Saturday, June 20, 2015

Healing: Remembering the Love that is Always There

It is the day after my older son’s graduation from SDSU. I am sitting on his coach in his college apartment, the echoes of last night’s celebrations of the apartment complex quiet save those who will awake with throbbing heads (something I do not not miss at all). I am reflecting on seeing, after five years since his high-school graduation, his mother. I had hoped there would be harmony between us; instead, she made no eye contact as she focused in a manic way on our son. Besides a couple of responses to my remarks in a general conversation with his girlfriend’s family, it has been just awkward avoidance.

DISCIPLE: Yama, I had hoped so much that H and I could bring some healing between us. But it looks like I was wrong.

YAMA: Hasn’t there been any healing? Has there not not been improvement since the last time?

Healing Relationship, Janaka Stagnaro
DISCIPLE: That last time, if I recall correctly, she acted the same. No outright hostility as she would show whenever we talked business.

YAMA: I wasn’t thinking of her, but of you. Are you different?

DISCIPLE: Now that you mention it, I feel a lot more at ease. I didn’t feel the dread, the weakening of the knees, in anticipation of seeing her. Not like I used to when my stomach would flop around like a fish landed on a pier.

YAMA: So would you say your time with her has improved?

DISCIPLE: Framed in that way, sure. But I was hoping for at least a hello. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

YAMA: What another does has no bearing on your healing, on your standing in Happiness. By expecting her to be a certain way, to do what you want her to do, you are limiting your Happiness and thus you will be in greater need of healing.

YAMA: Being calmer in your interaction with her, what does your quiet observation of her around your son’s girlfriend’s family tell you?

DISCIPLE: Someone who is very nervous, very unsure of herself; who wants to impress C’s parents perhaps. And when C’s parents paid for lunch and wouldn’t accept her money, anger arose.

YAMA: And why do you think that anger arose?

DISCIPLE: Maybe because of the poverty she grew up in and this attitude of inferiority of not being good enough that was instilled in her, caused this fury.

YAMA: And if that is so, what is the response one needs to give to bring about healing.

DISCIPLE: I would say pity, but pity implies littleness. So I would say compassion--recognizing her suffering.

YAMA: Very good. When you see her--nay, when you think of her, breathe in her suffering into your Heart and exhale through your Heart the Love that we all are. A love that we always are, even when we forget. Let that be your gift to her, which in turn is your gift to yourself.

And so I sat back upon the couch and closed my eyes and did as directed. I brought H’s image up in my mind: seeing her at the luncheon table, her eyes growing wide in anger, her lips trembling as she was whispering to our son next to her that she was going to leave. In I breathed that image, feeling this heat come into my heart. I held that heat an instant and then released it with the cool feeling directed at her that she was Loved. I repeated this a while until I saw her angel standing behind her, the angel’s hands upon H’s head. And then I could see H become calmer and calmer, until she beamed with the Love that she is. And I declared: And so it is.

          Janaka Stagnaro
       The Teachings of Yama: A Blog with Death

Friday, June 19, 2015

Manifestation: The Union of Thought and Matter

I am sitting at my son’s graduation, waiting for the ceremony to begin. The graduates, dressed in their best, don their robes, excitement in all their faces. My son is with his friends drinking champagne back in the parking garage.

DISCIPLE: Yama, I had a powerful dream last night. I awoke from it weeping.

YAMA: What was it? Tell me the best that you can as dreams have a way of being very slippery.

DISCIPLE: What I can remember was that some organization (government, perhaps?) had me standing in front of a screen. Others were crowded around me to observe what I could do. Images began to flash on the screen. Then I was asked to control the images. The images seem to flash uncontrolled until I started to wave my hands in a helix configuration, from top to bottom. Faster and faster I waved my arms in that snake-like movement. The images began to be controlled until they stopped, and there I saw children doing all manner of silly things, and adults as well. And I said to the observers: “How strange are humans. But how I love them all!” And then I just burst out in a weeping that increased in magnitude until it woke me up in tears.

Insights, Yama?

YAMA: On your trip on the plane yesterday what were you reading?

DISCIPLE: I read an article about this 58-year-old man who was told he could never run again due to his hip condition. Well, he set out to prove them wrong by running up a mountain in record time for his age. And he did it! I could relate as my hip has been giving me pain for many years now.

