30 October 2007

Remembering

Sri Chinmoy wrote a song in 1974 for his students to sing only after he had left the earth:

When I am gone away,
Remember me, O children sweet,

No, not because I failed,
No, not because I cried,
No, not because I tried,

No, not because I saw my Lord in you,
No, not because I served my Lord in you,
No, not because I fulfilled my Lord in you,

No, not because I was your Pilot true,
No, not because I was your ‘Infinite’ blue,

O but because my life was all gratitude, gratitude, gratitude
To you, to you, my children sweet, to you.

*

Once, I stood before Guru like a black thunder cloud. (In the emotional sense, dear reader.) This may have been invisible to anyone with their eyes open but with My Master’s inner sight it would have been painfully obvious. He just started singing over and over a simple song, “My own gratitude heart is all that matters.” It took me a moment to realise that this was his response to me. I don’t recall any immediate miraculous change in my consciousness as a result, but the seeds of my future were sown.

It really is not so easy to be grateful when good things happen or we are feeling happy. We are too busy just being happy or swimming in bliss. Will God complain? Of course not! He just wants us to be happy. He knows the way for us to be happy and we are either crying or really dying to learn it.

On the other hand, when the worst possible things happen, maybe we will be too busy blaming ourselves or God to even think of being grateful. Perhaps we will just be drowning in the ocean of suffering. It seems like a paradox to remember to be grateful for such circumstances, but it will affect a change in us if we can be sincerely grateful. We can then recognise that we do have the opportunity to grow into God’s will. Gratitude is a powerful means of transforming ignorance. A change in perspective is the start to changing ourself.

Once during a meditation, I found this poem inside –

If posion is my due,
Then I will drink
From the cup of death.

It felt like the spirit of Shiva had entered me. He swallowed just the poison from the ocean of the world and all it did was turn his throat blue.

I remember someone saying to me once, “I don’t really like you. I’ve just been pretending to for three years.” I know it was not his angel-heart talking, but I know he was being honest, even sincere by telling me this. With a gratitude smile, it is still hard to believe how sweet these words tasted as I swallowed them.

Gratitude does transform poison to nectar.

Gratitude is the pure breath of heaven that can transmute ignorance.

Even when we are feeling happy, it is not because we are perfect, but because we are approaching perfection in a tangible way. Therefore, if we can remember to be grateful for these particular experiences, gratitude will pave the way for us to become more perfect, which will make us happier. This is God’s will for us.

Everything takes time.

You can listen to Sri Chinmoy singing "Gratitude" at Sri Chinmoy Radio. (Thanks to Shane Magee for providing out the link.)

*

Happy Birthday to me, today I am thirty three. It will be a big day. I am having lunch with 13 people and dinner with 10. My loving parents also sent me so much chocolate. I am off for a run before work now to prepare inwardly for these experiences!

29 October 2007

Immutable

What you are
To my soul
Is all.

Nothing has changed.

I walk the stark earth –
The thin cloak of heaven:
It is decorated sparse
With low grass;
Gone all trees, leaves,
Flowers, fruits.

Where is beauty, creation,
Expression?

Within, within, within.

I am the passenger
Of golden light.

Nothing has changed.

What you are
To my soul
Is all.


*

I wrote this the day after Sri Chinmoy passed away. It was the middle of the night here when we heard. I tried to meditate for a while and then went back to sleep. This poem is based on the dream I had, which was more of a vision.

I chose the title from Sri Chinmoy's poem The Absolute.

Guru showed me the nature of the relationship between the inner and the outer world. The earth is a doorway to heaven. The sun in the sky is the light of heaven, shining through the keyhole...

28 October 2007

Sunny Days

I just have time for a brief post as I have hundreds of photos to edit and publish from the Sri Chinmoy Triathlon Festival. This year marked the 25th running of this event. Prachar read us a stirring story about this a few nights ago. I expect it will appear on the Sri Chinmoy Inspiration group soon. And remember:

Beauty and majesty
Are not mere words,
But signposts
On the road to Infinity,
Which is iteslf Eternity.


