Tuesday, July 23, 2019

India...

Mother India, or Bharat as she's more commonly called over time by her own people. Or Hindustan by the Muslim population. First entered my life in the mid 80's via the tv show That's Incredible, when a yogi curled himself up in a box on national tv and stayed in there the whole show, coming out easily and without any issues at the end, then I wanted to know who he was and where he was from.

Then it creeped back in in the late 90's when I read Shirley Maclaine's book that I'd purchased in the mid 80's, not sure why I didn't read them back then... But she practiced yoga and yoga came from India, so my mind wandered. I had only a few years before had a guy I was dating try to get me to come to his yoga class and for some reason that did NOT make me think about India, lol, again, not sure why.

Now I've been coming here for almost 6 years and studying her philosophies for the last 19 years, the gods, Sanskrit, the scriptures. But only been coming for almost 6 years, 14 years after I finally started practicing yoga in fact, odd...

I've had many experiences, written about them here on my blog and on my Facebook page many, many times. so they are not the point of this treatise. The point is, well, maybe I don't know. Or maybe it's that I'm about to leave India for a good long while, longer than I have in the last so many years and my experiences here are in the forefront of my mind.

Lately the experiences I've had here have been more intense, more full, more evolutionary.

This round I've been here since last November, and by the time I leave next month it will be ten months in a row. Two in Goa and the rest here in Mysore with the occasional trip around.

In February in particular I went to Kamakhya, in the state of Assam, and that trip changed everything for me. It made me more interested in real tantra, the path, not the perceived notions that the Americans have of it. But the real path of it. Finding a real lineage and studying under it, so I have been. That also I'm not here to discuss.

Some years back my friend gave me a card he'd discovered at a famous south Indian temple, Meenakshi, of the Goddess Prathyangira. I'd never heard of her. Most people haven't heard of her, she's a tantric Devi who covers two sides of the spectrum. Most are either on the Vishnu or the Shiva side, but she transcends them both and is a large part of the Shakta path. So covers all the bases.

A great Goddess with a male lion head, a female human body who rides a male lion and has several of the navagraha as her accoutrements, including Rahu and Ketu who are often thought of in a malefic way. But her, not to her, they are her earrings hahaha...

Some interest was drawn up on this one, not often I'd never heard of a deity and knew nothing about them, nor could find an awful lot of information out there. In searching I found one temple in Tamil Nadu, with a 30 foot statue of her at its entrance, but never did anything about it. So this time in Mysore met a girl who's mother worships her, then we chatted, found out said temple was only just under 4 hours away and decided to take a day trip to see it, and feel her energy.

We did, and it was intense and we all had odd things happen to us after the temple experience, even the driver. So left it alone, then I'm at a local Bhairavi temple I just started reoccasioning and at the door noticed a flyer ad for a local Pratyangira temple having full moon ceremonies. Took a pic of it, forgot about it again and then remembered it one day, seemingly randomly, although not so, and googled it. Found out it was only 25 minutes away out in the country.

One day my friend Ross and I went to see it and found it to have a very strong energy and being in the jungle was also surrounded by that lovely natural energy as well. We were invited to their full moon ceremony that was to be in just two days, so I went back with two other friends, Ross wasn't able to make it back unfortunately.

I just came from there again and it was very powerful, a good friend even notes each time that I go that I'm calmer and more fun. I feel a strong attraction to the guruji there as well, he's an interesting guy who has lived quite a life and we agree on many things. So I also believe his energy and holding of the space to be a very powerful experience for me at this time too. I'm enjoying this.

The point of me writing this is that India, over time, although she affected me instantaneously, has now been affecting me more deeply in a cumulative way. The power here is very palpable and in its weight has been drawing my awareness to a deeper and deeper place. Waking me up also in more varied ways than ever. I suspect it will even more before I leave in the next month.

I look forward to leaving and seeing if I'm able to maintain this level of awareness, openness, love, peace and energy while I'm gone. I know it is possible, and in this time left here will attempt to learn how to make it a possibility that it stays with me. This I want to bring to all my interactions with myself and with others. I want this to lead me through to the next stage of life and to be where I come from in all occasions, in all relationships.

I love you Maa, thank you and may you always be with me so that you may always be with everyone I come into contact with and embellish our interactions to a divine level.

Namaste...

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Shifts...

Lots of good going on lately, not only good, but making peace with whatever comes up has been very possible for me lately, so mostly it all seems like good. Much is coming from each thing, growth comes in all ways even ways we can't expect or are able to put words to. These shifts have been more subtle for me lately, but none the less profound.

