The zen of “not a . . . . christmas for all of us” | a religion, a family tradition, a way of life does not suit all of us and we may not have been born into a family that truly accepts us for the true being we are.
I write mainly about my holistic approach to life freedom, and of course freedom presupposes security – the sacred quality of the Mother. There are deep, deep structures within the ancient Spiritual Heritage of India; the Science of Life that is the whole of Yoga, concepts and mysticism of Vedanta, centuries-old philosophy: founded on an eternally powerful feminine principle which give me inner security for the freedom to live my life and I sincerely hope that India is proud and feels our appreciation and gratitude. Because, of course, all of this flowed into the form-less-ness that is zen.
I was researching some of Indian philosopher J. Krishnamurti’s quotes on Meditation for a series of articles and in Pupul Jayakar’s biography on him, found this on “the loving Indian mothers”, a very poignant description of his own mother who had died when he was young: “. . . the happiest memories of my childhood centre round my dear mother, who gave us all the loving care for which Indian mothers are well-known.”
It pushed a button for me. I didn’t have an easy childhood or “normal” parenting. I still get sad about that.
I discovered 20 years ago, drinking lots of Yogi Women’s Tea whilst writing a book on women’s wellbeing, that Ayurveda is “the science of Yoga, Meditation and Astrology (besides the natural healing knowledge of life). It was news to me, but made sense of my love of Astrology and its part in the whole of my approach to life. This often explains Divine energies . . . and Karma.
So, feeling sadness well up in my heart and my mind, I turned to my Karma Astrology and discovered the guidance to “love the mother inside”. Of course. Everything comes from within. And as a teacher and a writer, and drawing on the whole of yoga, zen and practice, I have the emotional healing arts I need in times of sadness.
Personally, I love the concepts of the Bliss State, the stillness of the Ultimate Mind of the Divine which accepts us totally and knows that as human beings we need comfort. And this exists powerfully in 3 deeply feminine concepts from the Spiritual Heritage that India has gifted to the world, in the practice of seeking comfort in times of sadness: The Mother of the Breath, The Sea of Oms and The Regarder of the Cries of the World.
The Mother of the Breath which breathes all of us and breathes life force energy into us. This mother caresses us with each breath, each breath breathing all of us. And each of these slow, rhythmic breaths bringing a relaxation and a sweetness to the bodymind and emotions: breath, sadness and joy co-existing in the space deep within. There is so much comfort there. And this was meant to comfort us – Primordial Goddess gave man breath to be able to “be” within the chaos of the realms between Heaven and Earth.
The Sea of Oms. The Sea of Oms is out there in the Universe, eternal and constantly vibrating, washing over us and soaking up our emotions. Within the continuous single sound of Om, the sound of the vibration of the Universe, is our connection with the heart of the Universe. It is our connection with our essence. It is the symbol of our Union. It is the empowering feeling of spirit flowing into our heart.
The Regarder of the Cries of the World. My belief is that Humanity has a broken heart, a hunger and a yearning, following the last 2,000 years of our evolution. In the myth of this name, our cries are always heard and our yearning to return to our Source is watched over with great compassion by the Goddess Avalokiteshvara [Kwan Yin]. Practising a short contemplation in “listening to the cries of the world” is a way of opening up to compassion with a pure and kind heart: acknowledging that we can all hear the hurt in the hearts of all human beings. You sit quietly and let the cries in. This is when we’re resonating with Bindhu Chakra . . . constantly receiving and sending messages with our Divine connection.
So, when sadness wells up, this is my practice with deep, personal care to “love the mother inside”:
Wrap up warmly in a meditation blanket and practice So Ham breathing. At least ten minutes.
Allow your sadness to rise up and let the Sea of Oms wash over the emotion. Then chant. My own practice is: Om . . .
Sit quietly in a receptive, contemplative attitude of mind, and allow The Regarder of the Cries of the World to sit with you.
Then you forgive. In the practice of forgiveness you learn self-acceptance, sometimes one of the hardest things for a human being: accepting your own self, accepting your own good . . . and that you are part of the co-creation process with the Universe, with your Source. We need to forgive ourselves and other people as resentment and bitterness clogs up our connections with our higher vibrations, our subtle bodies, and keeps us in the mundane mind and the pain body. With forgiveness you can recognise your own power in your Soul’s journey to your potential; to your potential divinity: accepting your power in the process of bringing Heaven down to Earth. To let go and move on, we forgive.
So, in my own practice, I forgive myself and go gently for a while just never really knowing when the sadness will come again, but always deeply grateful for what Yoga, Zen and India have given me in my life: Deep comfort in times of sadness.
Susan’s note: J. Krishnamurti An Autobiography Pupul Jayakar: A Fresh Interpretation of the Renowned Philosopher J. Krishnamurti by One of India’s Leading Intellectuals. Harper and Row, 1985.
There are moments when, like it or not, we just have to get stuck in and sacrifice our present for the sake of our future. Our future, right now, seems precarious and vulnerable for humanity.
In these moments, we have to enforce a pragmatic approach, sure – but also, as many, many Ancient zen masters taught us, with a dignity that enables us to uphold our responsibilities. How are we going to hold the vast-ness of one-ness in our arms . . . and yet stay light, engaged, flowing?
There’s never a need for such moments as these [in Cosmic terms] to be miserable. We’re all being given an opportunity to find satisfaction and joy in a scenario that outwardly seems oh-so frustrating and totally ungratifying.
The only thing that’s needed? To bring meaning? An open mind and an open heart.
“Mother, Mother, there’s too many of you crying . . . Brother, brother, brother, there’s far too many of you dying . . . ” Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On?