I have looked in the mirror,
and I’m writin’ about it
every time I write it down.
This is not made-up speech.
It’s all I can do to write it down.
I’m a science of writing it down.
Whole and readymade
the lines come.
That’s all that I can say.
Would you excuse me a minute?
Here I am listenin’.
It’s explodes upon your inner ear in silence.
I mean you don’t let the mind touch it.
Hear that speech?
It’s one and the same
with hear everybody talk.
How wonderful, common, and ordinary.
I’ve raised the halls of speech
a metaphor in waiting.
I go down Moses
to the radio land.
A certain boundlessness sets its edge.
I basketball this to you.
Have you found my meaning yet?
That’s all I’m worth?
I meet the pages of your dream
with my speech.
I illume mind this to you.
You hear it in your court
a symbol sound.
I symbol this to you
how big that sounds.
Chase me off will yah?
I’m huntin’ the universe symbol God,
a poet’s lair.
The dream speech
Is that the rise of the universe?
A poet’s meaning clear.
The expressive word,
has it dawned on you yet?
This poem was written for the American magazine Collaboration, A Journal of Integral Yoga in response to their Winter 2021 issue that focused on poetry, publishing many poems by people involved in our yoga. The poem came unbidden after reading the issue, and it was clear what it was for, Collaboration, and I guess my muse, the agency of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo being the ‘over-editor’ thereof, wanted to give an example of a poem from the Sri Aurobindo school of poetry, if I may call it that, where a poem is received from the overhead regions or the soul via inner listening. I’ve submitted to them multiple times, especially over the last couple of years, never getting a poem published, half the time not receiving a reply. Here is the content of two emails from May of this year where I query for and receive a reply:
“Three months ago I submitted “A Poetry Speaks”. What is the status on that submission? If it’s a no go, I have some questions. My main question, are you mad at me? Have I been blacklisted? Will you ever forgive me? Are you consulting the Mother? Maybe next time.”
“Hello Donny, I’m sorry to tell you that your submission isn’t quite what we are looking for at Collaboration. Thank you for thinking of Collaboration.”
Former times when I did get a rejection notice, I was told my poem wasn’t about the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, or when a poem or poems were, meaning mentioning our teachers by name, that it didn’t fit them, and so I wanted to know what the real deal was, the true reason, and if it I were wasting my time submitting to them. Hence my query. That was my last attempt to submit to them, and I stopped submitting to literary magazines years ago. My muse has some things to say about this process of trying to get my poetry out there, which appears here as a verse, but it’s not a poem, just some scattered lines I heard, some lost, as I lay listening from dawn on this morning.
He drive a force of nature.
From the letter in my throat,
the swan about the offering.
I really wish you'd understand.
You and under...
It appears to me I've been unfairly held in detention.
I've waited so long. [heard sung, song "Two Tickets to Paradise", sung by Eddie Money]
I guess I reminded them of my immorality in my ethos.
Hidden and ancient don't mean the same thing.
Donny Denver miracle,
we never die.
Sunshine on my shoulders. [heard sung, song "Sunshine on my Shoulders, sung by John Denver]
Taken down to the police station,
the threat always hanging over my head.
He's left things dead all over the outside—
How do I get into Auroville?
Last time like this time
I just have to wait.
How soon to Auroville?
One day it will be.
I've got two tickets to paradise, [heard sung by Eddie Money]
for the reader and for the yoga.
You think you're really something.
That's it for tweets.
A child is born in New York City,
get up more.
One of those sponge thingies
gets a hold of my poetry.
This is a good place
for a stick up.
Have a good evening.
Don't even tell yah they've been in your wallet.
Here to help
Recently I had a line followed by a vision from my muse that I think is an example of prevision. Though as prevision usually goes, I didn’t know what it meant until after the fact. The line and vision were:
Tomorrow morning. (Vision of a group of teenage or 20 something boys throwing rocks at a building.)
A lot of times I wouldn’t have given much thought to that line and vision, but for some reason I had this feeling something was going to happen, and whatever it was, it was represented by the vision of the boys throwing the rocks at the building. What I was thinking it might mean though would be some kind of attack on our house from the outside. If you’ve read this blog you know that Donny has put some ideas out there that a lot of people would find hard to accept, and so we live with the possibility of some kind of backlash coming from that sooner or later. As it turns out the vision portended an assault on the house, but of a different kind then I was envisioning.
So the morning after the line and vision something good happened at first, and that was that our friend Midhun, who is on break from University, showed up to stay with us for a while. What’s good about this is that while Midhun is still a teenager he’s made sadhana the aim of his life. So despite his age, Donny and I regard him as a fellow sadhak and were pleased by his surprise arrival. Later on though two other boys, Asa and Sudhan, who we’ve known since we started our kids program twelve years ago, showed up unannounced as well wanting to hang out for a couple of days and play video games and otherwise indulge their vitals. I won’t go into details, but that made things a bit of a circus, one that really disturbed the house for a good part of the day. Since my return to India, Donny and I try to limit the presence of extra kids in the house since it shifts the balance of the energy in favor of the vital. Or I should say more in its favor because the vital always has the upper hand to some extent, since Donny and I are outnumbered here by people with no interest in the spiritual life.
