The longer we practice meditation the more we recognize the power we hold. Many of us are drawn to the meditation and yoga practices because we are seeking power in some way. Power over our thoughts, power over suffering, power over heartbreak, power over our work in the world. Be aware, because what you are seeking is seeking you. What happens once you arrive?
Whether you “get there” through surrender and the map of Atma Vichara practice of “I am not this” “I am not that” or by focusing so intently with the mind, what happens when you arrive. The map is not the territory.
You arrive in the middle of it, a mystical experience, the center of LOVE, the middle of God, floating in space. And when you come back to the laundry list of the day, there are only a few options of what to do with it. Hand your experience over to the Ego and ask that it make sense of it, or to the senses, having them try to recreate the experience, or you can keep arriving every moment, allowing it to grock into the wisdom of Who you are.
As in chapter 11 of the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna, the avatar of the divine, reveals himself in a cosmic vision to the warrior Arjuna, who has been having the dilemma of who he is and what he should do, so he begins to ask questions about action, inaction, love and service. Eventually he asks enough questions that he forgets himself and that is when the Divine reveals himself in all His forms. It is a “mind blowing” terrifying, experience and too much for anyone to handle, and after the experience the whole game changes. There is always the tone of can we just go back to the way things were. The chapters of the Gita go from questioning and vacillating to a deeper understanding, surrender and devotion, because once we step over the ledge we cannot turn back, really. We can try, but I think as Ram Das puts it. This is the “Phony UnHoly.” We both seek the power of Divine love, and fear it, because we know we have to give up our Ego structure.
Instead of seeking power, the excitement of the chase, we land inside of it, and from the heart of God acquire a deeper humility about the human experience. Being born to our laundry list with a knowing of contentment and trust.
Many of us feel that we have to choose one way or the other. The creator and renounce the world. Or action in the world and renounce the creator. We are either burdened by the suffering of human nature or the control of religion.
The mind likes to divide and conquer, measure, desire, and be repulsed. The heart craves union and understanding.
By stepping into our power, suddenly we are not burdened by the world because we experience it anew.
One of the greatest poems ever written that explains this mystical, deep understanding, and our potential to rest in the center of the Divine is this poem by Thich Nhat Hanh. Read slowly and feel it.
Call Me by My True Names
Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow because even today I still arrive.
Look deeply: I arrive in every second to be a bud on a spring branch, to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile, learning to sing in my new nest, to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower, to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, in order to fear and to hope. The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that are alive.
I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river, and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time to eat the mayfly.
I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond, and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence, feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks, and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.
I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate, and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.
I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands, and I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to, my people, dying slowly in a forced labor camp.
My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all walks of life. My pain if like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names, so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once, so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names, so I can wake up, and so the door of my heart can be left open, the door of compassion.
To me the essence of these words parallel the cosmic vision found in the Gita. We cannot choose one way. We must accept all parts of ourselves and all worlds as ourselves, not just the desirable. Allow these words to stew within, changing your actions in the world with one another. We need to keep arriving, and not be burdened by the pain we have caused or the potential of power we possess, but walk gently into it.