“Let the sense faculties, full of delight, be attached to their respective objects, but may there never be, not even for an instance, any loss of the joy, of your non-duality” – Utpaladeva Shwastratovali 8:5
How much do your senses,
When you see water glistening, do you see its magic?
A leaf, its real, distinct beauty?
A tree, the history of its enduring soul?
When you touch cotton, do you feel its story?
A stone, the grace in its shape?
Your own skin, its complexity?
When you hear a wave, can you hear its origin?
A horn, its driver?
A machine, its genius?
When you taste an orange, can you taste its aliveness?
A potato, its earth?
Bread, its labor of love?
When you smell the ocean, do you smell its depths?
A flower, its specialness?
A storm, its life?
What could happen
If we forgot
Our expectations, comparisons, prejudices?
Could you senses
Blow your mind?
I bet you could see vibrancies and diversities
Wilder than your wildest dreams
I bet you could see beauty so profoundly
The word “ugly” would cease to exist
I bet you could touch stories,
Under your feet, against your cheeks, with your fingertips
& be constantly inspired
Feel the majesty of curves & a person’s embrace
I bet you could hear a breeze
& know what it caresses
Hear a sound, any sound
& know its emotion
I bet you could taste…
Can you imagine?!
The joy of sweetness, sour, salt,
Every time, as if for the first time?!
I bet you could smell history
Feel creations of time in your nose
I bet ever gasoline or cigarettes
Curiously might start to please you
Why allow reality to keep being a subjective experience,
Filtered through a narrow, bored mind?
Try to remember the first time you saw the sky,
A body, an eye, your body, your eyes
The first time the wind caressed you,
Or you were held by someone who loved you deeply
Your first taste of chocolate, sip of water
Your first experience with pineapple
Your first whiff of coffee
Or sniff of grass
Weren’t they so rich it’s hard to fathom?
So slow down, be deliciously absorbed,
Try it for a day, embody curiosity
You might just lose your mind
In the best possible of ways
Let yourself notice the intricacies of the freshness presented
In this moment…and that moment
Feel the love that appears, the ecstasy of sensing itself
Go past yourself…sense the Source
I Know You Have Wings
The joy & freedom of a bird
Have you ever noticed how pure?
Watch a bird spread her wings in the sunrise
Hear all kinds sing together, fellowshipping all day
& you’ll see, that is exactly what you need
How the enjoy their element, their lives
So much bliss in their flight
& how they delight in their songs
All days saluting each other & the sun
Imagine what it’d be like,
To so trust & enjoy your elements & your wings,
Your intuition, your voice, your diverse family
Let’s try life with a bird mentality
Day One: Ethereal wisps of celeste, arising from a grey heart
“Retreat is about awakening awareness, constantly coming back to presence…
Becoming brighter & more lucid, falling away from dullness happens naturally”
…but, my heart is cloudy like after pouring salt into boiling water
Shaky, like after extreme physical exertion
Sad, for feeling the heaviness of running to no avail
Exhausted…heavy…hurting, days & days of grey clouds
But I have a bug friend
Who checks on me every day!
Day Ten: Hummingbirds, laughter, sunshine & naked babies
In pursuit of understanding freedom’s true nature, call me crazy
Away finally, no swimming socially simultaneously
Only to focus on the now…of its beauty
Two steps forward, one step back
“You can never see beyond the choices you don’t fully understand”
So let’s try to understand…oh, I see…
“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your heart”
& “Faith is clarity of the mind”
Challenges offer us opportunity to find foundation in the Heart, to trust life as love
We are so much more than our minds…remember, again & again
It feels so good to feel…
Opening to all things…
Day Twenty: Accepting what is…oh, this is stillness?
Are you ready to search for happiness inside?
“In your Heart is only the pure feeling of existence”
“The mind is like a glass of muddy water, if you don’t stir it,
the mud will fall to the bottom”
Okay…not stirring…wow, that’s hard
But, “there is nothing to do, to learn, to get closer to the Source”
How would I live today with nothing to do?
Until when will I postpone?
When I know all I need is already inside me?
All I really need to do is to sit and be still
Day Thirty: Beingness, Naturalness,
Detaching slowly, become more conscious,
Rejoicing in Beauty
Hmmmm…yes…I think right now I feel a little silly. Because putting experiences into words feels a little silly to me right now. So as I read what I have shared it all feels a little silly, I feel this way when I’ve shared with more detail that just a brief account about my time in solitude with friends as well…like words just can’t touch the sacredness of the whole experience, that trying to relate it almost compromises the juiciness of the fruits received. But, at the same time I also feel quite enthusiastic, I know that many hunger for or are curious experiences of solitude, or experiences of real-world journeys of meditation and the spiritual path, and I feel some of these realizations I was blessed with or just being a real person sharing the experience of solitude could be interesting to someone. So I proceed to write with my Heart wide open, joyful to share what flows.
