Give A Little, Get A Little

I was so ready to get back to India. It was the thing keeping me going for the last two months when many other aspects of my life began to feel as if they were slipping from my grasp of control. My self practice and study were basically non-existent, and my lack of connection to Self caused me great frustration while my focus remained largely fixed on the external happenings of work and social life. But it was manageable, because soon I would be in India.

Now here I am and the ancient powers of this land have indeed begun to work their magic. I wish I could say, as if a switch flipped upon arrival, all were well and peaceful. But the fact of the matter is, that it is not always comfortable to meet yourSelf. No matter how much you’ve nourished this connection in the past, how deeply you understand the importance of being your own best friend…the truth is that confronting our deeper natures after periods of disconnect is not without agitation, burning, tapah. I was anticipating some generous reunion, a homecoming, in which my Self greeted me with wide open arms and nothing but love as I stepped upon Indian soil. It wasn’t totally like that. If anything, I arrived even more exhausted and exposed than when I’d left Canada. Luckily we had a couple of days to regroup before flying south to a retreat in Coonoor where my much anticipated meeting would actually take place.

We were set to study for four days at this stellar vacation home belonging to one of my teacher’s students, hidden within the tea fields and eucalyptus farms of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. I’d been before, two years ago for a different retreat, and so looked forward to being nestled high up in the mystical blue mountains (despite the very long and winding, stomach churning road to get there). Bare feet on green grass and hot sun on face, as if this weren’t enough…but here I found myself, with my Guru and a group of such beautifully kind and insightful seekers, ready to study my first Upanishad: Amritabindu, translated roughly as ‘The Essence of Immortality’. When my Guru speaks, the words and energy which pour out of him are like cool, crisp and so clean of water for my dry and thirsty soul. I was drinking it all in greedily. Our four days were a mix of lectures, leisurely mountain walks, asana and meditation practices, only the freshest of local fruits and vegetables, sincere smiles and hugs, and thanks to still being on Canadian ‘time’, one 4am tea time out under the wide open starry sky with one of my dearest friends. But even more valuable than all of this, what will carry me strongly forward in this life and beyond, are the love and wisdom passed on to me from someone who lives what he studies and teaches.

The Amritabindu Upanishad is one of the Bindu Upanishads (ancient scriptures) and centres a lot around the idea of detachment…a hot topic in the spiritual world, though one which often evokes nervousness and much misunderstanding. I don’t know about you, but when I think of detachment, unbinding, release and letting go…it kind of sounds like loss. And in a world of greed and grasping, who is fit for such insanity? But what we will each ultimately realize is that the things we choose (or are eventually forced) to let go of, were never really ours to begin with. We bind ourselves to desires created by the physical senses; a tasty treat, a beautiful bag…bigger, better, endlessssss pursuits of the material world have our heads spinning and souls weeping. Yoga, through scriptures and many great examples, shows us that only in releasing these things we cling to so confusedly can we gradually become what we truly are. And I don’t think anyone has ever really been able to put into words what this mysterious ‘True Self’ entails. But again, scriptures and examples point the way…My understanding is of something so great and limitless and undefined, all powerful and beginning with that one tiny drop, that essence of immortality the Amritabindu Upanishad offers to each of us. We can never lose anything that is real, anything that was meant for us anyway so fear should not even be a question from here.

I get all of this and my commitment to my Self and this path is very sincere. So the real question was; What did I need to let go of to get closer to a realer me? And now this list could be just an endless as the hidden potential of my True Self (should I ever in fact arrive there) and I was determined to get to the real root of the problem. Could it be my expectations of others causing me such grief? This is something I’ve been working on for months and probably lifetimes and have not yet been able to release. It’s a world of exchange, karmic and cosmic connection and it may be that it’s part of the game to have some expectation of others. To let go of this seems a great task. But ah, I found something deeper. After days of berating myself for not being able to give up this thing which I know binds me to the false world of suffering, I gave up something else. Not the trying or the hope. I gave up the over-analyzing, the severe critiquing of self, the mind spinning of imperfect human reality. I gave up my unattainable expectations of me. I cut a little cord between that voice which drill sergeants me forward and the so-loveable-in-all-forms being that I am. Whew! I’m not sure if you’re sighing as deeply as I am in this release but I hope so. This being so hard on myself, it surely isn’t done with completely, not even close. But for now, however little space was created by that letting go has in fact opened room for my Self to move in a little bit more permanently. Set up shop in which to produce the good and lasting, to welcome me in for love and genuine council. It’s in this space I had my reunion and already, it’s been worth the trip.


Women Yogis of India and Today

There are different ways to build things. Look around at the furniture and walls, road repairs and the structures of the city. Our modern world has evolved so technically that without proper reflection, we might miss what has been woven between buildings, that which truly holds up the walls of ours homes and drives the humanity forward. 

