Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Journey Into the Fire of Transformation

Currently, I am in the process of editing the third book in the Living Bardo series. The first book in this series is entitled, Dancing in the Fire of Transformation. This series of books guides the practitioner through various methods and experiments, to utilize this very lifetime as the Vehicle of Enlightenment.

Dancing in the Fire of Transformation is the presentation of the early stages of a practice known as deity yoga. It outlines stages of a journey that Bill and I have taken together. Bill had known me for some 10 years prior to our beginning this journey. During the year or so before our journey, Bill and I had worked together creating the book entitled, The Everyday Sanyasin.

Over the years that Bill had known me, he had heard me mention the practices that I had immersed myself in with a wrathful deity -- Mahakala. Many in the West find they have a fascination with the idea of a wrathful deity. Upon completing The Everyday Sanyasin, Bill urged me to provide teachings on yogic practices using a wrathful deity.

A number of years ago, Swami Ramananda advised me to be very careful with wrathful deities. He recalled several disciples of Ramakrishna; in their desire to follow in the footsteps of the master, they began the practice of deity yoga using Mother Kali. Ramananda spoke of how the lives of these disciples became confused and filled with drama.

For those of you who have read the Everyday Sanyasin, you have experienced the way in which each of us in America today utilizes ancient yogic practices in our everyday life. As I pondered Bill's request, an insight dawned in me. In an instant, all the various ways in which the methods of deity yoga are used in our daily life became apparent.

I realized that we make a separation between our actions in our church or temple, and our actions in our everyday life. Interestingly enough, for most of us, that which inspires our great passion is not located in the church or temple. The focus of our church or temple is typically quietude and serenity. Emotional outbursts are not considered proper.

Effective deity yoga practice requires emotional connection, sometimes even emotional outbursts. For practitioners in this time, the beginning steps in deity yoga require an emotional connection with your chosen deity. You must choose the deity who manifests the qualities that touch the heart of your being.

As Bill and I began our journey together, we left the Scriptures and proprieties of the temple behind. I would set the stage and Bill would create the play -- this creation arose with Bill’s increasing intimacy with his personal deity.

Initially, Bill chose the image of Shiva -- the mere sketch of an image -- for the image that you might find in your book or scripture began with a simple pencil sketch. From the beginnings of this sketch, Bill created color and expression; in one session, he even experienced dancing movement.

Dancing in the Fire of Transformation is an elegant journey. It is an offering to each one of you; in this very life, it can inspire a greater and greater connection with divine qualities of manifestation.

Many blessings surround all of you.

> learn more about Dancing in the Fire of Transformation

Friday, February 20, 2009

Out of Joy do I Rise, In Joy I am Sustained, and Into Joy I go

This is an old Vedic declaration. Some might say, “Ah, a Religious Statement!” Is this declaration solely for the inner confines of the Temple? What might it say to us, living in our everyday lives?

We might substitute ‘the Creative Process’ for the word ‘Joy’ in the declaration –

Out of the Creative Process do I Rise, In the Creative Process I am Sustained, and Into the Creative Process I go!

This statement adds dimensional possibilities to each moment of our day.

Milton Ericson would say we are all entranced by various patterns within ourselves. This entrancement limits our perception, and it limits our creative options as we make choices in the moment. Shakyamuni Buddha, in his first Golden Truth, says we are trapped doing the same the pattern of actions over and over again, no matter what the circumstance – we are suffering! Of course, his second Golden Truth was that we can free ourselves from this entrapment, this entrancement.

This is the foundation of the book, ‘The Everyday Sanyasin.’ First, to recognize the manner in which each one of us entraps ourselves; then through experimentation, finding the Path of Creative Freedom. This Path of Creative Freedom has as its foundation, JOY!