Yesterday we went to Nanjangud to the Srikanteshwara temple there, a Shiva temple. It also houses Vishnu, Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Parvati, and many others including a third son of Shiva that I've never heard of before. It's a 40 minute drive there after eating breakfast, but we'd done the drive a couple weeks back on the full moon and it was so crowded we couldn't even go inside the temple, so toured around the grounds, worshipping at a Hanuman area, a naga area, some trees, the Ganesh temple. It was nice, but we all felt a need to go back to be inside, so it was nice and it was empty probably because today was the new moon and today would be busy there. Had a profound and deep calming experience, even on the drive back and the rest of the day.

Then this morning went up Chamundi Hill which seemed deserted, but once we got there the free line was exponentially long. So we went and purchased tickets to walk in the front door and did, then we saw that it was all backed up. It was earlier than I usually arrive there, being a new moon (amavasya called in Sanskrit) there took a bit longer to allow devotees into the inner sanctum, so we waited. Then once they began letting us in, damn, I've never encounter such a push in my life. There were hands in my armpits, cocks pressing against my ass, boobs pushing into my sides and back, someone was even holding my hand part of the time so they didn't fall over which also helped me not to fall over. Insane, BUT an experience one can only have here in India and one that I will cherish and tell stories about for a long time. Once inside we were shoved through quickly and didn't have much darshan, but it was still profound in its own way.

There is the Mahabaleshwar temple up there as well, going inside there was deep and calming, then we went down the backside of the hill to the Jwalamukhi Tripura Sundari temple in Uttarahalli, only one of its kind in India from what Google says. It was busier than last week, but so nice and fulfilling. She's meant to be Chamundis sister, some call her Kali, as she sucked up all the blood as Chamunda was killing the demons, which is Kali in the stories. She's a powerful energy in her temple, and I'm glad I finally went after avoiding it for 2 years.

Upon finding out that I'll be leaving India for an indefinite period of time, going to Tucson in October to begin Mysore program there, I realised how much I'll miss all these things that are peculiar to India only, and so am embracing going to temples even more than I already have. In fact I've found myself going to record numbers of them each morning and night, absorbing all the energy and experience that I can, so I can stock it up and take it with me when I leave. It's been great and I am loving it.

I seem to be just writing what my day consisted of, so I'll stop now and let you move on about your day, enjoy my friends!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Avengers Assemble...

I had to be at the movie theatre much earlier than most people think of even going outside their home. The movie was at 7:50am and was sold out on the day the tickets went on sale here in Mysore, Monday, and then I found this one seat at that time this morning. Not that I'm complaining...

This movie was the culmination of 21 other movies that came before it; 3 Thor movies, 3 Avengers, 3 Iron Man, 2 Ant Man, 3 Captain America, 2 Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, Spider Man, Hulk and Black Panther, 1 each. And in my opinion if you didn't see all of them you will miss something in this latest film, Endgame. There are references to almost every one of the previous films in this one humongous blockbuster of a movie.

I started reading comics in 1975 when my grandpa bought me a Spider Woman for $.35 because as he was walking around Farm Fresh getting stuff I was looking at it, so he got it for me. That hooked me.

I had always been interested in the stories and mythologies of other cultures since I had seen my first Jason and the Argonauts movie on Saturday afternoon, and then found out that there used to be full belief in all these gods and witches and creatures, then I found my moms encyclopedia set and googled and wrote and read about all these things, Greek Mythology, Norse tales, Egyptian gods, all of it, except anything to do with Hindu worship of gods. That was never included anywhere, and now that I think about that it was odd and I have no understanding why it wouldn't have been, hmmmm...

The one thing I hated about our culture was the emphasis on the mundaneness of it all, there was God, his son who died for our sins, and his mother who was a virgin at the time of conception. But otherwise there was nothing interesting in it at all, following all these strict, ridiculous rules set out thousands of years beforehand that had nothing to do with life as we were living it at that time. So, hence the comic books became my mythos, and my reality for a very long time.

I wasn't prejudiced between DC and Marvel, if the storyline included people with powers, mostly I loved the occult characters who had taught themselves magic, or the people who were born with their abilities, but I never judged the others either if they were interesting and part of an interesting storyline.

