I wanted to share a song that has meaning for me, since I heard it on television as a younger person, being carried away to other lands, remembering those journeys as I hear it now.
It captures the seasons, and captures my own journey recently, to settle into another place for my practice, my former place of five years having had to be reclaimed as a home, a peaceful older building in which I enjoyed helping others.
Please enjoy hearing the unique sound of this artist and the lyrics, which come straight from J.R.R. Tolkien's book, The Hobbit.
I welcome you to my new practice home, which brings up a few feelings, not unlike those I experience when I hear this song.
From the original soundtrack of The Hobbit (1977) animated movie by Rankin/Bass.
Music by Maury Laws. Vocals by Glenn Yarbrough.
During this changing of the seasons, I thought it appropriate to share a letter from long ago, from a sannyasin or monk of the Ramakrishna Order to a student in California.
Letter excerpted from the book, Spiritual Treasures: Letters of Swami Turiyananda (edited by Swami Chetanananda).
I hope you enjoy, and enjoy the season.
17 February 1914
The life of renunciation is the only life that can make us truly happy. No other life can ever do so. It is certain that one day we shall have to give up everything whether we want to or not. It is much better to give it up gladly and freely before we are compelled to do so. But if one cannot do that, the next best course is to turn everything over to Mother and abide by her decree. Know her to be the only guide in life under all conditions. Pleasure and pain pass away. They do not last long. We gather knowledge through experience; and by not identifying ourselves with pain or pleasure we gain freedom. Be always content with what Mother ordains. She knows what is best for us. Such a life also brings peace and consolation; and then the world can do us no harm.
You are Mother's children; you need not be afraid of the world. Be devoted to her and she will take care of you. She alone is Real. All else is vanity and vexation. Did not Jesus say, 'What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose is own soul?' Mother is the Soul of our souls. If we have her we no longer care much for the things of this world.
The world goes on its way and will continue to do so for all eternity. But he who sees Mother in everything and knows for certain that it is all her play will have rest for his soul and peace within. May we see her hand and guidance in everything. May she bless us.
Yours in the Mother,
[Update: I have come back from vacation since first posting this.]
I wanted to share what you may have already come across before, but I am just about to head on vacation and want to share this here.
Many of the lines and lyrics speak to me personally, and I hope they do for you.
Thankful this is out there to share.
Please enjoy . . .
Music video by Katy Perry performing Daisies.
(c) 2020 Capitol Records, LLC
Although I had originally intended this blog post to be a recurring one which I would update as the global virus continued to make its impact on the world, I have decided I do not want to continue updating it like that, which would make it always be the entry on top of all others.
I realize in addition to what I've shared below that the fear generated by the virus has had some impact on my life and approach to living it.
In the spirit of enjoying the spring more now, being informed about the goings-on of the world, but not letting specific information about it influence me as it has, I am just going to share my thoughts below as a single blog post, complete unto itself.
Without updating it further, here are my initial thoughts.
I see what is happening as a doorway to true knowledge.
What do I mean by true knowledge? I mean that by which we know all other knowledge. I mean that by which the world shimmers and shines in a way which does not posses us, with craving, with need, with lack, with desire, with anything that grabs hold and becomes a tyrant of need in itself, needing to be fed, or nurtured, or placated, or given energy to, other than just allowing it to be itself, seen as the background of all we experience, seen as the other side of the doorway which has been opened, and continues to be open wider for us, for the time being.
The virus and its fears, which we find hard not to feed, become an opportunity to let go, as we try and cling to previous notions and ways of being, which may ultimately have not been serving us. We find, with perhaps not much effort at all, a way to glimpse what it is like to not have so many complications or created ideas, of what to do, of what we need to do, of what we think we need to do, so many notions.
The doorway becomes a relief from modern life, a relief from the struggles and efforts that may have ultimately been in vain, or perhaps truly are when seen in the light of how life unfolds and ultimately ends.
What really becomes important to you? What do you see as the doorway opens and ways and thoughts of being and living come to an end, if mostly only temporarily now?
What opportunity do you have which may not be so open again, to tap into a more clear and less troubled way, of peace, within peace, dipped in peace, the stillness of this night, from hustle and bustle, of busyness and all its ways.
What opportunity just waits there, coolly waiting, warmly waiting, to touch your face, reach your hand, perhaps embrace your soul, and let you feel a different way of living?
The doorway awaits you right there.
Truly living life.
Step in, and you'll see.
Fall has arrived again, although the leaves have yet to change. Rather than focusing solely on this season this time of year, I would like to share how each season may lend itself to a skill, a wisdom, which I find helpful in providing to everyone, which I try and do myself and will be reminding myself of in this post
Take time out for yourself.
This element of living, this necessary way to be healthy and happy in life, I do not think can be underestimated.
Culturally, it is positive and healthy to disconnect, from obligations, responsibilities, pulls towards others, pulls towards any needs one is feeling for oneself.
