Thursday, April 28, 2016

Our Only Function

So, one day you wake up, look around, and realize....You're in a prison; you were born into this prison.  It's not that it just happened - it has always been that way. But something awoke in you where you suddenly realized it and it became absolutely crystal clear - "I'm in prison!"  What a revelation! 

So what do you do???

There are a number of possibilities for what might occur:  You might begin to wonder "How did I get here?"  You have no memory of it. Nothing comes to mind. You simply found yourself in prison, and no amount of memory dredging or speculation will reveal an answer. You're just HERE!

Assuming you went through "How did I get here?" - the next thing would probably be, "How do I get OUT of here?"  If we figure this is a relatively normal prison, there will be many other inmates, to whom you pose your question - but for the most part, they have no great answers either. After all, they ARE in the prison as well, which would suggest that if they DID have a way out, they probably would have used it.  Of course, that doesn't stop people from explaining THEIR opinions about it to you, and or telling you about the legend of So-and-so who is said to have gotten out. 

But for the most part, no one really seems to know, and even more amazing is that nobody really cares. In fact, when you present the question of 'How do I get out', most people just sort of shake their head and move away from you, as if you were a sad and pathetic little person that is best to avoid.  Not only because you're weird, and perhaps crazy, but you're also 'killing their buzz'. They're trying to enjoy, and your talk of 'getting out', subtly suggests that there is something better than their lives and their attempts at maximum enjoyment.

Truth is, you recognize that up until that point that, you too, had been trying to enjoy everything you could to the max!  You did everything possible to increase happiness and pleasure, and to avoid suffering, pain and misery. But no matter how much you tried and to what extremes you employed to do so - suffering would always come. It couldn't be avoided. And even the 'enjoyment' wasn't really THAT enjoyable, as much as a simple relief from the suffering, an intermission from the reality that was a miserable existence...

Until you 'woke up' and really and truly saw that you were in prison.

Akinchana!  Akinchana is a Sanskrit word that means 'poor, destitute, that which is worth nothing, disinterested.'  In Srimad Bhagavatam, the Lord is described as "akinchana gochara" - One who is easily approached, BUT only by those who are 'akinchana' - completely and totally materially exhausted!  In other words, by those who have woken up, and truly realize that they are in prison; that the prison has NOTHING to offer them, and that their ONLY function is to get out!  This position...this recognition, that the prison is NOT our home, and that it offers nothing for us is, in itself, a fairly rare and amazing blessing, because until we actually recognize that... we are going to continually try and find SOME way to enjoy; some method for increasing happiness and avoiding distress; some situation that will make it all 'okay' and bearable or even special; some way to "Succeed!"  But having woken up to the 'Prison reality', it becomes 100% crystal clear that there is Absolutely Nothing For Us Here!  We are officially 'Akinchana" - Materially exhausted! 

NOW, we become serious about getting out!  But as I asked before, who can tell you how? The people who are here, if they are still here, probably don't have the method out, or to a huge extent, haven't even woken up to the fact it's a prison. They're all still trying to enjoy it to its fullest - and can only offer you THEIR version of how to turn hell into heaven, prison into paradise.

But you're not interested in that!  You've seen through that ruse. You have no interest in so called spiritual powers or abundance or even material 'peace'. You want 'OUT'!  And now you're stuck in a dilemma - you're in...anyone who knows the way out probably IS out, and you're left to suffer and wonder.

The Vedic scriptures also tell us that WHEN the student is TRULY ready, the teacher will appear. There may be teachers all along the road, but when you are truly ready to get out - when you are materially exhausted - when you are ready to fully surrender - THEN the bona fide spiritual master will come; OR you will actually be ready to recognize him (her) as they may have been there all along. Because the bona fide spiritual master is not really a resident here. They are NOT an imprisoned being like we are. They are 'just visiting' so to speak. They have a travel pass - something like a guard or warden in the prison - they appear to in the prison, but they area also out of it, as well. 

There are two kinds of spiritual masters - One is called nitya-siddha - eternally perfected, (who are sent into the prison to rescue us), and the other is called sadhana-siddha or  kripa-siddha - perfected due to their spiritual endeavors or perfected by 'grace'.  But neither is a convicted and incarcerated inmate like the other prisoners. They ARE perfected. They have the way out.

The Bhagavad Gita tells us - tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva darsinah - "To know they way out - one should humbly approach with inquiries and service - the spiritual master who has SEEN the Truth, for ONLY they can impart this knowledge to you."

