Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I'll be wrapped around your finger

I'm sitting on my living room couch feeling like a small-time pot dealer, facing an ottoman stacked with messy piles of twenties, tens and fives. But instead of a fat blunt, I'm enjoying a glass or three of cheap champagne, and rather than counting my weekly take I'm doling out the annual Christmas bonuses for my apartment building staff. I prefer to get this done before Christmas so the boys can do their shopping, but this year I'm late. Which kinda takes some of the joy out of it for me. So I open a bottle of Comte de Gascogne and ride the elevator down with three flutes in hand, to share a toast to Christmas with my favorite doormen. And now I'm back with the balance of the bottle.

It's ridiculous that liquor stores are closed by law on Christmas day in the U.S. (the only day of the year that we're like Europe, where everything's locked up tighter than a Spanish virgin for yuletide.) I'd like another glass of holiday cheer, but the bottle's empty and I didn't plan ahead. Or, rather, I did. Planned not to drink alone on Christmas. Planned not to feel lonely, too. Well, as my Grandma used to say when things didn't quite go her way..."plans of mice and men."

Didn't Gurumayi once quote one of the Sufi poets, Rumi or Hafiz, in a talk in which she riffed on the theme "let your loneliness cut more deep"? I didn't hear that talk first hand, but got the download soon afterward from my friend Kathy and, the next time I was at S. Fallsburg ashram, I bought a volume of Hafiz--yes, it was Hafiz, I remember now--hoping to read the poem that Gurumayi had quoted from. Except that I got the wrong collection of his poetry.

It wasn't until years later, in 2005, that I finally read the source poem. I was at Burning Man, the annual arts festival/survivalist camp in the Nevada desert, sitting in an authentic Navajo tent erected by a wonderfully odd caucasian woman who lived her intense attachment to indigenous culture, surrounded by camp mates who had taken refuge from the stultifying midday heat. I'd brought a bottle of chilled white wine to share, and a beautiful young woman from San Francisco brought out "The Subject Tonight is Love", another volume of Hafiz' poetry. We passed around the wine and the book, taking turns drinking and reading aloud. When it came my turn I opened the slim paperback at random and began reading:

"Don't surrender your loneliness
So quickly.
Let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice
So tender,

My need of God
Absolutely
Clear."

I felt something like a mixture of joy and longing then, and my voice broke with emotion as I read. Of course, I was a little drunk (like Hafiz!) and quite probably dehydrated as well. Still, although Gurumayi had already gone missing for over a year by then, I experienced the old tug of attachment and wondered, what made her choose that passage as a basis for her talk? What was she trying to tell us, or more likely, reveal about herself?

A few days later, just after the climactic event of the week when the giant wooden effigy of "the Man" was burned, I was walking across the great expanse of desert known as the playa, hand in hand with my friend who had brought the book of Hafiz. As we walked she twisted her hand in mine for warmth and, a moment later, my right ring finger suddenly felt naked. Snatching my hand away I realized with panic that my Gurumayi signature ring was gone.

(That particular ring was precious to me; I'd acquired it during the years when the bookstore went all out to commission works of real beauty. It had twin pillars on its face surmounted by Gurumayi's signature, elegantly carved in Devanagari script against a delicately worked field of wavering gold, like a field of wheat shimmering in the sun.)

I grabbed for a flashlight and began sweeping it back and forth across the desert floor. But I knew almost immediately it was useless. Nothing is more disorienting than the desert at night, absent light or fixed points of reference. We could have been just feet away from where the ring fell and searched all night without finding it.

Still, I persisted and roped my friends into the effort as well. They were game, although my despair at losing the ring was harshing everyone's post-burn emotional high. Eventually, reluctantly, I called off the search and we all trooped off together in the direction of one of the dancing pavillions. As we were locking up our bikes and stashing anything we didn't need to dance, I remembered Gurumayi saying "If you lose something, let it go. Your karma with that object is over. It belongs to someone else now, and will bring them blessings."

I looked down on the desert floor and spotted...a penny. Which was extraordinary because money is superfluous at Burning Man. Nothing outside of coffee and ice can be bought or sold, and those only during a few hours each morning. It is the one place where you can lose your wallet and never miss it. The entire camp is run on a "gift economy": If there is something you want or need that you didn't pack in with you, just ask. Someone will have it and gladly give it to you, and visa versa.

