JoJo Rabbit and God – A contemplation on non-duality in the modern world.

I apologize in advance for anyone that this may offend. It is not my usual approach to writing here, but it is at the forefront of my mind.

In an effort to continue the weekly postings on Mystical Tidbits and the evolution of Durga Ma’s work, I found myself in a pickle. She had the gift of the shastras. Every morning Durga Ma would study scripture, translate sanskrit and write commentary that became the wealth of knowledge that you find here.

My gifts are, well… unusual and undecided at this point. But we do share the sincere desire for people to become inspired to act, to wake-up, and to seek Truth. I want to write about the beauty and glory of Truth, but sometimes that comes in a less than desirable package. So here we go…

Yesterday I went with some friends to see JoJo Rabbit. Probably not what most people expect a yogi to do, but I love a good film and a controversial topic to sink my teeth into for contemplation.

All is THAT. download

This is the aim of the yogi. To realize, to make real the truth that there is none other in existence than One/God/Truth/Divine through the process of unbecoming everything else to the final dawning of pure consciousness. We give our lives and efforts to the path of Self-Realization for the purpose of liberation from suffering and ultimately, the suffering of the world.

So sitting in a theatre watching real documented footage of people pining to touch Adolf Hitler was a challenge. The heart is a fickle thing, just like the mind, and just like the human self. It’s a lot easier to move into a transcended state of consciousness when I am alone, or with people I get along with, or while teaching. But how does enlightenment stack up when we are face to face with a phenomenon like Adlof Hitler?

There is a reason yogi’s go to caves and live in solitude. That is not my path this time around, so here I am in the world… seeking Truth with unceasing devotion and increasing fervor, while in a movie theatre watching a young boy in Nazi Germany negotiating a very real situation.

You should know that everything becomes a contemplation of Truth in my world, and on my way home I found myself swept away reflecting on the condition of our modern world in relationship to the striking similarities of those in JoJo Rabbit.

I can’t help but think of my own child, nearly 8 years old, and other children… leading ultimately to the world which, in a not so distant past was in the middle of WWII. I thought of the coincidence that this film is out now, during an administration that is arguably in place through the efforts of preying on people’s fear. We live in a world that is at war with itself on more than one level, fueled largely by the fear of what we do not know and do not understand, and are too afraid to confront honestly.

But perhaps the most significant thought which arose, is that it takes something as catastrophic as the Holocaust to awaken the human heart. While only a few decades to forget, and for some to deny all together.

More often than not it is the pain of suffering, and the loss of all hope that brings a human to the level of humility needed to finally open to real love. A fundamental desire of the human experience, and a necessity for survival that seems to persist in the modern world more as a threat than as an accessible reality.

By this point in my contemplation the tears were streaming uncontrollably and I felt the overwhelming suffering that is our collective ignorance. Between the sobs I looked for a way out that would satisfy the mind’s desire to confirm that all is THAT, and to release me from the grip of witnessing the power of fear. Fear for my son, for the world, for my self,  of being gobbled up in the illusion of feeling powerless, peppered with unwillingness to do differently, to do better.

But it didn’t come. Because the mind can’t give you freedom. True freedom comes from the heart.

Rumi wrote, “keep breaking your heart until, finally, it breaks completely open.”

Truth sometimes comes in a tear-drenched, snot-filled realization that our greatest power is in our capacity to love. Our ability to remain vulnerable to an exploration of self, without the premature transcendence into the “thought” that everything is perfect just as it is. That pivotal point where we give up out of cowardice or misunderstanding and pretend that it’s ok. We must go beyond the limits of where we feel comfortable and be willing to dip into a deeper reservoir of our reality.

What is waiting in the darkest recesses of the heart? Truth.

Everything is THAT, pure and perfect omnipotent one-ness of Divinity.

What is required of us to embody that reality is the dedication and commitment to realizing it. We do better by being willing to encounter ourselves with self-honesty, and others with less judgement and more acceptance. We exercise our power by choosing not to empower fear, or to condone violence as an excuse for it.

Durga Ma told me (on more than one occasion)

“The greatest gift you can give the world is your own awakening.”

So this experience became a reminder of personal revelation and the importance of remaining available to the infinite manifestations of love (which sometimes is nothing more than fear parading as a boundary of our true potential), as well as a personal recommendation for a tremendous film. A captivating journey, which, I think beautifully captured the essence of the human heart to rescue us from the perils of our own misunderstanding. The world is inherently unstable by nature and constantly reinventing itself in the reflection of the inhabitants who best capture our attention, so we should take great care in where we place ours.

It also served as a reminder of why I continue my practice and my work. We are far from free and all we have is time, so the question is… how will you spend yours?

With Love,

Anandi

1008 Pranams to Durga Ma and all the Masters who have gone before in the quest of Knowledge and Truth, who have left a blazing trail to follow. My many heartfelt thanks to you who read this all the way through an entertained my otherwise child-like fascination of finding Truth through experiencing life in the world.

My deepest heartfelt gratitude to Taika Waititi and all of the people and efforts that brought this film to life. It was an important act of courage and an incredible use of creative vision and skill, blended with the perfect amount of levity to an otherwise heavy subject. May we all learn from the grace of those who are willing to confront the dimensions of humanity that threaten freedom when left unattended.

 

 

 

The Path of Surrender

Nearly two months ago I had an experience which, for some reason I am compelled to share here today, with you.

I was driving through town on a Saturday afternoon, on my way to Wendy’s for a little guilty pleasure cheeseburger (I confess to breaking a lot of yogi rules). The sun was high and the weather pleasant, with the fragrance of fall promise coming through in sweet wafts on the breeze. I recall being particularly at ease and joyful when suddenly I became aware of Durga Ma’s presence as she said “Take care of my children.”

