October 9, 2017 Monday Night Class: When we realize that we are the flow, everything is possible…

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This week’s verse from the Tao Te Ching is a beautiful articulation of feminine wisdom; of the understanding that softening and yielding, of embracing rather than turning away, is a powerful stance for living.

78.
Nothing in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it. 
The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.
Everyone knows this is true,
but few can put it into practice.
Therefore the Master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow.
Evil cannot enter his heart.
Because he has given up helping,
he is people’s great help.
 
True words seem paradoxical.

It’s a deep and important lesson, especially in a culture that venerates doing over being. Which from the perspective of feminine wisdom has it upside down. Put being first. Let doing serve being. That’s the understanding referenced in the title of this post. When we realize that we are the flow, everything is possible…

And the thing is, we really are the flow. We are not separate from it. Much as the mind and our wounding try to convince (and dissociate) us otherwise. Which is why every time we allow ourselves to breathe deeply, stretch into the moment, stop rushing, start listening, make friends with silence, and simply be with what is, we discover more space inside. And that spaciousness is the secret of possibility.

Here’s this week’s dharma talk:

 

Here are the poems I read. These three are Robert Bly’s versions of Kabir.

5.
Inside this clay jug there are canyons and pine
mountains, and the maker of canyons and pine
mountains! 

All seven oceans are inside, and hundreds of millions
of stars.
The acid that tests gold is there, and the one who
judges jewels.
And the music from the strings no one touches, and
the source of all water.

If you want the truth, I will tell you the truth:
Friend, listen: the God whom I love is inside.

24.
Let’s leave for the country where the Guest lives!
There the water jar is filling with water
even though there is no rope to lower it.
There the skies are always blue,
and yet rain falls on the earth.
Do you have a body? Don’t sit on the porch!
Go out and walk in the rain!
The fall moon rides the sky all month there,
and it would sound silly to mention only one sun —
the light there comes from a number of them.

26.
The darkness of night is coming along fast, and
the shadows of love close in the body and
the mind.
Open the window to the west, and disappear into the
air inside you.

Near your breastbone there is an open flower.
Drink the honey that is all around that flower.
Waves are coming in:
there is so much magnificence near the ocean!
Listen: Sound of bells! Sound of immense seashells!

Kabir says: Friend, listen, this is what I have to say:
The One I love is inside of me!

 

Here’s the Mary Oliver from A Thousand Mornings.

LINES WRITTEN IN THE DAYS OF GROWING DARKNESS 

Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends

into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
And therefore
who would cry out

to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married

to the vitality of what will be?
I don’t say
it’s easy, but
what else will do 

if the love one claims to have for the world
be true?

So let us go on cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.

 

Here’s music audio. The first clip is opening chanting of Om Namah Shivaya and Namo Kuan Shih Yin P’u-Sa.

 

This clip is the Laksmi Murti Mantra with Dhumavati Bija leading into slow Om Namah Shivaya.  There is also a bit of commentary at the beginning and a dharana at the end…

_________________________________

Finally, if you’re interested in my thinking about the relevance of the Sacred Feminine and why I believe it’s crucial to do the internal work of balancing, you might like to read this piece I wrote in 2009.  This link will take you there.

August 5, 2017: Reading the Bhagavad Gita in the Age of Trump, Part II

NicholasRoerich
JUNE 26, 2017: BHAGAVAD GITA TALK #17
CHAPTER SIX: THE YOGA OF MEDITATION

“When he sees all beings are equal
in suffering or in joy
because they are like himself,
that man has grown perfect in yoga. [6.32]

This will be the final post re Reading the Bhagavad Gita in the Age of Trump. The above-quoted verse truly encapsulates the wisdom of Chapter Six, the wisdom, in fact, of all the wisdom traditions. When we see all beings as equal in suffering or in joy because they are like ourselves, we have become fully human… 

It’s over a month since our last June class. And what a month in the Age of Trump. With each passing day our ill-equipped president becomes more like the Game of Thrones‘ Mad King. How this all plays out is anybody’s guess. In the meantime, good to do whatever we can to help our political leaders understand how important it is to make policy from the awareness that all beings are equal in suffering and in joy, because they are like ourselves…

And speaking of politics, a small aside:

I recently saw Michael Moore’s new Broadway show, The Terms of My Surrender.  It’s a wonderful piece of political theater that along with being tremendously entertaining, demolishes the notion that one person’s action can’t make a difference. We may not all have his courage and fortitude. On the other hand, the story he tells about a librarian from Englewood, NJ is an astonishing example of what one individual can do…

 

Here’s my dharma talk from June 26. Which will more than likely be my final talk on the Bhagavad Gita. Enjoy…

 

Here are the poems. The first is from Mary Oliver, Blue Horses
The second is from Robert Bly’s versions of Kabir.

