In memory and celebration of my thirty years learning and growing with the greatest spiritual personage of modern times.
This is for you, if you’re not looking forward to another year on Earth.
For what it’s worth, you are loved.
I’ve just returned from three-and-a-half months in the shadow lands. (Sorry for the lack of blog posts, but my literary lights were dimmed.) At the beginning of September, after weeks of amazing emotional revelations ranging from euphoria to utter despair, I got physically sick and didn’t really recover until now, four days before Christmas 2012, and the very day that the Mayan calendar runs out — whatever that historic milestone may prove to imply. There were three or four days (and intensely dark, suffocating nights) in which I was convinced that my time on Earth was almost over, and that I had reached a humiliating and unexpectedly sudden demise. After three decades of daily yoga meditation I never get sick any more, but it seems I still had some deeper, traumatic issues to work out before the unprecedented personal and collective events of 2013.
In the ancient language of Sanskrit, Maya means illusion. Not only has mankind marched steadily into the most morally confused time of our evolution, but the point of highest spiritual opportunity as well. Somewhere behind all the mumbo-jumbo about cosmic cataclysm and last chances, there lies the simple truth that we have all been on a very long journey, and it’s high time to harvest the fruits of that struggle.
Not long ago there were two buddies who used to get together in a Cambridge pub once a week to discuss life and literature. One was a booming evangelist, the other a more soft-spoken Christian. It seems that they both had a subtle, inner connection to reality that expressed itself very differently through each. J.R.R. Tolkien considered the bible the greatest epic tale ever told, but chose to only hint at the image of Jesus Christ — archetype of the greatest of kings who fell and rose again in supreme benevolence — in his now classic novel series, The Lord of the Rings. C.S. Lewis on the other hand (often to Tolkien’s displeasure) would shout his admiration for the Son of God from the rooftops, especially after his kundalini suddenly rose up his spine while he rode a Cambridge public bus to work one morning, causing him to write Surprised by Joy. He also praised the Divine, albeit without naming names, in his (also now classic) children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia.
The other morning I woke up after hearing myself say, in a dream, “I wonder how well Narnian vegetables would sell in our local market”. (This was a few days after I woke up to a Voice that softly reassured me that, “His love for you is unlimited. It just flows,” which I understood to refer to Jesus … or Aslan?) C.S. Lewis had an uncanny knack of being able to accurately describe the attributes and effects of divinity and the shadowy lack of it, which we sometimes call evil. Bearing that in mind, I’ve come to pay special interest to the end of the adventures in Narnia, when paradise is overrun by destructive shadow, and a magical door appears in the midst of danger and chaos, leading to a new, somehow better, more colorful, wider, higher Narnia.
It was the unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right fore-hoof on the ground and neighed and then cried:
“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this. Come farther up, come farther in!”
… “The farther up and the farther in you go, the bigger everything gets. The inside is larger than the outside.”
Lucy looked hard at the garden and saw that it was not really a garden at all but a whole world, with its own rivers and woods and sea and mountains. But they were not strange: she knew them all.
“I see,” she said. “This is still Narnia, and, more real and more beautiful than the Narnia down below, just as it was more real and more beautiful than the Narnia outside the Stable door! I see … world within world, Narnia within Narnia …”
“Yes,” said Mr. Tumnus, “like an onion: except that as you go in and in, each circle is larger than the last.”
And Lucy looked this way and that and soon found that a new and beautiful thing had happened to her. Whatever she looked at, however far away it might be, once she had fixed her eyes steadily on it, became quite clear and close as if she were looking through a telescope. She could see the whole southern desert and beyond it the great city of Tashbaan: to eastward she could see castle Cair Paravel on the edge of the sea and the very window of the room that had once been her own. And far out to sea she could discover the islands, island after island to the end of the world, and, beyond the end, the huge mountain which they had called Aslan’s country. But now she saw that it was part of a great chain of mountains which ringed round the whole world. In front of her it seemed to come quite close. Then she looked to her left and saw what she took to be a great bank of brightly-colored cloud, cut off from them by a gap. But she looked harder and saw that it was not a cloud at all but a real land. And when she had fixed her eyes on one particular spot of it, she at once cried out, “Peter! Edmund! Come and look! Come quickly.” And they came and looked, for their eyes also had become like hers.
“Why!” exclaimed Peter. “It’s England. And that’s the house itself — Professor Kirk’s old home in the country where all our adventures began!”
“I thought that house had been destroyed,” said Edmund.
“So it was,” said Tumnus the Faun. “But you are now looking at the England within England, the real England just as this is the real Narnia. And in that inner England no good thing is destroyed.” (The Last Battle, by C.S. Lewis)
It has now been clinically proven that the state of alert mental silence produces an ideal equilibrium throughout the human organism. This state is so powerful that it can naturally correct any healable ailment in us, and remove causes such as anxiety. The effects on society are not yet documented, but it’s easy to foresee a harmonious collective environment free from the violence and suffering that has come to be synonymous with so-called civilization. Anyone who has clearly experienced this state may have noticed the light, soothing flow of energy (kundalini) that passes up the spine and out through the limbic area of the brain, referred to long ago in Sanskrit as the Sahasrara Chakra, or the thousand-petal portal to the Kingdom of Heaven. This integrating connection was called yoga, meaning union.
