loves inspiration

Retreat redux, a work in progress

sans that which is not me, i live for thee and thine and all that it may be for us. for here is the being supreme and nothing remains of that human desire machine now all is one and that is what i am. now its become a part of me like a hand or foot but closer like a heart or lung but deeper like my very soul born to me. i am here in the heart and there is none but that. incredible as it may sound, its become real in this life, both the knower and the known, the truth and the seeker as one. it began on the friday before the retreat, the long drive in the rented GMC 4x4 while the toyota was being repaired from its horrendous accident. all life had ceased behind me as i wove my way for hundreds of miles through the cop fueled frenzy of the easter vacation week families and friends heading for mammoth and points beyond. i sneaked through the barricades slowly and made it across the border to nevada. safe at last or so i thought, only as i drove sedately through gardnerville a street accident just a block in front of me had bodies on the road as from behind me emergency vehicles and the police raced to recover the victims. i turned around and went south of town and circled back to the road, glad to have put the carnage behind me. i serenely followed the traffic through the south carson city traffic past the hwy 50 to lake tahoe turnoff where i could feel the pull of galilee just 14 miles that way. i was in the slow right lane of traffic enroute to my brothers center in washoe valley when i noticed the car in front of me suddenly hit his brakes and turn to the right hand side of the road, looking into my rear view mirror there was the dark brown form flashing the universal red white and blue lights of certainty from the masters of the streets in uniform and cap. i pulled over quickly and he came to my right side. "Was i doing something crazy? I was driving pretty careful or at least i thought I was. he looked at me with his corn pone face and drawled as best a yankee nevada highway patrolman could. naw your driving okay, but your tags are expired. he grinned that gotcha look and had everything but the toothpick twirling in the side of his mouth. Well i countered , thats weird, cause its a rental! I noticed it after i got the car with no gas, they gave it to me empty and when i was filling up i noticed the march tags." I reached past the bags on my passenger floor and clicked open the drawer and pulled out my rental agreement from enterprise. He studied it thouhtfully, looking for a loophole. Well thats the darndest thing he said, why wouldnt they put the tags on? He looked at me with his coolest i guess you got me but im not done yet look, I could hold you responsible technically, you know, but i wont. Just get this back to california before you get a real ticket, and he went to report his missed chance to the dispatcher back at home base. I saddled up my pony and set the 3.8 liters to humming down the road. Bodies in the streets , hundreds of ticket crazy authorities lusting for me for hundreds of miles, i was relieved to arrive at the center house on chipmunk lane, just in time for evening meditation. I fell into the inky nothing, all the road rubber dropping from my weary aura.

after an endless middles moment the sweet piercing of the gong awakened us. the retreat, for me , had begun. after a long and amazingly good sleep I awoke to my sense of time that too much though hardly any light shone through the window next the bed I rested on. I grabbed my phone and it was 6:02. two minues late to morning satsanga. I dashed to the restroom and quickly entered the room next to mine, the generous addition to the cramped a frame structure, luxurious in living levels and carpet. I sat quietly with my brother and his wife, and again the hour seemed like minutes as energy flowed and took me on a serene ride through the cosmos. at 7am the ipod gong sounded Siddhartha remained in deep meditation and we followers silently removed ourselves to bein our day. still the earliest Nevada predawn light, I scurried into the kitchen and prepared my witches brew of powders and pills, coffees and raisin toast w/o pb since apparently enlightened beings don’t keep that handy in their kitchen for guests. item one for the hopping list. the morning was awash in the setting full moon and the silvery pre light over the eastern mountains. to the west the stunning eastern sierras loomed snow shrouded and proclaiming their prestigious mantle. the air was crisp and clear on this tiny a frame set neatly against the 100s of miles of BLM land and trails through the brown scrub in every direction. just below the mountains the washoe lake sits filled to almost overflowing, and the melt has not yet begun, as the chill in the air affirms. I am joyous, expansive. all the days travails and travels left behind with the rising of the sun. within three hours the morning has turned warm and inviting. I don my usual cold afternoon in san diego walking outfit and head off into the eastern hills. The trails are well defined, used for mostly hunters and off roaders that seek out in these still untamed outposts of the world. along the way the detritus of the vehicles that have been brought here to die are peppered with bullet holes and rust. I climb as fast as my feet and still aching back can take me. my recent sojourn to san Francisco after the anti climactic truck sandwich I was the filling for, had left me with compression pain in my back and neck. I staunchly soldiered on up the hills without slacking my pace wich was noting near swift. I kept turning through the many tril junctures always choosing the steepest ones until finally, breathing the chill air of this 7000 t elevation I reached the highest ridge and took pictures with my trusty blackberry, delighting in the multiple crisscross patterns of at least 30 airline contrails cross hatching the sky like some mad giant tic tac toe game stretching across the expanded vista of the lower lake and the looming sierras. all life is wonderful and I the center of this universe I call me exaults in my prodigious creativity and wonder. the climb down is swifter though scrabbly rocks and shale makes it tricky and more than once I slip and twist to the detriment of my back.

