Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Dharma

One of the things that has attracted me to Hinduism is the concept of dharma. To my knowledge dharma means that everything has a role, a part to play in the universe. (If I'm wrong, please correct me.) Over the past few days, I may have gotten a glimpse as to what my dharma is...and while it may be a path others like me have taken, it still feels to me as if I'm blazing my own trail.

To elaborate, let me first shamelessly plug an article I've written for a local paper recently...this is relevant, trust me:

This is the article I wrote as a result of the...non-coincidence I mentioned in the blog post "Am I Being Adjusted?". This article has resulted in many small, but far from insignificant related happenings. For one, it has been published by three newspapers owned by this company. It has also gotten some pretty big compliments from some friends of mine. And the piece de resistance - I found out one of the dancers from that event is in the local Art of Living group.

So many things have lined up recently that I wonder just what is in store for me? Is this all leading up to some big, life altering climax? One thing is for sure, I definitely feel as if at least learning more about Hindu spirituality is my destiny...I keep learning about more and more sources where I can learn. And apparently I'm not the only white male American citizen who's dived in...okay, that should be obvious, but again, I'm saying this feels both like I'm treading a worn trail AND blazing a new one. That fact reinforces that this is possible for me.

I don't know where this future will lead me, but for once I'm excited to see what the future holds.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gurus, and More Experiences From the Meditation File

The purpose of this post is twofold: one, to share another experience I've had recently from meditation, and two, to ask (yet another) question of my audience. Again, I know my odds of getting an answer through the comments system is low, but I figured it doesn't hurt to try.

First, the recent meditation experience...and this one is interesting.

As usual I followed the routine set forth by the Art of Living class I took, and afterwards chanted the Ganesha mantra for my meditation. As I was chanting, though, what happened was my voice was...altered somehow. I don't know if it was something in my throat or dryness or what, but my voice changed pitch and grew quieter. It climbed in pitch and lowered in volume.

I'm not sure what that means...I don't know if it was just a coincidence or if something supernatural happened. It still felt like my voice, but as I chanted this phenomenon happened automatically and gradually. Maybe supernatural is too strong a word for what happened, but my voice...I just know something happened to it. I'm not sure what.

Anyway, onto the other question: I know to properly learn Hinduism I have to find a guru, or at least that's what some sources tell me. But I'm not too familiar with what makes a guru; I know Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living organization is recognized as one, but that's all I know about it. What makes a guru? For that matter, what gurus are around today?

This is an innocent question I have on my mind, as I don't know and genuinely want to know. If any readers care to comment on it, feel free.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Am I Being Adjusted?

I know I previously mentioned the film "The Adjustment Bureau" in passing on this blog, and I promised to write more about it here. Well...sadly, that promise will not be fulfilled tonight (maybe it will be after the film comes out on DVD), but there have been a couple of events in my life recently that make me believe that my life is being...adjusted somehow. Yeah, it sounds weird. However, I've said that before...maybe I just need to redefine what I consider "weird." But I digress.

Both of these "adjustments" seem to have to do with my interest in India's culture and spirituality. The first adjustment happened a week or so ago, when a local teacher of Indian dance and music, whom I met at the Memorial Art Gallery a year or so ago, contacted me to see if I can publicize and/or cover her upcoming cultural event. As it so happened, I was in talks with a local newspaper company to become a freelancer for them. So naturally, I pitched the idea for a feature on this upcoming cultural event to this company, and they gladly accepted it.

The more I thought about this coincidence, the more I kept coming to the conclusion that maybe it wasn't.

The second adjustment: since I previously mentioned on this blog about my chanting of Ganesha mantras during meditation, and how deep such chanting took me recently...I got inspired over the weekend to order a statue of Ganesha online to possibly help me with such meditation. When I ordered it, the arrival of the shipment was originally scheduled to be June 21 at the earliest. However, I checked it today, and now it's scheduled to arrive at my apartment this Wednesday, June 15.

