The moments of beloved transition.

Bhavana Dee

The other day I received a newsletter in my e-mail. I receive a number of these, mostly having to do with our friends around the world. Often times I will simply scan them to notice any developments and move on. This newsletter in particular was from a group that does grassroots community development through developing the individuals within the community in South Asia. Auroville Village Action is a group that was founded by a friend of mine, Bhavana Dee many years ago.

In the sidebar of the newsletter, I noticed a brief mention. My dear friend had passed away on May 11, 2011. (For simple reasons, I was glad to find on the calendar that my daughter had stayed home from school that day.)

I’m not writing this to say a lot, only that I love my friend, always have and always will. Also, that I want to repost here the blog I found from her expressing herself in the last period of her life where she was writing publicly. There are words of her spiritual insights, commentary on cancer and the nature of this treatment and possible cures, but most of all–the words are simply those of a beautiful soul reflecting on the beauty that it is, and more precisely, the love that it is to be alive together.

Thank you for all your beauty and your love, Bhavana.

And so…

MONDAY, MAY 9, 2011

Note to my friends

5 May 2011

GOODBYE, BHAVANA, Part 1, The Physical Story

In January i was experiencing enough discomfort in my neck to go to an ENT specialist who sent me for tests which showed evidence of thyroid cancer, either medullary or anaplastic. Following up at the Cancer Research Centre at nearby JIPMER (a government post-graduate teaching hospital, second best in India), i was admitted for an operation to remove the medullary tumour on Feb 7th, and that operation was successful, although it showed much more aggressive growth and adhesion than expected and the post-op biopsy showed anaplastic cancer, an extremely fast growing and deadly cancer, and i am now experiencing large tumour growth in my neck. I discovered through a great book, Outsmart Your Cancer, an alternative treatment in late April (much too late really), and it is a race between the cancer and the remedy. The cancer threatens to cut off breathing, eating and swallowing faster than the remedy can kill off cancer cells. So here i sit short of breath, barely able to swallow, extremely weak and low energy… It’s extremely fast, a week ago i was climbing the stairs (albeit slowly) to an airy room for evenings – today i need help to bet to the bathroom.

GOODBYE. BHAVANA AND HELLO AGAIN, Part 2, The Inner Story

But most interesting for me has been the inner journey which this diagnosis triggered. My first reaction was actually, “O good, i will get to prepare for my death and depart consciously.” I think the main factor in this rather positive reaction was that 17 years ago i nearly died of cerebral malaria – coming out of a two week coma, i had a very strong sense that death is really not anything to be afraid of (it’s much harder on the people all around than on the dying/dead person). I wondered how deep that fearlessness was, but i have found that it is sustaining at an even keel during all this period. Also, i am 67 and have had a very full life – so i’m not facing a lot of regrets or unfinished dreams. And i must admit that the 9 months last year i spent with my 92 year old mother in a nursing home in Florida made me open to a relatively early departure before sight, hearing, mobility, etc. breakdown. But i am not inviting death, i was always fully happy to continue on living, and with wonderful support from my community here, entered the course of further tests to ascertain the diagnosis and take the appropriate treatment. I was operated on by one of the best surgeons in India, and a wonderful person also.

Meanwhile, i also began to work on the body of work which has been growing up over the last decades which approaches cancer as a turning point in one’s life (specially that of Dr. Carl Simonton and Dr. David Servan Schreiber, video , and video), and encourages one to look at the stresses which have led up to the onset (the key causative factor they’ve found is not the stress itself but a feeling of helplessness around it and i had two where they only solution was “give it to Mother”, but although the mind accepted, the vital found them intolerable), the secondary benefits of falling sick (primarily that all my friends come and tell me how much they love and will miss me, showering me with genuine care and evoking responsive feelings in me, and also being freed from the daily grind of routine busy-ness), and for the “message” of the disease (in my case, precisely that i was neglecting my inner work and that i should give it priority). This seems just like integral yoga to me, and more and more i found that the cancer seemed like a blessing, acting as Death-as -Guru overcoming my resistances to spiritual progress and goading me into intensified practice.