1.
FORGIVE ME

Angels are wonderful but they are so, well, aloof.
It’s what I sense in the mud and the roots of the
trees, or the well, or the barn, or the rock with
its citron map of lichen that halts my feet and
makes my eyes flare, feeling the presence of some
spirit, some small god, who abides there. 

If I were a perfect person, I would be bowing
continuously.
I’m not, though I pause wherever I feel this
holiness, which is why I’m often so late coming
back from wherever I went.

Forgive me.

2.
Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!

Think…and think…while you are alive.

What you call “salvations” belongs to the time before
death.

If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
do you think
ghosts will do it after? 

The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten—
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will end up with an apartment in the City
of Death.
If you make love with the divine now, in the next life
you will have the face of satisfied desire. 

So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
believe in the Great Sound!

Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for,
it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that
does all the work.
Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.

I also re-read some favorite lines from Stephen Mitchell’s Introduction to the Gita.

The Gita is usually thought of as a great philosophical poem. It is that, of course. It is also an instruction manual for spiritual practice and a guide to peace of heart. But essentially, it is, as the title implies, a love song to God. However powerful its thinking, its intention is not to be a treatise but a psalm. The Gita is a love song to reality, a hymn in praise of everything excellent and beautiful and brave. It is a love song to both the darkness and the light, to our own true Self in the depths of being, the core from which all the glories and horrors of the universe unfold…..

The healthiest way to begin reading and absorbing a text like the Bhagavad Gita is to understand that ultimately it has nothing to teach. Everything essential that it points to—what we call wisdom or radiance or peace—is already present inside us. Once we have practiced meditation sincerely and seen layer after layer of the inauthentic fall away, we come to a place where dualities such as sacred and profane, spiritual and unspiritual, fall away as well…

In that place, God is the ground we walk on, the food we eat, and the gratitude we express to no one in particular, as natural as breathing.

And here are audio clips of chanting. The first two clips each end with a dharana. The great Daniel Johnson was at this class so you’ll hear his superb tabla accompanying the chanting. A small caveat to new visitors to this blog. These are very basic low tech recordings. Please listen with gentle ears…

Opening Mantras and Closing Dharana

Om Namah Shivaya with a closing dharana

Sri Krsna Chaitana 

This quote from my May 22 dharma talk seems a perfect ending to this teaching cycle of Reading the Bhagavad Gita in the Age of Trump. 

Let all these teachings from the Gita keep entering into you and awaken what you already know. That’s all the Gita is doing. It’s telling us what we already know when we really stop to listen. Rest in your own experience. Rest in the experience of the Self, of your own presence, of that in you which sees, of that in you which knows, of that in you which has always been looking out through your eyes, listening through your ears. If the mind wanders, remind it to rest in the Self, which is the source of the mind. Allow your mind to dissolve into this infinite presence so very alive within us. This is all we need to do.

April 3, 2017: Reading the Bhagavad Gita in the Age of Trump

Setting sun on the daffodils.francoise_gilot

As I marvel at the scandals, ethics violations, incompetence and subterfuge dominating the first 100 days of the Trump presidency, I keep thinking of the stories of the Mahabharata that form the backdrop of the Bhagavad Gita. There we have a horrendous war between two dynasties with a tangled web of betrayals. Betrayals that include really bad treatment of women, cheating, jealousy, revenge, and backroom deals. By the end of the war, both sides have been decimated. Sound familiar. I could be writing about our current political landscape.

And in the midst of the Mahabharata, right there on the battlefield of a war to end all wars, comes the Bhagavad Gita. It’s  astonishing really when you think about it. Before the first arrow has been loosed, we’re given a complete exposition of the yogic path, shown step by step how we become truly human.

