Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spiritual Shock and Not Culture Shock

People keep asking me if I am in culture shock, but I would say spiritual shock.  Yes, the cultures are very different, but the biggest change is within myself.  Adjusting to the "new" me is the strange part.  My familiar world is feeling very different.  In India, I had constant distractions of noise, pollution, and physical assault of the senses whenever I left the ashram,  (or sometimes in the ashram too.)  I didn't ever experience the blissful state within a completely blissful environment.  As I have said, India the culture was a remarkable crucible for me to burn through a lot of my ego.  Where I live in the US it is so quiet, clean, pollution free, organized, and peaceful that I experience it as almost surreal.  Before this spiritual transformation,  I appreciated it, but now it feels like a spiritual experience in itself.

I visited Stephen (Narayana) to thank him again for his work, love, and support to get me to the feet of Gurudev and Pahari Baba.  He has a pair of his shoes near a photo of both Divine Beings.  It was such a lovely feeling to pranam to those sandals and sink into the beauty of all the teachings.  I REALLY miss that physical experience of pranam to the feet of a living Master.  Something so simple, pure, and beautiful to surrender your being to the Divine.  I could have weeped and melted into the sweetness of the Essence--that remarkable connection to Absolute Love.

This was just sent to me.  Ashram puppy update:

Bhavani's garden

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Walk With Bhavani in Petaluma

Path for non-motorized vehicles (there were no elephants, camels, cows, or water buffalo either.)
Bhavani update.  She is healing well, so we were able to go for a walk.  We both marveled at the spaciousness and the calmness--everywhere.

I have decided to keep blogging with photos and whatever shows up in my spiritual evolution, instead of stopping and starting.
Oak Tree
More Oak Trees--one of my favorite trees

Rustic view of an old cattle pen.

Outer and Inner Stillness

How remarkable to start the meditation from outer stillness.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Selfseeds Personalize 5 Camels (short video)

Selfseeds Personalize 5 Camels (short video)

Something personal and inspiring--spending time with camels

Wine Country, Sonoma County California

Views out my new window/back door.  Not a sound this morning.  Cool temperatures.  Gratitude for the wonderful landing place.
View out the back door
Cows grazing in the background

View of the house with blooming tree

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Last Leg of the Trip

Last leg of the trip was stellar with plenty of room.  Great, great friend picked me up at the airport and we headed home with a stop for salad--another magic carpet operator.  Bumped into one of my outstanding dance coaches at the salad place.  I had thought about her two days ago and planned to put her high on the contact list and for selling my competition dress at her studio.  More grace.

Meditated on the plane.  Another massive download.  The experience was like sitting in the ashram with the stillness, the voice, and the teaching.  Long distance connection is plugged in... Teary eyed looking at all the pictures from the past year.

Big rug and small rugs already in place for daily meditation.  The view out the window is to die for.

Travel Home

Heathrow Airport pm

9:00 pm called to confirm flight for next morning 6:30 am Jaipur to Delhi. 5:20 am arrived at airport to discover the flight was cancelled.  Taxi driving to Delhi by 6:10 am.  Arrived at the Delhi International Airport at 9:55 am.  No problem.  Made it.  Got boarding pass for 1:50 pm flight to London.  Walked directly to security check to be told that I am missing my boarding pass.  Strange, but whatever--just a process. (Getting the 1 month extension for my visa has broadened my capacity.)  Got the second boarding pass and while packing up my electronic items from the physical search, the man who scrutinized by visa/passport at the security point came over with my original boarding pass to apologize and ask me out for a drink.  Ok--new twist.  Sitting on the plane next to an oversized man who doesn't fit in his space and may or may not take baths.  Thank you universe.  The Indian people have this technique of pushing, crowding, and invading one's personal space without hesitation, so why not in an airplane seat.  There isn't much room already, so pointing out that I wasn't renting a space for him to sit in as well was challenging throughout the flight.  At least, he understood and tried to contain his overflowing flesh. (Oh, did I mention the 3 crying children in the seats in front of me--barely noticed--more capacity.)

Spending the night in the Heathrow Airport was glorious:  heated, clean, quiet, drinkable running water, clean, assorted consummable food/beverages available, very helpful, pleasant people working on staff, clean.... Oh my how I do love aspects of the western world.  Time to meditate in the morning.  The television, early morning humans rustling as they awaken, and janitorial sounds were easy to work with.  Thank you India.  The internal state is still throughout the small speed bumps appearing in the path. I human acting.  Maybe that could be my next career.

I am already intrigued by the unfolding.  New glasses in so many ways.  As I keep saying, "My life will never be the same." Jai Guru. 

Life is an opportunity given to satisfy the hunger and thirst of the soul.
                        Bowl of Saki, February 22, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
And what is life? Life is an opportunity. To the optimistic person the opportunity is a promise, and for the pessimistic person this opportunity is lost. It is not that the Creator makes man lose it, but it is man who withdraws himself from the possibility of seizing the opportunity.   from

If there is something that can be accomplished today, we need not wait for it to be accomplished tomorrow. For life is an opportunity, and desire has the greatest power, and perfection is the promise of the soul. We seek perfection, because perfection is the ultimate aim and the goal of creation. The source of all things is perfect. Our source is perfect, our goal is perfect. And therefore every atom of the universe is working towards perfection, and sooner or later it must arrive at perfection consciously. If it were not so, you would not have read in the Bible, 'Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.'

