Before our physical birth we experienced a continuing sense of nourishment,
connectedness and security. After our physical birth we then experience our selves as separated, and so it is only natural that we seek and long for that sense of connection, nourishment and security.
This seeking finds expression in many ways. Sometimes we seek for gross, physical pleasures and external and material satisfactions in the world. Yet, these invariably do not fully satisfy us; they prove to be stormy, transient and therefore illusory. Perhaps this leads us to understand that the means to really satisfy ourselves, the Kingdom of Heaven, lies within us and so we may begin seeking in earnest for our inner or ultimate fulfilment.
There is a gap, between the separated and conditioned sense of self we experience ourselves as, and the eternal, spiritual core of our being which is completely secure, connected and joyful. This divide, between the illusory and relative nature of the world and the ultimate Reality, is manifest in a physical gap in the central channel, within the para-sympathetic nervous system. This gap actually exists physically between the sacral outflow and the vagus nerve, encompassing the Subtle area called the Void or the Ocean of Illusion.To cross this gap, this Ocean of Illusion, we need to develop balance, self-mastery and pure desire. We also require the help of a true Guru – someone who will awaken the Kundalini so that we can discern the correct Path and cross the Void to the heart, wherein lies the true Self, the eternal Spirit.
It is in this state of disconnectedness that seekers may search for a guide or Guru to help them to find the Way, a Path or process to cross the Void, the illusions, and connect with that Source of all satisfaction, joy and fulfilment – the Divine, the Source, Tao, or God. There have been many great incarnations of the principle of Guru or Spiritual Teacher who have incarnated to guide groups of sincere seekers towards their Self-realisation. The personifications or incarnations of this principle include Abraham, Moses, Muhammed, Zarathustra, Lao Tze, Confucious, Sai Baba of Shirdi, Guru Nanak, Raja Janaka and Socrates. Also, there have been false gurus who have plundered and damaged the seekers. The goal in Sahaja Yoga is to help the true seekers to find their Self-realisation so they can become their own gurus.
Most often for the seekers, so far, the only assistance has been to receive a set of guidelines, or rules, a dharmic way of behaving, that will help maintain individual and collective balance. So, we have sets of rules in the religions such as the Ten Commandments. Moses, as an example of the Guru principle, led his people out of slavery, across the ocean and to the promised land. Shri Mataji in this modern era holds a unique place in the tradition of Gurus because She has created a method for en masse Kundalini awakening and so facilitated the creation of so many potentially enlightened Gurus.
Only the Kundalini can bridge that great divide between illusion and Reality. On first awakening, Kundalini ascends the Sushumna (centre) nadi up to the Agnya chakra. It covers the lower plate (moordha) and then descends like melting clouds on the Ida (left) and Pingala (right) nadis to the Void. It fills the Void area, and then the three combined powers re-ascend the Sushumna nadi to open the lotus petals of the Sahasrara. The Spirit, which is said to be watching through the manifold subtle auras of the heart, has its seat at the top of the head in the centre. When the individual spark of the Spirit is raised and reunited in Union, or Yoga, with the all-pervading and all-powerful Source at the apex of the Sahasrara, then the Reality of the essential core of existence is realised. This enables a person to start to become his or her own Guru, based on a new enlightened awareness.
(Photograph courtesy of fromoldbooks.org)
There are those who know
the time has come
that their hands can speak the truth.
There are those who comprehend
the powers of auspicious magic
and hold it dearly at every moment.
There are those who understand
they are the creators of the New World,
who can see now the age of Aquarius unfolding
as the Lotus above their heads.
There are those who accept
the responsibility laid upon their breast,
rewarded tenfold in joyful blessings
bestowed upon their lives.
There are those who realise
the meaning of surrender,
the fickleness of this world,
and the subtlety of their spirit.
There are those who see
only the present, who hear the songs of every bird,
who comprehend without a thought
the nature of each moment.