There’s a lot of talk at the moment about divine councils and portals and what-not, that tend to turn most of us off to the possibility that each of us is able to reach a transcendent state of deep peace and understanding about our existence. Actually, meditation is the least complicated of all things we can reach and benefit from, needing no explanation and thought-producing concepts. I would just like to express my feeling here that our jolly old Cambridge professor may have unconsciously been describing the transformation of human consciousness with his magical door to a better world — a liberating passageway that allows us to see and feel life as it really is: beautiful and fulfilling. A very real state that enables us to perpetually improve ourselves and our planet, instead of destroying them.
I took the liberty this morning of consulting the I Ching about the spiritual state of mankind in 2013. It said that examples should be set by those who are wise and brave, revealing the deepest spiritual connection (meditation) that can be shared by all:
‘Thus a hidden spiritual power emanates from them, influencing others without their being aware of how it happens.’
The hexagram Kuan represents an observation tower. Those who sit on top of it can see far and be seen by all. Amazingly, the individual line that was selected for detailed reference was the top one — that very position of highest perception:
‘Contemplation of his life. The superior man is without blame. Here in the highest place everything that is personal, related to the ego, is excluded. The picture is that of a sage who stands outside the affairs of the world. Liberated from his ego, he contemplates the laws of life and so realizes that knowing how to become free of blame is the highest good.’ ‘He has not yet forgotten the world and is therefore still concerned with its affairs.’
(It has been said that the ultimate time of Judgement is when every human being will have the clear inner perception to look within and judge — understand and correct — themselves.)
The I Ching then pointed out, with hexagram Pi / Holding Together, that just as water will always flow to a collective meeting place, human beings will gather with like human beings.
‘Holding together calls for a central figure around whom other persons may unite. To become a center of influence holding people together is a grave matter and fraught with great responsibility. It requires greatness of spirit, consistency and strength. Therefore let one who wishes to gather others together ask whether he/she is equal to the undertaking, for anyone attempting the task without a real calling for it only makes confusion worse than if no union at all had taken place. But when there is a real rallying point, those who at first are hesitant or uncertain gradually come in of their own accord. Late-comers must suffer the consequences, for in holding together the question of the right time is also important. Relationships are formed and firmly established according to definite inner laws. Common experience strengthen these ties, and one who comes too late to share in these basic (inner) experiences must suffer for it if, as a straggler, he/she finds the door locked. If one has recognized the necessity for union and does not feel strong enough to function as the center, it is one’s duty to become a member of some other organic fellowship.’ (I Ching ~ The Book of Changes, translated by Richard Wilhelm and Cary F. Baynes)
This may sound quite black-and-white, but the inner evolution of each of us is determined simply by our desires. It’s not unimaginable that the nature of that stream of wishes will ultimately carry us toward the opportunity to attain a higher, lighter state of wellbeing; or into a meaningless dead-end. We’ve been blessed with freedom to choose our way and our destination. No one can be forced to strive for liberating collective consciousness.
May the delicious, enlightening vegetables and fruits of the new Narnia nourish us in the upcoming Harvest.
Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas and joyous New (kind of) Year,
In a mother’s belly there were two babies. One asks the other:
“Do you believe in life after birth?”
“Of course! Something must exist after birth. Maybe we are here because we need to prepare for what we will become later.”
“Ridiculous! There is no life after birth! How do you think this life would be?”
“I don’t know, but surely there will be more light than there is here. Maybe we will walk on our own two feet and we can feed ourselves through our mouths!”
“That is absurd! Walking is impossible. And eat through our mouths? How ridiculous! The umbilical chord is how we are fed. Let me tell you something: There can’t be life after birth. The umbilical chord is too short.”
“Well I believe there must be something. And it could be just a little bit different than what we are used to here.”
“But nobody has ever returned from the other side after birth. Birth is the end of life. All in all, life is nothing more than a stressful existence in the dark that does not lead to anything.”
“Well, I don’t know how it will exactly be after birth, but surely we will see Mother and she will take care of us.”
“Mother? You believe in Mother? And where do you think she is?”
“Where? All around us! We live inside her and through her. Without her this whole world would not exist!”
“Well I don’t believe it! I have never seen Mother so, logically, she does not exist.”
“Yes but sometimes when we are very silent, we can hear her singing or feel how she caresses our world. You know, I think there is a real life waiting for us, and that right now we are just preparing ourselves for it.”
Here was an evening of outstanding creativity and inspiration,
a moment of surprising light
in dark times …
Every age has its greatest discovery.
The greatest of all is inside of us.
~click on this Party Tree~
~then click on the audio file~
~then click on the slideshow~
Love is that self-perpetuating force which renews everything, forever replenishing hope with spontaneous, living miracles. There will never be a scarcity of inspiring sunrises (illuminating clean air), budding roses (genetically unmodified), baby giggles (untainted by pornography), mirthful leg-pulling among friends (transcending racial prejudice), or generous helping hands in moments of need, as long as that precious force is allowed to thrive on Earth.
As soon as all the scales of malice and discontent have fallen away from human hearts, we will find out how good life can truly be.
Best wishes for you and yours in this historic year of inner transformation,
I would begin 2012 here by remembering someone special, known simply and affectionately as Mother by millions, who helped to make our world a better place for all of us to live in. We all move forward united by that which is forever indestructible: the spirit of love.
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
21 March 1923 ~ 23 February 2011
There are moments when we encounter an idea powerful enough to pull us firmly into focus, into the unlimited awareness of where we actually stand here and now. Some of these revelations are interesting, some fascinating — and some can forever change the way we see ourselves and the world we live in.
Here is one such revelation:
This is a very special moment which I will share here.
