences that hit me.

Just turn around..
Now step into the future.
Each moment is new.



Jun 26 2009

I was caught up in my mind.

When others suffered, I suffered with them.
It hurt to see the pain others went through.

I realized my mind.
I watched in amusement.
I went into my "now" bubble
And said it is what it is.
I am living in the present.

This now is so perfect.
This now is so peaceful.
Nothing can touch me here in my bubble.
No pain exists here.
This now is where I want to be.

But through it all,
Yogani said,
"in order to get enlightenment,
you need to give it away."

The words of Nithyananda haunted me
"Enlightenment is not just living in the now,
It's living the past, the present and future, now"

Why do they say that?
Why not live here?
There is nothing wrong with this moment.
I am bliss right here right now.

I now am in the now.
It still is all what it is.
But there is more to this "now", than living in my bubble.
There is much doing to take care of.
Even if it is just an intent of "not suffering" for the other.
There is more living now.

I suffered with my eyes open.
I closed my eyes and enjoyed the "now".
I was in awareness and no pain exists.
It's time to open my eyes
And live in the "now".
No more hiding in awareness.

Everything is as it is.
Things will happen as they will.
But I am the instrument through which the divine flows.
And I have rested in my loving Ma's arms to heal,
Not once did she ask me to be any way I did not want to be,
But I have rested long enough...
"now" its time to carry out the will of my Mother.

So I pray to one and all,
And I pray to my Mother,
Give me your blessings.
So I can become the channel
Through which my Mother flows.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dropping Boundaries - Atma-Shatakam - by Adi Shankara (continued)

Apr 16 2009  

Note: This is continued from here

The meaning of this song is so much deeper than I had comprehended and getting deeper still.

My heartfelt thanks to Sri Adi Shankara.

I am going to make an attempt to put in words things that are beyond words. The meaning of the lines below cannot be understood with the literal words.. they come from an understanding that comes from letting go.. from un-understanding the ideas we have associated with the words.

Few weeks back during meditation, the words arose, "drop your boundaries". It felt like a balloon deflating and the air from inside the balloon, that was bound to the limited space of the walls of the balloon mingled and mixed with the air outside losing its definition, while the walls got smaller and smaller. The boundary became smaller while the contents held within the boundary grew boundless.

We are so defined by our self imposed boundaries. We have many labels and attach limitations to our being based on those labels. We really are limitless beings. We believe we have boundaries, and hence we remain bound to the limits of our imagination. It also came to me, by dropping our boundaries, it does not mean we drop who we physically are.. we don't physically stop being a mother, a father, a child, a sibling, an employee, an employer, a friend... we just drop the mind idea of what the limitations to that role are. We don't try to change the physical limitations based on a new set of imagination, rather we drop the imagination.

My idea of a mother is not the same as what someone in Africa thinks a mother should be (for that matter, it is not the same as what my neighbor may think a mother should be). I draw my boundaries of being a mother based on my "idea" of what a mother is. When I drop that boundary, I don't stop being a mother, I just let go the tightness that comes with my "mind idea" of a "mother". When I am a friend.. a limitless, boundless friend.. imagination of limitless and boundless keeps me bound.. but just a short samyama-like letting go.. limitless, boundless friend.. Ahhhh... yes! This part of letting go is the part I cannot put in words. It's a very subtle shift.. I read an email from a client, I feel a slight discomfort, I look within.. I identify myself with the role of an employee.. I drop or expand the boundary of what I believe my role as an employee is.. not go into mind stories and justification of what my role is.. it's a very vague boundary that I have of this role.. and I let it go. That's all.

With every moment or every meditation, we just bring up the concepts we have very vaguely and let them dissolve.. opening and allowing the boundaries to dissolve. This way, without physically trying to change the world and our way of living, we only let go the "ideas" we have of our world and us. Drop the boundary. Not expecting anything to happen... expecting is again getting the mind involved.. just expand/drop our boundary... and watch. Like Jason Mraz sings.. "open up your plans and damn you're free".. let go the ideas we have of us.. and we no longer are bound to "Me" and "Mine". We can still be a friend, we don't physically try to change anything, to us a friend is "this" and "this" and "that, just drop the definition of friendship, and our horizons, inner knowing expand beyond what we know a friend to be.

