Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Walk In San Francisco

San Francisco side of Golden Gate Bridge/San Francisco
Marin County side of Golden Gate Bridge/San Francisco
Middle of Golden Gate Bridge
The original idea was to spend 24 hours with a homeless man living/touring the homeless world of San Francisco.  I felt compelled to learn about and touch this aspect of society in my own backyard.  It was recommended that I have a male escort, so Takao graciously agreed to accompany me.  The walk was to start at the heart of the known section of the homeless--the Tenderloin.  The guide did not appear, so we created our own walk. 12 hours later, 15-20 miles of walking, we walked San Francisco: Tenderloin area in the morning, Market St. Ferry Building, Pier 39, The Cannery, Chrissy Field, across the Golden Gate Bridge and back, through the Presidio, along the edge of part of Golden Gate Park, through Pacific Heights, and back to the Tenderloin Area at night.

Waiting outside Glide where three meals a day are offered to the homeless
The weather was perfection. People sleeping on the street, collecting recycleable refuse, waiting for the breakfast offered to the homeless was the morning awakening in this part of town.  It was obvious that part of the collection were the mentally disturbed, the addicts, the destitute from whatever had unfolded in life, etc.  A universal cross-section?  Probably. A cup here and there were held out and there were a few requests for money, but no hounding, running after, pulling on shirt sleeves etc.  Was this a result of different laws and stricter law enforcement?  Even with these overt actions, the texture felt potentially more violent--but maybe I am out of practice living my carefree life in the country.  I felt no discrimination because I was a woman.  It was easier to walk without defensiveness not having the "woman card" on the top of the deck.  As a child, I had touched fragments of this part of society as my mother and I made our way to buy my yearly collection of school clothes from the city's outlet stores.

Shopping cart/home of the homeless on wheels
Market street begins the integration of the homeless to the material world, and the business section. There are stores that sell shoes only, cell phone covers only, etc. while you also see shopping carts converted to householder storage for the street people resting in nooks and crannies of the landscape.  The tourism and consumerism quickly engulf this fringe part of society.

Skyscrapers coupled with patchworks of greenscape
View of the bay near the ferry building
Lunch sitting on a step looking at the bay and almost invisible view of the Golden Gate Bridge
Saturday early day and the street vendors, exercisers, and tourist are in full swing.  The weather was perfection, so we easily embraced the idea of walking, (obviously one of my favorite ways to view the world.) Marveling at the harmony in which all of this appeared to exist side-by-side.  Everyone adjusting and making space for one another as if in a choreographed dance, nothing assaultive, plenty of space to pass/negotiate space, basic cleanliness, and an emphasis on pedestrian safety with motorist, cyclist, skateboarders and more adjusting accordingly.

View of the remodeled army base and GG Bridge as the destination

Heading across the Golden Gate Bridge
Takao midspan
Angel Island to the left and Alcatraz to the right
San Francisco
The part I have always appreciated about growing up in the SF Bay area is the diversity.  Walking through the city and across the bridge was a strong reminder of this: white, black, brown, yellow, married, single, old young, homosexual, heterosexual, tall, short, big, small--is the norm.  It is the ultimate melting pot and I naively embraced this as the way of the world.  Travel has shown that this is not the norm.  Does this solve all of the societal issues?  Obviously no as the Tenderloin Area, shootings, rape, and more are part of the daily news and statistics.

While heading home, we wound our way through the refurbished, historical army base known as the Presidio, along part of Golden Gate Park, through the pristine, wealthy neighborhood of Pacific Heights, and back to the city proper.

Military Cemetery 
Inspiration Point overlooking part of the Golden Gate Park with the setting sun.
Was it a walk of dark-to-light-to-dark as experienced by the diverse textures of what a city has to offer?  I came to experience a section of the often overlooked specialty of the city's matrix and got to walk in the buffet line.  There was a striking reminder of the often unpalatable existence when we witnessed a striking young woman in the chill of the night, "dancing around the maypole" of a corner street post, in high heels and a thong.  She was advertising her "self for sale."  It was searing to digest as a woman what it must be like to have unknown men buying you for their sexual needs. Yes, yet another part of the global matrix of an often overlooked/looking away category of life.

Takao gets the medal of honor for embracing and physically enduring "The San Francisco Walk."  It was different to walk through it with my heart open, compassion for the human variations, knowing there was no solution, but yet a reminder to be mindful towards what energetic threads pull on me.  More answers? No. More awareness? Yes. What does that translate to? Unknown.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hairball 101

The magic of rainy days.  The next day is so fresh, the grass appreciated the drink, the sun is warming the Earth, and the gentle breeze reminds us of the invisible forces at work. Sigh, my current duties include babysitting horses while they eat grass which also supports reflection and meditation. 

