Courthouse Revelations With A Side of Bliss

God I live in such a bubble.  And the thing about living in bubbles is that it is easy to mistake the world of the bubble for the world “at large”… or maybe… maybe I don’t actually live in a bubble, maybe everyone in the courtroom this morning was but a reflection of my consciousness.  Maybe as I keep changing myself from the inside, maybe all of those fellow prospective jurors will begin to take their places by my side, standing up in the conviction that WE ARE ONE and punishment should not beget punishment.  That’s what I triumphantly told them right into the danged microphone this morning.  I told them that I could not be objective, looking only at the “facts” presented.  In a room full of wily, homegrown “strangers” (aka- perfect, unique facets of the One Self) I said that this world we live in is crazy and it only exacerbates it to perpetuate the chain of punishment and human suffering.  The seasoned black woman judge with the big blond head of straightened hair who would have been the perfect candidate to play a judge TV asked me if I had a better idea.

Smack!  Talk about on the spot.  I said not precisely, but the solution will come from loving, not from thinking.  I felt terrified and euphoric speaking from my heart in this room full of everyday people wearing placid faces and mostly crossing their arms in front of their chests.  If I had one wish, it would be that speaking from my heart spoke to the hearts of others present such that their consciousness is impacted and elevated.  If I had two wishes… (Grin)… I would wish to live life fully embodied as the Christ Self from now on, spilling over, everywhere with love and peace and blessings.  Perpetually awake in a state of unconditional bliss.

I was the first juror to be dismissed at the lunch break.  I felt sorta sad exiting the courtroom.  Even though I deem our system of judgment to be INSANE and irrelevant, I somehow wished I could’ve stayed and participated as the “token bodhisattva”… You know?  Just sat in lotus position in the corner and prayed for Love’s Grace to wash over the case and all present in the courtroom… while all the other suckas blew fuses and popped gaskets in their overheated little deluded minds.  Oh well.  I guess I’ll just have to pray from the sidelines.  That’s the beauty of prayer~ it transcends time and space, so you don’t even have to get out of bed to save the world!  (I’m typing from bed.)

I am very grateful for the opportunity to step into that little slice of life outside my new age bubble.  Or if we’re gonna go the more esoteric route (come on, open your minds wide, People), I was grateful to be able to face those facets of myself who are still deeply asleep in the illusory dream of separation.  I can see that I still have some surrendering and healing of this amnesiac psyche yet left undone.  Some unabashed bathing in holy light still to do.  But ain’t no thang… All Pervading Bliss knows not of time, of lack, limitation or suffering.  All Pervading Bliss will just keep smiling wide and wild from inside me and you and everything and beyond… Forever.

It really will.  I’ve been pretty curious about how it’s possible to *really*, fully live in the moment… and still get shit done that needs to get done.  And feeling stumped about the atrocity of living life sans planning.  Impossible, right?  But so many spiritual teachers and leaders and ancient texts whisper the eternal secret that if One lives fully open and alive, ever-savoring the gift of the moment, than life will unfold perfectly, abundant and full of Grace, according to Divine Plan. (Mom, what does that poster in your kitchen say?  The one with the picture of the lotus with the Yogananda quote…)  Now come on… Raise your hand if that stumps you.  Be honest.  Isn’t that a tough one to surrender to?  To fully relinquish the future and just bask like a sleepy sun drenched cat in the holy light of incessant blessed now… But today… I had an insight around this confounding esoteric cousin of one hand clapping.

Thanks to my Beloved, Doctor Depak Chopra!  (and of course thanks to my very own inner teacher, higher wisdom, Christ Self.)  Depak talked about living in bliss (among a whole other slew of brilliant, related topics) last night on New Dimensions Radio.  (I am still WILD about Mister Chopra!!!  Wild.  I want to be just like him, except me.  He *seems* to be fully awake to the truth of himSelf as the Great I AM.  As Creation, Creator, All Pervading One.  He is masterful, serviceful, focused, prosperous, creative, joyful, powerful, peaceful… I want to stand up and give him a boisterous round of applause!  And then I want to rush into an old skool phone booth and rip off my boring mundane costume and reveal the Wondrous Galactic Wilderness Woman Superheroine Maha Devi that lives just beneath this purple hoodie!)  Ahem.  He said bliss is our natural state, always.  It’s different than “happiness” or “sadness”… or any of those other great taste less filling emotions, which depend on external conditions.  Bliss just keeps on blissing along… Forever.  So today, I have just been lifting my mind and my heart to All Pervading, Omnipresent Love.  Letting the holy feelings of connection to all life waft and dance my consciousness awake like a sweet, heavenly scent.  I can see that living from this silent, unconditional bliss can only beget good.  And that is what I am here for.  To give good, to receive good, to recognize, praise and surrender to the unlimited good that we are all marinating in, that we are all made of.