The words to this song (at this point in my life) says exactly this..
I am not the mind, intellect, thought, ego, or a supreme being.
I am neither the meal (bhojanam) nor the one who consumes (bhojyam) or what is consumed (bhokta);
I am neither a father (pita) nor a mother (maata),
I am neither kin/relatives (bandhu), nor friend (mitram);
I am not a guru and nor am I a disciple (shishya).

These lines started off meaning I am not physically any of my labels.. but right now it is more a case of I am not bound by the "idea" I have of these labels. When I drop my boundaries, I can be all of my labels and yet not be bound to any one of them.

We don't have to renounce the world, just our ideas of the world.

Atma-Shatakam - by Adi Shankara (Shivoham)

Nov 20 2008

A few months back, as I sat meditating one day, after something that happened that caused me to feel very disturbed... I watched how "I" dissolved when I meditated, and yet every time I went back into thoughts.. the "I" started rising like flames of a fire.

I began to play with this.. brought back the thoughts and "I", as a daughter, mother, wife grew stronger.. when I relaxed back into the bliss of meditation.. "I" dissolved.. I was not a mother or daughter or wife.

The need to protect my image dissolved.. the need to protect my place as a daughter, as a mother, as a wife did not exist.. and yet when I brought back my thoughts.. like adding fuel to fire.. "I" came roaring back.. the more thoughts I added.. the more defined "I" became. The more there was a sense of "me" and "mine",  the more "I" existed, the more protection "I" needed, the more "I" wanted, the more hurt there was,  so much energy went into keeping the "I" in place....

...and once again I immersed in letting go the thoughts and dissolve in meditation.. the "I" vanished. It was an amazing experience.. to see how my thoughts keep "me" in place.

Since then this song has become very meaningful to me. I listen to it very often.. and anytime I go into feeling any kind of discomfort.. I watch the "I" grow.. and I sing this song:

I am not the mind, intellect, thought, ego, or a supreme being.
I myself am the joy of pure consciousness I am Shiva (the silence).

I am not the air (prana) nor a part of essential five gases (pancha vayuhu) nor the seven-fold material (sapta dhatur), I am not part of five coverings (pancha koshaha) that help to build up the personality. Nor am I the five organs of action.
I myself am the joy of pure consciousness I am Shiva (the silence).

I am not attached to any punya (righteousness) or paapa (sin); I have neither pleasure (sukhya) nor sorrow (dukham); I don't need Mantra or pilgrimages (tirtham) or  sacred scriptures (veda) or sacrifice or rituals (yagnaha); I am neither the meal (bhojanam) nor the one who consumes (bhojyam) or what is consumed (bhokta);
I myself am the joy of pure consciousness I am Shiva (the silence).

I do not need  Dharma (Law of Life), Artha (Wealth), Kama (Desires) and Moksha (Liberation). I have no fear of death, nor do I have caste distinctions; I am neither a father (pita) nor a mother (maata).. I was never born; I am neither kin/relatives (bandhu). nor friend (mitram); I am not a guru and nor am I a disciple (shishya).
I myself am the joy of pure consciousness I am Shiva (the silence).

I am free of thoughts and beyond imagination (nirvikalpo) since I have no form (nirakara rupo);
I myself am the joy of pure consciousness I am Shiva (the silence).

I would like to share the song that helps dissolve "me" ..  If you have a few mins please do listen to the song... not only are the lyrics beautiful.. but you can really feel the shraddha (devotion) in her voice and the vibrations of the Sanskrit words dissolving you.

This is the version of the song I listen to: its called ATMASTAKAM from the album Chant of Shiva or more popularly known as Shivoham Shivoham ... it makes me melt into nothing when the "I" gets strong..

