I know, I don’t really have to explain why I haven’t been here. But I want to, for documentation purposes, if nothing else. Maybe some of you actually wonder.
May 2010: The main activity in my life this month was my Croning. Fifty friends enjoyed the afternoon at my place on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. One thing that was really special was that I brought together people from all the various groups I’m involved with, men and women, gay and straight — and it worked! (It gives me hope for humanity . . . ). We had a circle where Emmy officiated, Yasemin anointed me, and Janice placed a crown on my head, officially declaring me a Crone, or wise elder woman. I had turned 60 in February yet wanted to throw a big celebration in the spring. I bought a chocolate-raspberry cake from Servati’s. The meal was a potluck. I hired the Troubadours of Divine Bliss to play blissful music on my deck. Much love and laughter that day!
The summer is kind of a blur, actually. OK, I just checked my calendar (how embarrassing):
I was very involved chanting, meditating, and being in leadership with my local Siddha Yoga group. Also went regularly to hatha yoga classes.
I seemed to eat out a lot with friends!
I taught another online class through Catherine of Siena Virtual College — the best group yet of wonderfully talented women from The Philippines, Kenya, Vancouver, and the U.S.
I got more training on the harmonium for live chanting at the meditation center.
I began writing for pay for Natural Awakenings magazine!
And, of course, editing The Book.
The Book is a book Maria Motch and I wrote (and she took incredible photos) about our 2008 trip to Varanasi, India. We are calling it Goddesses on the Ganges: Pilgrimage to Varanasi, India.
It is now in the layout phase and should be published-on-demand early this fall! Plus, we got a grant from Women’s Way, thanks to the vision of Bev Bowers. It’s all very exciting!
So, as you can see, I wasn’t just lying on a hammock all summer long. Though that’d be just fine, too.
Posted in books I've read and loved, my writing life, summer
Tagged Bev Bowers, Catherine of Siena Virtual College, Goddesses on the Ganges, India, Maria Motch, Natural Awakenings, Siddha Yoga, Troubadours of Divine Bliss, Varanasi, Womens Way
I took myself for a writing appointment at one of my favorite coffeehouses. Sidewinder’s is located on Hamilton Avenue in Northside. You can sit in the back and make a latte last as long as you need. Since I needed to finish my agenda for the class I teach the next morning, I decided I would put my mind to it and do it away from home.
It worked and was, in fact, pleasurable. Most of the conversation came from the front, from the staff and newcomers. The handful of us in the back room were serious about our writing, studying, or online searching. I found the atmosphere conducive to serious ‘agenda-ing.’
This is what I miss most about not living in Northside — living close to a coffeehouse, running into people I know, the whole urban scene. I owned a home here for fifteen years. When I retired, I moved ten miles up the road to be surrounded by nature but in so doing, am more isolated. Now, to go anywhere, I count on driving a half hour. I’ve gotten used to this and use my time to listen to music, more often than not chants — Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, or Siddha Yoga.
My parking meter is almost up so it’s time to return to my animals and other distractions of home. This afternoon appointment reminds me that I need to do this more often!
Posted in chanting, my writing life, Northside (Cincinnati)
Tagged chants, coffeehouses, Jai Uttal, Krishna Das, Northside (Cincinnati), Siddha Yoga, Sidewinder Cafe, Sidewinder coffeehouse, Sidewinders, writing
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
“I’m tired of opening that door for you . . . for nothing!” I muttered to the cat. Medusa sometimes acts as if she’d like to go into the basement but usually declines once I open that door for her (you know how haughty queen cats can get). Then I paused, reflecting on what I’d just heard myself say. I imagined God/dess saying the same thing.
Understand – I don’t usually walk around wondering what God/dess would say (WWGS). Although I am deeply spiritual, I don’t belong to any particular church, temple, or synagogue. I practiced Zen meditation for years and they are notorious for the “don’t know” mind and koans. For several years now I have been enthralled with Siddha Yoga. This practice comes from the Hindu tradition. And although I made a pilgrimage to Varanasi, India, holy town of Shiva, one can’t ‘convert’ to Hinduism. I can, however, appreciate and adopt many of its traditions. I believe we ourselves are divine but often forget it. So much for talking to Myself!
So back to this concept of doors. I have been fascinated with doors since the 70s when I read the book and saw the movie Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse. I’ve even had dreams about doors. There is, of course, that old saying “When one door closes another one opens” which I’ve quoted to myself when times got rough. But this assertion I proclaimed to the cat queen was different. I imagined God/dess shaking Her head, muttering something like “How many signs do I have to give the girl before she gets it?!” The Higher Power might even complain “Do I have to drop a key in your blessed lap?!”
Such is the context for tonight’s poem:
if You give me a sign
I might remember
that I’m truly divine
Posted in 108 poems, cats, India, Siddha Yoga
Tagged cats, divine, doors, God, Goddess, Herman Hesse, India, Shiva, Siddha Yoga, Varanasi, zen