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Straddling two worlds…

Sai bhakthas sometimes sing the English bhajan: “Delusions are many, but underneath them all there’s one reality…”

To discern each of the many delusions arising in one’s life can require a lot of energy and doubt– yet discerning the
basis of all delusion may occur in an instant. Integrating that realization, though… that may take a while.

(Living in two worlds is not easy, not for a while, you know.)

Indeed the clear distinction between delusion, hysteria, and direct experience of reality is a skill-set which aspirants
within all religions address. Often that discipline begins with the development of (‘to be graced with’) attention,
humility, and devotion–

but not all express that in the same way. Some are more lucid, others more poetic, and some are silent.

One person whom I believe is maturing in the discernment of delusion from reality (meaning to live with both feet on the
ground yet with heart in heaven) is the world-renowned businessman and oft-recognized Sai devotee, Isaac Tigrett.

I first met Isaac in 1976 in Prashanthi, a time in which he was shown to be most generous and most serious in his devotion.
(This was during the long period in which Swami did not speak to him.) Over the next four decades We met at Sai functions,
but we never became close friends, Still, as Isaac is famous I have been able to hear in his own words, via Youtube and
other interviews, how he discerns delusion from reality.

It seems to me that Isaac is at the point now where he no longer sees a difference between the inner Swami and the outer
Form, in that he no longer mentions whether “Swami said to me” means Swami spoke to him in person, or Swami spoke in
spirit, or dreams, or intuition spoke to him.

Too, I note that nowadays Isaac has his own time-frame. (“Jesus lived two hundred twelve thousand years ago,” and “Mohammed
died nine hundred years ago,” and “Swami died at the exact moment Jesus died on the cross.”) These statements, together
with his obvious good-will and humour, suggest Isaac is straddling two worlds.

Because I myself am stumbling among the worlds, I ask my buds to watch this video with care and affection, and to overlook
verbal gaffes such as “Bhavagad Gita.” (Living in two worlds, is not easy.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XJ1yRsmtU4#t=236

 

@guyatree

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WordPress and Gravatar

When WordPress began inserting advertising in my blog there, I decided not to renew the domain with WordPress (guyatree.com) all the while thinking my WordPress account would revert to guyatree.wordpress.com, even after payments from me stopped.

I erred.

When I told WordPress a month in advance why I was not renewing, and how upset I was that they were inserting ads into my paid-for blog, WordPress did not reply. Instead, WordPress did put up a notice at my gravatar account advising readers that I had not renewed guyatree.com, but (as if solace)  hey– readers can still access guyatree’s WordPress postings via guyatree.wordpress.com’

Except WordPress won’t let readers access the posts. Instead wordpress blocks access, even unto this day.

Too, gravatar, which is owned by WordPress, no longer allows me to edit my online accounts linked with them, just as “my” wordpress blog stays “open” even though access to readers is blocked by WordPress.

From my experiences with WordPress and Gravatar, I suggest no one buy a domain from WordPress (unless you plan to pay them for like evuh.)

Peace in

 

PS: Readers may now find my postingsvia guyatree.tumblr.com , with the permalink from WordPress and tagged WORDPRESS, and/or check out this poll

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Thinking of buying your domain through WordPress? I

Aside

Thinking of buying your domain through WordPress?

I paid WordPress upfront for the domain GUYATREE.COM, only to find a few months later that WordPress was inserting commercial advertising in “my” blog. I did not care for that so I let the domain expire at year’s end, thinking surely I could return to the ordinary guyatree.wordpress.com.

I erred; the WordPress admin have been lax in removing the link to guyatree.com (it has been a month) so visitors now get only a 404. (I found a workaround that allows me to post, but have not found a way for visitors to read it.) Worse, Gravatar (which connects to WordPress) no longer allows me to update my links, so yeah, I am bummed with WordPress, and suggest you think long and hard before you pony up for a domain name through them.

 

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Der Wille zur Macht

As a young child of seven or so when bedtime had come and my parents had said goodnight, having left on a light for me (we lived in the deep woods of Alabama, isolated, and there were always noises from shadows and critters in the dark dark night), there was a period one summer wherein I would sit in the bed cross-legged and focus my childish mind on that bare bulb overhead in my bedroom. I do not remember how it came to me, but I found myself nightly focusing my mind again and again on making that dim light bulb go out. For several weeks I concentrated on that each night, until I fell asleep.

One night I thought I glimpsed the light dimming, but I fell asleep so quickly that in the morning I decided, no, I had only imagined that. The next night, nothing happened. Over and over I would strain to focus, only to fall asleep while the light burned on. It never “dimmed” again. I convinced myself it never really had dimmed at all.

