Monday, June 29, 2009

Get back into the now. Don't look back.

A note to a friend...

Dig back into your childhood for the roots of that (probably a narcissicic parent who
either ignored/neglected you or never was satisfied with your
accomplishments) ... and sever those roots.

Cut the chords that are pulling you and manipulating your life to this day.

Don't let that wounded little boy make the decisions for your adult life

By the way, if we get back into the MOMENT of now, and are present, I
realize that you/I have a good 20 years ahead of us... which either of us could write a best seller, have a fantastic
relationship, have a great family, start a thriving business, join a hot
startup or flip another fixer upper.

I'm trying to focus on that possibility, and avoid looking back, because
the past is so painful sometimes, so filled with regrets....and because
we can't change the past, but we can change the future.

So focus there.

What do you want those next 20 years to be? (And don't blame the
potential on the government or whatever--times are always in flux and
often challenging. It's what we make of them that matters.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Love needs two.

Love and awareness - the highest form of polarity

Love and awareness is the highest form of polarity -- just like man/woman, life/death, darkness/light, summer/winter, outer/ inner, yin/yang, the body and the soul, the creation and the creator. Love and awareness is the highest form of polarity, the last polarity, at which transcendence happens.

Love needs two. It is a relationship, it is outgoing, it is energy moving outwards. There is an object: the beloved. The object becomes more important than yourself. Your joy is in the object. If your beloved is happy, you are happy; you become part of the object. There is a kind of dependence, and the other is needed. Without the other you will feel lonely.

Awareness is just being with yourself in utter aloneness, just being alert. It is not a relationship, the other is not needed at all. It is not outgoing, it is ingoing.
Love is very essential. You have to lose yourself to gain yourself. Love is the only possibility of losing yourself totally. When you are lost totally, then you will be able to remember what you have done.
It is like a fish which has always lived in the ocean. It will never become aware of the ocean and the benediction of it. It has to be caught in a net, a fisherman has to come to take it out, throw it on the shore. Only on the shore, in the hot sun, will it remember for the first time. Although it lived for years in the ocean, it was oblivious, completely oblivious, of the ocean. Now the thirst, the heat, makes it mindful of the ocean. A great longing arises to go back to the ocean. It makes every effort to jump back into the ocean.

That is the state of a seeker: thirsty to be back at the original source. And if this fish can enter the ocean again... can't you imagine the celebration! And the fish has lived in the ocean forever but there was no celebration. Now there is the possibility of celebration. Now it will feel so delighted, so blessed.
Love is a must for spiritual growth. And, moreover, love functions as a mirror. It is very difficult to know yourself unless you have looked at your face in the eyes of someone who loves you. Just as you have to look into the mirror to see your physical face, you have to look in the mirror of love to see your spiritual face. Love is a spiritual mirror. It nourishes you, it integrates you, it makes you ready for the inner journey, it reminds you of your original face.

In moments of deep love there are glimpses of the original face, although those glimpses are coming as reflections. Just as on a full moon night you see the moon reflected in the lake, in the silent lake, so love functions as a lake. The moon reflected in the lake is the beginning of the search for the real moon. If you have never seen the moon reflected in the lake you may never search for the real moon. You will go again and again into the lake to search for the moon because in the beginning you will think, 'This is where the real moon is, somewhere deep down at the bottom of the lake.' You will dive again and again and you will come up empty-handed; you will not find the moon there.

Then one day it will dawn on you that maybe this moon is just a reflection. That is a great insight. Then you can look upwards. Then where is the moon if this is a reflection? If it is a reflection you have to look in the opposite direction. The reflection was there, deep in the lake -- the real must be somewhere above the lake. For the first time you look upwards and the journey has started.

Love gives you glimpses of meditation, reflections of the moon in the lake -- although they are reflections, not true. So love can never satisfy you. In fact, love will make you more and more dissatisfied, discontented. Love will make you more and more aware of what is possible, but it will not deliver the goods. It will frustrate you; and only in deep frustration -- the possibility of turning back to your own being. Only lovers know the joy of meditation. Those who have never loved and have never been frustrated in love, those who have never dived into the lake of love in search of the moon and are never frustrated, will never look up to the real moon in the sky; they will never become aware of it.

Love is not as valuable as freedom is. Love is a great value, but not higher than freedom. So one would like to be loving, but one would not like to be imprisoned by love. Hence, sooner or later you become frustrated. You try to possess, and the more you try to possess, the more impossible love becomes and the more the other starts going away from you. The less you possess, the closer you feel to the other. If you don't possess at all, if there is freedom flowing between the lovers, there is great love.

Firstly, the effort to possess a person is bound to fail: in that frustration you will be thrown back on yourself. Secondly, if you have learned not to possess the person, if you have learned that freedom is a higher value than love, a far more superior value than love, then sooner or later you will see: freedom will bring you to yourself, freedom will become your awareness, meditation.

