In the immortal words of Sam Gangee, “Well, I’m home.”
I am home, and deeply and profoundly grateful to say that I am feeling quite excellent. When I left for Europe at the end of April, I was required to be shuttled about the San Francisco and Frankfurt airports by wheelchair. On the return home, with Prabhu Nam Kaur, I was able to take the lead in dealing with our luggage for first time in three months, during which time, Prabhu Nam Kaur, who is close to being only half my weight, had been doing all the heavy lifting (grocery bags for example).
With respect to my healing, I very much wish to appreciate Sarab Prakash Kaur (Caroline Eder) who organized my workshop in Berlin, was my host there, and who is an excellent physiotherapist (as they call that work in Germany). She pretty much worked on me every day for the ten days I was with her, and made a profound transition in how I was feeling. Then, when I was in Vienna, I was worked on by Jagat Joti Kaur (Kristin Krautsack), who helped move my healing further along. I include their emails here, because if you are anywhere near their respective cities, and need physical therapy, I heartily recommend both of them.
There were two themes that seemed to reoccur in most of my workshops during this recent five-week tour:
In my first workshop on this tour (Berlin), I suggested to one of the journeyers (In these self worth workshops we refer to the leader as “the guide,” to the person being led on the healing journey, as “the journeyer,” and to the witnesses, as “the witnesses”), that she tell her younger wounded self: “you are welcome here” (in the world). Initially, she was absolutely unable to say that to herself. She broke into tears. It was a while before, by the grace of Guru Ram Das, she was able to truthfully say to herself. “Little one, you are welcome here. You have a place here. I am glad you were born.” During the rest of my tour, I was sensitive to when it was appropriate to ask journeyers if they felt welcome here in the world. I gradually came to realize that it is quite a common and important theme; that there are many people who have never felt welcomed into the world, and have never felt that they have a place here, or belong here – or anywhere.
Another journeyer succinctly stated the other theme: “It is hard to allow myself to think/feel about my relationship with God, as it felt that God was not there for me when I was a child. I don’t understand how He works & how I should trust Him. Seems like He has the easy part (That now that I am supposed to be spiritual, I should love him, but when I needed him and those awful things were happening to me, he was not there). How do you fit God into all the terrible things that have happened in the world?” Responding to that was a significant piece of work, especially since I have had the same issue for most of my life. I had been either and atheist or furiously angry with God over the Jewish Holocaust from age six to sixty-six.
This question, “How can there be a God that allows such things?” is not an abstract philosophical discussion, but a core issue in the lives of many people on the planet, whether or not it is acknowledged in the cognitive mind. For most people who have been abused in one way or another, who have received substantial wounds to their self worth, the question is, “Can I trust in life? Is it OK to open oneself to feeling, to being present, to hope, to love?” If the answer is “No,” which is frequently the case, then one’s capacity to be present in life is limited, and one cannot fully play the game of life.
I do not think I can overstate the importance of this Self Worth work, “Healing the Wounds of Life” that we are doing. If you do not feel that you are welcome here in the world, and/or, that you cannot trust, then you wind up going through the motions of living, but you are not fully alive, not fully present, and are limited in being able to have a meaningful, fulfilling, and loving relationship with another person. I think these issues are relatively universal, but are rarely acknowledged, as they sit in the subconscious. And in sitting in the subconscious, they guide one’s life, establishing the parameters within which one lives.
The good news is that these wounds can be healed, that one can change one’s story and open oneself up to trust, to be present, to live and to love. I have seen in some people that there can be anger that there have been so many years of one’s life, when one was living under the thumb, as it were, of a subconscious mind that believes that one does not have a place in the world, doe not deserve to be, and cannot trust.
For myself, I can look back at various times in my life that I have spent years of not being present in one way or another, and in my mostly unacknowledged shadow side, felt quite negative, angry, and guilty towards myself and my consciousness. However, rather than lament the past, I can only be grateful for the present, for being healed. For example, I really did spend 60 years being angry with God, and while I was living my life, there was always a limit on the depth of relationship I could enter into with another; there was always fear, however tucked away from my awareness it may have been (and where there is fear, there is always anger); and, of course, it is rather hard to merge oneself with the Divine if you angry with it.
Now, my personal question is how to carry my transcendent morning meditation experience into the day. This morning, at the end of chanting, sitting in that wonderful space, I was aware of three beings: Guru Ram Das, Ramakrishna, and Kali Ma. Kali Ma is relatively new in my life, coming to me from two interesting directions; from Ramakrishna, and from an oft repeating experience in the lives of mostly women journeyers who find themselves confronted with a darkness in their lives. My first inclination, while guiding their journeys, was to try to lead them into the light.
Fortunately, I have been blessed with the gift of listening and the awareness that while I am guiding the journey, I am not leading it, as it is not my journey. So I have been led by the journeyer to go with them as they embrace the darkness and celebrate it. And in that embrace, have to come to acknowledge and experience Kali. In the rational Western mind, you may prefer that I do not deify this energy pattern, but I find that I can much more clearly embrace this energy, this core aspect of the feminine Divine, if I allow myself to see it as Mother Kali, the Mother of the Universe.
Back to my morning meditation: I am grateful to say that Guru Ram Das is just about always there, as the last thing I do in morning sadhana is chant the Guru Ram Das chant for 11 minutes (also the last thing I do before going to sleep). It is to him that I offer my prayers and who I rely on when guiding journeys. Ramakrishna is a new teacher in my life, but this morning, as my mind was full of the daily details of life, of planning this and that, I found him a little withdrawn, as he does not wish to involve himself with doing in the world. But Kali Ma’s love is fully unconditional. It does not matter what one’s state of mind is in any way at all. If you turn towards the Mother, there is only love and unconditional acceptance.