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.