Savoring Moments of Fierce Grace—The Great Turn Around

In this blog Prajna addresses the unsatisfactoriness of the egoic operating system an it’s relationship to life. She highlights what defines and fuels egoic nature so you can recognize how it functions. She gives pointers on how to lean into life with keen interest rather than strategies for an immediate fix that defeats an open opportunity to savor and be transformed by the challenges of fierce grace. She gives examples of how it is the most difficult moments in life that bring true transformation. 

Do you ever find yourself in an entanglement that doesn’t feel satisfying? I’ve been around long enough to know that whenever anything feels less than satisfying that an opportunity for transformation is at hand. This is an incredible opportunity to savor for anyone wanting to live their deepest realization.

Unsatisfactoriness isn’t about life; it’s about the egos relationship with life.
Ego tells us if it goes this way or that way all will be happy. What brings us into a deeper exploration of life is when we get to see the lie of the ego. Opening to a deeper exploration happens when we can let ourselves see that there is something unsatisfactory about this and I don’t have to fix it.

In terms of our own transformation, spiritual awakening, fierce grace is a positive moment. Upheaval, disappointments, small or big are what propel us toward true transformation, to a deeper satisfaction. When we are able to perceive life as it is without flinching, a deeper and much more natural response is available to us.

Suffering is very good at propelling us along. But we can choose to see through it at any given moment and not join a collective force. There is a collective human consensus on reality of what is normal. This consensus is often borderline insane, highly dysfunctional, based on many things that are not true. For example, to say that racism is non-existence. Or to say that historically or even now there is balance between the sexes meaning regardless if you are a male or a female you are always treated with equality.

So much of unsatisfactoriness is based on how we relate to life, on how our minds are relating to life. Let’s take a look at what fuels egoic nature and please remember this is not you, it is a conditioned reflex blanketed in fear:

  • • Blame: It does not do any good to blame anything on anybody. When we do, we miss our own responsibility in the manner, and go to sleep to our own potentiality in the present.
    • Avoidance: We can avoid life and look for something to safe us. We can miss the opportunity to take responsibility for ourselves.
    • Distort: Take one incident and magnify it to many or all the time. This is the egoic operating systems most prominent strategy.
    • Deflect: We can block what is coming to us and immediately deflect it back so it does not even get in. We miss the opportunity for important information and for life to serve as a mirror in assisting us to take responsibility for ourselves.
    • Regression: We can seek happiness through regression. If I could just go back to an earlier time when things were new and exciting, like a child. We forget that children know less than we do. Children have not begun to deal with the fundamental dilemma of existence. They don’t have the ability to say “gosh this is really difficult.” If they are unhappy they simply scream. If happy they smile without a thought about it.
    • Refuse to explore: A major human dilemma is the avoidance of psychological suffering. This is a predominant motivating force in spiritual seekers. It’s regressive, to want to avoid, to not explore.
  • • Masking emotions: Rage and anger are triggered when life touches upon places in us that already hurt and the ego operating system is on fire to protect.
    • Pretend not to notice: The ability not to notice can be tremendous yet eventually it breaks down.
    • Play victim: When something unfortunate happens the mind can go to victim mode. Ego operating system says I’ve been victimized. I’m a victim.
    • Play aggressor: Some others interpretations go into aggressive ego. I’m going to conquer this. I will have it my way.
    • Reprogram the ego: Make it more sophisticated. Read a bunch of books; learn a bunch of spiritual concepts to add to the ego operating system, just in case. When we reprogram our ego, our operating system, no matter how little or much, it still controls you.
    • Abide in formless consciousness: Even thought this is an advanced strategy and a wonderful place to abide. As it is a realm outside of time, where nothing happened, (or you could say where all happens), never been harmed, nothing can be, and never will be. A delightful realm of consciousness is still not the answer to the human dilemma. This does not tell you how to live in the human realm of time and space. Good to know the ego does not define you yet you also need to know how to live as a human without fear.

All of these approaches have the seed of unsatisfactoriness woven into it so it cannot last forever. Trying to do anything through regression is always unfulfilling.

This is where rubber hits the road, when grace gets fierce. This is when we discover our underlying attitude with life. Are we trying to get out of it, alter it, and make it feel better as fast as we possibly can?

Alternatively, rather than retreating and pulling back, we can lean into lean into those moments of fierce grace, of upheaval, small or big. We can lean into rather than block or back away.

At a certain point we feel the innate energy of presence rising. An energy that is a transformative operating force in your life, an energy that has a tremendous potential.Egoic operating system says ouch! I don’t like this. How do I get away from it? Who do I blame for it? Whose fault is it? How do I get power over it? How do I control it?
It’s good to hear the voice of ego and how it operates. Need to hear this voice in head and know where this speaking is coming from. Need to get a feel for how this ego in the mind takes over. To recognize it is the first step for it to no longer have power over you. Until this voice is recognized it still has power even when you are pushing it away.

Instead of moving away or being motivated by entire laundry list of agendas to change what is happening, to get away from what is happening, we can actually begin to listen.

This is the key—to listen. To listen to something deeper than the reactive mind.

What do I do? I’m uncomfortable, what do I do? Listen to uncomfortableness and how it shows up in your mind and body. But I don’t have time to listen. I’m too busy planning my next move.

What does uncomfortableness sound and feel like?
Egoic operating system always wants to avoid what is happening in the body, what the body is feeling, sensing, expressing.

Presence—the great transforming agent.

There is something else within every being. There is a different energy. There is a different point of view. One way would be to say, wow, I am stuck. This is terrible. Therefore I am terrible and settle into becoming a bitter old person for the rest of life. This attitude relates to experience from the viewpoint of a victim. Ego operating system says I’ve been victimized. I can’t alter it. I’m a victim. When something unfortunate happens the mind goes into victim mode. Some others interpretations go into aggressive ego. I’m going to conquer this!!!

It is vital to get your identity out of the egoic operating system. If you don’t you are like a dog being pulled around on a leash. It runs life. You are at its whim and pulled wherever it goes. It’s a closed system, it is samsara, it is totally conditioned, it is confusing, it is isolating.

How do we get identity out of the ego operating system?
Be quiet for 30 minutes. You will realize how you are controlled by the ego operating system. You will see why you do not want to slow down. You will see the leash that is pulling you around. It’s like velcro. You don’t have to sit for long.

