It has only been since Friday and I still can’t get used to it. In fact, I’ve avoided my meditation room for days, knowing a small vial of Steven Robert Greb’s ashes are there. I put them there, on my puja (altar), because I don’t know yet where to scatter them. They serve as a stark reminder of how precious life is.
Richard and I went as ‘ambassadors’ of Siddha Yoga, specifically the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center in Cincinnati. The funeral home called the Center’s phone line on Labor Day and requested that someone come to the memorial in Miamisburg, Ohio and represent Steve’s spiritual practice. I read from Baba Muktananda about not fearing death, and Richard played ten minutes of the mantra. Afterwards, we discovered that several close family members had been to the ashram and met Gurumayi. Life is full of surprises!
Meanwhile, death. I face it daily in the form of Steve’s remains. I already had a fierce relationship with time. Ever since I’ve been an adult, I have had a certain free floating anxiety about having enough time, getting everything done before . . . . . you know. Seeing that phrase “having enough time” slams it in my face. First, I can’t possess time and what is “enough,” who decides? It’s a crazy race I’ve been running and I’m tired of it.
I, Phebeananda, do hereby declare that I am in charge of my own schedule. I decide my priorities (except when death and life circumstances intervene, ha!). There’s no time to waste yet I can rest and relax as I may. And if I forget the urgency of doing what’s important to me, I can sit in front of my puja and talk to Steve.
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
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
It happened for the second time: I missed a day writing a poem a day. I woke up on my couch, a cat on one side, a dog on the other. Went to bed. So two today.
What to write? The Global Audio Satsang for Baba’s Birthday yesterday? How nine of us celebrated with glorious chanting? How I experienced a great meditation? What does a great meditation consist of anyway? For me, the voices are quieted at least for a little time. I relax and float into Oneness. After all, I was internally chanting OM, the primordial sound. And what a great amrit afterward! I had worked up a hunger and it was satisfied so delightfully.
Later I mowed. Back yard, the partially wild preserve — I used the push mower. Now when I say push mower, I don’t mean gasoline I mean just manually push. Evidently the blades need sharpened. Still the yard is starting to look as if there’s a plan. I have the stone circle, the bench, the little vegetable garden, the compost bin, the wood pile. I have a winding path carved from dog routes and reinforced with mulch. Now I have some low lying grass instead of high growing weeds. My plan is to have more wildflowers by next spring. The backyard is really my place of refuge.
I also mowed some front and side yard. This is with the John Deere riding mower. The third summer and I am still stymied by this piece of machinery. It took several tries to start it (and it’s automatic!). Finally I thought, OK, when I turn the key I’ll wait five seconds like the manual says. Success! What took me so long? For an automatic, it’s more complicated than you might think. But if I start my car without anguish, surely by the end of this summer the mower and I will come to peace. Once I’m in the rhythm of it, I love seeing the instant feedback of mowed rows and the smell of grass. Yes, I even feel powerful riding that horsepower.
Sitting on the deck. Birds are happy. My dogs and cats are, too. I drink homemade lemonade and lazily watch the world.
homemade lemonade & a beautiful day
is this really all I need
to find contentment?
Posted in 108 poems, chanting, meditation, nature, spring
Tagged Baba, cats, chanting, dogs, Global Audio Satsang, John Deere, meditation, Muktananda, riding mower
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
Yesterday I chanted and meditated at a Global Audio Satsang event. What is that, you may ask? It’s been less than two years since I discovered Siddha Yoga. I knew of Gurumayi from friends but, evidently, the timing wasn’t right then. Baba Muktananda began a ‘Meditation Revolution’ back in the 1970s. He made two world tour visits to the U.S. May marks what would have been his 100th birthday. There was a celebration. The meditation center in Cincinnati participated in this worldwide program in his honor. The chanting and meditating were great and so was the company! I have found some wonderful friends in this group. Besides Women Writing for (a) Change, this is my main organization. Right now, I am sitting on a bench in my backyard, in front of a circular stone puja/altar I created. I hear the young red-shouldered hawk and a creek. Life is good.