I have no words to describe its profound significance and the deep emotions it has generated.
With love, Ed
H. H. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
Along life’s long road I’ve often philosophized about the significance of birthday celebrations. Rationally they sometimes seemed to be funny, superficial rituals done out of habit. After all, what’s so special about a particular day just because it marks a certain amount of time after the date of one’s birth?
It wasn’t until quite recently that I was able to see that, whatever else to the contrary we seem to be, human beings are vessels designed to hold and share tremendous amounts of the potent elixir known as love; and that, in an adult’s busy life (unlike that of most small children), we often need a special focus point in order to exude that pent up reservoir so that it, and our well-being, can be renewed.
A birth day is the celebration of a loved one’s very existence on Earth — the miracle of a unique being developing into that friend in your life. The urge to celebrate this moment is universally inherent; a natural, inbuilt spark that ignites the combustible element of love (at least once a year!)
Besides being a special moment for others, it suddenly brings to light our own living value. Just as the sun can’t know itself unless it sees its light gratefully received by all the flowers on Earth, we can’t know the reason for existing without the joyful kaleidoscope of reflected love in the hearts of those around us.
I would like to thank the many friends all over the planet who thought of me with a smile today, including the hundreds who sent a few precious words of encouragement. I am once again reminded why I’m here.
Our world is in a rapid state of becoming, affected by each step and breath we take. What can we do to ensure that it evolves into something wonderful for generations to come?
As we enter a new year full of disappointments and encouraging surprises, here’s something important to bear in mind — and heart.
Despite all the depressing, money-making headlines, you can easily find inspiring things happening between people the world over. Here are two distant examples of people giving joy to people. The first took place recently on the edge of the wild Canadian West Coast rain forest, where my youngest brother kept a secret from his beloved for years (that he was planning to propose to her when they finished their new house), and suddenly sprung it on her at the house-warming party in their new waterfront homestead. The second comes from China, where some old friends, forming an international group of musicians, did a free concert tour for the love of simply sharing joy with fellow human beings. In both cases, we discover that our eyes can also leak when the heart is overflowing (not just when it’s empty) …
You have a nice day, okay?
Hoping for the best,
(p.s.~ Her birthday is coming up soon)
Another friend, who sometimes called out about her distress with life’s unfairness, also recently left abruptly, but more definitely:
“I must have my ‘Invisible Cape’ on again….. no one sees me…no one hears me… yup, invisible…” (Last Facebook entry of L.P. before she died of a heart attack, age 50, on the 7th of May, 2010)
Love is a powerful river. You can’t stop its flowing.
It will always find its healing way to you … if you let it in.
Go ahead and call me a sentimental sap, but my eyes leak every time I come across these simple images of collective human spirit …
… and here:
I’d just like to thank the Universe and all my friends and helpers – known and unknown – on this germinating day one of a new year on Earth (my birthday). And thanks to you for stopping by. I may never have the privilege of meeting you in person, but I’ve been around long enough to know that the most important and potent exchanges that go on between people happen in the mysterious realm of the heart, well above and beyond formal introduction.
So I sincerely hope you’ll enjoy this day as much as I do.
(hosts of angels created for the occasion by my artist wife!)
“Still crazy, after all these years.”
There lies, in the heart of every person, a seed of youthful enthusiasm. I experienced this at our mega-1970s neighbourhood reunion last weekend, where a couple hundred old friends all got together for the first time in over three decades. No matter how much time seems to glide by under the bridge, or how stiff and ‘mature’ we seem to become, all the heartfelt fun and optimism of our youth linger on inside us, camouflaged like a wide-eyed, baby doe on the edge of a shady forest.
The setting up of this event (and the ongoing Facebook reunion) has been a labour of love for the past eight months. More than an excellent hobby, it has proven to impact my life and those of life-long friends in a way that only reawakened friendships can. The human heart is a mysterious place, full of unexplored depths and heights. It is my belief, after almost thirty years of daily meditation and introspection, that, when enlightened, the heart can take us to our superhuman potential and the indescribable joy that inevitably accompanies that.
Getting together with old friends to reminisce and laugh may seem like a mundane function, but the relatively small waves of love that surface in our hearts are just the peaks of an infinite ocean – and if That can be awakened inside us, then the world will rapidly rise to a whole new level of enjoyment and harmony. There is a specific something in us that, when triggered, links our limited attention to the unlimited field of our spirit. It’s my intention to help beloved old friends, who were as dear to me as family long ago, to come within reach of this inner connection. I sincerely hope that many can feel that now, and will gradually discover all their buried treasure within.
On May 9, 2009, an enthusiastic gesture for peace was made in Nicosia, Cyprus, as hundreds of artists and children worldwide had their ambassadors for peace – handmade elephants – displayed on both sides of the dividing-line checkpoint.
The two mayors of the world’s last divided capital embraced in friendship, a gesture showing hope for a future of peace. History was also made by three ‘enemy’ passport holders – students helping with the exhibition – being allowed to cross the island’s severely guarded, temporary internal border! It may not have been the joyful civic tidal wave that eradicated the dreaded Berlin Wall in 1989, but every drop counts when it’s to help quench the thirst for freedom of the innocent generations to come.
Another highlight of the day came as a local shopkeeper near the checkpoint gave the artist organizers access to his wireless Internet service, allowing us, via web-cam, to broadcast live to the international Schengen Peace Foundation conference taking place simultaneously in Luxembourg – from one end of Europe to the other on Europe Day! All the delegates in attendance applauded after seeing and hearing about the efforts being made, by adults and children alike, for the important cause of lasting peace over in Cyprus.