How do I stop all this thinking?
Then you see very quickly, this thing, the mind, the ego operating system, the very thing that is in control. The first reaction is “I can make this better.” And you’re catapulted into strategies of making it better. Then you are controlled by what you think will make it better, an angelic ego.

The thing that fundamentally keeps us chained to ego, is our identification with it. We are only identified with it for as long as we find meaning in it and we don’t allow ourselves to feel how substantially unsatisfactory it is.
Many humans go to the old egoic system to tell them everything. When feeling bad, unworthy, that is where the place to go. It will deliver everything bad and unworthy.

The first shift in spiritual awakening is when identity starts to come out of ego. When we can see that the voice in the head does not define anything.
Even when attention may feel stuck there you are coming to a place of deeper exploration.

How do I live what I have realized?
How do I live it?
I know that place beyond time and space of total freedom, but I still do not get along with wife, neighbor. Still this egoic thing thinks it is needed when I go to engage with life.
We have to come to a place consciously or unconsciously to meet people where they are and confront all the ups and downs of life.
Ego thinks I am very necessary. Formless nature goes to background. Ego says, “oh here I am.” Then there is this real split. We have to go back to our original motivation: is it to escape the ups and downs of life? Or to rise to a harmonious way of relating to all of life?
We can admit that the functional aspects of life can get very confusing. There aren’t always the circumstances to take a break. We’re not always able to take life off. We need to get back to work, family, preparing dinner. Normal human stuff can be confusing as your consciousness changes.

When there are moments of fierce grace, upheaval, turmoil, same truths apply.
Where are we operating from in that moment? Do I just default into egoic mode: fear, withdrawal, blame, control, regression? Or do we default into a different mode of energy? Can we relax the habit to quickly solve and instead to find the truth of it. Big or small, do we move away from it, or to see what is true in it?

The fierceness about these times in life, calls upon a fierce quality in us, not shying away, not trying to solve. It is fierce to lean into something, and allow it to transform you, allow it to transform your perception. The tendency is to pull away as the future is unknown. What is tomorrow to be like? We don’t know. We used to pretend to know but we do not know.

We don’t know if we lean in how they will operate tomorrow, or the next day. The unknown has a quality for the ego that is frightening.
“I found myself in this strange delimma, what am I going to do about it?”
I don’t know… the first thing you know, is I don’t know. Old egoic operating system is uncomfortable with that.

There is a deeper way of functioning from a whole true place within us.
We have to be able to live with the unknown not to solve it immediately, but to live with it. The ends are not tied up. Our egoic operating system always wants to know the solution. “I do not want to feel this fear, insecurity, I want a solution.”

What is true about us? There is another energy in us, a different energy in us, in some it may be very small if it has not exercised it. It may feel like a small presence. It is that aspect of your self that is not pulling back. If anything it is leaning in a little bit with interest.
It wants to know what is going on. Not because it needs to find a solution and to get out. It wants to know what is going on because it wants to know what’s going on. It does not want to get rid of fear and anxiety. It’s that trying to get rid of, that traps you in the fear and anxiety.

Initially it is the acceptance of all of that. Maybe there is fear, anxiety, confusion but I am willing to have it as part of my experience. There is a natural acceptance of all of this. If a solution then presents itself, it is not going to come from this anxious fearful ego. Our deeper nature does this quite spontaneously without struggle or effort. Maybe a little conscious or very conscious but truth of our being is there. All we need to do is listen for how it moves in time and space in moods of difficulty. This is a very different way of listening. It is not egoic mind trying to collect strategies to make things better or to fix anything.

This is the seed of truth in each of us where we are all the same, and no one has more than the other. The truth of you, me and all else, it has a singular quality to itself that expresses differently. There is something within us, when you tap into it; the presence that is true in us brightens under difficulty. The more challenged you are the brighter it shines. This is the opposite of ego that gets more afraid.
Presence gets brighter. You don’t make it brighter, its part of the wholenss of life.

This light within can be so repressed or unrecognized by consensus reality, yet it rises to meet everything within us. We often notice this when something happens to a friend or a loved one. It rises within us as there is no time to think. You have done something, it just happens through you, you did not figure it out. Where did that action arise from? There was no fear. It just arose. That is it. That may be the first time they realize that there is a place where response can come from that is very different, no time to go to ego, the stakes are too high.

That kind of response is very natural in us. Yet when all of our identity is caught in fear or ego, it is hard to break through, yet it can break through the densest egos. A deeper response comes when we contemplate our mortality, our own ending. Meditate at a gravestone in the middle of the night, it allows this that we really are to bloom.

Timing and patience are immensely overlooked in our experience as human beings. We might think, I will immediately know what to do in every situation.” No, only if it is the timing for you to know. Spiritual essence knows exactly when we need to know. It takes allot of trust, patience, and conditions to know. The more aware you are, the more you have a great respect for conditions to come together, for a knowing to bloom inside of you, the more you are able to wait. As we connect more with our deeper nature the more we are ok with this. Deeper nature knows that everything in life has its time, even if the conditions seem like a disaster to conventional mind, things often have to mature and come together before it is time to know the next action. That sort of patience is extraordinarily patient to let things develop until the timing is just right.
The hallmark of true nature is that timing always feels just right. There is an exquisite timing that ego mind can not bear for very long, can not see the perfection in it.
Patience is a deep listening. Anything I have come to as a knowing, real knowing, has never come from figuring it out. Wholeness is what arises in trust.
Heart means whole, a wisdom that comes from wholeness of you, the wholeness of each situation. It is the truth that belongs to the entirely of the situation, whole and complete. All true wisdom comes from your wholeness, comes from Prajna (Heart Wisdom). A wisdom that is so obvious. I trust that everything will unfold exactly as it does. Most people live believing that life will make mistakes so it needs me or the egoic operating system to keep a close eye on it.

Lastly, many think that those things that were the worse things that ever happened, time of loss, doubt, conflict, turmoil, upheaval, addiction, abuse, divorce, death, you name it; when you look back on them, most of the greatest transformations came through moments just like that.
Isn’t it that we try to avoid those moments that are hugely transformative, that we wish not to repeat, yet when you look back in a strange way, you say, “I am so glad that happened, I have no regrets, as something very good came out of it.”