YAMA: How did he achieve that feat?

DISCIPLE: By a lot of physical training and incremental goals to accomplish.

YAMA: And what did he do mentally?

DISCIPLE: He followed the advice of coaches and athletes who recommended mantras, affirmations (such as, “Unlimited Power courses through me”). While the affirmations sounded trite and fake to him at first, after a while, after a while he started to believe them and actually became part of him.

YAMA: And what did he do about the pain?

DISCIPLE: At first the pain was unbearable and he fought against it. Then he switched his outlook on it and he no longer saw it as pain, but part of suffering. And by embracing it and not pushing it away, he became the suffering, became part of the human condition.

YAMA: Your dream reflected all of this.

DISCIPLE: Please explain, teacher, I’m uncertain what you mean.

Drawing of Blake's Ancient of Days, Janaka Stagnaro
YAMA: The screen of your dream was your mind. By focusing intensely you were able to control the mind. By incorporating the movements of the body to reflect your intention you were better able to focus your energies.

DISCIPLE: Why the shape of the helix?

YAMA: Hermes, the great healer and traveler of thought, used the symbol of two intertwining snakes around a staff as the symbol of healing. It is also the symbol of DNA. When you can focus your thoughts into line with your intention, you bring your mind and body into alignment. And healing occurs.

DISCIPLE: I don’t understand. Please elaborate?

YAMA: Because you are manifesting the Power of the Creator into the world of Form. You are impregnating Matter. Shiva-Shakti.

DISCIPLE: Okay, so we bring forth our intentions with a disciplined mind and using our will. By doing so we bring our mind and body into a union, yes? And this union is, of course, a healing, since now there is no conflict then between thinking and doing. I get that. However, I do not understand the suffering part. How is it connected to this focusing of intention?

YAMA: Suffering is a powerful energy. Just being a human you come in wrapped in all the history of humankind--with all its pangs of separation from the Creator.

That suffering, that longing for Unity, is a Power to propel one through the world. Imagine all those brothers and sisters of yours not fulfilling their Heart’s Desire, and the pain they are in because of that. Imagining still deeper that all those who are suffering are facets of you, probabilities of your incarnation who manifested into different vessels and circumstances by the beliefs they incarnated into.

By tapping into all those manifestations of you, and their suffering, when you manifest your Heart’s Desires, it becomes a template for the Mind of Man to help other manifestations to remember their Hearts’ Desires; which, in turn, creates new templates. And so on and so forth. It’s kind of like leap frog, if you will, each manifestation helping the other manifestation coming up behind.

All of these who will be coming soon down the aisle to receive their diploma have all done so because of their desires, their intentions. Without that force that put the Will to Do into motion, none of them would be here today. It takes strong desire to push through the hardships, the denials, the suffering, to make the goal.

Now, many of them do not realize that there is a Divine Intelligence that made it all possible. They simply think that it was their separated minds that did it. And since they still have not found the Truth that there is only one Mind, their potential for greater success, greater manifesting, will be hit and miss.

DISCIPLE: Why would it be hit and miss, Yama, when they have their accomplishment to stand upon?

YAMA: Because they bring a whole bag of thoughts that are fear-based. How could they not carry such fearful thoughts when they believe that they are bodies with little separated minds, competing against other hungry bodies.

When they realize that there is one Mind that operates through all manifesting I AMs, then success is without limit and will always benefit the world.

Just then the music began to play, that iconic triumphant piece, and in walked the graduates, their faces beaming. And there was my boy, my special manifestation, giving me the thumbs up as he went to take his place amongst all the other manifestations of the one I AM.

                 --Janaka Stagnaro
                The Teachings of Yama: A Blog with Death

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Ten Commandments from a Non-Dualist Perspective, #10 (Thou Shall Not Envy)

Yama and I sat on the banks of the Russian River. A short way upriver teens and adults whooped and hollered as they frolicked on their various floating devices. The river brought them closer to disturb our solitude.

YAMA: Can they really disturb our solitude?

DISCIPLE: What do you mean? Here we are imbibing the silence of Nature and here they come popping their beers and completely disregarding the sanctity of the place.

YAMA: And what does that have to do with you?

DISCIPLE: It has everything to do with me!

I watched in horror as another flotilla of noise turned the bend.