There might be way less to figure out than I had once believed… It’s getting mighty quiet in here.


Adventures on Jury Duty

I write about myself because that is what I know best.  My tangle of dreams, fears, longings, curiosities and inspirations are my areas of profound expertise.  But I also write about me so that you can know YOU better.  Each of us is a unique finger print of God… and yet in so many ways, we are ridiculously interchangeable.  So please know that as I unfurl my mind and my heart here on the page, that I am also unfurling YOUR mind and heart on some level.  We are all in this together, my Friends!

But I want to tell you about today, is jury duty.  I stepped into the courthouse schizophrenically split between being entirely open and voracious for the adventure of it and feeling like a crumpled, resistant scrooge.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted to just fling myself unabashedly into the arduous arms of bureaucracy or hop back on my bike and pedal home as fast as I could back to the warm safety of my bed.  It’s a maddening experience, being split like that.  I want to practice engaging in everything I do whole heartedly, single mindedly.  (Starting now, that is…Wink.)

I was surprised by the copious amount of heart and humanity that I felt from so many of the employees in the courthouse.  Especially the woman who was in charge of orienting us jurors.  Over the intercom, she bade us all a cheerful good morning.  Her offering was met with a few flat-lined grunts at best.   She tried again.  I shouted out, “Good MORNING,” as did a bunch of others.  From there, she went on to explain many things that we would need to know.  And she did it with inspiring, authentic engagement and heart.  Remember, she probably spends forty hours a week in that large, fluorescent lit room full of adults who mostly behave like apathetic high school students being “forced” to do something they don’t want to do.  It would be all too easy for her to implode and stagnate and behave like piss flavored coffee.

But instead she stepped in with fresh vibrancy and an inspired commitment to breathing the life back into us.  Just writing about her, I can feel my heart begin to dance.  Even the glossy lipped security woman who greeted me at the door wearing purple latex gloves (who confiscated my metal fork) was kind and genuine.  Upstairs in the courtroom, the same thing.  More people who against all odds had not been beaten into submission by the monotony and soullessness of “the system”.  Passed along through so many caring hands, I found myself able to sink in and enjoy the ride.  I can do this, I thought to myself.

Up in the courtroom they revealed our case.  The state of California against a young man who had shot and killed someone while engaged in “gang activity”.  He was later busted again for possession of a gun.  “Guilty, hands down,” came the unsolicited, immediate verdict from the choir of jurors in my mind.  It was a subtle verdict and I hardly paid attention to it.  Until the defendant was introduced to us and he stood up from his seat, turned around and waved to us.  He was a young black man.  He looked like someone I could have gone to high school with.  Not that he was… He wasn’t.  I’m just saying…

My inner jury sure changed their tone when he shifted from a concept, laden with numerical penal codes to a real live human being with a heart and a soul, waving at me from the front of the room.  My heart stung and my eyes welled up with tears.  From that moment, I knew that I would not make a good juror after all.

They handed out thick questionnaires to each of us in order to perform a preliminary screening.  I had solemnly sworn to tell the truth… and I did.  I felt like such an anomaly as I filled out my form.  I told them that I was not willing to close my heart.  I told them that even if the accused was guilty, that I didn’t believe that he deserved to be punished and locked up.  I said I thought that just exacerbated the less than desirable existing condition.  I told them I preferred the philosophy held in some indigenous cultures, where the entire village took responsibility for the health and well being of each member.  If one committed a “crime”, the village would circle around that person and sing them their song (the song that each mother to be goes out into the solitude of the wilderness and listens for as soon as she discovers she had conceived), reminding that person of the truth and purity of who they are.  Can you imagine me and the whole spectrum of jurors, the judge, the lawyers, even the family of the person who was killed, the bailiff, the court reporter… all singing this young man the song of his soul?

I’m tearing up.  I can imagine.

…Maybe next Wednesday, when I go back (to be officially dismissed, no doubt…) I will stand up and unabashedly loving, sing his soul song… and everyone in the room will be so moved and they will join in!  It will become a healing celebration where we reclaim our true oneness and forgiveness washes us clean and sets us free!  Dream with me, will you?  It’s not that far fetched.


