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.

 

 

 

Truth & Consequence – Kundalini Part One

No one wants Truth.

On more than one occasion I heard Durga Ma say this. “People want their desires fulfilled,” she would say. In my early years with her I took that statement very personally and would often make pleas in vain for the people of the world, truly believing on some level she was wrong.

Except she wasn’t wrong. It is the truth.

It is said that all desire emerges from the single original desire to return back to our original state (union, or yoga). Yet over time, with our learning and conditioning holding hands with various life experiences, it becomes deluded. We forget. This is where Truth becomes truth and Self becomes self. The Absolute gives way and we become identified and thus bound to the Relative (material) realm of existence.

I would discuss this with Durga Ma and make the argument that if all desire is ultimately desire for Truth/God/Divine, then of course people do want it. They just don’t know it.

Don’t be like me.

On one hand this is a great intellectual argument to inspire people to the idea that they are seeking Truth. However, at the end of the day we don’t know what we don’t know. It is a noble thing to aspire after Truth. It is also arduous, complex, filled with obstacles and suffering just as much as it’s siblings of peace, joy and bliss.

kundalini-shakti-e1475149325778
image credit consciousreminders.com

If we are seeking Truth to the exclusion of all else, that means the walls of our perceived realities will have to come down… all of them. Presenting the threat to life as we know it, and that’s a real thing. I should add that the illusion we can protect our perceived life to begin with is also a real thing.

At some point Durga Ma and I started having some real frank conversations about the state of the world. Despite the ways in which we see beauty in the world, people are not enlightened and this is not the beginning of a Golden Age. When there is mass killing, war, violence, starvation, and general bad behavior spread across the planet, we can’t afford the luxury of leaning on an ideal of global awakening without first taking responsibility for our own choices and actions.

It is, however, an amazing age. People are having spiritual awakenings all across the world in and outside of spiritual environments. This points to a shift, and an important one in my humble opinion. It also points to our individual and collective responsibility that comes with that priviledge.

We have a responsibility to know what it is we actually want, with the knowledge that desire over Truth doesn’t make anyone less than anyone else. But it will give us the power to make the appropriate choices consciously to get there.

These discussions I mentioned having with Durga Ma kept leading me back to one glaring observation… people are suffering. They are starved for connection, meaning, and love. That is what most people actually want more than Truth. So here’s the thing about it… that’s totally natural and just as noble as seeking Truth and Liberation.

In this world one cannot afford to ignore anyone. Every human being has a claim to some measure of respect and support from every other. No one should think that he is of greater importance for the maintenance of order in the universe than anyone else. Without a ruler a country cannot be governed, on the other hand there can be no ruler without subjects. Each one is progressing continually on the path of action that has been assigned to him by the Creator. Therefore, to consider oneself great and others small because of any merit or position of prestige one may have acquired, is a serious mistake. Rather than regard this vast universe as a conglomeration of countless particles, look upon it as one indivisible cosmos, and all distinctions between high and low will then disappear. A man who respects himself will have even more respect for others. Without respect reverence cannot develop, and without reverence love will not awaken. When love is wanting the Lord of Love recedes into the far distance and will be difficult to find.

-Anandamayi Ma from Sad Vani 

What many people don’t know (at least in the West, according to my experience) is that this is a natural phase of life that ultimately leads to the desire for Truth. When we have made enough success and progress in our “worldly life,” we  naturally seek Truth. Mainly because we experience the emptiness of material wealth in all it’s forms… we get bored. Then comes the next phase in life where we begin to turn our attention inward and seek freedom.

So now we have another viewpoint, and still people having spiritual awakenings all over the place in the midst of worldly life and no idea what to do with it. I think the short answer is, nothing… drastic. The Western world runs on action more than patience and contemplation.  An awakening is like a call, an initiation to get your attention to pay attention. It’s the beginning, not the end.

While I appreciate the enthusiasm and drive of the exploding spiritual phenomenon in the Western world, we might be more inclined to find what we are looking for by listening to the spiritual instinct within and what it is truly asking of us. The noble path is knowing and honoring the truth within oneself, because that knowledge gives us the power to make conscious choices to get there. This is a vital part of the process of awakening (in my opinion).

If the answer is Truth, then go for it. If the answer is to fulfill desire for success, love, connection, healing, then go for it. All paths lead home. This leads into the subject of Kundalini… of which I am including a recording (Part One) of a talk given by Durga Ma in 1992.