DISCIPLE: I teach all week and have people at home who fight for my attention—All I want is a little piece and quiet.

YAMA: Like the old days when you were free and single, able to go anywhere as you pleased?

DISCIPLE: Well now that you mention it, I do at times miss those wandering days. It comes up at times, I must admit, when my brother, who has all this new freedom after becoming recently divorced, talks about his travels to exotic places.

YAMA: Are you to say then that you are envious of your brother?

I hesitated; then nodded my head.

YAMA: What was the reason you asked me here today?

DISCIPLE: For you to speak about the final Commandment.

YAMA: And what is the final Commandment that Moses brought down from the mountain?

DISCIPLE: “You shall not envy your neighbor, nor desire to have his house, his wife, his servants, his animals, nor anything that is his.”

YAMA: Who is your neighbor but the one who lives next to you. Who is the one who lives next to you?—your brother (and I do not just mean your blood brother) who walks beside you.

Why do you think God asks us not to envy?

DISCIPLE: Because when I look at my envy for the wealth and freedom my brother has—or for that matter, envy of times when I sat by this river where no noisy revelers came to disturb me—I feel resentment.

YAMA: Good. Now you are speaking with some wisdom.

DISCIPLE: Maybe; but it is hard not to be envious at times. Just the other day I begged my friend to buy a painting because we are financially in need. Being a successful attorney he had no problem helping me out. Sometimes I am full of doubt about whether I chose the right road in careers when we have to move into a little place, while he lives in an expensive home and drives a car that doesn’t break down like mine just did on the freeway the other day. Yes, I am envious!

I stood up, my face red with anger, and threw a stone into the river.

YAMA: Is your friend happy with his work? Are you aware of what he goes through every day to make his cash?

DISCIPLE: No to both questions. I know that at an early age he had a mild heart attack due to stress from his work.

YAMA: Do you envy that stress?

DISCIPLE: No, can’t say that I do.

YAMA: So you just want the good stuff, but not the pain that walks as its shadow. People tend to look with envious eyes to their neighbors all around, whether the bigger house, the younger wife (or no wife, as the case may be), the nicer car, having/not having children, a different job, better education, nicer clothes, etc. Yet never do they even bother to consider what is going on with those they envy; such as, at what cost did it take to acquire that object of desire, or the cost of maintaining it? Or, getting right down to it, is the person even satisfied with what they have?

Your society, and the capitalism that guides most of you, is based on envy. It fosters envy with its ads that says that whatever you have is not good enough—there is something that is better. And this includes even body parts, for which you can get breast implants (though in your case I wouldn’t recommend it) or get a penis enlargement (hmm … now maybe you could use …).

DISCIPLE: Ha, ha. Very funny!

YAMA: Would you trade your life for your brother or your friend’s?

DISCIPLE: No, of course not.

YAMA: Each person is given whatever they need at any point in their lives. Some require more, some less. Their needs come as persons, things, actions, events. Some are pleasant while others the opposite.
People look at others riding high and sigh with longing, ignoring the pain that preceded the high and not willing to see the pain that will inevitably come as the Wheel of Life turns.

The instant you envy your brother you trade your life away for a wish. Your life and everyone’s is as unique as a fingerprint. By being content in this moment, grateful that you even exist to be by this river, celebrating the fortunes of your friend and brother, you are free to achieve a happiness that no person, thing, or event could ever bestow upon you.

Flowing Among the Talus, Janaka Stagnaro
I threw another rock into the slow-moving waters. I watched as another group drifted our way. I sat down next to Yama and watched an orange and black beetle crawl up a blade of grass.

DISCIPLE: Does the beetle envy my life as a human? Do I envy the beetle and its freedom from responsibility? Would either of us trade places? No, I rather doubt it.

I let the beetle crawl onto my hand. Just then the group of rafters ran ashore just across from us, speaking loudly to each other in Portuguese.

I groaned.

YAMA: Would you trade places with someone else in a quieter place? Would you trade your life in for another condition, continuing the habit of trading one condition for another, and yet for another, until finally you obtain the perfect condition?

I shook my head.

YAMA: Do you love your life as it is?

I took a deep breath.

DISCIPLE: Yes. I love my life as it is.

YAMA: Good. Now sit back and enjoy your life exactly how it’s meant to be.