As I've written before, whenever I'd find a coin on the ground I used to take it as a sign that my thoughts in that moment were blessed by the Guru. I later came to abjure such "magical thinking," but in that moment I believed and surrendered the ring to the desert with something akin to equanimity.

I never replaced that ring. I told myself that the bookstore was only offering pale imitations, but it was something more. I'd remembered that this was not the first Guru ring I'd lost. In 1994, close to the seventh anniversary of my Diva Diksha, I was playing in the surf off Long Island with my dog, Rama. As I clapped my hands to get him more and more excited, my ring flew off my finger and slipped beneath the waves. I dove again and again, frantically searching for it, but of course, it was gone, swallowed up by the ocean as completely as my next ring would be by the desert. I shouldn't have been wearing it in the water, I reprimanded myself. But, the truth was, I never removed that ring. It was, for me, as precious as a wedding ring. I'd brought it up to Gurumayi in darshan and asked her to put it on me, and when she asked which finger I gave her the ring finger of my right hand. Any time I thought of her and wanted to send her my love, I'd kiss the blue enamel signature set into its band of gold. It got to be that I'd do that so often that my boyfriend would joke: "Stop making out with your ring, already."

If something leaves you, let it go. This was the second time the natural world conspired to rob me of this token of fealty to the Guru, and this time I began to wonder if it wasn't for the best. If it wasn't a sign that the union I celebrated by wearing those rings was, finally, over.

Something is still missing in my heart, tonight. But it hasn't made my longing for God more clear. It hasn't done anything as simple as that.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Seekher,

Letting lonliness cut, first time I read of it in the way you describe was Naipul's Mystic Masseur. I think. That it was a state considered valuable and even to be enhanced. I think there are ragas especially to go with the mood you describe so beautifully.

So how do you think Gurumayi does it? I mean get that Sufi peom to turn up like that at Burning Man? Kundalini Shakti, she is sweet, and then she can cut like a knife and you loose your ring.

Wonderful to read and truly therapeutic Seekher. Salut.

Anonymous said...

That was a good post holiday read SeekHer, thanks. I had to go in the other room after I read it and I saw my japa ring on the table and put it on, lol. I am both lonely and happy this holiday season, alternatingly. Many blessings all.

Anon w/e
(w/e usually stands for whatever, but let us say it stands for whoever.) :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post SeekHer, you made me remember that a few months ago, I finally took off the wedding ring Guruamyi put on my finger many years ago, when I got married in Gsp... it was a difficult decision for me, after so many years... but I still carry always in my pocket the rudraksha beads japa mala! I guess I want to break free from Gurumayi/Siddha Yoga, but not from mantra/inner realms...

Besides that, aren't we always alone in our whole life? Much love,

Pp

Anonymous said...

Response to Christopher, from K -- take what you wish and leave the rest...

a) As a recovering addict I had a hard time reading this post, it was so full of references (soft, but deadly ones for me) to drinking and drugs. Still, a number of thoughts crossed my mind as I read it:

I cannot imagine a true spiritual seeker drinking so much alcohol... why would anyone have to promise himself/herself to not drink alone on a holiday unless s/he were an alcoholic (a common confession among many alcoholics, that in our worst moments we tend to drink alone)... the lament that the liquor store is closed on a major holiday and the need to "plan" one's drinking with that in mind (sounds very alcoholic to me)... references to being "drunk on the divine" were replete in SY: had I seen them when I first got involved I think I would have run in the other direction, but having given MUK my all after I learned he could give what I thought of as "the yoga equivalent of acid trips, with no crash and burn", because I'd confused psychedelic experiences with spiritual experiences...

This is how an addict thinks, confused and conflicted with him/herself....

Rolling wads of money out in an ottoman...
I've seen this, blunts garnished with with bullets....

I doubt that I'll be revisiting this text often.
It's just not a good thing for me to ingest on a repeated basis.

b) Unfortunately the reference to things being closed up "tight as Spanish Virgins" felt very misogynist to me.

c) The Ring....

