Tag Archives: meditation

Clarity About the ACA

Standard

It’s Christmas day.

I am deflated.

Today was the day that I learned that under the Affordable Care Act I will have (somewhere abouts) a $6,000 deductible.

That’s what I make a year!

That’s it. I am losing the health plan I have now, a plan I like that comes through Alachua County, and am being forced under penalty of law to take on an inferior plan, one that not only does not help me in the slightest, it is in fact devastating to me. I literally do not know how I am going to navigate my complicated health life with the ACA. I was doing fine without it through Choices health care with the county. As far as I’m concerned Obama has been of NO value. He came in, sold us on hope and change and delivered nothing, including the ACA, which does NOTHING to ease the pain of poor people. Blame Rick Scott all you want, Obama was the one that backed down and pulled the public option–and I’m tired of hearing people make excuses for this drone bombardier, Republican in Democrat drag, and conman. In answer to Palin’s question that went something like: how’s that hopie changie thing working for you? Well, Sarah, we’ll tell you as soon as we see some. And NO, the Republicans are not entirely to blame, Obama has been a coward and a follower during a time when we needed a leader and a man of conviction.

I became overwhelmed as I realized the implications of this devastating news regarding the ACA, and had to excuse myself from Christmas to come home. This is one of the most important issues in my life at the moment. I had so naively thought that this change over to the ACA was going to improve my life. Learning that it was going to make my life worse… pitched me into an inner spiral I couldn’t control.

I didn’t know what to do, so I chose to try and do the impossible and meditate.

I lit incense, bowed before Ganesh, not knowing what I was wanting, looking for, needing, let alone what I was asking for. This is how I meditate. I can’t seem to find that silent inner place yet (I have a powerful ego, or perhaps it’s partly because I am afraid of that place), so I meditate in a different way; to still the chaos to a single clarity. I meditate to find my way through the chaos. At moments like this my heart and head are full of conflicts, imaginings, dread, confusion, anger, helplessness, fears, fears, and more fears, I meditate, focusing my eyes directly on Ganesha’s face while I stare through the clamor upsetting my every breath and hair. I focus my mind on the “nothing” in the middle of the chaos. Sometimes, Gods willing, I find clarity there. I find there the only thing I need to know, the only thing that will allow me to rise up and stop the anxiety and depression.

Tonight there was not one thing, there were two.

The first clean and simple spot of clarity was that time and again I am thrown to my own wolves over these sorts of things… dispirited and overwhelmed by them, but there is a way out without having to kick back and fight the biting and snarling wolves. The way out is that single truth, that pinpoint of clarity offered through my meditations on Ganesh. Tonight the first note of clarity was: this is nothing you haven’t survived before, this is just more of the same… I will keep going just as I always have and always will. Believe it or not, this was a profound comfort, it allowed me to shrug it off. This is just one more bullshit thing in the shit-storm of life. Learning to weather these things better, with the confidence that things were never any different before the latest crisis, that somehow made it not only bearable, but hardly out of the ordinary. The ACA has in fact done nothing more or less than deliver me to exactly the same place I was in before it came along. No hope and no change, but I’ve survived this long, so what’s the difference?

The second pinpoint of clarity that came to me through Ganesh was to love everyone else who is experiencing this same distress.

If you are truly being devastated in your poverty by this Affordable Care Act mess (and I have NO interest in arguing over who made the mess)… I love you.

If you are different, have different needs, if this ACA mess makes your challenging life more challenging… I love you.

If you are fed up, exhausted and think you can’t fight one more battle… I love you.

If you become overwhelmed and can’t find your footing… I love you.

If you just can’t bear one more disappointment or complication… I love you.

Now, the hard part, and perhaps with many years of bowing before Ganesh I can learn to do it. Perhaps I can learn to love Obama, the Tea Partiers, the Republicans, the Democrats, Bush, Reagan, the insurance company executives, big bank executives, hospital executives, Ricks Scott… the whole lot of them, if I can learn to love them, then I will truly know God, and know myself.

Peace

(p.s. What I am hoping is that what I have learned about the ACA is not going to pan out to be true, in which case this blog was a release of emotion, and a good lesson all the same, however, my source for this was very well researched and reliable.)

I Pictured

Standard

Om-symbol-purple

I Pictured (By Barefoot Justine)

Today while meditating,
I pictured my mother,
disapproving, worried and bothered,
At my many undoings.

Today while meditating,
I pictured myself,
disapproving, worried and bothered,
At my undoings.

Today, while meditating,
I pictured black bile,
A stream of it tar and oil,
So many years polluting.

Today while meditating,
I pictured black bile,
A stream of it tar and oil,
Decades streaming.

Today while meditating,
I pictured black bile,
Rolling towards Shiva’s feet,
Decades Streaming.

Today while meditating,
I pictured clear water,
Flowing from the black bile,
Purified by Lord Shiva.

Today while meditating,
I pictured my mother a child,
The poor thing, so sad,
And I love her more.

Today while meditating,
I let go,
Attached no more,
I can love us both more freely.

(I just wrote this in one dash, no revisions or anything, will tweak it later, Justine)
Om-symbol-purple

As Is Clarity, Timing Is Divine

Standard

1338389798-lord-shiva-wallpaper4Though I was living in Ocala at the time, I had one of the most profound experiences of my life. Of course, one might argue that there is nothing divine about Ocala, but I was not in Ocala when this happened. I was at a small Temple in a small town outside of Ocala. There was this unpretentious family-run Temple way out there, way out there, but it was beautiful, and the Murti were lovely and adored. Though I think I was found to be an amusing curiosity, the Indian women took me in and accepted me into their circle. I have found Hindu’s, particularly the women, to be quite warm and open. And I will tell you with no hesitation that the homemade Indian food cooked at this Temple was easily the best Indian food I have ever eaten.

I do not remember the particulars of the event, but they were having a series of ceremonies and celebrations in devotion to Lord Shiva. A year or so before it was Lord Shiva who had called me, quite unexpectedly, into my spiritual life, so I was eager to attend. In nothing more or less than classic Indian fashion, we were all seated tight to one another on the floor without so much as a footstep between us to spare. This night the Temple was full of devotees who were not terribly devoted… lots and lots of special occasion devotees. As is almost always the case, I was the only white girl in attendance.

The Pundit entered to no shortage of fanfare, and he spoke passionately about Lord Shiva and told lengthy stories about him. Keep in mind that a day or so earlier I had come in and volunteered to help set up for this event, and I will say that I worked as hard or harder than anyone. beautiful as it was, I felt uncomfortable, cramped, the atmosphere was stuffy and heavy, so about all I had on my mind was leaving. To make matters worse the room was filled with Indians who evidently had little respect or involvement in their beautiful religion. Though a few actually did so, it seemed that at any moment everyone in the room was a hair’s breadth away from slipping their cellphones out of their pockets. Some, of course, were inspired and involved, but many, it seemed, were missing an “important” football game for this. A religious experience was the last thing on my mind. In fact as I looked about the crowd I began to worry that they may run out of the fabulous food and it may be wise for me to make my way towards the back so I could get in line early.

The Pundit played a powerful version of one of the most significant chants in the tradition, “Om Namah Shivaya.” I closed my eyes and chanted along. The Pundit scolded the devotees for being so undevoted and uninspired in their singing, chanting, lives, and in the Temple. I was surprised how strongly he chastised them. But the lacklustre singing went on while the chant played loudly overhead. Eyes closed, I chanted, and soon forgot about the stuffiness, the cellphones, the food, the uninspired devotees.

All at once I had no weight, and felt my consciousness like a feather, a thing separate from my worldly concerns and physical limitations. And then a thing that has never happened to me before, a thing I had no idea of or experience of happened. Tears streamed down my cheeks. What was this?

I could not explain it, had no frame of reference for it, but I had become most unexpectedly ecstatic in my blissful chanting. The Pundit, not at all aware of me, at that very moment… AT THAT VERY MOMENT, said to the devotees, “When a devotee cries tears for Lord Shiva, Shiva is rendered helpless and must come to their aid.”

I needed aid. I needed Lord Shiva, and I had NO idea that crying tears for him had such meaning. The timing was simply profound, as divine as clarity.

And here again is why I am practicing Hindusim… because I am so obviously meant to be doing so. Such timing and ecstatic experiences give me an experience of God that I found so lacking when I was a Christian. I am sorry, but I cannot simply believe in a cold God that demands blind faith. I and others who adore the Hindu ways know that it is better to experience God than to believe in God.

(There is an addendum to this. I have found it very difficult to maintain my spirituality here in Gainesville where there is NO access to a Hindu Temple. Without Temple life I get lazy in my practices, but lately I have been doing a lot of spiritual work to eliminate a painful attachment in my life, and it has been so gratifying and revelatory that not only have I returned to regular worship and meditation, but I am going to start working on a list of attachments. This recent work is what reminded me of this moment in my life.)

The Demon “I Want”

Standard

I’m not so good at meditating, and not so sure I’m all that great as a Western version of a Hindu. See, I have no desire to renounce. No, this is, quite annoyingly, the first time I have ever been comfortable in the Material World, sensually content. I am not ready to let go of my ego.

See, this is why I don’t meditate much and why I wonder about my so-called Hinduism. But tonight I decided to meditate and not try and be good at it. Meditation is not as quiet as it should be for me, my ego chatters away, endlessly wanting things or being frustrated by things I wanted before but didn’t get… which makes me bitter. Want. Want. Want.

As I meditated, with no expectation that I be good at it, I realized that if I could stop wanting things I could be at peace. Now, of course, this concept is no revelation, and is in fact quite tired, right? Sure is, at least as words, but it’s not so tired when the light fills you and you actually get it, when you actually suddenly know and feel what it means. What is trite then become profound in a moment of clarity.

Clarity is divine, I always say. See, that’s what I get out of meditation. I don’t get silence, I get a single truth ringing clear, uncluttered by the noise of my ego, my wants, my Western thinking. Yes, clarity is divine, and THAT seems to be the gift I get from meditation, not silence, but silence around a single truth, as for me, truths are usually lost in a jumble of conflicting thoughts and feelings. Not so when the truth is shown through divine clarity.

I began to think about all the things I want, wanted, and will yet want, and I started to let them go, Poof… piff… like that they evaporated in my consciousness and I was free.

That was when I saw Shiva’s smile.

How I wish I could carry this clarity on to tomorrow…