The following day, Mother’s Day, the peace-exhibition was invited to Jerusalem by an Israeli university professor. The elephants-without-borders are on the march!
With a little mutual forgiveness, and respect for the innocent generations to come, this world can become a beautiful home for everyone.
Here’s my video-collage of the event (music courtesy of Matt Malley, former Counting Crows bass player)
With the world sliding full speed into the gravest scenario since a meteor walloped it, wiping out all manner of species, we thank heaven for comedians (especially the Canadian variety). Only a highly evolved race can laugh at itself as it teeters on the edge of extinction. If we’ve taken ourselves too seriously at times, it’s only because we forgot to listen to the tiny Jim Carrey or Dan Aykroyd jesting inside. I mean, come on, did we really think we could defy all constructive perimeters of existence and get away with it indefinitely? We are indeed a laughable lot! Well, hopefully some eleventh-hour humble introspection and meditation will bring out the very best in each of us, and bring a rosy hue to the prospects for the coming generations.
My wife and I find ourselves constantly playing funny role improvisation (it’s probably out of survival instinct – the only way to survive if you both live and work under one roof!) We are living proof that only the body ages … the soul keeps getting younger and sillier. After I’ve had a particularly good morning meditation, I feel like a small kid in a universal Disney land, with creativity and mirth springing out of my every pore. We may think it would be highly irresponsible to let children run the world, but what about the children inside us, with the important advantage of all our years of practical experience and knowledge. Just add the wisdom, common-sense and benevolence of a child (okay, my two-year-old was also definitely not ‘benevolent’, but you know what I mean), and we could steer the ship of humanity into more peaceful waters.
As the desperate, tearful child said in a CNN interview this morning, after he and his mom lost their home to the Recession: “PEOPLE HAVE GOT TO START HELPING EACH OTHER!”
Where there’s the capacity and a heartfelt will, there’s a way.
Our Earth has a heart that beats and loves.
It’s time to find that rthymn inside ourselves and reciprocate Her love.
We just came home from a beautiful ceremony celebrating the short life of a dear friend, Anna-Radhika, who passed away nine days ago after sudden complications in her lungs. In evidence of this fifteen-year-old’s open and loving personality, was the large variety of adorers who came to wish her well on her outward journey. Apart from the many relatives from two distinct cultures – Austrian and Indian – there was a multitude of friends, and friends of friends. A whole school bus of classmates were present with tears of affection, enthusiastic recollections of life with her, and dozens of colorful balloons that they let playfully fly up to heaven with her. There have been a few great souls in history who have earned the respect of the masses simply through their inherent state of deep generosity, and their unconditional giving to others that which is essential and beloved to all: love. But it seems that more and more of these great personages are being born among us, to help lift us on our glorious way.
Before this funeral service, I had big aspirations to write about some important lessons we all need to learn in life, but I suddenly find myself as small and ignorant in this great, mysterious universe as every other mortal. How can anyone else know all the factors that determine the plot of another soul’s story? How many of us leave behind our present role to pass onto another stage in fulfillment of higher destiny; and who leaves unnecessarily, at the wrong time, by accident? Are there such things as accidents when it comes to birth and death, and what can we, as parents, do to ensure the subtle nurturing of our children? Someone told me last week that he had suffered chronic bronchitis till the age of sixteen. He could suddenly breathe freely for the first time in his life, as soon as his father and grandfather made up and started speaking with each other after years of mutual hatred. I’ve discovered late in life that my many moments of urgent desire to die, to leave, to run away from a horrible world of pain and frustration, came from scary feelings in my childhood when my parents were drunk and fighting, or simply not there for me in my darkness. I realized at some point, that I could never take my life, because, even though I didn’t like myself very much, I could never mercilessly hurt all the people who love me – that, I could never do. And now I see that my role here is still unfolding. But some do depart, what seems to us to be too early, and for a myriad of reasons that we may never logically understand.
When an apparently happy, healthy person stops breathing, due to an otherwise manageable condition, we may well wonder if they were trying to tell us something. In such a dramatic exit there may be an ardent plea to the world: Never forget to live each breath with heartfelt enthusiasm! You too are special.
(Our condolences go out to the suffering heart that was one with her. No earthquake or hurricane can compare in ferocity to the grief of a mother that has just lost her only child.)
Today, on the 21st of March, as spring once again raises its smiling face, the 86th birthday is celebrated of someone I dearly love – a very special someone: Mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, outspoken advocate of individual and universal spiritual revolution, known fondly worldwide as Shri Mataji (beloved mother). This humble mention is to honor all that is highly promising in each of us, and all that she has done to reveal that, in order to create a better world for all.
Jai Shri Mataji!
Many of us intuitively recognize the subtle connection that exists between all human beings, and with all of nature. This field of awareness has something to do with our minds, but much more to do with our hearts.
I recently chanced upon a subject of discussion with someone, that led to my meeting, for the first time in my life, with two sisters and a brother who I’d never had contact with (fifty years late, but maybe at the exact time it was meant to happen). This took place during a short visit to Canada. A few months later, I made a new friend while in Cyprus. During a lull in an after-dinner conversation, I suddenly started talking about my small ‘miracle’ in Canada to him. It turned out that this man also has a brother who he has never met, and who happens to live in my place of residence, Austria. By ‘chance’, I know the head of personnel at the company that his brother works for, which may lead to the healing meeting of these two separated siblings.