returning to the center, 2 hours after I had left, I settle in to a quiet session with the mothers book, the sunlit path, and relaxed in the quiet endorphins soothing my twitchy muscles. the other new camp follower, emerges from her meeting with the master, her eyes spinning, she sits and we talk for an our about her adventures in life and tantric practices she has delved in. she is animated and goes through many personalities each expressed through her face, the child, the mature woman, the seeker, and the gorky crazy ivan that sneeks in every couple of minutes as if to say all things end up getting totally messed up at some point so just stay crazy. she seems to resonate on that face and all the others revolve from that point outward. her core is unsettled and seeking almost desperately for a mystical union that would give her the power she so richly deserves. after another 30 minutes gratefully Siddhartha enters the room and we begin discussing some irrelevant points about the upcoming retreat and preparation there of.

the day is turning through the afternoon remaining light and sunny though occasionally the wind has a chilly chatter to its edges. the story proceeds to the sunday morning palm sunday, a hallowed catholic event as jesus is ridden on an ass into Jerusalem, praised and worshipped by the jewish population, though the sneaky high priests are already in collusion with the indifferent roman rulers of this lowly outpost and exile. judas has larceny in his heart and the apostles are unprepared for the dread of the next weeks ending. likewise my stomach is in turmoil as I go about last minute shopping and preparation as my india traveling partner and her husband arrive, she so loving holds me in her arms long enough to exchange viruses and dna. Her eyes seem to reach out wide as saucers and peer directly into me, I welcome that look so filled with love. we catch up in a minute and then begin discussing the days since her return from the land of the incredible forces of the universe. she has been ill for weeks and her husband is tall and angular, the look of the post neo gen x bald and rectangular with matching glasses, looking down over his soul patched chin, yet somehow looking like a bewildered traveler just coming into a foreign hotel lobby. the universe is lining up the weeks festivities. I feel the grubbiness of my hunkered down attitude and trench warfare mentality when it comes to these long retreats, as my veteran instincts tell me this one is going to be a doozy. This is my 3rd weeklong retreat at Galilee with my brother Siddhartha the satguru, the bringer of the SAT, that mysterious force of the SATchitananda that is the unmanifest reality of all things, all life all awareness all consciousness. we sit in silence and stillness and the force descends into our beings, our human systems and creates pressure on the latent inner nature we are harboring in our bodies, forcing them to the surface exposing the resistant and self destructive truths of the spiritual path. This time the group is small, half the size of the previous retreats, only 8 including the guru. all veterans of at least a weekend retreat at one of the 3 centers Siddhartha supports with his divine presence. the core 5 of us have been to the previous galilee debacles and this one comes with much baggage and expectations we all know going in are probably as far off base as all our feelings before the previous ones. this one feels like the hundred years storm brewing, the pressure of the distant thunderheads already dwarfing my hopes and fueling egoic concerns. we arrive in the afternoon tempest of harsh winds and waves on the shore of Lake Tahoe feeling like a storm driven ocean of portent and withheld fury. My San Francisco meditation mate arrives diminutive but so powerful her clairvoyance supreme her wielding of titanic force precise and daily exercised in her earthy duties at the hospital and clinic. we greet each other cautiously, both feeling the tension in th atmosphere. the evening vegetarian dinner is prepared by the same cooks from all our gatherings, and is superb and worthy of any five star restaurant, and beyond even that in the choices for gluten and lactose free diners as well for just the 8 of us. after eating we gather in the lodge, cozy around the painted flames of the false fireplace and delight in the gas heated warmth. Siddhartha goes over the ground rules like a referee before a grudge match, warning and punctuating the requirements and expectations that will all lead to the realization that the SAT is manifest within us. I have heard this a million times it seems but this time the pressure is more tangible, the warnings more dire as if the blood had already begun to flow. the centurions marshaled psychically and the gladiators waited for the beasts or Christian s to be loosed for their sport, knowing full well all will die before the tournaments end. the sky dark and in turmoil spread over us at the sessions end and we few dispersed to our bunks and cabins, the end of all talk and sanity begun.

