Saturday, December 4, 2010

Stillness Dancing

Stillness Dancing ~ by Shweta Mitra  Dec 2010

The idea for this painting came to me in meditation. It is a way to show how everything arises from stillness. The following piece was written by Doug Sandlin (thanks Doug ) at my request. I was having a tough time putting my thoughts/feelings into words, so I told him what the painting represented, and he came up with the overview below. It explains everything I wanted to express and more. The main symbolism of Shiva being the stillness, and the dancer being the manifest, the movement, the dancing of the stillness, are what I was expressing through the painting. However, Doug managed to find so many more symbols in the painting than I realized were even there, originally. As with most of my paintings, there was  unintentional symbolism that manifested directly from the stillness. I am so very grateful, and feel so blessed, that the stillness, the divine, expresses itself through me, in form of these paintings.

On the left-hand side we see a Shiva Linga, a symbol for Lord Shiva, our own limitless stillness.

The Goddess-as-dancer is the creative aspect of every moment, now. Every aspect of her being and adornment, from her peaceful presence, to the beauty of her clothing, to the sacred mudras formed by her hands, are symbolic of the Goddess, Shakti; the pure power and potential of our stillness, dancing.

As stillness begins dancing out in manifestation, it first moves as pure, indistinct potential. Then, forming and displaying fully, and finally subsiding back into its original stillness; making way for the next moment, the next movement, the next ever-new display of the eternal dancing of stillness, now. This is reflected in the painting by the scene becoming more distinct as our gaze moves to the right, from the stillness of the Shiva Linga, to the dancing of his power; the Goddess, Shakti.

Every moment, every perception, every life, every universe, is comprised of these two who are actually, ever One; Shiva and Shakti, emptiness and form; consciousness and bliss; liberation and enjoyment.

The three levels of the temple, like the three horizontal stripes on the Shiva linga, represent the triadic-yet-unified nature of reality, symbolized in all the world’s religions and spiritual traditions: wholeness, diversity and the mixture of the two; emptiness, form and the mixture of the two, and so on. The temple’s levels symbolize manifested, active reality: dancing. The linga’s stripes symbolize unmanifest reality at rest: stillness.

Shiva and Shakti eternally dancing in the infinite temple of the heart; Hridayam in Sanskrit; literally the Center of This.

What is this center?

We are; humanity.

Each moment of human experience, is where Shiva, the stillness of our original unbound awareness, and Shakti, the movements, display and celebrations of living unbound now, perform the dancing of stillness; the beautiful reality of our lives.

~ Doug Sandlin

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


"Sonata" ~ by Shweta Mitra Sept 2010

This painting is of my other daughter. It's a painting of things she loves, right from the colors, to the music she's playing, to her piano. She even gave the painting its name: Sonata. The day I took the pictures of her at the piano that were used in creating this painting, she was playing Moonlight Sonata; her favorite.

At first I was not sure about the name "Sonata", but I realized that it actually fits so beautifully with the post I did earlier, and so, it's actually perfect. A Sonata is a piece of music with three (or four) independent movements varying in key, mood, and tempo. Like the three phases I talked about in my previous post.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


"Reflection" ~ by Shweta Mitra Aug 2010
This is a painting of my daughter. This was her idea, to paint her in a mirror, like this. She is doing what she loves the most, reading. In order to make it look more like a mirror than a painting of a painting, we decided  to put something in front of the mirror. I asked her what she'd like to have, there. She just got this Indian bamboo flute (bansuri) a few days back, and we decided to use that in the painting.  

A friend of mine saw this painting and said, "do you realize you have Krishna in every one of your paintings?"

I had to think about it. Yes, I did start with the first painting of the cosmic romance of Radha and Krishna. My next one was the "Milkmaid". Well, that wasn't connected with Krishna, per se; well, not intentionally, anyway, but yes, milkmaids or gopis in Sanskrit, are associated with Krishna. My next  painting was Radhika, ... hmmmmm.... Then, next, was "Devotion", a painting of Mirabai, with the peacock feather; an intentional symbol of Krishna, that time. And now, my daughter with her flute, the instrument associated with Krishna... again unintentional. I guess Krishna has had a way of showing up in all my paintings, even though I wasn't consciously aware of this.  I feel really blessed. ☺

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Unveiling, Realizing, Being "That"

The definition of enlightenment is so varied, that it is impossible to fit all the ideas that people have about enlightenment into one definition. In this post, I am going to talk about the basic "I am that" model of enlightenment.