A more western version of the same song:

Here are the Sanskrit words to the song (in red) and the English translations (in blue)

Mano buddhya-hankara chittani naham
Na cha shrotra jihve, na cha ghrana netre
Na cha vyoma bhumirna tejo na vayuhu
Chidananda rupah shivoham shivoham . (1)

I am not the mind, intellect, thought, ego, or some form of the supreme being; I neither have ears, nor tongue and I neither have nose (nostrils) nor eyes; I am not the sky, earth, light or the wind; I am the fortunate, joyful, supreme being who is the very emblem of truth, knowledge and eternal bliss.
I am consciousness and bliss. I am Shiva, I am Shiva.

Na cha prana sangno na vai pancha vayuhu
Na va sapta dhatur na va pancha koshaha
Na vak pani padau na chopastha payoo
Chidananda rupah shivoham shivoham .(2).

I am not the most essential air that everyone breathes. Nor a part of essential five gases related to bodily functions (which are Prana, Aparna, Vyana, Udana and Samana). I am not the seven-fold material (Rasa, Rakta, Mamsa, Medas, Asthi,Majja and Shukra) that help in body's physical development, I am not part of five coverings that help to build up the personality (food, air, mind, knowledge or wisdom and pleasure). Nor am I the five organs of action (which are speech/mouth, hands, feet, reproductive and rectum), I am the fortunate, joyful, supreme being who is the very emblem of truth, knowledge and eternal bliss.
I am consciousness and bliss. I am Shiva, I am Shiva.

Na me dvesha ragau na me lobha mohau
Mado naiva me naiva matsarya bhavah
Na dharmo na chartho na kamo na mokshah
Chidananda rupah shivoham shivoham .(3).

I have no likes or dislikes; Not I have any greed or delusion; I have no pride or arrogant vanity; Nor am I jealous of anyone or in competition with anyone ; I do not need the four main necessities of life (which are Dharma (Law of Life), Artha (Wealth), Kama (Desires) and Moksha (Liberation); I am the fortunate, joyful,supreme being who is the very emblem of truth, knowledge and eternal bliss.
I am consciousness and bliss. I am Shiva, I am Shiva.

Na punyam na papam na saukhyam na dukham
Na mantro na tirtham na veda na yagnaha
Aham bhojanam naiva bhojyam na bhokta
Chidananda rupah shivoham shivoham .(4).

I am not attached to any righteousness or sin; I have neither pleasure nor sorrow; I have no need for any Mantra; I have no need for pilgrimages ; I have no need for any sacred scriptures; nor do I perform any sacrifise or rituals; I am neither the meal nor the one who consumes or what is consumed;
I am the fortunate, joyful,supreme being who is the very emblem of truth, knowledge and eternal bliss.
I am consciousness and bliss. I am Shiva, I am Shiva.

Na me mrutyu shanka na me jati bhedah
Pita naiva me naiva mata na janma
Na bandhur na mitram gurur naiva shishyah
Chidananda rupah shivoham shivoham .(5).

I have no fear of death, nor do I have caste distinctions; I neither have a father nor mother because I was never born; I have neither kin/relatives nor friends; I have no gurus and nor am I a disciple; I am the fortunate, joyful, supreme being who is the very emblem of truth, knowledge and eternal bliss.
I am consciousness and bliss. I am Shiva, I am Shiva.

Aham nirvikalpo nirakara rupo
Vibhur vyapya sarvatra sarvendriyanam
Sada me samatvam na muktir na bandhah
Chidananda rupah shivoham shivoham .(6).

I am free of thoughts and beyond imagination since I have no form; I am all pervading and exist everywhere; I am the king of all sense-organs; I am always impartial to everything and everyone,; I am free from everything and I have no attachment to anything; I am the fortunate, joyful, supreme being who is the very emblem of truth, knowledge and eternal bliss.
I am consciousness and bliss. I am Shiva, I am Shiva.