Shri Mataji (Nirmala Srivastava), founder of Sahaja Yoga meditation, once told sahaja yogi Matt Malley, former bass player of the world famous Counting Crows band, that if he puts his attention on the kundalinis of the audience, it’s much better than just focusing on one’s own performance. He often tried it, finding that his eyes would become cool and his heart filled with love, ‘watching’ everyone’s pure spirits. Giving creatively to an audience from your heart can have amazing results. What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.
Van Morrison on alert, creative mental silence:
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.”
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.
I started my day feeling a bit like this:
but after attaining the rejuvenating state of mental silence for a few minutes, I felt more like this:
Appearing on the same page, these incompatible images hardly give the impression that they emerged from the same hand, on the same morning. But my experience has shown me that just because I sometimes get into the mood of the fire-breathing dragon (drops new iPhone into toilet / hits thumb with hammer / spouse doesn’t listen properly), that doesn’t mean I have to wait for my rage to somehow fade on it’s own terms. When the attention is naturally turned inside by the spontaneous movement of the benevolent kundalini energy rising up the spine, the most unbearable beast can be tamed in the wink of an eye. By opening the hands, palms upward, and allowing the attention to rise up to the top of the head (where our connection to the all-pervading, creative Power opens) the many dormant, subtle heart functions blossom effortlessly, and we start feeling our self — our spirit — again; balancing our inner child (left sympathetic nervous system/right brain) and our inner adult (right sympathetic nervous system/left brain). A refreshing cool breeze rises from our hidden depths, lifting us to delightful heights. Who would’ve thought that we have everything ideally built in to get passed life’s brickwalls without having to smash our heads through them. The best part is, when we’re balanced and enjoying our true nature, the fun is contagious 😀
(The phone miraculously survived!)
Did you know that you have a built-in Jeeves – a compassionate and intelligent butler who can gently lift you out of any tangle? By Jove – by Jeeves – you do indeed! It’s been rumored that we are using only a fraction of our brain power. Some think that by pumping and pampering (pumpering) of the ego, we can ascend to greater heights of skill in dealing with life. This line of thought leads to a solid dead-end. The only way to unleash that vast potential is to activate a specific energy at the base of the spine, whose purpose it is to rise up and open the pearly gate at the apex of the brain, thus connecting said brain to the power that created it. The more this energy is strengthened through appropriate meditation, the more this connection is expanded, and the more our brain is enlightened. In fact, our whole nervous system then becomes increasingly aware of subtler phenomena, and the dignified genius in us generously supplies answers to life’s many complications. You don’t have to be Bertie Wooster to have access to the ideal solver-of-problems. You become your own indispensable, wise best friend.
You: “Jeeves! What on earth am I to do about this incessant mental rambling?”
Your-Own-Inner-Jeeves: “Sir?” (or “Madam?”)
“This unsolicited, unproductive thinking, Jeeves! Is there no stopping it? Is humanity to be driven off the brink of its remaining sanity by this relentless inner train?”
“There is a simple way to ascend comfortably above these disturbing trains of thought, Sir.”
“Well, out with it, Jeeves! What is this satisfying, cerebral secret that you’ve been withholding from the waiting world?”
“The answer is simultaneously simple and profound, Sir, and readily available to anyone, from any walk of life – it sleeps in each of us at the base of the spine.”
“Do you mean to insinuate, Jeeves, that my Aunt Agatha, among others, is presently sitting on the solution to mankind’s greatest problem?”
“Indeed, Sir. In fact, no single person on the planet is exempt from this common trait. Os sacrum, or hieron osteon, the ‘sacred bone’, was so named by the early Greek mystics because of the enlightening energy coiled there, necessary to connect the individual awareness to the all-pervading power that created us.”
“And you have proof that this benevolent something can free us from the noise within, thereby lifting the willing subject into a sort of golden, wise halo of silence?”
“Indeed, Sir. It is a purely natural phenomena which occurs spontaneously when this Kundalini energy awakens due to contact with the subtlest of universal vibrations, manifested, causing her to gently rise up the spine to the fontanel, thus opening the door to collective consciousness. This evolutionary breakthrough was available to very few in the past, but it seems that we have all reached an important threshold which allows anyone to ‘dance liberated into the light’, as the poet so aptly put it.”
“So you’re saying that the moment I make the magic wish to ascend beyond my miserable, human bonds, I’ll be ready to pass by a smiling cherubim radiating these fine vibes that will inevitably cause my being to lift off like a Nasa space-shuttle at the end of count down?”
“The experience is somewhat subtler than that, but you have the gist of the matter, Sir. It is the promised yoga, that is, union. May I demonstrate?”
“Demo away, Jeeves! I have cast my wish into the fountain of hope. What do I stand to lose?”
“What indeed, Sir? Place your hands, palms upwards, comfortably on your lap. You may close your eyes, and sincerely, in your heart, ask the universal Mother for your Self-realization.”
“Ask the what for my what?”
