When the Guru holds us spellbound, how can we ever truly be free?
I named one of my cats Premotsava. Am I going to jail?OS
OSYup. You're going behind bars with Pussy Riot.
darshan, blue pearl, leading with love, amrit, etc etc. Give me a break. Random words and phrases in common use by millions. Ridiculous, pathetic! OBW
Sorry this veers a bit off-topic, but thought of all of you last night as I watched the documentary, “Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present”. Anyone see it, or better yet see the actual MOMA exhibit a few years back? In short, Abramovic sat silent in a chair for seven hours a day, every day, for three months, as museum-goers in Manhattan stood in line and waited for their chance to step forward, take a seat across from her, and sit in silence as she gazed deeply into their eyes. Many, many were moved to tears.Made me think of darshan, obviously. But more than that, interesting to see the exact same "profound exchanges" we experienced and witnessed or thought we experienced and witnessed in SY, outside a SY context... outside a “SY- as-compared-to-Amma-or-Amrit-Desai, etc.” or some SY-like context, and rather, SY as compared to something that wasn’t trying to appear to be anything other than it was -- a carefully crafted for the public spectacle, in the form of a performance art piece. Darshan minus the prestidigitation and false pretense. Imagine!Don’t get me wrong, folks. Not trying to elevate a so-called SY “practice” to the level of something worthy of an exhibit at MOMA. Just wanted to mention the film, for those who might be interested. In a way watching the documentary proved something none of us need proof of: 1) Administering “darshan” is not the exclusive skill of some “master” and 2) An authentic darshan experience is in fact possible. Sure, in the case of Abramovic the price of admission was involved, but I suspect like most Museums, MOMA has “free” days. The trailer and clips can be found on youtube. Here also is a review:Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Presenthttp://www.sfgate.com/movies/article/Marina-Abramovic-The-Artist-Is-Present-review-3686602.phpLucid
Lucid---I do remember Abramovic's time at MOMA and made the connection at the time with darshan. I didn't go see her because I couldn't imagine waiting in line that long, but now almost wish I had. Will def check out the documentary. Thanks for sharing the link.
Hi Lucid, I saw that Abramovic piece as I was in the city at the time. I thought about it afterwards. what struck me is how much projection goes on when someone simply has the ability to "gaze into your eyes" for more than a second or two. Every spiritual shyster has developed the ability to "sink the vision" so that they can "take" the gaze of another person for a long time. It's a common LGAT technique and also used alot in tantric initiation in India. Were you ever in some yoga workshop where the teacher said, "chose a partner and gaze deeply into his/her eyes for as long as you can"? then it becomes an uncomfortable staring contest.."who's going to blink first?" (the other one is 'an advanced practitioner..smile). Staring deeply into a stranger's eyes is very "transgressive" and invasive. It makes people really uncomfortable, breaking down the sense of personal boundaries. The one who can "hold the gaze" is the one "in control". In nei gung (the energetic underpinnings of t'ai chi, qigong) you learn how to "diffuse" your vision so that you can be looking into someone's eyes and appear to be "seeing" them but, in reality, not fully engaging on the level of personal identity. Also, remember "sakshi bhava" or wide-focus gaze in sydayoga? i thought about all of these things in relation to Abramovic's piece...it was squirmingly painful to watch the desperation as people tried to "connect", bursting into tears, putting all kinds of symbolic meaning into what was going on. I'm not a huge fan of Abramovic but I think she touched on something powerful. I only wish there had been more reviews that brought up the issues of just how much power there is if one person can hold or absorb or diffuse the gaze of another and how the invasive nature of that gaze can unleash all kinds of "identity" issues. Oh, the other thing about that piece...when you sat down and engaged, there was "nobody" there..just a mirror of your own "stuff" or lack of it. But there was NOT that feeling you may have experienced sitting with a really transparent zen monk or tibetan lama and gazing..there was not a sense of opening into Infinite Space or Beingness...just Blank. interesting.anyway, thanks for the post.OS
I once spent a long time looking into the eyes of a cow, a "beef" cow. Big soft brown eyes. Nothing there, nada, zilch.... (And I love animals, truly.) Nobody home, but not in that boundless way you mention, OS.OBW
Saw the Abramovic documentary too and was also struck by the obvious darshan comparison... and the reactions of some of the people "taking darshan" - so reminiscent of the yoga days and speaking more to our own need to be seen and known, to be deeply known ... to alleviate our existential angst.
Lots of people at the ashram adopted 'the stare' to get control. It was so full of arrogance and cold heartedness. No love in it. The Manhattan Center guidelines give all the wonderful warm feelings of a prenup. Sure come and meditate with us but we will never trust you and will sue your ass if you try any funny business!