It has been very interesting being back in the real world, now for about 10 days. Especially during the first few days, I was experiencing so much Beauty. My Heart was just massive…so massive and brilliant, feeling Love so intensely, that my attention effortlessly was drawn there, even in situations with lots of stimulation. This was gorgeous, an incredible gift. I noticed this clarity begin to fade as at a hostel in San Cristobal I began to spend more time on my phone. Even though I was using my phone differently than before, not just mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, actually only using it to send direct messages full of adoration for loved ones or to Facetime with them, still shifting my attention to a small screen and thus distancing from the brilliance of the Heart or the world around me, even while Love was flowing…the clarity and massiveness gradually lessened. I think this is natural, and this is just an opportunity to practice non-attachment and gratitude. My Heart is still very there, and I can still bring my attention to its Realness, every way it feels is a reminder of my aliveness, of being Spirit far greater than this body-mind. So this connection and awareness of that is quite beautiful indeed.
A more real-world thing, I highly encourage all of you to garden!!! After I finished my days of solitude (it ended up being 34), I did six days of exchange at The Hermitage, making a salad garden! I spent many hours weeding, planning the layout and making signs, then planting seeds! This time in the earth was extremely healing, so grounding and peaceful, just naturally the mind is quiet and you are fully present in the moment…I highly, highly recommend!
Also, for some reason I feel compelled to share this…it has been very interesting to notice my body after a change in food intake! After having only been eating a smoothie for breakfast around 9-11, lunch from The Hermitage and then usually splitting it in half and eating some around 1 and then some around 3-4, and then not eating again, and not really feeling hungry, it was interesting to be eating more! It was actually quite overwhelming for my body! Of course back in one of my favorite cities I wanted to enjoy my favorite restaurants but because I was eating bigger portions and more often, I never felt hungry enough to enjoy food in the same way. And since now I’m back at Hridaya with deliciousness all day, it’s still the same boat. I’m hoping maintaining a weekly fast day will help and maybe cutting out meals here and there, just learning to listen to the needs of my stomach. I wish my eyes didn’t love food so much, but gradual processes!!! I’m extremely thankful for this time away from all associations with food to really notice how much I really need to survive. Maybe we can all try to be more aware of this…if we don’t take seconds or desert? Do we really feel hungry? If we miss a meal, how do we feel? Could we try a day of fasting? Hmmm….
And so now I am back at Hridaya, the community I love! Being back feels wonderful. I deeply love this place, the teachings here and the amazing personalities here…it feels delicious and some comfortable, like home! I will share more about the work I’m doing here later, it’s pretty awesome. Between work, all of the amazing activities throughout the day, and all of the amazing people to share with, my days have been extremely full of stimulation…stimulation of the most beautiful kind; but I have been noticing this longing for silence and time alone. It is especially tricky because I live at the school in order to save money and there really is no place to seek refuge in, I am constantly surrounded by people, even in times of meditation. So…how am I going to deal with this?
I realized yesterday a way I can be okay with all of this…it will just require lots of conscious practice! So I realized in my retreat that Stillness is the same as the Love I felt, and these were the same as the Beauty I experienced, and the Joy dancing through my veins, and that ultimately all of these were God. Which is so true!!! Yet, I noticed yesterday that I was longing to taste more ‘Stillness’, this flavor I had begun to associate with being alone and quietness. I think what I can begin to do is begin to appreciate more fully the Love I feel so regularly here. As I engage in all of the daily activities or share with all of these beautiful people…I do feel this overwhelming Love, this Openness and pure Gratitude!! If I can really begin to appreciate the fullness of these, instead of letting my mind feel overwhelmed, resisting this reality and longing for something else…I think I can feel as fulfilled by these times of stimulation by Love, they may even be able to induce quiet in me…because ultimately that Beauty is also Stillness…and that Love is also God…
Yes!!! So I am back in Mexico, feeling extremely thankful, excited, inspired and calm. I notice that from this time of retreat I feel different than before…so much more calm, I think because now there is not so much searching. Of course there is still this mega aspiration to grow for the better and nix the ego when it persists and this requires effort, but it is a peaceful, grounded effort. I know it is possible to go beyond the mind and that what is there is truly breathtaking, this is completely beyond words. And this…is what is Real, what is True. And now I feel so much more connected with Truth, like I can touch it so easily…I am so incredibly thankful for this incredibly gorgeous experience of life!!!
I love you all!!!!
Ode to Ants
Your mountains move & kill,
Yet you still climb
Such incredible brave curiosity
Relentless courage & sacrifice
The epitome of selfless,
Perhaps the planet’s
Most honorable team
Ode to Mosquitos
Gloriously intricate poofs of stripy lines
Passion & power unstoppable
One-sighted, yet mysterious
How are you so small yet generate such a ruckus?
The percussion of your movements
Sends fear through the bravest
What would humans not do
For that level of noticeable presence?
That even the creatures least prone to noticing, notice
An existence that changes courses and mindsets…
The moment that the sense of you arises…
Maybe the itchy bumps you leave,
Can be reminders
To let our presence
Be more powerful