TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART

Posts tagged “Spirituality

Reaching for the Stars


“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree… a tree that looks at God all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray.”  The opening lines of the poem,“Trees,” by Joyce Kilmer.  Indigenous peoples through the ages have talked of tree spirits and trees as wise ones.  Trees are striking as they permanently lift their arms to the Heavens in seeming prayer, day and night in communication with the Creator, their outstretched arms reaching for the stars. 

Reaching for the stars.  The image calls to mind a dance of the Kalahari Bushmen who were featured in the movie “The Gods They Must be Crazy.”  The Kalahari, the last men born of the Stone Age culture according to Laurens Van Der Post, have no sense of individuality and so share all they have. They have a dance of gratitude which Van Der Post describes in his book entitled “A Mantis Carol”: “I never see their dancing without feeling deeply moved and utterly irreverent and blasphemous because of our own incapacity for acknowledging what life will give if only we will let it in.”  And then there is their dance of the “great hunger,” a dance that says we do not live by bread alone, a dance at life’s end fraught with longing, with arms outstretched taughtly towards the Heavens as they reach for the stars.

My grandfather reached for the stars.  He came here,  a 16-year-old peasant stonecutter from the mountains of Sicily, knowing no English.  He wound up carving the Lincoln Gettysburg address at the Lincoln Memorial in DC.  While working on the Gettysburg Address he studied English at night school.  I remember him telling me how he was the laughing stock of his fellow stone cutters because, inspired by Lincoln’s words, he carved his initials at the top of the monument, “A.L.” for Anthony LaManna (and, of course, for Abraham Lincoln), followed by: “Attorney at Law.”  Working his way through school, he actually did eventually become a VA lawyer.  He reached for the stars and touched them without ever forgetting where he came from.  And he was childlike as he took care of me, as we danced to records on the victrola or as he played the mandolin and sang to me.  I always think of him with a tinge of sadness, for more than anyone, he taught me to reach for the stars. 

Reach for the creator–  that is what the trees say.  At this time of year I yearn for the days of childhood in which God seemed close.  This yearning fully ripens each year at Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hanukkah when the people brighten their houses with festive lights.  It is a time of year in which we light up our hearts and look to the heavens and sing songs of love to a babe born not so very long ago, or in which we give thanks for the oil to light the lights of the temple for eight days.  We are all really seeking the love that motivated the Kalahari Bushmen to do their dance.  We are seeking a savior, and yearning for the Light in this overlit, commercialized, complicated world in which the inspiring simplicity of the Bushmen, the peasant, is rapidly disappearing.  And the trees touch my heart in their upward reach for the Heavens.  For at this time so many millions of them are sacrificed as they become our Christmas trees and Hanukkah bushes, to be discarded after the holidays are over. 

May we enter this holy season with a simpler yearning, not for presents and parties and hoopla, but with our hearts full of gratitude, taking lessons from the trees, from the Kalahari Bushmen, from our ancestors, and seek Love, in whatever form it takes in our souls.


Introduction to Daaji


The most humble guru I have yet encountered and his meditations are the most relaxing.  Heartfulness meditations.


The Spirit of Snow


The Spirit of snow

highlights the love of line

the loving grace of trees in winter

bare and spiritual

the horses a gift of color

in otherwise black and white


What the Trees Say


Feather trees whisper a blessed new year to you all!


Spirit in Summer


Summer spirit

whispers to

the lowly weeds

dances round

the graceful trees

and sends peace

to pacify

an observant cow

 

 


Through the Blur of Maya


“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

Bible verse from the King James version of the Bible, 1 Corinthians Chap 13 verse 12

 

And the guru who is my eyes right now is Kamlesh Patel, known as “Daaji,” and his disciple, Joshua Pollock in their book “The Heartfulness Way.”  See below.  I have read it twice and will reread it again.  It is the No. 1 Bestseller in India right now and it is chock full of insights and directions to follow the path of “Heartfulness.”  It is the path of love and the heart.  The path of Raja Yoga.  How could I resist?  Daaji does not charge for his teaching.  He has a network of trainers available on the Internet.   The key to Raja Yoga is the transmission you receive from the guru, from the trainers.  The path of Heartfulness is leading me to peace.  And as I am in the midst of withdrawing from a major tranquilizer STILL (a long process that will continue for months), peace is MAJOR.  I am not there yet but I see light at the end of the tunnel of Maya.  “I see now through a glass darkly…”