‘The Everyday Sanyasin’ is based upon a journey into Joy and Creativity taken by Bill Georgevich and myself. This creative process evolved through a set of interviews. As we experienced this creative evolution, we opened to the Teaching and guidance that revealed itself. This spawned the creation of ‘Experiments In Awareness,’ the companion book which is part of the ‘Everyday Life as The Path of Enlightenment’ course.

Through Bill’s – and his team’s – Creative Genius, we now offer the original recordings of ‘The Everyday Sanyasin’ on Personal Transformation Radio. Now, each one of you can journey with us in our Creative Discovery of Everyday Life as The Path of Enlightenment!

It is my Blessing that each of you, who tune into this new radio show, will discover their own, Unique Creative Process. Tune In and Discover!
> listen to the Everyday Sanyasin radio show

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

In a Dream

In a dream, I was chatting with Oprah:

Oprah’s question to me was, “Do you intend to change the world?”

A compassionate smile arose as my heart radiated Light, and I began to offer a Teaching:

My Buddhist brothers and sisters will say that the problems of yesterday are the problems of today, and the problems of today will become the problems of tomorrow. In this Human Realm, we are bound on the wheel of our intentions; our basic pattern of desires arranges and re-arranges the circumstances over and over again. This is the First Golden Truth of Shakyamuni Buddha – We are bound to repeat our patterns until we are Free.

The focus of my Teaching is each one of you! Any real change in the world will not come with massive movements; it comes about as each one of you truly changes. My focus is Personal Awakening, using the circumstances of everyday life. I experience wondrous Joy when one of you is Inspired in this very moment.

Mahatma Gandhi is seen by many as the organizer of the masses of India as a political force. If we look into his writings, we discover that his Teaching of Satyagraha has as its foundation, the development of the peaceful daily life of each person involved. He would say that nothing will be accomplished without Love manifesting from the Heart of each one of you who would practice Satyagraha.

This is called the Power of Soul. It begins with each day’s cultivation of my personal connection with Divine Presence; and finding my own unique ways to manifest my Soulful Connection in the little events of my daily life. The Power of Soul is manifest in each moment of my day.

Oprah catches what I am saying, and her discerning mind puts forth the next question: “Is the Power of Soul, Buddhist or Hindu?”

Once more my heart smiles: “Each one of us is unique, and our Connection with Soul can only be manifest in our own unique way. It can be Christian; it can be Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or Taoist. Even if we call it by some accepted name; in truth, it is our own unique connection with The Divine. Our source is ONE: Our personal manifestation is Infinitely Varied and Unique.

Joseph Campbell said, “Find your Bliss!” Gandhi said, “Find your living, daily connection with the Power of Soul.” Mother Teresa spoke of how she experienced the presence of Christ in each dying person for whom she cared. The historical personages go on, each one using their particular religious practice as the Vehicle of Connection; and each one then discovering their own personal manifestation of this Divine Connection.

For this New Year, my offering to you all, is to find your own Unique Connection with the Power of Soul. If my radio shows, books and courses inspire you in this connection, please utilize them. If a more organized structure of religious practice inspires you, please follow that structure – the real importance is that YOU cultivate your Divine Connection in the Power of Soul.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gathering of the Spruce Ceremony

Towards the end of August, my thoughts typically turn to the ceremonies of December. Today I am remembering a Gathering of the Spruce ceremony which took place many years ago.

The ceremony took place at our temple in Skull Valley Arizona. In our years in Skull Valley, we had many people visit us and on occasion we had as many as 30 people celebrating our ceremonies with us. This particular ceremony took place at a time when Swami Ramananda had gotten quite old. As his age increased, it seemed that fewer and fewer people would come to see him. I believe he was very happy about that because his hearing was very poor, and he could only guess at what they were saying to him.

This particular Gathering of the Spruce ceremony took place in mid-December. I remember it because it was the last Gathering of the Spruce ceremony which Swami Ramananda performed.

It was an interesting year, one of his students from 30 years previously had contacted us, and she and her husband came out to Arizona to participate in the ceremony with us.