We are so convinced that the great transformations only come from the positive experiences in life, an amazing sunset, a mountain top experience, great sex, a boat trip around the world. We may have had an incredible time and saw great beauty. The more conscious we become, the less we need life to hit us on the head. We don’t need life to point them out our blind spots. We only need them to the extent that we are unconscious.

Byron Katie said there are more brought to God through alcoholism than the Bible. We think good brings us to God, and what take us away are the difficulties. No, as we get more conscious, we may not need difficulty to wake us up from our slumber. The more conscious we become the less we need to help us to become conscious.

We have an incredible tendency to believe that any kind of difficulty or doubt or despair tells us that something went wrong. No, this is just when it was about to turn around and go right. This is an opportunity to be opened up to life. This is the great turn around.

 

PRAJNA GINTY MA is a spiritual teacher, Hakomi Therapist, Shipibo Apprentice, Consciousness guide and author of the Amazon Best Seller: Edge of Grace: A Fierce Awakening to Love.  As a single mom of round prajna copytwo children with special needs, she was inspired to create The Flowing River School and Sangha Project (2001). She is also the creator of The Embodiment Intensive (2006). Prajna has been featured in One Truth, Many Voices, Buddha at the Gas Pump, Living-from-Love, 10,000 Awakenings and Conscious TV. She came to spiritual realization by way of mysticism and three decades of extensive training in the world’s non-dual wisdom traditions, depth psychology and living an ordinary life. Inspired by Anandamayima, Ramana Mahashi, her root teacher Adyashanti, her children, and Curanderos, her teachings are practical, non-dogmatic and elicit the direct knowing of who we are amidst everyday life. In recent years she has taken in-depth training in the Language, Teaching and Healing of Plants as Natural Medicine. She is widely known for her depth of presence, unabated compassion and potent meditations for reclaiming your original wholeness and aliveness. She graciously points to spirit that the underlying unifying force present in you, and all things in the Universe. She creates a soft place to land and embody your true self for the deepest connection and aliveness with all of life.

At The Center of All Things is Spirit—The Lost language of Plants

In this blog Prajna offers: Sections of Stephen Harrod Buhner his absolutely brilliant book The Lost Language of Plants. This book is both poetry and medicine that substantiates what we have long ago forgotten, how to communicate with the natural world, and how we overlook the power of plant’s as natural healers. Stephen clarifies the ecological importance of plant medicines on earth, the limits of Science, “the Exterior and Interior Wound,” the diminishment of “biophilia,” and challenges us with the question: are we are polluting our environment with the pharmaceuticals that western medicine has developed with a promise to heal us?

At the center of all things is spirit. As daylight expands with spring in full bloom the underlying unifying sacred force in the Universe is more visible. Look, listen, walk in wild nature and feel this sacredness manifesting in all things.

Embedded within the underlying epistemologies of the vast majority of nonindustrial cultures are the components of an other way of gathering information. While containing numerous variations, themes, and differences these nonindustrial epistemologies do contain a basic framework that is very similar in a number of areas, most assert that:

• At the center of all things is spirit. In other words, there is a central unifying force in the Universe that is sacred.
• The sacred manifests itself in physical form.
• Because all matter is made from the sacred, all things possess a soul, a scared intelligence or logos.
• Because human beings are generated out of this same substance it is possible for human beings to communicate with the soul or intelligence in plants and the other way around.
• Human beings emerged later on Earth and are the offspring of the plants. Because we are their offspring, their children, plants will help us whenever we are in need, if we ask them.
• Human beings were ignorant when they arrived here and the powers of the Earth and the various intelligences in all things began to teach them how to be human. This is still true. It is not possible for new generations to become human without this communication or teaching from the natural world.
• Parts of earth can manifest more or less sacredness, just like human beings. A human being can never know when some part of Earth might begin expressing deep levels of sacredness or begin talking to him. Therefore it is important to cultivate attentiveness of mind.
• Human beings are only one of the many life forms on Earth, neither more or less important that the others. Failure to remember this can be catastrophic for individuals, nations and peoples. The other life in the Universe can and will become vengeful if treated with disrespect by human beings. 

TURNING THE UNIVERSE INTO A MACHINE

The journey from sacred intelligence at the center of the universe to generally excepted believe that the universe is a great machine devoid of spirit occurred over a number of centuries, perhaps as few as five or six, perhaps as many as twenty. It has accelerated greatly during the past 75 years. This major shift in how the universe is viewed is exceptionally new geologic time. It received great boost during the renaissance from Nicholas Copernicus (1473— 1543), Galileo (1564—1642,) Johann Kepler (1571—1630), and Francis Bacon (1561—1626). But it was raised to its primary importance by Renée Discartes, the French mathematician and Philosopher (1596—1650). And as it spread in popularity, this newly emerging epistemology of reductionism began to shape a reality was, or could be, perceived.

Prior to the rise of Christianity, the Romans believed, like most historical cultures, that sacredness and intelligence were present in everything. As a response (in part) against Roman paganism, Christianity, as it attained political power during the fall of the Roman Empire, began a process of narrowing other religious expression’s and theologically removing sacred intelligence from everything except the Trinity and those deities (such as angels and saints) designated by the church to be sacred. The church also inculcated the biblical imperative to exert dominion over nature, a nature created expressly for people by God, which, in and of itself, made nature more of a “resource” and less sacred than the Romans held it to be. And some of the fears of nature’s darkside, disease, and unavoidable fate, and of the wild, powerful, unpredictable Nature of the Roman religion—seeped in as well. Nature was not only a resource but something to be controlled and ordered for Man’s use. The Wild redeemer abandoned for the Light. Protestantism carried this further, abandoning saints and angels, and reducing sacredness in physical form to a single expression: Jesus (and, possibly, the Bible).  Modern (scientific0 thinkers, began during the Renaissance, took this logic even further:  there was no sacredness in the universe at all—it was, and is, just a machine.

