Shiva brushes his teeth

Friday April 5, 2019 8:08 am

A lot of cool and curious things have been happening in my daily sadhana practice. I’ve wanted to sit and write them down, but the other requirements of my daily existence have taken precedence. 

Today’s meditation happened somewhat spontaneously and unplanned. I went to bed late last night after spending a considerable amount of time doing some final reediting to my manuscript about Mark Twain, et al. I’ve decided to Self-publish the work after almost a year of knocking on the doors of agents and publishers, and having read a very good article on Scribe yesterday about the current state of the book publishing industry which weighed the pros and cons of traditional versus self publishing. The author, a publishing industry veteran with an inside perspective, had explained how much the publishing industry had changed and how challenging it is for authors in my stage of the game to get their foot in the door. He went on to say how the current climate, with so many options, is practically a plug in to go with self publishing as the best option. There are some associated caveats, but I have a few tricks up my sleeves with regard to those areas. I hope to have the book release in short duration.

So, this morning, I got up at 5:00 am as has become the routine lately (more on that below), but instead decided to go back to bed. I planned on staying in my warm, comfortable bed a little later than usual when my wife summoned me at 7:00 am to move my car out of the driveway so she could get to work. No problem. I dressed, did my duty, and instead of returning to horizontal dreamland I made a cup of Chai, wrapped a blanket across me from neck to ankle, and settled into our living room rocker where I often practice my shorter meditations. 

Within a short time, the cozy warmth my body enjoyed was replicated on the interior of my being. I became mildly enraptured by the soothing waves of shakti coursing casually through my brain and nervous system. Sensations in my brain have been like this since beginning a new sadhana technique I learned less than a week ago. Today it felt like I was getting a nice, gentle massage in a bath of warm water on the interior of my cranium and around the surface of my brain. Accompanying this was a rapturous state of inner satisfaction. Since yesterday, the thought arose “So, this is what the experience of oneness with Shiva is like.”

I say that because I have been reading texts associated with the Kashmir Shaivism tradition. One book, mentioned before, is Secret of the Siddhas by Swami Muktananda, which is largely Baba’s (Muktananda’s) commentaries on the Shiva Sutras, the ancient root of that philosophical school. The other is Jaideva Singh’s translation and commentary on 10thcentury commentaries about the Shiva Sutras encapsulated in the work known as Spanda Karikas. So, in this context, Shiva means the experience of conscious consciousness – the awareness of being aware that you are aware and that you are one with that experience of awareness. You are that awareness, ergo, you are Shiva. 

For some time now, well over a month, I have found my body waking consistently at 5:00 am or so. Almost every time this has happened, it was always 5:10 on my alarm clock. Now, I could easily lie in bed as I have for the past 30 -40 years and meditate later, but these days, each morning at promptly 5:00 am-ish, I experience an urgent need to urinate. After so complying with my body’s wish, I typically have returned to my room to sit upright and meditate for about an hour before proceeding with the needs of the day. 

Each meditation in the last week, since learning this new, advanced technique on Sunday, has been similar as my description above. The process seems to massage the lobes of the brain and stimulate neural pathways. On the first day I practiced the technique, during meditation afterward my brain felt like it was on fire, as if it were gently being simmered in the crockpot of my cranium. I could feel the interior lining of my skull, while each cell and fiber of my brain pulsated. It felt almost crystalline, as if my brain were made of glass, but made of molecules that were simultaneously independent in their group cohesiveness. It felt like my brain was a shimmering, endlessly faceted jewel, and was alive with shimmering Chitshakti.[i]It was as if my consciousness had discovered the secret access to an ancient cave with walls lined with the purest gold and diamonds. 

On the second day, during meditation, this continued but to a lesser degree, and instead shifted to awareness of a deepened experience of being. That Shivaness thing again. I also got the impression that something in the interior of my brain was being purified, and subsequently my body developed mild cold or flu like symptoms. My mind, in the meantime, naturally tried to its thing to create fear or concern. My mind started throwing thoughts about having encephaliitis or some other disease. But intuitively, I knew this thought to be a falsehood and just let it wither. 

On the third day, yesterday, I got a bit busy in the morning, so I wasn’t able to make time to meditate until an hour before I had to be in work. So, I decided to squeeze in 20 or so minutes to do the 7 minute technique and meditate for the rest. I’m glad I did. As I sat in the rocker in my living room, during the 7 minute practice I again felt the stimulation in the lobes of my brain. Again I felt the sensation of shimmering, like sunlight reflected on a calmly rippling lake. As I went deeper into meditation, a soft of sense of bliss enveloped me, and within short duration, I experienced my body dissolve into consciousness and vanish. Now, I didn’t actually physically disappear, but internally, my experience was that the external shell of my body just merged into the entirety of the physical universe. I experienced myself as pure consciousness. I was the universe. 