the cement blockhouse, not unlike those of the many prisons dotting the Nevada landscape before the days of privatization and outsourcing to megaprisons that sit in the furthest reaches of the old nuclear testing grounds. the blank stare of the 4 industrial fluorescent fixtures screwd into the flat white ceiling, punctuated only by smoke alarms and heating ducts. the 8 sturdy wooden bunkbeds surround the open space in the middle of the room, that being the greatest asset of this bunker, the extra 12 square feet of room that allows me to walk a small circle without hitting my shoulders as I turn. the bathroom with its own vibrating light has two stalls and a sink, with a concrete closet with a shower pipe and low flow head. a weak mist is emitted when attempting to wash. the sink still trickles its wan imitation of anything resembling a real faucet. I set out my bathroom supplies with a box of bandaids I will need to replace the ones covering my numerous biopsies just taken the day before I left for Nevada. I pull out my bedding I brought with me and stretched it across the institutional mattresses, single wide sized for teen aged girls, hard as broken springs. I look forward to many sleepless nights ahead. I light the five day candle in a stoppered jar, hoping to stretch its life through the 7 days ahead, its creamy vanilla swirl label dreamily hiding the flickering demons and imps that would leap from its wavering light in the nights to come. I set the borrowed alarm clock I signed for as I gave the warden my cell phone at the registration desk earlier. its worming red numerals taunting me in the depths of my wakefulness yet to be. the night slipped into slow motion as the bedsprings found new areas of my wrenched back to torment. I dreamt wearily and never resting as duties and faces desperate fled before me. I woke several times, each an hour or so apart, each a disjointed valley of images or thoughts unconscious or conscious already the distinction was blurring. the first ring of the bell, a duty mine but I always delegate to the newest and least eager retreater, at 5:30 was expected as the heater diligently, and loudly, attempted to ward off the 20 degrees of weather awaiting me outside. one dresses warmly for the chapel, its own bricks and mortar lofty and drafty in the chill air of darkness as the 6am resolve begins. the chuch window looks out over the darkness and the deep of the lake and the white covered mountains faded in the dull light beyond before the dawn. all is quiet except the rush of the heater fans vainly trying to warm the thousands of square feet of chilled air trapped in st johns wilderness church. the stillness grows and energy begins to descend and flow and all light and praise the one that all endure through. soon we breath as one body and one mind sits in SAT and the glorious freedom of the natural self is released in the worshipful nest of the holy sepulcher of this tiny abode of the living gods. without effort the two hours pass and the heart is light and singing all praises of the guru and the divine self as the triple gong of awakening sounds the completion of the recluse of the dawn. we disperse to our many thoughts and places as the breakfast bell rings sharply. I change into my outside attire and strap on my boots and jacket and sweater and march quickly, the air sharp and crisp in my nose, the food already tasted and hunger stirring. eggs vegetaria with home crisped potatoes and oatmeal and toast and peanut butter and jam and sliced fruits and orange juice s arrayed across the three tables with the kitchen clean and wonderful through the doorway, the cook reading over menu selections for the noon day coming. we sit apart, separate, a slight tension in the air between some some looks and smiles exchanged, the indifferent stoicism not yet settled, though I feel wonderful, I try to hide it. best to not create excitement or judgments.

the morning saunters into the second hour of the 3 hours set aside for contemplation. I retire swiftly to my bunk and charge up my nook where I have copied the highly prized advanced gita course from the guru’s guru, transcribed from the 76 live revelations he presented 9 years ago, ones I attended before I even knew what the gita meant.

now to read his words, words I had listened to through the haze of the overwhelming force of the enlightened and embodied being, yet felt more than understood. but here now his words written clear and in perfect English, I see his gestures and hear his voice and cadences as I read, and a mist of expanding awareness fills my head as I pour through the divne gita revealed.

the real excitement of the morning is my first shower, climbing into the heated mist of the silver nozzle naked wrinkled skin tightening into goosebumps as parts warm and create contrasting colder areas, turning round and round to even the temperatures of the vascillating horizons of flesh awaiting the promise of heated liquid. I soon finish the lather stubborn to rinse in the meager output but vigorous brushing sends the suds from flesh to floor and chilly bathroom concrete awaits for my first shave in few days.

soon the 3 hours are past and the 11 oclock bells rung and we stragglers assemble again, resigned, expectant, agitated, in love, all merry pranksters of our hearts.

all reign supreme and wonderful, the god energy flows the kundalini arises, the world disappears and is reborn in aurora the ether of the vision remolded into that which all becomes and comes from. what is is and all else is never.

the thinking is that as the SAT expands in the system, the pressure triggers responses in the spiritual and psychic centers as the truth pushes out unreality, that truth always drives out the false, but we cling to the false, the smallness, the desire based thinking, opposing that which is, the path of the supreme from which everything flows.

the steps are glistening with the dew of realization and the anointment of the delivered. all are in the bosom of the mother and none are left behind. as the hosannas echo through the ancient stones the glimmering gong-like timer announces the end of session 2. all glory to the highest and most exalted.

more food such divine munching, the air is cold and windy, even the bunkhouse is more inviting than the wind. the close quarters intensify the expansion from the masters words describing Arjuna’s lesson in the field of action. Krishna’s chariot the form of deliverance and I the lowly stable hand listening to such might discourses. I am in good spirits, a sure sign something is not right, the path is not littered with smiling faces during the process of discrimination and knowledge. I sail into the last sitting of the day, assured I am in the best of all positions for the fruits of my actions.

and wondrous indeed the naming of gods unending faces extending through every form and impulse, here the lilies of the field neither toil nor weep, here the sun is forever in the sky and brook nearby and though my loaf of bread and jam, I sleep no more this endless life but dream until I wake anon and anon and anon until with bell like laudanum the gong vibrates consciousness and the lame walk and the sick rise from their burial pallets. the glory that was rome is still found in galilee. and while not quite twelve the 7 apostles shuffle with alacrity to the dinner bell as there is only an hour until the interaction with the guru and words will be spoken.

the SAT is here, in the room, being described in detail by the 7 blind men feeling the elephant, each word carefully pressed to the white board, peace, higher self, beyond knowing, potentiality, its mysterious presence, all misses of the mark. we know our eyes see not and our feet of clay crack upon the leaden floor of understanding. patiently the guru records each miss and near miss

the world explodes without meaning and the truth is playing with its prey. we seek each moment to alight upon it but it is everywhere and no where.

