Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Teaching on the Yoga of Disappointment

As we begin our retreat this evening, I wish to share with you a passage from Bapuji on surrender. According to this teaching, one must be in a neutral, objective state—neither grieved by failures nor excited by successes—to receive supreme knowledge. Only when one gives up and lets go completely, does the mind become unfettered and free. To arrive here, we must become totally hopeless as we begin to see that all of our efforts to win our battles with life are futile. A very, very important place in Bapuji’s teaching is contained in this passage:

This state of surrender does not burst forth suddenly, but only awakens gradually as we witness the futility of this battle.   The devotee reaches into a hapless and bewildered frame of mind, then he loses his sense of direction and purpose.  Out of such churning of his heart, however, he suddenly discovers the Light of his consciousness guiding him.  Through that illumination, God’s grace reaches him.  Then he gives himself up to a state of complete surrender, ceasing all physical and mental efforts, to fight against the natural flow of events, allowing his life to remain afloat on the spontaneously arising ebb and flow of circumstance.  He continues to be focused in the stream of activity. [i]

 This is how the dance dances the dancer, this is how the effort becomes effortless. In the course of your day, when things do not go your way and you have your long list of things to do and how you’re going to do them, and then none of it goes the way you want, you have to give up quickly and let yourself be redirected in the ebb and flow of what’s being given to you. Bapuji is saying that being hopeless and disappointed is required in order to be guided by God.  All of your own efforts and desires have to be disappointed and unfulfilled.  So that should make you feel better!

No, it doesn’t.  I wish it did. Is it a paradox? Because last week you read that Bapuji said that no one . . .

“That no one should ever be the least little bit unhappy, ever”—right! 

So if you’re supposed to get to this place where you’re totally unhappy and miserable . . .

No, he’s not saying that you are supposed to “get there”; he says that it naturally arises by striving to live from your own ego, and that creates your unhappiness. By surrendering to God, and going with the ebb and flow of what is given to you, instead of what you want and how you want it, you are brought into harmony.  You know by now that how we are guided is always intuitive, so even in one’s hopelessness, you see, we never lose faith. If you believe in God, then when you are in despair  or feeling hopeless and frustrated, you know this is absolutely for your greatest good. So of course you are never one little bit unhappy, even when you are feeling hopeless and desperate, even if you are sick and dying. But as long as you are happy or unhappy, then you are trying to drive your own car and steer your own ship. 

As long as you are happy or unhappy?

As long as you are really, really happy or super excited about something, it usually feels like it’s going your way. If you are really down or frustrated, it’s usually because it’s not going your way. When you are neither very, very happy about everything, nor very upset about anything, then you are in that beautiful, neutral place of the witness mind. You are accepting, and you are in that ebb and flow; the flow is there, and it is effortless. You are feeling the guidance and the flow of Love; you are in the Love stream. 

 If you surrender when you’re feeling frustrated and disappointed, do you find release from those emotions?

 Well, yes, and no.  It depends. Total surrender brings great relief. You know there’s nothing you can do, and you may have tears streaming down your face; you feel your powerlessness, and you feel how what you want is impossible.  Simultaneously, there can be an acceptance of knowing that there is nothing to do but let go, and that all of your illusions are being crushed. Simultaneously. Be prepared to let your illusions be crushed, or you cannot surrender.  The level of your pain will equal your level of resistance to letting go.  The more quickly you let go, the more things are going to open and flow.  That’s why it’s never really good to take someone’s struggle away.

My mother came to live with us when she was ill. She wants to recover, just as she has recovered her whole life from anything that was physically holding her back.  She recovered from it, she overcame it, and she got back to where she wanted to be. I see her in such a beautiful place now because she can’t do that. If I didn’t have spiritual eyes, I’d be very unhappy for her, and I’d think “Oh, she’s suffering so much, why is life so hard?” But I don’t see it like that. I see her being transformed and loved and going through this change. I see it very beautifully. She is getting to find out who is she when she is not the one who is always in control and able to get things back to the way she wants them to be.

 Does she see it like that?

I don’t know exactly how she sees it, but we talk from time to time. She has asked me, “Why didn’t God just take me then?” and I’ve said to her, “Well, He didn’t want to take you yet, and so now you have this time that you’ve been given.” I talk to her about letting go, and she’s very, very open to that. When she’s in the present moment, she’s really, really good, but when she’s not in the present moment, she gets very sad, and just like everybody else, she goes right back into the karmic loop, wanting what she wants and lamenting what she doesn’t have that she used to have.