Yesterday, I connected with an old friend via Facebook, who I hadn’t seen in about thirty years. We exchanged a few sentences of enthusiastic, typed dialog in the tiny chat-box. Of all the things he chose to mention in these moments, was the fact that he lives near another old friend who I also hadn’t seen in years. I told him – amazed – that twenty-five minutes before I had just looked up that same person in a public internet search site, and phoned his home to say hi!
I have the feeling that this Power/Universe/Spirit manifests in our lives when we need to experience constructive inner growth and healing. In fact, judging by the many similar experiences I’ve lived and heard about in my travels, these compassionate nudges are becoming more and more frequent in people’s lives. Could we be entering a time when all the invisible beauty inside us shines out, when the collective consciousness of universal love unites us and puts an end to jealousy and aggression?
Things may get temporarily worse before the break-through, but there is no doubt in my mind – and heart – that a sunrise is coming that no generation will ever forget.
(Valentine’s Day, 2009)
Despite the fact that the world family is growing closer and closer together in communication, love and understanding, there are still certain hot-spots on our planet that require patient, collective attention. One such healing wound is called Cyprus. In mid-January, 2009, the voices of a few international artists and enthusiastic children brought cooling balm in the form of ‘Elephants for Peace.’ This was the beginning of a world-tour art/peace project created by German artist and historian, Rose Marie Gnausch, and the Art Initiative Naturalmente RoMa.
My wife and I were honored to be present for this inauguration, to be able to share our creative talents for such a noble cause, and to meet so many local, influential people whose hearts are set on peace for future generations. The next event in Cyprus will be along Ledra Street in Nicosia on both sides of the border – May 9 and 10, for the one year anniversary of this border opening – before the growing exhibition moves on to other countries. Here’s my little film collage of the initial ‘sprouting’ (higher resolution, 480p, can be selected at the bottom after you start) …
if that doesn’t work, go to this address and wait a few minutes for high resolution streaming before playing:
When I received the sad news this morning, I felt – believe it or not – a gentle lightening of the heart, an enthusiastic happiness that had nothing to do with my personal loss of the mother who raised and loved (loves) me. After a few seconds of meditation, I realized that I must be feeling what she is presently feeling: a dynamic, delightful freedom; a breathtaking view of life from high above life; a baby-like mood of spontaneous creativity and endless possibilities.
We weep in self-pity.
Congratulations Mom for all your achievements, and all those yet to come – enjoy the higher life for us, also!
(It’s just too bad that you can’t send postcards, but love has its own lines of communication)
With love, your son,
E. May Saugstad
24 March, 1930 ~ 9 December, 2008
(Mother of Darlene, Cheryl, Rick, Ed, Glenn, David, Allan and Don)
When I woke up this morning, this new rhythm was vibrating through me. I would like to dedicate it to all unsung, lonely children and adults out there, waiting to someday be hugged. May the day come soon, when no human being feels unloved.
(The bass is my heel on the floor – heard best through a proper set of speakers – and the rest comes from my fingers on the desk)
with much (needed) love,
As I clasp my hand tightly in yours,
from my heart emerges a solemn wish:
that happiness and wisdom will come freely to you,
and that your knowledge may be bountiful.
Also, hope that the winds of reality may be gentle,
and guide you peacefully through the tides of life –
for you are my brother, and my love for you is infinite.
Ed Saugstad, age fourteen, 1972
(a message to the human race)
(Ed’s cover for the Burnsview Junior High School yearbook, 1972-73, North Delta, Canada)
After arriving back over in Vancouver for a summer holiday, many new amazing things started falling into place….
The fun started with a spontaneous boat ride to the beautiful island resort where I spent my childhood summers. With a couple of brothers and my wife and son, we visited Buccaneer Bay (its real name!) for my first time in thirty-five years. (Captain McTaggart, one of the Greenpeace pioneers, also spent holidays there with his family in their cottage. Celebrities parked their yachts in the bay on their cruises along the coast. The Canadian Prime Minister stopped in once, and we saw John Wayne and his family another time!) It was the first place that I experienced joy. It happened when I was about twelve while climbing the small mountain there, Spyglass Hill, and seeing the breath-taking view of forests, islands and heaven-blue ocean, skies and mountains stretching out to all horizons. I would often take my sleeping-bag down to the white, sandy beach at night and fall asleep in the peaceful solitude, watching the endless, timeless starry heavens. The place hadn’t changed. There were still the same cottages, trees (quite a bit bigger now!), mossy bluffs and fresh, salty breezes – and still no electricity or modern conveniences! We knocked on our old neighbour’s door and found that most of their family was there, including new grandchildren and great-grandchildren. As one of the Hendersons remarked, it was a ‘blast from the past’ meeting again after so long.
During our outing, I happened to mention something to one of my brothers about our childhood and the two sisters and the brother that we never met, as our father had left his first wife and kids to marry our mom, who then gave birth to us. To my great surprise, he told me that two of Dad’s first offspring had managed to contact him a few years back. After discovering the name and hometown of one, I wasted no time in contacting her. She was so thrilled to get a call from me, that she couldn’t sleep the whole night as she had waited her whole life to meet us. We had agreed to meet the following weekend. My wife, Brigitte, and I spent the night in the home of my lost sister and her husband (who is part native Canadian, the great-grandson of a First Nation chief). By the time we left the next day, it felt like a half century of healing had taken place, as the joy and vibrations were very strong. We also spoke on the phone to my other missing siblings, and we’ve planned to get together soon for a big reunion. (As it turns out, my other sister breeds horses, and one of them was in China recently participating in the Olympics!)