silent and stillness, the very tenets of the day are never mentioned, yet that is its lair. we seek through inaction and renunciation.

the words are there clearly

I am.

feel the emergence

think AM

feel the being within

all torture is in these sentences or better fragments, even syllables

we are only putty in the hands of the forces we seek to obtain

thoughts, time all end. the space is unidentified, where and when done

the other is missing or rather never was

I am

in that it is done

self existent no origin no end

you are that you have always been that

not that ends

and all else dissolves

non dual singular consciousness

all pervading and nowhere

from this all things are manifest

pure unadulterated

true knowledge

all the qualities descend from that single piercing of the veil

only as we experience that which it is not can it be described by such words

the night is simmering with purpose, truth, meaning, experience

the clan is quiet as the guru proceeds through that which we want to be.


the path from not it to it

from non being to becoming

confusion to clarity

body to being

that which is identified that which is free

what simple words, the experience though is still lacking

the meaning of the words less than that which is contained therein

all truth is separated from us by time

faith with time will bring truth

the evening is close, the moon unbelievably full, the water nearby shimmering and wave swept with the unceasing foment of the souls in retreat, we pulse with that which we are

wanting to be what he is, tantalizing in the frizzing wording the ridiculous words of human desire attempting to be the truth

in his words you feel that force, that unknowable unspeakable reality behind the human maya.

my words are empty but spoken regardless, many would laugh to hear me but are polite and do not.

we seek and do not find that which is right here always

the evening ends with the rigorous 10 minutes of silent sitting the emptiness seeming less full, more foreboding of that which we cannot understand. we sit alone in the theater and begin to see the lights dimming even more. the screen further away and exits unlit in the darkness.

the passage through the spitting snow and wind to the bleak bunkhouse fronted with the flowery sinage, Aurora, the bunkhouse for teenage girls. I shudder at the teenage angst I am about to step into, the depth of hormonal pain that has sweated into these bunkbeds and toilets. I sit in my energy meditation and forcefully ground the entire building and everything in it, I surround each surface with golden cleaning utilities and scrape the layers of pain and grief from everything. I fill the room with divine golden energy and fill myself with the Christ force and supreme being, finishing with my own perfect energy that will nurture this divine transformation.

I sit with my nook and begin reading the 10th lesson of the Advanced Gita Course by Sri Atmananda and am under tremendous pressure within, expanding and collapsing around the force within his words so clearly written on the screen before me.

I felt the pain of my recent accident and the pressure of the intense spiritual purpose I was immersing myself into. the room alternately hot then cooling then hot, with dry 8000 ft altitude air heated and forced through ancient ducts. the red light of the led alarm clock burning through the dark as I lay down early, sure that sleep would never come. it did in fitful waves, through the night, the renounced pain pills etching a message in my body, I refuse to take anything,the bedsprings push and twist, the covers short and long, the body sweating and then chilled under multiple blankets and sweat shirt and socks. the hours creep then jump ahead as the consciousness interacts with the emptiness, in and out, unrested and unconscious mixed and playing movies with many faces and doing chores for the unworthy and unappreciative.

at 4am I struggled, knowing this was my usual time to arise, but this was not work and I didn’t want to fill up on coffee and vitamins and vegetable drink with protein before the morning session. I lay in the bed tossing the last few segments of awareness into jarring 10 minute segments of drifting fantasies. finally the 5:15 convinced me to get up, the air not chill but with a concreted edge to it that allows no enjoyment. I dressed in my morning meditation clothes, the grey thermal top, the black thermal bottoms over the underclothes, the black sweat pants and the green fleece jacket and hood, 30 years old and veterans of all my retreats in galilee. I go outside to see the collapsing moon over the lake setting, and watch the appointed bell ringer walk to the church nave and fitfully turn on the complicated light dimmers and set the thermostats before finally pulling the bell rope well, sharply rapping out 5 strong peals. the morning is come apart in the darkness and the wind is pulling the clouds from the distant western mountains. I cry to my soul, why hast thou brought me to this barren landof ungodly beauty and left no trail for me to follow. I cast about in my roomful of bedposts and watch my 5 day candle certain that it has burned more than its allotted share while I had no rest. the ten minute bell echoes with 3 more tentative rings than before as if to say, come if you dare, last chance to turn back. I trudge in the 20 degree air and spitting rain and sleet to the big oaken door of st johns church of the wilderness and enter the cloistered pew lined church, the walls ringed with leaden glass and the grotesque torture of the stations of the cross, Christ falls for the third time his crown of thorns pressed into his skull by the weight of the timber he must drag to his execution. I feel the eerie certainty that we are proceeding to the hill where the thieves and idolaters await their fate. behind the ceremonial raised dias of the sacramental altar the walls are lined with ornate carved chairs for the deacons and acolytes and even these hardy sanyassi’s eschew them for they feel like creaking instruments of torture. the faces are familiar but buried behind layers of hats and scarfs, no novices here, all are prepared for the frozen air of the cinder block chapel. I sit on my cushion and lean on the backjack prepared for the coming 2 hour ordeal for my sleep deprived body. the guru swiftly arrives and sits, checking the required candle is lit and all are present, he sits with his iphone a few moments until it is time and the glimmering gong sets us to our undoing.