Sadhguru’s Cure for a Spiritual Lobotomy


Another invisible illness silently
sapping quality of life
vertigo and acute nausea
now join
constant migraines
and, with Aspergers, I am
more of a recluse than ever
But my beloved stands by me
A few weeks ago
I wanted to die
Bipolar, too, you see
too sick to sleep
too long a wait
to see a doctor
My beloved, my savior
keeps me going.
But I must fight on my own
and have enlisted Sadhguru
an Indian mystic and Yogi and guru
who promises bliss.

Meditating and chanting every day
with my beautiful husband
whose love
pulls me through
My husband the healer
who worked
with the poorest of the poor
the dejected and rejected
the condemned
My husband who married me
despite my mental illness.

Sadhguru says my mind
can poison my body
Sadhguru, my last best hope
I meditate and chant Aum
with him daily
living the life of a hermit
in a 3 room box in New York City
rather than in a cave in the Himalayas
Desperately seeking
the spirituality of years ago
before antipsychotic medication
gave me a spiritual lobotomy
A trade off
it offered me
some sort of stability
to have a quasi normal life
with my devoted husband
of 28 years.

Why can’t you have
pharmacological sanity
that allows you to love
AND spirituality???
I am going to try…
With Sadhguru.


Flitting and Flirting on a Flower


Butterflies mating
on a flower petal bed
The perfume of love
in a plethora of hues
Fleeting moments
of life
of the present
past in a blink
of the eye
or the flutter
of a butterfly wing.


Stolen Heaven


(Turn speakers up high)

Dawn
One chill morning
Of late spring
Early summer
Beat the heat
Birds arise
Singing
Bhajans
To their creator
As they awaken
In a celebration
Of life
Replete
With ecstasis


Messages from God


Sue at Silent Eye recently posted a discussion of bibliomancy on her blog…

https://thesilenteye.co.uk/2017/06/04/divination-by-the-book/

As a former librarian, I had an experience of bibliomancy with an encyclopedia. It was at a time in my life when I was in a sort of parallel universe. In any case, I had the distinct feeling of a prickly scalp and I wanted to do what I called “readings” which meant basically opening a book randomly to anything looking for messages from God. So I did just that and opened to a page with a picture of Christ and His crown of thorns. I can’t remember how I interpreted it but I knew I was “connected” to something way bigger than my mind.

I had many such experiences and they are delineated in my book, Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things.


A Procedure


 

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A brown bag
so fragrant
full of presents
and the smells
of India
crammed full
with treasures
fills me
with such desire
I inhale deeply
and go “under”
falling into the ether
of the subcontinent

Machines beeping
the anesthesiologist
himself an Indian
calms me down
speaking softly
plumping my pillow
a routine exam
so much kindness
as he pumps
anesthesia
through my veins

I awaken
fresh from the arms
of Mother India
in the land
of Morpheus
as I lie before
a wide expanse
of grey sky
over the Hudson
and see God
as boats drift by

Beep… Beep…

Oh to always
see the sky
and the river
and God
and to breathe
the intoxicating
smells of
the India
of my dreams.


When the Snows Come


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My husband and I sit in our living room with all the little still-intact dairy barn  windows showing flakes falling as if we are on ship at sea in a snowfall.  Except for the high ceiling the living room has the feeling of a ship cabin, our converted dairy barn, and I think it is most beautiful when the snow is falling.

The glass doors at the pentagon of the far end of the barn gives us perfect view of the suet bird feeder.  The bird feeder in winter is our television.  We watch male cardinals, bright red in the stark white, feed and contend with the beautiful, bullying blue jays.  And the more modest and gentle little juncos and sparrows touch our hearts with their humility.