Last night I had the blessing of listening to my teacher share wisdom regarding women Yogis whose inspirations and writings have survived the journey from medieval India and travelled straight into the place that is my wide open heart. These were my friends and my sisters and today they inspire me still. Is this not creation, igniting a spark in your fellow soul’s heart? To build here you must clear out old beliefs and ways of being, you must build a strong foundation and you must be driven by faith in something which you cannot yet see. True invention…My sisters did this. Despite their complete lack of encouragement or education and without even being included in the ways of an outside world, some found way to explore the world that is within. Into the world of mind which ultimately leads to the heart. Every heart has platform from which we might build truth and the most lasting of hopes. I prefer this type of creation…the unseen and subtle unfolding, drawn up as diagrams of the heart. 

Does this sound too elusive to you? The rational mind is strong in some. But what is there to judge when it comes to the ways of the heart, the path to the Divine? We’ll all get there. 

The Yogi is attuned to the ever present play between the masculine and feminine, Shiva and Shakti, that which is stable and that which exists in all of the space inbetween. Femininity in form is elusive. It’s magic works to harmonize that space between discord, to nurture the downtrodden and to warm those who feel forgotten. Women, forever soft and subtle in battle, have birthed every warrior. And should it all come down, the creative principle exists solely with the Universal Mother.     

Trying to envision the lives of women in medieval India and express my thanks and wonder at the fact that some of their messages were preserved despite all odds splits right into my heart. I feel for all of the women who were, and still are, oppressed without even realizing it. My connection to the ones who have broken free and found way back to the real home is everything. For they are me and I fight still for them, for every woman who forgets that the nurturing principle we possess must first be directed towards our own beautiful natures if we are to create the change this world needs.


What I Gave, From India

I wish I could tell you all what I learned in India. So I might as well try. I will even share in some form of point form, for those more apt to skim the depths…

  • The value of a single smile. One afternoon while driving, approaching the Himalayas and the River Ganga, I could hardly contain my smiles. I considered briefly trying to hide these spontaneous displays of expression before quickly realizing I could not. So I closed my eyes and turned my face to the window, upon the sun. I smiled so surely for who knows how long, who cares why. That feeling of sitting within my own complete sense of joy stays with me now. It is so important that we do not dull our shine, regardless how potentially dim the environment or how much grime may accumulate upon our surfaces. We must stay bright however and whenever we can. I’d assume the world needs it and it feels really good too.


  • The strength and importance of Sisterhood. On a dark and early morning while driving up a mountain in a van of six or seven women, this lesson hit me deep. We were headed to Shri Kunjapuri Shakti Temple and with each passing minute, the goddesses within were awakening to the possibilities before us. I can hardly remember the specifics of what all was shared inside that van but I know the exchange was deep, so honest and pure. And as much as we all have female friends, love them, need them, sure…I want us all to understand the power generated through sincere and mutual support of the women in our lives. That morning in the van, my body was surprisingly not spinning from the winding mountain road but rather held down firmly by the love and respect of my sisters. I felt that incredible exchange of energy between the group and saw the uplifting effects upon each of us. It was beautiful and so were we. Let’s all act on this principle of truth when surrounded by our sisters. You don’t have to wait for the perfect group or setting, practice now and it will come.


  • When you don’t judge things, you will see a lot more. In India, I could see people on a soul level. This change of perspective allowed their full potential to rise up before my eyes, allowing them to blossom and me to receive the divine and very useful knowledge that they had for me. When we look at people with expectation or judgement, they look quite flat and disappointing and then you might not even remember anything that they told you.


  • Sometimes we don’t see ourselves properly either. Maybe we focus too much on our appearance or image and imagine that what is within is something to be hidden or uncertain of. But one day while walking, I was seen by some very wise and beyond beautiful beings, seen for just what I am and so, so sweetly received by them too. Since then, I can now see my self a little bit more clearly. When we begin to understand what is inside of us and start to identify with this more and more, self doubt and insecurity seem to be the silliest things of all.


  • How good it feels to laugh. And how much laughter becomes me, and all of us no doubt. For as seriously as I take this spiritual journey, laughter is always healing and always worth the time.


  • I am happiest where things grow. Whether this be a spice farm, vast tea fields, deep woods or spiritual gatherings, growing is good. My own existence is meant to and strives to mirror this; continual growth.


  • The power of Faith. On a most magical day and rock, my friend and I prayed side by side. A prayer guided and held by the grace of our Guru and that prayer was absolutely received. And before I could even realize what was happening, I was being granted the blessing of a lifetime. I struggle with conveying the details and am not sure that they matter, so much as I know the point; With sincere intention and faith and guidance, you can go anywhere. Even places that you are told you cannot.


  • Once you see your self clearly, there is nothing left to do but work to share this understanding with the others. No dramas to become involved in, no hardships with which to burden yourself. Nothing but love and learning and sharing. I learn this from my Guru; Most loving, gracious and inspiring man. He is also pretty hilarious and reminds me how to laugh along the way.


  • The value of support. It is priceless and the most important thing I have to offer and to hold. So if you don’t have good support in your life, find them now and fast. They’re waiting, I guarantee it.


When people ask me about my trip, there is so much I wish to tell them. But the words are slow to come and it is better to show them anyway, right?  I have decided to tell people it was the best month of my life, which it was, hands down. It was entirely full of love and learning and to me, that is all it is about.