I understand a lot of mail-order and online shopping companies like to say things will arrive later than they usually do to cover their butts and make sure people don't get over-excited. But considering everything else that has happened recently...I'm starting to think this particular occurrence isn't a coincidence either.

Perhaps both of these instances are coincidences, and I'm reading too much into them, but...I'm not sure if they can be called that anymore. Am I being steered by the Powers-That-Be into delving deeper into India's culture and spirituality? Is this a message that I'm on the right path and that I should speed up from a leisurely walk to a slow jog or beyond? Just what is going on?

This is definitely something I'll be keeping my eye out for...if the Gods of India indeed do exist, they have my attention. Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing the right thing, but then I realize when it comes to things like this...there is no concrete right or wrong thing. It's what's right for me. This feels right. And I like it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Going Deeper

So what has happened while I was internet-less? The biggest thing I can mention is that I took a course offered here in Rochester by the Art of Living organization mentioned in one of my first posts (the one titled "On (Not) Being a Beautiful and Unique Snowflake" to be precise). (And I provided a link just now so you can learn more of them yourself if you wish.) While I can't discuss the particulars of the course due to the fact that I signed an agreement not to disclose what transpired in it, the course did teach me some meditation and breathing techniques that I have attempted to adopt into my everyday routine. I haven't been entirely successful doing them every single day yet, but I have been doing them often. And what I wish to write about right now is an experience I had today after doing these techniques and then going into meditation. This experience was quite profound.

Again, I can't discuss the particulars of the practices I have been doing that were taught to me by this course, but I was doing them around midday today after a couple of rounds of the yoga sequence Sun Salutation. However, while I was doing them today, I got inspired to change up my meditation routine slightly today (my meditation routine being to meditate to this particular Ganesha mantra I found on YouTube) - instead of just listening to the mantra chant, I would chant along with it. Turns out when I chant the mantra itself, it has...profound effects. I went deeper into meditation than I thought I could ever go.

What happened was this: after doing the techniques the Art of Living course taught me and starting the meditation, I chanted along, and as I chanted along, I started feeling rather curious and powerful sensations. My voice started to tremble, I started having tremors in my body, and I could feel tears coming out of my eyes, not in sadness, but...ecstasy, I guess. It's hard to put words to it. Visually, as my eyes were closed I could perceive shifts in colors - waves of color seemed to cascade down my eyes like a waterfall. The most profound thing I could see, though, was that I saw a single eye looking back at me...this eye seemed to express various states of emotion, from anger to curiosity to compassion. I admit when I saw it angry I became afraid, but only for a moment, as the eye's emotion shifted to another state soon after. However, the one emotion I didn't see in this eye, not that I could perceive, anyway, was sadness. I thought maybe this eye belonged to Ganesha, since it was a Ganesha mantra I was chanting to. But there was no way to know for sure.

For some of you reading this blog, this post must sound like the ramblings of a crazy person by now. But I know for those who really are my friends, the ones I trust, this won't sound crazy at all. I know my real friends will look upon this blog post with compassion and know that I'm not crazy. Because right now, I don't feel crazy at all. Maybe it's true that only the truly crazy think they're sane, but at this moment...I feel saner than I have ever felt.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm Back From Outer Space

I do apologize for not updating the last couple of weeks. My life was very busy, what with moving to East Rochester and all. For a time at my new apartment I was without internet, since I had to pick a provider and go through the wait associated with that, etc. Not having internet can be a disheartening experience, let me tell you. It seems in this day and age one can't go more than a few hours without it, like a drug, and I was going through withdrawal.

There can be all sorts of things one can say about the internet and its addictive qualities. However, I won't repeat them here, as I pretty much can't contribute anything new to the discussion. Besides, that's not the point of this post; the point is to say I'm back, and to expect regular updates sometime soon. After all, what would the Light Club be without me? ;)