The ceremony’s purpose is purification and rededication. The needles of the spruce tree are an ancient Native American herb used for purification. During the ceremony, as Swami Ramananda spoke, I would smolder a number of small branches of spruce emitting a very fragrant smell.

I was intently watching over the smoldering needles, while Swami Ramananda continued to speak to those gathered. One moment I looked towards Ramananda and saw that he was in a glowing golden color, that every hair on his head seemed perfectly placed, that his beard was smoothly combed, and his face looked as if he were 15 years younger.

I watched him for a while, marveling at the beauty of the scene in front of me. And I made a mental note to ask him about this experience at some point after the ceremony.

As things happen, after the ceremony, I became a very busy with those who attended the ceremony, and this wondrous event slipped from my memory.

In those years, Kerani Devi and I would make journeys to California to visit family over the Christmas holidays. The next day after the ceremony we left for California, and I didn't get a chance to question Swami Ramananda about what I observed. We returned to Arizona 10 days later.

The day that we returned, I went into the temple and realized that the back of the altar wall which was decorated with evergreen branches, was filled with very dry evergreen needles. Except for one area, the area that was right behind where Swami Ramananda had sat. The evergreen branches in this area were still fresh and moist, and had a delightful scent.

There is a story about Krishna where he incarnates in just the right form to kill a demon. The story goes on that even though the demon was lying there dead, because his foot was touching the toe of Krishna, his body appeared as though it was still alive.

In a way on that cold December night, those of us attending the old Swami’s last Gathering of the Spruce ceremony were able to experience the Life-Filling Abundant Light of Divine Blessing.

May These Blessings Surround and Enfold You

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Beginning of the Time of Great Change


This is one of the most unique of human experiences … it can arise from any number of sources or events spreading out before us … it can be emotional, it can be Spiritual, it can be physical; or it can be a combination of all of these.

There is an old story that the Teachers would tell about the turtle who lived within his shell. Of course, living within his shell is similar to the way in which we organize our lives – our shells are our personal patterns of daily living. Laughing, I like to imagine the turtle as a cartoon character sitting within the cave of his shell, oblivious of anything happening outside. We could even see him roasting a marshmallow over a warming fire, safe within his shell.

Then a knocking happens, not at the doorway, on the fabric of the shell – it reverberates throughout the structure of the shell. Our turtle has choice: He can be like a Hollywood movie character and assume that anything outside his shell – new or unusual must be evil, and hide in fear or dress for battle.

Or, he might choose curiosity … he might open to the possibility of communication with this knock that seems to reverberate through his world, through his pattern of living.

In one of the legends of the Hopi; when it was foretold that the third world would come to an end, those who opened themselves to communication were able to hear and be guided through their Kopavi – known as the soft spot on their heads. The legend is that the skin of our skull is drawn taut across this area, like the head of a drum; and that if you listen through your Kopavi, you can hear the tapping of Great Spirit on your own drum head. In the legend, those who listened were guided by their perception to a place of safety, while the third world passed into the fourth.

Of course, the message being passed through the Kopavi, can be received in many different ways – the analogy is that we can be open to Infinite Potential manifesting in our lives in any way. In fact, the world around us is supportive, providing many opportunities for us to see beyond our ‘shell.’

On the 19th of June is the celebration of the Beginning of the Time of Great Change. The story of how the physical world manifested in the manner foretold by the ancient Hopi tradition, can be found in Chapter 5 of The Gospel of the Stone, written by Swami Ramananda. We have also spoken of it in a radio program.

Certainly, this is a very dynamic, Awe Inspiring, physical manifestation of Infinite Potential – a knocking on the shell of our pattern of living. Yet the message beyond this majestic happening, is that there is a knocking every day. If we listen and wonder, perhaps we can emerge from our shell and discover Newness – an abundant, creative and supportive world around us. This is a world from which we can draw inspiration, a world that can inspire Joy in our Hearts.

