Continued from Part I:
Sequel at “The Heart of Knowing” Immersion
Oh! One last experience — an important “sequel” that wants to be shared. This one again relates to Igor’s words — and how they literally take a life of their own within, working in perfect harmony with the Shakti’s divine process of illumination, revelation, and release…
On the first or second day of this 7-day immersion, “The Heart of Knowing,” after having unusually quiet meditations, I began experiencing a rising sense of hopelessness and despair of ever breaking free of this constant feeling of subtle discomfort within. As I tune into my inner world, I am aware of a constant, profound longing and feeling of incompleteness — sending the message that “something is terribly wrong”; a sense of “ripping in the heart” that no words can ever aptly describe is ever-present, as a backdrop to my inner world, creating a subtle sense of restlessness… as if never being able to be truly present in the moment, always pushing toward something else…
After one of these meditations, the violent shaking started again and again, as if trying to shake something free. Then, suddenly appearing, again that ever-familiar feeling of terror of something unknown deep within… a feeling recognized as that of that frightened 3-year old unable to cope, afraid of her own skin, never feeling safe arose, as the violent shaking continued. I found myself physically moving — somehow inching along on my buttocks —out the back door of the patio just outside the meditation room. Then the familiar intense nausea and feeling as if I want to vomit out the childhood traumas — is here again. Igor explained to me that the last time this happened, there must have been a small portion which was not released before… and even before he said this, I had a strong inner knowing that this was yet what felt like a “pocket” left behind, of the same nightmarish stuff.
I tried to explain this to Igor, but the words were having a hard time coming out amidst the powerful kriyas — as if he didn’t know — that this was my body’s attempt to vomit out my childhood traumas. He gently raised his finger to his lips conveying I should stay silent, and not speak of this. He had said this to me a number of other times when I attempted to voice something of my childhood abuse, and in many different and yet subtle ways, had pointed to not speaking it out or focusing on it. Now, what was illumined — for my once-blind-eyes — was that warm somehow-cozy, sinking into self-pity — that ever-familiar sense of victimhood that I had so dearly identified with, that had seemingly provided a sense of security and safety to me over the years. I had never really questioned this; for some strange reason, it had been a place of refuge from the past, where I somehow settled for comforting myself in a warm bath of self-pity for having been victimized.
The seeds of Grace are sown
As “divine coincidence” — aka Grace — would have it, Igor’s next discourse as part of our immersion theme, “The Heart of Knowing: Direct Recognition of One’s Essence” was all about vasanas, our mental tendencies. He explained the subtlety of how we remain living as prisoners to them, trapped by falling into these grooves only to live these precious lies out again and again (also see Igor’s Journal post: Mental Grooves & Point of Attention”). He illustrated how each time that we identify with them and act upon them/re-enact them, that this somehow creates an entirely new “crop” of these “seeds” to be planted, sprouted, and bear the same rotten fruits again and again — ever-imprisoning us in the cycle of re-experiencing them, identifying with them, acting upon them, and thereby creating ever-new tendencies to be re-experienced again and again. This struck me as a central piece of the puzzle of the “wheel of samsara,” the never-ending cycle of birth and death, where we wander aimlessly in ignorance, from one lifetime to another, with no direction or purpose… dukkha, i.e., suffering.
In essence, what I learned from Igor’s discourse on this, is that negative experiences leave the “seeds” — which need to be experienced again — and as long as we continue taking authorship of our actions, we are stuck in this samsara (worldly existence). He went on to say that the more tendencies are reinforced — through blaming others for “what they did to us” and/or succumbing to self-pity and such — the more that these past traumas become part of the story of who we take ourselves to be. And each time we repeat this — we solidify it. He went on to explain that the only way out of this cycle is simply learning to accept all of this — without blaming, repeating our story, etc. — so that these seeds are “roasted,” no longer able to sprout again or be re-experienced! He also presented another method — to simply offer all of this to the Divine, and that everything we offer, is replaced by the Divine. In these ways, he encouraged us by making it clear that this is simply our choice — to step out of these grooves — our vasanas, and let go of identifying with/taking authorship of our past traumas… or continue to suffer.
As Igor had been speaking in recent months on the absolute necessity to “reparent” ourselves, this struck me as the perfect place to start — by putting attention on this. And it struck me what a simple and beautiful means for developing spiritual maturity, while walking this Path to Freedom!