I remember my first Avengers comic was one with hundreds of people in the lineup of the super group and the government had declared it was unmanageable and was to be taken down to only 7 people. I didn't like the 7 they chose, well some I did, but most were the boring characters, but that didn't stop me from reading it. Especially when I found out Thor was one of them and I had learned all about him in my earlier studies of Norse mythology, not that the Marvel Thor is anything like the mythological Thor, although in this new movie he is more like the original than ever before.

Anyhow, I think young people need stories to inspire them, to keep them going, and the comics were just that for me. The bible stories I was forced to read never did much for me, and really for as much as folks in the US worry about the crap their kids watch or read, they are some of the most corrupt stories I've ever encountered. But I'm not here to bash on Christianity, you can always hear me do that in person if you truly want...

As I was sitting and watching the film this morning I realised it was covering every emotion, I cried of happiness, of sadness, of shock, I laughed, I burst out with clapping and everyone around me was hollering. But the biggest thing I felt and I haven't felt in some time was hope. Hope was a surprise to me, at one certain point in the film I actually noticed I was feeling this. I'm not going to spoil the film for you so I won't tell the scene, but I noticed after the movie that I was drawn back to this feeling again the most. Because I had not felt it in such a long time.

Now even though it was sparked by a fictional story does that mean my body/mind didn't recognize that strong emotion as my own? I don't think so, I believe it totally felt it was mine and mine alone, after all the mind can't tell whether you're thinking of a thing or actually doing it because it creates the same hormone release, the same psychological effects, everything, even if you're just thinking about something.

It felt good and so I'm going to go about finding hope on a daily basis, I need it. Feeling hopeless and at the mercy of the universe the past few months is not serving me, never did, and I never allowed this complacency before so why am I starting now?

What gives you hope? What turns your crank? What stories inspire you and keep you going? What is your thing?!?

Monday, April 22, 2019

I'm almost there...

So, I know I've been whining a lot about being broke, about wanting to teach and needing a place to do so. About how everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. Until last night where a new low was hit. Or was it?

I am sleeping on two small pads that for some reason they call mattresses here, they are not mattresses compared to what the western mind things of them as, they are just pads, maybe an inch thick, hence why I sleep on two, and filled with stuffing and have a flannel look to them. I cover them with a sheet and cover me with another sheet. I'm not complaining about this just iterating for the western readers, this is not a bed as you all will think of it. It is however how many, many Indians sleep. I'm fine with it and sleep fairly well.

So, I'm sleeping on the floor. Lying in bed watching a video I downloaded and then all of a sudden feel water on the marble floor under my fingers, then listened and realised I heard water pouring from somewhere. So I looked up, nothing, building here are pretty water tight. It was pouring in from under my door and at the foot of my bed there stood about 3 inches of water in the whole corner. I guess that's a lower corner because it wasn't at the head of my bed or to the left of me at all.

I open the door to find that one guy who lives upstairs was squeegeeing the water as it was running down the stairs further down the stairs to the lower level and then into the drain. So I borrowed it and did the same from my room, only to find that about 5 of my books had soaked up a lot of water and some pages of mantra I'm using for a sadhana, my floor mats, my bed, sheets, etc, had all soaked up a lot of water.

Anyhow, we worked, got the water out, dried up the rest with a towel, changed out my sleeping pads, or one of them anyway, for a drier one, although the stored ones had gotten a bit wet as well, and pulled out a couple lungis to cover up with and slept. Yes, this all happened at 10pm when I'm usually asleep already, was heading there which is why I was in bed watching the video.

This morning I hung the stuff out in the sun and air to dry and moved on with my day. But I awoke to a message from a friend saying something about the astrology of what is going on, and it was in response to my desperate why can't anything go right in my life type message. He mentioned that what is going on with the planets right now is a time to dig in deep and look for the spiritual side of each thing, not to jump into your old pattern, which is exactly what I did.

Now, after 19 years of serious spiritual practice and 20 years of half assed practice of some sort before that, you'd think I wouldn't automatically fall back into my old patterns by now, but here I am, woe is me, I'm a victim, blah, blah, blah...

But today I feel better and am looking at the spiritual side of it, is there any other side? All is spirit in my viewpoint anyway, so how can it be?

And if, as they believe in Shakta circles as in Kamakhya culture, all is she, all is a manifestation of the goddess, then there is no separation. This morning after seeing my friends message and realizing my need to stay out of my old patterns I felt better, did some yoga, ate breakfast, then drove up Chamundi Hill to visit the goddess.