Look within

The most important of these practices has been listening to Shraddhavan’s reading of Savitri on CD. I find her reading so evocative and smooth, not only do i listen during the day but i sometimes play it all night long, dosing off and then waking to listen. Savitri is mantric, we know, and when listened to has deep effect. One night i experienced Mother coming in – She took my hands and whirled me around , letting me go flying. I swooped and dived and moved around in the air, so happy to be free of the heaviness of ordinary body consciousness. I thought to myself, this is an astral/vital experience not a spiritual one – but that’s okay since i can tell the difference. It was such fun, and i was so grateful i just lay my head on Her thigh, grasped Her hands and cried. Another night, i awoke at exactly midnight and Shraddhavan had just begun the Book of Fate – i was immediately completely alert and listened rapt for 4-5 hours through the Dialogue with Death. During the listening my mind was working at least two tracks, one was understanding what Sri Aurobindo was saying in a deeper way than i had ever understood before, and another was seeing how all the stresses i was feeling in my personal life and in relation to the worsening economic, ecological and political crises on the planet, as well as all my existential and metaphysical doubts about mind and meaning , were being addressed by Sri Aurobindo so precisely. My consciousness seemed to be rising up above this level of conflict, confusion and contradiction to where i could see with bright certainty that every single factor – the conflicts, the reactions to conflicts, the reactions to reactions, everything i could perceive or imagine, was actually moving and changing in perfect order, part of a larger flux of harmony. And then my previous experience with Mother kicked in as i realised that “flying”, that is being able to swoop down and up on different levels of consciousness, would enable me to easily and lightly keep adjusting and maintaining my state of mind above the conflictual levels without denying them – and that developing that capacity to be aware of my consciousness and adjust could be a priority practice.

At this point my attitude toward cancer treatment took a step forward. Before i had been anticipating a conscious departure, now i began to think about getting yogically skilled enough to make a conscious transition to the next life. I found an interesting thing, that i was much more motivated to “pray” (something i’ve wished to be able to do, but always found difficult) for this transition to move on to a next life so that i could continue to serve conscious evolution on the planet, than to pray for myself living longer or dying well. It came so naturally, so strongly. A little later my mind was straying into thoughts of what sort of parents i should be born to, parents who would recognise the special qualities of their little girl and do everything to encourage and develop those psychic qualities in her, and it suddenly occurred to me i didn’t have to change bodies to do that. I could start taking care of that “little girl” (my psychic being, my soul) right now, from this minute.

But quite typically this rush of peak experiences has been followed by the inevitable troughs where the same obscurities, lassitude and incapacities are the order of the day. As the cancer progresses it makes me very weak, energy-less – and that has proved a good direction to follow: spend much of the day in deep relaxation, “just being”. A lot of purification goes on, as well as aspiring for the consciousness i long to be in, and leaving the results to the Divine. And so it is with me right now, endlessly rocking in the cradle between breaking through into a new body or a new life in this one.

GOOD BYE BHAVANA, Part 3, A Note to my Friends

With all this time “just being” so many of my friends come to mind, and i feel the special quality of love which friendship bestows. I reminds me of a dream i had about a week ago – that i was with a friend who somehow had me lying in a lotus radiating love – it was blissful, i felt really good. But then some pain arose in that lotus-reclining body – but still the love was radiating. I began to see that radiating love was normal for a being, whether we are blissful or painful or so caught up in our little lives that we don’ t even notice. We all just radiate love and that’s how the world holds together. There’s nothing special about it, requiring lotuses and bugles. But if we happen to become aware of it, then it seems special. So friendship is something which gives us a possibility of noticing the radiating of love. Friendship comes by grace, there’s just a rapport and chance to notice the love! And each connection so very unique! How amazing is Infinity. So thanks to all of my friends for this privilege of sharing love and appreciation of Infinity! And please forgive me if i can’t answer to anything you write, because it is already quite a painful accomplishment for me to write this good bye epistle. I love you.