We then had a great time the following two days as guests of the local Hindu Temple, which held a festive open-house. A dear friend and professional singer from India, who recently settled in Victoria, was invited to sing. The audience loved him. We also presented a small introduction to Sahaja Yoga, which was also very much appreciated by all.
Along the merry way, I made a point of distributing copies of my new children’s books to families that we passed on planes, ferries and other public places (as well as among our old friends at Buccaneer Bay, feeling somehow that I was sending redeeming vibrations back into my sometimes scary and tragic childhood). The stories, full of loving vibes, are created to help lift the reader toward self-realization. Surprisingly, many adults have also reported getting special, uplifting feelings from these fictional adventures! I hope those hundred or so books – and the many more that may eventually make their ways into the lives and hearts of good souls everywhere – will help in some small way to water the roots of enlightenment in the coming generation.
(p.s. – Did you know that the largest octopuses in the world live in the waters between Vancouver and Victoria, and that you can see whales, dolphins and seals almost every day there? Did you know there are magnificent, natural guardians watching over Vancouver, two mountain peaks with the shapes of lions, as well as the huge rain-forest city park with the shape of an elephant’s – Ganesha’s? – head?)
To enjoy a few of these magical moments, click on the cruise ship …
Mother: “Never mind, dear. You’re too young to understand the difference between heaven and hell.”
Child: “I know the difrinz! Heaven is where you have lots of love and fun, and hell is where everybody just stays serious.”
Beyond the windows of your eyes,
Your soul abides in sunny skies,
Bathing in the light of love
That pours down sweetly from above.
That is the way it’s supposed to be
When a soul is clear and free,
But on the unmapped sea of life
Inner storms bring pain and strife.
High above each storm, a star
Shines to show you who you are:
Not this head and not this hand;
Not the owner of this land;
Not this angry shrunken heart
Feeling like it’s torn apart;
Not the one whose thoughts bring noise
Never knowing peace or joy;
Not the child that fears the night;
Not the man that wants to fight;
Not the woman, alone and sad;
Not those thousand dreams gone bad.
High inside, but within reach,
There waits a pristine, sun-lit beach,
That graceful shore of your own spirit –
Listen now, and you will hear it.
Open your hands and feel your breeze
That softly blows through inner trees,
In the Country that’s your own
Where seeds of happiness are sown.
It’s only just a breath away.
Once you reach here, you will stay;
For here is where your life will start,
And soul and joy will never part.
– Edward Saugstad 2008
As mentioned at the beginning, the human heart is a veritable treasure chest of wonderful surprises, still lying buried under our layers of conditionings and projections. When the subtle key rises up the spine to unlock the gate at the top of the head, we start a new, enriched life full of the treasures of joy and spontaneity. Once released from it’s bonds, it will fly you on to beauty undreamed of. . . .
Eight weeks after my fifteenth birthday I swallowed a massive dose of LSD and went temporarily insane. I still sharply recall the feeling of sheer terror when I realized that I was losing my mind. The demons moved in to possess my soul and I was plunged into a sadistic hell; my mind on fire and my heart torn to pieces in my chest – and then weeks of utter emotional darkness. Nine years later, hard drugs and alcohol had almost extinguished what remained of the small, comforting light somewhere inside me, but at one point a motherly hand reached down deep into the vacuum that was my life, and pulled me lovingly up into the fresh air and sunshine. When I see photos of myself as a teenager, I’m surprised to see how young and vulnerable I looked. I had thought that I was grown up and master of my world. How very sad to be so completely lost in the midst of a civilization that is supposed to be advanced.
I come from a broken home – not in the sense of bombs exploding and loved ones killed by war or hunger, like some children; but an almost mundane, commonplace sort of broken home: one cracked by Drunkenness and Divorce. My parents are lovely people; sensitive and kind. But sensitivity has not been a virtue cherished in our society. Escape into intoxication has rendered most of us numb to the terrible norms of our lives – child abuse, mockery, violence and the like.
I’ve been clean for almost twenty-six years now. In this time, I’ve reached peaks of joy and clarity that I didn’t believe were available to normal human beings like myself. When you feel the presence of that person beside you on the bus, or you hurriedly brush past your child or spouse, ask yourself what they might be feeling. Could they be in a desperate state of inner need? And should they require your loving attention, would you have the capacity to quench their burning thirst? It’s up to each of us to attain the beautiful Unlimited in us and share it as unconditionally as possible. It’s time to find out just how amazing we really are.
Hi . . .
This is just a little Christmas greeting – taking an opportunity to wish you well at a special moment in time. For some, this particular moment won’t seem significant, that is, if you find in yourself no particular reason to especially enjoy the birthday of Jesus Christ, possibly because of other religious beliefs or out of disdain for the materialistic attitudes it brings out. Personally, I also respect and enjoy the special days set aside to honor others who deserve our admiration and gratitude: Buddha, Mohammed, Nanak, Moses, Krishna, Lao Tse and the many more who came, in indescribable compassion and wisdom, to guide us on the long road.
But I take this moment to honor the universal child in us – Shri Ganesha and Lord Jesus – with the sincere hope that we may all soon enjoy the unlimited joy and clarity that only a balanced child can know. And I honor universal motherhood. There are many who look forward with dread and insecurity. When I look forward, I look also inward, and I know that there is much to be enjoyed coming our way. That’s not a hunch but a certainty. I wish for you this comforting light, not just at this moment, but for always. It’s growing in our midst, uniting and strengthening us. The road leads to inner freedom. That is the wondrous beginning.
