An eclectic spiritual & inspirational place to heal, learn, feel & expand. Heart & soul first. Miraculous experiences from India as well as the life & times of a spiritual healer/teacher in the U.S. Miracles, saints, sages, gurus, healing, life & death... and more...!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

another tribute

I'm sorry to write that Kurt Vonnegut, one of my all-time heroes -- especially as a young teenager -- who shaped the values of a generation (starting with the publication of Slaughterhouse Five during the Vietnam War)-- died at 84 years old. and so it goes.

there are many, many, MANY excerpts worth quoting from this man who survived the Allied bombing of Dresden during WWII, battled suicidal depression his entire life, and helped change the face of modern literature by insisting that people be nice to one another, but this one, from "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" is my favorite, today:

"Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies - 'God damn it, you've got to be kind.'"

God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut.
come back soon, the world needs you.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter muffin brigade!

Easter07-everybody WAVE!
Originally uploaded by alxindia.

well, it was a beautiful way to spend Easter Sunday. The Church of Baba's Kitchen was in full force, with groups of us running around downtown Santa Cruz feeding the homeless people on the streets.

"whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for Me." -- Big
Boss #1

there were 12 of us from our satsang & meditation group who showed up
in Santa Cruz this morning -- many with dozens of home-made muffins.
two women made home-made tuna sandwiches, packed in lunch sacks
with a can of soda and some chips. (the Easter bunny didn't forget to
show up, either -- there were festive little candy sacks, as well!)
there were bags of apples -- it was a lot to shlep, at the outset, we
were staggering around the streets, carrying all this stuff......

we went around the downtown Santa Cruz area on foot, combing the
streets and targeting hungry-looking people, and there were plenty of
them. we had 30 meal bags; they were gone by the end of the Pacific
Garden mall. finally we wound up at a park where the homeless
congregate, and gave the rest away.

it's amazing how you learn as you go -- someone had the inspiration
to give out apples, and only the younger generation of homeless
people really wanted them. the older gen has failing teeth -- many
missing or in such disrepair that they can't EAT apples at
all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (good to know for the future....)

after it was all over, and we were completely out of food, a young
woman -- shaky, beautiful, tentative, came over and asked us if we
had anything to eat, she'd missed dinner (at the shelter) and was
starving, as well as diabetic and having sugar problems from lack of

we all pawed around in our bags, looking hopeless, and one guy,
with extreme presence of mind, pulled out a $20 bill and gave it to
her, saying, "well, this is a simple enough problem to fix!" & that
young woman burst -- burst -- into tears and at first was too freaked
out, in a kind of shock, to even accept the money. she did take it
and walked off, weeping and dazed.

it was really moving, esp for people who've never done this kind of
seva before.

Jonathan made a big vat of tapioca pudding (like the sweet milk
pudding Baba is so fond of?) and took it, in advance, to the homeless
shelter. they were so happy -- had put it on the lunch menu for the
people, already, because he'd called to see if they'd accept it. it
was enough, I think, for about 50 people.

the day was glorious -- one of those coastal spring days where the
sun is warm and shining, spring is bursting into bloom wherever you
look, and the breezes are a little cool, just a little sharp.

and the people were SO happy to receive the food. it was so
beautiful. it is really an honor to serve Baba & the other Bosses in
this way.

especially on Jesus' big day.

we're looking into how we can be more regular contributors to the
homeless shelter here: a fine organization that feeds about 200
people a day, twice a day, off the streets and also has multiple
small dwellings (with independent kitchens) that house and feed up to
28 people per building. it's homey, and family-oriented, and a
terribly sweet place staffed mostly by former homeless volunteers.
they work so HARD! cooking and cleaning up, washing all the
industrial dishes and food-prep materials, and sweeping, etc. -- and
they're so incredibly cheerful.

you look in their eyes, and you see people who have been so down in
their lives that they're pretty much beyond fear, judgment, and self-

I really think a great medicine to the unbelievable amounts of
depression, eating disorders and mental anguish that many Americans
suffer today -- esp in the 'upper classes', so-called -- could be
instantly cured by taking a few turns doing this kind of work on a
regular basis.

it is a kind of bliss -- you can see it on the faces and in the
hearts of the volunteers.

(& a whole lot cheaper than anti-anxiety medications, anti-
depressants, illegal drugs, etc.)

anyway, that's our story, we're stickin' to it.

thanks for letting me share it with you, today!

the cross in the park

the cross in the park 07
Originally uploaded by alxindia.
or, happy Easter!

this is the park in Santa Cruz where a lot of homeless people congregate. we went out to feed them there (muffins, meals, apples, etc.) and discovered a Christian group barbequeing for the folks, there, too. not only that, but they'd erected this rather splendid cross.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

masters: how to know if you've got a good one...

Jesus Yogi bigger
Originally uploaded by alxindia.

there's a great Kabir poem about how to tell if you've got a real spiritual master or not, and the criteria involves holding your master off a cliff by the ankle (the master's, that is) upside-down, threatening to drop 'em down to a certain death.

if the master in question just laughs, says Kabir, you've probably got a real one........!

*grinning out loud*

on the serious side, though, this is a question that comes up, a lot, in people's lives, especially spiritual 'seekers' and -- I've noticed -- particularly in California. (after all, California has been the hot center for most of the Indian yogis who've come to America, not to mention Shamanic teachers, Buddhists of all traditions, Sufi mystics, Reiki healers, and the whole gamut of healing and esoteric teachings.)

it's all available here in California; and, increasingly, world-wide. you can try them all on for size, read about each teacher, experience their energy, go to a lecture or satsang, buy the book or the CD or the DVD....