Coming as it does at this moment in the epic gives even more potency to the possibility inherent in the teaching. That even in the midst of greed-driven madness, we can hold onto ourselves, retain our equanimity, and stand up for dharma. In fact, we must. And to those who distort the meaning of the Gita, seeing it as a handbook for domination and war, I think this single verse sets that record straight:

Though the unwise cling to their actions,
watching for results, the wise
are free of attachments, and act
for the well-being of the whole world. [3.25]

If you ever need a standard for right action, there it is. “The wise are free of attachments and act for the well-being of the whole world.”

Since I’ve been unable to keep this blog current, I’m doubling up audio and poems from the last two February classes. I’ll try to get all of March up in the next week…

FEBRUARY 13, 2017, BHAGAVAD GITA TALK#3: “THE WISE MAN WHOSE INSIGHT IS FIRM, RELINQUISHING THE FRUITS OF ACTION, IS FREED FROM THE BONDAGE OF REBIRTH AND ATTAINS THE PLACE BEYOND SORROW.”

All the verses from the Gita are from Stephen Mitchell’s translation. Here are the Kabir poems I read in this talk:

1.
I don’t know what sort of God we have been
talking about.

The caller calls in a loud voice to the Holy One at
dusk.

Why? Surely the Holy One is not deaf.
He hears the delicate anklets that ring on the feet of an insect as it walks.

Go over and over your beads, paint weird designs on
your forehead,
wear your hair matted, long, and ostentatious,
but when deep inside you there is a loaded gun, how
can you have God.

2.
Friend, please tell me what I can do about this world
I hold to, and keep spinning out!
I gave up sewn clothes, and wore a robe,
but I noticed one day the cloth was well woven.

So I bought some burlap, but I still
throw it elegantly over my left shoulder.

I pulled back my sexual longings,
and now I discover that I’m angry a lot.

I gave up rage, and now I notice
that I am greedy all day.

I worked hard at dissolving the greed,
and now I am proud of myself.

When the mind wants to break its link with the world
it still holds on to one thing.

Kabir says: Listen my friend,
there are very few that find the path!

3.
The spiritual athlete often changes the color of his
clothes,
and his mind remains gray and loveless.

He sits inside a shrine room all day,
so that the Guest has to go outdoors and praise the
rocks.

Or he drills holes in his ears, his hair grows
enormous and matted,
people mistake him for a goat…
He goes out into wilderness areas, strangles his
impulses,
and makes himself neither male nor female…

He shaves his skull, puts his robe in an orange vat,
reads the Bhagavad-Gita, and becomes a terrific
talker.

Kabir says: Actually you are going in a hearse to the
country of death,
bound hand and foot!

 

FEBRUARY 27, 2017, BHAGAVAD GITA TALK #4: THE MIND IS A MASTER AT BURNING US OUT… “WHEN A MAN GIVES UP ALL DESIRES THAT EMERGE FROM THE MIND, AND RESTS CONTENTED IN THE SELF BY THE SELF, HE IS CALLED A MAN OF FIRM WISDOM.”

Alongside the Gita verses, I re-read one of last week’s Kabir poems and one other from his canon and one from Mary Oliver’s House of Light. 

Here’s the Kabir:

I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is this river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.
Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or
resting?
There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no towrope either, and no one to pull it.
There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no
ford!

And there is no body, and no mind!
Do you believe there is some place that will make the
soul less thirsty?
In that great absence you will find nothing.

Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don’t go off somewhere else!
Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of
imaginary things,
and stand firm in that which you are.

And here’s the Mary Oliver:

Five A.M. in the Pinewoods

I’d seen
their hoof prints in the deep
needles and knew
they ended the long night

under the pines, walking
like two mute
and beautiful women toward
the deeper woods, so I

got up in the dark and
went there. They came
slowly down the hill
and looked at me sitting under

the blue trees, shyly
they stepped
closer and stared
from under their thick lashes and even

nibbled some damp
tassels of weeds. This
is not a poem about a dream,
though it could be.

This is a poem about the world
that is ours, or could be.
Finally
one of them — I swear it! —

would have come to my arms.
But the other
stamped sharp hoof in the
pine needles like

the tap of sanity,
and they went off together through
the trees. When I woke
I was alone,

I was thinking:
so this is how you swim inward,
so this is how you flow outward,
so this is how you pray.