gone are the delicious energies of yesterday, here the world is a blank granite face unmoving and undecipherable, its weight a testament to the futility of time. each second in its presence becomes a finality, an experience of every second folded into one. where has my respite and melody flown, this is hard slogging in the mucky jungle of truth. the world shrinks to the hard ball of the self and protects its soft parts, the minutes stretch like claws across the baby soft layers of consciousness. I wait through the agony wanting release, the darkness, the sublime resurgence of energy and floating awareness, but the pain in my lower back, the stiffness and soreness all settle in. the eons move like glaciers in the arctic night. the instant the glimmer gong sounds my eyes are open, welcoming the light the sight of objects and colors, for I have been in the well of sensory deprivation, the withdrawal from the objects of pleasure and I thirst.

as we scratch and stretch the breakfast bell chimes from the mess hall and we all eagerly rise to get ready to begin another day. the scrambled egg veggie mix with fried red potatoes and onions, oatmeal with raisins and cranberries and brown sugar and toast with thick butter or peanut butter and jam and fresh fruit, coffee, decaf or caffie, orange juice and assorted lactose and gluten free choices settle perfectly into my empty stomach.

I know I should be light in my eating, but the terror of the last two hours sets me to my food with a passion, anything to fill the emptiness. I feel as if I was floating interminably on open water in a tiny raft, lost without direction or hope in the sea of the SAT. the air is cold in the clouded sky and the feeling is wind coming from the west, a boiling fury pushing from the shrouded sierras. I whisper a prayer of contrition for my own internal fury and despair, the shelf of disappointment lingering like snow resting on the roof in the midday sun. I disappear into my bunkhouse, a quiet darkness enveloping me as I sit to read the advanced course and study the masters force in his written words. my tiny skull begins to buzz and soon I can only lay down in my lower bed and stare disjointedly at the whorls and markings of the plywood slats beneath the mattress above me. I want to go unconscious, to release this unbearable awareness that says nothing and gives only ceaseless surety of more misery and unfocused concentration.

the day walks quickly to the next appointed sitting, I have not left my room, the air is filling with winds strong in the tree branches, loud as an angry sea. the vespers call of the church bell peals through the churning and I shuffle to my appointed seat for another meeting with the mountain. My thoughts go back to Aranachula in India, the sacred mountain where my brother even now is walking ceaselessly, ringing the inner trail and sitting in the darkness, chattering monkeys and vipers scattered in the night. in the meditation, I sit crosslegged, my back against a pillow which is my only saving grace, as the cloth and metal framed backjack is remorseless without it. as my breathing settles I notice the right nostril is the one open, that usually means awareness is here, the left nostril signifying consciousness and motion. as my meditation deepens, I have an uncontrollable urge to cough. this has always affected me in strong meditation, especially with the dry heated air blowing down from the vents. the 5th chakra reacts as it is the passage from the ether based chakras to the physical and when the energy descends there is irritation at the constriction. I cough harshly into my sweatered arm to deaden the sound, but I know it’s a disturbance for the other sailing souls. at times I begin to almost drift into a lovely dream and then the cough comes and I am back in awareness without respite. I feel somehow vaguely cheated, as though I should have my dreamlike drifting instead of this relentless massive changeless existing. I feel the pressure of the SAT, the uncomfortable pushing on all my lower extremities, my hips, back legs knees, all aching and without end.

I am sitting in my pain in my expanding eternity where time has slowed to a snail’s pace and all my preferences are erupting, I speak to myself like I am there and ask the eternal questions, where is the joy, the love, the energies? I feel like a babe lost in outer space adrift and alone. there are no realizations, no visions no epiphanies just unending static awareness. the world sits beneath me able to do nothing yet be in constant turmoil from the deepest inside boiling rock of the core to the ever changing universe of the surface life, where I now sit in a tiny shelter on the shore of the lake under the mountains beneath the sky where the eternal sun shifts.

sound like a train chugging up a steep incline intrudes on my inner dialogue, I hear huffing and chuffing, movement and moaning. I must look, and so momentarily I see the wild child of the group astride her meditation kneeling bench, the yogini and tantric mistress, gyrating and looking ecstatic in her face, and I quickly recognize she is having the experiences that I so deeply desire, disturbing to the extreme that she should be so enjoying this miserable moment of mine. I laugh at my predicament and close my eyes again. I can feel the attention of the room cast upon her brazen disregard for the retreat guidelines, stillness and silence, but also the jealousy and judgments coming from the group, I settle back from this brief but welcome break from my own suffering and soon her moaning and keening and flexing and wheeling slow and eventually subside as the energy equilibrates as it does. ahh the memories… its always the newbies get the goodies. I plunge into despair once more, no other course left open for me.

space is empty and my thoughts infinitesimal in the darkness lit by the wide granite helplessness before me. more nothing and more hopeless knowing crush me. this is going nowhere slowly.

