Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Relationships are Means and Not Ends

“You say sex is messy,” I said. “Is not relationship messy as well? Who knows what to do in relationship anymore? Men are encouraged to be more nurturing, women are out of the homes providing the finances. The traditional roles are being turned upside down.

“What is the ideal relationship? Please help me in this. Though I seek the Self, I find myself again and again in a relationship with a woman.”

“Beloved, there is no conflict in being in a relationship and seeking to know the Self. Relationship with a woman is but a means.”

“But,” I pleaded, “I do not want to be all strung out and caught in the web like all those we saw.”

“To be caught in the web of relationship is when you see the relationship as an end, not as a means.

“Most children are trained, in one way or another, to get married, have children and prolong the family’s name.”

“What is the means then?”

“To share love.

“And to share love is to know love. For love is an action and not some thing to be had.”

“How do you know when love becomes a thing?” I asked.

“A good measure to see how much of a thing love has become is the amount of drama to be found.

Dreaming, Janaka Stagnaro
“When drama abounds you can be certain that both parties are caught in the web of you are supposed to do this and you are failing.

“Love makes no demands because it has nothing to gain.

“Only things can be added onto.

“Dramas are a drain. It is the ego’s way of maintaining control. Control means fear. And fear keeps the ego alive.

“Especially in the West, where the individual personality is worshiped as the Self, the relationship, the marriage, will be substituted for the individual.

“As most personalities are self or ego-centered, so too do these relationships become self-centered and not Self or God-centered.

“There becomes a constant vying for control, of getting something out of the relationship, of maintaining the personalities.”

“Then are you saying that an Eastern sort of marriage where tradition, and not personalities, dictate actions is better?” I asked.

“Who can say what is best for each soul. Both the West and the East offer a different learning experience.

“In a more traditional marriage, for instance, actions can become like learning by rote. This is how we do it because we have always done it that way. So that is what one does.

“There exists not much agony of choice as there is in the West where tradition is thrown out the window and everyone is standing on the edge of the unknown.

“Of course, in the more traditional setting less creative expression, fewer innovations, will arise as well. And the Soul can feel stifled.”

“I would agree,” I said. “I am a child of the West, my family scattered, doing their own thing, many divorces, separation. And it has been lonely at times, with the longing of a more traditional background.

“Yet when I see such a traditional marriage or family, I shudder at the thought of living in such a one.

“However, dramas do get old and that is what all my relationships have been. What can I do to end the drama?”

“Approach a relationship as you must approach all things. You are going to die. You are terminally ill with the disease of living in a body. Your time is short and precious.

“You do not have time to argue points, to barter favors, to demand, to submit.

“Act with assurance, the confidence, that there is no relationship to maintain.

“You are dying so how can you hold onto anyone? Give up dwelling on dramas. Focus only on Rama, only on God. It is not a coincidence that Rama is found in the word drama. If one sees only Rama dramas will not have such force to disturb one’s peace of mind.”

“Yama, if I acted as though I was dying might I not want to spend it with my loved ones and cut away what was not important?”

“Of course, if that is what you really wanted to do, what your heart bid you to do.

“The difference is that you are not working at making a successful marriage, you are not acting out of obligations, you are not doing anything then.

“You are simply acting out of Love.

“The problem with your relationship, and so many others, is trying to make these things work: Too much talk and seeking causes, and not enough listening; and far too much grasping.

“By knowing you are dying, the grasping falls away, love can be listened to much easier. 

“And love is vast. Love is not confined to one’s relationship or family. Love is an immense ripple, moving across the universe caused by the I AM.

“A healthy relationship is a reflection of the ripple, rippling out as an extension into the world.

“Love, my dear, may even ask you to leave a marriage.”

“How does one know it is love and not fear? Fear of having to love one’s spouse unconditionally, and wanting to just run away from all the pain of dealing and growing with another human being who comes with all their baggage?” I asked.

“When there is not drama. When calmness guides the action. Be fearless. You must be ready to cut away everyone, even your child, as the source of your happiness.

“Just as a soldier must leave his family to go and serve his country, or a doctor to leave her family at a moment’s notice, so must you be ready to do so.

“After all, I am the ultimate summoner, and you cannot refuse my summons.

“A relationship to be healthy must extend into the world. When one is assisting in making the world a more beautiful, uplifting place, then one is working with mighty beings, ones who are working with the Soul of the World.

“Many families exist only for survival’s sake, making sure there is enough food and adequate shelter, and when that is accomplished, to increase the family’s comfort and opportunities for advancement.

“And these become little fiefdoms where loyalties and obligations hold prominence, and must not be broken.

“When a relationship is serving love and truth obligation and loyalty is reserved for God. Each partner must make contact with the silence within so that the other is seen not as someone who owes anything to the relationship, but as simply another aspect of God sharing a short time together.”

“But what if you awaken to the desire to serve the world, and your partner, or your other family members for that matter, are focused only on the family and will not support what your heart bids you to do?” I asked. “What do you do then?”

“This may sound strange, but remember how that teacher was swallowed by the serpent because of the company he kept, surrounded by followers of the untruth?”