There are 3 main stages to "I am that" (enlightenment) that I have experienced. The first are glimpses into "I am that"; an unveiling of the truth of "I am that". Once out of these experiences, these glimpses, we go back to feeling like a part of the dream. I refer to these experiences as awakenings. When these awakenings happen, there is no turning back. Once we have tasted the nectar, there is no un-tasting it.

Then, there comes a point when we realize/know "I am that". At this point, there is still a tendency to attach attention to the ups and downs of the body-mind. However, there is an
inner realization/knowing (beyond the mind) that all that is happening in the experiences of the body-mind is not us; not who we actually are. We are just a screen on which it is all happening; pure, clear consciousness, witnessing all events. The focus shifts from wishing "I am that" to realizing/knowing "I am that".

Then comes being "that".  It is the “that” we only had glimpses into and later felt we had an inner knowing of , we now become that "that". When this happens, there is uninhibited joy, and freedom; living unbound. Now the focus shifts from realizing/knowing "I am that" to being "that". We now know ourselves as the pure, changeless freedom beyond all form. A solid wall of completely fluid, boundaryless awareness that encompasses all. Although this is the ultimate stage, it is far from final, there is further expansion in every moment after this.

One way to explain this is to say there is an infant, a child and an adult. When we are a child, we cannot become an infant again, but we continue to grow as a child. Then, when we become an adult, there is no going back to being a child, but there is still growing as an adult. Similarly, when there is a realizing/knowing of "I am that", there is still growth but there is no more going back to wishing "I am that" and then when there is being “that”, there is still growth, but there is no going back to the stage of knowing "I am that".

The experience of being "that" is really beyond words, and even beyond experience. Ultimately the “that” is what we really are.  "That" is the experiencer of all experiencing and all that is experienced; awareness, our true nature, the witness, the screen, pure consciousness, all the content of every moment now, from the subtlest thought or feeling, to all forms and emotions contained in this moment now, is all contained in "that".

Here is something I had written to Yogani a couple of months back. All I can say is, all of this has just become more solid, but in the most fluid way; one of those paradoxes. ☺:

There is so much perfection in every moment. Life is lived moment by moment. No trying to live in the moment, just living, not an effort, no other way to do it. Nothing to make it happen. Making anything happen needs effort, and there is no effort. I am where I am and there is nowhere else to be or want to be. Ideas, creativity, loving, just flowing without any intention, without any effort. Emotions are experienced at the moment without judgment, then gone like a dream. If it is not happening now, it is not happening.

It's been a two months like this. My mind still jumps in and says there is going to be a falling out, but it does not matter what the mind says. I have talked a lot about bringing attention back to the now and being present. But when this started happening without trying it was like: ‘Wow! What's this?’ I did not say much to anyone around me, but there is so much uncalled for joy, so much unknown happiness. Even being upset and angry is just momentary, like something the body is doing, but then it is back to the joy. 

I also see how things are so ingrained in us. The stronger the mind story we had, the stronger the attachment to the block. Letting go of a block is just untangling the story from every cell in awareness (inner silence), and watching it drop away. Again, no effort. With practice and slight intention (like samyama), it just happens. 

Learning samyama was huge. It is the best tool ever. Asking for something is just asking and letting it go. The more you can let go, the easier it gets for it to happen. This is siddhi. All siddhis are just that: how much you can let it go. The more you can let go in stillness, the more it has a chance of manifesting. Hence I can make things happen that don't mean much to my deepest longing. But things that are close to heart, the letting go is harder, there is that little bit of pull and story in mind that keeps a slight desire in place, not allowing a complete letting go. But when I can really let go, things happen. 

It feels like I am gliding/floating instead of walking. And it feels like I am constantly dancing to the music of stillness. Even when people around me are grumpy, I am still in joy and it sort of rubs off on them. They are still grumpy but they cannot be mean. It's like the joy is infectious, and although people don't want to become ungrumpy, they just cannot be mean any more. They go back to showing their disapproval but the pure happiness that flows cannot be ignored. It is like being in presence of a baby, the baby is happy for no reason, and others around may be upset, but when they see the smile on the child's face and feel the innocent happiness, there isn't much they can do but smile. They can go back to being grumpy after that, but for a few moments they enjoy the unadulterated happiness. It feels just like that.

Anyway, it is all true, all I had heard and read; all of it is true. And I am just amazed at the simplicity and beauty of this, as I watch in awe at the power of letting go and the beauty of being "that".
***the painting of the peacock feather above is a part of one of my paintings called "Devotion".

