Spiritual Practice

Posted to Subscribers on 18 October 2009


Dear Subscribers,

Once again, I apologize for the typos.  Between the gremlins and my eyes, it has been a tad challenging so I am going to take my time on this email and see if it will go through flawlessly.

Saturn is transiting my Neptune.  That surely dates me, but long ago, I wrote a tedious poem called "Neptune's Narrative of Saturn's Imperative."  It might have survived countless moves and water damage, but it has not been seen in years though the feelings remain etched on my psyche.  I used to quip that this is the time when you manifest your ideal . . . or failing that, you could dig a big hole in your yard and pour some concrete and then fill it with water.  Astrologers will immediately understand the metaphor, but let's try to keep the narrative up a few octaves.

There are countless prophecies about what will happen in the times ahead.  A colleague in India wrote that Kali Yuga is officially over.  That is good news, but we have yet to see it in the West.  Change is necessary because the trajectory of civilization has been unsustainable.  If we resist the imperative, we waste energy trying to hold back the inevitable so we might as well get on board with necessity and even build up some enthusiasm for this ticket.  The etymology of "enthusiasm" suggests that we are blissed when we are "with God" or "en theos" and if we keep this in mind, we will create a reality around our bliss rather than our fears.

The fear, as I have taken pains to point out, is intentional and it is used to manipulate and ultimately to control.  In reality, it makes us witless and vulnerable, this at a time when we need to be decisive and clear.  Here and there, I see glimmers of what might be; these are embraced by individuals of every persuasion and avocation and in all parts of the world.  If we believe in quantum physics or the experiments with water or thought or convergence or whatever we wish to call our concerted efforts to build an ideal world rather than decadence, then we know we can do whatever we set our minds to doing, but to liberate our minds, we have to detach them from the programming that is blared at us day in and day out by those who wish us to remain fettered to the dying civilization rather than co-creative in manifesting Heaven on Earth.  These choices are actually ours to make, but, to see our paths clearly, we have to be true to ourselves — our Selves — and not Xeroxed copies of people who fit in the groove.

If those who try to control wished us to be inspired, they would not deluge us with drivel and platitudes.  For the most part, and I do apologize if I step on some toes, even our formal religions are not equipping people to discover Truth or even personal truth.  Rather, most of them are packaging it for us and using promotional techniques quite similar to those used by politicians and Madison Avenue.  I didn't honestly understand that until I was 16 years old and met the famous Suzuki-sensei.  How Fate would have organized my being seated next to him at a banquet, I do not know, but I am so grateful to Fate for its Hand in this event.  In trying to converse with Suzuki-sensei, I realized that I possessed a quite ordinary and ridiculously irrelevant mind that was completely unaware of reality.  I spent the next ten years studying Zen because I knew my mind had to detach from conditioning in order to see things as they are rather through filters.  There are some people who would describe this exercise as a type of meditation or spiritual practice, but there are others who think they are seeing things as they are when they are actually repeating what they have been taught or told.  In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the mind that is conditioned is described as personal whereas the unconditioned mind is not merely unfettered but assumed to be privy to universal insights and understanding rather than historic learning.  If you believe in such a possibility, then you are able to accept that there is a difference between knowledge and knowing.  How you escape the limits of your knowledge is another matter.  In Sufism, it is said that grief over loss of the beloved caused a devotee to whirl until coming face-to-face with God.  In short, there are many paths, but imitating a dance that worked for one person will not necessarily result in enlightenment for the next since the motivation and sincerity and desire to be filled with God's inspiration is the secret, not the ritual itself.  The ritual is merely a formal preparation but it cannot be expected to work unless the intent is fervent and unhampered by "self".  Then, of course, if in the event of responses to the opening there is a flood of light or awakening of awareness, one must be willing to accept the realities implied by the knowing that has penetrated the veils of density.

This implies putting ideas into action, but as Nechung Rinpoche said to a hippie who asked him how to attain enlightenment, "This is the most difficult undertaking of an individual.  Learn to do the simple things well and in the meantime, practice goodness."  It actually made headlines in the local newspaper in Kona, as well it should have, because it spoke to everyone's desire for perfection and offered a path thereto that is free of karmic repercussions and therefore also of the risk of encumberment.