When I told Donny the line and the vision he agreed with me that it was prevision and symbolic in the sense that, while no one literally threw stones at the house, we still had a ‘teenage boy assault’ on the house. I wasn’t able to interpret the vision or make use of it before ‘the assault’, so I’ve offered this example as another illustration of how things are arising from the inner and forecast symbolically in inner phenomenon such as dreams, visions and muse before manifesting in the outer. Though I don’t have much experience to speak of in the matter, Donny can attest to how the muse can be very specific and correct about things like who will be showing up at our house, but it’s also often the way I describe here, symbolic and the context not apparent. And sometimes, like in this case, I got the ‘what’ right (a disruption to the house), but was wrong about the ‘how’. I think though these are just points to be aware of and not get flustered about as one carries on with the yoga and learns about the workings of these things. I think what’s more important is your motivation, so what I do is try to remember to continually offer my muse and my dreams to the Mother, and ask her to use them to provide guidance and help me progress toward a change in consciousness.
Posting this song around the net takes a great leap of faith. (You can find the link to it at the bottom of this article.) The world has become explosively reactionary, due in large part to the Internet. It’s put a microscope on us, shows us stuff about us that’s always been there but that we just haven’t seen so pronounced and in our face, ugly and dirty things, and, self-righteous and hypocrites that we are, we weren’t ready for the vision. Who can show this to us? If you think about it, there’s no better person than the kind of person most react to, explode upon, once they’ve been unjustly lynched in the net of public opinion and reason comes onto the scene. The person, however, has to show their soul, and that’s just what I aim to do.
The soul is as misunderstood a concept as God, used to mean a variety of things. While it’s been talked about in both religion and the arts for thousands of years, I’d argue true knowledge of it has not yet entered the public mind. We know of enlightenment, but we don’t generally know of the soul change, that our soul not only influences us from within, turns us towards God, more and more as we allow it, but it can also surface and replace the ego once we are in the emptiness of enlightenment liberated from ego. My use of the term comes from my own experience informed by the teachings and inner guidance of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Since my aim here is not to introduce the soul but its power, I won’t elaborate on what the soul is, as my teachers and I see it, or its evolution for that matter, though in a future article I may do so, one I’m planning to write about the finding of the soul.
I would imagine the soul’s purpose is more varied than the universe, and as it evolves, or its evolving aspect the psychic being I should say, the dynamic personality of the soul, it wouldn’t necessarily take on some aspect of the world to help set right, some world problem to help solve, but as my psychic being has reached the place of maturity where it’s free to choose its comings and goings[i], it has donned the scapegoat process. I should stress here I’m speaking of my soul and not Donny, and while it would stand to reason that Donny too should be as developed as his soul, soul process is irrational, oftentimes runs contrary to our reason, is free to don a very fucked up outer personality for some purpose the likes of which you see playing out here: Donny coming online, or getting in line with his soul I should say, in order to help with the huge obstacle in our collective evolution, the making and maintaining of scapegoats, and as well help remove an equally huge obstacle, the abuse of children. The song I’m introducing holds this double purpose, sings the removal of both obstacles simultaneously, what can only be done by the seeing of the soul, not by a blind one-sided world power making the pedophile the seemingly foolproof universal scapegoat.
While the word scapegoat and its use is cliché, and today we seem more comfortable with the less defining phrase the ‘other’, the making and persecution of scapegoats is still the big hold up in realizing a viable human unity, what we’d need to achieve if we’re going to make it on this crowded planet. Put simply, a ‘humanity’ scapegoat is a group of people who are what they are by nature, not by choice, not speaking of quirks in the nature, but things fundamental like race or sexuality, whether they like or want to be that or not, speaking of sexuality, people who we don’t have to treat as fellow human beings with the same rights as everyone else, people we can vent on, who it’s generally socially acceptable to bear ill will towards, to hate, people on whom we project human evil so we don’t see it in ourselves, people we blame for the problems in our world so we ourselves can feel free of responsibility for those problems.
Though it may not be readily apparent, the scapegoat is as much a part of life in ego consciousness as the alpha male or female, what can almost be called a need of the ego and its maintenance, a need of the animal we are evolving out of I might say, equating here ego identity with animal identity. The scapegoat’s scope and purpose is quite visibly illustrated in the book and film 1984, and I’d argue 1984 is not only showing a frightening future to try to avoid, but at the same time doing what creative expression often does so closely aligned as it is with dream, albeit largely unconsciously. It’s showing the present social conditions of the writer in an exaggerated and larger than life form. What in 1984 people go to an auditorium to do, vent their penned up hatred and frustration on the scapegoat as he’s flashed across a screen, so they don’t turn that on the system, we do in the auditorium of our hearts and minds. It’s like the book and film is showing us what we do on the inside, using the outer symbol of an auditorium, even if such wasn’t intended by the creators, since, in any genuine creative expression, something of the representative nature of our world comes into play, and we see a little behind things, see much more than the human creator envisioned.