Still, when I awoke the next morning, sometimes the light was out.

My childlike mind figured either I had finally made it happen, had made the light extinguish– *or* my parents simply had turned the light off before waking me. Either way, that was not important, not at all; what was important was that I was methodical in trying to focus my attention, was striving to maintain focus for an extended period, was trying to make my will strong.
Although I continued the practice all that summer, I never mentioned my pastime to anyone,  perhaps because it was merely a playtime activity, a way of passing time before sleep, or maybe I did not mention it because I felt I had always failed at it.
You see, I didn’t really care if my parents turned the light off, or if the light went off by itself after I had fallen asleep. Both options were beside the point. What mattered was me actually seeing that bulb go out *while* I was willing it to do so. I wanted to know it was because of me, directly and only, happening in the present moment. I wanted to be certain my will could influence inanimate objects, just with thoughts. And so, because I could never make the light go out while I was looking at it, I lost interest in trying to make it happen, and I stopped that practice just before school started again.
“Ein traum, ein traum ist unser leben auf erden hier…”
 A  few years later in Munich I learned to appreciate philosophers and debate classes, and to think logically and to rebut quickly. That proved helpful in school work and socially. (Because I could quote a few sentences from various philosophers, I found that many people tended to assume I actually knew what I was talking about. )

By the time I was sixteen I had become a devout follower of Nietzsche:

“If we affirm one moment, we thus affirm not only ourselves but all existence.For nothing    is self-sufficient, neither in us ourselves nor in things; and if our soul has trembled with happiness and sounded like a harp-string just once, all eternity was needed to produce this one event – and in this single moment of affirmation all eternity was called good, redeemed, justified, and affirmed.”

Soon enough I discovered that many people are drawn not only to words well used, but to will-power. Naturally, I became an actor.

Rehearsals in high school were held evenings for three hours, and so I would bicycle to the auditorium at dusk, and then bike home alone in the dark. One night as I pedaled homeward, an overhead streetlight went out as I passed below. Poof. Black night.
I had forgotten that lightbulb exercise from my Alabama childhood, but the memory returned as I pedaled on, and I wondered about cause and effect, and about how much time that might take, since again I had started really focusing (learning lines, paying attention closely for hours, effecting my will and attention for extended periods) with discipline, with will, with intent.
Nietzsche was surely smiling, I thought.
One night biking home late after a performance, a gang of hooligans started throwing rocks at me, vicious teens, hard sharp rocks. As I began to grow truly afraid, the streetlight around us suddenly went out, and they laughed as I escaped into the darkness.
Even now a streetlight may go dark as I pass in the night. This has been happening regularly now for over fifty years. Whatever city I am in, whoever I am with: driving, biking, or walking–streetlights extinguish as I pass.
“Ein traum, ein traum ist unser leben auf erden hier…”
Looking back now to that child at home in the deep country woods at night who sat alone in bed focusing on a lightbulb… if only I had willed that bulb to glow brighter, rather than to be extinguished… what a different life I might have known, what a different person I might have become.

hip hop

All morning I had been feeling  a strong inclination to visit some yogis whom I had known decades ago, but with no address at hand I had only a vague destination in mind, trusting that the end of the road would become clear as I proceeded.

Mapless, I entered  the car, invoked the guidance and protection of Ganesha and my teacher, started the engine, and waited for direction. For a while I idled in the driveway. Only when I felt subtly moved by the spirit did I then back out, turn the wheels, and move the gear into forward. For several minutes I was moving north at 2 miles an hour, then at a T intersection I `felt’ which way to make the turn, then another turn, and another, and so on until a larger road opened. At last I felt even more direct nudges of guidance and soon was moving at the full speed limit, 65, heading south.

The thought ,”Where is the exit” did not occur, nor concern me.

I had no thoughts, so also had no distractions. I had an idea where I was going, but no names of streets or towns  to go by, yet within an hour I was, literally, at the end of the road, and there was a gate, open, and standing in the sunlight was a woman I had not spoken with in over thirty years. This was an ashram, deep in the woods between Malibu and Agoura.

That was some months ago and I have made other visits since, the most recent of which was Sunday, July 8, 2012–but this time when I set out I was running late for a scheduled event there, and at first I drove fast even though I did not recognize any signs along the way. It was as though I not only had forgotten the route but also was driving through deep mental fog. For mile after mile I found neither visible or invisible signs, no inner promptings on when to turn or which way to go. (Before setting out I felt certain I knew the way by heart now–and I had not thanked Ganesha… besides,  I was running late.)  At last I recognized a street name so turned, but  it led me in the wrong direction, so after a half-mile or so I  turned around and went back, beyond where I had entered, only to find a dead end. (It was the right street name, but this end did not connect to the road I needed.) Such a foggy day in this old grey head!