Since the wheel of life stopped at the horse world, I see that the circle is complete now.  The questions I had when I left for South Africa a little over two years ago have been answered.  The little bit of riding and teaching that I have been engaging in have shown me where I am on the path of horses and I feel at peace with what I know and don't know now.  The irony is that the two years away from the horses have answered my questions that I had with horses.  I needed to be able to go deeper in my own truth, so I could match or "exceed" their point of stillness.  I had somehow lost that in the process of technically learning how to train them.  My teachers never seemed to miss it, so it was not supported and nurtured.  As a three year old sitting under the horses in the field, I was probably the closest to their stillness point.  Somewhere in the technical advancement, my soul began to cry out over this gap between technical and heart truth. 

As I reflect on this awareness, the tears arise. I experienced a beautiful set of images in a recent meditation; it started with a side view of my head in its current very short hair status, then Gurudev sitting in lotus position arose in my left eye, and the third image was a galloping horse with all only its heart and arteries highlighted in red.  The vibrational impact was that of sitting at the ashram, but with the "three photo" slide show.  It felt like the knitting together of all that has transpired in my 48 years of this lifetime--neatly and succinctly underscored. 

Part of this vibrational alignment has involved coughing up hairballs.  The exterior removal of mud and lint has migrated to a deeper action of coughing up bits and pieces of very deep history and beliefs.  There is a sense of inner purification and clearing as the perceived disconnect is digested and let go of.  They are veils as well, but inner veils.  Amazing to experience how committed the self is to a continued process of removing the obscurations of True Nature. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Deepest Personal Threads

Alcoholism, animal family, and a few other topics are my deepest threads that have woven in and out of my entire life as Sue. They have been the places of pain, despair, uncertainty, and change.  The Western Container is relevant for exposing the deep tendrils of their presence and to offer more opportunities for capacity building. The anguish and pain are still present, but they are tempered and diluted by the ever growing state of inner peace.  How different to visit these trigger points from this new perspective.  As I am discovering, the truth of the heart will not be denied.  It is the escalator and the magnetism for truth and love.  There continues to be opportunities to replace the old mantel of obscuration, but my heart is yelling, "No!"  While standing on the edge of what feels like a precipice for action, there is no going back now, only letting go into the unknown with my heart as the navigator.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ramakrishna Order in San Francisco

Entrance to Ramakrishna Order in San Francisco

The Streets of San Francisco while looking out to the bay.
I had an appointment with the Swami.  He was white, but familiarly dressed in an orange robe with an orange knit cap.  Such a kind, sweet being that embodied the quiet inward passion of his path to the Divine. It was so cool to hear the words that he chose to talk about that place inside of us that is unshakeable, formless, and saturated in Absolute Truth and Love.  He called it the soft rock. We were having a shared experience from a human spiritual point of view.

After over an hour of talking, the crucible dust from the conversation was that state of being is it. Once one is anchored in that awareness--the rest is only exterior details.  As we shared that place in silence, the tears welled up uncontrollably and I thanked him for being someone to articulate and share not only his beliefs but my freshly unveiled world.  I explained that it was very graciously exposed to me from two years of inner experiences directed from the feet of Gurudev and the Divine Genealogy.  He was glowing and kindly invited me to come again. The journey of the heart continues.

Monday, March 11, 2013


A final medical exam to determine that euthanasia is the most humane next step.
Remarkable how death can be such a profound teacher.  Sitting with Aspen in his final days allowed me to experience my old felt connection to horses and the new felt connection to the Divine.  They weren't so different--one was in a brown, four legged container and the other had no container.

There was a moment in the decision making of his final days that I needed to be clear within myself while playing the role of Dr. Kavorkean.  It needed to feel as clear and full of love as any decision could or had ever felt.  The owner was in a space reminiscent of my pre-India state and was trying to get me to step around this new point of source connection that I am operating from now.  I was sobbing and an emotional wreck, but it was from the point of being asked to separate from Absolute Truth and Love.  No, I couldn't go back to putting that mantel on even if it meant losing one of my dearest friends.  The construction was developed in India, but now it was being put to the test in my old, familiar world.  I had often felt this anguish before, but I had insufficient tools and no other path to follow.  It was a point of intense surrender to what action would manifest from sitting at this point of truth as an action.  Same country, same horses, but a VERY different reference point.  Was this a profound moment of truly being the instrument?

24 hours later:

In the arranging of his final details, his state of being created an opportunity for three of us to share in his Divine Nature as a part of our own inner nature.  The conversation moved onto the Pahari Baba Ashram/Gurudev as a place to sense this without the four legs. We were sitting in the silence of it all when the phone range with the caller informing us the truck would arrive in the morning for his final transition from the body.  It too was a shared moment that felt like an electrical bolt striking through us all--the experience of "living death" as an energetic texture while wide open in our hearts.