Freedom is another aspect of meditation. Either start with freedom and you will become aware, or start with awareness and you will become free. They go together. Love is a kind of subtle bondage -- they go together -- but it is an essential experience, very essential for maturity.
Love makes you real; otherwise you remain just a fantasy, a dream, with no substance in it. Love gives you substance, love gives you integrity, loves makes you centred. But it is only half of the journey; the other half has to be completed in meditation, in awareness. But love prepares you for the other half. Love is the beginning half and awareness is the ending half. Between these two you attain to God. Between love and awareness, between these two banks, the river of being flows.

Don't avoid love. Go through it, with all its pains. Yes, it hurts, but if you are in love it doesn't matter. In fact, all those hurts strengthen you. Sometimes it really hurts badly, terribly, but all those wounds are necessary to provoke you, to challenge you, to make you less sleepy. All those dangerous situations are necessary to make you alert. Love prepares the ground, and in the soil of love the seed of meditation can grow -- and only in the soil of love.

So those who escape from the world out of fear will never attain to meditation. They can sit in the Himalayan caves for lives together, they will not attain to meditation. It is not possible -- they have not earned it. First it has to be earned in the world; first they have to prepare the soil. And it is only love that prepares the soil.

Hence my insistence for my sannyasins not to renounce the world. Be in it, take its challenge, accept its dangers, its hurts, wounds. Go through it. Don't avoid it, don't try to find a short-cut because there is none. It is a struggle, it is arduous, it is an uphill task, but that is how one reaches the peak.

And the joy will be more, far more, than if you were dropped on the peak by a helicopter, because you will have reached there ungrown; you will not be able to enjoy it.

The journey creates the goal. The goal is not sitting there at the end of the journey, the journey creates it at each step. The journey is the goal. The journey and the goal are not separate, they are not two things. The end and the means are not two things. The end is spread over all the way; all the means contain the end in them.

So never miss any opportunity of living, of being alive, of being responsible, of being committed, of getting involved. Don't be a coward. Face life, encounter it. And then slowly slowly something inside you will crystallize.

Yes, it takes time. The Skin Horse is right: 'Generally, by the time you are REAL, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are REAL, you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand... Once you are REAL, you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always.' It is forever.

But one has to earn it. Let me repeat it: in life you cannot get anything free. And if you do get it, it is useless. You have to pay, and the more you pay for it the more you will get out of it. If you can risk your whole life in love, great will be your attainment. Love will send you back to yourself; it will give you a few reflections of meditation. The first glimpses of meditation happen in love. And then a great desire arises in you to attain to those glimpses, not only as glimpses but as states, so that you can live in those states forever and forever. Love gives you the taste of meditation.

A loving orgasmic experience is the first experience of SAMADHI, of ecstasy. It will make you more thirsty. Now you will know what is possible and now you cannot be satisfied with the mundane. The sacred has penetrated you, the sacred has reached your heart. God has touched your heart, you have felt that touch. Now you would like to live in that moment forever, you would like that moment to become your whole life. It does become -- and unless it becomes man remains discontented.

Love on the one hand will give you great joy and on the other hand will give you a thirst for eternal joy.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Getting hugged by the great one

If, after love shopping on the internet, you're still not getting enough (love, that is), you can always wait in line for a free hug from Amma, the "Hugging Guru" from India.

Amma is like the rock star of hugging. For 30 years, Indian spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi, to give her her real name, has been hugging people, and is said to have hugged people 26 million times. She was visiting on tour in our area, so some friends and I decided to get our first-ever hug from the greatest hugger on earth.

We were on the edge of suburbia in America, but it was like stepping into a time machine and landing in India. Her temple even smelled and sounded like India.

Welcome to the Amma shopping mall, from the moment you enter the village, made of little wooden kiosks exactly like you'd see on the street in Mumbai. All kinds of "Ammabilia" foe sale here -- Amma keychains, Amma gold jewelery (blessed by Amma), Amma diamonds (worn by Amma), Amma food, Amma chai, Amma photos, Amma cards, Amma altar items. Most of her most devoted followers are dressed in simple, modest, flowing white clothes. Others are walking around barefoot.

There are clothes from India, and all sort of spiritualabilia and quasi religious tchotchkes. (Sort of like what you find at Lourdes in France, or around any temple in India, only Indian temples are devoted to deities and not living saints.)

You can buy roses or fruit to give as an offering to Amma, and what's funny is, after someone gives her these things, an assistant whisks them away into a basin of water, and they are brought back to the cash register again so they can be given to her, recycled over and over and over again.

She is laughing and conducting business, reading notes, and signing documents and running hundreds of charities and this
huge global operation while she hugs people, often hugging for 23 hours at a time without ever even getting up to use the bathroom. (My friends and I whisper to each other, "How does she do it? Is it a spiritual power? Or does she wear Depends?) Amazingly, she is said to run more than 20,000 global charities while hugging people.

