Shhhh…. Just Love.

I don’t want to talk about my Relationship again this morning… because it is currently a source of befuddlement and pain (in addition to the foundational qualities of deep connection and profound love)… I’m in this awkward place with it, where I move toward him, and it starts to hurt again, so I wonder if it’s *really* time to let go…. and move toward letting go, and guess what? It hurts too. So I move closer… and it hurts. I move away, and it hurts. And yes, this is a caricature sketch of my experience, rather than a scalpel precise cut. (And Ed, please don’t *react* to my testimony by needing to DO anything about it. The river is carrying us to the Land of Milk and Honey, no matter how we behave along the way. I’m just reporting on the scenery as we ecstatically thrash along the rapids…)

But I was serious (insert serious face here), when I said that I wasn’t gonna talk about it. (Except for a paragraph’s worth.) Instead, I shall talk about OTHER PEOPLE’S RELATIONSHIPS! At least for a semi-cheap paragraph… Hmm, this could end up being one of my more random blogs… kinda like the way my Ma cooks, when she’s freestylin… a few black beans, a half a potato, a tomato, a moderately sautéed onion, a few macaroni elbows, some herbs de provence, some cumin… Ummm… yeah, but you’ve gotta taste for the love beneath the anarchy! Gosh. I’m sure stepping on some toes in this blog. That’s the achilles heel of being a raw and interesting writer. If you are really committed to speaking your mind, you gotta deal with the inevitable, occasional wrong-way-rubbing. It’s not a job ya do for the “glamor”… strictly a compulsion of the soul.

So what’s here to express this morning, are some half-baked feelings about life in a spiritual community. It’s confusing for me, because I’ve got a wondering eye on “the future”… like is this microcosm of focused devotees, joined and working toward common goals something that I can see myself subscribing to for the long haul? In some moments it seems so obvious, like DUH, of course, Athena!… Where ELSE would you be, but with the meditating, serviceful GOD LOVERS??? But then in other moments, it all seems like such a sham! And people rub all up on my tender nerves…

I can’t help comparing the people here, to my Bay Area peeps. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area since I was less than two years old, I didn’t fully realize what a special place it is. Well, I sorta did… cuz I traveled enough to put my finger on the pulse of many other pockets of collective consciousness… But still, it’s easy to take the things that come easy for granted. I never had the experience of being the midwestern black sheep, who fled to the Bay Area like a tattered, starving refugee at age twenty-something, to find my kin. What I’m driving at, is that people in the Bay Are are so magnificently self aware and committed to the “work”, for the most part. They know how to relationally “get down” and share themselves and receive at a deep level. At least the people I surrounded myself with. People who did tons of personal growth, transformational work, and spelunking in wondrous caves consciousness. I find it not only refreshing, but deeply nourishing to connect with others at this level.

But surprisingly, here, there is much more of a spectrum of depth that people are available for. It seems like the spiritual path does not necessarily equate to depth of relating. I think many people substitute the spiritual path for “the work”… You know, the more rudimentary levels of growth, development and healing… the “stuff” fondly known as “our shit”… Areas of exploration that one might associate with the…dun, dun, dun….EGO!!!! Our friend the ego gets such a bad rap amongst “spiritual circles”. Like it’s some unsightly beast that requires continuous and covert beating into submissive mush. Sure, ultimately this notorious ISness will not be of any use to us as we merge back into the All Pervading Ocean of Love-Light. But in the mean time, it’s our benevolent vehicle through a vast jungle of “otherness”. We’d be utterly lost without this precious, confining sense of individuated identity.

Uh-oh, I feel myself getting sucked into the mires of nebulosity. Let me get Hemingway straight for a moment: I believe in the goodness of a healthy ego. And one of the dangers of walking a “spiritual path” (I put it in quotes, because I believe that the spiritual path takes as many forms as there are stars in the sky, or beings in the universe. If God is ALL, then ALL is God. And the only thing that supersedes that, is an individuals *temporary* commitment to ignorance, which is an unavoidable part of the dance of maya.) One of the dangers of walking a spiritual path, is SLEEP WALKING it. And using the teachings as a tool for avoidance of the inevitable (and endearing) pain of being human.

