In February, I traveled to India to do personal and group sadhana on the River Ganga. Since then, I have changed. India changed me, the Ganga changed me, the practices I did changed me, my diverse sangha (community) changed me.
As a general rule in my life, I let things change me…. but it takes time. As my teacher, Panditji, pointed out to me once - Digestion takes the longest compared to shopping for the food, prepping the food and eating the food. So, I decided to go to India. I prepared by diving into learning the complete practices I would be doing together with my Sangha. I then went to India and enjoyed and ate every last morsel within the experience. I came home… re-entered back to San Francisco… back to my same old weekly schedule and daily life with the same wonderful and inspiring community.
Where has my digestion of this experience led me?
This was my second time to India and so going in, I was well aware that I was entering into a world of massive poverty and yet India has the 6th largest economy. The practice we embarked upon was a group practice called a Rudra Yaga, centered around Lakshmi, the Goddess or Aspect of Abundance - the aspect or quality within ourselves that doesn’t buy into poverty and scarcity. I am sure we have all imagined a world that knew how to share because we have all looked into the eyes of another being without suspicion and saw their divinity (wholeness) and our own divinity?
Due to our upbringing in a world run by a Dominator system rather than a Partnership system, we have all been trained to be suspicious and to ultimately always look out for #1 first. (this #1 could imply your whole family or nation)
But a lot of us know this just simply isn’t true. We have felt the fullness of love, of unconditional love, where scarcity and poverty cannot exist. We know in the deepest place within ourselves that if we all worked together with mutual love and respect, we will die fulfilled.
My practice every day is to connect with the abundance in my own heart….. so that I can be of service. But honestly, what I do hasn’t been feeling like enough these days. All these years of practice has done little to alleviate the quiet desperation… The feeling that there is so much nectar to be juiced out of our wondrous lives and yet….
You know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about what Thoreau was talking about in the beginning of Walden and what my all time favorite band, Pink Floyd, was talking about. Quiet Desperation.
Take a pause with me, will you?
- go stream in the Dark Side of the Moon album by Pink Floyd and either just start from the beginning or fast forward to “Time” …. and then back track and listen to “Breathe”.
"Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.
So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.
Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I'd something more to say.
I like to be here
When I can
When I come home
Cold and tired
It's good to warm my bones
Beside the fire
Across the field
Tolling on the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spell….”
These last 2 little verses is what I am really talking about. We all feel like we are running out of time, but are we aware that we are wasting time because of the spells that we have been living under? …the spell of man over woman, the spell of white over color, the spell of money, the spell of hierarchy and top down, the spell of religion under a Dominator system, the spell of Dominator politics, the spell of profits over people, even the spell of spiritual bypassing and magical thinking that keeps us just as numb as our alcohol, netflix binging, and social media does.
This quiet desperation is the fear that we will get to our death beds never knowing abundance.
I teach in way that makes time stop or at least that is my attempt. For just a moment everyday, those that practice in the classroom with me, we return to that place within ourselves where time has no influence. In this place of timelessness, we don’t need anything else, ie we feel abundant. And now that we have witnessed Abundance, it helps us to see how the fear of Scarcity continues to govern our lives that much more clearly!
Well, what I’ve learned and Pink Floyd serenaded us with so beautifully, is that we must be willing to go to the Dark Side of the Moon (my interpretation). The only way out is through the darkness and the shadows, to go a little mad and then see the spells with a discerning eye and to use our anger, frustration, our madness for transformation and growth rather than letting it paralyze us or worse.
How to turn Quiet Desperation into Action -
Well, this is the part is where it's different for all us… The helpful question to start with is "What breaks your heart the most?” or my favorite…. what do I really Give a Shit about!
I know what it is for me - it’s peoples physical and mental health. I am deeply saddened when a human gets physically or mentally sick or is in pain and they believe there is no path to healing…. or they see the path to healing but the money is not there to support their journey. The world we live in today has led us so far astray from knowing our own vessels and knowing how to heal our vessels. We are nutrient starved, we are movement starved, we are emotionally starved, we are mentally starved, and spiritually starved. We have the potential to go inwards and heal ourselves and embody our divinity but instead these Dominator system spells have made us look outside of ourselves.
I follow Pink Floyd’s advice given in the first line of “Breathe”
"Breathe, breathe in the air! Don't be afraid to care!”
Breath In! Go Inwards! Don’t be afraid to Care! Give A SHIT! and then Choose.
Step 2 -
Choose your purpose, choose your path, so on your dying day you are no longer starving and you have served the Goddess of Abundance rather than the Shadow Demon of Scarcity.
"A human has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when they plant shade trees under which they know full well they will never sit.” -someone said sometime ago….
In the next coming months and year, I will let you know how I am healing my quiet desperation and growing my field of knowledge in the healing arts!
I’d love to hear from you and what you give a shit about?
What are you doing to serve the Goddess of Abundance on a personal and global level?
With love all ways,
P.S. The week I started writing these thoughts down - David Gilmour, Guitarist of Pink Floyd, auctioned off 127 of his guitars for $21.5 million dollars and then donated that money to ClientEarth, a global organization that defines itself as "a charity that uses the power of the law to protect the planet and the people who live on it. We are lawyers and environmental experts who are fighting against climate change and to protect nature and the environment.”
How freaking cool is he? See his speech here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESSIjyZM9eE
He mentions the trailblazer Greta Thunberg! and if you don’t know Greta check out her powerful speech here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWsM9-_zrKo
Below are my photos from India at the Kumbh Mela, the city of Allhabad, and Varanasi. Some photos have descriptions.
The very first few photos are captures of what each morning was like at the Himalayan Institute on the River Ganga.