Have you loved your Heart this day?
Held it like a tender Child,
Beheld pure Innocence at play,
Shared Its laughter, bold yet mild?
Have you turned your eyes within?
Seeing Goodness spread Its wings,
Breathing deep the cool, soft Wind,
Thanking Love for all good things?
Have you felt Her Lotus Hands
Carress the Child who dwells within,
Bathing It in Amrit sweet,
That flows as joy from Love’s Ocean?
Have you loved your Heart this day?
Have you sung Its Song of Bliss?
Take this moment now to pray
That we may all now share in This.
– Edward Saugstad 1985
(This poem ‘came’ to me in a special location, overlooking the North Shore Mountains in downtown Vancouver, one day when I worked in the city streets there. I stopped and sat down on a bench, located about where the heart of the Ganesha would be in this photo, and jotted down these soothing lines. For some reason I always felt my heart open and my attention become calm and clear when I passed through this area, despite the city congestion.)
Hum-dee-dum, tra-la, tra-la . . .
Now, where were we – oh, my gosh! Is it so late already? Almost eight years passed the twentieth century? How time does fly when you’re having fun.
When I was young, I earnestly believed that a pandemic of fun could save mankind. Funny – now that I think of it – I still do, although my outlook has become somewhat more refined. The youthful images of reckless abandon have been replaced by a majestic movie in which every person shines with a child’s countenance, bubbling with the champagne of wise innocence. In this age of global communication and friendship across all borders (let’s just ignore the racists, fundamentalists, fed-up-ists, megamerger-swallowtheworld-industrialist-capitalists and political-power-activists for the moment) we find the ideal setting for the kindergarten birthday party utopia, where care is no longer an ulcer-giving demon in the back of the mind, but a magical, benevolent whim that spontaneously brings luck to others. By ‘fun’, I’m of course referring to the stuff that shines from the pearl of joy, not its wannabe, temporary copy that sometimes emits from the fickle happiness/unhappiness coin. (More on that somewhere below: Just scroll down this site to investigate.)
Things were a lot different back in the days of my great-grandfather, Reverend Christian Saugstad. Not only were those guys bereft of Internet, I don’t think even fun had been invented yet! Imagine leading your followers over one-and-a-half thousand rugged miles to a new, puritan home in the wilderness (from Minnesota to British Columbia). That was hard work back in 1894; no jumbojet-getaway! But I’m sure they experienced something resembling fun after the men spent the first fall and winter on the freezing coast chopping trees, shoveling snow and building log cabins, and then all their wives and children ferried up from the capital in the spring thaw. Well, I guess if reincarnation is the norm, we all bin there; dun that. I ain’t sayin’ that the plastic smell of computers is more inspiring to collective understanding and integration than a five hundred year old cedar rainforest, but the invention of mass-communication terminals and networks have brought us a long way in appreciating each other. Old Rev. C. didn’t even want his people to marry non-Norwegians, not to mention Muslims, Hindus or Jews (although they did somehow manage to get in among the more enlightened aboriginals). His son, my grandfather the sea captain, was more evolved in this respect. He brought home his bride from Devon after WW1, Norwegian or no. Why, she wasn’t even a conformed Christian. Surviving witnesses in the old Vancouver neighbourhood may still recall the public argument she had one day across the picket fence with Mr. Bible-Thumper next door, insisting that reincarnation of human beings is a natural and inevitable process (“and-you-can-jolly-well-put-that-in-your-pipe-and-smoke-it!”). And that was well before the New Age Revolution began in the sixties. Um . . . Grandma’s reincarnation> Devon> Sea captain> Indians> the old Rev.> . . . ah, yes – the Internet: It’s obvious to me, after twenty-five years of daily personal subjective, and international objective experience in Sahaja Yoga, that this new level of global communication is a result of an accelerated inner process of collective consciousness. Naturally, these deep, evolutionary, spiritually powerful, expanding awareness thingies do tend to find ways of manifesting appropriate tools, so it’s no wonder that super-fast, super-portable, super-affordable gadgets and systems have sprouted into common use for the greater goodness of getting everyone universally chummy. I’m also convinced (und ich wuerde meinen rechten Arm darauf verwetten) that as soon as all this evil and bullying and perversion and smug complacency has been played out, that wave of – yes, in your face – LOVE is going to wash over the stage, and we’ll be in for one hell-of-a (oops), I mean, one wonderful show!
You may sayyy I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one . . . And whatever desire you hold on to, is the direction you move toward. It seems we’re shifting into a whole new mode*.
(Stay tuned for further fun ‘n’ fascinating features . . .)
Now, I really must get back to my wood chopping. (I do find it fun!)
(And I truly do admire the seeking spirit of my fore-fathers/mothers, including my own parents, whose appetites for shared goodness and truth, in times of such pervading spiritual darkness, have been encouraging.)
There are a lot of concepts about meditation. But for those who’ve experienced the real thing, it’s obvious that meditation is the state in which all limited concepts are exposed for what they are, and a new kind of insight becomes the norm.
Meditation is the state of thoughtless-awareness reached when the human attention rises above the mental turmoil to perceive everything as it really is, above thoughts. This state allows one to experience in a direct, actual way, without the filter of conditionings and projections. That may sound over-simplified and unlikely, but it is in fact a very natural, essential evolution of our consciousness.