Anon 6:44Right? Anyone doing the downward dog within fifty yards of that place is just asking to get shafted. A few weeks ago I got forwarded an email from that same center that asked everyone on the mailing list to help identify potential new steering committee members. You could nominate anyone you know who:Has a strong commitment to and understanding of Siddha Yoga philosophy and cultureRegularly participates in satsang and special programsPerforms Siddha Yoga practices on a regular basisHas management or organizational skillsIs able to inspire othersIs able to work well on a team My first thought was: my, that's an awfully democratic process for the selection of such important sevites. My second thought was: how is it that the current center leaders don't know anyone in their community who possesses these qualities? And then I thought: ahhh, they've cycled through every one who qualifies and they are all burned out. And they've got no hand-raisers. So they're widening the net to search mailing list-level peeps in the hopes of enticing someone back. That seemed so pathetic I just couldn't make it the subject of a post here. Until I saw that anyone thinking of applying had better lawyer up first.
Got the same email SeekHer. When I was gossiped about by my seva supervisor via email I complained to the steering committee who told me there were a billion email wars going on. My favorite old timer once said that SY needs a committee to decide how to pick up a paperclip from the floor.
"I once spent a long time looking into the eyes of a cow, a "beef" cow. Big soft brown eyes. Nothing there, nada, zilch.... (And I love animals, truly.) Nobody home, but not in that boundless way you mention, OS." Maybe it was one of those "Lakshmi Cows" practicing "sakshi bhava"..smileos" our own need to be seen and known, to be deeply known ... to alleviate our existential angst."<<Dear Anon. sorry to tack this on. You hit the nail on the head...which is part of what makes it SO sad when that desperate need to be really SEEN is exploited by "spiritual" teachers.OS
Such a rich thread. Yes, OS, I agree Anon nailed it. Darshan was about our own need to be seen, deep down to the core of our being. Just as in the early stages of romantic love what we see in our lover's eyes is a projection of everything what we want to be, so when we pressed our foreheads on the carpet before Gurumayi, hungry for a glance from those fathomless brown eyes, we sought the acceptance that we only allowed ourselves to receive from outside. I, whose memory is so poor, still retain a vivid sense memory of the swaggering fulfillment I felt when rising and walking away from a darshan in which she looked at me. I've never slept with anyone and then been able to wish them anything but well. Why is it so hard for me to wish her well, when THAT was in many way so much more fulfilling that any carnal encounter?
Thanks for the responses to the Abramovic post, guys. I knew I could count on you. ;)Especially appreciate the first-hand account, OS, from someone who experienced the "experience" in both contexts. You mention several points I wouldn't have otherwise known or thought about.Made me wonder what I might have thought if I'd seen that Abramovic piece while still earlobe-deep in SY, say, mid-90s. Likely I would have thought Abramovic simply "was" Gurumayi, manifest in yet another form.Lucid
"It's a common LGAT technique and also used alot in tantric initiation in India. The one who can 'hold the gaze' is the one 'in control'..."If I get my act together and send my "next installment" to SeekHer, the romantic break-up I write about in the opening paragraph was with someone who had the precise skill you describe above, OS. GM had it too, of course. Back then, I had no frame of reference for such a thing and was, in both instances completely blind-sided and swept away. Nothing in my experience before or since has been as alluring, as seductive.I wouldn't fall for it today. Perhaps only because I know better than to go anywhere near it.Lucid
you know there is an older siddha yoga dham started by swami chetananda, i think they would be a bit peeved by this. Syda has no right to trademark words that are used commonly in india, like darshan, and blue pearls is mentioned in other texts outside of syda yoga. This is super fine grade A bovine excrement!
" our own need to be seen and known, to be deeply known ... to alleviate our existential angst."I am the writer of those words and I just want to say, how much reading and occasionally contributing to this group helps me to continue to process and grow. It's not that I didn't know that (about my own needs). I did. But typing those words somehow gives it extra clarity and deepens the understanding. It helps me to move forward.... rather like speaking with a good therapist I suppose :):)
@1:11 ditto. Typing out a few sentences here helps me too. Especially on a phone. Great for developing patience! BTW Abramovic is creating a permanent space for such encounters. Not really interested even tho cool factor is high. Too rare, too elitist. You can have meaningful encounters with people at the CVS. Without having your boundaries transgressed.