Thank you Aspen for your animal soul presence and now we hope you are in greener pastures and pain free...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Walking Endlessly

Where I live for now...
My heart continues to shatter.  Submerged in so much passion and love at times that it is painful.  A difference is being in an environment that is pristine and beautiful, but not always receptive to the depth of Absolute Truth and Love.  Sitting at the ashram was like the magic box that opened my heart to a new capacity of being.  There was a gentle (and sometimes explosive) coaxing involved by the concentrated, energetics of the Divine Geneaology--an invitation to wade into the depths of the ocean.  Now, I feel the desire to wade, but the container appears more limiting.  Is this yet another point of attachment that will organically find its end?  At some point, I won't need the container encouraging me to let go?

There are moments that are showing me this and one was while sitting with the soul of one of the aging horses who is probably coming to a closure of his lifetime.  The horses continue to teach me.  They are like giant, four legged balls of unedited love who have no restriction in offering or receiving--no scratchiness.  He showed me the depth of my new state and how humans often pull away or create some form of protection.  Now I see more clearly the state of scratchiness from both sides of the fence--mine and others.

The exploration of this is beginning.  It feels overwhelming, out of control, and remarkably vulnerable at times, so when it is flaring up like a fire, I take a little time out to acknowledge it and let it run its course.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fruit Trees

A panoramic view of Bodega Bay.
What really happens in the transformation of the human's practice as a form to the human's practice as the formless?  Does the progression of spiritual awareness mean dropping the duties, responsibilities, and actions associated with the physical/mental aspects of the form ("What To Do While Doing?") or does it create an additional list with a heading of "What To Do While Being?"

As a living being on the human side of the wall looking at the path towards formlessness, I have been observing there appears to be as many different styles, approaches, and manifestations as there are individuals on the transformative path.  What is the ideal model for a spiritual teacher?  What is the ideal model for a disciple/seeker?"  At what point is one considered transformed into the other?  Do we all agree on the characteristics of a perfectly baked cookie?  Does this become yet another opportunity for discernment, digestion, and surrender?  All the steps along this specialized path have involved these actions to nonaction, but my list for the physical has not diminished while I am aware of inhabiting a body.  I still need to eat healthfully, brush my teeth, exercise, etc.

At this point in my journey, I appreciate all the variations, but I do find comfort in learning from a living example/Master who "walks the talk" of the scriptural ideals.  Gurudev made it clear from the beginning that anyone who inhabits a body is going to have perceived flaws and that it is part of the embodied evolutionary design.  Maybe because of my limited capacity,  I prefer not to see the flaws in the categories of ethics, morality, and "right" action as outlined in most spiritual texts. It is not to say that I couldn't learn from a person with 93 Rolls Royce's (Osho) or someone who has indiscrete relationships with his/her disciples (too many to name), or any number of other variations of perceived less desirable actions, but my preference is for someone who shows how it can be done. The list of a Master's qualifications is personal and in contract with the Divine and so far, the list only exists in the wake state.

As a child, I believed in the supervising/parenting adult as the life leader.  At some point, I accumulated my own observations, experiences, and discernment and began to observe from a different perspective.  The parent as the authority and guiding example may or may not hold at that point.  I am learning that spiritual leaders are no different--stepping stones.  Gurudev NEVER speaks of himself as the guru or the one at the end of the food chain. He always gestures towards the Divine Genealogy and the formless beyond.

As a student there have been questions around how to integrate the seemingly different worlds.  At first there was a state of confusion, since it was so different than what was familiar--not unlike adjusting to India as a physical container. Now as some of the dust is settling, I experience the principles as fruits ripening within.  There appears to be an organic path that arises from the old desires and actions.  I needed the old fruit as a contact or as markers of awareness.  As a deeper, energetic connection to the Divine "solidifies", the old connections wither, the old fruit drops away, new fruit emerges, and the cycles continue.   Is this the path of purification? Probably and I will need to live through many, many fruit cycles to follow the path of Ramakrishna, Gurudev, or others.  The dying of the fruit becomes a point of rebirth, so it is not felt as a loss but as an opening to something more sacred and pure.  The path of renunciation isn't felt as a sacrifice, but as an opportunity to come into contact with the abstraction of the formless.  As a child, we may have played dress-up to emulate our parents and now we play renunciation to emulate the Divine.

Most of the current world nature is about materialism, so I personally need the living example of what is possible.  Reading it in the books is one aspect, but sitting at the feet of it is another.  Would I have thought to stand if I hadn't seen living examples or would I have continued to crawl?  Within myself, the tolerance for "bad" behavior is minimal.  I understand it, I possess it, I witness it regularly, but now, it is clearly observed as an obscuration--more fruit cycles in the cue of spiritual evolution.

As I continue to observe, read, and digest, I see that we are all fruit trees in varying stages.  We may even sit at the base of the most sacred fruit tree and may not be ready to receive the inspiration for change, so thank goodness for all of the stages in between. In this exercise of examining spiritual teachers, students, and the path, the Principles continue to apply.  Thank you!