WAVE upon WaVe upon wave
I’ve felt a greater level of self-contractedness and disconnection from the current of love-bliss in the past few days than at any time in the past 10 months. Sharing this in a blog post is itself uncomfortable because by pattern and habit I’m a high functioning “A-Type Personality” that prefers not to acknowledge “weakness”, never mind document it. It was a lot more, i, i, i, me, me, me than usual, which has been, frankly, unpleasant by comparison to the last many months filled with Grace.
But to be honest, it’s very difficult to quantify or even really to communicate the fluctuations in the intensity of my sadhana. I’ve become more sensitive to the feeling dimension of existence and so subtle changes in that dimension are felt more intensely than in the past. I’m trying to generally share what I’m discovering in ways that best characterize the overall movements of the impossibly nuanced real experience as a devotee of Adi Da Samraj and the yogic “events” that I am finding are oscillating in a range of experience totally beyond anything in my life prior to now.
This is all breathtakingly new, exciting, unnerving in some ways, and yet simply so. It’s my new normal now too. I feel a bit like an early scientist who first looked through a microscope at his own body. The details that can now be seen are alien, unreal, composed of some combination of ugliness and beauty. And yet, while it’s apparently true that I am the same one I was before having this new tool of sensitivity that allows for greater depth of vision, “I” am utterly changed by this new understanding of myself.
And to extend the microscope metaphor yet further, what may seem like small movements or changes in my world view, appear to be majour shifts in the landscape when viewed with microscopic sensitivity.
I spent five days earlier this week away with Deb at a spa where I ate some foods that didn’t agree with me and I even had some alcohol. I was also on vacation from my usual activities as a student of Adidam. I didn’t meditate once and only listened to an hour or so of Adi Da on a DVD and read a few pages of one of His books. Prior to this trip away, I meditated for up to an hour most mornings, watched several hours a day of His discourses and Leelas about His impact on devotees’ lives. My last post communicated about my dietary changes and that I had stopped drinking alcohol for months. So these days away were a traditional vacation in which one indulges and leaves the usual responsibilities of life behind.
On the day we returned home, Deb and I got our second Covid-19 vaccine shot and by that night it triggered a fever and chills that lasted the next two days. During the first night the cold-sweats and fever kept me close to awake the entire night and very uncomfortable. I woke up a half dozen times to change clothes or adjust sleeping layers to wick away moisture or to cool from overheating. All the while my body was being put through it, my dreaming was full of dilemma. I had tried the week before to solve a simple issue of exchanging golf passes with a local course as part of a sponsorship my company provides for our local men’s night and when that fell through at the end of my vacation, I solved it with a different golf course just hours after getting our second shots.
But all night long as I floated between consciousness and asleep I kept dreaming I was still trying to solve this issue that I had already solved. And when I woke, I recalled the dream and knew it wasn’t an issue so was unsure why my sleeping state was stuck on it. But then in sleep this “problem mind” returned again troubling to solve the issue that was no longer a problem. After hours of waking and dreaming, waking and dreaming, I starting to notice on waking that this is exactly how during waking states my mind used to be troubled when Deb and I had fights in the past, prior to this new phase of my sadhana.
You know what I’m talking about! When you’re arguing with anyone and your mind keeps playing back your version of events and how you’re right and the other person needs to just see that. You tell yourself not to think about it, then moments later, the cycle of words and phrases repeat themselves. It’s at these times that we’re most contracted and completely bound, with no freedom to simply stop the “story” and end our mind’s tirade. For hours during the first night after my vaccine, I was my old mind again, totally bound in the twilight between fully asleep or fully awake and when I finally awoke the next early morning with fewer than three hours of sleep, I was spent and found the rest of that day very difficult to feel and conduct The Beloved.