May Blessings Surround You

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Teachings of the Living Bardo

On Thanksgiving, we all count our blessings; we remember all we have gained and all that has been given us in this life. Now comes the season of Christmas – quite a unique time indeed. It is a time when we are asked the classic question, “What do you want?”

This is a great question for this time of year; in older times, December meant that snow was on the ground and the seeds of new life were sleeping, gathering strength to arise with their Spring Awakening. In some areas of the world, the celebrations of Christ’s birth take place in the Spring.

I have asked myself what do I want, or better said, what seeds of action do I wish to plant in the fertile soil of my life – seeds that I want to bring forth in the coming year. Of course, I began with the obvious -- World Peace, Feeding the Hungry –- yet I soon realized that these are more vague motivations rather than what I really want to manifest.

I soon arrived at an affirmation of what I am already creating – the Teachings of the Living Bardo. My affirmation opened to refining, communicating more completely the purpose of these Teachings.

Some teachings have as their focus the issue of what will happen when you die. In fact, there are many schools of practitioners who are in constant preparation for that dying moment and the after-life.

The Teachings of the Living Bardo are about discovering our Divine Human Potential – Our Divine Heritage. If you are reading this, you are Alive – this is the primary focus of the Teachings. We are all Alive! We have a marvelous opportunity to discover the brilliance, the diversity, and the effulgence of Human Manifestation.

In the Living Bardo Teachings, there are very few rules – each of us is free to find our inner light in our own unique manner. The Law of Karma is both a magnificent aid, as well as a reminder – “You reap what you sow!”

Using Karma as an aid, I realize that I can cultivate greater Creativity, greater Joy, and more dynamic Love, in my life. This is what the Teachings are all about. I use my creative manifestation to uncover my unique gems of Human Incarnation. I enhance these gems; first by becoming Aware of them, then by cultivating a Willingness to utilize them in my life, and then to Playfully create in my life with my unique Human Expression.

This is the core of the Teachings of the Living Bardo.

Blessings to you all.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Receiving the Blessing

In Buddhism, the Sanscrit word Abhisheka and the Tibetan word Wang, have a meaning in action – Receiving the Blessing. The story of Shakyamuni Buddha’s birth and subsequent Abhisheka provides us with a dynamic visualization of this happening.

It is said that when Shakyamuni was born, he walked three steps speaking the purpose of his incarnation. In the timeless moment of his separation from his mother, as the child-Buddha stood for the first time, the Blessed Ones assembled over his head. Who were these Blessed Ones? In one story, they were the Gods Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma. In another story, they were the five Primordial Buddhas, each associated with an element of creation – Earth, Air, Fire Water, and Space – each with its own distinctive rainbow color, and each having a unique positive motivation of manifestation – such as Compassion, Free Action, Clear Perception.

These Blessed Ones gathered together over the child-Buddha, each of the five with a vase filled with the colored nectar of their Blessing. Together, each poured their colored nectar into a crystal clear stream, through the top of the child-Buddha’s head, filling him with the substance and motivation of their Blessings.

This is such a wonderful story, I feel so good sharing it with all of you. More, we can take this story and use it in our lives to experience these Blessings. And we can use our morning shower as an aid in this.

As you stand beneath the flowing water, feel it messaging the top of your head, feel the water cascading down your body – become very present in this sensory experience. With your imagination, create the Blessed Ones above you – chose the Blessed Ones that fit with your Spiritual Path, you can choose to use rainbow filled crystal clear nectar without any personages, if that suits you best. Imagine that you are receiving the Blessings of those whom you honor, let their Blessing Nectar enter through the top of your head. It can spin through your body, it can slowly fill you from the bottom up; you chose how it will enter and fill you.

Once you have been filled with the Blessings, it is very good to say Thank You – Perhaps to dedicate this new energy within you to helping others – helping in your own unique way.

Today, you have completed a method of Self-Empowerment.

Blessings to you all