Retracing the route was a long slow drive with more false exits and you-turns, and only when all frantic thoughts (I’m late/I’m lost) subsided did I recognize another familiar street name. Upon taking that turn at last I remembered in full the remaining way. Within a few minutes I was turning onto the ashram road, but wait–a hundred feet ahead was an expensive late-model luxury sedan pulled off to the right side. I sensed that driver too was waiting to find the way forward so I slowed…, and sure enough the driver suddenly pulled in front of me, and together we proceeded to, literally, the end of the road.

We each sought parking inside the grounds and I, sitting in the car, chose to close my eyes, watch the breath, listen to the hum in the head, gathering presence* and thanks to all for allowing me again to find this place. This was a scheduled event, and I had arrived late, well after the announced start of the function, but I needed to calm my mind before sharing it with yogis.

When I opened my eyes I found the other driver also had not yet gotten out of the car, and now we both decided at the same time to leave our vehicles for the walk to the temple. That driver, a woman in white, took the high road, while I, in gray shirt and trousers, took the lower path to the bridge leading to the temple. I could see across the bridge were two women residents, also in white, standing at the temple steps, and as the lady driver greeted them, the three went inside together. As I approached the doorway I saw ample ladies shoes left outside, but only one pair of manly shoes, to which I added my own. I opened the men’s white door, and stepped inside onto the deep blue rug. There was silence. The event had not begun.

That Sunday was the 18th anniversary of the re-naming of this forest hermitage, from the The Vedantic Center to The Sai Anantam Ashram. Many residents and devotees soon enough came forward to speak of their experience and love as the event formally began.

An older gent talked about his visit to Los Angeles on the previous evening, where he had learned first-hand something new to him about hip hop, which he defines now as an acronym for

h igher

i nfinite

p ower

h elping

o ur

p eople

The way he said ‘helping our people’– his sincerity and heartache was so simple and clear I could feel the pain of an entire people speaking through his heart.

Later a young girl sang a new song for this special event, an adult then respectfully chanted a hymn of the Guru, a lady read from a hallowed book, and then songs written by Swamini began, a blend of Indian raag and jazz, so uplifting and energetic I went into deep meditation surrounded in love and devotion.

After only a few songs I found myself rising to leave, and outside as I sat on the steps to put on my shoes, that hip happy gentleman came to me and asked, “You are not staying for prasad?” I raised my head to see his face and said, “I thought I was, but it seems no, I’m not staying… but just the body is going, you know.” He laughed and I chuckled with him and then he said, “I must tell you,” then he paused as if thinking, then continued, “the first time you came here, you… you caused quite a stor…. you know? ” (To this day I do not know if he meant ‘storm’ or `story,’ and did not ask.as he quickly said) “-but you disappeared so fast and when you came again you didn’t speak with anyone, and now you’re disappearing again.” He was smiling, but he also seemed to be waiting for me to explain.

In my first visit I had recognized several residents from long ago, and dining with them I had spoken of things that came to mind from memory, reminding some of details they had forgotten, and others of matters I intuited about them. With this dear man now, for example, a fellow whom I had never met until that first visit, I had spoken openly of things about him which none of his fellow brothers or sisters knew, and when I said them they laughed and said, “no he never did that,” but then he corrected them, and said, “Don’t react so fast… he’s right, I did do that.”

I mention this now because after that initial visit, this chat on the steps was the only occasion any resident had spoken again with me, or I with them. I was very touched by his kindness and so I stood to embrace him, and he in turn embraced me; two old men, standing outside a temple, embracing one another in sunlight.

I whispered in his right ear, “I want to tell you because you have come out here, speaking with me now the way you did: I love You” and holding me he whispered in my right ear, “I love you.”  I took his strong hands in mine and stepped back to look at him, at which out of my mouth came these sounds: “so many broken hearts to heal…”

He said nothing. I said nothing more, and we parted for my long, silent drive home, knowing one day, one good day, you would hear this.

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regarding “presence*__

                     ~guyatree adds:

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It is 2:17am July 29, 2012. Ads have begun appearing on my URL at WordPress. I pay for the url and for other extras. I in no wise approve of any advertising to be associated with my creative work, and it is  being done here without notification to me or permission from me. Dear reader, should you agree with my outlook, please do not purchase anything from the advertiser or from WordPress.

Jai Siva Sai

@guyatree

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