Sufjan Stevens has written an orchestral suite about - of all things...wait for it - the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. By a quirk of fate or destiny, I travelled this stretch of road with friends just weeks ago. I kind of get it, because this piece of asphalt provides such a majestic view of Manhattan. (PS That's Sufjan on the piano.)



If you like, you can also listen to Sufjan's cover of Bob Dylan's Ring Them Bells. It is from the new Dylan biopic I'm Not There.

Hi ho, it's off to Photoshop I go...

13 October 2007

The Journey Eternal



Sri Chinmoy, Beloved Spiritual Master, my Guru, left the earth on October 11, 2007.

For me, the supreme teaching of his life was:

Ignorance is nothing, God is everything.

On balance, I feel this was a lesson not hard won - it required only that I accept Sri Chinmoy for who he was.

The real challenge that Guru offered me was the same challenge that he himself faced:

Now prove it!

The extraordinary love, compassion, joy and humour that he embraced this challenge with was unstinting. A lifetime of unparalleled opportunity shines before me now, revealed by his example...

Thank you Guru.

08 October 2007

What's cooking?


We don't really make chapati on our kitchen floor; but if you spill oil, the easiest way to clean it up is to throw flour all over it, because then it sweeps right up. Rathin actually makes brilliant curry. If you are asleep and wake up to the smell of his pot's simmering, you will think you are in heaven.

Amalendu, bless him, made a pasta sauce a few weeks ago which far surpassed even his unusual standard. It contained a can of Bi-Lo Sliced Mushrooms in Butter Sauce, Peanut Butter, Tomato Paste, and Sweet and Sour Sauce. Few possess the genius to attempt such a combination of condiments. Fewer still would burn it so gently.

Here is me being humble. The last time I cooked I simply placed 30 potatoes straight in the oven and turned it on. When they are ready, you can put sour cream, butter, cheese, salt, pepper and your favourite sauce right on top. It is a lo-fi production with a hi-fi taste.

Tonight, after work, I went running in the bush for an hour. It was dark, but it was fun. I saw some kangaroos, but they were scared of me. It was tricky on trails that were new, but familiar trails were fine. In fact, running up hill was easier mentally, because I wasn't looking at how steep it was. You only have to think of taking the next step and in fact the next step is actually smaller because the ground has taken half the step for you already. Crazy talk I know, but that was tonight's experience. Sometimes, going up hill, I feel like I am experiencing the very inertia of earth as it reaches for heaven. When I got home, I found some cold potatoes in the oven that we forgot about. They tasted great.

To finish the day, I published a gallery of photographs taken at this year's Sri Chinmoy Googong Challenge. This is one of the adventure races that the Sri Chinmoy Mararthon Team puts on in Canberra. Adventure racing is a growing sport in Australia. The event at Googong Dam involves running, kayaking and mountain biking. It was perfect weather for it yesterday. Jack, who is six, took a photo of me at the start of the race.

06 October 2007

A trip to Adelaide

Recently, I was in Adelaide, taking photos of the Sri Chinmoy 24hr Running Festival.


I also took the chance to visit with my family and meet my brother's daughter and see his new house. It was fun helping my brother shift a tonne of wood. Good healthy work. I thought of Robert Frost and remembered Two Tramps in Mud Time. I have to thank my high school English teacher for that memory.

While in Adelaide, I bought a fair supply of Haigh's, ate a copious quantity of marinated chevre and obtained another suit - the bold blue banker's stripe I have always wanted.

Best of all, I had an awesome run over hill and dale. It was my favourite run of the year. I read in a running magazine that having a perfect run is no accident - it is the result of all the tough runs.



What makes a perfect run for me? It like a lot of nature in the form of abundant hills to run up and down. I am never far from the bush in Canberra; but the thing I noticed about Adelaide is how verdant it is in comparison. Being the start of Spring, every piece of spare ground near Black Hill and the Linear Park was covered in green grass. My run was through those parts. The fact that I was out there for a while and going at a fair speed also helped. I'll have more to say on running in the future.