The company here I carry with me when not on line. If I could show you how much it means you would say, wow! Roman Catholic confession is a kind of darshan. As SeekHer mentioned parallels btwn Hindu and Catholic ard many and I feel certain is a big reason I assimilated the practices do quickly. There was recently some research reported that young childhood faith yields the best results for receiving the well documented benefits of faith. In other words what you learn as a child a out God matters most in the long run. All the searching study dialogues are not has important as we learned from those who took care of us when we were small. The story begins with birth a baby. I spend time in the company of the memories of my grandmothers. I practice their loving religion best I can in this corrupt world of pain. Thank you for this place. I have to run
>>"If I get my act together and send my "next installment" to SeekHer, the romantic break-up I write about in the opening paragraph was with someone who had the precise skill you describe above, OS. "<<<I'd like to read about your experience with this so please do send it. Two things about the eyes. Have you ever looked at photos of "great beings" and noticed this?:their right eye is looking at you and engaging on the "individual identity level" and the left eye is NOT..it is turned inwards. I'm looking at a photo of Nisargadatta right now and noticing this...also the inward turning eye is much "larger"..and completely different. You can see this in photos of muktananda, nityananda, etc. It's interesting.the other thing about eyes..if you are being intiated in tantric ritual and do not look into the eyes of the initiator, you can avoid being sucked completely in..you can "receive" initiation through the ears (mantra)but it's the eyes of the initiator that "do the damage". I think about this every once in a while when I remenber my first darshan with gurumayi and how so much transpired through the gaze..it was incredible...world upon worlds of lifetimes. It sure hooked me into something at the time. I guess that's why Abramovic's piece seemed freaky to me.OS
>>"you know there is an older siddha yoga dham started by swami chetananda"<<He is a terrifying person!!!!OS
>>"I've never slept with anyone and then been able to wish them anything but well. Why is it so hard for me to wish her well, when THAT was in many way so much more fulfilling that any carnal encounter?"<<<Dear OBW, Wow! did this stop me in my tracks! I realized when I read it that the one relationship I could not say that about was abusive on a soul level...in exactly the same way syda was abusive on the soul level...kind of the ultimate betrayal of every kind of innocence and trust. interesting...and revealing. Thanks for the zing of insight!to all of you here...thank you for enriching my life and understanding...it's kind of the communication I wanted while in syda but never found. I'm really grateful to see it's actually possible. Thanks, SeekHer.OS
"Roman Catholic confession is a kind of darshan"Hi Anon: 7:02, Now I'm curious...is there any SEEING during confession? do you have a sense of the whole "eye" thing in Catholicism? Do you think it's part of that Faith? OS(ok folks..off to work)
Anon 7:02Yes, I think we're all fond of the company we find and keep here, I certainly am grateful for all you who have stuck around. It feels like an after party with all the best people. RE: Confession as darshan. Do you do the post VII version with the priest sitting across from you in a room? I suppose then you could look into his eyes. I almost never go anymore but I always did prefer kneeling in the box in the dark. Pure theater that acted as real catharsis for the unburdening of guilt. The priest was obscured and only partially visible through the slats of a screen. If darshan is the sanctification of the sense of sight, confession could be the same for the sense of hearing. The whispered confessions from the penitent and absolution by the priest are, in the best case, wonderfully intimate and healing. But there is no sense of being in the presence of a holy being--unless you happen to pull a saint as your confessor!
OS--It was SeekHer who said that about goodwill towards lovers but not GM, not me. Really made me think, that statement. I do wish the woman well, but only to the extent that I wish obviously sick criminals well--there's a tinge of pity to it, and a "keep your distance" attitude too. And that is similar to my attitude to one lover in my life who was so narcissistic and passive-aggressive. NOT coincidentally, I guess.OBW
really? I don't know much about him, why is he terrifying?