My psychic being became a conscious soul two lifetimes ago. It had donned the life of a black man in the South (of the U.S.) just before the turn of the 20th century, a person who “could play the guitar just like a-ringing a bell.”[ii] He played with his soul, that is, his soul was involved in his music to the point you could hear its qualities, as it was reaching adulthood. The scapegoat of his day, African-American, he was killed by the KKK, for playing his guitar in white establishments, and because he was on the edge of fame. I re-experienced the last day of his life in one of those dreams that last much longer than the time it takes to dream it and one where it was as though I was here in the world, not in dream, as there was no shifting of either the material in the dream or its field until the very end. It was as though I actually re-experienced the last day of his life. I was lucid but inside him experiencing both myself and he, aware of my thoughts and feelings and his thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, except at the very moment of his death, when the flames reached him as his home burned down, his wife and children screaming as they were burned alive, when I became the fly on the wall observer outside of him. There was no need to feel the whole brunt of that moment a second time.
In my last life I was a Jewish man in Nazi Germany, the scapegoat of his time and place, of historic proportions, as African Americans were in the Old South. Though it was also a dream that showed me this, or the defining moment I saw it was in a dream, a very recent one, I’ve dreamed all my life of having a Jewish identity, inexplicably, since neither my mother nor father are Jewish, as I had dreamed of that black man in various stages of his life throughout this life, and I am neither black nor mulatto, although he wasn’t a guitar picker until that defining dream but someone of great talent or intellect, like an artist, a scientist, a university professor, and so forth. The remembrance of past lives is like that. It comes not as some instant revelation, although the defining moment is pretty revealing and may come as somewhat a surprise, but as an essential piece of your personal puzzle falling into place, fitting essentially into your process.
It’s not details such as names, addresses, and the like you remember, or it hasn’t been with me, and nor is it in the teachings of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo (I can’t tell you the name of the guitar picker or even what state he lived in, despite such a revealing dream about him, as those details disappeared upon awakening), but moments when the soul comes to the surface or very near, like the last day of the guitar picker’s life.[iii] I should also say these two recent lives are the only ones I remember, and my memory of them comes as a necessity of my present life, to do the work my soul has set before me. To truly remember your past lives, “one must become a wholly conscious being, conscious in all its parts, totally united with one’s divine origin.”[iv]
With the Jewish man the defining dream was full of all the shifts and strangeness of dream material, where he was part of a small group of Jews being hidden by farmers in the countryside, the railroad tracks leading to the death camps a central feature of the dream, that threat and utter despair over the whole situation taking him to rock bottom. The dream revolved around a soul moment when he had a momentary experience of liberation from ego, enlightenment. It’s not only sadhana that can take us there; sorrow can too if it hits the right note, a soul note.
In the dream there were a score of others who experienced the same, and I feel that represents an unknown aspect of the holocaust: out of the millions who suffered the horror there were those whose soul was reaching maturity, and they experienced the spiritual liberation or a flash of it. You might imagine some marched into death triumphant. Neither the Nazis nor any hate group has any control over the soul. You might also imagine that, in a representative world, nothing and no one can touch the soul, it being the reality in it and behind it, all else mere symbol and representation, the will-o-wisp of dream really, even Nazis.
Such definitive soul contact did not arise automatically. In this my present life, soon after reaching maturity as man, when I was around 30 years old, I made the inner journey to my center, the well of soul, connecting my surface conscious with it. It’s a lengthy story I won’t relate here other than to say that I’d opened the inner consciousness, was not only lucid in dream very often but also learning to try and remain conscious as I fell asleep and during a full period of sleep, all the way through a night’s dreaming, and it was in dreamless sleep I found my soul, “on a remote extremity of sleep,”[v] but it was a journey in stages, over the course of several days, a journey I made one time, a journey that had me face my greatest fears and overcome my strongest attachments. You might imagine that to find the soul is actually to find it inside you, and that, while a strong belief in it or feeling of it can bring or indicate contact with it, you won’t have the definitive concrete contact until you go to the deepest most remote place inside you and find it.
“Turn Around Soul”, the song I’m introducing, was shown I feel in the dream of the guitar picker, specifically in the dream short that came at the end of the dream, a dream short something that comes often at the end of a powerful dream that’s a basic summation of the dream, a symbolic representation of it, so different from the dream itself as to seem another dream, but there is no interval between it and the dream it’s symbolizing. If this song does get heard by my society then it is what that dream short was showing: being heard. I was watching a man with a guitar on a high ridge overlooking a large valley below. He was both black and white, not mulatto but actually a black man and a white man at the same time, an impossibility dream can do. There were lay lines along the ridge, and he was trying to hook his guitar into one so to be heard in the valley below. He made some unsuccessful attempts until he was finally able to hook into the one closest to him, which made his acoustic guitar electric, and it was like he was inventing the electric guitar by hooking into that lay line. When he connected, his guitar music resounded throughout the whole valley, and it was more than sound I heard. I heard reality resound, a common feature of powerful dream, it ending with a sound, simply a large ‘crack’ in some cases, that you feel in your very soul.