“Just because a person is in your family, whether of blood or by choice, does not oblige you to keep their company. If you have work to do to better the world, to better your Awareness of God and who you are, that you must do.”

“No matter how loud the protestations?”

“No matter. This is where fearlessness comes in.”

              --excerpt from The Teachings of Yama: A Conversation with Death

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Working with Desire

We stood on the shore of a quiet lake, conifer trees lined the hills surrounding the water, like a living bowl. Quiet reigned. Even though crows and jays croaked and shrilled.

“Why do not the cries of crows and the jays, which are far from the beautiful sounds of the songbirds, do not disturb the silence around?” I asked.

“Because nature is the desire of God. The desire within your heart is no different.

“Your faults and human weaknesses are no more than crows and jays. They are not You; they are not the desire.

“Focus on the desire and on the Self from which the desire appears to arise, and listen, with humor, to the squawks and shrills.”

“Why do you say, appears to arise?” I asked.

“Because there exists nothing outside the Self. The Self encompasses all. Because we are speaking and using cumbersome words that differentiate, we speak of desire and Self as two. But there is no two. Always remember That.”

“Now look at that heron over there wading amongst the water plants. What do you observe?”

“It moves silently and slowly with extreme concentration. It is vigilant of both what it seeks and the dangers around,” I said.

The heron stopped and became as still as the trees around. For a long while we watched. Then in a flash and a splash a fish flopped a moment in the bird’s beak, before disappearing down the heron’s throat.

“What else?” asked Yama.

“Extreme patience. Stillness. Swiftness and certainty. Firm hold. Swallowing. Calmness. Then back to stillness.”

“You have described desire born of the Heart and how to manifest it.

Will O Wisp, Janaka Stagnaro
“Out of silence the desire arises. When it arises there is a calmness and patience in waiting for its fulfillment.

“To fulfill it concentration is needed, one-pointed focus; while at the same time vigilance of any fears and doubts, arrogance and greed, and especially impatience.

“Remembering all the while the silence and to be still as a stone within, not to become excited at the prospect of fulfillment, nor anxious of its possible failure.

“And when the opportunity arises for the desire’s realization, act and act swiftly, holding on firmly.

“And when it is accomplished enjoy it and let it pass. And wait in the silence for another desire to arise out of the silence.”

          --excerpt from The Teachings of Yama: A Conversation with Death

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Helping Your Mother, the Earth

Yama! I caught my breath. It has come to this. I now face death, I said to myself. I felt both fear and awe.

She smiled and said, “Because you sought to know about another and were willing to listen, unlike the multitude too busy thinking of only themselves, I will give you another boon.”

I saluted with folded hands to the one who is named Yama.

“Please, Revered One, you who draw nearer with every blink of one’s eye, tell me of your child and why you weep.”

“My child, throughout these thousands of darkened years, in the age called Kali, has been trampled by ignorant, hard-hearted men. They have enslaved her and have worked her lifeless. Their hearts empty of gratitude.

“By the fruits of their greed they have defecated upon her, and by their lust for power have drowned her in their own blood.

“And throughout this torment my daughter has given her all, never holding back.

“My child is the Earth itself.”

Suddenly, the rotting head Yama held transformed into a miniature blue-jeweled sphere of the Earth. Then the Earth vanished, and with it the stench disappeared.

“Because you asked about my child who is dear to me and asked not to remove the stench for your own sake, ask of me another favor.”

“Please, you who lead every youth onward, tell me how I may help your child,” I asked, bowing once more.

“Very well, I will tell you.”

She paused for a moment.

“Be aware. That’s right. Be aware of all that you do, all that you see, feel, taste, smell and hear. See the shadows and how they stretch from stone to stone upon the path you walk. Hear the birds twitter amidst the hum of silence. Feel the warmth of the sun shining on your back and then the coolness of the passing of a cloud. Taste every morsel of food, savoring every spice, and taste the rain the same. Breathe in the smell of the barnyard with the same smile as you would sniffing jasmine.”

I said, “Dear Yama, you who have been since the first movement of time, who knows the time-span of all things, I do not understand how this helps your child. Please elaborate.”

Renewal, Janaka Stagnaro
“By being aware, you become awake. By being awake you will not trample ignorantly upon the Earth in your sleep. And by being awake you will become simple; for no longer will you have a myriad dreams to fulfill.”

“Thank you, I understand more clearly. Yet, please explain that since you lead all things to destruction, why the need to help the Earth? It is doomed to perish.”

Death replied, “Many a fool have thought thus, and have lived their lives for the moment, living to satisfy only their desires. Let me explain:

“The Earth is none other than your mother. Every need you have while expressing through a physical human body—a rare opportunity that countless souls desire to have—is given by her. And even as I quickly lead your earthly parents away, still every parent needs to be given gratitude.

“With every breath should rise gratitude. With every morsel of food, every whisper of the wind, every step, every touch of another creature, every sigh, every stab of pain, every beat of your heart, every laugh, every smile of a child, every bottle of wine to accompany a drunkard home.

“With all these and everything that comes, gratitude needs to meet them.

“This brings honor to my child and thus pleases me. And when I smile I do not work so hard.”

                          --Excerpt from The Teachings of Yama: A Conversation with Death, Chapter 1