I sit under the pyramids, slowly covered in the sands of eons, they wear away the edges exposing the limestone of my being, the light flows beneath me and behind me, I am in the shadow of myself, the illusion of my existence laughs at my sorry attempt to escape. it is that which haunts these hours, pointlessness, the fruitless doing, charade of spirituality, circus of confusion whirling in the drain of attemption, the leaping under the bar, the heart circulating in an empty shell.

who chooses, who decides what this is, who gets it and who does the endless karma, the caste of the untouchables passed through endless rebirths, the carrying of the burning offal to the pits of doom wearing the trenches into the bedrock of living pain. what is my purpose if nothing changes, nothing evolves, nothing matters. the gonging note brings me into the moment, still devoid of anything like hope, weary from hauling the faith of the dead to the tombs of the living. in the distant well of existence, the lunch bell rings happily. I am filled with purpose and rush to my cement hovel to change, tired of these loose fitting meditation garments, reminders of my inability to attain, to doubt every aspiration as the kool aid vendor of the soul.

the food is greek, falafel and cucumber salad, the garbanzo bean mix hard and crusty and dry, the salad soothing but not able to banish the warts growing on my inner eye. somewhere the organs are failing silently, and the body will cease to be. even the light is fitful in the carefree cafeteria with its institutional yellow walls where I have had such unbelievable openings, all such distant memories, but yet somewhere inside of my field of being. the strangulation of time sits with my unfinished lunch, I consider walking to get my bowels moving, to feel something even physical discomfort, which has been my constant companion. the walk up the road is too daunting so I look to the lake and quickly take the path of least resistance. the waters seethes with waves and the wind flicks tiny droplets of icy wetness at my uncovered parts. I struggle to see the harmony the connection to the wilding world and my inner unmoving awareness, I am truly a man adrift cast into the deep with an iron lung and metal heart. the pumps relay the uneneding sucession of life to the body but no spark remains within.

the words of the master all run together and mean nothing but still my head feels fit to burst after only a few minutes reading. I feel trapped, my truck unmoving sits just a few yards away. the purposelessness grinds and the thoughts of escape come unbidden but not unwelcome as the hours change nothing and the psyche begins to crack with the unrelenting sameness of the drear light and my inner progress.

the final church bell peals for the late afternoon session, vespers we used to call them in the salesian high school, the gathering of the robed priests and uniformed lay people in the church to pray for the redemption that the ragged streets of Richmond and the east bay never promised to accept. I felt the wind in my face as I crossed the rocky pine tree strewn path and entered the quiet splendor of the Episcopalian idea of heaven, crossed the sacred barrier to the altar throne and threw my slovenly body across my cushions. resolved and resigned to the death of the self.

I remember little as the same scene is all I experience, the nothingness of the moment the lack of change, the eternal barrier of that which cannot be experienced but is enclosed in a blank wall of unattractive dullness. I feel the helplessness of my situation, being trapped in a lengthy pursuit of the unattainable, the lost treasure that is only boxes of sand buried in the desert. I sift and sift and nothing changes, just the dirty yellow brown of the burning sand pouring through my fingers. I feel numbed but not untouched, not unfeeling, still the very epitome of aspiration, still hopeful where there is no room for hope. I am the lost seeker, circling the mountains, sure the rightness of my aspiration will lead me into the valley beyond, though where and when is beyond me. I feel the group descending as there is more huffing and chugging from the yogini and she sounds ready to take the train to the mountaintop alone, her gyrations winding her body like a multi jointed stick man each moving like a collection of parts. she is reaching to some energy, trying to pull it down to bring on the energetic ecstasy, the release from the barren stillness of the silence. I hear the guru rise and go to her as the group mind fills with repulsion, she quiets but the burn of the directive sears in the collective. I return to my expulsion from heaven and await my fate. the hours unending the river stopped and stagnant. I seek the current and catch upon the sunken snags.

the dusk is beginning the light graying behind the thickening moisture of the clouds, the rain/snow spitting occasionally, the gong releases me from my inner dungeon, I trek to change for dinner, some unlovely concoction that has taste and texture but I cannot fathom its reality. I return to my concrete cave and await the evening under a shrouded full moon, filled with that which is filling me, the lack of that which I am.

and to the interaction we assemble, the eternal story of that same subject, I AM ----fill in the blank---

SAT = origin of all knowing and experiencing, resulting from the interaction with the TAT

we are the object awareness of the satchitananda that which experiences the SAT

pleasure disappointment frustration

experience the silence and stillness

experience the self and the SAT

become that in the body

the habit of matter, the repetition of physical component interacting becomes matter

the questions never cease, my own voice a stranger to me, I step across myself unnoticing what is there.

the lights are cast in wreaths of snowing flakes the air icy and quick, I ponder my absent feeling, who am I or even am i. the lumpy mattress is my only compensation, candle guttering in the cozy darkness, the red numerals of the clock reminding me that its barely bedtime and there is nothing to prepare for tomorrow. I stare into the least of the light and sink into a coma of thought. there is no sleep but the engine of awareness shifted.