But first, one must become 'akinchana' - materially exhausted, because as my spiritual master said, "Spiritual life and material life go ill together."  You can't really enjoy one place, while, at the same time, trying to get on the boat to escape it.  You just have to want to escape it!  And escaping the prison is Our Only Function.

हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे    
हरे राम हरे राम राम राम हरे हरे

Saturday, April 16, 2016

I'm Watching My Body

I'm watching my body....'MY' body - this thing that I'm stuck inside and dragging around the world. Well, actually, 'the world' would be a gross overstatement, as I drag it around the house, from my bedroom to the bathroom, and out to the porch, where I spend most of my time. 

And 'dragging' too, would be a mis-statement, as no dragging is involved. IT drags, and I watch it, the big, bumbly thing, that sometimes appears to wobble a bit and almost fall over.

I have this general perspective, of being more or less somewhere IN this thing. I see out of its eyes (although not that well anymore) and hear through its ears (not able to distinguish most of the things that are heard).

It REALLY doesn't function very well anymore. The finer senses are very dulled, and even the baser senses are hampered in their functions.  If I drove a car, I would have LONG since bought a newer model. But I'm stuck with this one. Stuck IN this one.

I see other bodies 'out there', which is partly 'in here', in the totality that is Awareness. But the experience is of being primarily in THIS one - the one that has decided to embrace pain! 

'Pain' is a fascinating thing. Basically just a sensation, but with its own unique quality. Years ago, someone asked me "How to deal with chronic pain". I didn't have an answer, or at least, I don't remember what I said. I couldn't relate. I had pain like everyone else back then - occasional and mostly mild. 

Now, it IS my life.  From the moment I rise to the moment I am blessed with those 4, 5, or 6 hours of mostly non-awareness in sleep, pain is what this body embraces.  Now I'm watching the body 'whine and complain'. It does that too, I think because it both wants attention for the pain and it also feels guilty for the pain AND for the various methods it utilizes to minimize that pain.

I used to tell people to 'accept everything!' Embrace everything!  I might have been an asshole!  I didn't mean to be, but I couldn't understand.

It's still not a bad thing, to surrender. It's a great thing to surrender. But does surrender mean to surrender TO the pain, or to the fact that you HAVE pain, and then do something about it. 

If I surrender TO the pain, all I can do is curl up in a ball and pray for death. But nobody around here seems to want me to die; they say it's a quality of life thing - take the drugs!  So I take the drugs. They help some...for a few hours.

I don't know what I was expecting.  Duhkhalayam Asasvatam, the Gita says - This world is a temporary place, but filled with miseries. 

I am NOT this body. I am Awareness. But that Awareness is aware of pain!  Bummer!

But above everything else, the pain guides ME to surrender. If I have some illusion that I might be able to 'enjoy' in this world, in this body, the pain reminds me "Prepare for death! Are you ready? It could come at ANY moment."  Like the proverbial Boy Scout, it reminds me to "Be Prepared."  So I try to be prepared.

How DO you prepare for death?  It IS inevitable, you know.  No one gets out of here alive. Abrahma bhuvanal lokah punar avartino 'rjuna - from the topmost planet to the lowest, ALL are places of repeated birth and death - again and again.

Ante narayana smritih - At the end, remember God. My spiritual master taught me to remember God, by chanting God's names, in every moment - Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

I recognize that you can't just do it AT the moment of death. You probably won't remember. So practice. Practice for the moment of death. That death WILL come; Maybe tomorrow or maybe a decade. But it's watching you...waiting for you. Be prepared. So I chant it on my beads; I sing it on my guitar. It makes me VERY happy.

I think I'd be happy if the pain went away. But I know what would happen. I'd start to think I can enjoy in this body. I would TRY to enjoy in this body and forget about God.  And I don't want to forget God - never ever. I want to LOVE God. I want to Surrender to God, and I definitely want to Remember God.

"Always remember God and never forget God; All the other rules and regulations are the servants of those two." The puranas tell me this. So THAT'S what I do. That's what I try to do.  Remember God by chanting His/Her names - Hare Krsna - Feminine and Masculine - Goddess and God. "Please let me serve You! Please let me remember You! Please let me remember Your transcendental names!"

I watch my body. I watch my mind. But mostly, it reminds me to watch God. Thank you, body. Thank you, God.

हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे    
हरे राम हरे राम राम राम हरे हरे

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Writing to Write

I like writing. In fact, I LOVE writing. For me, writing is a form of letting go. It's a way to unburden your mind. It can be a way of both scraping the scum from the top of the mental pond, as well as to delve deeply into furthest reaches of the ocean of consciousness. 

Often, I use writing to explore a topic within my own consciousness - allowing the thoughts to flow freely as I quickly type them out, and thus expressing those thoughts.  I have found repeatedly, that much of what is in our mind is the stuff that's just sort of floating on the top, that go round and round as they have no outlet.  

In an ideal society, we would have close friends with which to share our ideas, and some individuals are fortunate enough to have such friends. But in today's world, we are often without the kind of deeply bonded friendship in which we can feel totally safe in expressing ourselves.   (As an aside - my definition of a friend has always been a person to whom you can tell ANYTHING and they will not judge you - a rare commodity.)

But lacking that kind of friendship, writing can be a very close second.  Journaling, in any form, allows an escape for many of those thoughts that are otherwise 'stuck in your head', and consequently, to go deeper into your own consciousness, or to see the next layer, at least. 

For many years, I did a form of Self inquiry, based on the Enlightenment Intensives of Charles Berner. The incredibly simple process involved 2 individuals facing each other, with one requesting of the other to "Tell me who you are."  The second individual then 'intends' to directly experience who they are, and then  'communicates' that to their partner.  I'm somewhat over-simplifying the process, but the point is, that with each communication, one can hopefully then see the next layer down of who they are, expressing layer after layer, until the can directly recognize and communicate that pure primal Self.

Earlier in life, I also spent a great deal of time writing and journaling, with one of my favorites being "non-stop writing".  With non-stop writing, one sets a particular amount of time - 5, 10, 20, 30 minutes, or whatever duration they want, setting a timer. During that time, one must continue to write without pausing to consider what to write next!  Even if one has to write "I don't know what to write, this is stupid, why am I doing this, I'm an idiot...." and other such things, one cannot stop writing until the timer goes off. The very act of continuously writing helps one to 'break' the thinking patterns, pushing out the crap, so to speak, and often facilitating an incredible release of new and deeper realizations. 

While it IS wonderful to have a true friend with whom you can share your most intimate, enlightened or embarrassing thoughts, the benefit of utilizing writing for clarity, is that you don't NEED to have the friend around....Paper and pen, (or electronic method) are all you need, and you can do it just about anytime and anywhere! 

But actually, this is NOT what I wanted to write about, but rather to explain where I may be going with this blog.  For those few of you who actually read this on a 'regular' basis, you may have noticed I have NOT been writing much, and there are a couple reasons behind this (in no particular order):
1. I haven't actually had much to say
2. Because of my health, my mind feels a little cloudier
3. I initially set up the blog with the idea that it should 'look a certain way',  for instance - always have a quote from someone, a picture of something, be halfway intelligent!

And because of that, I have had difficulty in writing any kind of regular posts.  However, I think I've come up with a solution to these three problems:
1. Start writing anyway, and 'stuff' to say will come up.
2. Writing is a great way to 'clear your mind' as I mentioned above.
3. Let go of caring what it looks like, or what it says!


So, my intention here is NOT to write for admiration or money or prestige or whatever other reasons one writes, but more for Self-purification.  My spiritual master often said that one should write ONLY for Self purification - of course, he was speaking primarily about writing about God, and no doubt, some of what I write will be about God.  But much of it may be simply ramblings, total nonsense, abstract junk, highly philosophical ideals, and things you wouldn't even tell your mother!  (Okay, probably not, but you get the idea.)  In fact, with Blogger, you have the ability to write a post and send it to your blog via email, and have it post instantly!  (Previously, I would send it as a 'draft', then go in, add a picture, double check it, etc.  NOT anymore.  Just gonna send that puppy over and let it land where it will, or as they say, "Let God sort it out!")

SO.....THAT is my plan, or intention, or idea, or ???  Thus, you MAY look forward to many more posts coming up here (or in your email in-box, if you've signed up to receive them  - See the "RECEIVE EACH BLOG BY EMAIL" to the more or less top right of this blog if you'd like to get every one! )

And as always, you are welcome to comment on what is here. I just ask you to 'be kind', as I'm a fragile thing.  And remember: A true friend never judges!  :-D