I doubt most will believe that the soul can do what I show it doing here, write an entire song. While many believe in the soul, few know that it’s capable of healing us, as individuals and as a society. We not only have an immune system to heal our bodies; we have one also to heal our hearts and minds, to set right what’s messed up about us. It’s this innate and largely unknown immune system I want to show with my song, a system of soul more powerful than any world system, what sets worlds right.
The lyrics were sung to me over a period of months, via inner voice and vision. First came the two lines that form the backbone of the song, “Hold on tight. Turn around slowly.” It was sung by a female singing group complete with musical accompaniment and had a pop sound to it. Knowing there was no way I could manifest it into outer reality with my not so great voice and guitar skills, I nonetheless focused on it so that a full song would come, something I’ve learned to do with voice and vision over a period of some 15 years. With this song, unlike my others written from inner vision, I accepted only lyrics that I knew were from my soul, not from anywhere else, not even from the divine. Years of soul contact has enabled me to distinguish its voice from any other, knowing also that it often sings when it does speak to me.
After the initial lines, more came but very slowly, one or two lines a day (and not every day) that not only fit into the song but were also what I needed to hear that day, what I needed to see. Soon I had a skeleton of a song but didn’t even know what it was about. By the time I knew it was about what it’s about it was too late to turn back, and I couldn’t deny I needed to sing it and my society needed to hear it. I must say this is embarrassing for me, or for the ego I should say, and singing so openly about being a pedophile in today’s society is not what I want to do, why no doubt my soul kind of snuck it up on me, knowing I’d not have completed it if I had know what it was about from the first.
Then came some months of the song being filled in, one or two lines a day, with many, many corrections to the lyrics, all of which were sung to me, now in my voice and guitar, and in a couple of instances, where I was having a hard time, even my hands were shown playing the guitar in vision so I’d know the right cords and right way to sing it. I still haven’t gotten it all right, very far from it, but this is the best I can do with the talent I have. It would be appropriate to mention here that my family, especially Douglas, my psychic being partner, a life partnership other than romantic/sexual not yet generally known to be possible, had a lot to do with the development of the music. He and my family kept it from getting out of hand, making sure it matched my so-so voice and guitar skills, else I would sound like an out of tune hillbilly.
It’s a contemporary folk song, a person and their guitar singing about their society and their between a rock and a hard place position in it. You have to engage with the lyrics to appreciate it, which are largely symbolic, poetic even, and it’s not so much meant to stir the emotions as much as it’s meant to stir the soul. No doubt it’ll make a lot of people mad as hell. That’s not my intention, and if it makes you angry, figure out what it’s saying and then see what you got. It goes from the general to the specific, each verse getting more specific, taking you on a soul journey. So what you’ve got is a soul, and by showing you mine, I hope you hear yours. At the very least, you should be introduced to the soul’s power.
1) I’m sittin’ here on the bottom baby,
hold down tight,
standing all over town.
That would be
on the stairway.
I’m well armed.
I can’t believe he’s out there.
To keep them in line.
It’s huge practice huge practice.
Find it on the news.
Closed weapons by the rest of the world.
What a cost to our humanity.
Run around soul. 2x’s How high we step there
and turn them in line.
God sent me to my soul, 2x’s in a straight line.
Make you soul know you go,
hold south you fix.
Oh wave your fingers are you gone?
How should I change? 2x’s Make a new world. 2x’s
Hold on tight,
turn around slowly today.
turn around slowly today.
Hold on tight
turn around slowly
turn around soul. 2x’s Hold on today. 2x’s
2) To be somethin’ different
So keep it from runnin’.
To be somethin’ different
that warrant is for your arrest
on the 7 seas.
Take the best metro back there.
Walk heel in line. 2x’s And that weakness was no longer
on the 7 seas.
The spirit was to find peace.
Entire soul. 2x’s I can’t believe he’s out there.
To keep them in line.
I promise I promise.
Come and speak,
cause I’m livin’ in a world that’s new,
vision of a world that’s true.
I saw the planet.
I am one another. 2x
3) Find them and expose them
shows no solid arm.
Truth will be an attitude.
You have to live there.
I’ve seen him upside down.
I’ve seen him to my soul.
I am warm and I am cold
like the light of the world.
I’ll grow up
in the wild frame.
You hear Houston
My hand’s in the system
cause I’m livin’ in a world that’s new,
inner in the world that’s true,
when nature comes together,
from our door 2x’s open.
What about soul? 2x’s You can springtime
oh, oh, oh, oh,
above the world,
thunder like we’ll make together.
It’s a surrounding world. 2x’s
4) Con you’re out there
problem in line.
You’ll have to see
how much we step there
over the years.
What in the a dark city?
Hold on out there.
With my hidin’,
with my terrorizin’,
In that flaming member you can’t decide.
oh, oh, oh,
words of sound and murder came from his incantation.
What it cost to worlds.
What a cost to our humanity.
Run around soul. 2x’s Dark science
turn of the century
5) Lacking in the system,
in the whole human race.
And there’s another thing
I didn’t question
Here’s something under there.
