Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 1 We are Stardust. We are Golden

Yuba River, Nevada City, California
We are stardust. We are golden. And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.
Stills and Nash form Woodstock Era.

The first things that strike me are the pictures and carvings and poems of the master and his lineage. All over this land. No matter where I walk or stop, a reminder is emblazoned on the wall or in the garden stone. A quote. A sacred symbol. Photographs. Why all the images of men and women? I am judgmental and afraid, at first, because I have been let down and disappointed by people over and over. But is that really the reason I recoil? I also am curious.

For years I’ve pontificated that The time for the guru is over. We have enough experts and parishioners worshiping books more than love. I repeat the well worn phrases of my reticence out loud as I gaze at Yogananda’s carved face resting on the garden altar. You are just a person, like me.

"Then why do I continue to be drawn to gazing at you?" I ask Yogananda? Like a memory in stone… me being the stone in my rigidity and him being like a memory that surfaces in my body and mind.

So I sit back and recognize how I feel stirred up, resistant to the statues and songs floating in the air. The sun light falls through the burning leaves of the autumn maple. I think “I can look at these images from any angle I choose.” 

The sun is tranquil and so quiet in its mighty fire. It is always there, burning, seemingly eternal. But do I really see the sun for what it is? Do I feel it, sense it, thank it? Or is it just a metaphorical bridge in a poem or thought (like here?) And what’s so wrong or right about a bridge into seeing deeper into life? Is that what the statues are? Bridges? Or distractions? Or tools and prompts to remember our divinity?

Then I stop the queries for a moment. I am here to re inhabit my body, to reinvigorate my health and to feel safe with other people. I long to do these things so that when I return to the outside world I can be the memory of the sun, too. I can be the stone, filled with mid-day fire. Warm, even in the cold nights to come. Ah, more metaphors. Perhaps that all human language has. Metaphors of what is holy.

Finally I rest back against the statue, the stony heat warming in the sun. I commit to be present as I can, for a long period of silences like the sun is silent, like Yogananda’s statue, silent.

I want to emanate light.
Light that is not afraid to grieve the losses that bring me closer to breaking through the stony surfaces. I want to b less drugged by my thoughts. Not thoughtless. But freer to catch the judgments as they wisp by in the wind. Just to be here for moments, until I am everywhere in the sun.


Copyright Richard Sievers, November 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Two Weeks in an American Ashram: An Invitation

On the road with our trailer near Mt. Shasta.

This is the first entry describing two weeks that my wife and I spent in a community of people devoted to yoga as a path love, service and becoming more conscious. My wife was completing her certification as a certified yoga instructor. I was deepening my meditation practice.

I went with the intention to experience a loving community where I could be myself and feel safe. I also went to meet other men who desire to be open to their hearts and spirits as well as their intellect. I also wanted to grow in my understanding of how to proceed in my life as a young elder.
Our 1972 Compact Jr. Trailer

Along the way I found healing, challenge of my perceptions, judgments and peace. I hope to tell you the heart of my experience without doing any harm to the community that took us in and shared their particular path with us. I hope to share experiences that will be helpful and healing to you in your life on earth. Thanks for riding along with me on this spiritual road trip.

Over the next weeks I will use the term God a lot. I understand that this can elicit reactions and stories about one's own experiences, some happy, some hurtful. This term is used because it is the word I use in my devotional life. It is meant to be ultra inclusive in its use. I hope that you can see this name in terms of whatever is holy or inspiring or loving or cosmic or pure to you.

The Hermitage
I will also refer to Yogananda, a man who came from India in the early-mid 20th century to relay ancient and enduring, spiritual practices to the west. I see these practices as scientific in that they can aid one in being closer to be truly present and aware of life with less judgement and fear. I asked to meet men who are diligently exploring their spiritual path. I got even more than I asked for. I met a Master who is loving, wise and a beloved friend of my spirit.

I never wish to imply that this is the only way to enlightenment or truth. Yogananda and  communal faith are the reasons for the community that I visited. So I relate the information I have harvested there in hopes that it is inspiring to you in your life.

One of my callings as a writer is to
Make What is Universally Private Intimately Public
May this two week journal help me and you to not feel alone in our personal paths.

If you wish to come along with me on this brief dive into the life on an American Ashram check back here in the next three or four days. 
Or subscribe to this blog (see the box on the middle right). 

Thank You for Reading
I'll be publishing a new entry on this spiritual journey every three days until Christmas.


Copyright Richard Sievers November 2012, All Rights Reserved