References this season to The Lord of the Rings which seems to be on TNT every year at this time now, to marriage rings, to commitment rings,

To.... "One ring to rule them all, and in the darkness bind them"...

Gollum... Gollum. "mmmmmy prrrecioussss". A personal "Ring of Power"

One must let it fall into the fire of Mount Doom. But that is so very hard.

d) Burning man, the people I know who are associated with that promoting festival, what does it mean, to burn up a straw man, does the Guru represent a spiritualized a straw wo/man, oh "light my flame" with that flame/ja-ga-a-o, did the straw man wo/light herself up or did something in the air, from far above the air, ignite her against the black night sky, flash/lights skimming the barren earth, seeking a lost ring, clasping a loved hand, one's own hands thrown together in joy, in prayer, to the delight of a loyal friend, urging the animal further and further into the sea, into the water, then diving, searching the sea that swallowed The Precious Ring into the foam of... panic, regret, longing, remembrance.... making love with a kiss on The Ring, The Pope's Ring, the Godfather's Ring, Muktananda thrusting a massive yellow topaz into the face of a devotee saying "here, LOOK AT MY PLANETS" just before the hapless newcomer tumbles into free fall... then Letting It Go, the way an astronaut lets go of a grounding source while suspended in all of weightless space.

These images are incredibly rich for me. Thank you for them.

e) The issue of gender in the post... he's? referred to himself as Christopher before, now he's? walking hand in hand with a friend (female) at the Burning Man, then later a reference to her? boyfriend accusing her? of Having Congress With Her? Jewelry... and why would the gender of the writer matter to me anyway... how does it play if I imagine the narrator to be first a man in love with Gurumayi, then a woman, then a lesbian in love with the Self... then in my confusion as a gay man...

What does the context of gender mean in the face of this sort of loneliness?

e) Hafiz... the mention of this and some other forms of spiritual poetry reminds me of a quotation offered to the SY community at a New Year's program:

This world is not a courtroom;
there is no judge, no jury,
no defendant, no plaintiff.
This world is a caravan of eccentrics,
telling wondrous stories of God.
~~~ A Persian Proverb

Thanks for letting me share this.

SeekHer said...

anonymous wrote:

"Burning man, the people I know who are associated with that promoting festival, what does it mean, to burn up a straw man, does the Guru represent a spiritualized a straw wo/man, oh "light my flame" with that flame/ja-ga-a-o, did the straw man wo/light herself up or did something in the air, from far above the air, ignite her against the black night sky, flash/lights skimming the barren earth, seeking a lost ring, clasping a loved hand, one's own hands thrown together in joy, in prayer, to the delight of a loyal friend, urging the animal further and further into the sea, into the water, then diving, searching the sea that swallowed The Precious Ring into the foam of... panic, regret, longing, remembrance.... making love with a kiss on The Ring, The Pope's Ring, the Godfather's Ring, Muktananda thrusting a massive yellow topaz into the face of a devotee saying "here, LOOK AT MY PLANETS" just before the hapless newcomer tumbles into free fall... then Letting It Go, the way an astronaut lets go of a grounding source while suspended in all of weightless space."

this is beautiful, very, very extraordinarily beautiful

Anonymous said...

"What does the context of gender mean in the face of this sort of loneliness?"

Dear K,

This is rich in your post for me. Gender around spiritual matters...Have always resisted interpretations that made male female distinctions. Now seeking sources of understanding I am more interested. I dont' think this relates to the physical gender as listed on a birth certificate. I see the male female qualities in varying degrees in everyone. In this reflection I am coming to the idea that the balance of feminine and masculine traits can be looked at differently and give clues about how to find new paths and new ways of walking on them.

Anonymous said...

SeekHer said...

this is beautiful, very, very extraordinarily beautiful

K replies:

Thanks, after I posted it I reviewed it and found a few typos. I am powerless over my Compulsive Editor and she sometimes makes my life unmanageable -lol-...

In any case, to rest my weary writer's mind I want to correct my typos now:

"Burning man, the people I know who [promote that] festival... {my that was a mess!}

And... did [the straw wo/man] light herself up or did something in the air, from far above the air, ignite her against the black night sky...

Anonymous said...

Wrapped Around Your Finger by Sting/The Police

(for reference)

You consider me the young apprentice
Caught between the Scylla and Charybdis
Hypnotized by you if I should linger
Staring at the ring around your finger

I have only come here seeking knowledge
Things they would not teach me of in college
I can see the destiny you sold
Turned into a shining band of gold

I'll be wrapped around your finger
I'll be wrapped around your finger

Mephistopheles is not your name
I know what you're up to just the same
I will listen hard to your tuition **
You will see it come to its fruition

I'll be wrapped around your finger
I'll be wrapped around your finger

Devil and the deep blue sea behind me
Vanish in the air you'll never find me
I will turn your face to alabaster
When you will find your servant is your master

Ohhh, you'll be wrapped around my finger
You'll be wrapped around my finger **
You'll be wrapped around my finger **

Stuart said...

In the classic cult movie "Harold and Maude," there's a scene where they're on the beach, and Harold gives her a gift. I think it's a birthday gift, and I recall it was a ring. In any case, it's intended as a profound token of his love.

Maude says, "This is the most wonderful gift I've ever gotten!" And then immediately she throws it into the ocean. When Harold looks at her in horror, she explains, "Now I'll always know where it is!"

Re "longing for God"... perhaps some people thrive on "longing," that's the mind that on some level they choose to cultivate. For me, a questioning mind is more interesting. Rather than cultivate any sort of wanting, I turn to "What is God?"

When longing for God, for guru, for anyone or anything... one alternative is to wonder about just what it is that we're really longing for. Maybe, for example, I'm really looking for a sense that I can trust the universe. I'm looking for that trust in a particular person or thing... but maybe the deeper truth is that I'm looking for that sense within myself, and projecting it outward.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

SeekHer said...

K wrote:

"Thanks, after I posted it I reviewed it and found a few typos. I am powerless over my Compulsive Editor and she sometimes makes my life unmanageable "'

It was precisely the unedited stream-of-consciousness quality of your post that I loved!

SeekHer said...

Stuart wrote:

"When longing for God, for guru, for anyone or anything... one alternative is to wonder about just what it is that we're really longing for. Maybe, for example, I'm really looking for a sense that I can trust the universe. I'm looking for that trust in a particular person or thing... but maybe the deeper truth is that I'm looking for that sense within myself, and projecting it outward."

