6 January, Madikeri, Karnataka
Happy New Year Jim and Giulia.
I write this after a time of silence and seclusion in Coorg. It is indescribable what it was like, but surely silence has a way of bringing one into harmony inside and out. Rumi said: Last night I begged the Wise One to tell me the secret of the Universe. Very gently he whispered, “Be quiet, the secret cannot be spoken, it is wrapped in silence.” And so, it is. Below is a random insight, for what it’s worth:
Perhaps it is just me, but it feels that at present our humanity is very confused, anxious, angry, and divided. There’s a lot of judgement and anger thrown around. World feels like it’s changing at warp speed, to something we don’t yet know. We may be living through what feels like a transition state, or an end of a cycle. Ten years ago, my Heart Sutra teacher used to say, there is a lot of energy building up in the system and big changes might be upon us. Looking back, I must say, she was extremely sensitive and very attuned to the energies. Everyone has now experienced the first round of change…
During this time, many people are looking for a stable ground to stand on. Many are fearful, agitated, and depressed, because it feels like there is nothing firm or trustworthy to hold onto. Values that previous generations aligned to, appear to be eviscerated, and maybe there’s nothing to orient to. Meanwhile, technology is drowning and manipulating all of us in a deluge of crap. But the news is not all doom. The good news is that there is a stable ground within each of us that we can connect with, trust, and use it to heal ourselves, enter a new relationship with each other and with the planet Earth. It is a moment-to-moment choice that requires courage, mindfulness, honesty, and yes, sacrifice. Here’s is what has evolved for me over time to be grounded in these times, not by following a recipe but due to sheer grace:
- When I was clever, I wanted to change the world. Now I am wise, so I am changing myself: I strictly limited my screen time, checking-in only at set times during the day and installed a leech-blocker like app/plugin to block the mid-afternoon cravings. I take a few days off every week from google and instead learn from nature. Stopped watching the “news” and posting my life on the internet. Those who really care about me, already know. I only use the digital tools for business or formal contacts. Instead of increasing the number of connections, striving to increase the depth and closeness with each. Instead of writing a few words and emojis on texts, writing letters (remember those?), sending cards (and those?), just calling, or visiting them. Asking and sharing how we feel and sharing the gift of time and full attention with each other.
- If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished? Over the last decade, I’ve slowed down to look inside first. Shifting more and more from thinking to feeling, sensing, and being truthful about how I’m feeling moment to moment, without trying to change it. When something or someone irritates me, I first look to see what they are reflecting about me that I have not yet come to terms within myself. The world is a mirror, and truth sometimes hurts, but it is a good thing for the system because it removes internal divisions and frees up energy trapped in the conflict.
- Love hold us upside down and shakes all the nonsense out: Meditation can become a refuge, spirituality just a way to hide from life, and there are too many techniques and sound bites that every guru is pushing at you. Instead, my inquiries have been: How would I express the peace or unity from my meditation in this chaotic world? What is the highest possibility that my spirit is calling forth in my life? What emotion or feeling is my (re)action being driven out of? If it is incoherence, I am just feeding more of it to the collective nervous system that’s already overloaded. Instead, before acting, I take a step back to connect with my own heart to feel compassion, harmony, forgiveness, appreciation, love, understanding, or kindness. I realized that underneath every emotion (even rage and fear) is love for something and I try to return it with love.
- Wisdom says we’re not worthy; love says we are. My life flows between the two opposites: I’m planning like I’ll live to be 100 but acting like there’s no guarantee for tomorrow. Starting each day with gratitude for the gift of life, fully living each moment of each day with work, service for someone else, silence, self-study, good food, and restful sleep; ending each day with appreciation for everything that happened. Having been through many hurricanes and cyclones and seeing the trees that survive are the trees that bend to the natural forces. Practicing flexibility with whatever life throws at me, as another opportunity to enjoy life’s flow even more.
- Be empty of worrying. Think of who created thought: My ego-mind is a prolific web developer, and, on some days, it spins quite a lot. It creates webs all day to trap the awareness and energize itself. Whenever I become aware, it is easy to remember that everything that appears in my consciousness is not the Truth, it’s just an illusion. Relaxing and letting go of the highly charged and personal relationship I used to have with all the mental stuff is amazingly rejuvenating. Having given up the addiction to manage my internal state to feel good all the time, I let things rise, notice them, question them, and let them fall away- eventually everything falls away, except the Truth. So, even though everything arises from the Truth, it is not the Truth, and in knowing that, staying grounded in the Truth itself is simple. And, in silence, we are the wrapper hiding the Secret that Rumi spoke of.
Thank you for the gift of your time and attention to read and reflect. Together, let’s take a quiet moment in the heart to set an intention, for this time ahead to be a playful, unfolding simplicity, filled with harmony for all of us. May we be safe, may we be healthy, may we be happy and may we live with ease and have enough food and water to nourish ourselves.
Much Love, Dinesh
Friend, our closeness is this: anywhere you put your foot, feel me in the firmness under you.
- All quotes by Rumi