As I observed myself experiencing this, I saw that I was observing myself observing. The observer and observed were one. This, I recognized, was akin to the description of the state of Shiva defined in the Shiva Sutras and what I had just been reading in Muktananda’s commentaries. My whole being smiled with gratitude. A thought arose, inquiring from where or why this was arising, and I saw a very subtle image of the contour of the transparent head and shoulders of the Siddha master Bhagavan Nityananda composed of shimmering sparkles of pure gold. I saw that this was the gift of that great being, who is sort of the grandfather – the Bade Baba – of the Siddha lineage I had enjoined through my study with, and receipt of Shaktpat Diksha from, Swami Muktananda. I inwardly pranamed softly, with recognition and gratitude. 

This observer then opened its eyes to observe the time on my cell phone. 14 minutes had passed since I completed the 7-minute sadhana. This was perfect timing as now I had to end the session and get ready for work, with ample time to drive and arrive at my scheduled time. After Shiva brushed his teeth, groomed and dressed, I got in my car and noticed myself navigating the highways with complete serenity and stillness, witnessing everything with an evenness and choreographed perfection. 

The cranium massage experience, I had noticed through the week, was also occurring from almost the minute I closed my shop at work and proceeded to my car in the parking lot, throughout my commute, and after settling in at home. Most of these nights, I would then fill a glass with purified water, then retire and sit in my bed to read a few passages from Secret of the Siddhas or Spanda Karikas. I randomly opened this latter book, to find the English translation of this passage: 

“When the yogi realizes the spanda* principle, then he knows that this is his essential Self, and not the empirical, psychosomatic creature whom he had so long considered to be his Self. He has now broken his shackles and is truly free.”[ii]

Pretty cool, huh? I love when that happens. Moreover, though I had randomly opened to that page, I noticed that I had circled that particular verse, accented with arrows for emphasis, at some point when I first read the book around 1986. Here’s a photo.

Though the book was published in 1980, I gathered that I must have last read this during my 1986 stay in the ashram, then with Baba’s successor, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda. My clue: I had used a small photo of her as a bookmark I found elsewhere in the book. 

After this, I then meditated some more before lying down to contemplate myself to sleep. 

The adventure continues. Stay tuned…

Tom

*The above referenced Spanda principle is described in Spanda Karikas as follows: 

“A Yogi who closely observes his own (inmost) nature which is the Spanda principle recognized by means of the reasoning (already) mentioned, apprehends knowledge and activity as the presiding principle (meaning the principle that is the permanent Experient of all experiences [aka Shiva consciousness]) of life as the “I” pervading the normal consciousness even after meditation has ceased.”[iii]


[i]Chitshakti: Roughly translates as ‘conscious, self-aware pulsating energy’.

[ii]Spanda Karikas: The Divine Creative Pulsation by Jaideva Singh. © 1980 Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi. Pg. 70

[iii]Spanda Karikas: The Divine Creative Pulsation by Jaideva Singh. © 1980 Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi. Pg. 68

The Ice Cream Trike

It amazes me, sometimes, the way childhood memories long forgotten suddenly come to the fore of the mind after decades have passed. In this case, 56 or 57 years have passed, and out of the blue this morning, while enjoying a chilly Spring morning on my back porch, I remembered the tricycle I once rode. In that moment, I relived riding it on my childhood street of row homes, restricted to the sidewalk of the half on which we lived, and never permitted to cross the curb onto the asphalt. We lived on the side that was perennially in the shade, so I seldom experienced a day in the sun unless I was given permission to cross the street by my mom or an adult neighbor.

I distinctly remember the air, sky and atmosphere in those days seeming very clean and sparkling despite living in a section of South Philly that was surrounded by factories that belched out toxic fumes day and night to the extent that our neighborhood became one of the top cancer prone sections of the city. I was also too young to know that elsewhere in the world the detonation of nuclear test bombs was poisoning the air with radiactive refuse. Maybe that’s why it seemed so clean: the air was electrified.

I could still picture the trike. It looked like the ones in the photos here, and it must have been a Radio Flyer or Murray brand – I don’t recall which. It was gleaming, metallic red with white accents; a wide saddle seat of white vinyl with red striping; a wide platform step in the rear that straddled the two smaller back wheels, and a particularly large front wheel. It had one of those annoying, thumb operated bike bells that I used liberally, the sound of which was reminiscent of the one used by an ice cream vendor who drove his truck through the neighborhood streets on the warm days of Spring through early Fall. 

I remembered a game that I had created. I don’t know if I learned to do this from someone older, or if it was an imaginative idea I conjured at that young age. Whenever I was riding and encountered someone along the sidewalk, I would stop pedaling, dismount, grab the handlebars and then pull my tricycle backwards and upright, and rest the front handlbars with rubber grips on the ground. I recall it making the bike almost as tall as I stood, and somehow this gave me a feeling of power, of command over the elements. I’d then stand behind it while turning the pedals with one hand, ringing my thumb-bell with the other and yelling “Ice cream! Ice cream!” I pretended to be an ice cream hawker, imagining that I could make ice cream by turning the pedals. 

My friends didn’t judge or question this activity, but, without hesitation, would instead just join into the game as it was manifesting and promptly come over, put out their hands, and pretend to buy a cone of the good stuff from me. I would ask what flavor they wanted – a choice of only 3 flavors – Vanilla, Chocolate, or Strawberry. When they decided, I would crank the big front wheel with the pedals a few times, and then pretend to fill a cone and hand it to them in exchange for their imaginary money. I made a fortune in imaginary money that way by the time I was 5 years old!

This morning’s 30 second adventure

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 8:52 am

I saw a squirrel meandering through my neighbor’s garden on the other side of the cyclone fence dividing our property. Then I saw Tux, the feral cat our neighbor feeds, charging across her driveway after the squirrel. The squirrel becomes alert and darts through the garden, Tux in pursuit. Tux gets within inches of scoring the squirrel, so close that I thought for sure I was about to witness her enjoy a fine breakfast.

But the squirrel leaps through an opening in the fence into our yard. At the same time, our dog Queenie saw Tux running and ran toward the fence after him. Then she sees the squirrel and pursues it. The squirrel leaps and rummages quickly through the back portion of our garden to escape. Our other dog Conan sees the desperate squirrel and bolts after it from the other direction. The squirrel sees Conan and runs back in the direction of Queenie with Conan now on its tail. Queenie sees it too, and both dogs run toward each other, inching closer to the squirrel between them.

I thought for certain the squirrel had met its fate, when just as Queenie and Conan were in front of each other, the squirrel leaps on the stone wall and claws its way quickly into the refuge of Ivy that cascades down our wall. Conan and Queenie continue to alertly sniff and poke about, befuddled over the abrupt disappearance of the clever squirrel, their bodies and manner a complete expression of “Where did it go? Did you see it? I saw it. It was right here.” They sniffed about a little longer before getting distracted by something else.

Tux lay forlornly in the neighbor’s garden, irritated by his own unsuccessful campaign. The squirrel held tightly onto the Ivy, remaining perfectly still and breathing heavily, pondering its options.

A small chirp of encouragement

 

“Bird through a Pin Hole.” Original Pastel drawing by Tom Curley © 2019

10/14/2017 – 9:00am

I saw a cardinal just now. They say when you see a cardinal in an odd place that it’s an omen from heaven that an ancestor or someone from heaven is paying you a visit, an acknowledgement of their love for you. Every time I see a cardinal I think of dad. That’s because once, when we lived on Mifflin Street, when dad was sick, he saw a cardinal sitting atop the street light pole in front of our house. He was amazed with it, looking on like a child filled with wonder. 


I don’t see cardinals around my home too often. But, here’s the odd thing. I was in my living room when I heard a loud, repeated singular chirp. It sounded like I had a cricket in our house, so I went in the direction of an air conditioner we have in a window at the foot of the stairs. As I drew closer, it sounded like it was in the little nook outside were the accordion flap fills the gap between the sides of the air conditioner and the window. I peered through our blinds but couldn’t see anything so I just let it go, comfortable that it was not in the house. 

10 minutes or so later I was out in my yard with our dogs and wasn’t paying too much attention to the noises around me. But then I heard the same chirp and realized it had been happening in the background for a short while. I looked up in the direction of the chirp and saw a cardinal sitting atop the cyclone fence high above the stone wall that lines the back of my property. Just as I noticed the cardinal it stopped chirping and took off in flight. It was so quick. But that’s what’s odd. The chirping has ceased altogether now. The cardinal is gone. It’s as if the bird had been calling me for over a half hour on our property until I finally saw it. Once I saw it, it’s task was done and flew away. 

It immediately made me think of dad. I am in the middle of writing my current book “Mark Twain, my father and me” right now, a narrative memoir focused on my relationship with Dad. A few times when I thought about throwing in the towel on this project, some little sign has cajoled me to persist and keep working. I wasn’t having doubts exactly, today, but I had been comparing my work with that of another author, and questioning how I was writing. If the cardinal was a visit or a sign from dad, I’d say it was just a simple announcement of “Don’t worry. Just keep at it.” A small chirp of encouragement.

The gift of Diksha

Sun, March 31, 2019  10:58 Pm

ZW1Bh-kGU4S85D4u5bcXn6QecLrLGakFdMsZH7HTSbk    As I sit reading Secret of The Siddhas by Swami Muktananda for only the second time in 39 years, I witness with interest the shift in my consciousness on the points Muktananda cites. Looking back, it is clear that when I first read, for example, Baba’s (our affectionate name for Muktananda) commentaries on the Shiva Sutras, it was then with pure intrigue and youthful, academic and spiritual aspirant interest. Now, I marvel as it has become a testament to all that I received and how much I’ve grown from having received Shaktipat Diksha from Baba 40 years ago.

I was driving home earlier this evening and I suddenly recalled the day when one of Baba’s secretaries had approached me in the ashram to relay, that, “Baba said you can take the intensive.” The intensive was the main weekend retreat program in which Baba administered the ancient Shaktipat Diksha initiation into the yoga of the Siddhas. It was the foundation of his entire mission, and was what he was instructed to bring to the west by his own guru, Bhagavan Nityananda.

I don’t know why I spontaneously remembered that day and moment, but my heart bloomed with fond emotion. You see, at that particular time, I saved every penny I had in order to just spend one month with Muktananda in his ashram in New York. At the close of my semester at art school that Spring, I set up a table and sold many of my most prized possessions to help finance the rent, and maybe have a few extra dollars. I recall that after paying the rent, I had earned an extra fifty dollars to last me the entire month.

The cost to attend an intensive then was something like $300.00. But it may have well as been $3000 for me, an 18 year old art student just getting my feet wet. I remember that day so well because I was so shocked and grateful that this great, world-renown guru of gurus had somehow known my name and my circumstance enough to invite me to a program I couldn’t otherwise afford. The intensive was scheduled on the weekend of my 19th birthday, so this was a double amazing surprise. Because even then I understood Diksha as the transmission of the Holy Spirit – the same technique administered by Jesus to his apostles on Holy Thursday – and in the Catholic canon in which I was raised, this was considered the baptism into spirit. Because I saw this as a rebirthday (and I was right  – it was) I approached Baba to ask for a Sanskrit name – a common, optional custom done by his students. It was then that Baba gave me the name Atri.

But today, while driving, while all those pleasant thoughts ran through my mind, from the deeper perspective wherein I find my perception manifesting, I saw simply that the timing was right. I was born when I was born at the right time, I was with Muktananda at the right time as part of my soul’s agreement prior to being incarnated as Tom, and the time had arrived for me to receive Shaktipat Diksha from Baba. It transcended money and financing it – it was planned in the script of my soul’s journey.

It’s interesting. I’m not sure what prompted me to have that awareness or that thought in that particular instance. But this evening, as I recall that moment to write, what is more overwhelmingly emotional for me is to recognize that the promise inherent in the transference of Shaktipat Diksha I can see is gradually unfolding within me. Everything Baba promised is happening. I don’t know how else to share this. Aspirants who celebrate the silent, private joyous revelations while traversing the spiritual path will understand what I mean. It’s like learning that you’ve passed the bar exam, or finding out that the lottery ticket you lost in a drawer six months before was the big winner. When you spend years of your life slowly chipping away at a regular or even semi-regular yoga practice, there is so much exhilaration when you recognize the fruits of your effort. It’s just simply so sweet.

There is a fine mesh that separates identification with the Self and that of the limited jiva awareness. Yoga practice is the repetitive untying of the small knots and snags in that mesh that temporarily keep us from full establishment in the Self. Shaktipat is like a darning needle or a kerner that aids with the removal and undoing of those knots. Though an enlightened master provides the tool, its we who need to do the unraveling. But after a length of time, we recognize that our net is almost completely untangled, and establishment in the Self – union with pure being – is very close. Closer than ever. So close, it’s visible. It can be sensed.

But to get to this point, it took a gift that was given to me 40 years ago on my 19th Birthday to provide the key to the ignition of this vehicle that has reliably escorted me on this path for so long. I’m just so, so grateful. To my Baba, I say: Sadgurunath Maharaj Ki Jaya!!

Please don’t feed the mind

Wed. March 27th, 2019 5:50 pm

DSC05343

I had a perception that psychological challenges, which, in the west and in our modern times are typically assessed with counseling or some sort of psychotherapeutic delineation, aren’t so much mental maladies as they are calls from the soul, piercing through the veil of maya illusion in an attempt to seize our lost focus and reorient it towards the core truth of our existence.

In the Eastern traditions, psychological malady is recognized in this manner as it has been for ages. In primal or aboriginal cultures, a witch doctor or shaman might be consulted to eradicate demons or bad influences. The perspective taken is that the one suffering the affliction is always, at their base, well, and that help sought is simply to return them to wellness.

Western psychiatry takes a similar bent. There is always wellness buried behind the cobwebs of mental delusion.

I paused on this note while watching a film, in which the main character had a change of heart, a resulting change of character, and ultimately wellness and balance. The character had suffered from loneliness all his life, and so his actions were perceived as irrational because they were so over the top by conventional standards. The character simply was seeking love, to be loved, to be empowered to give it, and by so doing compelled others around him to avoid his company. This perplexed the main character, compelling him to behave in manners more extreme than in the beginning. Eventually, understanding between he and the others was achieved, and in that moment, psychological healing occurred, and the love that was so evasive was found, albeit possessing a different semblance than expected or initially envisioned.

This is true of all of us. It’s a human condition. We behave in manners that don’t always jive with our contemporaries – our family, friends, colleagues, community others – until we are able to recognize a need to initiate only the simplest change, and that is to allow the heart to open ever so slightly, which is all is needed for the light of right understanding to shine in all its brilliance.

As I contemplated this, I looked within myself and saw a pattern of similar irrational behavior that has puppeteered me my whole life. Then I recalled other instances when I could see these patterns in others. The whole of human behavior seems to be an expressive plea for the experience of love. Why is it that our species innately behaves so witlessly? We tend to bounce from external stimuli to external stimuli while our mind contrives what it perceives to be appropriate responses. Some of our behaviors are predicated on survival instinct. Some of them arise from fear. Some rise from a compellation to belong, to be wanted, to be needed. All of the latter arises from an innate desire to serve.

In a conversation about meditation with one of my colleagues, I was asked “But how do you make the mind stop?” The answer is simple: Don’t feed it. The mind doesn’t stop. It’s a mind. Its function is to think and create thoughts. One simply needs to watch the mind, witness it doing its thing.

The mind is a tool. Like our fingers, legs, liver, eyes, etc, it is provided in our species to serve a function, to serve us. The situation is that humanity has largely lost the ability to recognize this. Do we use the mind to serve us for our benefit? Or, do we let the mind use us to our detriment? The latter generally prevails.

The reason Buddha, Jesus and other great sages through history stand apart is that they found the means to lasso the mind and use it the way it was intended. The mind is the interference, the static on our television. Like a TV set, we just need to know the instructions to properly tune the mind to get the best and clearest reception. When we learn this, we soon see that we are inherently capable of seeing more than anticipated. By watching mind, by just witnessing thoughts come and go like flotsam and jetsam on the surface of a buoyant ocean, the mind recognizes that it has no control over us, and humbly retreats in submission, becomes clamer and more quiet, pranaming to the greatness of the now visible soul in the capacity of the servant which it rightfully is.

Regular practice of meditation is one technique that helps to keep the mind’s activity in check. It will, by its nature, repeatedly attempt to usurp the crown of the kingdom of the soul. This morning, for example, while I was meditating, my mind wouldn’t cease! Thought after thought arose, one after another in unrelenting repetition. Now and then, a thought here and there would distract me from my inner focus, and another thought would then arise that said “Hey, now that’s a good idea!” So, while I witnessed my thoughts, I witnessed a second and third tier of thoughts arise in conjunction with one initial thought. If I had to count the number of thoughts that arose in that 20 minute meditation session, I would have to say thousands, easily.

Yet, each time, I caught myself beginning to get distracted, and promptly averted my attention back to focus on the inhalation and exhalation of my breath. Almost immediately, the storm of thoughts would evaporate like steam. And all the while, another set of thoughts subtly began to percolate.

