Today marks Guru Purnima, (the full moon day of the Guru). Guru Purnima is the day when students have the opportunity to express our deep gratitude for the great gifts we have received from our Guru.
I am new to Siddha Yoga. My years of zen practice, I believe, served me well and provided me with a certain discipline. The main reason I ‘left’ Zen Buddhism is because when I saw my first arati being performed, it was as if I felt my heart opened. I discovered what had been missing: bhakti (devotion).
Gurumayi, I came to You out of grief and You showed me Joy. I came to You not knowing if there was a God; now I know there is — and that I, too, am Divine. How could I possibly ever thank You? The seva I do is but a small token of my gratitude. ~ Om Guru Om ~
I kept putting women on pedestals
now I know I had the right impulse
now my devotion flows naturally to You
Posted in 108 poems, Buddhism, gratitude, Gurumayi, Siddha Yoga
Tagged arati, bhakti, dakshina, devotion, full moon, Guru Purnima, Gurumayi, Gurupurnima, seva, Siddha Yoga, zen
Most days I do my OM japa, i.e., I take my 108 beaded necklace and chant OM slowly as I work my way around each bead. My favorite place to do this is on my garden bench. Then I get the additional joy of hearing birds and other sounds of nature. Sometimes, though, I actually meditate in my Meditation Room. I am fortunate enough to have a home with enough space to have a room set aside for my puja [altar] to the Siddha Yoga lineage, including my guru Gurumayi. I also have a puja to my mother who recently passed from this earth March 2007. Many of my sacred books as well as my spiritual journal are kept in this room.
For seven years (more or less), I meditated the Buddhist way (mostly zen but also vipassana). This way recommended that your eyes be open but not looking, either at a wall or a spot on the carpet. You chanted nothing, only watched your thoughts float by. You could count your breath or just breathe. The goal was emptiness. Nothing added.
The Siddha Yoga way has you chanting the mantra Om Namah Shivaya (or So’ham). Om Namah Shivaya means “I bow to my Inner Self/I bow to the Lord (Shiva).” So’ham means “I Am That.” We close our eyes. Now, when I was meditating the Zen way, we were informed that closing our eyes meant more chances for dreamy reflection which could get in the way. Having done both ways, I prefer closing my eyes. I have sometimes been graced with wonderful visions. I have also been bored. Most of the time, my meditations are something in between. Being in the present is the aim of both traditions. Although ‘just’ sitting peacefully for a half hour or more is perfectly fine, I was amazed to perceive what I call ‘visitations’ of Gurumayi and, a few times, Baba Muktananda.
I want to talk about Baba Muktananda’s book Meditate. Before I found an out-of-print copy to purchase, I had borrowed it from the public library. Later I realized I had received Shakti [awakening of Energy] from touching, reading, and imbibing the words of that book. Reading his words, I went into a state of bliss. It was as if He were speaking to me in the room. Baba has a special way of telling stories. His words remind us of the greatness that we are. He encourages us to remember that we are not separate from the Inner Self and from the Divine. His message is one of great Joy. I love these words from his book, “In meditation, we become the witness of all our states. This is the state of God, of the inner Self, and through meditation we can attain that state because it is within us.”
Again and again, I sit down
to witness the world which is not
separate from the one within me
Posted in 108 poems, bliss, Buddhism, chanting, Gurumayi, meditation, Siddha Yoga
Tagged Baba Muktananda, Gurumayi, japa, meditation, Muktananda, Om, Om Namah Shivaya, Shakti, Siddha Yoga, So'ham
Tonight the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center in Cincinnati had a celebration satsang in honor of Gurumayi’s birthday. The most moving part for me were the shares. Many people shared what She meant to them, messages they had received from Her, and so forth. I was one.
My fellow leadership sevite, Veena, helped me realize that (this year at least) I was having dreams or ‘visitations’ from my guru when I felt sad. In January I sensed Her message so strongly that I could hear the question: “Isn’t there enough love around you?” Recently I had a dream and my head was in (or near) Her lap. I awoke with a feeling of peace and having been comforted. How fortunate I am to have found this path!
Your life as guru
has served to
It is approaching midnight. Hours have passed since I went into my meditation room. I did my OM japa then sat in silence. It was dusk when I began and now it is late.
I let the dogs out. Ah, it is nearly full moon! But it is something more . . . I was scanning Baba Muktananda’s book Meditate, then I looked through Meditation Revolution. There is a quote from Gurumayi saying “It doesn’t matter how far away you are. You come in my dream, or you come in my thoughts, or all of a sudden, I hear you calling my name.”
I dreamed of her the other night. When I awoke I had the distinct feeling of being in her presence. There are photos of her several places in my home so not a day goes by that I don’t think of Gurumayi. I wonder if her ears are hurting from all her devotees calling her!