 

March 14, 2017: Reading the Bhagavad Gita in the Age of Trump

daffodils and snow

JANUARY 30, 2017: BHAGAVAD GITA TALK #1. “ON THIS PATH NO EFFORT IS WASTED”

In the weeks between the November election and January inauguration, the great majority of us on the other side of madness were in shock, beginning to mobilize, but also holding out hope that somehow, some way, this political nightmare would be averted. Time seemed to stand still, and then, it was done. We found ourselves waking up in a whole new reality, waking up in an America we did not recognize, waking up in the age of Trump.

And now it’s March. In just six days it will be Spring. Although here on the East coast we’re being slammed by winter weather we barely had all winter. Last week, sixty degrees and daffodils blooming. Today they’re buried under the snow. The sweet promise of new life and renewal postponed for the time being.

Which brings me to the Bhagavad Gita. When I was younger in my journey, I devoured texts like this one. I couldn’t get enough. These last years though I’ve mostly stayed away from them. Partly it’s the patriarchal language, partly what sometimes seems a jungle of verbiage. At this stage of my life, I way prefer the naked simplicity of Mary Oliver’s poetry and Robert Bly’s Kabir.

And yet, the Bhagavad Gita is a powerful compendium of the yogic system. And has a great deal to say about waking up, about the difference between authentic power and something that pretends to be. About true greatness of soul and that empty charade that is grandiosity and smallness. Like so many of India’s ancient wisdom texts, no one knows for sure when this one was written. Scholars date it sometime between the fifth century B.C.E and first century C.E.The wonder of it is, it’s incredibly relevant for now.

Because along with articulating the philosophy and psychology of Yoga, the Gita offers a rather precise technology for strengthening ourselves from the inside out, so we can not only meet, but act effectively, to counter the dangers of this time. There is so much work to do. So many moving parts. So many different voices and needs to attend to. It’s easy to lose focus, burn out, numb out, and feel overwhelmed. Working with the Gita offers a steadying, sobering, and heart-drenched medicine for standing strong in the face of that and those who dare to cause harm…

The edition we’re using is Stephen Mitchell’s Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation. My scholar friends will thumb their noses, but I do like his version. Perhaps it’s Mitchell’s long training in Zen. True to the text and written with great respect and reverence, there’s a spareness in his writing I respond to. The Introduction alone is superb. Mitchell really gets it! Here’s how he opens:

One of the best ways of entering the Bhagavad Gita is through the enthusiasm of Emerson and Thoreau, our first two America sages. Emerson mentions the Gita often in his Journals, with the greatest respect…

It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spake to us, nothing small or unworthy but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.

What a revelation the Gita must have been for minds predisposed to its largehearted vision of the world. And what a delight to stand behind Emerson and Thoreau, reading over their shoulders as they discover this “stupendous and cosmogonal” poem in which, from the other side of the globe, across so many centuries, they can hear the voice of the absolutely genuine. Here is a kinsman, an elder brother, telling them truths that they already, though imperfectly, know, truths that are vital to them and to us all. In the Gita’s wisdom, as in an ancient, clear mirror, they find that they can recognize themselves….

And here’s how he closes:

The healthiest way to begin reading and absorbing a text like the Bhagavad Gita is to understand that ultimately it has nothing to teach. Everything essential that it points to—what we call wisdom or radiance or peace—is already present inside us. Once we have practiced meditation sincerely and seen layer after layer of the inauthentic fall away, we come to a place where dualities such as sacred and profane, spiritual and unspiritual fall away.

Zen Master Hsueh-feng asked a monk where he had come from.The monk said, “From the Monastery of Spiritual Light.”

The Master said, “In the daytime, we have sunlight, in the evening, we have lamplight. What is spiritual light?”

The monk couldn’t answer.

The Master said, “Sunlight. Lamplight.”

In that place, God is the ground we walk on, the food we eat, and the gratitude we express, to no one in particular, as naturally as breathing.

* * * * *

How’s that for a beautiful (and over the top tantric) definition of God.