HELLO AGAIN, Part 4

If i recover i will write about the medicine and also about the whole horrid story of how low cost natural non toxic (but non patentable) cancer remedies are suppressed by the “cancer industry”. Meanwhile, if you or a dear one are diagnosed with cancer, you might want to read right away, Outsmart Your Cancer, which very clearly describes 21 alternative cancer remedies which have been curing people for up to 60 years, explaining the way they work, their history, giving testimonials, and directions how to obtain them, and explaining “why, if they work so well, we have never heard of them” (suppression).

POSTED BY BHAVANA AT 1:01 AM

Bhavana passed peacefully at 3:10 am Wednesday morning Auroville time.

MAY 11, 2011 5:44 AM


Transmitting the seed part two

While in the previous note, I did a decent enough job identifying the object of my attention, I think I could be more clear regarding the inquiry.

In the map of overall human meaning making there is definitely an object known as the transmission between the spiritual teacher and the student. I would like to understand more about the nature of the human being who has “received” such transmission as compared to the human who has not. I think that by further understanding this dimension of the human experience, we can more fully and more compassionately embrace one another in our “perfection”.

So perhaps my questions are more to the tune of: what qualities arise in an individual who has successfully received such a transmission? What is the nature of a human species that does not have such a transmission? What about the nature of this transmission, or its seed make it desirable? Assuming we value the qualities within this structure, how can we better facilitate our embrace of it? Can this transmission be found outside of the student/teacher relationship? Can we foster its presence to become abundant?

That’s more, for now…


Transmitting the seed

I’ve just finished enjoying a consideration of the 20th installment of The Future of Love Tele-series titled: The Yoga of Love and Embodiment with Saniel Bonder and Linda Groves-Bonder. In this conversation the guests discussed with the host, Mark Gafni the subject of transmission as it applies to spiritual practice and the importance of having a lineage and teacher. I have questions.

In “the West” we have long had a resistance to this idea of the guru or the master, choosing often to instead believe that we ourselves can learn anything we want and the usefulness of a teacher is limited to their “knowledge” of a subject. At least this archetype of an idea exists in my own subconscious and as such influences my thinking to some degree on the subject. To be fair, I have also been the student (subjective) of a teacher who was considered the transmission point of a number of traditional spiritual lineage. I worked with this teacher for nearly 8 years in close proximity and definitely had an experience of the value of getting out of my own way and surrendering to the “transmission” of what he had to offer. I won’t say today that I believe that there was or was not the transmission of a “seed”, or what that might mean. So this also is part of the DNA of my thinking on the subject.

My experience of this opportunity for transmission was many years ago and I am, in many ways, a much different person today. I have distinctly evolved relationships to “spirituality”, “meditation”, to “self”, to “the Kosmos”. Did I receive some “transmission” that has grown in me and is in some fundamental way responsible for the person I am today? Is it possible that I received a transmission at that time that is wholly irrelevant to the being I am today? If I in fact managed to receive no transmission, what is that that I might be missing today?

After listening to the conversation with three widely respected spiritual teachers, it seems of imperative value that anyone seeking the full experience of manifesting in their being must receive this “transmission” from a teacher of some kind. But what is the nature of this transmission? If you “get it” do you automatically “know it”? Can you “get it”, evolve, and need “it” in a more evolved form? Without it, what do I lack? Without it, what will be absent from my experience or capacities or “self”? Is it possible to evolve through known stages of development into those barely, or unknown without it? Is the nature of such a seed kosmically true in such a way that it can manifest within a being without a lineage transmission? If so, what is this that is born, this seed, within an individual?

I have questions.

What is this transmission? Do I need it? Where is it found? Do I have it? If so, is it contagious? Do I give it? If so, how?

In the dialogue, the subject strikes me as profoundly important for one such as I seeking to become deeply intimate with the depths of consciousness. Please come friends, and help me. What is your experience? Your thoughts, opinions, or interest in the subject?

Come Love, and Welcome.


just a little writing

Taking a few moments out to write. Why?

I want to write. Really? Why?