When she’s in the present moment and looks out and sees the moon, she’ll say, “Come here! Look at this moon!” and she gets overtaken by the moon. It’s interesting because she’s not an elemental, natural person, so she’s confused by the fact that this beautiful sunset is over here, and this beautiful sunrise is over there.  She’s really hooked into the sunsets because she’s usually sleeping at the sunrise, but she’ll say, “Why doesn’t it ever get pretty on the other side of the house with those beautiful colors in the sky?”  We say, “Well, it does, but it’s in the morning when the sun comes up!” And she goes “Oh!”  because she’s never lived in a place where she could see the sunrises or sunsets, so she’s not connected there.  But when she’s walking around the house, pondering the beauty all around her, she’s very happy.

Recently I heard her say to a friend on the phone “No, I don’t think I’ll be going back.  I don’t have the energy to take care of my home anymore.”  Right there is a huge reconciliation she’s made within herself.  I just see it as positive.  I see that she’s getting to release a lot and do an incredible piece of transformation before she actually physically transitions. 

 Does she see things the same way you do? Does she see her situation as perfect and beautiful?

Well, no one ever sees things the same way as anyone else does, but I think that sometimes she gets a glimpse.

That’s where it gets hard for me because I don’t think my mom sees it that way. 

That’s OK!  Don’t take her struggle away!  Don’t give her your grief! She doesn’t need your grief; she doesn’t need your pity. Give her to God, please. Commend her to the Goddess. There are people who are helping her. That’s how this life works. 

If you believe in the Goddess, and if you know that She is loving her, and loving all of us all of the time, then we go through what we go through, whatever that is.  We have to surrender. We can only surrender. There is only surrender.  Surrender is trusting love. That is the ultimate in trusting love.   

[i] Pilgrim of Love: The Life and Teachings of Swami Kripalu. Atma Jo Ann Levitt, ed. Rhinebeck, NY: Monkfish Publishing, 2004.

Maresha's next blog will be published April 1, 2014. 

Messages of Light is published by the Sanctuary of Universal Light on Snow Dragon Mountain in Meredith, New Hampshire. www.snowdragonsanctuary.com. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Birthing into the Spirit World

I keep looking around at the situations of people who are aging. I’m nearly 70—should I be making plans for the last years of my life?

You’re in God’s hands. Trust love. You see, we were born through God’s grace. We don’t remember birth. We don’t remember coming into the incarnation, or being completely helpless, or having to rely 1000% on everyone around us to take care of us until we were at such an age and state where we could do it ourselves. You were given that love and care, and whatever your soul prayed for before it got here, this life is the answer to that prayer. You’re here.

It’s a long continuum. We travel in from the world of Spirit and are born into the world of materialization. We live through life, we age, and then we die and go back to the world of Spirit. We do this over and over again: spirit world, material world, spirit world, material world, and so on. We are always under God’s grace and love. She is always with us. Perfect protection and love are with us in life, all along the way. For the Lord God is a sun and a shield, A light for the day, protection all the way.

We live in a society that says that’s not true. We live in a society that says this is dangerous and that is dangerous; make your retirement fund, and plan for your funeral.  Usually these programs are fear-based, and they are very, very strong.

 If you really reflect on some of the ways in which you think about things, they are fear-based. How will you get what you need? What will your life be? The truth is, we do not know the answers to any of those questions, nor will we ever know. But I can tell you that the work you do, in terms of spiritual direction, spiritual focus, and spiritual intent, determines the quality of your death and your birth. So I suggest you meet it head on.

 Meet the fear?

Meet the fear, and meet whatever life brings, day by day. The first precept of love is: Accept everything.  Our spiritual awareness says, We’re not afraid and we accept everything. So we accept the changes that we go through in life. We accept the aging process. We accept all the challenges. All of the challenges are forging us. They come to us because we prayed for them to come to us.
Our Spiritual Path is to Let Go

When I was in the hospital for a month, I was completely surrendered, and I saw everyone as God coming to help me and I let myself be helped. So how is it going to be for you? Are you going to be gracefully surrendered in God’s love and go into your older phase that way, or are you going to fight and try to set things up in a particular way? The ego wants to hang on: “I’m strong. I can do it all. I’m in charge.”
But life demands that we gracefully surrender. It just does. Our spiritual path is to let go. We’re trained from the very beginning to let go of the obstacles that keep us separate from feeling the universal love and harmony that we actually know is there. We just get in the way of everything. That’s why death can be the ultimate spiritual experience, because it unites us with the spirit world which is what we’ve had belief and faith in all along.

 It’s fine to make our plans and set our goals, but the inner consciousness we carry within us determines whether we’re going to fight in fear or whether we’re going to surrender in grace. That’s up to you. After all the challenges life brings every day, it’s probably the biggest challenge yet to come. It’s the grand finale.
We Will Know . . . for Others and for Ourselves

I think I’m seeing my fight begin. First of all, I’m drawing up an outline of all the things I have to do or should do before I turn 80.