“Alienated from nature, human existence becomes a void, the wellspring of life and spiritual growth gone utterly dry. Man grows ever more ill and weary in the midts of his curious civilization that is but a struggle over a tiny bit of time and space.” —Masanobu Fukuoka, The Natural Way of Farming

There are, however, implications to the proposition that all things are part of a great machine, that they are neutral in value, and without essential soul or interior depth. If all things are part of a great machine, merely parts in its functioning, then human beings are merely parts as well, without essential meaning, only machine like bits. Accepting this kind of thinking, internalizing it, gives rise to a sense of existential despair, a feeling that one’s life is meaningless.

“The coming ecological disaster we worry about has already occurred, and goes on occurring. It takes place in the accounts of ourselves that separate ourselves from the world. —James Hillman, The Souls Code

At one time or another, using scientific rationale, women, blacks, Asians, and indigenous peoples all have been denied to be fully human or equal to white men. Christopher stone, and his law review article “Should Trees Have Standing?” Comments: “The first woman in Wisconsin thought she might have a right to practice law was told she did not in the following terms”:

“The law of nature destines and qualifies the female sex for the bearing and nurture of children of our race and for the custody of the homes of the world…  All life-long callings of women, inconsistent with these radical and sacred duties of their sex, as in the profession of law, or departures from the order of nature; and when voluntary, treason against it.” —Christopher Stone, Should Trees Have Standing?

It was argued, using the same reliance on the scientific order of nature, that blacks and Asians were in capable of the same level of rational thought as whites. In consequence they were not reliable in court as witnesses.

Groups who have been disenfranchised by this way of seeing the world, as they have each gain social power, have eventually been accorded equal interior depth and value—though there is still a lingering believe among some that women and blacks do not think as well as white men. The horrors that have come from the denial of value to certain groups by those in power have led to the struggle to expand the zone of value and subsequent legal “standing” more and more people. It is exceptionally rare, however for this “standing” or value to be extended to nonhumans—to trees or lizards, to plants or bacteria. Extending equal value to plants—to treat them as human beings—is as laughable and inconceivable to most people now as it once was to extend equal value to women or slaves. Or, as Theodore Roszak put it, “as prevailing reality principle would have it, nothing could be greater madness than to believe that beast and plant, mountain and river have a ‘point of view’. As a result, trees and lizards and plants and bacteria can be treated as things to be owned, cut down, experimented on, sold, processed, killed, or consumed without regard for any interior depth or intelligence on their part. THE EXTERIOR WOUND. 

Losing Connection To The Living World

The internal effects on people of the scientific epistemology are more subtle but just as painful as the effects on the rest of nature. Once the Universe becomes a machine, no longer alive, once human beings are defined as the only intelligent life-form, a unique kind of isolation enters human lives, a kind of loneliness that is unprecedented in the history of human habitation on the Earth.  It is a source of many of the emotional pathologies people struggle with. In addition, people begin to judge themselves internally, to identify their level of value according to how much or how well they think. Any internal expressions, perceptions, or thoughts that come from older epistemologies—that are based primarily on feeling or intuition or aliveness in the Universe—they label unscientific, irrational, unreasoning, or illogical. Such thoughts and perceptions, it is assumed, have less value, are based on improper assumptions about the nature of reality, and are there for something to be discounted, dismissed, degraded. This dynamic has become so ingrained that people routinely monitor and censor perceptions that are contrary to universe–as–machine. And so people cut themselves off from the Universe in which they live; they become passengers on a ball of semimolten rock hurtling through the Universe. They internally denigrate and deny their most basic experiences of the livingness of the world in which they live, no connection to it, and the importance of that connection. THE INTERIOR WOUND.

In earlier times, when nature was perceived as alive, with intelligence and soul, natural process took place. People bonded with nature much as people bond with their pets are family now. This bonding process—which has decreased in frequency the more the mechanistic worldview has pervaded society—engendered a certain kind of attitude toward nature. It is an aspect of what Edward O Wilson calls Biophilia—a genetically encoded or innate emotional affinity with all other life-forms on Earth. But the more that children are taught that thinking defines their value, that Earth is dead, that other life-forms intrinsically possess less value, and the more they are separated from regular contact with wild nature, the less biophilia occurs—the less the genetic encoding for caring for and bonding with life is initiated.

Biophilia: bio—life; philia—a tendency toward or an excess of affection or fondness for. From the Greek words bios—life—and phileein—to love. In other words, a deep fondness, connection to, and love for life forms and living things.

Biognosis: bio—life; gnosis—knowledge or recognition, especially spiritual knowledge or insight. From the greek words bio—life and gignoskein—to know. In other words, to know life through the deeper spiritual and intuitive faculties of mind; also the body of accumulated knowledge that comes from perceiving life in this manner. 

In recent time there is an emergence of biophilia with the Language and Natural Healing of the Plants. Plant medicine cultivated from the remaining indigenous peoples around the world is slowly seeping into our modern mechanical culture as medicine for the many people that have once again begun to perceive the accumulated value of our plant elders. I am one of them and routinely take groups of people to the amazonian jungle to gain a first hand experience of the teachings, wisdom and healing available as a responsible health care system.

You are welcome to join me and connect with the natural healing of the plants. Register here for upcoming expedition to Jakon Nete Retreat, Iquitos, Peru.

Watch this 60 minute video talk/meditation with Prajna: THE VALUE OF MASTER PLANT TEACHERS

PRAJNA GINTY is a spiritual teacher, Hakomi Therapist, Shipibo trained Curandera, Consciousness guide and author of the Amazon Best Seller: Edge of Grace: A Fierce Awakening to Love.  As a single mom of round prajna copytwo children with special needs, she was inspired to create The Flowing River School and Sangha Project (2001). She is also the creator of The Embodiment Intensive (2006). Prajna has been featured in One Truth, Many Voices, Buddha at the Gas Pump, Living-from-Love, 10,000 Awakenings and Conscious TV. She came to spiritual realization by way of mysticism and three decades of extensive training in the world’s non-dual wisdom traditions, depth psychology and living an ordinary life. Inspired by Anandamayima, Ramana Mahashi, her root teacher Adyashanti, her children, and Curanderos, her teachings are practical, non-dogmatic and elicit the direct knowing of who we are amidst everyday life. In recent years she has taken in-depth training in the Language, Teaching and Healing of Plants as Natural Medicine. She is widely known for her depth of presence, unabated compassion and potent meditations for reclaiming your original wholeness and aliveness. She graciously points to spirit that the underlying unifying force present in you, and all things in the Universe. She creates a soft place to land and embody your true self for the deepest connection and aliveness with all of life.

In Darkness and Silence Reality is Found

In this blog Prajna offers a passage from I AM THAT: Talks. Nisargadatta Maharaj clearly addresses typical questions on The Way of Reality. This discourse is reminiscent of many discussions from Prajna’s recent trip to Europe in Satsang, retreat and private sessions. The teachings on attraction, relationship to the body, questioning beliefs, suffering, aspiration, faith and willingness, silence, love and noble company are beautifully expressed. No commentary is needed, simply digest, look within and live awake. In darkness and silence Reality is found.

rock sun sea
Q: We are Panjanis but we live in Delhi. We have a Guru of the Radha-Soam Faith but we value Satsang highly. We feel very fortunate to be brought here. We have met many holy people and we are glad to meet one more.
MAHARAJ: You have met many authorities and ascetics, but a fully realized man or woman conscious of his/her divinity is hard to find. The Saints and yogis, by immense efforts and sacrifices, acquire many miraculous powers and do much good in the way of helping people and inspiring faith, yet it does not make them realized. It is not a way to Reality, but merely an enrichment of the false. All effort leads to more effort; whatever was built up must be maintained, whatever was acquired must be protected against decay or loss. Whatever can be lost is not really ones own, what is not your own, of what you use can it be to you? In my world nothing is pushed about, all happens by itself. All existence is in space and time, limited and temporary. I am not concerned either with what exists or with who exist. I take my stand beyond, where I am both and neither.
The person who, after much effort and penance, have fulfilled their ambitions and secured high levels of experience and action, are usually acutely conscious of their standing; they grade people into hierarchies, ranging from the lowest non-achiever to the highest achiever. To me all are equal. Differences in appearance and expression are there but they do not matter. Just as the shape of a gold ornament does not affect the gold, so does man’s essence remain unaffected. When this sense of equality is lacking it means that reality has not been touched.
Mere knowledge is not good enough; the knower must be known. The Pandits and the yogis may know many things, but of what use is knowledge when the self is not known? It will be certainly misused. Without the knowledge of the knower there can be no peace.
Question: How does one come to know the knower?
MAHARAJ: I can only tell you what I know from my own experience. When I met my Guru, he told me: “You are not what you take yourself to be. Find out what you are. Watch the sense ‘I am,’ find your ‘real self’.”  I obeyed him, because I trusted him. I did as he told me. All my spare time I would spend looking at myself in silence. And what a difference it made, and how soon! It took me only three days to realize my true nature. My Guru died soon after I met him but it made no difference.
I remembered what he told me and persevered. The fruit of it is here, with me.
Q: What is it?
MAHARAJ: I know myself as I am in reality. I am neither the body, nor the mind, nor the mental faculties. I am beyond all these.
Q: Are you just nothing?
MAHARAJ: Come on, be reasonable. Of course I am, most tangibly. Only I am not what you may think me to be. This tells all.
Q: This tells me nothing.
MAHARAJ: Because it cannot be told. You must gain your own experience. Your accustomed to deal with things, physical and mental. I am not a thing, nor are you. We are neither matter nor energy, neither body nor mind. Once you have a glimpse of your own being, you will not find me difficult to understand.
We believe in so many things on hearsay. We believe and distant lands and people, in heavens and hells, and gods and goddesses, because we are told. Similarly, we were told about ourselves, our parents, name, position, duties and so on. We never cared to verify. The way of truth lies to the destruction of the false. To destroy the false must question your most inveterate beliefs.  Of these the idea that you are the body is the worst. With the body comes the world, and with the world—God, who is supposed to have created the world and us it starts—fears, religions, prayers, sacrifices, all sorts of systems—all to protect and support the child-man, frightened out of his wits by monsters of his own making.

Realize that what you are cannot be born or die and with fear gone all suffering ends. What the mind invents, the mind destroys. But the real is not invented and cannot be destroyed.

Hold on to that over which the mind has no power. What I am telling you about is neither in the past nor in the future. Nor is it in the daily life as it flows in the now. It is timeless and the total timelessness of it is beyond the mind. My Guru and his words:  “You are myself” and timelessly with me. In the beginning I had to fix my mind on them, but now it has become natural and easy. The point when the mind accepts the words of the Guru is true and lives by them spontaneously and in every detail of daily life is the threshold of realization. In a way it is a salvation by faith, but the faith must be intense and lasting.
However, you must not think that faith itself is enough. Faith expressed in action is a sure means to realization. Of all the means it is the most effective. There are teachers who deny faith and trust reason only. Actually it is not faith they denied but their blind believes. Faith is not blind. It is the willingness to try.
Q: We were told that of all forms of spiritual practices the practice of the attitude with mere a witness is the most efficacious. How does it compare with faith?
MAHARAJ: The witness attitude is also faith; it is faith in oneself. You believe that you are not what you experience and you look at everything as from a distance. There is no effort in witnessing. You understand that you are the witness only and the understanding acts. You need nothing more, just remember that you are the witness only. If in the state of witnessing ask yourself: “Who am I?”, The answer comes at once, though it is wordless and silent. Cease to be the object and become the subject of all that happens; once having turned within, you will find yourself beyond the subject. When you found yourself, you will find that you are also beyond the object, that both the subject and the object exists in you, but you are neither.
Q: You speak of the mind, of the witness and consciousness beyond the mind and of the Supreme, which is beyond awareness. You mean to say that even awareness is not real?
MAHARAJ: As long as you deal in terms: real—unreal, awareness is the only reality that can be. But the Supreme is beyond all distinctions and to it the term “real” does not apply, for in it all is real and, therefore, need not be labeled as such. It is the very source of Reality, it imparts reality to whatever touches. It just cannot be understood through words. Even a direct experience, however sublime, merely bears testimony, nothing more.
Q: But who creates the world?