Kabir, the great poet of India says, 'Life is a field and you are born to cultivate it. And if you know how to cultivate this field you can produce anything you like. All the need of your life can be produced in this field. All that your soul yearns after and all you need is to be got from the field, if you know how to cultivate it and how to reap the fruit.' But if this opportunity is only studied in order to make the best of life by taking all that one can take and by being more comfortable, that is not satisfying. We must enrich ourselves with thought, with that happiness which is spiritual happiness, with that peace which belongs to our soul, with that liberty, that freedom, for which our soul longs; and attain to that higher knowledge which breaks all the fetters of life and raises our consciousness to look at life from a different point of view. Once a person has realized this opportunity he has fulfilled the purpose of Life.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pranam to Gurudev, Pahari Baba, and The Divine Genealogy

View From The Next Door Krishna Temple

Something else that I will miss--and the neighborhood temple's with their ringing of bells.

From the inside-out
Next door gardens where all of the weddings occur

Heart Fairies

Ashram flower 
How could there be even more grace?  While meditating today, I felt an exquisite,  sensitive energetic shift in my heart.  Usually, there is a sense of prying something open and making it bigger.  Today, it was if the most delicate fairies were weaving a fine net to repair the "umbilical cord" that I have felt in my heart.  It was so sensitive that it almost tickled.  The mystery continues.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Warm Weather Returning

Enjoying the sun at the ashram

I found out that I have been drinking Water Buffalo milk.  I am certain that I won't find that at home.  Enjoying a few days of eating out at restaurants and from street vendors.  Amazing yogurt and yogurt drinks.  Chai is my favorite and a few more items too.  All part of the fun.

Walking by the group of Water Buffalo heading down the street every morning as I head to the gym will be noticeably absent.  It will be strange not to squeegie the bathroom floor multiple times a day, since it acts as a bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room.

The weather is brilliant right now.  Quickly getting warmer, but for now it is one layer weather during the day and two layers at night.

Bhavani headed home.  She has an almost direct flight from Delhi to SFO and help along the way.  Still in great spirits.

The plan is to keep the room, so I can pop back over and continue with the deepening very easily.  It makes packing up much easier.  Always amazed at how much stuff one accumulates. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

More Magic At The Ashram

In spite of Bhavani's fractured shoulder and ribs, she made an outing to the ashram.  Wonderful discussions and teaching by Gurudev were received.  The amazing grace was that even thought she couldn't play harmonium for Gurudev, one of the highest level Suffi music masters (Sabri Brothers) stopped by to pay his respects to Gurudev and Pahari Baba.  He ended up playing harmonium and singing with his grandsons.  Remarkable to be at the feet of a Saint and a devotional music master--only in India could this have ever happened.  Gurudev said that it was blessings from Pahari Baba to Bhavani.  We all got to share in the blessings. He is almost 80 years old with a vibrant, heart felt, emotive voice.

A Sabri Brother and his 3 grandsons

Walk To The Gym

Quite a load
Doing something familiar lent some serious perspective to what had happened in the past 24 hours.  While walking to the gym, I felt like a human shopping cart that was being pushed down the street by a source greater than my body.  It was as if I was observing my body acting while I was outside of it and unattached.  I started to question my motives for walking, why not recline on the pavement for a moment, and do I really need to exercise?   A few hundred feet down the street, I run into a camel that was dripping large amounts of pus from one nostril that had been clearly torn by some accident to his nose.  Instead of intense pain, the reaction turns into a connection to divine energy that stirs a reaction of deep compassion.  It is as if I am experiencing the Earth drama as pure energy--not with labels of bad or good.

As I continued to walk, all of the pieces become part of an energy field.  I still felt outside of my body, but with a clarity instead of a dreamy state that I had experienced in the past.  Working out at the gym was a little bit odd as if I needed to stuff myself back into the skin suit to complete the tasks at hand.

Shiva Celebration At The Pahari Baba Ashram

Returning to the feet of Gurudev and a Shiva Celebration at the Ashram.  What a gift to be able to sit at Gurudev's feet and digest the remarkable experience--three hours of inner stillness while the Shiva Celebration went on around me.  Continuous energetic shifts were taking place, but a place of peace at a deeper level was created.  Practice from the morning lesson of finding the inner place of stillness irregardless of what is going on around me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Magic Carpet Heads Home (#16, #17 1:45)

A brand new temple on the road home.  Opened on Sunday.  Opulence--another mini Tajmahal

Intricate design and carefully manicured gardens
Massive, massive Durga Statue (equal to a 5 story building?) 

Never having seen a statue of this size/magnitude made me think of an amusement park setting with a religious twist. The pictures don't do justice with the position of the sun.  India 0-100 is the only way to describe the diversity.  I was told that there was even a larger one in another city--remarkable.  The wonder of human interpretation/invention.  From the Saint on the street to this.  The magic carpet was truly magical.  It felt like a very intense education about the diversity of religious/spiritual manifestation in a country known for their spiritual roots/tapestry woven by the fabric of the land, history, and civilization. Jai Guru!!!   Time for reflection and digestion during the 5 hour drive home.