There was no traffic, there was no line even to wait to get inside. It was earlier than I'm usually there. It was nice. It was meant to happen and now I feel a nice energy that is more balanced than I was last night. So I need to stop being so hard on myself and falling into the old victim mode, no I know better and can be more aware and catch myself more quickly before I go there. And if I go there I can be more available for forgiveness and allowing myself to have been where I was and be okay with it, and move forward.

Forward is the motion we want, it can be slow, and even delayed, but slowly allowing the stream to take us along. An older analogy Abraham used to use was the stream. Nothing we want is upstream, so we have to take our oars out of the water trying to go upstream so hard, it never works. Take them out and allow, slowly, the movement of the water to turn your boat around an take you with it downstream.

All the work you've done on yourself, all the stuff you've put out to the universe that you want, all the energy expended to create the reality you want, are downstream, not upstream. And don't get aggressive and turn the boat around with the oars and paddle your way down, it's got to happen when your energy is lined up for it, not before. So just allow the water to flow you in the direction it's going. Nice thought huh? The work has been done already, just let yourself move towards it...

Friday, April 19, 2019

Temples...

It's Saturday morning in India, and on Saturdays I have a few temples I often go to that are specific for the deitites to be worshipped on this day, that's another story.

This morning however I felt drawn to go to the Chandramouleshwara Swamy temple, a local Shiva temple. I typically go there on Mondays since that's the particular day he's worshipped, or when I'm pulled there by a feeling. Today was one such day.

As I was standing inside waiting for them to unveil the lingam, they'd done abishekam and were dressing it up after with flowers and sandalwood and such, I all of a sudden remembered my first time inside that temple.

I had been to one temple already, the Ganesh temple right in the middle of Gokulam, and had seen this one many times on trips to Loyal World but was too nervous to go inside. Also I could never find it open, but finally I found out they open in the morning and the evening only, to close from 12 till 6. They allow the deity to sleep after giving darshan all morning long, then wake them back up to give more in the evening.

So one day I and Jørn, whom I refer to as my baby brother, made it in the morning around 9am. Can't remember for sure but I think it's my third trip here. and when they unveil the lingam all flowered and gussied up they ring bells, pound drums and chant a lot. It's quite an amazing vibration they create, so whenever I can I still try to go during this time.

Then I began to remember my first trip to the Ganesh temple, then many other temples around town. Was I drawn to go there just to stir up these memories today? Saturday is ruled by Saturn, or Shani Dev as the deity is known, and he is the deliverer of your karma. I had already been to his temple this morning but was I remembering the temples, or the people, specifically my baby brother? Is this part of my karma, something I'm supposed to be doing or picking up on involving either him or these specific temples? Things here in India are always this way, often mean multiple things and you never understand why until the time is ripe for it.

It was nice to remember Jørn, I got to spend a lot of time with him in January and February when I arrived here, but now everyone is gone mostly. Everyone Western person that is, mostly, there are a few left besides myself. So maybe that's why I'm thinking of those who are close to my heart.

But if it's the temples I'm being triggered to remember, what for? I am a temple whore I often say. Because of the energy in them, it is palpable in most places, especially those frequented by a lot of people daily. I am drawn to certain energies and so go to the ones that pull me in, otherwise I don't go to them very often. In fact yesterday I was pulled to go up Chamundi Hill to the Chamundeshwari temple up there, knowing it was a full moon and it would likely be packed, and it was. Even the line you pay 100 rupees to get into, which is often empty, was over 50 feet long outside the door of the mandir! The other lines were beyond the length that I had the stamina to stand in. So I went into the Mahabaleshwar temple behind it, a Shiva temple, which also houses a small Chamundi mandir in the back, so I still was in her presence in some ways.

The big temple is thought by some to be a Shakti Peeth, but is not on the official list, so there is a debate whether it's actually one or not. The energy in there is strong, but not at all healing and opening, and deep like the Kamakhya mandir in Assam that I was privileged to go to in late February. So I'm not sure if I feel it is one or not, but either way it's th closest thing I have to that type of energy here in Mysore, so I enjoy it.

I often go to temples alone or with very specific people who believe, or who are sensitive to the energy as well. Otherwise it's very hard to do because those people take form the experience. So now I often go alone, and prefer that. I prefer to do most things alone because at least then I have some semblance of control over my experience, although that is also not guaranteed. No one knows what the gods have in store for us haha...