Guru of mine,
finding you has
made my life sublime
Posted in 108 poems, Gurumayi, meditation, Siddha Yoga
Tagged dream, full moon, guru, Gurumayi, meditation, Muktananda, Om, Siddha Yoga
my hair stood on end, tears flowed,
what is this stuff I’ve stumbled upon?
now I’ve learned to bow to everyone
Context: preparing for hosting tomorrow night at the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center in Cincinnati. We will be chanting the Kundalini Stavah. I recall my first exposure to it with Gurumayi chanting solo. Wow!
How I spent my mother’s day:
Chanting the Guru Gita at the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center / shopping at Trader Joe’s / taking a long afternoon nap / visiting my dear friend Vic Ramstetter while she recuperates from knee replacement surgery at her mother’s. I couldn’t wish my mother ‘Mother’s Day’ because she passed away two years ago. Still, I intuitively sent a few messages along the lines of ‘You know I’m thinking of you . . . wherever you are.’
Someone on Twitter mentioned about remembering our Spiritual Mothers as well. First I would have to include Grandma Katie. Katie (Katherine Rentschler) Drees adopted my mother from the Children’s Home after her biological mother had died. Even through her stern Germanic demeanor, I knew she loved me. Sometimes I say I had two mothers. I was grandma’s favorite. With five kids, my own mother had her hands full.
Other spiritual mothers include Gurumayi, certainly; no matter that she is younger than I. I’ll also name Veena Kedia who is my other half of the Seva Coordinating Team at the local meditation center. Although Amma (Amritanandamayima) is not my guru, this Hugging Saint is everyone’s mother as she gives us each our moment in her lap. My friendly ex, Janice Uhlman, is always there for me especially when I have tears. I would be remiss to not remember a few teachers along the way who mentored me.
In my head I am hearing a chant I believe comes from Libana: “The Earth is our Mother, we must take care of Her.” You may refer to Her as Gaia or Demeter or the 1,001 names of Goddesses from many diverse cultures. Whichever name you prefer, listen to the tune, believe the chant: it is true and it’s almost too late. That one word ‘almost’ gives us an opportunity whether we take it by eating lower on the food chain, composting, growing our own herbs and vegetables, recycling, driving less — we know what to do. Now in the name of The Mother we must do it.
In the name of the Mother
we look at nature around us
and pray to do our share
Posted in 108 poems, chanting, friendship, mothers and daughters, nature, Siddha Yoga, Twitter
Tagged Amma, Demeter, Gaia, guru, Gurumayi, Janice Uhlman, Katie Drees, Mother's Day, Twitter, Veena Kedia, Vic Ramstetter
Tonight’s satsang at the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center in Cincinnati was a celebration of Baba Muktananda’s lunar birthday. The actual date is this coming Saturday but we meet on Wednesday nights so acknowledged it tonight.
I was the audio visual person. Being a special celebration, there were more cds to manipulate than usual; every space was filled in the cd and dvd players. I had arrived pretty tired even though I hadn’t done much all day (likely wore myself out Tuesday, mowing and then planting 72 pellets of baby lettuce and radish sprouts in the ground). We chanted ‘Mere Baba Muktananda’ and I could have gone on longer than the forty minutes. It was a very lilting melody and intoxicating.
The irises I brought from my front yard looked beautiful added to the yellow roses we already had. Our meditation hall is quite beautiful with Gurumayi, Baba, and Bade Baba in the front of the room, the padukas (sandals), and the Om symbol. This space never fails to calm me down (bottom line) or bring me bliss (best case scenario!).
I’ve only met you in meditation
but I’ll never forget how you greeted me
this, my introduction to shaktipat
Posted in 108 poems, chanting, meditation, Siddha Yoga
Tagged Baba, Bade Baba, Gurumayi, meditation, Muktananda, shaktipat, Siddha Yoga, Siddha Yoga Meditation Center
First, I want to credit Puerhan for this abundant idea! (He is a poet and architect from the UK. His website: >http://puerhan.blogspot.com/search/label/108P).
For those who don’t know, a mala is a Hindu or Buddhist rosary with 108 beads used for focusing when chanting a mantra. As you touch each bead, the practice (japa) helps to center you and it becomes a kinesthetic experience. Suffice it to say, 108 is an auspicious number in both religions (& there are nearly that many reasons why!)
“Poetry Mala”: a spiritual practice to write a 3 line poem a day for 108 days. As soon as I discovered this idea–this morning via Twitter–I knew it was for me. All quarter in the class I’m taking at Women Writing for (a) Change, I have written few poems. I thought this practice would spark poetry–my biggest love–again. And, after all, it’s only 3 lines, very haiku-ish but with no set rhythm or pattern.
So I shall begin!
108 Poems, #1
Back yard, morning sun shining.
Japa in front of stone circle,
vegetables will be growing soon.