Saturday, July 24, 2010


"Devotion" ~ By Shweta Mitra
This is my first original painting. It originally came to me as a vision during meditation. I was not sure how I was going to be able to make the vision into a painting. However, once I started, it flowed beautifully. The lady in the painting is Mirabai, who is considered to be the epitome of devotion, in India. She has been an inspiration to me in my spiritual path, and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to paint her.

I will end with a poem by Mirabai:

Strange is the Path of love

 Do not mention the name of love,
O my simple-minded companion.
Strange is the path
When you offer your love.
Your body is crushed at the first step.
If you want to offer love
Be prepared to cut off your head
And sit on it.
Be like the moth,
Which circles the lamp and offers its body.
Be like the deer, which, on hearing the horn,
Offers its head to the hunter.
Be like the partridge,
Which swallows burning coals
In love of the moon.
Be like the fish
Which yields up its life
When separated from the sea.
Be like the bee,
Entrapped in the closing petals of the lotus.
Mira's lord is the courtly Giridhara.
She says: Offer your mind
To those lotus feet.   


Friday, July 16, 2010

Stillness Speaks....

 (A few insights that have come to me on this journey)
  • It is ALL in the mind!!!

  •  If it is not happening right now... it is not happening. ☺

  • When there is constriction, when we are closed off, we belong to our minds; when there is openness, when there is awareness, our mind belongs to us.

  • Don't try to put words around an experience... that defines/draws boundaries around something that is ever changing. Why try to close the ever changing, ever expanding stillness into the walls, boundaries drawn by words... just live and grow with them. (June 30th 2010)
  •  A situation is only as intense as the attachment to the story behind it.  (July 27th 2010)

    Saturday, June 26, 2010


    ~Painting by Shweta Mitra - May 2010
    based on the painting "Jayashri – Krishna Pleading." by Syamarani dasi.

    The first time I saw this painting, I knew I wanted to paint it. I have not managed to find the name of the artist who did this one,  however, the original painting was done by Syamarani Dasi, who is an amazing artist. I did not know about her, till I went hunting for the artist who I should give credit to for the original of this painting.

    I try to stay as close to the original painting as possible, however, at some point the face changes and takes on a form of its own. The original face is beautiful, and there were moments I wished I could keep that same face in my painting. However, there is no predicting how stillness moves, and so, the painting becomes what it does. In this painting, Radha definitely has a flavor of her own.

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    Stillness... My New Ishta

    Due to the influence of my father, and then reading Autobiography of A Yogi, which set off all kinds of flames of devotion in me and started me off on my spiritual path, I got very close to Ma Kali. She was my first ishta (an ishta is our "object of highest devotion"). Our Ishta is often embodied in the form of a god or goddess, who each symbolizes different aspects of divinity and divine awareness, though our ishta can also be any quality we wish to attain (i.e. "unconditional love", etc.), or anyone or anything we can genuinely surrender to. After having Ma Kali as my ishta for a while, I was introduced to a few other ishta's: Ramakrishna, Nithyananda then back to Ramakrishna, then back to Ma Kali. However, throughout my spirituasl path, I always had an ishta that I could surrender to.

    Then came the experience of aloneness that I have talked about here. The thing that I missed the most during that time, was not having a connection with my ishta any longer. I tried really hard to reconnect with my ishta, but I just could not do it.

    Recently, though, I have come to realize that I have been surrendering everything in stillness. If ever there is a feeling of constriction, I gently make myself aware of this, and let it go into stillness. Open... open... open... and let the constriction dissolve.

    The other day I realized, that the stillness, the silence, the nothingness that I have been surrendering to is now my ishta. I don't need a form to surrender to. The forms of my ishta arose from this stillness, and when I surrendered to the forms, Ma Kali, Ramakrishna, Nithyananda, I was surrendering to the stillness through them. But now I have access to the formless  stillness directly, and hence the forms are not required.

    My mind at times still wishes it could get dramatic and pray and adore and surrender to someone/something it deems higher than itself. Someone who will take care of it. But there is nothing higher or lower than stillness. It all arises and dissolves in stillness, and when we have access to this stillness, it's just a matter of getting the mind used to the idea; having the form of an ishta is not required.

    Friday, June 18, 2010

    Heart Hands

    "Heart Hands"  ~ Shweta Mitra (May 2010)

    I did this one for my friend Kavitha.

    Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan is a cardiologist and the founder of Heal Your Heart Free Your Soul.
    When she asked me to make something for her, I had to think for a while as to what to make for her. Something to do with "heart", I thought. Well, since she is a heart doctor who works with her hands, and since she is offering her services and love to all around her, "Heart Hands" seemed like it fit just right.