Anyhow, not much more to write. I'm just thinking today, wondering. And these things popped up in my morning excursions, so I'm sharing. What is next for me? Where is next? Am I not getting out of my own way enough to allow the next experience in? Who will be involved? Who knows?!? This stall pattern has got to release soon, and this morning I felt like that is starting to become a reality, so let's see...

Monday, April 15, 2019

Sadhana...

More and more I've been seeing people posting videos or pics of them doing asanas, well this in and of itself is not new but read on, and talking about doing their sadhana. This has been bugging me lately.

I already get frustrated with people who call themselves yoga teachers but only teach asana, and in reality have no clue what yoga really means so should technically call themselves asana teachers.

Now, both are possible. You can be practicing your asanas and it be a sadhana, and someone can be teaching you asanas and it be yoga. But it doesn't seem so likely so often as they claim it.

Am I just being judgmental? Maybe I am, but I don't think so. I just have had some experiences and with the context of them realised that asana is not necessarily sadhana or yoga, even though it can be. It's mostly up to you and your intention behind why you're doing it at the moment you are engaged in them. But most often when you read about sadhana in the scriptures they are talking about japa, or other chanting of some sort, visualisation sometimes, always with deep intention and strong focus of whatever your goal is from the practice, if you have a goal.

Often in the scriptures they mention your focus being on your chosen deity, and realising that you and she/he are one and that would be the goal. To feel that deity, their energy, their ideals, even their emotions, within you deeply and allow that to almost possess you. That is only one way of it, it can be that you can stay neutral within any situation, or controlling the mind when certain things come up. There are plenty of things one can focus on during their "practice" which can include your asanas, but also and more likely be so much more.

I use a neti pot, oil pull, do my asana practice, shower (all recommended cleansing practices to prepare one for their real sadhana) and then come back and do pooja with deep intention (of what is my business, these things are actually meant to be kept secret) including chanting different mantras and lighting incense or doop to cleanse the air and invite spirit in, and visualizations, etc. All part of a prescribed practice aimed at inviting Kali Ma into ones life, body, their very existence really. It's good, and I probably told a bit too much about it, but that's often what I do, over share lol.

Anyhow, think about your sadhana if you have one. What is it? What does it mean to you? How are you "doing" it? Is it deep, do you feel things from it during and after its completed? Or is it completed ever? I was taught it should be all day long, being aware of things, etc. and bringing that to the fore in your life.

What do you think? What do you feel? Are you performing sadhana, or not?

Monday, April 1, 2019

Anxiety...

anxiety /aŋˈzʌɪəti/ noun 1. a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. "he felt a surge of anxiety" synonyms: worry, concern, apprehension, apprehensiveness, consternation, uneasiness, unease, fearfulness, fear, disquiet, disquietude, perturbation, fretfulness, agitation, angst, nervousness, nerves, edginess, tension, tenseness, stress, misgiving, trepidation, foreboding, suspense; More

This is the google version of the meaning of this word. This word that has become too much a part of my life lately.

I'm not sure why either. I've always been someone who could take a deep breath and then allow myself to relax into the moment and feel okay, even when I smoked which sped up my heartbeat. But recently when I was sick in Goa the thing that I've always been able to do left me, somehow.

Now even this morning as I was practicing, I'd slept later and was going through the sequence at a much later time than I am used to (but I have no schedule right now so any time is fine) I found myself being upset about it, and then anxious, oh no I have to hurry up and be finished so I can, so I can, so I can what? You will eat breakfast whenever you're finished, it doesn't have to happen at 8am. You will go about the things in your day, of which right now there are none, at your own pace and there is no time constraints on this.

So when and how did it grab a hold of me?!? Or should I not try to figure that out and move on to how to allow it to leave me again?

The first time I felt a release from it is when I was in Assam and then when I was back I still felt good but now a month later it might even be worse than normal. And I hate to think it all has happened around money. Money is the only problem I'm having right now but before I never worried about money too much and it always appeared when I needed it, now that doesn't seem to be the case.

I was recently reading some of my old blog posts, even just from last year, which then made me look at some of my old Facebook posts. So deep, well written, I was completely in the deep end of it all. Then I look at them now and it's like some adolescent has taken me over, who is this?!? Why on earth would this happen? I'm a deep person usually so I'm just not sure. I'm confused. I've lost a lot of self confidence, for which I usually have an overabundance of. Good lord...

I was told I need to surrender completely to the flow of life that I somehow got out of and then I'll feel lost and open but it will come back to me, this flow, when I allow it to. So that is my work right now. In my practices, in my mind, in my life.