Yes. This is what I've been thinking myself. When I break down the origin and substance of my former longing for the Guru it seems to have made of nothing more than my longing to know my own deepest Self, which you might call the ground of being, and which is always available in the here and now, and which can never be found anywhere else. That longing was something like an IOU. As in, I'm not experiencing THAT now, so I will focus on an outer being or image that represents THAT, and which I believe gave me access to THAT in the past, and who lives in THAT state, until I can experience THAT again.

A rather convoluted and tortured path to experience something that is always present, no?

Regarding Harold and Maude--thank you, I love that! It reminds me of the cliché of a newly divorced man or woman throwing their wedding ring off a bridge or boat into the sea. A neat metaphor for consciousness reabsorbing something that was once precious into itself until it can manifest again in another way.

And how wonderful, then, when I wasn't ready or able to cast my attachment away, the ocean and the desert, twin poles, complementary opposites, conspired to remove the symbol of that attachment so that I might examine its substance.

Anonymous said...

>>" I was playing in the surf off Long Island with my dog, Rama. As I clapped my hands to get him more and more excited, my ring flew off my finger and slipped beneath the waves. I dove again and again, frantically searching for it, but of course, it was gone, swallowed up by the ocean as completely as my next ring would be by the desert">>>

Boy, if that had been me, I'd have been thinking (big time) about Hannuman and Lord Rama's ring. The whole epic return of the Self from the bondage of Ego rests on the Lord of Devotion carrying the ring (symbol of the bond between Self and Individual) across the ocean of samsara. And then, you lose the second ring at a fire ritual...just like Hanuman in Lanka...when his tail was set on fire as he rescued Sita...interesting! Sure worth re-reading the Ramayana.
s.

SeekHer said...

s--

Wow. I love the Ramayana; in fact, Gurumayi gave me my spiritual name from that epic, but I would never have parsed these meanings from it to append to my own experience. Thank you. I'd been thinking I was overdue to get Buck's Ramayana out of storage. Seems it is time!

Anonymous said...

SeekHer said...

It was precisely the unedited stream-of-consciousness quality of your post that I loved!

December 27, 2007 1:53 PM

K responds:

Well, I hate to tell you this but there are some forms of prose poetry that *look* unedited but they're more like those carefully disheveled hairstyles... messy, but not accidentally so.

In any case, yes I'm a big fan of write it all down then see what happens when the editor goes out on a coffee break but actual typos, the ones that jar the mind and distract the flow of an image stream... even in a lightly edited piece of prose poetry they have to go.

Your posts almost always awaken that part of my inner writer. The one that creates wild, nuanced stream of imagery connections.

It's a writing methodology or genre that I still need to refine, you know? There's a line here that a real artist doesn't want to cross... the one between presenting a set of ideas in a novel way and getting so novel on the way that no coherent ideas survive the crossing.

I'm not always sure my babies get to the other side of the road. I'm glad to hear that for you, most if not all of my ducklings made the journey safely.

SeekHer said...

K wrote:
"It's a writing methodology or genre that I still need to refine, you know? "

From where I sit you're doing just fine. That passage that I said was beautiful? It takes my breath away. Keep on keepin' on, K.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to veer way off topic for a minute, but I'm excited about a new book I'm writing. It's a biographical salute to Swami Chetananda.Pre-orders will be accepted soon. The title is "YOU GONNA EAT THAT?: On the Road With the White Trash Avatar"

thanks,
Author9, NYC

Anonymous said...

This article ia a great piece of writing showing your REALITY that day, not just a bunch of PC code word-laden stuff like a SY inmate might write. I'ts good enough I can see myself in the apartment with the cash, the doormen, etc. Please give us more honest writing like this.

Anonymous said...

>>" It's a biographical salute to Swami Chetananda.Pre-orders will be accepted soon. The title is "YOU GONNA EAT THAT?: On the Road With the White Trash Avatar""<<

Is this an oblique reference to Rudi's "Spiritual Cannibalism"?

lol.

narayan said...

Happy New Year Everyone....here's hopeing for a better new year ahead for all of us, and with out the Guru in toe! pun intended. :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you Narayan for the New Year Message...Thinking about such things, had the thought we need to be our own guru in the end, hence the lonely part. The part where we negotiate the aloneness, the nothingness at the core, is the work of a lifetime. To take a break from all that is part of God's divine plan and hence what champagne and herb were made for IMHO. No offence to recovery folk. You are not powerless South Park though offensive to the max, by design, got it right on recovery.

Stan walks into A.A. meeting)
Stan: Excuse me, who's in charge here?
Michael: None of us are in charge. We're all powerless.
(Group murmurs in agreement)
Stan: Look, my dad was here yesterday, and you all kinda messed him up by telling him he had a disease.
Man: Alcoholism is a disease.
Stan: No its not, and you can't just go around saying stuff like that to people like my dad. He's kinda a hypochondriac. (edit)