I guess I’m saying I miss my Bay Area friends. And the general cultural climate there. But then… That urban paradigm sure has its shortcomings… What a hoax, is the whole game of each wo/man for her/himself… living in little segregated boxes and ceaselessly striving, sweating and grasping to figure out the hidden formula for personal success and wealth. It just doesn’t make sense at this time. It’s exhausting. Sanity says that it’s time to come together and join for the common good. To give ourselves away in service of a world of harmony, kindness, balance and peace. I know, I’m being a hyper-critical perfectionist. And actually, God DESIGNED people to be hopelessly flawed and annoying, so that we would have ample opportunities to practice and perfect unconditional love and total forgiveness. Praise the lord! I’m just saying that I feel annoyed by people I perceive to be using the spiritual path to avoid sitting right in the messy center of their “stuff”. (fondly referred to as “the spiritual by-pass”) And I’m questioning whether I want a lifetime subscription to this slice of existence. It is very compelling… it is very repelling…

And another thing that weirds me out, is the way people around here behave in Relationship. Mostly, couples are so aloof and distant from one another, that it took me weeks to realize they were even together! I mean, to me, that’s just weird. Once Ed came to visit me at the Momshram. We had lunch at the Expanding Light with my Ma. After lunch I asked Ed if I could sit on his lap, and my Ma piped in, “No you can’t! There’s ‘decorum’ here.” I had to look up the word later…. but in the moment I knew that she meant that people don’t outwardly show affection around campus. It’s true. I’ve never seen anyone kiss or hug, or butt-grab, or deliciously squish on one another… It gets to be a bit of a buzz-kill after a few minutes. Shrug. I guess it’s not considered “yogic” to be affectionate… since one of our high-minded buddy, Patanjali’s yamas (“don’ts) was NON-SENSUALITY. Sigh. I don’t think he meant thou shalt not LOVE ON YOUR SWEETIE… I think he meant don’t identify AS, or be a little bitch to your senses. But come ON! Physical affection is ESSENTIAL to life. Babies who don’t get their snuggle on, DIE. And even though adults who do without touch don’t DIE, per se, essential parts of our healthy self-hood DO wither, and we DO act out in weird ways as a result of such starvation.

I’m just sayin’…. I’m not sure I could, in good conscience, sign up for a life-time subscription of this shade of nonsense.

But I do love being surrounded by meditators. And teachings of ultimate truth. And people who are committed to serving others, and being clear channels for God’s Love. Yogananda said “environment is stronger than will”. Which is why I have no desire to drink alcohol when I’m at Ananda… but then I go back to the Bay Area, and it’s not like I’m a booze hound… but I do like a glass of wine or a beer as often as it’s available to me! Just one. But… It’s not my highest. I want to be surrounded by those who are clearly aiming for the highest mark, of Self-Realization! The alternative is running around like a beheaded chicken. Which gets so stale, after a bazillion lifetimes… but… the details of the path are certainly imperfect. No matter which path one chooses to scale the towering “Mount Infinity”. This is just my mind scrambling for a strain of perfection that this world was not designed to offer. People, places, paths…. They’re all wrought with flaws, Mrs. Grace… Your job is to LOVE in the face of this unavoidable ISness, and keep your heart’s eyes on the “Big Prize”. Just love. And laugh. And when tears come, let them flow. Just keep letting go and letting God. And stop believing that you’ll ever “figure it out”… (notice that I didn’t say “stop trying”… because I like trying to figure it out… For SPORT…) but TRUE realization is borne of stillness and silence.

Shhhhh…. Just LOVE.