I watched in horror as the Brazilians pulled out a massive radio. They hit the switch and meringue music blasted forth.

I could have cried. I could have cussed. Instead, a blissful feeling came over me and I just laughed. It was perfect! I looked over to Yama who was tapping his foot.

DISCIPLE: Hell, shall we dance?

                                --The Teachings of Yama: A Conversation with DeathAddendum I

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Ten Commandments from a Non-Dualist Perspective, #9 (Thou Shall Not Falsely Accuse)

Upon a bench Yama and I sat quietly watching the coy swimming in the man-made pond. An ankh and a purple sphere overlooked the small waterfall trickling into the pool. We were sitting in a sanctuary dedicated to Isis, a temple to the Egyptian goddess stood behind us.

DISCIPLE: Yama, I find it ironic that we have come here to talk about the Commandments Moses was given after escaping Egypt.
Akhenaton. Janaka Stagnaro

YAMA: What applies to outside Egypt applies as well to inside. Sometimes it takes one to get out of civilization, to go into the wilderness, to come to right understanding.

DISCIPLE: True. However, what I was referring to specifically was the vehemence that Moses had had towards the goddess. After all, he did come down the mountain and soon ordered thousands of her worshippers slaughtered!

YAMA: I was indeed busy guiding away souls then. Yet be careful, nothing is ever as it seems to our senses. Great forces were present there, stirring up pools of energy that had become stagnant. Just as this pond here that we sit next to would quickly become covered with scum, choking the fish within eventually, if the waterfall ceased; so too does this happen to civilizations, religions, movements and individuals when new impulses are not allowed to stream in. When this stifling occurs it sometimes takes an unleashing of a dam that can appear very violent.

I looked at the waters trickling in the pond and visualized the stream stopping and the growing of the algae, and the sad plight of the fish. And while the algae is as much part of life as the fish, for this time and in this place, the living slime is a symbol of stagnation and decay, while the fish and their potency is the symbol of dynamic life; and that it would be right action to destroy the algae by whatever action to save the fish.

My being shuddered at the truth of this vision, for how many megalomaniacs with their armies would love to claim that they were doing God’s Will as they slaughtered millions?

For a while we sat in the joyful tinkling of the waterfall, until two workers on the grounds began yelling at each other. My immediate thought was one of judgment—for should they not be following the Ideals of Ma’at, to keep their emotions balanced?

YAMA: So, what is the Ninth Commandment, for I believe that is where we’re at?

DISCIPLE: Thou shall not falsely accuse thy neighbor.

YAMA: Are you not falsely accusing your neighbors right now?

I blushed.

DISCIPLE: I am accusing them of falling short of the precepts of their order. However, am I really falsely accusing them?

YAMA: Do you even know that they are of this order or are you assuming?

DISCIPLE: I must admit that I am assuming.

YAMA: With that accusation, that assumption, you have cut your mind off from God. You were sitting here in the Peace of Existence until your mind took charge, and wielding its sword of condemnation, you turned into these people’s finger-wagging parent. And what happened to your peace?

DISCIPLE: I lost awareness of it.

YAMA: The same goes with your accusation of Moses committing genocide, that is based on only what the senses experience and then the mind extrapolating a moral judgment. This, like with most accusations, does not constitute right understanding.

DISCIPLE: Surely there exist proper accusations against those who are dong ill to others, such as with tyrannical leaders or criminals to name only a few? Without accusation many of our social reforms, such as women’s rights or the civil rights movement, would never have come to pass.

YAMA: Indeed there is proper action to stand up against harmful actions and stagnant energy; but to judge your neighbor by those actions brings only suffering to you and your neighbor. You can never know all the reasons, the circumstances that have led any person to act as heinously as they do. Priests and psychoanalysts may give some reason or two as to the cause, but do they really have that all-knowing wisdom? Only those with utmost arrogance could claim so. To see the whys of the way of people one would have to see with purest of eyes, unblemished by any faults. That is why Jesus challenged anyone to cast the first stone at the prostitute if they were free of error. And what human has not erred?
Relationship, Janaka Stagnaro

Most people accuse because they are desperately trying to end their own suffering by finding causes of suffering out there, by finding fault with others instead of seeing their own. By making the world free of those bad people out there, by the eradication of all the world’s wrongs, then peace and happiness will come. Or so they think.