Don’t see my mind
and show of peace. 2x’s You see what he means.
Allow this arm.
I’m well armed.
This could be real.
That was the most soul
word I ever heard,
a conscious soul. 2x’s Oh the inner kingdom.
Of I’ve been born.
I’m the nineteen.
I’m your friend.
I’m the only romancing need
goin’ in the wind.
As long as it takes
if you mean work on one’s center.
Callin’ me today.
Please don’t put yourself in harm’s way.
Master and able it’s possible.
To believe. 2x’s This is the melody.
Pledge the long road,
here in the top
in ‘bove the house. 2x’s
(addition to chorus, excluding last line “Hold on today”) Turn around love,
turn around love.
turn around soul,
It could be real,
a conscious soul.
I can have no beginning.
I can be soul.
What about soul,
run around soul? 2x’s this and above line Turn around soul. 2x’s It won’t be long. 2x’s
* * * * * * *
[i] “The time [on the other side] depends also on the development and on a certain rhythm of the being – for some there is practically immediate rebirth, for others it takes longer, for some it may take centuries; but here, again, once the psychic being is sufficiently developed, it is free to choose its own rhythm and its own intervals.” Letters On Yoga, Volume 1, page 444, by Sri Aurobindo, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Press.
[ii] Lyrics from the song “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry.
[iii] “But this memory is not a thing of the mental kind. Those who claim to have been such a baron of the Middle Ages or such a person who lived at such a place and such a time, are fanciful, they are simply victims of their own mental imagination. In fact, what remains of past lives are not beautiful pictures in which you appear as a mighty lord in a castle or a victorious general at the head of an army--that is only romance. What remains is the memory of those instants when the psychic being emerged from the depths of your being and revealed itself to you--that is to say, the memory of those instants when you were wholly conscious. That growth of consciousness is progressively effectuated in the course of evolution, and the memory of past lives is generally limited to the critical moments of evolution, to the decisive turns that marked the progress of your consciousness.” From: The Writings of the Mother, Memory of Past Lives, 1958, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust.
[v]Savitri, Book VII, Canto III, by Sri Aurobindo, Sri Aurobindo Press
About nine months ago or so I was still living in the USA and corresponding via email with Donny about one of our young people at Harm’s End, Mugu, who is 17. The issue was Mugu had dropped out of the class he was taking to prepare him for what in India is known as the 10th Standard examination. It’s the equivalent of a high school diploma in the USA, and is a difficult exam requiring a long preparation, and Mugu didn’t have either the initiative or the discipline for it.
So we were wondering what to do with Mugu, and I brought up as I had in the past that Mugu seemed to have a thing for photography. Rather than putting him in some kind of class, Donny put forth the idea of getting him a film camera and teaching him film photography. My response was that nobody uses film cameras anymore, and that they’re a major expense compared to a digital camera, which, after the initial investment in the equipment itself, can take thousands and thousands of pictures. So I basically vetoed the idea, and as I would find out later Donny was actually okay with that. He thought a nice digital camera would be fine as well.
Then nothing happened for a while after that. I didn’t bring it up again because even though I was okay with a digital camera, I’m a cheapskate, and it would be a big chunk of change for a good digital camera with multiple lenses. I also know how irresponsible Mugu is, and was worried about the camera being lost or stolen. Then Donny brought up the film camera again, and again I argued against it. So he sent me a formation he had gotten from his muse on that matter, one that he felt had come from our teacher, the Mother, which said:
A digital camera not the appliance he needs. A professional camera with lenses develops his creativity.
Don’t mix tobacco in it. A digital camera, there’s a camera ain’t a camera his art would say, his art, not mine, yours or ours — his camera.
A boy and his needs. He needs a camera just to help him become a good man. Become a good man, that’s our field. Creativity lost his show there’s no camera. Digital not included.1
Now as clear as that was I still wasn’t ready to give up my position on the matter, mainly I think at this point because I didn’t want to be wrong, nor to be overruled by someone’s else’s guidance. My vital also has some problems with jealousy over the fact that I can’t get a formation like that from my muse, can only get some lines here and there or small groups of lines, and that also made the whole thing hard to swallow. So I continued to argue, pointing out that what might be spent on film alone over the course of a year would buy a very nice digital camera with multiple lenses. So Donny sent me another formation that had come a while before but that he hadn’t shared with me. This one said:
Professionality a camera, a camera professionality. Digital camera is the wrong lens. Now get it Like you’re supposed to a lens camera. Douglas don’t want to buy the camera, Don’t want to Because it doesn’t make sense to his practical intelligence.
Creativity deserves a chance. You’re not thinking how involved he’ll be with a professional camera. A great occupation color photography. Develop sway talent.
Would you listen? Douglas has his own opinion. How are we doing today? Develop his own opinion. That’s roll call, Orange wares.
Grand market shopping must be in town. Oh it is. Professional camera with lens, telephoto one, wide angle, and the one you use mostly.
