Reality and illusion move past me day and night with an endless stream of images. People often ask me how it’s possible to open one’s heart and keep it open when there’s so much tension all the time. In-depth studies of love never provide answers to that question. But gratitude for every breath that I take, for my awareness that with each inhalation I receive the “I AM” (all of creation), and every time I exhale, I surrender a part of myself. Conscious breathing has provided answers that have changed my life. When my chakra system is open, reality and illusion become secondary to light and love, and gratitude becomes the quickest way to sustain an open heart. My mental chitchat fades into a wellspring of silence and I witness the miracle of life as it unfolds each moment.

Ramana Maharshi’s responded to his disciples’ questions with: “Ask yourself, who am I?” If they honestly asked themselves that question, masks would peel off like leaves from the heart of an artichoke. “I am a man or woman (for a while); I am black, white, yellow or brown (for a while); I am rich or poor or middle class (for a while); I am American, French, Indian, etc. (for a while).” Illusive masks blanket one another, and they hide the core of one’s being behind superficial consciousness. “I am nothing, a grain of sand on a beach, a child of God who’s learned to live with an open heart and shed layers of illusion that stifle love and compassion. When I surrender in depth, many masks remove themselves. Intense thoughts and emotions disappear, and universal wisdom finds a home inside me. I can distinguish between illusion and reality and get as close as possible to real freedom on earth.”

Conscious breathing has provided answers that have changed my life.

Just as musicians need to tune their instruments before a concert, Tantra fine tunes one’s chakra system and enables a practitioner to connect with spirit. It takes time, patience, and a good deal of inner work to master the craft of Tantric meditation. After all these years, I still meditate once or twice a day to further develop my chakra system and keep from taking my inner life for granted. With an open heart and centeredness in the hara, Kundalini energy moves from the base of my spine to the crown chakra and into the cosmos. It connects my soul to Higher Energy. Tantric meditation enables me to have these experiences. It sustains profound awakenings and develops the highest levels of my humanity.

My spiritual teacher, Rudi, spoke with reverence about Swami Nityananda and the Shankara Charya of Puri and the importance of lineage and gratitude. No one stands alone, though too often people assume that they’ve arrived at a place where they are not beholden to anybody. People often ask me where I go to find Rudi. “He’s in my heart,” I tell them. “Laughing, smiling, as we both travel together on my spiritual journey. That’s where my spiritual teacher lives. When I open my heart, he’s there, and he guides my day-to-day life.”

The Maha-guru (life) opens me to new experiences and more creative ways of seeing the world. If no two people see the same reality, if people attempt to fit each other into conceptualized boxes, absurdity, tension, and conflict manifest. No one can fit into another person’s box. The moment one begins to listen, the moment life itself becomes their teacher, they no longer try to control others. There’s no border that separates subjective and objective realities. It’s all one. The meditation practitioner opens to life’s teachings. He or she is slowly freed from karma on their lifelong journey to an inner place where they become one with Higher Energy…

(To be continued…)

Guru Dragpo, a fierce emanation of the guru-saint Padmasambhava

Guru Dragpo, a fierce emanation of the guru-saint Padmasambhava.