OS--I have a question about the "one eye looking inward" thing, which I have also noticed. Is it always the left eye looking inward? Serious question--just wondering if it's related to activity in the right side of the brain and that's why it's the left eye.OBW
>"Anonymous said...really? I don't know much about him, why is he terrifying?""<<I'd rather not get into it...there's lot online if you're curious.OS
>>" Anonymous said...OS--I have a question about the "one eye looking inward" thing, which I have also noticed. Is it always the left eye looking inward? Serious question--just wondering if it's related to activity in the right side of the brain and that's why it's the left eye.OBW"<<I don't know really. that would make sense and I have only ever noticed the left eye having the "inward gaze". I noticed it a couple of years ago in many photos of "great beings" in the Hindu tradtion ( mostly..don't see it so much in Tibetan teachers or zen techers) I know that, at a certain level, people are able to look in both directions (innwards and outwards) at the same time and always found that interesting.... but I've never read anything about it or gotten to a level where I could do it myself...smile. The whole "eye" thing can get really freaky. Have you noticed the left/right eye thing in other traditions? just curious.OS
OS--I have seen that in a few of my teachers--the ones who seem most awake to me--not naming any names. Insight tradition, IMS/Gaia House/Amaravati Monastery/Spirit Rock/etc. Theravadan Buddhism taught from a Western perspective, broadly speaking. Not people I sense are completely awake, but with a lot of awakening in them. The more I practice, the more neurological/physiological a lot of it seems to me. A natural process going on, nothing "supernatural" (in the sense of otherworldly) about it, a moving into what is potentially present in everyone, right from birth. That's where the question about "which eye" comes from.OBW
>>"The more I practice, the more neurological/physiological a lot of it seems to me. A natural process going on, nothing "supernatural" (in the sense of otherworldly) about it, a moving into what is potentially present in everyone, right from birth."<<Dear OBW, Yes...I totally agree with you!. And it's very interesting, after being steeped in so much mumbo jumbo, to watch these processes play out in an almost "clinical" way, isn't it? The Theravadan texts I have read seem to be pretty specific about checking what is going on as it's going on so as not to go "off track". I don't follow that tradition, though..just have read some foundational stuff about levels of concentration and the "side effects". I was interested in Kasinas (the visual focusing devices) at one point and that got me re-reading some things.It's almost like reading a science manual. Plus I love the teachings of Ajahn Chah. What I notice, personally, is how much happens during qigong/t'ai chi/nei gung practice. Maybe it's because it's more body oriented from the beginning or maybe because my qigong teacher's focus is the underlying energetics? Things that would have gotten me into a swivet in syda (thinking I was getting into some "high state") are just energy movements that move through the body in some "orderly" way..only I have no idea what the "order" is..smile. It's interesting...but just a "passing phenomenon". You know, I have to say "they" told us all this...."it's all just coming and going"..etc. I was not mature enough to understand the most basic teachings when I heard them. It took 40 years to even begin to see anything clearly. Some folks are luckier.OS
OBW and OSYou two leave me in the dust of a cornfield row and I fucking love it; watching you twirling together up above in the slanting sunlight of the late afternoon air, circling, consolidating, comparing your powers, all the while negating any personal power at all. Damn you are both something else.
SeekHer, ita, OBW/OS exchanges are excellent. Orginal honest thinking. On the naturalness of these experiences. I had many 'shakti' filled experiences before SY. How I allowed the guru to end up taking credit I am not sure. Something maybe about fear of autonomy. That autonomy is like my very life force to me now. It is the only place I find my God. And now there is no guru demanding the best seat in the hosue and all the money and all the time and all the honor. ***********I still harbor some resentment, but that is not why I read and post here. I came to Siddha Yoga with my own grace that I am still recovering. These chats here keep that process going. tyvm! Plus you all are a good read.
Dear OBW.... SCREEEEE!! HAWK...AAAAAH!!!OS(sorry, SeekHer..had to break the tension of your very poetic and kind words. it made me feel kind of self-conscious...smile)
haha! OS so unanon it is here goes taking a cue from my most consistent characteristic here...signeing as 'typo'
Yeah, OS, what you said! The HEEEE--AWK thing. And what you said before about the Theravadan texts, yes, there is a detailed outline of how insight progresses that you are probably referring to. There are several different "maps" of awakening that spell out stages. That's not what I was referring to when saying it seems organic, biological, but now that I consider these maps maybe that is what they are describing--the perceptions that tend to go along with changes that are occurring in neural pathways, or something. The guys who wrote the maps didn't know about neurology, but they were great observers of subtle details of their mental activity, apparently. My teacher uses the word "ordinary" a lot. When I talk to him about something that seems especially significant going on in my practice, he often tells me to keep looking at it until it becomes completely ordinary. It's terrific advice, for me anyway. OBW
Hi OBW.I just posted a comment in the other stream about my life since SY being "ordinary" -- then came here and saw the above from you. It gave me such a big smile.Lucid
>>"My teacher uses the word "ordinary" a lot. When I talk to him about something that seems especially significant going on in my practice, he often tells me to keep looking at it until it becomes completely ordinary"<<very good advice...and, paradoxically, everything is not only ordinary but, at the same time, extraordinary, even the simplest thing. It's pretty mind-boggling (which is, I guess, the point..smile). OS
OS--Yep, that's the point, exactly. Everything!! Can't get away from the ordinary, can't get away from the extraordinary. All same!And Lucid, I just posted on the thread under your memoir piece, and was struck also by you using the word ordinary, too.Life is rich, complex, amazing, and ordinary. At least from my angle.OBW
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