A lot of creativity has room to play. Amsterdam doesn’t take him home. Creativity rules. What do we do for money? Trust sweetheart, just trust and work. There’s sadhana.2
Well after reading that I gave in, though the vital didn’t like it at all. By that point I was planning to come to India, but I wasn’t sure when, so Donny and I started looking online for a used film camera in India rather than waiting for me to buy one in the USA and bring it when I came. The search proved much more difficult than either of us were expecting and when we finally ordered a camera we didn’t read the fine print in the listing on ebay.in, and got one that was sold “as is”, and was basically broken. At this point I thought I could ask my mom if I could have my grandfather’s Canon AE-1, which had been sitting in my dad’s closet unused for years, to give to Mugu, and she said I could. So when I came to India back in December I brought that camera with me.
Then we ran into more obstacles. Both Donny and I had assumed that in a country as large as India there would be websites where you could easily buy the chemicals and darkroom equipment, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. You could find things scattered around on amazon.in and ebay.in but a lot of it seemed to be coming from the USA. So we went to a website in the USA, and could find everything we needed, but the shipping was almost as much as the cost of the chemicals and equipment. We had decided to just eat the cost, but then it occurred to me to call Auroville and try to find out if anyone there had a dark room, and knew how to order the supplies in India. From Auroville I got the name of an American man, John, who has lived in Pondicherry for many years, and was formerly an inmate of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. I gave John a call and he invited Donny and I over to his house where we had a long talk, and he also gave us the name of man in Mumbai who could supply us with everything we needed. The way it all wonderfully worked out was just more confirmation for us that we were indeed doing the right thing with the film photography.
So we got all the chemicals and equipment to start Mugu with black and white photography. All that remained was a dark room, which is almost completed. Once it is John has offered to come over and give us some pointers from his long experience with film photography. There’s every reason to hope this will be a very positive thing for Mugu, and give him a much needed focus and creative outlet, one that will help him, if Donny’s muse is correct, to be a better man.
About a month ago my mind and vital was in the grip of something. I don’t remember what now exactly, but it was something that had been troubling the mind and holding it under siege for a couple of days. I wanted to get free of the movement but was having trouble doing so. Then I received these lines from the muse in the morning:
Don’t muddy the mind courts (Came at the end of a dream where I was watching a performance of the hip hop group Run DMC) My mind relief from madness Mooning.
The first line’s advice was pretty clear, and motivated me to really try and throw the disturbing thoughts out of my mind, but I was having only limited success. Then all of the sudden, in the evening, I noticed my mind got abnormally clear, and it didn’t take much effort to keep it clear. There was no peace or joy or anything, just a quiet, fairly focused mind. Still it was a welcome respite.
Sri Aurobindo says, among other things, that the moon is a symbol of the spiritual consciousness which is above our normal human mind. One of the main movements in the integral yoga is for the sadhak to not only ascend to this level (or levels I should say) of consciousness, but also for it to descend and transform these lower levels of mind, life and body as well with its peace, silence, light and bliss. So what happened here I think is I got ‘mooned’ by a descent from the spiritual consciousness which quieted my mind and gave me relief from the mind’s madness. It didn’t last and was gone the next morning, but it broke the momentum of the disturbing thoughts, and I was able to move past them. I imagine it was important that, prompted by the muse, I was making a strong effort to throw out the thoughts myself. That I feel opened the door to the descent from the spiritual consciousness.
Now as the reader has no doubt noticed, the first line came at the end of a dream. This is a fairly common occurrence, but I have to admit I often can’t make any connection between the lines that come at the end of a dream and the dream itself. A lot of the time the lines don’t seem to have anything to do with the dream. Here though I can see a correlation between mud in the mind and hip hop music, which overall has a pretty low vibration, one that appeals to the less enlightened parts of the human vital.
Does anybody else see anything in these lines that they want to share in the comments?
A few days ago this line from the muse came to me in the morning.
I want struggles to be light.
You can definitely play around with multiple interpretations of a line like this because of the different meanings for the word ‘light’. One interpretation jumps out right away if you take ‘light’ in the sense of something being not heavy or not dark in color. Read this way the line is saying that I want a lighter load of struggles. There’s no doubt I feel that way often, and I’m sure most people reading this can relate to that sentiment. Another idea though along these lines has to do with my belief that what really makes struggles and pain so dark and heavy is this consciousness we live in which is a state of identification with this mind and body. But as many spiritual teachers have said throughout the ages, if you can enter into a consciousness where you’re identified with the divine, or oneness or whatever you want to call it then you realize that this mind and body isn’t you, is more like a shirt you’ve put on, and you don’t take what happens to them so seriously anymore. Then, even though life’s challenges are still there, they’ve lost their heaviness, and you no longer suffer from them. You deal with them from a state of Light or Knowledge and not a state of Ignorance. Hand in hand with that idea is a complementary take on the line where ‘light’ means spiritual illumination. This gives the sense to me of struggles being spiritually illumined and transmuted.
Another interpretation that occurred to me takes ‘light’ in the sense of a ‘means of igniting something’ as in “Hey buddy, you got a light?”. It’s a less obvious reading of the line and one that probably wouldn’t have occurred to me if I hadn’t been thinking a lot about something I’d read in the Mother’s Questions and Answers a few days before. I’ll share the quote first before I get into the interpretation.