MAHARAJ: The Universal Mind makes and unmakes everything. The Supreme imparts reality to whatever comes into being. To say that it is Universal Love maybe the nearest we can come to it in words. Just like love it makes everything real, beautiful, and desirable.
Q: Why desirable?
MAHARAJ: Why not? Where do all the powerful attractions come from that make all created things respond to each other, that bring people together, if not from the Supreme?  Shun not desire; see only that it flows into the right channels. Without desire your dead. But with low desires you are a ghost.
Q: What is the experience that comes nearest to the Supreme?
MAHARAJ: Immense peace and boundless love. Realize that whatever is true, noble and beautiful in the universe, it all comes from you, that you yourself are at the source of it. The gods and goddesses that supervise the world maybe most wonderful and glorious beings; yet they are like the gorgeously dressed servants who proclaim the power and the riches of their master.
Q: How does one reach the Supreme state?
MAHARAJ: By renouncing all lesser desires. As long as you are pleased with the lesser, you cannot have the highest. Whatever pleases you, keeps you back. Until you realize the unsatisfactoriness of everything, it’s transiency and limitation, and collect your energies in one great longing, even the first step is not made. On the other hand, the integrity of the desire for the Supreme is by itself a call from the Supreme. Nothing, physical or mental, can give you freedom. You are free once you understand that your bondage is of your own making and you cease forging the chains that bind you.
Q: You told a questionnaire that we are all the same, that we are equals. I cannot believe it. Since I do not believe it, of what use is your statement to me?
MAHARAJ: Your disbelieve does not matter. My words are true and they will do their work. This is the beauty of noble company (Satsang).
Q:  Just sitting near you can it be considered spiritual practice?
MAHARAJ: Of course. The river of life is flowing. Some of its water is here, but so much of it has already reached its goal. You know only the present. I see much further into the past and future, into what you are and what you can be. I cannot but see you as myself. It is the very nature of love to see no difference.
Q: How can I come to see myself as you see me?
MAHARAJ: It is enough if you do not imagine yourself to be the body. It is the I-am-the-body idea that is so calamitous. It binds you completely to your real nature. Even for a moment do not think that you are the body. Give yourself no name, no shape. In the darkness and the silence reality is found.
Q:  Must not I think with some conviction that I am not the body? Where am I to find such conviction?
MAHARAJ: Behave as if you were fully convinced and the confidence will come. What is the use of mere words? A formula, a mental pattern will not help you. But unselfish action, free from all concern with the body and its interest will carry you into the very heart of Reality.
Q: where am I to get the courage to act without conviction?
MAHARAJ: Love will give you the courage. When you meet somebody wholly admirable, love-worthy, sublime, your love and admiration will give you the urge to act nobly.
Q: Not everybody knows to admire the admirable. Most of the people are totally insensitive.
MAHARAJ: Life will make them appreciate. The very weight of accumulated experience will give them eyes to see. When you meet a worthy man or woman, you will love and trust him/her and follow his/her advice. This is the role of the realized people—to set an example of humanity for others to admire and love. Beauty of life and character is a tremendous contribution to the common good.
Q: Must we not suffer to grow?
MAHARAJ: It is enough to know that there is suffering that the world suffers. Alone neither pleasure not pain enlighten. Only understanding does. Once you have grasped the truth that the world is full of suffering, that to be born is a calamity, you will find the urge and the energy to go beyond it. Pleasure puts you to sleep and pain wakes you up. If you do not want to suffer, don’t go to sleep. You cannot know yourself through bliss alone, for bliss is your very nature. You must face the opposite, but you are not, define enlightenment.

I AM THAT: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj pp. 300-306


 

PRAJNA GINTY is a spiritual teacher, Hakomi Therapist, Consciousness guide and author of the Amazon Best Seller: Edge of Grace: A Fierce Awakening to Love.  As a single mom of round prajna copytwo children with special needs, she was inspired to create The Flowing River School and Sangha Project (2001). She is also the creator of The Embodiment Intensive (2006). Prajna has been featured in One Truth, Many Voices, Buddha at the Gas Pump, Living-from-Love, 10,000 Awakenings and Conscious TV. She came to spiritual realization by way of mysticism and three decades of extensive training in the world’s non-dual wisdom traditions, depth psychology and living an ordinary life. Inspired by Ramana Mahashi, her root teacher Adyashanti, and her children, her teachings are practical, non-dogmatic and elicit the direct knowing of who we are amidst everyday life. She is widely known for her depth of presence, unabated compassion and potent meditations for reclaiming your original wholeness and aliveness. She graciously points to the truth and happiness that is already present in you, and creates a soft place to land and embody your true self for the deepest satisfaction in life.

How to Befriend Monkey Mind

In this blog Prajna addresses the challenge of ‘monkey mind’ or ‘the narrator’ and how to befriend the content of mind. She highlights natural meditation as a way of being and offers six tips for not getting hooked by the ‘monkey mind’ or ‘narrator’ and how to realize the direct experience of unified of wholeness and connection to all of nature. She ends with a short video clip from a talk: “A Remedy for Spiritual Bypass.”

monkey

One of the best challenges that anyone can face in the jungle is a hungry monkey. In terms of natural meditation, this is similar to meeting the challenge of the voice in the head. For this article, I refer to monkey mind as the narrator, that voice in the head that is constantly cajoling for attention by evaluating, judging, minimizing, exaggerating, dissing, or running off into all sorts of commentaries about what happened in the past and projecting the same into the future. So much of our thinking is completely random or whimsical. Like the monkey swinging from branch to branch gathering what it can along the way. You cannot control it.

How do we work with this monkey, break free of gravitational pull of the narrator?

We will explore breaking the habit of living in the narration, day after day, week after week, the constant story telling of the mind, and bringing attention back into your natural field of unified awareness, consciousness, wholeness.

I just returned from a fortifying excursion into the Amazonian jungle near Iquitos, Peru. After a day of travel, I arrived safely to Iquitos, took a rickshaw to meet a small boat, traveled an hour through the muddy rivers, and hiked into the heart of the jungle. My luggage did not arrive until ten days later.