Here’s the audio of my first Dharma Talk on the Gita. This is from January 30, 2017. I also want to add that for no rational reason I can articulate, but from the shakti that informs my work, the mantras we’ve been chanting this cycle are Om Tara Tuttare Ture Swaha and Namo Kuan Shih Yin P’u-Sa. This talk opens with a just shy of 3-minute explication of the Tara mantra.

Monday, February 25, 2013: “And this is life… we think it’s one thing and then it’s something else…”

Kali Yantra

This week’s class wove seemingly disparate elements that are actually deeply connected into a meditation on sitting in the presence of this incredible dance called life… Full disclosure: this talk is somewhat hilarious and irreverent. And, fyi, because my own daily life will soon shift into a much simpler dance, some time in April I should begin tending this blog in ways that have been impossible over the last few years.

For now though, I still need to keep it simple. Here’s my dharma talk from February 25:

You’ll have to listen for Sheik Nasruddin stories. I don’t have time to write them out. Here however, are the poems:

SITTING ZEN
David Whyte
 
After three days of sitting
hard by the window
following grief through
the breath
like a hunter
who has tracked for days
the blood spots
of his injured prey
I came to the lake
where the deer had run
exhausted
refusing to save
its life in the
dark water
and there it fell
to ground
in our mutual
and respectful quiet
pierced
by
the pale diamond
edge of the breath’s
listening
presence.

WHAT I SAID TO THE WANTING-CREATURE
Kabir/Bly

I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is the river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.
Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or resting?
There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no towrope either, and no one to pull it.
There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no ford!
And there is no body, and no mind!
Do you believe there is some place that will make the soul less thirsty?
In that great absence you will find nothing.
Be strong then and enter into your own body; there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don’t go off somewhere else!
Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of imaginary things. and stand firm in that which you are.
 

Finally, two clips of chanting. The first is Om Namah Shivaya and a dharana; the second is Sri Krsna Chaitana Prabhu Nityananda.

The Saraswati Work: Dharma Talk & Chanting from Monday, February 11, 2013

Cubist Saraswati

 

 

 

 

 

 

We continue swimming in the waters of the deity field personified in the Indian tradition as the goddess Saraswati. Here’s my dharma talk from February 11th. It opens with a commentary/exposition on the Saraswti Bija Mantra and goes on to explore the dance between embrace, descent, and reclamation on the spiritual, creative, transformational journey…

 

Here’s a clip of chanting from this class: Saraswati Bija Mantra gliding into Om Namah Shivaya followed by a dharana on the luminosity of Saraswati:

 

Here’s text of the David White poems I read in my dharma talk:

THE STATUE OF SHIVA
–David Whyte
 
The statue of Shiva
entwined with his lover
– the way
we love to hold closely
what is ours.
 
Their speech
so plain to the attentive ear
bowing close to listen.
 
“The universe refuses the vows
of the celibate.
Preparing them instead with
songs for marriage.
Everything it knows
was born of the great embrace.”

THE HUSK OF YOUR VOICE
–David Whyte
 
The husk of your voice
is like a chrysalis
grown round something
hidden,
waiting to be born
and waiting for you
to stop.
 
What is inside
wants you to know itself fully
before it is born.
 
That’s why it refuses
to reveal itself,
sure as you are
that you need not slip down
that long branch of your body
to the very root
and in that earth
hear the damp echo
of everything
you have not touched
reflected
in your voice, and the air
suddenly quicken
as if innocent speech
could rise again
from that rich and
impossible soil
composed
of your neglected
past.
 
Like sap rising
in the steady tree
of your life.
 
Your voice opens
and shows
the strong outline
of that tree
against the sky,
 
where another
shadow
takes flight
startled by your
new cry,
 
the shadow
of something leaving
to find its own way
in the world.
 
Something you carried
as a black weight
for many years.
 
You watch it go
relieved
as if it might return
blessed by world
which
allows its going,
refusing to be held
and refusing to hold
you again,
free and finally
in its flight
to another’s mouth
untroubled by your breath.

 

And the last word goes to Kabir. This beloved poet-weaver of Varanasi is, in my opinion, one of the greatest channels for the insight-wisdom-luminosity-stream personified as the goddess Saraswati:

THE CLAY JUG
Kabir [version by Robert Bly]
 
Inside this clay jug there are canyons and pine
mountains, and the maker of canyons and pine
mountains!
All seven oceans are inside, and hundreds of millions of
stars.
The acid that tests gold is there, and the one who judges
jewels.
And the music from the strings no one touches, and the
source of all water.
 