    And although I did sketch this for her, it really is a tribute to one and all who give from their hearts, day in and day out. So it really is for all of you, who knowingly or unknowingly have been giving from your hearts and blessing this world with your presence.

    And if you are reading this and saying, "Well.. that's not me"... please let that thought go, everyone gives the best they can, even if you don't realize it.

    So to all of you Thank You from my heart!!!!♥

    Friday, May 21, 2010

    My First Portrait

    This one is a copy of "The Milkmaid" by Raja Ravi Verma. This is my first attempt at drawing a portrait. It was a great learning experience. The rest of her came naturally, however her face was not easy. It started off as a completely different person. The face was slightly broader, the skin darker and eyes and lips more defined. Then as I changed the shape of her face, lightened her skin, changed the shading and made the eyes and lips less defined she transformed into a very different person. ☻. My daughter commented on how she looked so much older when I first started painting her and how she got younger with me playing around with the colors and shades. She does not look like the original painting by Raja Ravi Verma... in his painting she looks much younger and has a different feel to her. But I think I like my milkmaid the way she is. ☺.

    ~Painting by Shweta Mitra - May 2010
    Copy Of "The Milkmaid" By Raja Ravi Verma.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    Divine Love Reigning

    I wanted to share my painting, that I've been working on for the past month. The painting isn't originally mine; the general scene and theme come from another artist. However, the overall look and feel, the colors and vibe, etc., are very different from the original, and represent a fresh interpretation of Radha and Krishna. And although this is not an original Shweta Mitra painting, it is one that has flowed from the heart and stillness. It was lovely to watch the colors merge and create a beautiful Radha and Krishna. I really wish I could say I created this... but any time my mind was actively deciding what to do, the paints and colors just did not flow... then I stopped... became silent... asked the divine/stillness to paint... and everything... the colors, the shades, the paint, the brush strokes... it all just flowed beautifully. I don't think I have experienced anything like this before.

    I hope you enjoy the stillness that went into this painting... the cosmic romance of Radha and Krishna.

     "Divine Love Reigning" ~ By Shweta Mitra, May 4th 2010.

    I have this one posted at my website too, along with a beautiful poem By Katrine Kristiansen called The Fragrance.  Katrine and I independently started working on these pieces about a month ago, without knowledge of each other's efforts. I was looking for a poem to go with my painting, and she was looking for a painting to go with her poem. We were pleasantly surprised when we did share our creations with each other, and saw how beautifully they fit together. 

    I also want to thank my aunt who introduced me to painting when I was really young and my friend and current art teacher for all her help with this painting... she helped me pick up a brush and paint again after 26 years.  

    I'll end this post with these words from Richard Norman Schooping's song "Be Here Now". VIDEO: (Song) Be Here Now
    Everything’s because of you and the things you do, my beloved
    Yeah everything is flowing fine as we dance beyond rhyme, my beloved
    You calmed the storm inside of me and now I’m free, my beloved
    So now I let the battle go and watch you run the show, my beloved
    All I want to do is sing of the joy you bring, my beloved
    Praying that these songs awaken those who feel forsaken, my beloved

    Saturday, March 27, 2010

    Newness Of A Moment

    As the living in the now becomes more and more steady, I have noticed that I tend to forget things a lot. I feel like I have forgotten everything, life is teaching me everything new. As conditioning is dropping, there is very little reference from the past to fall back on. So everything I do now is like doing it for the first time. It's a bit scary, not knowing, feeling things not in control, and yet everything flowing... and learning anew to do things without stress. If there is discomfort in this moment, it is always because there is some memory of the past or worry about the future in this moment. But when it is only this moment, there is doing without the stress. After the fact there is a bit of mind jumping in and saying, "OMG, what if it hadn't worked out the way it did... you should plan more". But there is no choice but to trust the moment. Reminds me the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.. where he steps into the abyss and ....

    I talked to Yogani about this. He said: "It is a phase. A gradual shift from mind-based living to stillness-based living, with the necessary adjustments occurring along the way. Memory will be there when needed.
    The flow of inspiration is an endless river, and we can tap into it any time we like according to the need of the moment. No way to catch all that water flowing by. So let it go. When you need something, it will be there.
    The forgetting is letting go of the past. Whatever we need from the past will also be there when we need it, like the river mentioned above.
    We can get used to anything. It takes some time to develop trust in what is. It can be a little lonely and disorienting in the meantime.
    Every day is that "step of faith..."