What do you want to write? What do you believe about writing?

Reflective writing aids development. Writing them down adds value to one’s thoughts as they can be reviewed, reflected upon and considered by others remotely in time and space. Writing leaves a legacy to aid in the understanding of an individual in case anyone becomes curious to understand that individual. Writing is good practice for more writing. Practiced and improved writing can be used to create an artifact that brings joy or relieve suffering for others. Writing can help the author feel as though they are “doing something of value”. Writing produces an artifact that can be pointed to in retrospect while the author smiled on him and says “look, I did not simply waste time–I created something!” Writing often can provide continuity of identity–“I am a writer.” Writing creates a vehicle to share oneself with others which may lead to a feeling of community, or could possibly be used to cover-up a sense of loneliness. Writing down one’s thoughts can be a vehicle for testing them for value–do others appreciate these thoughts?

I guess I’m one to experiment and learn a little something about tone– when I think of the difference between thinking and speaking and writing (which is in my case, speaking to a digital audience) I find thinking–when it’s not wandering madly which is most of the time–is a bit methodical. Speaking tends to be a bit different as it flows as in conversation bubbling up surprises in what is said and what is evoked by it. Even these words–as I write them I ponder their veracity, can I make such statements–they are certainly not grounded in any formal methodological research. And writing, how is that different…?

Anyway, about tone. I have found the didactic tone very easy to adopt for writing in the past. And why not–I’m the one writing, I know why and what I want to say, therefore putting words to paper (digital or otherwise) is nothing more than a formality, a vehicle for my prescription. I don’t think that’s the kind of writing I want to do. I want to have a more inquisitive tone, one that draws the reader in, inviting them into questions and inviting their questions. I want to practice a tone that lifts one up like a rise in the trail as it crests the edge of the meadow affording views up the draw in the land towards the high peaks. Such a landscape encourages awe and wonder and inspiration as the reader journeys forth. I don’t want to write conclusions, as a friend once said “conclusions are where we tire of thinking”. I would rather make introductions, introductions to perspectives I have occupied, or am occupying, or am stretching myself into.

I want to write to show the world as a little larger, a little friendlier, a little more inviting. I want to create surface area for readers to explore further contours of their own perspectives and those of the world around them. I want to write to bring my perspectives into focus for me, not so that I can inhabit them more fully, so that I can see them and smile and wave as they fall way into larger and larger contexts of enjoyment.

Won’t you join me?


The fortunate and timely death of The Integral Community…

Obituary of a fairytale.

I must say, as I contemplate what I’m about to write I am struck by the idea that it is essentially, in many ways, an advocation in the negative. I mention this because that is just the type of approach and will often cause me to stop reading an article or a blog, or other writing. I just have this tick that says over and over again “add, contribute, generate, be creative… don’t waste your energy tearing down, let entropy and time take care of the evolutionary garbage. Grow and become what is to evolve.” Compassion is blind, it loves both that which is living and that which is dying equally.

In any case, off to the races…

I have been exposed to the field of “Integral” for about four years now. And I love the beauty of this movement in time. The language, the collective idealism, the people with a shared sensation of “this is really something, we are going somewhere.”

Within that, let’s call it “The Integral Community” I hear many people identifying with “Integral”, and why not–that is what we do; we identify with a concrete self. Again and again I find myself defining myself, even in relief–“I am not that which is defined” (another definition, and concrete as any.) If we must find ourselves awakening again and again to a constructed identity of self, why not find ourselves identifying with ideas and qualities and stories and other concrete objects of selfhood that carry some ethical or moral virtue?

Integral, that is an ethical or moral virtue, is it not? After all, Integral is a movement of Compassion–is seeking to embrace, include, and bring forward that which has come before and still retains some form of vitality, as well as to meet and enjoin that which is to come. Isn’t this what so many of us find attractive about this way of looking at the world, ourselves, and each other in it? Aren’t we all seeking that which we love, to be loved, and to love—that we might find ourselves safely embraced, and safe to embrace?