“Addressing this Kundalini energy, Sir, simply request that you may know your true, universal nature. I will expedite the process by lifting my open hand parallel to your spine to a point above your head. This will help the Kundalini to rise in response to the familiar vibrations.”
“As I’ve always conjectured, Jeeves — so you are an angel!”
“No more so than any other Self-realized person, Sir. Are you feeling anything yet?”
“I am. My goodness, you know? I really am . . . This is even better than whiskey, Jeeves. Have I lived all these years without knowing joy? I feel, well, I feel as light as a feather, as focused as a hawk, and . . . what is all this breezy coolness? It’s pouring out of my hands, and the top of my head feels like a fountain! May I open my eyes, or will it all fade like a beautiful dream on waking?”
“You may open your eyes, Sir, and I can assure you that it will not fade away. These are the Vibrations of which I spoke. They are the powerful Breath of Life which have been referred to throughout history in various cultures and religions as the Chi, Ki, Chaitanya, Prana, Ruach, Ruh, Pneuma and Spiritus, as well as the Wind of the Holy Spirit.”
“This is marvelous! Only a laughing, well-fed baby cuddling at its mother’s warm breast could know how I’m presently feeling! Who was it that rejoiced about the coming Age, calling every breeze sacred incense, Jeeves?”
“That would be Lionel Johnson in Vita Venturi Saeculi, Sir. ‘Let green woods wave thee welcome, and blue seas laugh welcome, and each breeze be sacred incense round thee: peace appear through crystal atmosphere, impassioned, perdurable, omnipotent; given by God, not lent, foretaste of Heaven, ere Heaven be all in all, come to the vexed world’s call!’ “
“That’s the one! Yes, I’m gushing with goodness – woods and waters – maybe a bit like those bliss-sharing Kalpa-thingy trees in the Indian proverb!”
“You must be referring to the passage from the Gyaneshwari, Sir: ‘Such men/women are the moving forests of Kalpataru trees. They are mines of wish-granting living jewels. They are vocal oceans of nectar.’ It is but one early description of realized souls, Sir.”
“All this enlightening has made me thirsty, Jeeves. Would you be so kind?”
“Certainly, Sir. Would you like your usual whiskey and soda?”
“Not today — I don’t want to come down. Bring me pure water. This new connection can use some meditative nurturing. I think someone has just answered my prayers.”
“‘Holy mother, hear my prayer, somehow I know you’re still there. Send me please some peace of mind; take away this pain.’“
“Eric Clapton, Sir.”
“Thank you, Jeeves.”
“The pleasure is all mine, Sir.”
The human heart is a highly underestimated instrument. It’s quite famous for pumping blood – sometimes uncomfortably fast or slow. It is indirectly responsible for countless love songs and romance novels. It is the source of unforgettable emotional stimulation, i.e., the ecstatic falling-in-love, and the somewhat less agreeable heart-break (falling-out-of-love). And it is universally notorious for the part it plays in the guaranteed end, when, with dramatic finality, it stops, to usher in the mysterious state of death. But what do we really know about our precious hearts?
Without getting too esoteric, there is a simple way of getting to really know your best friend, that rhythmic pal in your chest that channels life and love. The first important step is to establish the actual connection with your self. That sounds like a lot to do, especially if you’ve read countless spiritual self-help manuals. In fact it is easy, quick, and infinitely enjoyable, and happens spontaneously when a certain benevolent energy, designed and provided exclusively for that special purpose, eagerly rises from the ‘sacred bone’ at the bottom of your spine to the fontanel bone at the top of the head. But don’t take my word for it; try it for your self. (For the Web-disoriented, that was a hint to click on the underlined phrase, try it 😉 )
Now, once you’ve gotten to that all-important link (no pun intended) with your self through the awakening of kundalini and it’s subsequent ascent up to the sahasrara chakra, there opens up for you a whole new realm of hither-to unexpected possibilities. You will inevitably find, through the simple, regular practice of sahaja yoga meditation, the proof in the universal pudding that you are much, much more than you ever guessed you are. As the limited human attention steps out into the endless fresh air of pure, unlimited Spirit (as your kundalini spontaneously opens the seventh center at the top of your head), an amazing thing happens. Your heart, a normally clouded mirror, starts to clear and catch more reflection of that joyful sky or sea of absolute love that, although supporting all life, is usually just beyond our perception. Through the carefully designed instrument of your central nervous system, your spiritual modem, you get a first concrete glimpse of the Divine Internet. Don’t be surprised to discover that there is no noise and chaotic chatter there: that connection will fill you with beautiful Silence, the source of all creativity. And That is your very own.
Oh, yeah – this was supposed to be about joy and emotional intelligence. But reading about joy is about as en-joyable as being told about a delicious club sandwich – it just doesn’t hit the spot. Joy has to be lived – and emotional intelligence inevitably follows. Try it. You’ll love it.
(Spirituality = Inherent Joy. It is not a commodity to be bought or sold or in any way controlled by a third party! It can only be a direct connection.)