Small Things in a Great Way

Five thirty am.  The birds are starting to get drunk on light.  I know because the ecstasy in their voices is rising like an omen.  Don’t ask why I am awake at this entirely godly hour, or why I have already been awake for an hour.  Sometimes four thirty am beckons me from sleep like an impatient prophet.  S’okay… I love the soft potency of early morning.  And while we’re at it, don’t ask how I made it to age thirty without ever reporting for jury duty…

But this morning, as I stumbled slumberly into the kitchen, I was lovingly greeted by a jury summons letter.  And please DO ask me how I felt about this.  Innitially, my heart sunk like a rebellious teenager with bloody hands standing in a blinding floodlight.  But then… that habitual reaction washed away and into the bay of my consciousness flooded a fresh surge of curiosity.  Come on, Athena Grace, this infinitely curious human gets to go on an enlightening field trip to the court house and represent the All Pervading Non-Judgmental Judge!  I remembered that everywhere I go I have the right, privilege and cosmic duty of bringing my heart and soul!  Everywhere I go is a chance to beam love.  (Is there ANYone out there who used to watch the Care Bears?  They used to do this thing called the “Care Bear Stare”.  They would all stand in a straight line and aim their bellies at the “bad guy”…the antagonist in the story… and say, “Care Bears STARE!!!”  Then each one of their bellies would emanate a strong beam of light that would extend to the negative force before them.  This Care Bear brand luminosity would disable the bad guy and usually turn him/her toward the Light… Sometimes I like to raise my voice on high and call out, “Care Bear Stare!!!” as I imagine a similar beam of light shooting from my heart.  Man (Wonder Woman) I’m gonna stare down that court room!!!  …Or at least have some fun drinking in all the characters and fictionally strange human behaviors.)

I’m not political in the least.  I don’t even know ANY of the details of this recent oil spill, to tell the embarrassingish truth.  I rarely partake in news.  Some people think I’m a poor citizen…  Maybe… but I also believe that the most sincere offering I can make is to refine myself spiritually.  Find the light inside.  Make frequent Love with the Infinite.  Be a kind, generous neighbor, friend, fellow human being.  Listen to and encourage children.  Fall in Love on a daily basis.  Remember to breathe.  Sing from my heart.  Create beauty.  Honor, revere and adore the checkers at the grocery store, the attendants at the gas station, the toll takers on the bridge (my favorite!), waiters and waitresses, etc.

Speaking of waiters and waitresses, that reminds me of a very luminous man named Rajen, who owns the Taste of the Himalayas Restaurant in North Berkeley.  He is truly a mahatma (great soul) (You know what I just realized classifies someone in the rank of “God or Goddess”…is simply one who is able to recognize God in All.)  Every time I go to eat there, he is a fountain of wisdom, kindness and the inarticulatory light of the One.  “Small things in a great way,” he often reminds us.  Not only through his words does he remind, but also through his actions and being.  He and his family all run the restaurant.  They are Nepalese.  He started a school in Nepal for children in the lower caste, who would otherwise not get education.  He uses a percentage of profits (I almost wrote “prophets”) to fund the school, and augments that with fundraisers.  His heart truly contains all of humanity.  On the front of the menu, there is a short blurb declaring the philosophy of the restaurant which is that they see everyone they serve as God.   It shows.  I am always greeted with a warm “namaste”, by a server with their hands joined in front of their heart.  They serve the BEST palak paneer (saag paneer, spinach with cheese cubes… my F-ing favorite EVER!) in the universe.  No, make that the MULTIverse.  The artwork is of Tibetan deities, the music is soft and the ambiance exudes peace.  When Rajen is in, he makes his rounds to the divine diners and spreads the Love.  The other servers too, though not as gregarious and outgoing are clearly standing in selfless, loving service.  Go there.

Small things in a great way.  That is how I will step into jury duty.  With a surprising and generous amount of love and compassion in my heart.  And of course fascination.  Being a writer makes ANY and EVERY life situation worthwhile.  Stepping into life as a writer is my saving grace.  When I am afraid, when I am hesitant… I remind myself that I can write about it later and suddenly my life is resurrected.  Restored from a blasé tread mill to a technicolor free-for-all-consciousness spill.  THAT’S IT!!!  Sometimes I lament this world.  Like of ALL the divine possibilities, how did we end up in this haphazard mess?  I think it’s analogous to an oil spill.  We were given a gift of incarnation by All Pervading Ahhhhh (soft A), and we misused it and fashioned a collective dream tapestry woven with too much selfishness, greed, separation and fear… and now we are reaping the sew of this, as the oil of our diseased minds leaks carelessly about and boy-girl-boy do we have our work cut out for us now!

Just remember, breathe… and do Small Things in a Great Way.  Amen.