Even after twenty-five years of daily moments of meditation, I’m still often surprised and delighted by my personal experiences, which sometimes come unexpectedly and in new, varied ways. One becomes aware of the subtle ‘vibrations’ that emit from persons, places, things or occurrences. The other day I sat behind a mother playing with her laughing baby on a public bus. My mind was filled with clear silence, and my body became light, joy-filled and pleasantly cool. In contrast, as I later strolled along the sidewalk and passed two angry motorists exchanging hot words over a minor accident, I experienced a short but vivid wave of heat, tension and noise inside. On such occasions, I usually take a moment to direct the very subtle, cool vibrations, that indicate and can even activate a deeply healthy and constructive state, into the fray, so to speak. This can be done with a simple implementation of the attention, or by using the hands. Once, when confronted by a raging clerk who had grown impatient with my innocent questions, I simply asked her to hold out her hands, palms up, to see what she feels. Taken aback by my request, she spontaneously complied and shortly replied that she felt waves of heat pouring out of them. I put my hand above hers, mentioning that we all have a special energy in the sacrum bone at the base of the spine, which easily rises at contact with certain cool, subtle vibrations, clearing stubborn obstacles to our well-being. Suddenly, her hands emitted a soft, cool breeze, and her tense face broke into a lovely smile. She then felt the same cool wind coming out of the top of her head, indicating that this energy, kundalini, had risen up the spine to the fontanel. We were mutually grateful for this wonderful moment, which had bonded us in a way previously unknown and unreachable to average human beings.
In the simple practice of Sahaja Yoga meditation, which I and my family have enjoyed daily for over a quarter century, a natural process unfolds within the body, expanding the normally dwarfed human awareness. This is easily verifiable by anyone with an honest inclination to feel truth – and I don’t mean emotionally. Once the human nervous system is enlightened, it’s possible to literally feel the difference between goodness and harmfulness, constructiveness and destructiveness. It’s the closed, biased circuit of our personal thought processes that keeps us in the shell of insecurity and ignorance. The benefits I’ve experienced and seen would (and inevitably will) fill a book. I find it shameful – indeed tragic – that a handful of malicious persons invest their time in defaming this unprecedented, universal gift, thereby misleading earnest seekers. It’s an old story, I guess. History is full of the scars from dark hearts which couldn’t stand the light – individuals who cleverly don the robes of would-be righteousness. It’s always been easier to rally under the banners of hatred and suspicion, than to proudly plant the flags of common goodness. At last we’re able to equip ourselves with the inner tools to perceive reality and establish clarity. Now that we all stand on the threshold of a beautiful, new opportunity, I sincerely hope that you will recognize the difference when your moment comes.
You can try, just now.
Open your hands, palms upward, and ask quietly in your heart
for your Self-realization.
You can close your eyes or else look at the picture above this text.
Within a few seconds you should feel something in your hands
and on top of your head.
Take a few moments to enjoy this change.
This is the beginning.
I was visiting friends the other day. Their daughter, who I know since babyhood, just graduated from high school. She is now tall and smart, but just as much a free-spirited child as she always was. She has always nurtured her spiritual ascent, meditating regularly to enjoy the daily inner clearing and centering effect that this inbuilt connection, this sahaja yoga, has on her. Her classmates never showed any particular interest in her. But on the last day of classes, she was approached by the other girls who had been shocked to hear that she was not going with them on the graduation field trip. She was moved to tears when they started crying with dismay at the prospect of never seeing her again. They probably didn’t know themselves why they were so overwhelmed with emotion at this loss. The subtle vibrations that emit from such a person, like a comforting, familiar fragrance, sooth the energy centers and channels in others. This is not a theory, but a well documented phenomena which has been occurring with increasing frequency. I remember when another born-realized toddler made friends with an elderly lady on a return flight from India. Leaning against her knees, he sweetly smiled up into her face, radiating joy and thoughtless awareness. Then he played nearby, sometimes involving her in his games. By the end of the journey, the woman was beside herself with mirth. As they wheeled her from the plane, she was heard to exclaim, “I don’t know what has come over me. I feel so good!”
Such is the nature of the higher state we are approaching – a state of boundless benevolence that benefits everyone, regardless of race, age or social class. Its range of influence is limited by only one factor: human free will. A person with an honest and humble desire to attain freedom from blinding conditionings and misleading ambitions – one who feels, or at least hopes, that there is something more to life than what we’ve known so far – is destined to attain this treasure. It’s easy to reach, but sometimes a challenge to maintain in this chaotic world. At work and school we have to engage our brains in mundane, and often frustrating, routine. And the landslides of thoughts that bury our attention don’t vanish of their own accord when we come home to rest*. This key to freedom from random mental chatter is only ours to use when it once rises from its hiding place at the base of the spine to open the highest door at the top of the head. With minimal daily effort of the newly enlightened attention, you can permanently escape the burdens of the past and future, and settle into the playful present. If this is such a universal principal, why don’t we learn it in school and practice it in the workplace, you might justly ask. This knowledge and technique is now being implemented in many such institutions, but you know what they said about the early inventions of radio and television (and the later innovation of Apple digital devices): amazing, but will they ever be accepted into common use? Sometimes we humans stick to the old familiar and try to ignore the improvements we could embrace. May the essential joy and inner peace become the familiar that we get hooked on, leaving behind the dead-weight and noise that holds us down. Absolute freedom is just a breath away.
(*In sleep we can step out of this mental traffic, but the third state, that of meditation, is by far more deeply nurturing and liberating, in a permanent way.)