With each gust of wind yellow finger-like walnut leaves shower down on our heads– like large, yellow snowflakes– a foretaste of snowfalls to come. The sun’s shadows grow long as twilight nears. Soon the white cloud “lions and tigers and bears” will arise in the black of night. The summer has died, and in dying, gave birth to fall. The comfortable rhythm of the changing season beats in our sometimes unhearing hearts.
(Play music with video)
Poetry is gone, visions my only words.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL WITH ALL MY LOVE,
I went to the Zmar retreat online from New York City a week and a half ago in very bad shape. Was going through withdrawal from a psychiatric drug for Bipolar, having been on it for 20 years, and having a really tough time. But came the Zmar retreat with Mooji, and I entered in desperation, which is actually a good way to start a retreat. Had done an intensive with Mooji before and all sorts of resistances came up and a cleansing, Satsang flu, Mooji calls it. This time was different. Resistance came and went. My body cleansed itself. But there came an inkling, a little doorway into the Self. A peak into the peace felt long ago with Holy Communion in the Catholic Church and in meditation with Yogananda. For whatever reason, those doors closed to me. I wanted a guru who was still in bodily form to listen to and follow.
The retreat started auspiciously. Eager to begin, when the opening ceremony started and Mooji appeared, three separate instances of energy running up my spine told me it would be a good retreat. Mooji places no special value on the Kundalini energy. “Child’s play” he calls it. Still for me it was a sign this was the right place to be.
Up at 3 and 4 AM in the silence of pre-dawn in New York City to hear a 2-4 hour Satsang. And then came back at 2:30 for another 2-4 hour one. Mooji spoke healing words. They were like salve to a gaping wound. He spoke tough words, too, but all was done with great love.
The Zmar retreat was such a blessing. Some parts were rough. And some parts scary when the energy led to intense releases in some people.
The “person” still dominates but so many people in the Sangha expressed feelings and questions like mine. That gave me hope. And some people did awaken. As an added bonus, an answer came with a solution to a medication problem that has had positive results.
The Sangha was wonderful and staff inspirational. I desperately want my heart to open as I see it has in Mooji and his staff. Don’t know that it will. But Mooji’s self-inquiry works to help step back from the self, the ego, the person, the mind. He teaches us to be aware of the tricks the mind plays. His Being meditations bring Presence. If you are interested, he has many videos of Satsangs and guided meditations on YouTube open to all. I offer the one below as an introduction.
I love you so much, dear Mooji. You show such compassion and love. Thank you for your endless patience and outpouring of your magnificent heart. You live to help people find the Self, people tortured by “mind” and the “person/ego”.
It is late afternoon and spring by the calendar, although still quite cool. I have just spent some time at our neighbor’s pond, listening to a form of music that some have likened to the sound to bells. Others liken it to bird song. And still others with unimaginable disdain, to “some kind of nature noise.” For me it is one of the happiest of sounds– the act of creation transformed into sound decibels for all to hear. A sound that comes from the earth and resounds to the heavens, unwittingly praising the Almighty. It is a form of ecstasy when the sound surrounds me totally, filling my ears every evening with perhaps the single-most highlight of spring for me– the siren song of the Spring Peepers counterbalanced by the deeper sound of wood frogs.
How have they cast their spell over so many? I cannot say except that their song is uplifting and filled with hope despite the natural perils they face daily. For, as true of all of us, they may die at any moment– say as a meal for a nearby perching crow or underneath murky waters eaten by a snapping turtle. They call for a mate without ceasing, without fear, single-mindedly, without a thought for their own safety. This is nature at her most elemental, in her most singular scope. The peepers all sing out vying to be heard– an a cappella choir of voices. In some spots, I am told, their song is deafening. How nice to be there; I cannot get enough of their sweet music. It moves me to tears– these tiny creatures singing out their heart’s desire.
As I return home to family “situations” and domestic duties, I yearn for the simplicity and total fervor of their song. For if they sing then all is “right” in at least that small part of the world. Progress has not paved over their pond. Disdainful humans have not drained a “vernal pool.” David M. Carroll writes about vernal pools in his books on turtles called The Swampwalker’s Journal. As the title suggests, Carroll walks such places in search of turtles and other amphibians. He defines a vernal pool as a pool of water that fills up in Fall and Winter, swells in the Spring and often dries up by end of Summer. But a vernal pool is utmost a place of magic, not only where turtles lurk, but where mating frogs deposit gelatinous eggs which turn into tadpoles first, and there, later become frogs. And after a requisite series of warm days, followed by spring rains, on the first dark night, vernal pools become the site of the “salamander night.” Salamanders leave their hibernacula to go for a night of endless mating and then return to leaf litter in the woods to disappear for the rest of the year. Some people who know nothing of vernal pools and their function deem them a nuisance, a big puddle to be filled in or drained. Some people know little of spring peepers and wood frogs except that they are “noisy,” “like some sort of insect.” Poor insects are made out to be the pesky lowest of the low. The natural symphony of hormonal, harmonic sounds sometimes falls on deaf ears.
After finishing my evening chores, I try reading, but find the haunting sound of the spring peepers and wood frogs digging deep within my psyche, making me restless, wishing to be part of that pond, surrounded on all sides by the sex song, inebriated with the unbridled joy in the air, submerged in the utter power of nature manifesting in one of her gentler forms. For the song of the Spring Peepers nature celebrates life-to-be rather than the taking-away of life. Most of all, the song of the Spring Peepers is a song of tremendous faith, faith in love, faith that love will propagate, and faith that new life will emerge.
“Lamb of God, you who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us!”
“What has happened to our instinct for unity? The creatures know the rhythm of the earth. They have not forgotten the oneness of which we are a part. So in the Celtic world, they are messengers of Christ, the One who comes to reconnect us to the Heart of Being.” (Christ of the Celts by J. Philip Newell)