    A few days back I realized something else. I was getting myself a cup of tea as I do every morning at work. I washed the cup and filled it with hot water. I suddenly had a strange feeling like I was doing this for the first time. It was the first time in my life I was washing a cup and filling it with hot water. It was a very strange feeling. I experience this "doing regular mundane things for the first time"  feeling very often... but that day I realized, it was not a feeling of doing it for the first time, it actually was a feeling of experiencing the moment completely. I had done this (make a cup of tea) every morning... it was mechanical and paid no attention to what I was doing. But that day I was experiencing the feeling of being completely present and fully experiencing the moment of washing and filling a cup. It felt like I had never done it before cause for one there was no memory, in the moment, of doing it yesterday, and since there was no memory in the moment of doing this yesterday I  really had never done it before other than in that moment. So any time I experience a moment truly in the now (it is spontaneous, I cannot make it happen, the experience is suddenly there,) no memory from the past or imagination from the future, there is a feeling of doing whatever I am doing in that moment, for the first time. Although at first it would feel strange and a bit scary to the mind... I seem to be easing into this phase and enjoying these moments more and more. With the easing in, the trust, or that leap of faith seems to be getting more and more  a part of my every day living.

    Friday, February 12, 2010


    Just want to announce the launch of a new website I have been working on. It's called Living Unbound.

    I have really enjoyed making this site, from scratch. :) Many of my writings here are out there in form of teachings, techniques, resources and inspiration. I hope all of you readers will enjoy the site too. It would be nice to get some feedback from all who read/follow my blogs. I will continue writing here, as this is about my journey inward. Living Unbound is a part of this journey.
    _/\_ Thank You_/\_

            (Here is the launch announcement from the website)

    Living Unbound.Net is Launching Today, February 12, 2010

    Please see our LivingUnbound.Net Launch Celebration Video, Above!
    The video features an awesome song by Jai Uttal, which includes Living Unbound-oriented lyrics originally written by John Lennon (from the Beatles song Tomorrow Never Knows), combined with Living Unbound-oriented lyrics from enlightened sages in ancient India (the Sanskrit lyrics in the song), along with Living Unbound-oriented images we selected.
    The lyrics, the music and the images are all symbols pointing to the reality of Living Unbound, behind misperception of limitation.
    Living Unbound is the Freedom Beyond Imagination in reality, that  we can all be enjoying, now.
    And so, we’d like to welcome all to LivingUnbound.Net – your portal to Freedom Beyond Imagination in reality.
    We are launching LivingUnbound.Net today, Febraury 12, 2010, because today is Mahashivaratri, the Great Night of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is the infinite Unbound Awareness we each and all ever are now, in reality; the Freedom Beyond Imagination we can all be enjoying, now.
    The name Shiva means “the one who is blessing”. In misperception, we seek blessing; in awakening to Living Unbound, we receive blessing; in Living Unbound, we naturally offer blessing, which is, in reality, the greatest blessing of all.
    Living Unbound is Real. And you’re invited. Let’s get started, shall we?

    Sunday, January 3, 2010


    "Loneliness is absence of the other.  Aloneness is the presence of oneself. "   ~ Osho

    There has been an on and off  feeling of aloneness. Not all the time. It comes and goes... with intervals of clarity. 

    This feeling is not loneliness. I don't miss anyone. However, even while I am in the  middle of family and friends... I get a sudden feeling of being alone. Although I feel more connected with things around me, I feel like I am alone with everything else around me being a part of me. It is hard to put in words.

    I think a part of this is because the mind does not know what to do anymore. With no thinking, rather no thinking with energy toward the thought, it feels lost.

    I talked to Yogani about this, and with his permission I would like to share a part of his reply here:

    "I have known the feeling. It is a mixture of personal and impersonal aspects of consciousness. There is nothing more alone than Self, with everything seen as That, compensated by the eternal radiance of inner silence. On the other hand, the personal aspect longs for company -- relationship.

    Perhaps the eternal has manifested as the the universe for some company, creating the illusion (maya) so the play of duality (lila) can happen. Seeing both sides at the same time is strange, isn't it? You are this and you are that. It is a transitional experience -- a shifting perspective. What experience on the path is not? This too shall pass

    A solution might seem to be for spiritual people to gather together, as they often do in relationships, ashrams, etc. But that does not change the fact of duality dissolving into non-duality. "I am That" has no company and all company. It is stillness in action.

    This is why the enlightened serve, for the sake of relationship, for the expression of love. It is like creation moving in another dimension that is not primarily about the physical, not primarily about time and space. It is about the flow of love. Everyone wants that, but for those who are that, it is to be the One -- infinitely full, yet alone. "