What if you were perfect the way you were, and there was nothing else to do? You didn’t have to “work” on yourself, become a better person, prove how great you were to anyone. You didn’t have to “save” anyone, or knock anyone down to feel ok about who you were. Wacky idea, no?
This was the message I got at the Lovelight Festival this past weekend in Maryland. Many different voices were saying just this in many different ways. You are what you are seeking, you are perfect, there are no accidents.
One of the people who spoke this message was Shakti Durgaya (that’s her with me in the picture)! She runs the Kashi Ashram in Florida. Mukunda had great respect and love for the Guru there, Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati. So it is no surprise that Shakti Durgaya and I felt a connection last year when we first met. This year I got to spend some time in the “red tent” with her and her graduates. She passed on some wonderful teachings from her Guru who left her body two years before Mukunda. She told us Ma Jaya would say there are no throw away people, there are no mistakes. One thing that really struck me (I am afraid I don’t remember the exact words) is that we are here to allow the divine to express itself through us, act through us, etc. The rest of the time (and here is where the challenge is) we are navigating the world around us, trying to stay out of trouble and conflict, until we can be in the space that allows us to step aside and let the divine act through us once again. (Shakti Durgaya said this in just one sentence. Me, not so much.)
Later that day I offered a workshop on the Dakini Mandala of Emotions and understood why I was so taken by that idea of navigating- the Mandala is a phenomenal tool for navigating through life when we are not remembering we are the vessel for the divine. I believe all of these spiritual practices are just that- tools for navigating through the to-do lists, the societal demands, our families needs, our busy mind, until that one blissful second arises where we are simply the vehicle for the divines work. We are completely absorbed, focused, unafraid, unconcerned about how we look, feel, act, and are completely competent in what we are doing…because we are not doing it. And then, the moment passes, and we start the navigation again. If we are staying awake and aware, as we are slipping and sliding around life, we see the things that pull us into the crevices which prevent us from being the messenger of the divine, we see the triggers that move us back to the self-centered space that is quite far from spirit. When we see those places over and over again, we eventually know to take a wider arc around them as we continue the movement from one action to the next. Or we perfect our release techniques and can get out quicker. Our sadhana (spiritual practice) keeps us alert and offers us a life-line to pull us back towards the moments of absorption.
It is amazing to think of how many opportunities we have to let the divine work through us, whether it is to ease someones heart with a kind word, take away a moment of struggle, or just shine light on some darkness. We have all these opportunities, probably hundreds of times a day, yet we miss them because we are trying so hard to be better people, get better jobs, be smarter, skinnier, more flexible, stronger, have more friends on FB and more likes on Instagram. We are trying so hard to exist in an illusion we know is impermanent.
It would be quite an amazing world if we all believed and knew there was nothing left to do, and we just kept looking for the opportunity to express the divine. Being at Lovelight was like living in a little diorama of a world that was just like that; a place full of people who were looking for that moment of absorption, and once found, would smile and take everyone else with them.
I heard a very sweet story from a client today. She told me she asked God for a sign that she could in fact be of service at a time when she was in one of those crevices where all you can see is how trapped you are. She walked out of the building she was in and encountered an older person who was disabled and was using a walker. She noticed the persons shoe was untied. My client went up to her and asked if she could tie her shoe, fearing she might trip and fall. The answer was “Yes, would you mind?” And so my client knelt down and tied the shoe. Then she thanked God for the sign. It was so simple, so powerful, and she got what she asked for. Look for your signs, they are in fact all around you.
Get to know your mind
You have heard it over and over again-
So, what is keeping you from practicing? Is it because it is hard, takes time, you don't know how to do it? I am sure you can write an impressive list, but the bottom line is that list is not going to make you feel better, think better, sleep better. Nor is it going to change your brain for the better. In fact your list of "Why I don't...." is cementing your habits in place, the same habits you wish to break.
This month we will be reading from the book Mindfulness in Plain English. And it is just that, all about meditation in straight forward language. We are also offering two courses that can help you start to cross off items from the "why I can't" list. David will be offering Meditation for Beginners and I will be offering an 8 month Spiritual Studies group. David and I have been practicing together for 18 years. Of course we have our own lists too, but one thing we know to be true is that without support and a formal group, the "why I can't/wont/leave me alone" list is much more attractive. Fortunately, we have had a steady group of people to practice with and they always pull you back to read the "Just do it and stop whining" list.
So join in one of these sessions and start writing a new list of how you aremeditating, and see for yourself if you begin to think, feel, sleep and live better.