At first I did not realize how blessed I was to be with minimal belongings. I was without books, taro cards, cosmetics, technology, or sturdy sandals. Some of the basics, skirt, boxer shorts, and tank tops were loaned to me. Other than that it was the jungle and my naked self. I’ve been to the jungle many times yet this time; the concerto of the jungle became more pronounced—more vivid. In the quiet of being without items that might occupy time, my senses became acutely attuned to the exhilarating robust nature around me. Days and nights progressed, with a wide expression of birds, owls, monkeys, and unidentified creatures echoing loudly and feeling serenely close. I felt the proximity of the slithering snakes, lizards, and bellowing frogs walking barefoot along trails in mostly dark rainy weather. When the sun shined tiny colorful insects nested upon the radiance of blooming flowers. With each noticing something inside of me felt nourished, as if I too have an animal and plant self that delights in the unique and exquisite expressions in nature.

On day four I was relaxing in a hammock on the porch of my Tambo, (a simple hut enclosed with transparent netting) when I noticed a long tailed black monkey with patches of white fur peering down at me. She wasn’t any wider than the trunk of the tree she was comfortably perched upon. I don’t know how long or often she frequented this tree. I found myself listening and looking out for her on a regular basis. The more I relaxed, the more I noticed. She appeared and remained relaxed until I tired to approach her. As if she could feel me coming, not knowing what my plan was, she would jump around in sharp alertness. When I sat still, remained curious about her, and let her be as she is, she comfortably enjoyed herself. It was as if we became transfixed upon each other, mystically still without a sense of time or space between us. I became the monkey and the monkey became me, unified within a voluminous sense of wholeness. As long as I remained still without an agenda to do anything with her, an imminent peace perfumed the texture of the jungle. I could taste the sweetest nectar seeping into every pore of my body soothing my nervous system. I imagined the same for her.

Once again I discovered precious keys to working with the challenging unpredictability of monkey mind, the narrator. Sometimes we need to step out of the spaces that we normally inhabit. This includes all of the different ways, people, or things on our ‘to do’ list that we occupy or distract ourselves with. Pause and breathe into a wider space of relaxation that occurs when we are not burdening ourselves with distractions. Allow yourself, right now with whatever is presenting itself, to be exactly as it is. Without an effort or thought to change any part of it. Notice what happens when you relax trying to do something with it, control it, suppress it, criticize it, label it or call it wrong. This may sound radical amidst common meditation techniques that emphasize mind control, making your mind quiet, attaining an altered state, or achieving fixed levels before you allow yourself to simply relax and give up resistance to what it. This is the most efficacious way to befriend the varied challenges of monkey mind. This is going to the root of the issue and allowing all of the committee members of judges, critics, storytellers, etc. to have a permanent vacation.

The little story of my friend the monkey is a good example. All narration begins with the assumptions we hold about whatever we encounter. If we believe monkeys are dangerous or a problem, that they’re only interested in your food and biting you, this will create a behavior of avoidance. In the same way if we believe that any kind of thought or thinking pattern is problematic, shouldn’t be happening, needs to change or be altered, we have fallen into a pattern of avoiding thoughts. This very avoidance solidifies the habit of believing that your assumptions are true. This closes the door to the necessary element of curiosity. Curious wonder opens us up to a wide relaxation that allows us to take in much more of what is happening. The cloud of assumption begins to clear to seeing reality as it is, without a commentary about it. That part of us that already knows and resonates with reality beyond the surface of assumptions implodes your awareness. This feels right, whole, and true. There’s rightness knowing you are awareness. You are awareness, as awareness you feel a sense of unification between the seer, the seeing, and the seen. Assumptions fall away; you are left with a unified sense of wholeness. The fabric of existence is awareness, you are awareness, and the objects of awareness are awareness. Only awareness.

In the jungle I was given the gift of very minimal distractions. This alone gives more space for the panorama of the fabric of existence to be noticed and to seep into every cell and pore of the body.

Here are a few tips for stepping into rather than stepping away from the areas in life where you feel challenge, triggered or afraid:

  • Step outside of your ordinary habitat, outside of your habitual space of comfort. Take stock of what clutters your life. Perhaps it is time for a spring cleaning. Jump into a river, the ocean, the woods. Take a long walk in nature and feel that part of you that resonates with nature.
  • Notice your alignment with the sounds, movements, plants, and elements in nature. Is there a part of you that argues with the varied expressions of nature? For example, should the woodpecker, peck? The humming bird, hum? The bumble bee, buzz? Notice there is a you that knows the rightness of pecking, humming, buzzing,  and is already in alignment with the movements of nature.
  • Sit down for a minute perhaps under a tree, on a bench or back at your home; allow that challenging thought or stream of thoughts to surface. Can you be with them in the same way you’re with the movements of nature? Can you relax into the rightness of thoughts moving without adding a commentary?
  • Remain with wide-open curious wonder. Be the space, the context, like the jungle in which all of these sounds and movements are happening. Members of your mental committee may arise, simply notice them without any effort to change them. You are allowing a habit to shift from giving attention to the content to relaxing as the context, the space, the jungle, the fabric of existence.
  • Notice what happens. The entirety of the jungle becomes your friend. Nothing is needed, no special clothing, position, or preparation, just you as you are. Your monkey mind is your best friend until you try to change it.
  • Feel the stability of your natural connection to the fabric of existence. Ground here like a redwood tree with never ending roots and let your true untouched self blossom.

One of the main reasons we meditate is to connect with this unified field of awareness or consciousness. Here we feel intimately engaged and not overly attached to the content of our minds, simultaneously, we know that multifaceted perceptions are resting in this unified field of consciousness. Meditation is a way to access this and call it forth. I think of meditation as an art form.

My example in the jungle shows that meditation is not about following cookie cutter instructions. We get the feel or the sense of meditation as innate to our being, a natural, fluid and dynamic way of being with ourselves, life — the jungle of the world as it presents itself. Rather than trying to meditate, we simply open ourselves to allowing natural meditation to reveal itself. Techniques help us to provide a space for meditation to arise in us, to show us what natural meditation is. We do not have to limit ourselves to any given time period on a meditation cushion, theoretical practices, stages or levels, life is meditation. Every aspect of life is an invitation for meditation to reveal itself.

To continue this exploration enjoy this ten minute video clip from a talk on “A Remedy for Spiritual Bypass when we are Triggered.”


