Thursday, February 08, 2007

Day in a Winter Paradise

Big Bend National Park in Southwest Texas, and its surrounding area is a geological wonderland. With limestone and shale strata about 500 million years old from when the entire region was under a deep ocean basin, mountains formed by 38-40 million year old volcanic activity, and constantly changing wind-sculpted sandstone cliffs - the vast variety of rock and mountain formations exposed from many prehistoric ages provides an endless scope for one’s curiosity. The weather in the region during winter is constantly changing and unpredictable, often providing rich contrasts between sky and earth. As clouds blow across the mountainous expanse, deep hues of blues, purples and lavender-grays play against the reds, pinks and golds of the rock formations and desert landscape. The landscape and weather combine to create ever-changing beauty and wonder that delight the eye and soul, while the quiet solitude of the place provides the perfect environment for meditation. This was our second trip to the area, and it yielded surprises both fascinating and blissful.

We spent five days exploring the region and the park and discovering areas where we felt enveloped by a deep stillness. The weather was in constant play as well, and nature gave us the gift of wondrous experiences, one of which is recounted here.

On the third day of our trip to Big Bend, we drove into the Chisos Mountains, which were formed by volcanic activity several million years ago. The range lay ahead of us amidst cloud coverage after heavy overnight rain. As we approached the park, we could see snow in the distance on the highest peak. The unusual promise of snow in the Texas desert beckoned us as we drove closer and climbed higher. We reached The Basin, an elevated valley in the central part of the Chisos Mountains, and parked our car.
We hiked a short distance up a trail which led up the gentle slopes beneath the white-dusted peak of Casa Grande, a little-known monument to the ages with igneous rock jutting upward from its center like a jagged chimney. We came across a clearing where snow lay atop the soft golden grasses that grew among the prickly-pear cactus, evergreens, and shiny boulders that decorated the mountainside. Thick white clouds covered the sky, but there was no precipitation. The only sound was the whirr of the wind gently swirling through the gaps between the mountains. A feeling of blissful peace came over us as we soaked in the hush of the wilderness. God’s energy was everywhere here, resonating in the rhythm of the wind and vibrating in the tremble of the tiniest leaf. We lingered for a while, playing in the snow before beginning our descent down the mountainside. As we ambled leisurely down the trail, the wind quieted and snow began to fall. The pungent fragrance of mountain juniper permeated the air and filled our noses as the cold soft flakes fell all around us.

Although it was December 29, we felt like it was Christmas in paradise, as if we were in some other world. We stopped several times on the trail to take in the sweetness of the scene, feeling snowflakes tickle our faces and the tops of our heads. We watched in wonder as clouds began to lift away from a rocky mountain peak to the west, revealing a deep azure sky above and around the peak. Surprisingly, as the clouds parted further and the sky brightened, snow began to fall above us in full force. The sun emerged, piercing the dark wall of clouds and spilling its rays on the ground. The sun’s light was everywhere now, yet the snow did not cease. Tiny crystalline flakes gleaming with brilliant white sunlight tumbled out of the sky, surrounding us in a shower of sparkle and light. No man-made creation could ever compare with the beauty of this snowstorm in the sunshine.
Enchanted, we stood still wanting to hold time in abeyance, but the sun-shower lasted only for a few hundred heartbeats and then was gone. We were silent for some time, holding on to the feeling of awe that this fleeting moment of unexpected splendor had evoked. We made our way slowly down the trail, and by the time we reached the base of the mountain, the sun was shining brilliantly and only a few stray white clouds remained in the deep blue sky above. The rest of the clouds had traveled far, sweeping rich colors across the horizon and over the desert landscape below.

Deep in wonder and fulfillment, we left the Chisos Basin and drove back down the winding road that afforded gorgeous views in all directions. We would have ended our day fully satisfied, yet the ornate desert colored in late afternoon light called to us to explore further. We traveled to the eastern part of the park to find out what awaited us there.

