Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Why vegetarian?

Dear Friends,
   Someone at the Christmas party asked me why I don't eat animals. Perhaps I can start with the most basic principal. This world is created by a Power beyond comprehension. It is the Creator of manifestation and therefore, manifestation itself. It is infinite. It has no limits. It is the Power we worship. Since it is infinite, God is the human, the air, the grass, and the turkey all at once. Therefore, I will try my best to treat my Creator with utmost love and respect. Christ is another name for this Infinite Presence.
    Turkeys, like humans, very much want to live. They run away when I try to kill them just like humans do. They have babies just like humans. They take care of their babies just like humans. They talk to each other just like humans. They are an embodiment of this Infinite Presence. So naturally, my heart reaches out to the turkey. Feels compassion for the turkey whose half-eaten corpse lies on the table on the day of the celebration of Christ.
    Imagine if I had to go out and kill the turkey myself so I can enjoy eating it. It would be very hard for me to kill a turkey. I see the bird alive before my very eyes. It would scream and gobble in terror as I cut its throat! It is an aspect of my own Beloved.
    Imagine if I took care of a pet turkey since he was born, and I named him Angel. Now if my pet turkey was killed by someone for their Christmas dinner, I would be deeply sad. I took care of Angel like my own son, and now he is gone.
    On the other hand, the fruits from a tree are ready to be picked. They are bowing down to earth for the nourishment of other beings on this earth. It is difficult to avoid killing life, but I can try my best according to my body's capacity. It took about 2 years of adapting to the vegetarian lifestyle before my body could accept it. And it helped me to expand my love for the Divine Presence.
    I pray for the poor turkey who is sacrificed for human hunger. May we see the Divine Presence in our lovely turkeys and give them all the support we can.

With Love,

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Lotus Flower

Dear Friends,
    When I arrived in Orlando, Rafael presented me with a painting of a lotus flower. He said that he was inspired to paint it when he found out that I was coming to do satsangs at his home. The painting was a gift to Swami Purna - an offering from the depths of his heart. To Rafael, Swami Purna was coming to bless his home. "Let me clean up my home for my Beloved," he said. And Rafael was delighted to clean his home.
    You see, when Rafael showed me his painting, tears welled in my eyes. There is no greater gift than devotion to the Lord. "It was easy to paint," said Rafael. "I just thought of Swamiji and the painting came." He hung this painting above the picture of Swamiji in the satsang room.
    I am happy to sit under this painting and hold gatherings here. The pink lotus flower is a representation of the human heart open to divine love. When the heart is saturated by this love, the world becomes an ocean of nectar. As a lotus flower, we cannot be stained by the muddy waters around us. We remain untouched, beautiful, open to the shining sun of Grace.

A lotus takes birth
'Midst clay and stagnant ponds
Standing clear and sound
Of clinging mud and water
Sunwards bound
Awaiting its time...
Preparing the ground...
It opens at dawn,
Brilliance abound,
Flowering of purity
Eternal sound
Manifestation of truth
Of being, newly found.

by Svami Purna


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Passion for God

Dear Friends,
    We held satsang at the home of Nicolas, Reny, Michel and Rafael. Michel and Rafael spent a couple days setting up a very beautiful room. Building a stage. Decorating with plants and candles. Michel created a bookstore. Nicolas arranged lighting. Rafael painted a large lotus flower overhanging the stage. The room turned out to be be quite stunning...all centered around a picture of Svami Purna, the One we honor.
    After satsang, I contemplated the nature of my expression. It is centered on one principal: the passion for God. Do I want God more than everything else? Look at all the possible distractions in this world. I want approval, I want tasty foods, I want security. The desires are endless. Who created all of this? How do I bring the attention so completely on the Creator that I am consumed in this obsession. I eat God, I breathe God, I dream about God, I see God, I speak about God. It pains me deeply to think about anything else even for one second. I cannot live without Thy presence, Oh Lord. Perhaps this unquenchable desire will inspire people to jump into the fire too. My “house” is burning down in this fire. Once this fire catches, it is so hot that nothing survives. Come with me and jump into the fire. Let us burn together. 
    Oh Lord, lead us from untruth to truth, from darkness to light, from death to immortality. Let us sing songs to Thee through eternity. Thou hast given everything to us. Thou art life itself. May we give it back to Thee. It has always been Thine.

With love,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My prayer

Dear Friends,
    At a recent satsang in Miami, someone asked if I would come down from Orlando to hold satsang on her birthday on December 31st. This request struck the core of my heart. Someone wants to dedicate her birthday to God? Inwardly, I was collapsing. You want to do this on your birthday? Not many people spend a birthday honoring Him. And surely no one ever requested something so beautiful in such a direct way. "Yes, I would be honored to hold satsang with you on your birthday." Remembering....He gives birth to us, He breathes us, He speaks us, He gives us the feeling of love. I am quite overwhelmed by this request. Tears fill my eyes. How can I forget Him who has given everything? I will do anything for You.
    I realize there is a prayer that must be expressed.
To my dearest Beloved,
    There are some of my friends that desperately want to return to You. The wish is so strong that sometimes they are crying day and night for You. And their longing is becoming stronger day by day. Please hear the cry of my friends. Their hearts cannot live without You. Oh, Lord, You are the Soul of the Universe. You are beyond my mind's understanding. Your ways are mysterious. I am amazed by your Power. Your Light is so bright, I cannot face it directly. Although I cannot face You directly, I beg you to bring these friends to Your make their surrender complete. How may I assist You in making this wish come true? Please show me the way.

with love,

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Honoring others

Dear Friends,
    I was invited to hold a private satsang in honor of Kip, Karen's brother, who had just passed away at a relatively young age. I said "yes." But my stomach was in butterflies. I've never held the space for such an occasion. And I had never met Kip.
    MaFer and I arrived at the event in a feeling of unknown. My mind could not grip onto any words or ideas. Surprisingly open to whatever was to unfold. We sat down and contemplated on the nature of death. What happens to us when the body passes away? Well, the real question begs to ask: "Am I this body that lives and dies in such a brief period of time?" The body and mind are thoughts. Sensations arising in mind. They rise and fall. None of the thoughts last. They are constantly changing. If all the thoughts of body, mind and senses constantly change every moment, how can I truly be a changing thought? I watch the changes. I am not the changes themselves because they pass away. So what watches the impermanence of mind and body? When this revelation comes, the immortal Self shines through like millions of stars. I am the Cosmos, the infinite presence that contains all the passing thoughts of this universe. Shed this costume of a temporary human mind and embrace the Truth. You were never born, You can never die, and You are timeless.
    The passing of Kip's body brought people together to look beyond themselves. To something greater than a mortal body. He brought us together to realize how wonderful it is to pray for others. To honor those who have passed on, to send them light and love. To remember how precious each person really is. To recognize the Divine spark in our fellow beings on this Earth. To help others realize this Divine spark. To let go of my own desires and serve a greater Power.  Oh Lord, you are embodied in all of creation. Let me worship you in your awe-inspiring glory for all of eternity. Let me serve You with every particle of my being. Verily, this mind, body, and soul has always been Yours.

With love,

Beyond form

Dear Friends,
    Recently I was invited to a yantra meditation with Victoria. She paints beautiful pictures of yantras - brilliant, swirling colors coming to a single point in the center called the bindu. Yantra is a doorway into the formless essence. It cannot be understood because it is beyond conception of the mind. That is why its meaning cannot be explained adequately. It is an ancient symbol in Vedic tradition that provides a powerful focal point for meditation. And these yantras contain the blessing of Swami Purna. This means that Victoria must go through sometimes difficult purification in order for the yantra to come through. Surrendering her life and ego to the will of the Holy Spirit. It can hurt physically, mentally, emotionally...but after going through the fire, she comes out as pure gold.
    According to Victoria, she had had a clear vision before I had confirmed my attendance that I would be the only one to attend out of the many people she had invited. It was true. We focused on the Agni Yantra - a red, orange, yellow, and white whirling flow of paint marked with a tiny bindu in the middle. The Yantra of Fire. That power which is present throughout the universe in physical form or potential. Oh, God of Fire, we bow to Thee - the One who digests food, keeps our bodies warm, lights up the stars, and gives light to the Cosmos. The One who purifies old emotional patterns that are no longer needed. The spiritual fire that burns illusion and ignorance and allows us to see beyond the world of Maya. Victoria gently guided the meditation, suggesting that we let go of any ideas of yantra. I was pulled into the center of the yantra and felt the energy of fire from heart to crown chakra. Thoughts came up and burned in the energy. Mind focused more deeply until it began to meditate by itself. Closing my eyes, I could still see the shape of the yantra in opposite colors of green and blue and black. That was kind of neat.

    Yantra is a profound way to connect to Grace. So simple, so elegant, so cleansing. Yantra calls me to   my home beyond form. Letting go, allowing It to be revealed which has always been.

With love,

(for more information on these beautiful yantras, please send me an e-mail)

Monday, December 3, 2012

I have only One Heart

Dear Friends,
    In one spiritual gathering at Forrest Yoga studio, Maria's two children attended. My expression naturally adopted a child-like quality. Vocabulary simplified, sentences shortened. An innocence came through that I was quite moved by. It felt like being a child - genuine, uninhibited, real, true, simple love, so excited to participate and sing my heart out. I am a child of God. I am resting in His arms. More and more now, I let Him hold me and take care of me. He is my mother, my father, my friend, my relative, my everything to me. I feel safe here. I can let go.
    In another gathering, Barbie gave me flowers. How thoughtful! I can't remember ever getting flowers before. So we did a flower meditation. Imagine your heart is a flower. As the sun floats above the horizon, the first rays enter your flower, and it blooms most beautifully. Give this flower to someone you love very much and thank this person for being in your life. Now imagine that the flower multiplies into billions of flowers that rain all over the world. Covering streets, homes, oceans...people are running through the streets, frolicking in the flowers. There is such joy in this world just because of your one heart. I have only One Heart...
    The next evening, returning to Cindy's complex in her Subaru after a beautiful yantra meditation, I drove to the gate and Lewis, the guard, greeted me from his station. "I really like this little car," he said and then began to enthusiastically describe all his reasons why. "What kind of car do you have?" I asked. "These two legs," he said. Then Lewis proceeded to tell me that he had had a divorce and had lost everything including his home and car. "My children don't even call me Dad anymore. They call me Lewis." Then I drove on to Cindy's place and went inside to get those flowers. I walked back to the station and waited about 10 minutes for an opportune moment when the cars stopped coming. Then I strode up to the little building and looked inside. "Lewis, I have something for you. These are to keep you company tonight." Lewis took the flowers and shook my hand gratefully. "I could take them home," he said. And then he thought a moment. "Well, I can keep them here for everyone to enjoy." And he showed me a large water bottle. "This is good," he said excitedly. "Do you think they'll be okay with tap water." I nodded my head. "Yes, I think so, Lewis. Have a good night." He shook my hand again and I walked back to Cindy's home, smiling.
   I have only One Heart. And I give it to You.

With love,