There are those whose faith
takes them on serendipid journeys
into the lightness of their being,
and adventures in a world unimagined before.
There are those who are blessed
to gaze into Her infinite eyes,
To bow at Her Holy Feet,
knowing who it is before them.
I did not want to go. I had travelled to that land of dreams. It was a light, serene place, a restful place. I had gone from life on this Earth. I had left the pain and the heat and gone away; away from my tired, sick body.
But when I heard him his voice was music itself. It threaded my soul back into sinewy surrounds, into the cavities of bone and flesh. Breath was born in my lungs again and my heart reverberated to the sound of his voice. It was my heart which heard his call. Then my ears responded, muffled as they were. My hands tried to pull the cloth from my face. There was the scent of aloes and of myrrh. My steps were slow and weak, my limbs numb. I leaned on the wall with one hand as I came, dragging the weighted linen which wrapped me. Blinded by the light, I felt the shock, the indrawn breath of the crowd but I couldn’t see them.
Then my sister Martha touched me warily. I could smell the wood smoke and warm bread in her hair. Her tears wet my cheek. Then Mary, my other sister, held my hand, rubbing the numbness out. I felt like a child again: their little brother once more, to be cosseted and plied with grapes and oranges.
Then Jesus held a lamp before my eyes and asked me to see. First the lamplight and then his dear face came into focus. We were all smiling. But later Mary came to me when I was resting. She looked troubled.
“Lazarus, this will not pass unnoticed by the men who would harm him. I fear we are near the end. They cannot bear his miracles”.
And Mary Magdalene was with us then. She was the one who saw more than the rest of us. She was completely devoted to Jesus. She came into the room holding the alabaster jar she had bought some time back.
“He will be going soon. We must prepare,” she said.
I was still dazed, not ready to understand the sadness in her eyes.
After supper she came with a basin and water to wash his feet and then rubbed them dry with her hair, weeping silently. Then she broke the top from the jar and poured the perfumed oil onto his feet and tenderly rubbed them. The rest of us sat in silence; except for a late bird ringing its bell tone in the tree outside, everything was stilled as we breathed the rich perfume. Then one of his companions said to Mary as she gathered up the shards.
“But this was valuable ointment. You are an extravagant woman. Why did you not put its price in the poor-box?”
Then Jesus spoke across Mary’s bent head, “There will always be poor people needing money. But Mary has seen what is coming. She understands my destiny. Did you not see her tears? She knows I am soon to leave you.”
He understood our hearts so well. I looked around at his companions, the men he had chosen. Some looked uncertain, puzzled by Mary’s act and by his reproof of Judas. Judas himself did not speak again but looked away, his lips tightly pressed.
A few, like John and I, had unshed tears. But we really didn’t understand him as well as Mary had. What harm could come to him? He who had this day called me back from the grave where I’d been lain three days before? Who could challenge such a commander of men as this?
Now that the year is past I can see that he came back to us four years ago, from the land of Hinde, the land of the Magi, only because he knew he must be killed. He had to allow the terrible, cruel will of the most aggressive men to manifest fully. Only then could he show the power of our Spirit which transcends all. My little death and return was not enough.
There were moments in the days which followed my return, after he was taken, when I could have wished he had not called me back. When we heard that they were torturing him, we could hardly even bear to breathe.
And later, after he and his mother, who is Mother of us all, after they’d gone away to Hinde, then, it seemed to me that it still was not ended: that the proof he’d shown would not be enough yet for people to change, to make themselves like him. There was still so much sadness in our lives.
When we were with him we could see and feel the truth of all that he said. He was clearly the manifest love of our Father. Even the dust of the roads couldn’t dull the radiance of his person. His body was fragrant, as if the flowers gave their perfume to him as he passed. The air around him shimmered and wherever his eyes looked colours grew brighter. His voice cooled our inner ear and caused our restless minds to expand into holy spaces.