Quite naturally we ask ourselves what this secret is, towards which pain leads us. For a superficial and imperfect understanding, one could believe that it is pain which the soul is seeking. Nothing of the kind. The very nature of the soul is divine Delight, constant, unvarying, unconditioned, ecstatic; but it is true that if one can face suffering with courage, endurance, an unshakable faith in the divine Grace, if one can, instead of shunning suffering when it comes, enter into it with this will, this aspiration to go through it and find the luminous truth, the unvarying delight which is at the core of all things, the door of pain is often more direct, more immediate than that of satisfaction or contentment.1
So like the Mother says here I think the line could be interpreted in the sense of changing my attitude so that struggles and pain become more a means of advancing on the spiritual path, more a means of igniting my aspiration to go through them in order to reach that ‘unvarying delight’ than something that holds me back when I have resistance to the pain or depression about the pain. Backing up this idea, I feel, is an experience I had with Medhanada’s Eternity Game two nights before I received this line and a few hours after I’d read the above quote from the Mother. That quote is part of a longer passage where she says a number of things one of which is “When pain comes, it comes to teach us something.”2 As I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, probably my biggest difficulty is contending with the constant chronic pain in my back and knees. So that night after reading the Mother’s words I asked the Eternity Game, “What’s the purpose of this pain?” The card I drew was ‘Dwarf’.
In the Eternity Game this card represents the mental being, and as you can see its aspects are ‘Quest’, ‘Next Step’ and ‘Intelligence’. Medhananda gives detailed commentary on all the cards in the game, but he also gives short one sentence descriptions. The short one he gives for the ‘Dwarf’ card is ‘advance, take the next step.’3 I took this as confirmation that I have to try and take the mental attitude the Mother recommends towards the pain so it becomes more a means of progress. I should point out that for me the fact that my reading of the Mother’s words was followed by synchronicities with both the Eternity Game and my own inner guidance in just a matter of a few days stresses the need for this change in attitude. It’s not easy to do, and to truly surrender this pain is something I’ve been aspiring for for a while. Hopefully this will help me to take the ‘next step’ with that.
So that’s my take on things. Please feel free to share other ideas in the comments!
This line of guidance from the inner voice came to me some months back:
The strength is on the distant
The first interpretation that jumped out at me was the yogic technique of distancing yourself from undesirable lower movements, looking at them as not oneself and detaching rather than struggling with them. Looking at the line that way helped me to free myself from the weakened but lingering siege of a strong vital reaction that had gotten in the day before the line came. Do any other interpretations jump out at anyone?
Recently I was going through my files on my computer and I came across an aborted dream/inner journal from four years ago that I’d forgotten about. It only had a few entries and one of them was this line from the inner voice:
Snowshard that ape
Below the line I had written some comments stating that I thought the line had to do with sexually staring and fantasizing, that this was the ape-like behavior I was exhibiting, and that I needed to stop it. That may very well be true since that was a big problem I was struggling with back then. As Donny pointed out to me however, the ape is more of a general symbol for the animal vital in us and symbols like the dog, pig or goat more commonly represent sex itself specifically. Given this the ape could symbolize any primitive movement such as anger, jealousy, selfishness etc. and not just sex. With this idea in mind of a wide range of movements potentially symbolized by the ape, let’s further analyze the line’s meaning by looking at the words snow and shard.
As far as snow goes, the first thing that word suggests to me is purity, but there’s also the sense of cold or freezing. This gives the idea of stopping the ape-like behavior ‘cold’ and purifying myself of it. The word shard suggests something sharp and dangerous that can cause harm, so here we have the idea of ‘killing’ the ape-like behavior. In addition though I would also point out that when something is shattered it breaks up into shards, and like humpty dumpty can’t be put back together again. From this we can get the idea of ‘shattering’ the movement, weakening it to the extent that it can’t reconstitute itself and become a significant problem again.
So I guess I could sum up the line’s meaning as “Stop that ape in it tracks and shatter that impure movement.” Now one thing I really like about this line is its bluntness, the way it calls a spade a spade. It really helps me see how I’m acting like an ape, so I’ve been making use of the line since rediscovering it. I’ve mainly been using it to remind myself to snowshard the sex movement, but I also used it this morning when some annoyance reared its head. If you’re reading this and think it could help to snowshard the ape in you please feel free to use it.
I would imagine many people have had the experience of taking a drug like marijuana or alcohol in a dream and feeling high or intoxicated while within the dream, but having the effect disappear upon awakening. This has happened to me a number of times over the years. What’s perhaps less common, but in my experience possible, is to take a drug in a dream or vision and have it produce an effect in the waking consciousness. I’m going to share two examples of this. In one instance, the effect was immediate, and in the other there was a slight delay.