In short, without escaping from it all, the requisite downtime we all come to miss does not happen.
So, how does this look for each season? How does each season lend itself to this requisite downtime?
In winter, I think it may happen more naturally and be easier than most for finding this time. The weather gets bad and the roads are impassable, the snow plows have yet to make their way through our travel lanes, our thoroughfares, for getting where we normally go.
Not only that, but when the weather gets colder, when the temperatures plummet and drop, we naturally have less motivation to be active and perhaps be so actively around others.
Take these nudges and times to oneself. I think we are naturally made to adapt to the seasons, and winter lends itself certainly to this time away from our regular lives.
What about spring? How does spring lend itself to time away from others and spent with just our own company?
I think wherever you may find nature, I think wherever you may be inspired to see the life of the earth returning to its more colored and vibrant shades and splendors, this is where to go and be alone to enjoy this time, without other distractions from people or life in its regular routines and obligations.
Summer. Summer has many distractions, but it also can let us know the wisdom of staying in, lounging around, whether by pools or other bodies of water, or away from it all, perhaps to get away from the heat, the less than natural flow of our life routines, a time when vacations are to be taken, when perhaps we know culturally about this being the time to get away. But how about for the next time it rolls around, take a day trip or two, or plan a getaway for oneself, to oneself, so one can enjoy the variations of the season unique to summer? A time to be creative and get away for oneself.
Finally fall. Fall almost upon us now in its change of colors for the season.
We cannot help but start to slow down from the summer having just past. We feel the cold coming in, and we feel the adjustment, within our bodies, as our clocks are likely to change, setting time back as we approach this time of year.
The first nudgings and inklings of winter that come when the air first starts to get cold, this may be one of the best times of the season to stop and honor this feeling of slowing down, this change from the summer just past.
Slowing down, this begins the season of fall, and provides an opportunity for us.
Nature comes to present itself in its changing colors, perhaps a time to just walk in this transitioning season of russet splendor.
The dark seems to come in, the night comes up to greet us more readily.
Welcoming the gifts of this slowing, darkening, crispening time of year, this presents a self-gifting way to meet the fall.
Perhaps chilling in more ways than one, we can each come up with ways to be thrilled by the season, in solace or more enlivening ways.
Slowing down, let us be in mind to greet the season.
Wishing you all, in that time to yourself, a happy and self-nurturing fall.
During the cooler months, when the light grows dimmer as suppertime approaches, we might naturally turn towards reflecting on our lives, on ourselves, thinking of maybe where we would like to be, a place different from where we are now, thinking of what may still be of concern in our lives to address, to look at, so we can get to this better place.
If you think of this like a mirror, then imagine the dark and silvery backing to a mirror, the darkness and bit of light that help allow the glass we look into to reflect ourselves back. When we turn the mirror over, we see this kind of backing, which allows us to see ourselves when the mirror faces us.
What if we removed this backing, chipped away at the silvery and dark material on the back of the mirror? We may not be able to see ourselves then, but we would have a clear view at that point, a clear piece of glass to look through, with nothing blocking our view.
I feel that at this time of year, in the cooler months, turning colder and darker as the year progresses, we are given the opportunity to reflect on ourselves and our lives, perhaps seeing what needs to be seen, perhaps looking at what needs to be looked at, within and by ourselves, or, if we are needing help then, with another supporting us on our journey to look at what we are seeing once again.
When we remove this material more and more, by looking at it, chipping it away, our view becomes clearer, the range of vision we have becomes wider in a sense--certainly, we can say we can see farther, further into ourselves with a clearer viewpoint.
Turning the mirror over, what might you see, what gives you cause for reflection?
During this time of year, the mirror turns naturally, so we can see what may be of importance to consider. We make room for more light as we continue to work at it. The darker months approach with the light fading away--but naturally, this light returns, and we may be in alignment with it, clearing our way.
The mirror turns.
What can you see?
Sitting where I usually sit to do a certain meditation every now and then, I spied two cardinals out the back window on a slanted beam of the deck. They seemed to be playfully with one another, one of them seemingly feeding or pecking into the mouth of the other.
Standing up to confirm whether it was a couple, as in mating or mated birds, I did indeed see the colored male cardinal, and the more neutral-colored female cardinal.
In this meditation, I always hope to, and usually do in some way, uncover that sense of connection to what I believe in about life, what I know of it, a spirit of life that nourishes, contains a true peace, feels full of possibility, and has an exchange of love with me in all of these areas.
I did begin to feel this just as the two cardinals alighted on the beam.
I thought this fitting, as I confirmed it was a playful couple, and was smiling as I intuited a sense about this: whenever we are just relaxed and enjoying our connection to life, feeling a love about it, this is not unlike a subtle but present feeling of a give-and-take, a subtle exchange between the universe and ourselves, between life and who we are.
Everything became or was all right in those moments.
That is what I hope from the meditation each time.
That is what I hope for you, for each of us.
We can find our moments of relaxed peace and love.