& all of this available spiritual knowledge and energy, in my experience, can cause massive and permanent confusion in the very real hearts of highly sincere people looking for god.

so, how can you tell if you've got a real master?

it's true that there are a lot of healers & teachers of differing layers, levels, and angles of spiritual understanding in the world today. it's a great blessing for the planet, since many people are waking up at various levels.

it's difficult to understand any differences between the teachers, their messages and the reality of their teachings, I think, when there are so many choices in the world, and on the surface they all sound good.

my experience, as a spiritual student since the 1980s, is that there are MANY teachers and there are very few true masters.

even with the masters, there are differing levels of capacity and mastery.

some masters, to paraphrase Orwell, are more equal than others.

there are many enlightened souls running around -- but how far does their enlightenment go?

but here is some criteria that might help grok a real master:

* they can soul travel -- ie, leave their physical body for dead, no heartbeat, breath, etc., for a few hours or up to 3 days -- at will. someone who says "oh, I soul travel and visit other realms" -- if the body isn't dead when they're doing this, it's not the maximum level of enlightenment

* they know what is life and what is death and how to traverse the distance between these states effortlessly. (another way of saying 'soul travel'.)

* they are fully enlightened -- they have seen the Mother Divine IN PERSON and talk with Her daily.

* they are willing to share the totality of their enlightenment -- they can introduce OTHER people to the Mother Divine in person.

* they are willing and able to 'eat' the karma of all their students, both present and distant, on a continual basis. they know how to manage the transformation of this karmic energy, turning high negativity into high positive divine soul energy in each soul. (plus, they have to know how to decharge the residue remaining from those transactions.)

* they are willing to share what they themselves know, about the mechanisms of this creation and how the energy really operates, with their students -- ie, they will actively create other masters.

* they are a master of the Five Elements -- can manipulate, physically, the elements of earth, fire, sky, water and air to demonstrate changing one thing to another, or showing high-level manifestations in order to heal people. through the miracle energies, the saints can really change the world. the love itself, in this era, is not enough.

if these criteria aren't demonstrable -- the person may be a great teacher, even a great saint -- but they're not the top top top level of saint available in the world today.

and if they're not at the top top top top level, ie, a purna avatara, why waste your time?

what I've also learned is that certain levels of siddhi, miracle abilities, don't necessarily equate to an enlightened soul.

being involved with the angels, for example, is beautiful -- they represent a major part of this creation and of creating healing/miracles -- but it's also a level of enlightenment where it's easy for holy people to get stuck. really stuck.

many saints get the angels, start showing miracles and sacred beauty in their lives, and their egoism increases (with or without their notice), "oh, I'm talking to angels, oh, I'm involved with the energy of the angels, oh, I must be so great!" -- and they just spin around there instead of moving forward in their spiritual progress. (ie, there are MANY levels of spiritual development beyond the stage of the angels.)

a real master knows how to give someone the angel communications/experiences AND simultaneously keep the student from getting stuck there as they're moving on to the more ambitious goal of dealing with divine souls (like Jesus, Shirdi Baba, Buddha, etc.) on the way to the Mother Divine.

& that's not so easy. it is a MASSIVE undertaking.

or course, if all else fails -- ie, you have met a master but aren't sure, based on what you've heard or observed, if that person meets these criteria, you can always apply the Kabir test.

(if you dare!!!!!)

remember: if they laugh, you've probably found a real one.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

morning program

here's a lovely morning program -- it's served as the way I experience those first waking moments of consciousness, every morning, for the last several years:

upon realizing that you're awake, start chanting any prayer you really love, asking the divine to use you as its instrument for the day.

the Guru Mantra is the prayer I use in the mornings, reminding myself that I am completely NOT in control of my own day and whatever happens is really in god's hands. the best I can do is surrender to god's will for my day, and be a willing instrument of healing, love, truth, and hard work, no matter what's happening. and to take care of whoever comes in front of me, or whatever situations materialize throughout the day, to the best of my ability.

starting the day off this way, acknowledging the creator/creatrix, and putting myself completely in their hands, makes each day a sacred adventure.

there are literally days when I can recognize, actively, that every person with whom I come into contact is speaking to me as a representative of the divine..... and that every situation that occurs is either a reflection of my own karma, or some divine testing, or both, or some opportunity to wash out whatever illusions (like fear, egoism, jealousy, blaming, anger, etc.) I'm carrying.

then there are those other days, when despite the best intentions in the world, I can't see much beyond my own emotions and ideas about how things are...and it seems that the divine is quite far away, or at least, elusive, on those kinds of days of forgetting.

in a nutshell, there's the human condition. we are divine characters who are so fogged over, at any given time, that we completely abrogate our divine natures and forget what incredible light creatures we are. (and often act like idiots out of that forgetfulness! *grinning* )

for human beings to wake up, acknowledge their soulful connection to god, and set an inner intention to function as a being in the flow of the divine will -- it's a powerful step toward recognizing the inner divine that is always present within us, whether we are consciously aware of this, at any given moment, or not.

one final thought, a joke I've loved for years and STILL laugh at:

Do you know how to make god laugh?

Tell him/her your plans for the day!!!!!!!