Like many barns, ours was built near the road so we do get some traffic noise.  But in the meadow out back beyond the marsh and stream, we are far removed from the road and from all.  And when it snows, it is so beautiful in the quiet, looking at the animal tracks and feeling the spirits in the nearby now-graveless graveyard.  Our secret little piece of Paradise.  And to stand there in the silence, in the virgin white, and see the abstract patterns of the snow on the surrounding hundreds of trees is Divine.

Christmas card 2

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Beings of Light


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December is my favorite time of year.  In this month of darkness, in this the darkest month, the light of the human spirit shines forth in a fullness shown by so many, in so many ways.  As the days grow shorter, houses and trees are decorated, and snow falls.  In the hushed silence of the nights, lights shine in windows, and the beauty is shared by all.  For this season of giving brings the festivals of lights: Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza.  Each tradition incorporates light in its ceremonies and decorations.

A neighbor friend of mine who lives down the road, a donkey in his stable, reminds me of the story of another manger 2000 years ago.  And seeing him snug in his stable with snow on the ground gives the illusion that all is right in the world.  But all is not well.  Thousands know no peace in any season.  Yet even those living in the worst conditions show the light of the human spirit and celebrate the season of light in personal ways.  For the human spirit is indomitable.

In December’s darkness we light lights.  For we are beings of light.  A light glows within each one of us.  And, at the most basic level, we are beings of light because we are made from stardust.  Perhaps that is why the stars hold such majesty for us– we are made from star material.

Einstein said: “A human being is part of the whole, called by us the ‘Universe”– a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings, as something separated from the rest– a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.  This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”  We are all cut from the same cloth and our inner light unites us.

And in this holiday season we behold the night sky as shepherds did two thousand years ago on the birth of the holy infant, in a stable like the one down the road where my donkey friend lives.  That night a star lit the whole sky to guide the shepherds, and on these deep, long, silent nights as we light our houses, our candles, our trees, let us look inside ourselves and find the glow that may guide us to The Light

A holy Hannukah, a magical Christmas and the ecstasy of Sadhguru to all for the New Year!  May we awaken from Maya and realize the wonders we are… for inside lives the sacred fire of Love.


Illusion Crumbles


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Age has crept up on us

like a thief in the night

I think

as I watch the clock hands

remain stuck on 1:30

as I wait

in the third doctor’s office

in six days

with my newly retired husband

ill again

with the illness

that drove him

from his beloved work

with the poorest of the poor

mentally ill

and I wonder

as I worry

about him

how did he do it

and why

and why

did he marry me

taking my major mental illness

as a dowry

and I wonder

how did it happen

that we got so old

we look at people

30 years our junior

on the TV

in the waiting room

and think ourselves

like them

but we are not

old age has crept in

like a thief in the night

were we always broken

cast under a veil

of delusion

which now becomes

seen at times

as bodies

fall ill

and age creeps in

are we finally seeing

the unreality of the “reality”?

 

 


Satsang Mornings with Mooji



Seeking God in New York City


DSCF8435_edited-1Riverside Park and Trapped Nature

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Political Wall

DSCF8440_edited-1 Home Furnishings in the Shelter of Union Theological SeminaryDSCF8447_edited-1

Customer in Local Coffee Shop Window

***

Twinkling stars, infinity sky
no longer can I see,
blinded by the might of
fierce night light in the city.
Now the universe  appears
behind closed eyelids
unbound by hour on the clock.
Energy fields in the sky of day
once transported me instantly,
now I battle noise and numbers
in the megaphone metropolis.
My private piece of sky to see,
sitting in the summer sun,
in the backyard playland,
sits now in memory
along with the macro world
of insects underfoot.
The infinity of the terrestrial lawn,
now is writ on microscopic cells
inside my convoluted brain.
Our little piece of paradise
Our little barn for sale
Home now the concrete jungle.

