so today, the 11 december, is my 38th birthday!
I'm so happy to be in this world, at this time, in this life.
& so happy to be celebrating this creation with all of my soul-friends and family, today!
this photograph of Kaleshwara and me was taken a few birthdays ago (I'm ashamed to say I can't remember WHICH one!) in Penukonda, in the Jesus temple here in our ashram.
the story behind this photograph was a little epic lila for me....
it all started when I somehow got the strong idea that I DIDN'T, anymore, want to be subject to my guru's illusions, specifically around attachment to spending time with his physical form any more. (I saw people here absolutely devestated that he would sometimes walk right by them and not say 'good morning' to them. they'd be in tears for the rest of the day. I thought it was pathetic, and didn't want to be subject to that.)
I recognized at the time that Kaleshwara, as an avatara, is an energetic being, a divine soul, far larger than his little form suggests, as are we all... and after observing how much heartbreak people were going through, by not seeing clearly that illusion, I decided I didn't want to have to deal with him as a physical being any more.
what do I mean by this?
well, at that time he was conducting a painfully amusing chapter of our training that I referred to as "The Living Room Lila."
how it translated was this: night after night, when we were all meditating in the Jesus Temple in our ashram, he would pull some of his students (but not all) into his adjoining living room, for hanging out and private teaching sessions and talking, sometimes for hours at a time.
for the rest of the poor students, left to their own devices (meditation) in the Jesus Temple, it was a kind of torture. we would see WHO he had invited into the living room. and it wasn't us.
(it was often a small group comprised of similar people, each night, with a few variations just to keep it spicy.) why them? why not ME? our anguished minds would cry... we could often hear them laughing and joking with Kaleshwara, inside the room -- a double torture to those students who were feeling 'left out' of that privilege.
but I also realized the game that was running: that in wishing to be near the master physically, hearing him speak and just hanging out with him, it was catering to the attachment- illusion of being around his physical form, only, and actually was counter-productive in terms of trying to build energy channels to him directly.
the guru is a huge energy in a human form -- it's smart to connect more with the energy he's bringing, rather than to get wrapped up in being around him as a person. or enjoying his personality, his jokes, whatever. (the soul energy is permanent, eternal, the physical being is temporary at best.)
so, about the time I was struggling with all of this, and deciding in a kind of weird way that I only wanted to connect with his soul level, and not be subjected to the illusions around physical proximity to Kaleshwara, (or the lack thereof, since I was mostly 'left out' of the Living Room while, insult of injuries, my husband Jonathan was often included!) -- he invited me into the living room one night.
what followed was a steady torture chamber experience, with my master, in front of a group of my colleagues and fellow students. it was surgical, and precise, and ruthless, to me.
Kaleshwara -- acting innocently the whole time, but with a telling gleam in his eyes -- pretty much set up a situation where I was supposed to do a few simple things and of course I failed miserably.
I was like a sinking Titanic, unable to do anything but watch myself flail around and slowly go down under water. for an hour that seemed like a year. in slow motion.
in front of all of my friends.
it wound up with me embarrassing myself, and on top of it, getting a sharp scolding from Kaleshwara. like, he ripped me a new one. pointedly.
in front of all of my friends.
then he instructed me to stay in silence, not talking at all, for two days.
I spent those two days in my own internal hell, totally shaken up, embarrassed, filled with wild thoughts of moving out of the room with my husband, ending our relationship... I cried for a few hours.... and spent the rest of the time reliving the awful moments, step by step, of my failures in The Living Room torture seat, in front of my colleagues... on and on and on.
it was a beautiful torture -- a pulling out of whatever toxicity had been clogging me up.
and the message, clearly, from Kaleshwara, was: "it's great that you want to connect with my soul only, but as long as you're in a physical body and I'm in a physical body, you also HAVE to deal with me on the surface."
message received, loud and clear.
anyway, I was STILL shaking (and in silence) two days later, which happened to be my birthday. a friend at the ashram, oblivious to what I'd been through, mentioned that he'd told Kaleshwara that it was my birthday, as well as another student's birthday, and we should have a big party WITH Kaleshwara.
oh, my gawd.
the last thing in the WORLD I wanted was a public celebration (another chance for humiliation in front of all my friends!) with my master -- the very thought of how tough he'd been on me in The Living Room was still a fresh sting and enough to make me shake, literally shake, with dread.
& of course it came to pass that we had the party.
I was literally shaking the whole time.
Kaleshwara asked me, as a birthday boon (he'll grant anything his students ask, if they're lucky enough to ask it on their birthday!), what I wanted from him. I told him I wanted his soul energy with me always. always. he agreed, with enormous love in his eyes.
then he said the most beautiful thing, "of course I'm happy to celebrate your birthday -- but I really look forward to celebrating your REAL birthday. you know what that is? that's the day you wake up to the spiritual reality! that's your real birthday...!"
by the time he'd finished talking, so sweetly, I knew that Kaleshwara had washed my insides clean of all that sting, all that embarrassment, all that uncomfortable fear of confronting him again, after the earlier night of torture.
sometimes it takes a thorn to remove a thorn. he'd used a pretty sharp thorn on me that night, and then had let me run with it, as the poison in me flowed out, for a few days.
before again softening the experience, and taking away all the hurt.
I was smart enough, then, to ask Kaleshwara for a photograph of myself with him -- I'd wanted one for years and never had the opportunity.
when he gestured me to come close, for the photo, I still was a few feet away from him. wary, like a suspicious cat, sniffing for any sign of aggression or imminent attack. I was STILL nervous about getting another whack from Kaleshwara -- some unexpected humiliation in front of everyone. I was like a cat who's touched a hot stove -- I didn't want to get my paws anywhere NEAR another stove, hot or not.
Kaleshwara totally knew this, of course. he grinned at me, pulled me close to him, and, just like a mother cat does to a kitten, nudged my head with his head, kinda bumped it, as if to say, "hey, silly, it's okay. I love you, kid, no matter what!"
& then, the flash of the camera.
& this photograph, the sweetest birthday present I've ever had.
sweeter still because it followed a few dark nights of the soul.
even sweeter still because it contains the peace and love of the sunrise after the stormy night is over, and the promise of a real birth in this world.