Initially I was taken aback, because in all of our years I never heard her speak quite like this. It was clear that she was talking about all of you, but it was still odd for me to hear it. The words came through my entire body in a visceral experience of understanding that they weren’t simply a directive, but were filled with a compassion and concern of a variety that reaches inside oneself and beyond with a knowing that is hard, at best, to articulate.

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What does it take to let go and open ourselves up to divine love?

I have never felt terribly comfortable sharing these types of experiences openly, because we all know the potential for being misunderstood, criticized, and even persecuted. Durga Ma was one of the first and only people I ever felt safe enough with to openly share the wild and sometimes even freightening things that I experienced. She taught me what it is like to be truly accepted and loved unconditionally.

Which is why Im writing this, I suppose.

I inquired with her about this task of “taking care of her children,” and it comes down to this: we need one another. Satsang, community, tribe, sangha, or any other name you give to it… it is an essential part of this journey. We are the few, and our lives are not ordinary, or easy.

Spirituality done with any conviction means that we will, sooner or later encounter obstacles of one variety or another. This is when it is the most beneficial to have the support of one another. Our human selves don’t always know what’s on the other side of the next step, and that’s ok. Sometimes it’s not knowledge that’s necessary, but the courage to go ahead anyway. This was the foundation of my relationship with Durga Ma. I trusted her and she loved me unconditionally – and because of that I always had the courage to continue, and still do.

Ultimately our courage grows and we discover that it is ever-present within us. But when we can’t find our own courage, we can lean on those who believe in us, and they will bolster our catapult into the unknown so we can re-discover what we have forgotten or lost sight of. So we have one another not only to break through obstacles, but to celebrate the victories of our survival on the other side!

Durga Ma transmitted the lineage to me before she left her physical body. It is now my responsibility, and I admit that it was not a decision I made easily, or a task I accepted with full understanding.

She told me that I would be a great guru… one day. I told her that I would be a truffle farmer if it didn’t work out. I have always relied on my sense of humor when I am nervous or the discussion get’s too serious, and she reminded me that “levity” and “levitation” are a superpower. There was no way she was ever going to give up on me, and I am eternally grateful for her love.

So here is where a new path in this journey begins to unfold… from me to you. Our connection is eternal, our realization is already complete. Still we must walk this road to the far shores of understanding and abiding in the Reality of Truth. Mine is a story of love in a world of suffering, and if it only serves as a reminder that you are not alone on this adventure then I will have been successful.

While I continue in the maturation of what has been laid before me by Durga Ma, I would like to share something of great value that she wrote regarding Surrender Meditation/Sahaja Yoga. It points to (on one hand) that there is space for everything on this journey. We can range the spectrum of experience and appearance and be well within the range of our own divinity, which is something I feel is incredibly valuable to our human expression of connecting and communicating with one another.

Sahaja yoga, shaktipat kundalini yoga, Surrender Meditation, also called sahaja yoga, shaktipat kundalini yoga, and other names, are synonymous terms for the path of surrender as taught by Durga Ma’s lineage. The unique feature of Surrender Meditation is that, with the release of the life energy in the body through shaktipat diksha, meditation occurs effortlessly on its own and kundalini awakens naturally and safely. The aim of this practice is spontaneous meditation and union with God, freedom, and spiritual evolution. Surrender Meditation is aimed at union with God, spiritual evolution and liberation.

This practice is not about balance because it is not about using the will. Will is the domain of techniques and ahamkara (“I do-it”). The body is always thrown out of balance when the will is used, because the life energy is not free but in the service of the will, the seat of which is the mind and it’s core drive, ahamkara (ego).

Even when balance is attained, it is not possible to maintain this tenuous balance indefinitely by using the will. Sooner or later, one must surrender. People devoted to control and willful practices will tell you otherwise.

What we truly are is, and has always been, in union with God, already perfect and already free. Through surrender to God, obstacles are swept away until nothing stands in the way of our awareness of this truth, then we live in Truth and the bliss of union without a break. At this point, the body can eventually cheat death. How long this takes varies with every individual, from weeks, to months, to years, to lifetimes.

-Durga Ma (personal notes) Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga Master

With great love and gratitude,

Anandi

 

Operating SKY Haven

Abiding by Swami Kripalu’s Standards 

The following is meant to provide more understanding of the purpose and operation of SKY Haven. Everything in this statement is a version of Kripalu’s own words minimally modified to apply to SKY Haven. The word ‘saint’ has been retained, as Swami Kripalu considered anyone doing this sadhana to be a saint.

The place should be beautiful so that everyone can get divine inspiration.

The main saint who resides there may live in solitude and should not have to go out. That person’s word should be final on everything. The board should work as per the orders of that saint. No one person on this board should have all the power; everyone must give cooperative selfless service.

Anyone who creates a dispute or causes trouble shall be immediately relieved of their position and/or evicted from the property. In this group there must be complete cooperation and selfless service. The owner of the land will keep the management of the physical property in their hands, but may accept cooperative help from other members.

It must be run only with a spiritual purpose, and not to amass wealth, which would create politics and make it into a commercial enterprise. Only unpleasantness would result, and no one would be happy and at peace. If peace and happiness are desired, and if we are to give peace and happiness to others, then only selfless service can be of use.

I am not supposed to have to think about any of this, but I have given this outline as Swami Kripalu gave it.

Jaya Bhagavan,
Durga Ma
durgama.com

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