Scarcely two hours later, below the mountain range in another part of the park vastly different from where we had been, we walked down a path along sandstone cliffs, under arches of low trees and through a bamboo forest. The afternoon sun had made the air warm and temperate. We reached the trail’s end and soaked our feet in hot springs perfumed with ancient minerals, on the banks of the Rio Grande, under a rose-streaked twilight sky and with Mexico just a stone’s toss away. The lovely warm water carried away whatever trace of cold that remained in us. As we warmed our feet and savored our surroundings, we contemplated the amazing contrast between this place and the winter mountain scene we had experienced only hours before.

We left the park just before dark. As the last light in the sky faded and the stars began to appear, we realized that this was one of the most memorable days in nature we have ever had, tucked away in this remote corner, which is the hidden treasure of Texas known as The Big Bend. We were reminded of the splendor of God’s creation, and how God’s energy permeates every remote corner of it.

--Amy Ahluwalia

Monday, November 20, 2006

Three Hundred Devotions (Lynne Bryer, Cape Town, South Africa)

1. Great Mother, let me not forget where I may quench my thirst. May I not be the one who lies weeping on the desert sands, thinking the cool green oasis ahead is another mirage.

2. The time of awakening has arrived on this earth; a power is moving through the universe, and all are feeling restless and aware, by turns touched by joy and falling easily into despair. Awake, all children of the Mother! The hour has come when you may find the truth, inside yourself.

3. The kingdom every child leaves behind in being born, is a kingdom reached through our own selves, and the process of life is a slow unfolding of knowledge - only to learn how close the door stood all along. There is a shorter path, a gift of grace that all may receive who will.

4. Receive this gift, that you may say with us to the Mother: I have always known You, but I am glad that I have found You.

5. Undoubtedly the Holy Spirit is leading us, Who comforts and nurtures, Who was there at the creation of the world.

6. Brothers and sisters in the world, say with us: I am glad to be a child again.

7. What we have found is like coming home.

8. Now and then we still feel fear. Until we remember who is holding us in Her hands.

9. See our Mother's sweet rosy feet. With them She is kneading humanity into Spirit.

10. In our dreams She visits us and knows each one of us by name, by our light, by the spirit; She looks straight into our souls. O Mother, we are naked in your sight.

11. No one can say, I have not met Mother yet. It is not just that we have bowed before Her in so many lives, but that She has the power to walk into our dreams. And it is She whose hand is holding each of ours. Nevertheless, we are glad that we are living at a time when the Adi Shakti has incarnated, so that we shall set eyes on Her as surely as She has already seen each one of us, Her children. We shall all have the joy of kneeling at Her feet.

12. A rare and precious gift is when mortals recognize an incarnation of the Divine, and are allowed to worship on this earth and taste the bliss only angels knew before.

13. Our desire fills the chrysalis of the world with the nyriad colours of change. The stronger our desire, the swifter the transformation.

14. Mother Earth, protect Yourself against harm. Let the foam of the sea always be white and diamond bright, clean as the dawn of creation.

15. Remember the centuries of calm, the aeons when the birds flew, the beats hunted, the antelope grazed, and all the world was a garden, the wilderness the sole wonder of the world.

16. In the clear morning the sea birds fly unerringly, knowing their goal. So my heart flies to Thee, Mother of my soul.

17. Shri Mother, may our feet ever walk in Your paths, and Your feet ever dwell in our hearts.

18. We know nothing - and it is bliss to know nothing, to surrender to the joy and the certainty. If we surrender, we become one with the flow, channels for Your glory, witnesses who stand above worry and pain.

19. Mother, I am the empty cup into which You pour Your cool, clear love. You have shaped me and You have made me ready.

20. Before realisation, before I heard Your voice, You called me. Through many lives, through all my years, I searched for You. All that was good and beautiful was Your benison, Your bounty, in my life. (benison means blessing)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

No Matter How Hard I Try

No matter how I try
I is not my
My is not I
So don't you dare cry
Just try

Jasmine Weiker
Fuquay Varina, NC

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Find Freedom - a poem by Pavan Keetley, Australia

Find Freedom

Freedom seems a glittering prize
Somewhere far out beyond our eyes
Yet close your eyes within and see
Your Freedom’s there, completely free

True Freedom is an inside job
When there is nothing that can rob
You of the Joy each moment brings
As through your heart your Spirit sings

For Freedom is without that shell
That keeps you in a private hell
Of I and me, and mine and yours
Cut off from Source, from Freedom’s cause

True Freedom is beyond these notions
Beyond torment and emotions
Beyond your concepts and your mind
Yes Freedom's free, and Freedom’s kind

And Freedom has an open heart
She never worries, feels apart
Nor closes off that part in you
Which is Eternal, ever new

In Freedom you’re content to wait
Until that inner voice does state,
Discretion knows the way to go,
And those in Freedom always know

That Freedom has just pure desire
No calls for more, just take us higher
Let go, let Freedom, find Her ways
Let Freedom guide you through your days

Yet Freedom is much more than this
Beyond this world, a state of Bliss
I lift my eyes within to see
That God is looking back at me

Then Freedom is both free and pure
With no attachments to endure
Aversions don’t get in the way
And everything becomes Her Play

Yes Freedom is beyond a doubt,
That state within, that peace without
Without a worry in the World I see,
that God’s in all, and God’s in me

In Freedom then I’m free to live
To love and learn, to pray forgive
To laugh and joy and to delight
To sing and dance, become the Light

Yes Freedom is God realisation
One Self in all - true liberation
Yes Freedom burns Her Light in you
And only Freedom's ever true.

Find Freedom in the quiet hour
Be one with Her, with His great power
Then you’ll be nothing, you’ll be Free
To realise God ~ in Freedom Be.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Devi Mahatmyam - A new translation


Translated from the original Sanskrit
by Sahaja Yoga Perth, Australia

To our Great Mother

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Sense of Humor

A sense of humor

"O would some power the giftie gie us,
To see ourselves as others see us."

These lines come from a poem written, oddly enough, to a louse (flea). Robert Burns, the great Scottish poet, was standing in a church one Sunday morning and a haughty, proud young woman was standing in the row in front of him. He saw a flea crawl up the collar of her coat, something that would have been cause for shame in the society in which they lived, a sign of uncleanness. But the woman still stood there, unaware of how she appeared to others, hence the immortal lines.

Most people find it very difficult to see themselves with any clarity and they readily believe all sorts of things that do not stand up to objective scrutiny.

90% of all humor, is either laughing at the misfortune of others or laughing at oneself. Developing a sense of humor is a great asset, being able to laugh at oneself is helpful in seeing oneself with a objective view.

Check it out, when you lose your sense of humor, I am willing to bet that in that moment, you have lost all sense of proportion and objectivity.

"And wisdom is a butterfly, and not a gloomy bird of prey."
W.B. Yeats

Someone asked, how can I develop a sense of humor? I'd love to know their thoughts on the subject, but at his or her request, for they wrote anonymously, here are some thoughts.

People tend to lose their sense of humor when they are stressed, or when they take themselves or life too seriously. The old saying, "Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone," is true.

Bill Shankly, the legendary manager of Liverpool Football Club, was once asked by a journalist if a forthcoming match was a matter of life and death. He said, "No, it's much more important than that." I once saw graffiti in a a depressing, poor part of Protestant Belfast. It said "No Pope Here". Someone had scrawled underneath, "Lucky old Pope."

But a sense of humor cannot be forced, otherwise to comes across as artificial, 'trying too hard'. It has to be felt from within. It can be macabre, black humor, or completely innocent - the latter being my favorite.

To develop a sense of humor, look around at what you yourself find funny, and try to see evidence of it in your everyday life. I have always found pomposity funny, and one sees it all too often in one's day to day life.

It is said that there are only two certainties in life, one, that you will die, and two, that you will pay taxes.

That being so, and given there is so much misery in the world, most of it created by human beings, why not look for the amusing in life, for it makes it bearable and uplifts others too when you share it.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Your comments are welcome.

Is anyone wondering how to comment on the posts? Some of my friends were. Just click on the comments word under each post..and write what you feel about the post..something to add..correct, maybe you like or dont like it...or maybe you've had a similar experience..
best part of blogging is that it is immediately interactive and on any article, it is just as interesting reading the comments as reading the article itself...

So..feel free to comment. It is a pleasure for the writer posting the article to have that connection with you.