After this discourse, the “seeds” of Truth of Igor’s words must have taken root quickly in the “fertile ground” of my being — nourished and cultivated from years of suffering, directly resulting from of the endless cycle of “replanting and re-sprouting and re-experiencing” these vasanas. As Grace would have it — horror of horrors, now suddenly I was being shown the array of other tendencies arising in my mind as thoughts… they are subtle, but nonetheless brightly illumined as I began witnessing the myriad ways in which the mind is sending continuous suggestions on ways to aggrandize “myself” … and these are above and beyond the selection of themes of self-righteous victimhood! Each one is another way of somehow adding some importance or specialness to this “me-person,” as a grand show to somehow make “myself” more. At one point, they were seen like a swarm of flies around my head, all trying to get my attention, for me to take authorship of them — “Me, me, ME!”… endless! And many were even pathetic and laughable — how was it that I did not see these before? They are suddenly so obvious! And I can see that when I am not present, these tendencies could easily take me over — like autopilot, so-to-speak. I could also see that they have been running “me” all my life, yet only a blind eye has been turned to this whole show “behind the scenes” — until now. Ah… illumination, revelation… Fierce Grace.
I saw in my mind’s eye, a revelation that this indeed is the wheel of samsara, and how we are each imprisoned by our own tendencies, which we revel in in some sort of ignorant conciliatory way, only to be re-experienced, and re-planted again and again — losing ourselves in this ever-consuming cycle of life lived in suffering. This made me realize why Igor had been gently — but persistently — counseling me not to speak of these childhood traumas; I saw in my mind’s eye how my bathing in self-pity, repeatedly blaming others, and seeing and identifying myself as a victim, served to create and recreate these vasanas taking root again and again and again… only to be lived, re-lived, and new seeds produced… A life imprisoned in suffering and despair of ever knowing anything different.
I saw it was my own actions — out of ignorance — that dutifully delivered this suffering, and how Igor was mercifully pointing out to me the way to stop the endless cycle. Illumination. Revelation. Release. I recognized that again, it was Grace in the form of Igor’s teachings that had become miraculously enlivened within me, illumining and revealing the truth and meaning of this teaching to me from within — in my own life, in my own suffering — the way to walk this Path to Freedom. And I simultaneously saw how these vasanas of blame and victimization were only one small part of the multitude of vasanas that accompanied me into this lifetime. Vast. Overwhelming. Devastating. Fierce Grace — raw truth.
The Path to Freedom – Victim no more
In the next meditation following these fresh revelations, I experienced sudden, deep grief as I was shown again and again the habitual trap of the mind constantly taking authorship in its egocentric way… and feeling so tired of it all, this experience of being a “fettered soul” — shackled by these endless, overwhelming tendencies. Utter despair at ever transcending a life lived in these vast grooves of accumulated vasanas arose, and it seemed simply impossible that one could ever break free. Out of the “ashes” of grief and despair, the phrase, “I’m DONE with this!” arose, followed by a sense of absolute willingness to do anything, to give up anything, to offer everything — the vasanas, the sense of helplessness and despair of ever breaking free, all of it — into this “fire” to be consumed…
With this, arising from nowhere, a powerful “mantra” began to repeat itself with incredible force: “Set me free! Set me free! Set me free!” This repeated itself, as my body shook and twisted with violent releases, weeping and weeping, a desperate prayer arising from the depth of my being, entreating the Divine to set me free, show me how to live in freedom, show me the way out… In my mind’s eye, I saw myself as a caged bird, unable to find the door — which ironically had always been open — but now, though the Grace of my Guru, I was being guided to find the door to my own freedom. There was a distinct “knowing” that this spontaneous prayer had somehow been heard. Illumination. Revelation. Release. Amazing Grace. Thy Will be done.
I saw that this Path to Freedom would require me to be vigilant in not looking back to relive these familiar grooves, but simply to witness them, accept them — or offer them — and move on. Finally, after 66 years of living in the righteous self-pity of a victim — I saw the possibility to “be a victim no more” but instead, a grateful sadhaka, ready to experience life in a new way, willing to let go of whatever needed to be let go of, never to look back. The possibility for a life lived in freedom… sowing new, pure, uplifting seeds…
I feel that something deep within me has shifted; the gig is somehow up for falling victim (pun intended) to self-pity and all of its cohorts. The seeds of understanding and the determination to live life in a new way have been sown, fully supported by Grace. Simply that… I see the possibility for this new freedom to find its way into every aspect and cell of my being, envisioning new possibilities — stepping out of outlived behaviors, into opportunities to live life in a new world of spontaneity and freedom, letting go of the victim, the charade of Polyanna-Nicey-Nice… it is indeed the dawning of a new day. Sorry, Polyanna, your days are numbered…
And I know I am where I am meant to be — walking the Path of Freedom through mysterious phases of this divine, spontaneous yoga of Grace — a grateful and willing sadhaka receiving the sacred gifts of illumination, revelation, and release intended to unravel the layers of who I am not, gradually unveiling the Truth of who I am. I have found my spiritual home with my beloved teacher, knowing in my heart of hearts that he is indeed “… here to finish what Muktananda started.” Thy Will be Done.
Jai Guru Dev