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".