“Your thoughts and your actions are fixed forever in their terms. That is slavery. I, on the other hand, brought you freedom. Freedom is expensive, but the price is not impossible. So, fear your captors, your masters. Don’t waste your time and your power fearing me.”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

I Shakuhachi – September 29, 2010

n

Shakuhachi has recently found its way back into my being – it’s been a while since I’ve made a shakuhachi recording.

This world is not meant for me … still looking for one that is.

click to play shakuhachi recording

dedicated to a stranger walking the earth with my name.

Posted in inside, My Shakuhachi Recordings, Shakuhachi | You are welcome to add your comment

Her Breath My Shoulder

n

I sleep on the left side of the bed and Andreea sleeps on the right. A couple of nights ago I draped my hand over her body and my left shoulder hurt (my left shoulder, in spirit with my left dynamics, has been sensitive lately and requires caring attention). I moved away from her to relieve my shoulder – I felt I was with her for only a few seconds. The following morning I told her about my experience and she said I actually had my arm around her for a long time. Apparently I was not very conscious of time.

Then yesterday night, in the early morning hours, I turned to her again, slid into a spooning position and placed my arm around her and again my shoulder began to ache – but this time I was more conscious. I chose to surrender to the pain, to contain it consciously and peacefully. Very quickly I found myself in tune with her breathing – every breath moving my shoulder gently – a healing movement. It was a moment of perfection – a blissful connection.

Only a few seconds had gone by and I felt an itch in my nose and though I tried to move away I didn’t make it in time. I sneezed violently in her ear,disturbed her sleep, she moved and the moment was gone. Apparently that’s what happens when I am conscious of time 🙂

We should spoon more often.

Posted in Expanding, inside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Myself – August 2010 – Abundance

n

It’s really hard for me to write about August without mentionin September – they are so full of continuing and contradicting movements. But as I make it a point to reflect back  on the previous month, I suppose that the present from which I am reflecting inevitably effects the reflections I see.

The defining event of August was when the balance of our bank account dropped for the first time below 10k NIS (it continued to drop further). That means that we have finances left for less then 2 months at our current minimal rate of spending. It is frightening – and is placing me in the most challenging spiritual practice – I am failing quite a bit – but I am definitely getting better.

There’s a post I’ve been meaning to write for some time titles “Cows don’t have pockets”. During recent months the cows have stopped gracing us with their grazing visits across the valley – everything has dried up. Before that they were there almost every day and I enjoyed watching them. They exist in what looks like a simple ecological cycle which somehow seems to work. They graze on weeds and grasses that have grown naturally from the rain, and as they graze they also fertilize the ground. They have a set path they repeat, they seem to take their time but always arrive on time. They have no “savings”, no “margins”.

After almost 20 years as a self-sustaining adult in which I grew accustomed to creating and having financial reserves – my life is now shifting to be more like the cows. There is a minimal income that keeps our heads above the water – but not much more. Whenever the money seems to be running out, a bit more appears and buys us a little more time. It’s been going on for a long time. But now we are closer then ever to an end. That’s how august began – and then some money began trickling in again – little sums from numerous sources – it was really amusing to watch money appear 🙂

I’ve stopped trying to figure out this money issue. There are some things I know, some things I don’t know but I feel I can get my head around if I apply correct-effort, and something I just don’t get. Money is one of those things I just don’t get (metaphysically and literally). I have a long standing wish to remove the quality of money from my life – I want nothing to do with it. I don’t want to have a wallet, cash money or a credit card – nothing. This wish has started to come true – as August marked a first step in Andreea taking over our finances. She now carries the credit card with her, she is now the one carrying the wallet and she is now the one paying others money. I love it – it’s absolutely wonderful.

Andreea has taken a break from Feminitate – there was pressure building, it was blocking her writing – so we agreed she should embrace a welcome break instead of being in guilty break. Once the space opened she started painting – she created a captivating mandala. She is aligning herself with financial wealth – which makes me happy now that she’s navigating us through this dimension in which I can’t find north.

August was a pleasantly consistent month of Yoga practice. I’ve also been blessed with two new and precious paths of learning. My teacher is now supporting and guiding my Pranayama practice – and I am taking this opportunity to document my personal journey and experience in the hope that it will shed some web-light on the intricate art that Pranayama can be. My teacher has also agreed to teach me Samkhya – Yoga’s sister Indian  system of philosophy. It is a special and rare learning opportunity and setting.

Posted in About, Myself | You are welcome to read 2 comments and to add yours

Deep Beautiful Sadness

n

I wasn’t very social as a kid, I didn’t like to travel with my family or schools, I didn’t go to parties, I wasn’t very happy. I was drastically misinformed and misformed. In my late teens and early twenties my misformation bloomed into a healthy depression. Depression got the world off my shoulders and I found a temporary peace and bliss. It wasn’t a pleasant place, but it was a major improvement on what I had before. The experience of that period of my life is bookmarked in my consciousness – I would sit with headpones on for hours listening to a loop of Sting’s album “The Soul Cages“. There was especially one song “The Wild Wild Sea” which became a meditative experience – I would get lost in it’s opening seconds and feel as if hours had gone by:

To this day listening to the album draws me inwards to a place of special sadness that envelops me in serenity and brings tears to my eyes.

Present day … I live so off the-grid that I didn’t know Sting had recently put out an album and is on tour (I used to be on the cutting edge of all things Sting : ). A few years ago I saw him in a disappointing concert in Israel and his recent years have been very desolate and uninspiring – so I went to check out the news with very low expectations. At first glance I saw a collaboration with a symphony orchestra and thought to myself “not again”. Then I switched to youtube and though the videos are of poor quality – it looks like something good has happened to Sting. Amongst the videos from recent performance I came across “Why Should I Cry For You” from “The Soul Cages” album:

… yes North has been true … and yet … sure enough there it was – that deep beautiful sadness. It was just one song – so I didn’t get to sink too far inside. Instead I had a chance to be with it and ask myself “Why was I sad? Why am I sad?”. I wasn’t sad because of where I was – I was in a comfortable place. I was sad because of the pressures to be somewhere else. I was sad because everyone seemed to be (sympathetically) blind to or denying what my senses told me about the world around me.

That hasn’t changed much. I have since been blessed with the presence of a few rare individual with whom I’ve shared a connection and view, with whom I’ve communicated in peace, with whom I’ve created. I have also been blessed with circumstances that granted me over recent years an opportunity to live in relative peace and isolation. An isolation that protectes me from a ferocious onslought of caring people who would gently but persistently erode my sense of truth.

20 years ago I was sad for myself, sad because the future seemed to hold an inevtiable, painful and purposeless existence. Today, feeling that I’ve been blessed with a rare freedom, I am sad for a world from which I am separated by an invisible wall. A world with which I wanted to share, a world it seems I am leaving behind – a remote world that some small part of me still longs for.

I wonder if this is what Buddhists mean when they dedicate their practices to all the living beings.

Posted in Expanding, inside, Israel, Quality | You are welcome to add your comment

Change in Morning Pranayama Practice – Surrender?

n

A couple of days ago my teacher changed my morning Pranayama from this:

10 – 0 – 15 – 0 Gradually build up Ujjayi breath
10 – 0 – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 10 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 0 – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
6 – 0 – 6 – 0 x6 Ujjayi

To this:

8 – 0 – 16 – 0 Gradually build up Ujjayi breath
8  – 4  – 16 – 4 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
8  – 4  – (8 – 4)2 x12 Anuloma Ujjayi
8  – 0  – 16 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi

My evening practice continues to be:

10 – 0 – 15 – 0 Gradually build up Ujjayi breath
10 – 0 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 20 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 20 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 0 – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
6 – 0 – 6 – 0 x6 Ujjayi

Both practices are built around a 1-2 ratio which demand longer exhales. In both practices I’ve encountered resistance in mind and embrace in body – I thought I didn’t have enough capacity but I did.

Emphasis on the exhale has had an immediate effect on attention. If I am present and stable and attentive to the breath – then I can comfortably contain both practices. But if my attention wavers, a strain develops – the practices place pressue on me from the inside out.

After 2 or 3 practices (of the new morning sequence) I came to wonder about my previous practices (which I had set out for myself). Generally, the stop afer the inhale has a quality of strength and control, while the stop after the exhale has a quality of surrender and assimilation. The direction I chose for myself was to stir up a sense/experience of vitality – placing emphasis on the stop after the inhale. My teacher seems to be redirecting me towards a sense of surrender.

I am in a state of intense transition – an intense transition in which many things seem to be coming to an end and in their place is a large void of unknowns. I am taking my faith to new heights – and I am doing this with an almost complete sense of surrender. I feel I have very little control over what’s to come – and most of me wants to keep it that way. All this is to say that my life off-the-mat is about surrender – and yet my choice of practice was to counter that by trying to conjur up vitality – as if I was going against the grain. The practices my teacher gave me seem to be going in a different direction – embracing the quality of surrender. There is still a challenge – but it is now with the grain – refining my experience of surrender.

Both of the pranayama practices deliver me smoother then before into a meditative state. They demand more attention and lead to a more subtle experience.

Posted in Pranayama, Pranayama Journal, Yoga | You are welcome to read 2 comments and to add yours