Don’t think that way. Don’t put such limitation on yourself. Don’t put such confinement on yourself. The Divine Plan brings us to the places we need to be. When my mother was very, very vulnerable, we were there constantly. She’s stronger now. She doesn’t need us, she doesn’t want us around so much. So there’s no pull for us to be there. What I’m saying is, we will know when, and when not to, for others and for ourselves. And whatever we need, it will be there, whatever “it” is. It will come for us, it will come to us.

Our plan is in harmony with God’s plan for us. We’re always taken care of in one way or another, no matter what it looks like; we really are. So when you become worried and you want to make a plan and control it all—“What are we going to do?”—give it over to God and just say, I trust that I will hear your voice and know your heart for me. Then the next step will be revealed to you all along the way.

It’s our human nature to help birth others into the world and it’s our human nature to help birth each other into the spirit world at the end. Think of it as getting ready for your spirit world birth. There are all sorts of ways the soul comes in and goes out. The nature of your death will be determined to a great degree by the nature of the life you’ve lived and the intention you hold for your death. Your death is your spirit birth.

God has always had my back and will continue to take care of me. As I keep myself aligned in that place and in that space, I will intuitively, synchronistically know what to do. My whole life is evidence of this, and I continue to have faith. So, don’t leave yourself; don’t leave your spiritual consciousness. If you don’t leave yourself, you won’t get afraid and you won’t feel overwhelmed or worried or any of those things.

Don’t get lost in the details and make your fears real. We have this big, looming, mass thought form about old age because there are so many people going into old age simultaneously. We have a strange system which is keeping people sick and medicated. Take responsibility for your life, and take responsibility for your death. Create it to be what you want it to be.

 (March 2013)
Maresha's next blog will be published March 25, 2014. 

Messages of Light is published by the Sanctuary of Universal Light on Snow Dragon Mountain in Meredith, New Hampshire. www.snowdragonsanctuary.com. 




Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Grace Lives in Your Heart

What is being asked of you at this time that feels demanding or challenging? Demands and challenges that return again and again can be particularly frustrating. Everyone knows what it feels like to go two steps forward and one step back. And yet, these sticking places are the keys to transformation. For spiritual advancement, each one requires surrender and acceptance. Each one is a stepping stone, a jewel that is the fuel for the fire of transformation. 

Surrender and acceptance are stepping stones to the state of Grace. Wherever you have to surrender, whatever you have to accept, is how you realize Grace. We often think of Grace as something outside of ourselves that is mysteriously bestowed upon us. We experience it as good luck, an effortless flow in life, or an unexpected bounty. We feel good. But somehow there is a sense that it happens to us, from the outside in. 

Gracefulness, being full of Grace, is the result of how internally adaptable and flexible we are, which allows us to rise to any situation without resistance. In order to live in a state of Grace, accept everything because Grace is born from the most challenging and the most difficult places.  

You have the power to choose the consciousness that gives birth to the flow of Grace. By sustaining the inner practices of surrender and acceptance, you will open the door of your heart. As you open the door of your heart, you will find that Grace has been living within you all along. Accept everything just as it is, and you will cultivate a life full of Grace.

(January 2001)
Maresha's next blog will be published March 18, 2014. 

Messages of Light is published by the Sanctuary of Universal Light on Snow Dragon Mountain in Meredith, New Hampshire. www.snowdragonsanctuary.com. 



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Maresha's March Greeting

Dear Reader,

 The worlds of spirit (spiritualization) and matter (materialization) govern the Great Circle of Life. This circle is filled with complementary and antagonistic qualities which impart to us a variety of vibrational experiences and exposures. Being aware of these complementary but opposing forces allows us to integrate and balance the frequencies to which we are subject. We live in the world of complementary opposites: day – night, darkness – light,  summer – winter, hot – cold,  expansion – contraction, male – female, summer – winter, fullness – emptiness, birth – death, etc., etc.

Witnessing these qualities, their effect upon us, and learning about our own constitution, condition and consciousness, can help us strike a balance amongst the opposites of this world. The balancing point, or the middle path of which The Buddha taught, is the development of consciousness within us which finds strength, health, connection and peace. Balancing these energies creates physical health, allows access to the world of subtle vibration which stimulates the intellect, opens the heart to the world of spirit, and grounds and integrates our daily existence.

May no one be the least little bit unhappy, ever.

Blessings and love,


Maresha's next blog will be published March 11, 2014. 

Messages of Light is published by the Sanctuary of Universal Light on Snow Dragon Mountain in Meredith, New Hampshire. www.snowdragonsanctuary.com.