Since it was my first time, I checked in at reception and was given a green dot to wear and told that this would enable me to sit in front and meditate near her. "This is the only time in your life you will get the green dot," the assistant told me. I was also handed a little ticket, like you'd get at the DMV, with a "darshan number". You can shop around and browse the kiosks while you wait for your number to be called.

(Imagine how fast the state of California could solve its budget woes if the DMV took a lesson from Amma, and not only sold useful items for your car like mud flaps and designer license plate frames that you could browse and shop for while waiting in the "DMV mall", but then had DMV employees who greeted you with: "That will be $583 and you need a smog certificate first before you can get registered. Awwwww, you look so disappointed -- can I give you a big hug?").

Waiting for a hug from the great mother is more like waiting to see Santa Claus than the DMV or an emergency room. The air is ripe with anticipation.

There were assistants busily wrapping Hershey kisses in rose petals and handing them to Amma, a fascinating act of cooperation that kept the line flowing quickly and smoothly. Patiently, nodding off from time to time as it was already well past 1 am, I waited in a long line of beige folding metal chairs, moving forward from one chair to the next.

I tried to snap a photograph of the line, but her assistants ripped my cellphone away from my hands off when I tried to take a photograph. The fact is, like most celebrities, (and yes, even Santa) Amma's photos are either very old, or heavily retouched. Hugging tens of thousands of people a year is wearing on her. Her hair is gray, she's quite overweight, and she has wierd dark blotches on her face, and deep dark circles under her eyes. She has a big, sparkling diamond pierced lotus blossom in her nose. (Presumably to soon be placed in the case of jewels "worn by Amma.")

(It reminded me of when I was a little girl, and my great grandmother would tuck little rosaries, cards with angels on them, and handmade doilies and handkerchiefs blessed by the priest into the jars of cookies she sent at Christmas.)

Amma's face lights up and she absolutely glows when she smiles, and beauty radiates from her. It is a beauty unlike any other, the beauty of pure love. Despite the fatigue, she seems to enjoy giving hugs, very very much.

I could feel the energy from the doorway to the temple, and as I got closer and closer, inching up chair by folding metal chair, I could feel this bright, white energy radiating out of her. It was almost hard to get near, kind of like a force field.

Finally, I arrived at a little red stool where someone motioned me to kneel. The energy now was radiating in a way that made me feel a bit disoriented.

When it was my turn for a hug, she grabbed me (or someone pushed me) forward and buried me in her enormous breasts, which smelled like rose petals. There were assistants and her entourage buzzing all around me, everyone dressed in white, and the energy was confusing and i was dazed, maybe from the waiting, the fatigue, the chanting...and then she started shouting this gibberish in my ear, and it sounded angry, it sounded like "MURDER." but it was, i guess, in her language, and more like: "murrrrrbeulash" and she repeated quickly it over and over again. What did it mean? Was it a mantra for me? A secret message?

Then she thrust a Hershey kiss wrapped in a rose petal in my hand, and something, a force, (one of her assistants?) pushed me away, and I reeled backward. Amma then used the manual clicker in her hand to record my hug, and before I could sit down, she was on to the next. You can't expect a lot of personal attention from the hugging saint. You have to share her.

When I tried to stand up, I was dizzy and almost fell over. I fell into a deep meditative trance, and stayed that way until the chanting stopped, and someone nudged me and said the darshan was over. It was well past 2 am by then and the crowd started to trickle outside into the gardens. I guess even Amma needs to pee and get some sleep.

When I told this story to my friend, he quipped:

"I hear they sell Amma's pee there as well, but it's really, really expensive. You have to know the right people. It's called, "gurine" as in "guru urine." The black market on this stuff is phenomenal. It's said that her golden essence will sprout roses in winter."

Uh, I think I'll pass on the pre-owned altar items, thank you. The hug will stay with me for a long time.

Why can't we just have fun?

Why is just making love and having fun such a chore sometimes?

Like, why can't people just hang out and enjoy each other and not let
all their baggage get in the way?

We could probably be doing that right now, but, you know, it's so much of a commitment, and it would
then "mean something," and there would be all kinds of "expectation"...

Why is everybody so busy all the time that they don't have time in
life for the "best things in life that are free"?

Really, i think all these "issues" around "relationship" are just
another way that "they" can control us and ruin all of the fun we could
be having.

It's just another way, now that sex before marriage is no
longer a big taboo, to turn the most precious things in life into yet
another commodity that can be controlled and manipulated and people can
make a profit from.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Is it ok to smoke... if he's smoking hot?

Isn't it funny that we can insist on non smokers in the online world, but when we meet in real life, where chemistry overrules the logical brain, we suddenly end up falling head over heels for the Marlboro Man?

After all, we think..."Maybe if I kiss him enough I can get him to quit."

There's an interesting discussion about this over at Blogher: