tuesday 30 december 02003 12:43pm
in my heart

bhakti is the yogic path to enlightenment through devotion to the divine. it is akin to sufism, where the divine is called the beloved, the friend. rumi's followers celebrate his death as his wedding night. the night he became one with his beloved.

i remember when, as a child, i was introduced to the idea of god. i remember how i pushed it away. and how i tried to make it mine. i remember sitting in church on easter imagining with every fiber of my being, jesus coming down from the skylight and laying his hands on everyone's heads, and wanting it to be so. and i remember lying in the grass under my swingset at the back corner where the border between the yard and the forest began to blur, and looking at the forget-me-nots.

there came a time where i needed something to believe in. i had nothing, and i needed to believe. so i made a leap, and i chose everything. everything. i tried to say it like this: "the air we breath and the words we speak. the unceasing earth, tables, chairs, and spider webs. birds and their flight, motion and stillness." and years later i added this: "most of all god is the love we hold for one another; the patience, the faith, the open arms we offer and share."

my search for something to believe in ended up in the grass behind the swingset. but now i look at the flowers, and i call them god. a lump in my throat swells as i write that. god god god. dtodd was right, i think; we should invent a new word every time we try to say that. the beloved. the friend. the forget-me-nots that live forever in my mind in the grass behind the swingset in the backyard at 4252 lyra course.

at our wedding, we retold the story that is given of the day that rumi met his teacher/friend, the beloved shams. it is said that rumi said "what i first thought of as god, i met today as a human being." that, i felt that when i fell in love with him.

i've been creeping toward god for years. i believe that god is an idea. i believe that we are all god. toejam, tsunamis, bombs, my mother, hazel. the whole thing. and we can choose to stick our thumbs in our ears and sing a song about how alone we are, or we can lie back and let the whole world love us.

at my wedding, people were given time to stand and speak. a silence was created within which people could speak if so moved. when my mother stood, she spoke about the absolute bravery required in allowing someone to love you.

can i let the whole world love me? can i walk in that? it breaks me open.

i've been creeping toward this idea, toward surrendering to being love, toward using this word god as a shorthand to say what i mean, terrified. i find lately this word in my mind again and again: faith. faith. faith. it's a choice. i choose to believe a thing, and i cultivate that belief, and it lives in me and grows there, like a flower.

bhakti is loving the flower. bhakti is ecstatic adoration of being, in whatever form we choose to feel it.

one of the primary traditional forms of bhakti workship is chanting names of god; this is within a hindu culture, so it is chanting sanskrit mantras for hindu froms of the divine. for me, this makes it more powerful, because i do not know this language, i know only pieces of what i am saying, i have only a sense of these gods. i like the slippage.

bhagavan das. i have invited you to hear bhagavan das. for my birthday, jeremy gave me a set of cds of bhagavan das, the sunset kirtan concert. at the beginning of the red cd, bhagavan das says some things about kirtan, about practice. i've been enjoying it, and wanted an excuse to transcribe it. so i did, and am sharing it with you.

jai ma. praise holy mother.

you know all of us are here because of the love of our mother. nobody loves you like your mother. you better not forget it. and that means your divine mother. the life force of this life
that is living you. you see it is not your life, it's the life. and this life that we have, this human life, is very precious and very hard to come by. many things must come together to bring us here to this moment.

our life is like a lamp. and the lamp is burning. none of us know when it's over. many of us think "i will grow old, and i will die." maybe not so.

it's good to remember god every moment. and if you can't remember god, you should remember death, because death will bring you there. you see, the fleeting moments of this life get caught up in complete projection of our desires, and we're running around all the time, going everywhere, watching our crazy minds spinning us out, one desire after another one, that we can never fulfill in this lifetime. and we think, well, when i grow old, i'll meditate. i will practice when i get old. we don't know.

what we do know is here you are. here i am. i'm sitting here i'm 58, grandpa. yesterday i was 18. just like that. what did this dream become? what is this spinout of our your karma?

that's what we don't know. this is a mystery. so what you can do is daily spiritual practice. you can really devote yourself to finding out who you are. finding out who you are. who am i? what is the nature of my mind? what is this whole drama about? how precious is my life? i love you thankyou. to find that gratitude, to find that connection to the moment. that's what we need. and it's very very easy to forget it. it's like the grace is always blowing, but we don't feel it because we don't lift the sail. what is that sail? that sail is daily devotional practice. you do what you love. you need to fall in love with love.

it's your art. in bali, they have no work for artist. because everybody is an artist. everybody creates. what brings you the closest to the creator is creating. make it up! dance, sing, let yourself go. get into your temple. this is your temple (slapping sound which i think is him slapping himself). this is it. the moment is the moment, there is nothing but the moment. so find the total commitment to the moment and give yourself completely to whatever it is you are into so you can find out that this life is it. this is it. this is your moment to really dig deep inside of you and the way you do it is you just pull back-- and go inside -- and just spend those moments of reflection -- and just feel your breath. and tune in to the name of god. because these mantras are very sacred. and as we're chanting this devotion to divine mother it bring us inside. and we lose this projection of out out out always going out, always looking. when we pull back we realize it was here all the time. i am who i was looking for.

jai ma.