So, thoughts don’t stop, but we can. But simply sitting still and letting go for a few brief minutes out of each day, we gradually develop an increased habit of retaining the witness state, and with each day, the mind becomes gradually quieter and more subservient. The perfection of the mind as a tool lies in this state of subservience. Everything in creation is designed to serve everything else.

On the Sangreal with Brother Donkey

Thursday, March 7, 2019. 8:44 am

I haven’t logged in here for over a week, largely because I was so busy with my work on the cruise. So much has transpired in the time that’s passed. I’ll see what I can recall, going backward.

This morning I got out of bed around 6:45 for preparation to participate in a live, online meditation from India with Amma and Bhagavan, which was scheduled for 7:30am. The strange thing was, I was unable to sleep last night. This was unusual, as I was considerably tired when I went to bed around 11:45 pm last night. I found myself spending the night, lying in bed and watching my thoughts. My mind wouldn’t stop. It didn’t disturb me, though, as I found it more curious than anything. 

I’ve had this experience now and then through the years, and quite frequently when I lived in Muktananda’s ashram. I pondered whether some unseen force or a connection on a higher level had kept me awake intentionally to serve a deeper meditation in the morning. I’ve been experiencing lately a conscious force that seems to be supporting me from deep within myself. It’s as if, as I continue to gradually merge with my higher self, that my body is cajoled like a respected, subservient beast. That is, after all, what the human form is – a soul vehicle. I think I mentioned this before, that our bodies are the beasts over which we’ve been given domain. They are our pack mules, are loyal assistants and companions on the path. Saint Francis, I was recently reminded, referred to his body as ‘Brother Donkey.’ He had it. He knew it. Saint Francis was surely awakened if not most certainly enlightened. He was one with his soul and one with Christ. This is what enabled him to stand courageously before the pope of his era, and challenge the imposing church orthodoxy. He’s a study in human oneness with the divine. 

At 7:30, as the meditation began, I was outside with my dogs, calling them in from their morning romp. I brought them in, gave them each a biscuit, and then ascended to the upstairs office in our home where I’ve meditated, written, and have had countless deep experiences for more than 20 years. Almost immediately as I sat down to meditate and closed my eyes, my pineal gland began to calmly throb in a soothing cadence. I could feel a blessing – diksha – being bestowed from participating. My awareness went deep fairly fast as I was drawn deeper and deeper. 

After about 7 minutes had passed, I opened my eyes to find that the video connection to India had been lost. I smiled over this, and concluded that watching the Youtube link didn’t matter, because the real participation was within me. I wondered if this was an intentional lesson. It was one I got nonetheless. I did later learn that the meditation only lasted for 7 minutes. 

Bhagavan has been advocating assorted sadhana practices in 7 minute increments. “Always 7 minutes” he said on one video I recently watched. For example, the daily sadhana contemplation given in our December class suggested a 7 minute contemplation on one aspect of the Self. We were given 7 aspects of the Self – one for each day of the week. And to inaugurate a meditation or another skill, it was advised to inwardly or outwardly recite the Moola Mantra 7 times. For another practice, recite it 21 times. Everything is offered in multiples of 7. 

While I awaited the start of the meditation before letting my dogs out, I happened upon a Youtube video of someone’s trek to the meditation cave of the famed Babaji. Babaji, of course, is the ageless avatar referenced in Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi. It was Babaji who initiated Lahiri Mahasaya into the ageless, once secretive practice of Kriya Yoga in 1861 from that very cave. Mahasaya then taught this practice to Sri Yukteshwar, the guru of Yogananda, who in turn brought it to the west in the 1920’s and opened the door for the western hemisphere’s favor for yoga and meditation that prevails to this day. 

I thought it a curious coincidence that I should stumble across this video prior to my transcontinental meditation session. When I was first learning to meditate as a teenager, it was the photo of Babaji in Yogananda’s book on which I focused, meditated, and quite frankly used to summon as a deity. I have felt Babaji’s presence in my life ever since.  I have been wondering if my more recent experiences of an unseen guide are him. In fact, I’ve had countless experiences of an unseen, benevolent guide throughout my 40 years of sadhana practice. Whether or not I was fully engaged in yoga practice or goofing off and partying more, always there was some gentle hand guiding me through my navigation of this world. But that is the magic that is available in yoga practice. There is a reason so many have practiced it for ages, for thousands of years. It is the true path, the Sangreal. The Grail is the inner Self.

My mind is quiet now. The combination of no sleep and an hour of deep meditation has left me in a nice state. I’m going to relish it for a while before heading to work in a few hours. More on my adventures later. 

Peace.