Yes, if I must identify–I would like to identify with love and compassion and integration with that which I identify with as “other”. I would like to identify with you, fellow traveler, and possibly even fellow embracer of “Integral”. That is after all, what makes us “The Integral Community”… or does it?

Within The Integral Community, a theme I have heard emerging from nearly every corner, again and again, indeed even from some of the “highest” seats of this establishment, is and are the “problems” of and posed by (what I will here call) first-tier. All of those people and structures and systems which are not Integral, indeed the great majority of us on the planet today, represent the levels of development, thinking, and worldview that have created the conditions which we are now facing as imminent challenges. For those of us in The Integral Community this poses a very “us versus them” kind of problem. This problem: how to steward “them” as they become “us”, and to prevent them from doing much more damage on the way; is a fairytale. There are beautiful ideas hidden within it and behind it, but it is not real.

I have two concerns with this.

First, as you may have picked up, there is this condition of us versus them, and their potential inability to “be” us without some serious work.

Second, there is the very identification of ourselves as “The Integral Community”.

I will take the second first, as I believe it will inform the first.

Who is The Integral Community? In my experience, it is far more than the few individuals I have met whose consciousnesses are truly grounded in what appears from here to be an Integral Wave in the evolution of being. What this means, is simply that many of those of us who identify with the ethical and moral virtue of Integral, are simply not at our cores, that. This in no way diminishes our aspirations, our hopes, our triumphs and our failures–it simply means, that we are in fact “them”.

It might seem a little cliché… “begin within”, “you can’t be part of the solution, if you’re not part of the problem”, and other seeming platitudes–but these are the realities within our identification with being here in the first place.

Integral, it seems, is not necessarily integral.

But we can be. The moment we realize that “integral” INCLUDES those things “not integral” (remember: I am not that which is defined) we find ourselves one with the very challenges we imagine ourselves to be facing. We are in fact, all of those levels that don’t seem to want to “play nice” with an integral agenda. Not only is that “them” ourselves, but it is our children, our lovers, each other.

The next time you’re in the room with “integral conversations”, listen for the silences where there once was “those who are not yet integral”, and remember–it is not about bringing anyone into “The Integral Community”, that never existed, it is about bringing integral through yourself to the world.


Ego, no ego?

Speaking on the phone to C. the other day, the conversation was around the subject of “ego” and where and if and when it might go.

C., you offered the perspective that the ego dissolves completely and finally upon the death of the corporal body. This of course touches into our earlier conversations surrounding subject of consciousness, identity, and its relationship to the gross realm.

I did further pick up this conversation today with Russ and found our passage a little delightful.

The inquiry was for me, “initially”, around whether in the human development experience there was a fulcrum, possibly in the line of state development (gross, subtle, causal, Turiya, and non-dual) whereby the entirety of the prior experience of the individual was deemed to be in some sense, illusory, or a dream and the experience after the fulcrum was in contrast “awakened” or, “enlightened”. It seemed to me, that having a relationship to such a potentially profound point in an individual’s development would be quite relevant to an interest in “the developing human”.

I seem to be familiar with, or to understand at least to some degree the phenomenon of development along a variety of lines as identified, and studied within the human organism. It felt relevant to me to inquire into the nature of that understanding, what is its ground, and in what manner and circumstance might be entirely subsumed. Further, I’m familiar with so-called “peak experiences” wherein an individual might experience a kind of satori or “awakening” that would last for some time, leaving the individual “changed” in its wake, I mention this, also in contrast to the kind of “fulcrum” I described above.

Russell was describing to me something he had recently heard a Zen teacher described about having entered a time of “no ego” that seemed to last for a while before the teacher ultimately decided to let it go in favor of a new “ego without ego” state. This reminded me of a recent description I heard of a Taoist identification of something called “way no way”.

In considering this, I began to wonder about the nature of action, and action as inquiry, and inquiry as action. If we moved to act, or to inquire, we may well discover that it is relevant to the action, or inquiry to understand its various basis. What precisely is it? What conditions must be met for its life to be fruitful? Where and in what context is it to occur? What are the rules and boundaries governing its existence? Why would I undertake such a thing? Should I undertake such a thing? And finally and possibly most miserably, and maybe most ecstatically, what or who is this I that proposes this in the first place?