PRAJNA GINTY is a spiritual teacher, Hakomi Therapist, personal guide and author of the books Living Awake and Amazon Best seller: Edge of Grace: A Seeker’s Path to the Heart of Liberation.  As a single mom of round prajna copytwo children with special needs, she was inspired to create The Flowing River School and Sangha Project (2001). She is also the creator of The Embodiment Intensive (2006). Prajna has been featured in One Truth, Many Voices, Buddha at the Gas Pump, Living-from-Love, 10,000 Awakenings and Conscious TV. She came to spiritual realization by way of mysticism and three decades of extensive training in the world’s non-dual wisdom traditions, depth psychology and holistic healing. Inspired by Ramana Mahashi, her root teacher Adyashanti, and her children, her teachings are practical, non-dogmatic and elicit the direct knowing of who we are amidst ordinary everyday life. She is widely known for her depth of presence, unabated compassion and potent meditations for reclaiming your original wholeness and aliveness. She graciously points to the truth and happiness that is already present in you, and creates a soft place to land to embody your true self for the deepest satisfaction in life.

Featured Review: ‘Transforming, courageous love’

Feature Review: ‘Transforming, courageous love’
By Mara Harnett
“This book kindle cover OCT 2015is a very special cradle of transforming love….This profound sharing by Prajna impacts me deeply. It’s such a close encounter with the deepest heart, with the essential fabric of love, of belonging, of reaching up to Spirit as we love and raise children. It is an example of living a courageous life and facing great challenges, deeply nourished by Spirit. Here is an example of the capacity to live our deepest knowing with our children, from our true nature.
“Prajna shows us, with gracious detail and intimacy, the portals to being that a mother’s love enters. All the tiger-mother moments of life come up to the surface for me, and the courage of love, as Prajna stands up for her daughters. I felt an intimacy while reading, and pleasure in the language and humor.
“I felt communion and curiosity with the source awareness it expresses. I delighted in each daughter. I was impacted by each hardship and by each communion between mother and child. Those were highlighted to me as I read, the joy and honor that each received. I can feel new awakenings, through Prajna and her beautiful daughters, of truth and love. This is an astounding and vivifying book.”

Purchase Edge of Grace HERE, or on Amazon.com for the Kindle version.

Activate Your Limbic Aliveness

In this blog I recount experiences of my daughter’s activation of the limbic system. I explain what the limbic system is and how our habits are anchored in feeling states: the somatic/attitudinal patterns that provide an automatic framework in and from which we form beliefs, behaviors and relationships.

I show that within in each of us there is an innate presence of divine wholeness that is sacred and unscathed that can be known directly regardless of unfolding circumstances. I propose that to embody our original wholeness, to be who we are without pretense, and to function from this knowing in a way that is richly satisfying, integrated, and engaged with others and the world is the basis of human realization.

I close with seven activities for activating your limbic aliveness.

I invite you to participate in my Embodiment Intensive as a profound and deeply experiential opportunity to live as and from your original wholeness. Register here.

AbbysilksYou may already know my daughter Abby. She is one of the characters in my book Edge of Grace. I often refer to her as “the unstoppable Abby.” When she was born along with her sister at 1.2 pounds she was given a slim prognosis of surviving. A few days after her birth her gut split open. This led to a series of surgeries and interventions that required calling in a special surgeon from Canada. When it was time to give permission for the surgery the Doctor told me, “I’ve never seen a baby as small as Abby survive this surgery. She’s one pound. I have forty five minutes max to go in clear out the infection and sew her back up again.” “Oh.” I mumbled imagining to myself that he must not be speaking to me. Read more

VIDEO: The Power of Meditation – Healing Trauma

VIDEO: The Power of Meditation – Healing Trauma

VIDEO: The Power of Meditation – Healing Trauma Author Prajna Ginty recounts her experiences of meditation. She explains how, even though it might be very difficult to begin with, meditation can help heal trauma.

In today’s video blog I talk about the lessons I learned while sitting with Love Teaching Number 3 that was passed from Shams to Rumi. I will outline 4 levels of insight or understanding

  1. Beyond words
  2. Outside
  3. Inner
  4. Inner of the inner

In the video I explore how trauma comes into play within each of these 4 levels. Keep Reading…

Returning the Favor

CHAPTER 15: RETURNING THE FAVOR

AS LONG AS WE CAN

July 2013

At the end of July I receive a phone call from one my sisters that my mother in New York is very ill. She is admitted to the hospital. It isn’t looking good. Our conversation leads me to immediately book a flight to see her. My brother-in-law picks me up at the airport and fills me in on the details. She had colon issues for several years that were never resolved. My mom, like me, is not a fan of using pharmaceuticals. She practices preventative care or treats herself with natural remedies. In this healing crisis she has lost thirty pounds, is weak and unable to eat. Now she is lying in a hospital bed with an I.V. with medication dripping into her veins, unable to recognize me. Read more

How the Seed of Awakening Is Ready To Blossom within All of Us

How the Seed of Awakening Is Ready To Blossom within All of Us

 

How the Seed of Awakening Is Ready To Blossom within All of UsAuthor Prajna Ginty explains how spiritual awakening is not something to be acquired, attained or achieved; for at the core of our essence we are already awake. 

When we seek spiritual awakening many of us start gathering information or greater understanding, or we travel to India, hike to mountaintops, or go and live in a cave. Although all of these things are worthy aspects in our spiritual exploration, they are not necessary nowadays. Now, we live in a time where profound teachings are just a download away. However, downloading, acquiring, and accumulating teachings are not the same as the deep recognition of yourself as spirit that we define as spiritual awakening. Read more

Tell Me You Are Kidding

book sample 6-2015This is the prologue of a book about a mom, love and life with her three daughters, two with special needs, and their journey together. The stories are filled with universal heart opening themes laced with humor, tragedy, sweat, tears and a wisdom that delivers us to surrender, eternal peace and cosmic humor.

It’s late spring of 2004, and we are driving in our family Toyota van along the rolling hills of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, lush green foliage surrounding us in the cool damp air, the sky a hazy blue. Nine-year old Autumn sits next to me in the front seat, her hands busy crocheting a green and yellow book bag, her eyes peeled, ready to spot the bold red heart on the Variety Camp sign, a charity-funded camp for children with special needs and medical conditions. I peek in the mirror and check on my twin daughters, Abby and Libby, who, if all goes well, will soon be spending ten days at the overnight camp at no cost to our family. Read more