I blink against the weariness, the clock barely moved the night final its ownership complete, I sense my self damaged, broken, the truck still yards away the path to escape. I truly have nothing and feel only pain throughout my body and mind. I know this is the whole point, the deadness being pushed out from every nook and cranny of the spirit, but the decaying remnants pierce the flesh with infected needles. I curse my past my hopeless future, that which has brought me to nothing and will never end. I want to weep but am loathe to pity the emptiness. horrific truth sings its jagged lullaby and I sleep like the dead for 2 hours, awakening unrefreshed, the air in the room making the throat dry and coughing ceaselessly until the 5am moment arrives.

there is light of a sort, the predawn filtered through the minds grumbling, I am loosing all sense of accomplishment, the truth is my barren potential, to be done with hope, done with possibilities, the only reason to go on is dull repetition. the group in smatterings of tattered cloths and hats and lounging pants all seated in a circle before the towering panels of the windows of the nave, giant pines standing before the immensity of the lake and mountains. we take a final glance and settle into our separate realities. the grand opening a crack in the earth tunneling to the black cave of the mind.

I recall only the lightness of my being, as if I had somehow been scraped of all my flesh and bone and the lightness was escaping, the small tendrils of my self trailing behind the arising aspirant. tremendous appreciation sweeps through me as I realize the change and I struggle momentarily with the thought. and the coughing clutches my throat and I am in the church, the green polar tec arm pressed to my mouth, and the singularity of the next two hours destroys my mind.the blank wall the empty vision, the silence broken by self talking to fill the endlessness, even the boredom is gone. I contemplate the truth of my situation, my expectations that have created the source of all my numbness and irritation. there is no place to sit but here, no place to go only this moment, this place exists, all else is illusory. the cushions push my legs and the floor resists, I spin uncontrollably through my broken awareness and fall in jagged remnants of myself.

there are not enough words to describe the last hour of this mornings sitting, the compression of my lower back and legs, the heated air drying my throat, the struggle to stay in the awareness that is unrelenting and unavoidable. consciousness drains from me and my legs sit and arms rest akimbo and unmoving. inside I vibrate like a bent fork, pulsing with uneven insights and tilted planes of reality. I imagine the Chinese devising such experiments for their inquisitions, darkness cold heat light silence, enforced unbending stillness, somewhere the mind snaps, we must free ourselves and fly through the unopened window alight upon the rocky prison yard and screaming break for the wall. the guns explode as does my heart with the madness and swirling freedom I cannot have, the week from hell or at least some damnable purgatory, infested with demons masquerading as angels.

breakfast is being served and my own system is purging the garbanzos from the falafel still stuck in me. the gas and diarrhea combining with cramping making even these moments unbearable. I remember that I have had to give up beans recently, for just this reason, strange since I have eaten beans for all these years with little side effects until just a month ago when I realized that the sickness I had been feeling in the mornings was due to the protein packed entities that were invading my digestive system. by cutting out the beans I was able to stop the sickness. now I was in that same suffering having eaten the forbidden fruit. I dallied with some oatmeal and toast, foregoing the frittata and hot sauce with potatoes and onions, recalling my days living in the cabin at Yosemite at 10,000 ft where potatoes and onions and rice were the only diet and day after wonderful day the snow fell and buried the cabin we lived in. I remained in my blockhouse shelter and read the advanced course, reeling in the energies of the master and his collapsing chains of manifesting energies trapped in the printed words I absorbed like packets of his shakti. in between my frequent visits to the institutional toilets I collapsed on the bed or sat in the single folding chair, I had spent time doing my energy work, cleansing the bunkhouse and every object in it, filling everything with golden energies, surrounding the perimeter with roses and connecting to the cosmic to open my chakras. internally I could feel a movement, the base of my spine beginning to heat up a pressure different from the pain was building. I think its is only wednesday but that is a victory in itself, I am still here and it is a hump day, a middle of the duration yet to come. I have no visions of pardons from my self inflicting miasma and jungle like slogging through the sittings, all is empty but for the time spent which fills every second with eternities.

I know it seems ludicrous to call things eternities but some are, beyond bearing in ordinary consciousness and in heightened awareness it becomes that exact thing. the lower vital can only exist moment by moment, extracting its needs and wants with unreserved ardor, careless of the higher purpose. in that seeming need comes impatience and fear, the realization of unfulfilled want every instant thrusting the body into panic. there is no clock marking the minutes but inside of me there is the abyss of eternity awaiting the end of time. the pain in my lower back grows stronger, like a dull pressure squeezing the vertebrae at the bottom of the spine, inside the feeling of colonic infection, the bulging and cramping. I know this is the energy trapped, the first chakra blocking its passage, I am unable to relieve the pressure. in my mind I feel the trance state coming like a fog and a deep black cloud the echoes of my self returning. I feel tremendous greif, I see my mothers deathbed, the vomitus green bile, her looking at the erupting flow and saying , this is bad. I cry for her suffering for my suffering as a child, the launched phone the chase through the living rooms, outside in the tree with my brothers, my father walking home from his schoolteacher job pulling the red wagon for my birthday, the kites in Nichol park the breezy fall afternoons, bikes down McDonald avenue and racing like the wind free as a bird, and I cry unbearable tears unending pain, no solace for this street of dreams that feel like the end of existence. everything is gone, there is nothing left, this is the end of that life. and the faces flow like my tears hot and quick, my face burning with the salt and deathbed grief. the movie never ends but I am exhausted, the tears strangled from my broken heart, the life force damaged beyond repair. I am crushed by the boy that lived 50 years ago, had a great life and then died along with his sister, his daughter, his friend, his only love destroyed too young to see it coming, too late to run.