Discovering this connection between action, or being, or Eros, and the ego whose nature seems for the time, to elude me I recognize that from this perspective the basis for any action or inquiry I might undertake also fundamentally eludes me.

Logically (to which my devotion is shaky at best) I must conclude that my choices in action are either:

  1. wait before taking any initiative of any kind to find myself in a full understanding, a full embrace and integrally complete (agape) of the ego, whereby the basis of any initiatives can be fully held. Or,
  2. act in unconsciousness, or ignorance of the basis of any initiative I undertake.
  1. To me, the first feels quite noble, to participate in unfolding only from a place of supreme enlightenment. The second on the other hand almost sinister, misguided, or at best, ignorant.

I thought at this point my work was clearly cut out for me… I know I can love and embrace the first, but what about the second…?

To be continued…


Wondering about relationships to infinity…

Wondering about relationships to infinity…

“A conclusion is where one gets tired of thinking” — I believe a friend of mine once said. In a certain sense, it seems that life is a continuous process of surrender. There are certainly beautiful and interesting questions to be asked surrounding the subject of motivation. Towards what are we motivated, and in that, where along the way do we surrender? There are obviously little motivations towards which we achieve full span before surrender… take the ring of the ice cream bell for instance, many a time have I enjoyed a delicious fudge sickle while walking away from that truck satisfied….

But here I find myself led again towards my initial inquiry, “the motivation” for this article; what are the motivations beneath my motivations, and upon these motivations, what motivations ride?

It is as if, by the sheer act of looking, more is created. At a certain point, I decide that that is enough, and move onto another line of looking (inquiry). That decision is a kind of surrender to the partiality of the knowing, in favor of some competing inquiry or value. It may be, that I make no such decision and, instead, continue looking for the motivations beneath the motivations, or those above, or was it turtles? No matter… eventually, not deciding to surrender the line of inquiry, I die of some alternate motivation. That death may be seen as some kind of surrender, and yet…

Here I find myself led again towards my initial inquiry, the seeing of “surrender” or “death” as a kind of object set apart from infinity is another surrender of inquiry into the (possibly infinite) nature of surrender, or death.

Yes, I could go on, and yes I will surrender to some (hopefully flowering) of this moment I am resolving. There is such a soft beauty, I feel in my heart when I allow the infinite to rest its little ideas of the finite in “me”.

I have questions.

When I look back through time to this place so many of us agree to call “the Big Bang”, I see a moment, like any other moment, little different than this moment, if at all. Some process of unfolding reached a point relative to us today that we could somehow “understand”. The Big Bang was not a beginning in any empirical sense so much as it was a fulcrum of understanding relative to our (collective?) Awareness today. Earlier in our history, there were other “beginning” and from now until later in our future history, there will be others…

Realizing this has, for me, implications — and I think for those of us who think and speak as well — towards the way we consider not only the nature of the vast physical universe, or the subatomic and smaller, and smaller, and smaller qualities, but our very being “within it”.

Can we find, and further can we enable a way of knowing that honors its own fuzzy beaches at the front of the vast mystery that lives at the very edge of our every breath, every being, and every…?

What kind of person, what kind of work, kind of play, kinds of community, of friendship, of identities might be enacted by such a way of knowing?

What might we feel like, if we were today, as we are?

Postscript

We are moving, “I” my identity, in the middle of a vast metaphoric sphere that contains all the things we believe, perceive, suspect, Intuit, identify, enact, experience, and more at its very center. A place so small as to be no larger than the entirety of our lives, whether that be one, or millions. If there is a beginning, then it is not linear, it is rather that single point, from which all else comes to matter. We may argue whether or not that matters at all, but that argument is the very matter to which I am gesturing. To quote the beloved Leonard Cohen “there is a war between the ones who say there is a war and the ones who say there isn’t.”

Begin.


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