With the spiritual movement growing like wildfire, I will reveal that not only can I be stubborn, but I am also vigilant. There is a LOT of misinformation out there about kundalini. She is not for people who want success and happiness in life. She has one job, evolution. I say this with great love and concern for protecting what it is that you want, and your venture in attaining it. While the mystery around her can be alluring, knowledge is imperative and essential to your journey.

With Love,

Anandi

Listen to Durga Ma’s talk on Kundalini – Part One here

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Three Kinds of Happiness – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 36-39

Happiness & Inner Peace

36
Now hear from Me, Best of the Bharatas, the three kinds of happiness that are enjoyed through the repeated practice by which one reaches the end of sorrows.

  • Happiness (sukha) – ‘having a good axel hole’; easy, auspicious, pleasant, agreeable, gentle, mild, comfortable, happy, prosperous, virtuous.

This verse is saying that by the repeated God-practice Lord Krishna is teaching Arjuna (and us), one not only finds happiness and enjoyment, but reaches the end of sorrows.

Now He will tell us of three forms of happiness that arise as a result of this practice. In addition to the increased happiness one experiences in everyday life, it also applies specifically to the practice itself.

Those of you who are already engaged in surrender sadhana will be relieved to learn that states of unhappiness arising in your meditation are the overall effect of the purification this practice entails, and leads to a deeper, more lasting happiness. By knowing this, it is hoped that you will understand and stop worrying that you are doing something wrong, or that there is something amiss with the sadhana. Understanding this, your sadhana, and your happiness in everyday life, can only grow.  

37 — Sattvic Happiness
That which is like poison in the beginning and changes to nectar, that happiness is the tranquillity of one’s own self-knowing, and is sattvic.

Get to know yourself. You may be surprised!
Have a close look at yourself. You may be pleasantly surprised!

When in the God-practice of Surrender Meditation you begin looking inside yourself, it may be painful and even embarrassing. If you don’t experience this, you are holding yourself back from self-discovery. Even sages and seers have been through this; it is what got them where they are. But once you begin self-study with complete self-honesty, it won’t take long to get past it. Then you are on your way to realizing your True Self as divine, perfect and imperishable, and reaching that real happiness that is “the tranquillity of your own self-knowing.”

Your joy will be so much greater than your embarrassment, that you will wonder why it took you so long to get here, when this happiness is what you were looking for all along. Now you know where it is (in You), and how to access it.

38 — Rajasic Happiness

Get excited about yourself.
Get excited about yourself

That happiness which, through the union of the senses with their objects, is like nectar in the beginning and like poison in the end, is rajasic.

When your senses present you with nice things that you like, you feel happy. But this does not last, for while the Real You is eternal, all objects of sense in this physical-material world are temporal and subject to change. Even the sense organs themselves are in this world of life and death, whereas the Real You is beyond this, and eternal. So stop looking for happiness in the world, and instead, look inside.

With the regular practice of Surrender Meditation (God-practice), this will become clear to you, as your senses become introverted and separated from their organs and you behold miraculous things directly (without the aid of your mind or sense organs). This happens as a result of the passionate and exciting repetition of this God-practice. 

39 — Tamasic Happiness
That happiness which, from beginning to end, is self-deceptive and arises from avoidance and negligence, is tamasic.

One who does not care to look for the Real, and do what needs to be done in order to realize and attain it, is tamasic.

Kick back, chill out and pig-out
Kick back, chill out and pig-in.

The tamasic person never has any real happiness because he is self-deceived, a pretender, and content to remain so. He continues to avoid taking the trouble to wake up and seek Truth. He avoids this troublesome venture at all costs.

I have met a few people who have come to me for shaktipat because they had begun thinking about this, and sought to find someone who would take them to the end with one touch. No real shaktipat guru would do this. Such a thing would be a grave disservice to the seeker.

No one can take your journey for you. There is no way around it. You have to do the work. 

You may delude yourself into thinking that you already have happiness, but if you have not walked this road, you do not have happiness that will last. This is the prize awaiting you for taking this journey. It will keep you happily expectant and inspired with small bites of genuine happiness along the way. It is an adventurous journey that, no matter what arises, you will come to love. And you will thank the powers that be for getting you on this road to Happiness that never wanes.

When you have become truly enlightened, you will realize that you still have to walk the road to the finish line.

The Highest Happiness of Tamas

Another meaning of tamasic happiness for advanced practitioners of surrender sadhana is the sleep of Yoga (yoga nidra), and later, the darkness of the Absolute in nirbija samadhi. In both cases tamas has become the highest of the three gunas. (Remember that upside-down tree in chapter 15 ? This gives it a whole new meaning!).

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com