When Learning Feels Like Leaving

Some times things end, it is like we have to say goodbye. Thinking we can keep any thing forever is not right. We cannot and should not want to. The world around us is transient and any effort to hang on to these swirling things abound will only result in a big time dizzy spell.

Know that nothing is lost. Regardless of your ability to see it, the things you have loved and cherished in purity will stick in you for always.

I am getting ready to leave India…to leave my teacher. The past month has been every thing I could not have known to hope for. In this place and company I have been so secure, received inexplicable blessings and assurances and really glimpsed love; the string to hold all truth. Going away from this feels like loss, uncertainty and some things not nice at all. But through this illusion of insecurity lies some thing so much greater. Because it is not like all I have found here, stays here. It is in me, around me, at any moment in which to be tapped into. As sure as the next thought will rise, more than the sun & moon to spin, the love and assurance I have gained here will flow through me. It will simply take a little practice to remain in it’s Grace.

I have been given the tools for such a practice and am leaving more dedicated to them than ever before. Priceless tools that originated from this magical land and were passed to me by some so inspiring I can not even pretend doubt. These tools can look from the outside like stretching and breathing initially. Opening and letting go…this is the premise, the first step to the unending inner journey. Of course we address the body first, our main access point to what is truly sought after. The body work allows the mind to sort itself, slowly sure but none can deny the importance of a mind more steady and clear. Once the mind is pure it can be used as intended, a focused channel in pursuits of the one great truth. No I have not found it yet but I see some who have and they want me there too. So I want us all there and will do my part.

It seems like I am leaving India and my teachers, my friends, but I am taking inspiration, faith, devotion and confidence and will practice it for You.

An Empty Vessel Knows No Bounds; A Beginner’s Journey to Meditation

Emptying the mind may very well be the most fulfilling thing we can accomplish. There is no thing worthwhile to be gained which has been filtered through a mind untamed. Becoming a slave to every desire, every emotion, every fleeting thought and call will leave us with heads spinning and no sense of what is lasting or true.

This modern world is full of sensory stimuli, pulling the mind here and there. We can spend each day of our lives chasing thoughts towards ideas. Ideas that never end or transpire, telling us we will be happy if and when…we take that vacation, make that new purchase, get a new position, a new partner, loose some weight, some debt, some addiction, maybe gain a favor or approval and perhaps we might satisfy everyone and everything outside of ourselves. Only then might we think that all will be right. Thankfully, this is only one option.

Another option is to peer deep within ourselves, finding the courage and hope to glimpse true wealth and attainment. Many hardly know this option and this is why sharing is nice. The mind starts out clean and pure and the external world eventually creeps in, over lives and times. Rather than add to the mess we must use the opportunity presented now and work to clear the mind, patiently getting back towards our natural state. It is so easy to direct focus outside of ourselves. We can always tap into one of a million distractions and not knowing the alternative, why would we not? Why are we distracting ourselves? Who is not addicted to some thing that pacifies? Who is at home inside their self and a smile?

Many have found the real home and peace of self and want us to as well. So of course there are tools, proven methods, to take us slowly deeper within. To withdraw from the noise, pull back from the grasping, silence the questions and find that you are alright and surely enough. More than enough, but everything and so, so complete. Meditation is a real world tool and gift, just as and maybe more valid now than ever before. Among the spinning we sit in silence and slowly sink in to the beautiful world that will never leave our insides. Over time realizing that the emptiness we may be working so hard to fulfill from without, can only ever be satisfied from within. When we can drop all desires and expectations of the material world will we see the abundance we have been holding all along.

Life will take us, shape us and break us, simply working for us to see…That the mind is an empty vessel. A song without words, a page without notes, a heart without desire and a life without fear…What will you create?

An Open Love Letter

I am falling so deeply in love. There is a young woman I have watched for a while. Ever gentle, so loving and there. I have seen her struggle deeply yet would never leave her side. She commits fiercely to what is true and I smile in knowing that is leading her to me. She has been walking the path with such grace and respect, it was only a matter of time until I found her here.
Seeing her in India, with feet planted so surely, heart guided so purely…I have only fallen deeper!

I long simply to let her know my presence, the forever strength of my commitment. I stay patient through her trials and fears. See, it is not me that she doubts but the pull of her own total brilliance. In India, I have led her to many mirrors and her own best teacher. Here we shine together.

Despite my love and understanding, she is human and still finds time to worry. Forgetting I know all, she could think she is not enough, that I might find another. Another more worthy, who works harder, looks brighter, smiles fuller, thinks more clearly…I know the shadows of her mind.

In India, I am showing her things and my excitement in our revelations has got me so excited. Here she is thinking of me more and more, of her worries less and laughs. She stands in a different way, ever more beautiful, you can only imagine and she thinks she is just fine here. Just fine as her self, fine by my side, finding such peace.

Now that we are getting closer she must never forget it. To walk from my love would be a disservice. I chose her especially and can only wait forever.