But for all that, we couldn’t change the world when he had gone. The light went with him. Only his mother could comfort us then. She was truly a warrior’s mother. Later we realized that she had always known he was to be the sacrifice ─ apparent sacrifice, for death had no power over him. But in the days of darkness when we thought he had gone from us it was his mother, Mary, who drew us together and kept us from drowning in our grief.
We had gone to her house thinking to comfort her, to give voice to our mourning. We discovered her serene. She was arranging flowers in a vase and smiled a little at our pale faces and offered us food and comfort. As more and more people came she greeted each one with words of courage and nourished their poor faint bodies with fresh grape juice and wholesome bread. Some were shocked to find her so calm, so queenly. Had we not seen and shared her great pain? Seen through our tears as we’d witnessed his dying? As we’d clung together in that dark, dreadful place? But now, so soon after, she is untroubled. I marvelled at her nobility as she took each newcomer into her care. We had become quite a crowd, mostly silent but absorbed in the tranquility she spread about us.
Then we heard lively footsteps and all turned towards the doorway. Stephen appeared, glowing, overflowing with joy, breathless from his haste. His words were unbelievable. I thought at first I’d misheard him saying, “He is risen.” But there was no mistake. He looked directly across the room to Mary. Our eyes followed his and through our tears again we saw her smile and move her head in gentle affirmation, “Yes.”
Our hearts filled, and it is wonderful that we did not all leap up and exclaim and make a great noise. I imagine that the silence then was like it must have been at his first birth in that stable when his radiance and hers must have filled every living thing around with awe and peace. Then I understood how she had been able to fill us all with quiet satisfaction, with her own calm. She had always been so sure of him, this mother of warriors. She was absolutely certain of the ability of her son to transcend even death. He had always been like that. And they had known each other from before the beginning of the world. It was with this new awareness that she began to prepare us for the battles we were all to face in the years to follow.
(Photograph: The Resurrection of Lazarus by Jean Jouvenet. Courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org)
We’ve all heard about the environmental disaster that is gripping the world and bringing it to its knees. But what about that other disaster that is taking place inside us in that mysterious, unquantifiable, inner environment – our spirit, our consciousness?
Because for every poisoned sea and ripped down forest around us in this world, there is a spiritual equivalent here within us, in this land of our imagination. Think about it – what happened to that innocent little creature you were when you were born, who seemed to know itself, that was happy in the moment? How has it changed? Haven’t our inner worlds transformed in parallel with the world around us? Who amongst us is still happy? Who amongst us even believes in the simple happiness of just being alive?
And what about these thoughts that choke up our inner skies as surely as any CO2-emitting chimney – that harangue us endlessly with guilt trips, anger, self-glory, alternating with self-loathing and a string of endless and insatiable desires? What about these lusts that break our societies and our families apart, and in the process our children’s hearts until, like us, they too are filled up with yet more pain and insecurity?
We can see the world around us as it suffers, we hear about the flora and fauna that are being destroyed in our wake and we are spurred on to try to curb our wanton consumption of life in the hope that the cycle can be reversed. But how can we hope to bring a balm of peace to this world when our hearts are swamped in toxins, our guts have been mined with unfillable pits of greed, our inner skies are choked by the smoking factories of our mind and our innocent desires are fanned into fierce fires that consume the brushwood of our morality?
Yes, let’s try to save the world! But as we do, let us remember what we are saving this world from. We are saving this world from ourselves, nothing more. We are saving the world from what we have become.
And if we really want to make a difference, then the struggle must be a twofold struggle – both an outer and an inner one. A simultaneous battle to save the animals of the Brazilian rainforests and also the bare-footed angels that live in our hearts. We’re fighting the Environmental disaster but we should not forget about the IN-vironmental disaster that is the root of all our present ills.
Editor: Jeremy would like to start an email action group on this topic. If you would like to join the group, please write to me at [email protected], and I will send your message to Jeremy.