As summer starts heading into fall, maybe we can start to thoughtfully set some time aside to allow these moments to happen.
Right before the Fourth of July, I am writing this entry. I felt I needed to update posts past the last one, it having mentioned the end of spring.
This year for myself, towards the middle of the summer, it will be ten years of having dedicated my life to more consciously incorporating deeper ways of understanding, doing the practices and setting aside the time to nourish that part of my life.
Wherever you are in your path in life, whether this be for achieving basic or manageable wellness, or for doing that, along with moving deeper into your own precious and unique path of experiencing, for who you are as a person, I am hoping for you more freedom, more ease, more enjoyment, for the enjoyment of your life, and for moments of seeing past your habituated routines, to a truer sense of freedom, where you are not bound by limitations, whether inside or out, past or present, or even those you might be projecting into the future.
I believe in this path, and continue to dedicate myself to walking in it.
May I meet your reaching out, if you wish to walk this path, and what I am offering speaks to you.
I am truly so happy helping in such a way, seeing and watching this path unfold for others.
Everything is so green. That's what I remember thinking about a month ago now, how the winter that did not seem to let go gave way to what perhaps has been a brief spring--summer seemingly here now, although not officially yet.
If you think of experience and the personal perspective of reality to be based on a quality of awareness or consciousness, then seeing the transition from the quietness, perhaps even message of death, of winter, seeing that transition into life again, with almost a vibrancy of lush greenness in the world, from trees and plants of all kinds, this experiencing of reality can be seen to have different flavors, spring and summer being an opening, an inviting, to an understanding of expression, and giving, and a sense of the freedom of experiencing life.
Underneath what may be of concern, what may be psychologically apparent, or seemingly permanent, we all get glimpses of this consciousness, the flavors and different forms of beauty of it, whether that be the inward understandings more readily apparent in winter, or the more connective and expansive natural tendencies we might have as life returns in all its vibrant greenness to the earth during the months where the seasons are warming up.
Grateful for this time of year, may it unlock and allow us to see an expansive consciousness or awareness, opening us to the possibilities of spring, and the all but present experiencing of summer now.
Spring has come and gone, as has summer, and without further hesitation, I feel compelled to catch a bit of fall in my writing. Not only that, I wish to let go of what perhaps needs to be let go of, the imperfections that can imperfectly snag and nag one to the point of preventing the presence of the present from being here.
Why the date as the blog post title, you might be wondering? Well, after having set aside a novel on my shelf, actually my two copies of the one novel, one being a giant-sized special edition of it, I have picked it up again after about a year, this time being the time of year when people most read this author's works. So, perhaps you can see this coming, but within the first two pages of picking up the novel again where I last left off from the previous fall, a novel which I've read numerous times now--the day the novel resumes on is, you guessed it, September 28th:
"That year the first day of fall (real fall as opposed to calendar fall) was September 28 ..."
This happened to be in the mid- to late-seventies when the novel's story takes place, but it seems strikingly dead on for fall this year, in 2017. It is also rather spooky, or synchronistic, that I pick up the novel on the exact day that I read about in the novel. Maybe I've read it so much, I knew that date was coming. Perhaps, but the sentence I quoted above is not one I'm likely to lodge in my memory, except now after blogging about it.
So I thought September 28 an apropos title for this post, and something to write about after months of hiatus.
Why the hiatus?
I think I always try and write when I have something perhaps exceptional, extraordinary, or something illuminating to share, and I am not saying I do not this time, but this is my entire point. Imperfection is a given and a reality and only needs to be said because I think we try and hang our coats on perfection, when the darn hook keeps being dragged down to the floor, not being able to take the weight of our attempts at it, what will always only be imperfection.
I have not blogged since April, until this time now this year, because I was fooled by my own interpretations of others' comments or actions. Maybe I can assess them in a way that casts the shadow on them, when it really has to do with my own self-absorbed interpretations.
This time of year, perhaps it's natural to reflect on our own shadows, seeing them mirrored and shimmying down the lane, through tunnels of trees, in the curves of leaves blowing our way. I can throw out this word, daemon, at perhaps the risk of what some others may think, but I will use the word anyway, it being a Greek idea of an intermediary between the divine and us humans, or perhaps the messenger within ourselves to spur us on to go deeper, to relinquish our cloud covering of light, to let the shadows appear to take a closer look at them, to not flinch, but to see where we might have obscured our own path.
It's not the depth and death of winter yet, but it is time to reflect, to prepare, to let go of the previous suppositions and assumptions of the year thus far.
Be gone! Whatever truths hanging there as falsities, still lingering, be gone!
A leaf here, a leaf there, just let them blow away and realize them as the phantasms that they are, back to the nothingness from whence they come.
No self-absorbed false truths to exist anymore.
A good day to let the shadows dance and come, to freely swing them, and let them fade away, releasing them back into the nothingness from whence they come.
Mark Newlon, feeling the embrace of the sacred feminine daily!
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