Narayan, it hurt a bit when you wished a new year without the guru in tow/toe. Have been carrying this guru-manque for 9 months now. Transition time. Baby is due. Will not throw the dear thing out with the bathwater. A new spiritual sensibility is rising and I find others here are finding their way also. So though a solitary journey, the company here is treasured. Thanks to all who share themselves so generously here.

There's a message, not from SY philosophy and culture, but from another heritage. that was written on other temple walls I offer for the New Year: 'Nothing to excess'
and 'Know Thyself'. Words from the Temple at Delphi, another fraud according to historians, but like SY, the Greeks look good on paper. ;-)

A votre sante tous le monde

Anonymous said...

"SY philosophy and culture"

Oowwwwww.

Understood that a number of the participants here are still in SY and just beginning to harbor doubts...but please understand, that phrases from "siddha speak" like the one above, are just as painful to many of us who are now firmly out of SY, as Narayan's bit about "without the Guru in toe" (tow?).

That phrase always made me wince, personally. In Muktananda's time, there was no need for such a phrase. It simply didn't need to exist.

I must say, the SY those of us who met Muk encountered is so incredibly different from what the organization morphed into under GM's influence. By the late '90's and early 2000's, if anyone were transported via time-machine from Muk's time into that late era of GM's publicly available time, they'd barely recognize the movement. And would probably beg and shriek to please be sent back to the time they came from.

SeekHer said...

Anon wrote:
"SY philosophy and culture"
Oowwwwww.
Understood that a number of the participants here are still in SY and just beginning to harbor doubts...but please understand, that phrases from "siddha speak" like the one above, are ...painful to many of us who are now firmly out of SY"

I'm not following your point, sorry. First, I didn't realize that "SY philosophy and culture" was an example of "siddha-speak." I took it as a phrase meant to encompass SY teachings (as derived from Shaivite philosophy, among others) along with the defined set of spiritual practices that were developed in Baba's time, and pursued as a means to unfold those teachings.

Also, the writer of the previous comment wasn't passing judgment on said philosophy and culture one way or another, merely referencing them in order to make the point that the maxims (s)he is suggesting as guides for the new year, come from outside that tradition.

Lastly, to my reading, the same comment was expressing a break from the past deeper and more profound than merely "beginning to harbor doubts" about the path.

narayan said...

Exactly, very well put. “Lastly, to my reading, the same comment was expressing a break from the past deeper and more profound than merely "beginning to harbor doubts" about the path.”

The Guru today is nothing like the Guru of yesterdays time, Muk and his Shakti was so far removed from what ever Gummy has today it’s like comparing an Orange to an Apple. And that’s not to say that either is good to the taste today. Both are just as lethal to ones own being and self esteem self worth. The trap has a singular spring, once shut the door is very hard to open again. The subtle locks placed on that door are many and are deep with in our own soul. I was very lucky to have left when I did, 1980, after many, many years with Muk and his dominion of Sava slaves and energy generators. What you see in Gummy, I have no doubt you believe is true and uplifting at times, and oh you can justify all the abuse you may suffer from SY Staff I’m sure, guess what….”Wake Up” before you spend your young years in service, and Sava for nothing will come from being with here or here group! Nothing! I am just one in thousands who were very close to the source, and left because of promises never kept. So you can take what I say with a grain of sand and spread it out over the earth and never see what is really true with your self.
I keep my spiritual name to remind me of what was lost and what I gained in the leaving of this CULT!

Anonymous said...

Seekher, you said "I'm not following your point, sorry. First, I didn't realize that "SY philosophy and culture" was an example of "siddha-speak." I took it as a phrase meant to encompass SY teachings (as derived from Shaivite philosophy, among others) along with the defined set of spiritual practices that were developed in Baba's time, and pursued as a means to unfold those teachings."

My point was that, from the perspective of someone who began involvement in SY in Muktananda's time (from at least THIS one's perspective, anyway), even the very use of a phrase such as "Siddha Yoga philosophy and culture" sounds utterly, utterly contrived. Like a way-over-the-top officially sanctioned formalization of something that didn't need to be "bundled" in this way.

Seekher, not to sound arrogant but as someone who appears to have begun involvement with SY in GM's time after Nit Jr was pushed off the formerly-shared sofa-throne, I actually don't expect you to understand or agree, or even follow. It's a matter of perspective that can only be shared by people who were through the whole process from Muk's growing popularity in the West all the way through the unofficial closure of SMA in 2004. I'm sure this is sounding arrogant. Perhaps it is. But I'm convinced that people who weren't part of SY that early, just won't get it. They simply don't have the experience.

You are correct in describing the phrase I am contesting as a way to "encompass SY teachings (as derived from Shaivite philosophy, among others) along with the defined set of spiritual practices that were developed in Baba's time" in one little neat description.