The next night the fever didn’t feel as bad but just the same, I soaked my bed from sweat so thoroughly my duvet could be wrung out by hand. And again, in my diminished capacity, my sadhana was weaker too and conductivity that second day continued to be active at the lower range of my experience. I still feel Bhagavan like gravity, as a primary force day in and out, but the volume or amplitude was diminished.
And when that was so, I also noticed patterns that have been very uncommon for all of 2021 returning, a little like shadows creeping further into a room as the Sun is moving toward the horizon. I noticed myself become impatient in a conversation that wasn’t moving along quickly enough for me. For most of a year, I have regularly found myself without thought as others speak, without an agenda arising in reaction to their words. I just breath in and out and find myself speaking from a place of feeling in relation to the person at appropriate moments or just remaining silent. When the impatience arose, there were physical signs too like my breathing became shallow.
Then on the third day after the vaccine, I said something that Deb reacted to very angrily and her aggression toward me produced a whole variety of patterned reactions that for several hours left me as disconnected from Adi Da and my sadhana as I’ve been since the beginning of this new phase in my practice in October 2020. My first feeling was surprise, because her reaction seemed without context, proof I was out of relationship with her in the first place. Then I felt my body and breathing contract and words sprang from me trying to “resolve” the crisis and self-protect by talking her off the cliff. In short, I was self-contracted and reactive.
But the ground level changes in me from this past year’s sadhana, this microscopic sensitivity is also at play. I notice strategy after strategy arise, and then in the noticing, the strategies tend to weaken. I stop myself talking reactively and in the noticing of my breathing having become shallow, it deepens. I notice thoughts trying to defend my position or argue against Deb’s reaction, and when I seem incapable of making these patterns quiet for the first 15 minutes after the incident began, I found myself trying to picture my Guru and turn my feeling attention to Adi Da effortfully. I notice this as a strategy again, smile to myself, and as my humour returns, stillness and love-bliss crash down.
By the following week, my morning rituals and meditations back in place, my body freed from indulgent foods and drink, and I am taken over again and deepened by Grace. During the past year, this refined sense of self-understanding provides real-time insight to self-contracted patterns, and that noticing seems to be part of the patterns’ weakening. And all of this is seen in the context of broad overall movements as thought witnessed from a thousand feet above, then down to surface level, then microscopically.
The natural phasing and change over time feels like the cycle of a large wave or swell. And on that wave are smaller waves that rise and subside, and yet smaller waves on those appear and disappear. And curiously, there’s less and less concern about the shape, cause or reason for that moment in the cycle. I am not at odds with events or eager to see them change. The waves wash over me. At times you’re at the bottom of the swell and notice the experience as discomfort in the body-mind. At other times the wave brings feelings that are overwhelmingly love-blissful when at the crest.
As Adi Da has said from early on in Garbage and the Goddess, any experience that you are presented with must be recognized as garbage and discarded. Otherwise, concern for where I am at any given moment in the wave cycle, or the cycle of experience will tend to bind me.
When at the bottom of the cycle and feeling disconnected whether due to fever, poor diet, a fight with a loved one or a combination of all these factors, the feelings themselves are my form and existence when I give them my attention. I become what I meditate on. Likewise, when the wave crests and I’m feeling Bhagavan’s Love-Bliss in whatever capacity my body-mind is fit to conduct, indulging in this feeling is again a limitation, and however sweet it may feel, my form is still less than love at those moments.
Any yet, by Grace, my self-understanding seems to deepen. I notice the impact on my sadhana of poor diet and diminished practice. The contracted feelings are a result of the failure of my sadhana in those moments. The usefulness of the contracted feelings in those moments is they remind me I’ve forgotten The Beloved with body, mind, feeling and breath. Likewise, when I’m feeling blissful again having found the Mystery appearing in the Form of Adi Da Samraj with all my faculties, the sweetness is evidence my practice is restored. It’s not a problem to grimace at the waves of discomfort or smile at the waves of joy on the surface of the swells, because I am neither. I AM the Ocean.