I will find God here, too,
amid the traffic and the trash
Overcrowded cities can
team with spirituality
as manifest in Mother India,
satsangs to the barking dogs,
insistent horns
streets full of homeless.
Here, too, a camp
one block away
reminds one of the blessings
of a dwelling and food to eat
and humbles one
amid serenades
not of crickets
but of sirens
and the cooing of pigeons
or the sweetness of a sparrow.
T’is true the Divine
is manifest in nature,
easy to see there
everywhere
but He dwells here, too,
in the rat filled streets
among the humble
somehow majestically in
the lowest of the low,
I would I could see Him in
the Sadhus of New York City.
His mighty kingdom
lies within the Self
bursting within the heart.

Have mercy on me, oh God,

and please open my heart

to the Compassion within!


Presence and the Absence of Fear


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Song of Glass


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Heavenly bird song
Coming from under my AC
In the torrid heat of the city
Who are you singing to
Such sweet sounds
Like balm to the soul
Are you sent by God
As a messenger
Of the Divine
Your song
A stained glass
Portrait of divine color
Before my eyes
Oh, gentle creature
How do you survive
In the harsh life
Of the city?
Thank you for
A few minutes
Of divinity
Coming to rest
On my fire escape


Officially Gone for Awhile


Have started an online silent retreat with Mooji.  My reading of your posts of late has been sporadic, my writing, non-existent.  Apologies.  Trying to find my way back as I said in the last post. This seems like a good time to go on a silent retreat.  So for a week I will not be reading or writing posts or using the Internet and will  be trying to keep talking to a minimum while still running a household.   Hopefully this will break through whatever is wrong.  For those curious about the retreat, click on the link below:

http://mooji.org/zmar_aboutretreat.html

Sending love,

Ellen


Alternatives and Non-Pharmaceutical Aids for Bipolars, Depressives and Other Mentally Ill


I am Manic-Depressive, more specifically, Bipolar 1. Unable to take the mood stabilizers usually prescribed for Bipolar Disorder—Valproic acid, Lithium Carbonate, Tegretol, Neurontin and Depakote, my therapist had me on a cocktail of anti-psychotics. Been on an old anti-psychotic, Thiothixene, for about 20 years and a new, atypical anti-psychotic, Zyprexa, for 15 years (more on that drug later).

The anti-psychotics, however, or the neuroleptics as they are called, while keeping me out of the mental hospital and enabling to live a somewhat “normal” life, had a depressant effect on me, robbing my life of all the joy and creativity I used to enjoy, as well as, my mystical experiences in nature.

In an effort to get my spark back, I was put on practically every anti-depressant there is. From the old ones like Tofranil, Elavil, Norpramin and Pamelor, to the newer ones like Effexor, Wellbutrin, Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft. All of them were rejected for reasons as numerous as the drugs themselves. From blunted affect, severe nausea, and weight gain, to a total inability to function or outright mania, even minute doses were problematic. As were my trials of the newer anti-psychotics. And I have heard from many that they have had similar or even more severe reactions to the same medications. A friend of mine attempted suicide on Wellbutrin.

Finally a psychologist recommended St. John’s wort. I was very worried about taking that after all my bad experiences with anti-depressants. But I found a research grade St. John’s wort and gave it a try. I felt a difference the very next day despite being told the effects would kick in gradually. The change was dramatic as demonstrated in what I wrote after one day on St. John’s wort:

Ko-ko, our four-legged, faithful companion, runs into the bedroom, eager to join me on the bed, awash with pure joy. She takes a flying leap up and we lounge together like lizards basking in the sun, reclining requisitely together. It is day 2 of St. John’s wort. Am filled with a loving glow as Ko-ko nestles down to sleep beside me. The beauty of yesterday lingers in my memory—a vacation day spent with my husband in the Palisades on an early October day. The sweet, crackling autumn air filled our lungs as we climbed the Palisades for a spectacular view of the Hudson River. Our path strewn with crunchy, dry leaves. A trail leads us further upwards, the spongy ground, soft underfoot is strewn with paint box colored leaves. Yellow, crimsons, golden russets lay on the damp path, wet from yesterday’s rain. I give thanks to God in this cathedral of color. Try to experience the mysticism of my youth. Yearn to return to the photography and poetry writing of my pre-breakdown days. A revival of creativity. Thank you , God, for giving me my sight back.

