Friday, May 17, 2013

Celebrating the launching of SororiTree.org, a new organization for supporting teen girls in becoming strong and beautiful women...


Real Love

(published in the June-July 2013 edition of Sibyl Magazine)

"Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes.
Because for those who love with heart and soul,
there is no such thing as separation."
— Rumi

by Lilamayi

Love is the bridge that connects us to our true nature. Is this a scientifically proven fact? No. But those who have known true love know that the truth of who they are is beyond time and space. They know that the essence of who they are is that love. This is why love is the essence of life and art. But this is also why love can bring up so much fear.

A few years ago I saw the Broadway musical, Wicked, and something happened toward the end of the story that struck a deep chord in my soul. The main character, Elphaba, is in love with the young revolutionary student, Fiyero. When he is about to be killed by the police, Elphaba casts a protective spell on Fiyero that turns him into a scarecrow. They happily run off, in love, the lady and the scarecrow. This struck a chord in me because I realized that this was true love that went beyond the form of the beloved. One of my dearest teachers, the mother of Ananda Ashram, once told me that, as humans, we are at first attracted to the form, but when we find true love, it is a connection that is beyond form. It brings us deep joy  and inner strength because, in that experience of love, we know who we are. True love is a bridge to our true self. When we know that we are love, we know that love is real and that love permeates all things. The true love becomes a bridge to absolute love that extends to all of  creation. We become wise then because we see the unifying essence of the universe and are then able to understand the nature of fear.

Fear is what happens when love comes to shine light on something we are afraid to reveal. Maybe its shame about something we believe is unforgiveable, or a fear that we are unworthy of real love. It may be a fear that real love doesn’t stand a chance in the world of power struggles and competition and manipulation. Or a fear that all we have worked to gain might be ruined in the moment that someone pulls back the curtain to reveal nothing but a fake and powerless “Wizard of Oz” from Omaha, Nebraska.

Sometimes love drops in on us unexpectedly and we are immersed in its grace. Sometimes our river seems to run dry and we might question its very existence and turn instead to quick fix desires that leave us empty. What do we do then? That is when faith and practice come in. What people and activities bring us back to love? What can we do to remember who we are?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Flirting with the Birds and the Bees

(to be published in April-May 2013 edition of Sibyl magazine)

by Lilamayi

At the beginning of the year I fled the big city of Los Angeles and headed for the redwood mountains of Santa Cruz. I find myself still somewhere in the middle, halfway up the coast, house sitting for my mother... in a garden full of flowers and birds, surrounded by oak trees. It has been a strange kind of limbo between my past and my future... letting go of the addictive hyper-stimulation of city life. Like John Lennon’s song... “no longer riding on the merry go round, I just had to let it go.”

Being here in the quiet of nature has been teaching me about the nature of listening. Most people think that listening is about listening to someone’s words while they are speaking to us. That is the polite thing to do and helps us feel like we’re relating with others. But real listening is not a one way process. It is not as if there is a message outside of us that gets dropped into a mailbox through our ears, and we simply read the data. Real listening involves noticing how we feel when we receive information from the world outside. Everything that comes in has a frequency, which may or may not correspond to the words in the message. When we are rushing around trying to make ends meet, we rarely stop to notice how those frequencies harmonize or dis-harmonize with our own. 

We each have our own radio station that we tune into, which is how we receive the essence of who we are and transmit that to the world we live in. Are we spending our lives denying that source, instead turning to television and Facebook and social acquaintances in order to establish a way to respond to the world?

So what does flirting have to do with listening? Because I like to take things that seem serene and potentially “serious” and give them a twist. Life is more fun like that. And because flirting often has a negative connotation that alludes to seduction or manipulation with a sexual aim. That’s one side of the coin. What about natural, soulful flirtation that just happens when two creatures find harmony with each other? I believe that flowers flirt with bees and that the most artful baker flirts with his bread, and that’s why it’s so good. 

Flirting for manipulative purposes gets us something we momentarily desire by faking who we are. It doesn’t honor the truth of the other. If we learn to listen to the world around us, flirting becomes a harmony that surges from the depth of our soul, in full respect and response to what truly inspires us.

Yes, we can learn something from the birds and the bees.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Reclaiming Our Sexual Innocence

(published in the Feb-March 2013 issue of Sibyl magazine)

by Lilamayi

The symbolic story of Adam and Eve covering their sexual anatomy with fig leaves has much deeper meaning than people believe. It is the symbol of the origin of shame. Shame is hidden under many guises and the more shame we have the more we project shame onto our world. Understanding our mistaken beliefs about the nature of sexuality can help us to understand our mistaken belief that claiming our power and wholeness is something to be feared.

In the history of western civilization, sex has largely been defined by religious doctrine, and no real value was given to the sexual act other than as a means for procreation. Anything else was considered sinful even to think upon. Islam had similar views.

In the history of India and other places in the eastern world there existed a very different teaching. Most people still followed religious doctrines which judged and regulated sexual practices; but, whereas in the West, sex was viewed as a physical act, Eastern philosophies held the understanding that sexuality was an energetic phenomenon that did not originate from the human body. Everything in nature has a masculine and feminine expression. We see that very clearly in all living things. Even rocks, landscapes, clouds, and movements carry these basic energy polarities. The Hindu story of creation is that out of the One Consciousness, named Shiva, there came the Creative Life Force of Shakti, the feminine. So Shiva is the Consciousness of God, and Shakti is the Creative Life Force of God. These are the origins of the feminine and masculine polarities. Everything is created from these two forces and their interaction with each other.

So how do we reclaim our innocence? The mystic path is about finding our way back to the Source of our creation. It is about living with the understanding that in each molecule and in each breath there is a Creative Life Force receiving and dancing her Conscious One. Can we harmonize our sexuality, our polar life forces, with the Wholeness of all that is? This is the innocence of children. They are powerful sexual beings whose life force is not yet polarized in a particular area of their body. As children of earth we are here to learn how to take on multiple perspectives so that we can learn the virtues of cooperation, tolerance, empathy, and unconditional love. If we can take this learning and bring ourselves back to the free and whole world of the child, then we can reclaim our innocence. Perversion and shame no longer exist in an entity which is in harmony with the song of the universe. We are guided by what truly feels right and beautiful and in harmony with all.