But it can never happen that way. The cause of suffering and happiness both lie within. Thus, accusing your neighbor, finding fault in him, keeps you from the Truth of seeing the Whole picture, and thus keeps your awareness from God.

If you really want to help your neighbor and make your world an amazing neighborhood, love him as he is, seeing beyond all his frail actions; so you and he can stand in the Truth of your Infinite Being where I cannot touch you as death.

And like the waterfall pouring oxygenated waters into the pond, so too did Yama’s words fill my soul. I sent the two arguing people the thought that they were perfect as they were and that they were loved. And with that thought I felt again the Oneness I was part of and was; and did not notice when the argument had stopped.

                                    -- The Teachings of Yama: A Conversation with DeathAddendum I

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Ten Commandments from a Non-Dualist Perspective, #8 (Thou Shall Not Steal)

We sat still awhile, this time I was completely focused on the harbor seals lying motionless sunbathing on the rocks, these marine creatures being very hard to distinguish from the stone they lay upon.

DISCIPLE: “Thou shall not steal” is the next commandment. It seems simple enough. Anything to add?

YAMA: Why would anyone steal?

DISCIPLE: Because they want something bad enough to take the risk of being caught, but fear they lack the means of purchasing it; or perhaps for the thrill of the adventure; or maybe even revenge and they feel justified? Perhaps survival?

YAMA: Delusion. One steals because they feel they lack something they need and that there is another to steal from. If they would come to the truth of their nature they would know that there is no need and that there is no other. Each person is but a member of the body of humanity, and the body of humanity is but a member of the body of the world where other species serve as other members. To steal from another is the same as the right hand taking from the left. However, due to the fear of being a little separated thing among so many other things one steals.

DISCIPLE: What about a mother taking fruit from a vendor to feed her hungry child, is that wrong?

YAMA: This is nothing about right and wrong. It is all a matter of attitude. No one owns anything after all. It is all God’s. Does not the Creator have the rights to His creations?

DISCIPLE: Of course.

YAMA: There are some cultures that have no sense of personal property. They use whatever they might need for the time needed and then let it go for someone else to use. The idea of stealing to such people makes as much sense as feeling guilty when plucking an apple from a tree they happen upon. To such a people who have no sense of ownership there exists an inherent trust that the world will provide their simple needs.

DISCIPLE: So it’s ok to take whatever one wants since nothing belongs to anyone anyway? 

YAMA: Careful, the mind can argue from any direction and never touch the truth. Any teaching, any words, can be used to lead one deeper into illusion and misery.

Any fearful action will create fearful events. Cause and effect. If one acts in the state of peace then that is what one creates. To find God, who is always waiting and watching, one must develop trust. To take what has not been given generally implies lack of trust. Acting out of desperation to preserve the body is falling into the illusion of being a body, instead of being the Eternal Spirit that has no needs.

Traveler 1, Janaka Stagnaro
To eat your food, or to don your clothes, or to take your child to school without giving thanks to the Creator is stealing. Remember, there is nothing that you own. Give up the sense of ownership and surrender to the One who owns it all. In this way your mind will not steal away from the awareness that everything is God’s and is God. Gratitude, instead of self-righteous pride of earning what one has acquired, will be fostered, and the Giver can then be remembered and is invited to be recognized with every action.

Then everything becomes a gift. When one sees everything as a gift then one acts accordingly.

DISCIPLE: How does one know when one has stolen the moment?

YAMA: Generally, when one becomes angry. Anger is a sign of not being united with the present circumstance and feeling thwarted from acquiring what one wants or expects. Anger cannot be present when gratitude prevails.

DISCIPLE: I guess when you really get down to the essential there is no difference between the last two commandments because they are both about being in love with the moment.

YAMA: Exactly.

I bowed to Yama and left him on the bench. I walked home, smiling. Whatever I gazed upon I saw with gratitude: whatever shape of a body, flowers, weeds, cigarette butts, clouds, it did not matter. And with each breath I gave thanks. When I reached home I touched my wife’s hair and lifted my giggling child into my arms, and I thanked God for this moment of Eternity God had gifted me.

                      --  excerpt from The Teachings of Yama: A Conversation with DeathAddendum I