Om. Peace. Amen.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. David Schlussel
    Mar 04, 2014 @ 07:36:49

    Hey Be-you-ty!
    Loving the path you’re on. Just a little time to comment on the Patanjali part – I’ve studied that a bit, and never heard it as non-sensuality. I’m guessing you meant bramacharya, here’s some various translations on that sutra:

    DjwhalKuh:II – 30 Harmlessness, truth to all beings, abstention from theft, from incontinence and from avarice, constitute yama or the five commandments.
    WQJudgeJHConnelly:II – 30. Forbearance consists in not killing, veracity, not stealing, continence, and not coveting.
    alistairshearer:II – 30 the laws of life are five: Non violence, truthfulness, integrity, chastity, non-attachment
    hariharananda:II – 30 Ahimsa (non-injury), Satya (truth), Asteya (abstention from stealing), Brahmacharya (continence) and Aparigraha (abstinence from avariciousness) are the five Yamas (forms of restraint).
    kofibusia:II – 30 Right living consists of: becoming nonviolent; the assertion of truth; not taking things that have not been given; communion with God; non-holding on to things.
    swamijhaneshbhavara:II – 30 Non-injury or non-harming (ahimsa), truthfulness (satya), abstention from stealing (asteya), walking in awareness of the highest reality (brahmacharya), and non-possessiveness or non-grasping with the senses (aparigraha) are the five yamas, or codes of self-regulation or restraint, and are the first of the eight steps of Yoga.

    Brahmacharya means to walk with brahma or god, to move in a godly way. Apparently some celibate monks translated that as celibacy. Patanjali himself may or may not have been. i think it’s enlightening to look at what it does:

    DjwhalKuh:II – 38 By abstention from incontinence, energy is acquired.
    WQJudgeJHConnelly:II – 38. When continence is complete, there is a gain of strength, in body and mind.
    alistairshearer:II – 38 when we are firmly established in chastity, subtle potency is generated
    hariharananda:II – 38 When continence is established, Virya is acquired.
    kofibusia:II – 38 Through communion with God, one becomes truly strong.
    swamijhaneshbhavara:II – 38 When walking in the awareness of the highest reality (brahmacharya) is firmly established, then a great strength, capacity, or vitality (virya) is acquired.

    This to me means that it really means continence, not asensuality – containing our energy, not splashing it around all over the place, and that brings us great strength.

    Love to you, there was so much more good in there, but that part I just HAD to dive in to.

    LOVE YOU!!!!

    Reply

    • Athena Grace
      Mar 04, 2014 @ 10:51:43

      Thanks Maha! I love this conversation… Ananda takes an especially conservative stance on this one. I am currently in a Raja Yoga class, and it was taught as “non-sensuality”. Boo… But we are really all a bunch of boneheads, trying to comprehend very deep teachings. And I believe that the only way to TRULY do so, is through meditation. Silence and stillness are the best teachers. I’m not even gonna say “in my opinion”, because it goes way beyond that. I DO believe that in general, humans don’t have a clue how to engage in deep, meaningful, nourishing, sacred sexuality. OR how to control our energy in an empowering way… But it is so worth striving for on a day to day, moment to moment, heart to heart basis.
      From one Truth Miner to another…
      LOVE!!!!!!!

      Reply

  2. Harrison
    Apr 23, 2014 @ 07:27:35

    Athena, I enjoyed this verbal ramble … and having moved to next to nowhere in New Mexico, the part about the Bay Area “bubble” really resonates with me. It is a luxury to be able to be a seeker … and at the same time, the very need to “seek” is a symptom of disconnection from reality. The Navajo people for the most part are very “present” in a way that would be foreign to many — simply because you won’t survive the realities of living in a harsh environment, where your next meal depends on what you do this very day. Being present in the moment is the natural state here.
    I read the article linked below this morning and I think it provides an interesting perspective on many of the points you make in your blog. Sending love. http://markmanson.net/ken-wilber

    Reply

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