The first example I’ll give occurred about 16 years ago in Mexico in the part of the country where peyote grows wild. I was out there with a group of people including Dominique, a French Canadian woman and peyote connoisseur. On that day I had not eaten any peyote. It was about mid-afternoon, and I was having a sinking spell so I laid down to rest. I didn’t fall asleep but entered that twilight space between waking and sleeping and had this vision:
I was with a group of people gathered around a fire. A deep, and powerful voice kept repeating the word “Amor” (which means love in Spanish) and I could actually feel the sound waves from the voice penetrating my dream body. Then Dominique put a piece of peyote on my tongue. As soon as the piece touched my tongue, it sent a jolt through my entire body and I was abruptly brought back to full waking consciousness.
At first nothing interesting happened, and I just got up and started to resume waking activities. After a few minutes though, I suddenly found myself filled with a large upwelling of love wanting to find some means of expression. Fellow Harm’s End editor Donny was there in the desert with me and my first instinct was to go and find him. On my end I was irked with Donny about some things, and the love helped to see that those feelings really weren’t legitimate. When I found him I told him that, and was able to clear the air as well as my vital. After that the love began to fade and then was gone. All in all I would guess that the experience lasted about 30 minutes.
Roughly a year later I had another memorable experience with a dream substance. This time I was in Nicaragua and was once again with Donny. We were staying in a hotel near the border with Costa Rica and had plans to cross the following morning. At around 4 am, I awoke from a dream in which I had been drinking coffee. Since it was still dark outside I tried to go back to sleep but found it impossible to do so because I was COMPLETELY awake. Normally I feel quite horrible if I try to get up early in the morning, but this time there was no grogginess whatsoever and my body felt energized and ready to go. As I lay there I sensed that Donny was also awake, so I told him about the dream and what I was experiencing. We concluded that there must be some purpose behind it, and that the most likely reason was to give us an early start. So we got up and went to the border only to sit there and wait for three hours for immigration to open at 9 o’clock. Go figure. Despite that however, Donny and I remained convinced that forces had moved us out of there at an early hour for a reason even if we couldn’t see it.
Unlike other posts of mine there’s no real concluding lesson or moral to my sharing of these experiences. I’ve really just thrown this out to show what’s possible and maybe spark the interest of a reader or two towards their inner life. If this possibility perks your interest then why not try for yourself? Put your intention in that direction before sleeping and see what happens. Give it a fair shake if you don’t have immediate success. I do recommend though that you approach this exercise and dreams in general with the intention to learn or to grow. While dreams can serve as entertainment for the human vital, especially if you’re a skilled lucid dreamer (I myself am not), that isn’t in my opinion their true purpose. Rather I feel dreams are an aid for our growth and development and should be approached as such.
Recently I received this line from the inner voice:
Every woman’s shape is your mouth.
On one level I think this line was drawing attention to the way I let myself get sucked into chit-chat at work, and how I can be critical in a negative or gossiping way. Whether it’s ultimately true or not, we have a cultural conception that women gossip more than men. Looking at the line through that cultural lens the ‘woman’s shape’ of my mouth struck me as that gossiping element.
When I told Donny about the line he validated that interpretation, and also suggested it had something to do with desire. A few days later that interpretation hit home when my parents and I went out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, Citrola’s. We eat at this restaurant enough that we’re recognized by the staff and even have a favorite waitress, Lynn. Lynn I would guess is in her late 50’s or early 60’s, but has a body that looks younger. She’s very slim and petite and of course colors her hair. She also has an attractive face though there are enough wrinkles there to tell you she’s no spring chicken. I’m sure many men of all ages find her attractive. I’m no exception.
That night at Citrola’s Lynn was not our waitress, but since she knows us, at one point she sat down next to me at our booth to chat. As she sat there I was feeling the color of attraction and to be honest was indulging it some. Sitting there though I thought about the line and realized what it was saying. It was pointing out how wide my range of attraction is. How ‘every woman’s shape’ stimulates my ‘mouth’ i.e. the desire to consume the object of the attraction. Now of course I’m not attracted to every woman I see, and I certainly wasn’t ignorant that I could be attracted to a woman old enough to be my mother, but lines from the inner voice, like dreams, are exaggerated to make a point. Here what the line was also pointing out and really driving home is something I’ve seen many, many times before, but apparently had to be shown again. Namely what a brainless, primitive thing the desire is.
Now for those who might be wondering why anyone would want to give up sex or sexual desire here’s a line I got about two and half years ago about sex.
Immense Adam block.
Adam here I feel represents the soul or Purusha since, on one level, that’s what Adam represents in the Hebrew Genesis. The line clearly points out I’m blocking my soul by indulging in the sex feelings and movements. In fact, it spelled it out so clearly that this particular line was a real turning point for me. After that I really started working at trying to not follow the sexual movements. Over two and half years later they’re still not gone, but Sri Aurobindo points out how hard it is to completely get rid of those movements and even said to one person that only the descent of a higher consciousness will completely get rid of them. My continuing job at the moment though is to not follow them or clip them off as soon as I catch myself doing so. I’ve come a long way with this from where I was when I got the ‘Adam’ line, but this latest line provided motivation to step up my game. That was at least a big part of its purpose.
If you’re still scratching your head as to why someone would want to give up sex you can read more of what Sri Aurobindo says about it here.