I remember the gong and quickly wiped my face reddened and weary beyond the hour.

in the cold afternoon I eat but see nothing, the food a pittance against the forlorn nature of my self. I am wrung out, silent beyond words. I sit in the blockhouse, emitting feeble waves of awareness and pain.The energy is so stuck, so hard in me, I must walk, I go out in the wind and cold, I march up to the road feeling every muscle stretch for the first time in days, the energy wreaking havoc in the body. I walk around and round the compound until I feel some energization , then return to my concrete pressure cooker. I decide I must again run my energy, clean my chakras and try to move this energy stuck in my lower back. I sit and bring down cosmic and pull up the earth energy, they mix in the first chakra, the cosmic suddenly vibrating and pulsing in the lowest chakra. I run the energy through each and clean and position their natural splendor, I examine every part of my system, cleaning and dispelling the energies, I sit and begin the process to bring down the highest energies. I decide I will take my brothers suggestion and bring down the power of I AM. I feel its unmistakable force and a sudden expansion throughout my body, a vibrating connectedness to everything in the universe. I am expanding intensity and feeling. all the universe is connecting to me, my entire body is humming. suddenly I feel a surge of heat from the lower chakra and a rush of thick boiling power forces its way through my vertebrae and energy channels. I feel it hit the crooked bone and push on a sharp crack emitting in the quiet. inside is pandemonium, each chakra alighting with force and fury as the energy is released, up to my neck where there is a sharp crack again and then a sudden flow of saliva and then my head begins to pulse with the force the inside of my cranium becoming a holding tank for the heat and electricity flowing then like a roman candle the energy spews from the 7th chakra. I am in a rainfall of heat and white lightning, the whole room exploding with unseen flame. I sit in wonderment and hot breathing my whole body panting with the effort of this birth anew of my kundalini. I sit for an hour grounding and pulsing with the flow, not overtaken as I had been six months ago when this first occurred. I am in heaven with the validation of my long pain and suffering. I am floating on the highest breezes of infinity, the realization of my physical and energetic union. slowly the room comes back into focus the energy quiets and slows, the pace becomes less, the race over the cool down ensuing.

I look at the clock and realize I have been out for almost 2 hours, the bell for evening requiem is soon to ring.

I sit in the cushions small and meager by the standards of my cell mates, each with many pillows and blankets and bottles and scarves, hats and coats and gloves and many adjustments and folds and wrappings, only the guru has less than I sitting upon the bare backjack a simple shawl pulled around his shoulders. outside the sun is out a sudden respite from the cold, I see the bright light crossing the floor from the windows, some afternoon heat is finally to come.

from the gong I know this mediation is to be different, the light is pure and complete, the temple of energy before me great and all encompassing, I rise on a pillar of force to the highest triangle of the sun atop the mystical pyramid of the light, I seat myself in the apex of pure awareness and drench my being in the purity of the moment, there is only the truth and from every corner of my existence it is filled with this knowing and absolute being. everything stops the sound, the feeling, the thoughts the light is everything and all is the light, unchanging , ever present, beyond knowing, I am that a diamond encased in amber held in lava, frozen in space beyond the reach of time or change. eternal being expanded throughout all existence, both unliving and undead, the one unmutable force. in this existence I neither breathe nor function, the weight of my limbs first like leaden weights then disappear into gaseous dimension, I float yet I have no movement, the fabric of life is rent and the light of truth fills the space where once I was.

this is the Brahmin, the atman, static, unchanging the unmanifest supreme purusha, untainted by creation or control, existence has no meaning. I neither sit nor stand, move nor stop, all is empty and full at once.

this life is grand beyond thinking, I am the realm of the unknowable, the first before there was one. the firmness and texture is unrelenting, nothing moves the air thickens the very cells of my body cease to exist.

in hardened castings I crumble as the gong rings three times for the end of vespers and then in the distance the dinner bell rings six sharp times. I sit a few unrealized moments in the dimming light, feeling the movement pour back into my being, the life into my soul, the drifting of the atman ceases to solidify and there is movement and matter to deal with. disconnected from the body mind we become that and connected we return, always the sat chit ananda existing, acting feeling.

the evening meal is light and the opportunity to relieve the pressure at the night inter

action is mesmerizing, to speak the brilliant light instead of the emptiness, it pulls me forth. I sit on the couch, finally comfortable after the previous nights reaction to the falafel.

of course the topic is silence, the useless to the world practice of silent sitting, our conjoined intention. that which brings us into alignment with the SAT. we are checking our receptivity to the transmission of the awareness. Siddhartha had let the two meditators spend the night in the church rather than listen and join in the interaction, of course they become the topic of conversation. I know the feelings people are having but nothing makes any difference to me. I am unaffected both by the disturbance and by the disturbed.

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