As the days went by, more and more of the depression lifted. My husband was happier with me on the St. John’s wort because I was more loving. I also stopped drinking. Completely. And I had been a borderline alcoholic. The door to the prison had been opened and I was now freer. This improvement gradually leveled off and at times I found myself fighting depressions at times but nothing like the deep, black depressions before the SJW.

Still without a mood stabilizers I would cycle, but not psychotically. Next change to be made was to learn the hands on healing technique called Reiki in an attempt to recover my spirituality. Reiki continues to be a blessing as I do it daily to myself and in a prayer form for others. But I was still craving the spirituality of my youth.

Brought up Presbyterian and made to convert to Catholicism in grade school, organized religion was not working for me. I had done Transcendental Meditation in my twenties and dropped it for a reason I no longer remember. Continuing to pray rote prayers I followed Pema Chodron and Paramahansa Yogananda and others. I took about twenty of Yogananda’s lessons offered by Self-Realization Fellowship and meditated according to his teachings. I regard Yogananda as a saint, a true saint, but his path was not “doing it” for me. Tremendous anxiety would take over. And then, through Hariod Brawn on Contentedness.net, I met Mooji and I began listening to his guided meditations and watching his satsangs. Additionally, while convalescing from pneumonia recently, my husband read books written by an old friend he had while pursuing religious studies at the University of Edinburgh. A Celtic Christian minister and reformer, J. Philip Newell. Curious, I read him, too, and he helped me on the path with Mooji. Through Mooji I found that the Self is not Bipolar or OCD or Asperger’s or depressed. Those are troubles of the body/mind/ego self. The “person” in other words. If I can go into the “Presence of God” as Newell says, or into the “Self” as Mooji says, I can be well. Mooji has helped me regain my spirituality and is making me whole.

The last change I made was to get off the newer anti-psychotic, Zyprexa, for health reasons. The drug has horrid side effects including dizziness, heavy weight gain, problems with heat and more. The withdrawal from Zyprexa is very,very hard. I still have .5 mg to go to get off it completely. Meantime, the same company where I buy the research grade St. John’s wort, offers a homeopathic Lithium Orotate (not Lithium Carbonate) spray called Symmetry. Have been using that with great results. Am very even. Gone are the manic nights of insomnia and the deep, dark depressions that sometimes broke through the St. John’s wort. Gone is the rapid cycling.

The company that offers the research grade St. John’s wort (the only brand of St. John’s wort that has worked for me) is Hypericum.com. The homeopathic Lithium Ortotate is offered by the same company. I have no interest in this company and am not paid by them to offer this information. I am not saying that all these things will work for those you touched by the fire of Bipolar Disorder or the black hole of depression or any other disorder. And certainly you must consult your therapist before trying any medication. For example, you cannot mix St. John’s wort while taking certain drugs. Specially mixing St. John’s wort with other antidepressants can be very dangerous. I am just offering alternative to those of you who may have had the same experiences and presenting what has helped me in my own battles. Talk to your therapist if interested.

And last but not by any means least, is Mooji. All information about him is to be found at Mooji.org. There are many, many free Satsang and guided meditation videos available there and on YouTube.

He answered my question about being able to being “realized” despite having Bipolar Disorder and I see now what he said made all the difference in the world. The person is Bipolar but the Self is not! Through watching his satsangs and doing meditation with him daily I am returning to the spirituality of my youth, before my breakdown. I have miles to go but with his help I am more able to cope with this dream we call life.


The Secrets of Winter


DSCN3570_edited-3Sweet winter melancholy

assuages my soul

with its

bare branches 

reaching Godwards

and 

its subdued light

speaks of the Almighty

in silent whispers

that are drowned out by sunlight

and the mania of summer.


The Simple Path



Eckhart Tolle on Anger



Starburst


 

“Dear ones, the light of God is moving through me this day… I am in His sea of Light, in that eternal land.  Wherever I am, in this life or beyond, I am always roaming in that eternity.  I want you to come there also, for you are my brothers an sisters and I cannot bear to see you left in delusion.” 

Paramahansa Yogananda