If you want the truth, I will tell you the truth:
Friend, listen: the God whom I love is inside.

 

Monday, September 24, 2012

I’m still reflecting on sweetness and light, and the longing to merge into this luminous honey of the heart. As yogis we want to swim, dare I say, drown there. So I thought we’d open class with the Krsna Govinda kirtan. Here’s a clip of that. The sound quality is not great. I’m including it here because everyone loves this chant. [I’m happy to report I’m getting closer to returning to the studio. I need a few more months for the non-stop drama of my last two years to resolve. Once that happens, I’m looking forward to drowning in this music of my heart.]

And here’s this week’s dharma talk, which runs around 17 minutes.  I read from Kabir & Rumi, two drenched souls who knew a thing or two about drowning. All text is posted after the sound clip:

Here’s the Kabir:

The darkness of night is coming along fast, and
the shadows of love close in the body and the mind.
Open the window to the west, and disappear into the air inside you.
 
Near your breastbone three is an open flower.
Drink the honey that is all around that flower.
Waves are coming in:
there is so much magnificence near the ocean!
Listen: Sound of bells! Sound of immense seashells!
 
Kabir says, Friend, listen, this is what I have to say:
the One I love is inside of me!

Yes, at the end of the day, it’s all about Love, and our longing, which is actually the connecting thread.  Kabir says it far better than I:

Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for, it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that does all the work. Look at me and you will see a slave of that intensity.

Here are the Rumi poems:

1.
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and attend them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meetr them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

Welcome difficulty. Learn the alchemy True Human Beings know: the moment you accept what troubles you’ve been given, the door opens.

Welcome difficulty as a familiar comrade. Joke with torment brought by the Friend.
Sorrows are the rags of old clothes and jackets that serve to cover, and then are taken off.

That undressing, and the beautiful naked body underneath is the sweetness that comes after grief.
 

2.
One night a man was crying, “Allah! Allah!
His lips grew sweet with the praising, until a cynic said,
“So I have heard you calling out, but have you ever gotten any response?”
The man had no answer to that. He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.
 
He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls, in a thick green foliage.
“Why did you stop praising?”
“Because I’ve never heard anything back.”
“This longing you express is the return message.”
The grief you cry out from draws you toward union.
Your pure sadness that wants help is the secret cup.
Listen to the moan of a dog for its master. The whining is the connection.
There are love-dogs no one knows the names of.

Give your life to be one of them.

And here’s the quote from Lawrence Kushner’s, The River of Light:

There is a realm of being that comes before us and follows after us. Streaming through and uniting all creation. Knowing who we have been and will be. It contaminates our sleep with visions of higher reality and exalts our waking with stories. It is a river of light. “She is a tree of Life to those who hold onto her.” [Prov. 3:18]. Her branches and shoots are the nerves and vessels of this world coursing beneath our surfaces, pulsing through our veins. A blueprint underlying the cosmos. The primary process of being. The inner structure of consciousness. The way of the Tao. “And all her paths are peace.” [Prov. 3:17]. Just behind and beneath everything. If we could but stand it, everything would have meaning. Everything connected to everything else even as they all share a common Root.

This week’s recording of slow mantra had some technical glitches so I won’t post sound clips. Instead, I dug into my archive of not-yet-posted recordings and chose the first one that jumped out at me. Which was July 25, 2011. This was back in the days when Sri Dan was with us each week so we were singing much more kirtan. This class opened with Jaya Shiva Shankara.  There were a lot of new people in the room that night so the recording begins with an introduction to this chant. You’ll hear Sri Dan on tabla. Sweet light. Enjoy.

I’m also including the dharma talk from that week. We were deep into Patanjali, swimming around in Book II. I was so struck by the threads between what we were talking about then and what we’re talking about now, I thought I’d leave the entire talk. Think of it as a bonus feature;)  I don’t have time for a careful edit so this is one long 50 minute sound clip. Here’s a rough breakdown: Jaya Shiva Shankara, 0-26; dharma talk, 26-43; and there’s an interesting dharana on Om Namah Shivaya, 43-50.  Once you click on the sound file, you’ll see the time and you can click around within the file: