Tuesday, 31 December 2013


The year is winding down and it’s important to do some stock taking. Payson and I went out to the cliffs yesterday, and because my hip was hurting, we just sat on a corner of the cliffs hidden from the path by bushes, and talked. We talked about the almost over year -- an important aspect of stock taking since it helps us put things in perspective; the important thing here is to see even the so called 'negative' events in a healthy light, which is their true light. We talked about  our hopes for the coming year. After talking about wanting health for Payson and me, and a list of other things I’ve forgotten, almost as an afterthought I said, I would like my spiritual life to deepen. Payson replied: that is our task now.

I have been thinking about that, specially this morning. I woke up rested and happy but when I turned on the computer a prospective renter to Powhatan (falling vacant at the end of Jan) fell through, and my state of mind was so fragile that I perceived it as rejection, and all my other rejections crowded in upon me, making me feel vulnerable and worthless. I knew I had to meditate, and did. So much became clear to me while meditating: there is, ultimately, only one thing to ask the Lord of the Universe for; everything else is perishable.

That one thing is that relaxed, easy state of mind and heart where everything the universe brings – and it’s going to bring a mixed bag, the up down of the stock market, the graph of the beating heart – I can accept with open arms. But perhaps this is not the first thing to ask for. Ask only for the Cosmic Wish Fullfiller. Ask only for Love. This alone is the treasure of all treasures. This brings you to that place where the heart and mind, though frequently disturbed by the winds, return to that place where all is always all right. This then, is what I wish for my dear readers. 

Friday, 27 December 2013


I hadn't sung for over a month; the corner where the synthesizer, my tabla machine and music books are kept was strung with spider webs; ants had gotten into the honey I keep in a jar to moisten and sweeten my throat. I wasn't good enough, never would be, so might as give the whole thing up. Never mind that my broken and rough voice that often sounds like a broken drum had given me years, and years of joy. Twenty years, in fact. How I got started is another long story. Suffice it to say, that a harmonium was given to me miraculously by someone after Donald died, and it is one of things that saved me. I taught myself to find a melody on the keys, I taught myself how to compose music for the lovely, healing, enlightening words from the Sikh holy text, The Granth Sahib; in my stupid arrogance I even sang a bit for tiny audiences. But the more I learn of music the more I know for certain how rudimentary my talent is; how the best musicians spend lifetimes on finding, then perfecting their voice.

But let me get back on track. The mind tends to digress over and over. I stopped singing. I let the thought that 'I was not good enough' destroy something so precious, so heart opening, so capable of changing the colors of my day (the word raga also means color). Stupid as this may sound, this is how stupid we all can be. We can let the brutes of brutal thoughts destroy that which is dearest to us. We don't only let the brutes get it, but we actually, in our ignorance, offer it to them. We say, here chew it to bits. My happiness and joy and peace doesn't matter to me in the least bit!


One of the many things that had (I'm glad it's in the past tense) happened lately is that I went to utube to see if anyone was giving lessons in Indian classical music. Well, I was astounded at how much was out there. I marveled at our world and how, literally, at our fingertips, it is. This is not a metaphor anymore but real, like fingers, those amazing fluttering, flowering things at the end of our arms that have determined who and what humans are and what they are capable of becoming.  There is, in a sense, instant gratification of our desire to know and learn.

I picked a raga -- Bhopali -- by a lovely woman called Aradhana -- and stuck with it for two weeks, imitating her way of singing -- what a lovely, clear and melodious voice! I learned much from imitating her: about learning each note, being on key, and not just voicing the note but loving it, staying with it, embellishing it, making it lyrical.

But there was a downside to this -- because we humans don't know how to define our thoughts, how to put borders around it, so to speak, and let them get out of hand (again that word) in the sense of loosing control over them. Instead of just appreciating the availability of the lesson (and I did appreciate it), I let my thoughts spill into: but I'm not good enough! I will never have a voice like hers! What's the point of singing when my voice is so hopeless!

This loosing control of the mind can become like a whirlpool that can drag you down and drown you. I have no doubt of this because I know people, including myself, who go round and round and endlessly round in it, and people who have perished in it. These are dangerous straits because they can poison your peace, destroy your joy, and snatch away your life from you. And it is all your own doing! it is the blight of allowing our beautiful thoughts to flip to ugly ones.

There is only one solution, really, and many ways to get to it. The goal is to say NO to less than kind thoughts. No, not less than kind, but actually, brutal, vicious, hellish thoughts. And the way to get this goal is, first of all, to become aware of how far out into the stormy sea tide of thoughts has take you, out of the sight of wonderful, grounding, literal, land.

How? Observe yourself. The best way is to learn to meditate. if you don't know how, begin. Who knows there may be meditation teachers on the net. In fact, I'm certain there are and will post some sights after I have researched them.  


Feeling a bit lonely over the holidays -- the whole family back in India. P and I walked down to the beach on Christmas day -- almost 80 degrees! -- warm, sunny, and the beach packed with people. I sat on the grass and just looked at everyone -- people of all shades, colors, ages -- out with their dogs. Just looking at them made me feel connected. The eyes spun webs to include everyone into my circle of family, the human family. And everyone's pets were my pets! Very satisfying, very healing and fulfilling!

Indeed, connection is a matter of throwing our web wide, and reeling everyone in!

Friday, 20 December 2013


Well, I've been digging around the roots of one of my old novels, many years in the making ( I am now an old woman and it hasn't even been published (the treasure!) yet); I am totally plugged into it, the way the young man must have been, eagerly, to find the treasure. I now see surveying my land that the work on it, that has given me such passionate involvement, that has kept boredom at bay, allowed me to look at my life in a new sort of way, is the treasure. How often, no, always, the doing itself is the reward.


I don't even know where I read it. If you do, please let me know! Here it is with some embellishments I can't avoid.

A father, on his deathbed, tells his son that he has buried a treasure near the roots of one of the apple trees in their apple orchard. He tells him, dig in a circle near the roots, but do not harm them. After his father's death, after an appropriate period of mourning, the son systematically began to dig around the many, many apple trees in their orchard; so many, in fact, that by the time he had hug around all of them, he was an old man. He found nothing, and after digging around the last tree, he went home, rather disappointed. He climbed the steps to his house -- by now a mansion instead of the shack he had lived in with his father -- to the upstairs story and sat down by a window, dejected and a bit angry at his father for putting him through all that labor for nothing.

He looked far into the distance and couldn't see the end of his land. The original apple trees had yielded  so abundantly that he had been able to buy more and more land to add to his own and plant more and more fruit trees. But looking at the original orchard, he saw that the trees were healthy, strong, and laden, as usual with their abundance. He realized in a flash what his father had meant: the trees were the treasure, and taking care of them by aerating the roots was the means to get it!

Sunday, 15 December 2013


Yesterday, as I was air drying all my Cashmere sweaters to kill the mold, I said to myself: I am the slave of someone called Kamla Kapur. She likes to buy stuff and then I have to take care of it. At first I wanted to rebel and stop being a slave. That didn’t quite feel right. What? Give away all the sweaters? They are pretty and keep her warm, too. I am bound to her with my flesh. She already knows how hard it is getting for me as I age to take care of her stuff, and is buying less. Well, that is all I need from her – this consideration for and awareness of my flagging energies. And since some stuff is necessary for life, I will devote myself to taking care of it, for her. So this morning when I was wondering what there was to do – I reach such points during the day when the body wants to move and feel ‘productive,’ – I said to myself, let me be her slave for a few hours. Since I have to be one – who was it who said in MOBY DICK, ‘who ain’t a slave’? – why not do it consciously? She is indeed very appreciative and grateful, and quite willing to lessen my loads.   


Back to the thought – one only needs one reason to be happy – being alive. We can sit back, relax, watch God’s ever-playing show outside the window, or inside the amphitheater of the soul: our various, infinite, perhaps, selves that come, enact their scenes and dialogues, and go, into the wings, or the green rooms, or to beds to sleep, or to chairs to watch the inner and outer drama, and return to play yet another scene. Acting, as well as retiring, watching, as well as playing and participating, is their purpose. 

Friday, 13 December 2013


Take a different path on your walk; wear something new from your closet; eat something different; vary your routine, jumble it up. Buy a plant if you live in an apartment. Tend to a plant if you have one already. Plants give back so much more than they take! Visit a garden near your home and sit in the sun; come, come, walk on the beach! Skip a little as you walk, just a little wiggle is enough. wake up in the morning, fling your arms in the air and shout, yeaaaaaaaaah! I am alive!


Standing in the kitchen this morning I felt excitement was missing from my life, and instantly a voice said, there is only one reason for happiness – being alive. When you are alive, everything is possible. I am doing something entirely new from the last several months – sitting in bed with a hot water bottle, my laptop, and looking at the brightening day outside, sunshine on the bark of the canary pine tree, on the pine needles, the broad green leaf with a brown underside of the Magnolia with its spiky seed pods with bright red seeds that the mocking bird loves. Over on the ocean the flitter of white wings, not constant, but teasing in its beauty. What a window we have been given into the world. No, windows. A plethora of them. How little one needs of nature (compared with its vastness), just a picture frame worth of images moving, sometimes like clouds on a windless day, but moving, nevertheless, and never the same, to be in touch with it! To admire and adore.


Okay, it’s time to move on. You have stayed in this space too long already and if you stay any longer, you will damage and/or destroy yourself. So what if your only dream has failed? So what if all the connections you make fall apart before your eyes? So what? Don’t look at the knot. Look at the whole yarn of which knots are a part. Cut it if you can’t untie it, splice it and move on. So what if you find yourself in an inextricable maze? Fly above it, see how you keep going over and over the same small territory like a fool. Time to break out! Fling it all away, scatter it, let the festering dream flow away in the wind. Know, there is nothing to hold up, no one to full down. Be like a house whose windows and doors are always flung wide open so the breeze and the wind comes and goes without hurting anything. No, be like the breeze and the wind, dying down sometimes, but indestructible.