The problems I have with that neat little "siddha-speak" description, is, are these:

1. In Baba's time, these practices weren't necessarily touted as "Siddha Yoga's". (I'd add a trademark or little "R inside the circle" symbol here if I could figure a good way to make that appear on screen.) Instead, they were acknowledged as being traditional spiritual practices from various aspects of yoga. In other words, that bundle of teachings wasn't packaged to pertain to "Siddha Yoga" alone and be its property. Since it was widely known that such practices were practiced in other yogic traditions as well, no claim was made as to who they belonged to. Which is exactly what the little phrase I objected to actually does.

Instead, in Baba's time, the special thing he claimed was shaktipat. By direct touch. Publicly. To thousands of people at a time. That was what made him unique in the West and he knew it, so that's what he played up as pertaining to him.

2. There was a lot more flexibility in Baba's time as to which set of the wide-ranging gamut of practices and philosophies a devotee could focus on. It was sold more along the lines of "whatever works for you, when you have time for it, then focus on that." A devotional person could focus on puja and chanting. An intellectual could focus on scripture study and apply that to meditation. A person who liked keeping physically occupied or who preferred to offer their service was able to focus on seva. It was recommended that every person engage in each of these things to greater or lesser degree but didn't have the official, "mandatory" feel of a phrase such as the one I objected to.

I, for one, absolutely believe there is such as thing as "Siddha-Speak". C'mon, seekher. If any of us listen to the highly scripted way that SY teachers, MC's, etc. spoke, and then listened to conversation around your local ashram, center, or C&M group, I think the likelihood of encountering people who picked up and began using phrases such as "siddha yoga philopsophy and culture" that they picked up via SY was rampant. At least, where I lived it was. For example:

"my/our great good fortune"

(Plain English translation: Boy am/are I/we lucky!"

or

"what to do?"

(Plain English translation: either "I'm not sure what to do about this" or "Ain't nuthin' to do about it" depending on usage)


or "How auspicious!"

(Plain English translation: Either "Boy am/are I/we lucky!" (see above) or "How wonderful", depending on usage)

Who the f**k in the normal world TALKS like that????

THAT'S why I object to "siddha-speak". A bunch of people just pick up stuff GM says or the people around her say, and start using it in parlance. And it just sounds either totally contrived (like with the philosophy & culture thing) or just plain weird.

Sorry to be on a soapbox this New Year's Day. But if you're truly willing for this site to be for everybody who's either in and/or out of SY, and are willing to let the discussion fly, I simply want it known that for many of us who are clearly out, simply reading or hearing GM's specific phraseology sometimes makes us wince or shudder.

Which is our problem, not yours. I simply hope your readers (on each side) will be sensitive to such things.

'Nuff said. A good and happy new year to all.

Anonymous said...

Narayan, buddy.

I enjoy your posts but sure wish you'd understand that not using spell-checker can impact the perception of credibility others place in what you write.

Anonymous said...

First, I didn't realize that "SY philosophy and culture" was an example of "siddha-speak."

SY P & C may well be called siddha speak. At the same time, though, it is the name for that ashram department.

Anonymous said...

Seekher,

I'm sorry. What did I miss? You are surrounded by blunts and twenties and you actually think you can life a spiritual life like that? Toasting Christmas with your doorman. Sounds like something out of When Harry Met Sally. It's hillarious except you are so sincere.

In all of this it really seems like you are putting this person, Gurumayi?, in a position of immense power. But my understanding of modern Hindu guru's is that they are asking you to find your power within yourself. So what is the problem with wearing a ring or not. Take it off if you want. Wear it if you want. When you die you're not going to take it anyway. Whatever that ring symbolizes for good or bad is already alive 100% in your heart right this second. So wearing something that you dislike is just a senseless behavior.

You wrote...

"If something leaves you, let it go. This was the second time the natural world conspired to rob me of this token of fealty to the Guru, and this time I began to wonder if it wasn't for the best. If it wasn't a sign that the union I celebrated by wearing those rings was, finally, over."

Where is your gratitude at all? Wasn't it this Gurumayi person who said "If something leaves you let it go?" It doesn't sound like this person is holding on very tightly to anything that doesn't want to stay in the first place.

We live in an time of the world where people feel compelled to turn pages as quickly as possible. To not stay loyal. To not honor our own experiences. To turn our backs. To talk bad about people who are not in our life. To go from fair weather friend to fair weather friend. (I'm sure Burning Man has been a great source of life time mates) To leave when the going gets wierd. To not have the resources to find a way to make relationships last. To resort to drugs and alcohol. To not love people in spite of their shortcomings.

Your heart will always feel better by finding places of love.