In the mid-sixties when I was living in New York City, I was engaged to a very cultured Libran.  On weekends, we often went to museums or art galleries and, as often happens in close relationships, I observed that he always noticed the exhibits, including very fine details of the exhibits within seconds of entering the building whereas I heard the music and did not orient to the visuals for quite a few seconds after his commentary on the paintings began.  This is actually an important tidbit for any observer because it speaks to how you can create a space in which to allow inspiration to reach you.  For me, art almost never succeeds though Nature can often evoke what paintings fail to stir in me.  However, music nearly always supports my effort to escape the mundane and experience more of the magnificent.

There are many art forms and we are each of us sensitized in ways that make us more receptive to certain stimuli than to others.  I believe this has to do with the dominant chakras as well as probably several other factors such as deeper typology, but I have always been fascinated by how those who function outside the linear can see in ways that would be astounding to those who are trapped in the whirling of the planets.  Even my adorable Savika understood aspects of me that she would have had no way of understanding unless she was functioning comfortably in another reality.  So, this begs the question of exactly what other realities there are and how do they relate to us and we to them?  The moment you begin to get answers to such questions, you are forced to become mystical but how do you get your toe through the door that you are trying to open?

I feel that intent is crucial but awakening can sometimes occur without deliberate intent.  We hear stories all the time of near death experiences, divine intervention, or consciousness opened through sacred plants.  These days, I am finding more and more alignment occurring as a result of adventures with Nature and fewer facilitated by hanging out with gurus and good books.  Moreover, the longer I am with Nature, the more I realize that if we wish to create a sustainable future for Earth and Her inhabitants, we must begin to understand Nature and learn from Her and cooperate with Her.  I have always appreciated that Nature is bountiful and tireless and generous and awesome — oh, and did I say majestic — but I have only recently come to understand the immense complexity of any one part of the natural world.  "Ecosystem" was not part of my early education and to reduce, for instance, a food to a single use such as vitamin A for the eyes is not just hugely limiting but woefully basic and ignorant.  I am now learning of plants with 14,000 chemical constituents that the plant can vary in moments depending on the weather, soil condition, or even the individual who plans to consume the plant, whether a gorilla or human.  The idea that we have the wits to improve upon Nature is obviously not just silly but potentially a dangerous leap into the greatest of all follies:  pride.

So, again, how do we escape follies and pride?  Obviously, we have to embrace a willingness to learn and to allow ourselves to be guided by our knowing.  A dose of humility might help, not to mention some simplicity since complexity is nearly always a game played with the wrong set of inputs.  Ironically, this is our salvation as well because the endgame cannot win given that the inputs are false.  Only what is actually entrained with the Creator can possibly prevail long-term . . . so what are we waiting for? 

Today, I see myself quite differently from years ago.  For instance, my land rehabilitation is a type of karma yoga.  I do it because it is the right thing to do and every square inch that is brought back into balance is one less square inch of trouble in the making.  When I started, I did not expect to be so richly rewarded for my efforts.  I was not really excited, more like overwhelmed by the magnitude of fixing a few square feet of Earth.  However, as I attune more and more, I realize once again, this time on another level completely, that Nature continues to be generous.  She has given me visual feasts beyond my wildest imagination, wonderful food, and a deep sense of peacefulness that I cannot get in any other way.  I cannot access this feeling even by listening to music or watching TV or reading email.  I get it by being 100% real in the tiny space that for the moment at least is my home.

With music, I am swept by emotions or sometimes distracted by my excessive discernment.  I am moved but not necessarily aligned.  Of course, sometimes, I am lifted to very great heights or to altered states of consciousness; but with Nature, there can be no erroneous alignments if one is merely allowing Nature to be Herself.  The irony or the mystery is that Nature is a potent source for Heavenly alignment because She is in tune even when we are not.  It occurs to me that I eat plants because they step down frequencies that are too intense for me and this is another cause for humility.

With the Saturn transit, I am also grieving a bit over how long it took me to get here, but then that is the tyranny of Time and we are all subject to it so long as we are third dimensional, but I suspect more and more of us are becoming multidimensional, consciously multidimensional, and when this is a pervasive reality, the world will change for the better very fast.

Many blessings,







Seventh Ray Press
Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2010

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