Monday, October 13, 2014

Climbing the Sacred Shasta Mountain, or What Can One See From The Foothills

Once Birdie's paid slavery (=residency in Connecticut with only 3 months of good weather each year) was over, we decided to pursue our dream and explore Northern America for the perfect place to live. We chose to start from happy California: sun-deprived for the last 3 years (and the 8 years before, living in gritty grey NYC), we were ecstatic to go to a place with no winter. We packed all our belongings into storage containers, stashed them into a garage alongside our car, made certain arrangements about our furniture, and off we went to travel for the next 2 years in search of the perfect place to settle - weather-wise, people-wise and energy-wise.

I'd lived in San Francisco before and didn't really enjoy it: most of the time the city is enveloped in heavy foggy clouds, and the sole reason for us to escape to California was the sun... so the city was out of the question. South California, though warm and sunny, was very dry and barren, and Birdie likes the lush forests of the Nepali jungle, so we came to Sonoma County, the jewel hidden between the Northern California hills, where there is no gloom and no rain, almost 365 days a year (it's true, it hasn't rained once in 4 months we've been here - the valley is perfectly protected from adversities). The incubator weather conditions are the pride of the locals and the reason Sonoma grapes, the delicate and finicky berries, are so good. These weather conditions are also a great background for adventure and travel.

We decided it's a perfect opportunity to visit the revered Sacred Shasta Mountain, since it was so close to us now. We rented a sleeper van not to be limited to one location, and off we went, in search of the miraculous.

We read stories about Lemurians - a magical people living inside the mountain since the times of Atlantis and randomly seen by town dwellers and unsuspecting tourists. We were jokingly hoping to see a Lemurian, even though nobody has ever confirmed their existence. But the mountain had more interesting mysteries waiting for us...

We came to the foothills of the mountain and prepared for an ascension. Water, backpack, sweaters, sneakers and a lot of zeal - we felt ready for the day under the intensely blue sky. Our dog Ava went along, unsuspecting of the hardships she had to face in the hours to come...

We had a very approximate map of the mountain and decided to just follow the path - but at some point the path has disappeared, and we had to intuitively find our way. We decided to reach the apex of the mountain which looked like the crater of the volcano (Shasta is an active volcano that last erupted about a hundred years ago - there are lots of volcanic matter and a whole plateau of pumice on the way to the top).

I noticed that Birdie wasn't anywhere near: he is more adept at climbing mountains and more physically fit, so he's usually way ahead of me, but when the rocks got steep and dangerous closer to the crater, he chose a safer path around the hill. My balance, on the other hand, is way better than his, and though it was really dangerous to move forward, I decided to climb straight up - the top seemed so close! 20 minutes more and I would be on top! My ego didn't let me stop. I needed to get to the top!!!

I got pumped up by danger and the proximity of the mountain top, my energy level jumped up, I felt like a gazelle climbing almost vertically, choosing more stable rocks to step on and not kill myself... I didn't hear anything and didn't see anything around - the desire to get to the top devoured me... Only 15 minutes later I realized that I don't hear anything. Absolutely nothing. I stopped for a sip of water and tried to listen. Nothing. No sound, no noise, no footsteps, no rock slide. I tried to call Birdie but he didn't respond. Then I heard his faded scream... somewhere very, very far away. I screamed back, but he didn't hear it - there was a mountain ridge between us that prevented the sound from traveling. My voice is soft, so I had to try really hard to be heard. I screamed my lungs out... I saw Birdie run from the other side of the ridge. He was so frightened of my possible demise that he stopped climbing. He saw how dangerous the rocks were and thought I slipped and killed myself.

His fear of losing me was so strong that it ruined the rest of the day, and even though I was so-so-so close to the top, I decided to abort my mission. I was so close but... who cares. I didn't come here to set the world record...and we went down. Ava was so exhausted at this point that we had to carry her back. Her little foot cushions got all red and swollen the next day - she'd been a real trooper and climbed all the way up with us, but the rocks were too hard for her city paws!

When we descended a little bit, we had the most horrific realization to make: the crater that we were trying to reach so painstakingly was yet a small ridge on the side of the mountain. We couldn't see the real apex from where we were - so the ridge seemed like the ultimate top and looked oh so tempting. We almost killed ourselves trying to reach the top that was not the top at all...

The lesson that the Mountain taught us was much more valuable than any magic: if you don't know the way, if it's your first time walking the path, you have no way of knowing whether the path is right. If you have a map drawn by someone who'd already been there, your chances to reach the top are way higher. But if you go by yourself trying to find the way intuitively, there is a high chance to get deluded or completely lost, like we did. You will never know until you reach there. If somebody tells you they haven't been there but they know how to get there nevertheless  - take their statements with a grain of salt, or rather find a more experienced person who has walked the walk...

I remembered Alejandro Jodorowski's The Holy Mountain again, and, truly, Shasta has become our Holy Moutain and taught us a brilliant lesson, it gave us answers we didn't know we were looking for. In fact, the most important lesson we needed to learn at this time on our path...

Monday, March 3, 2014

Enlightenment - the Express Method

Many people (especially hardcore, goal-oriented Russians:) have been asking me about spiritual growth (a heavily abused term, but what to do), 7 bodies, enlightenment and particularly "how to reach there fast and painlessly". They read nonsensical books written by people who have little, if any at all, understanding of the process, go to their seminars, network, get very inspired, start practicing a cocktail of different techniques borrowed from different masters, following several sometimes incompatible paths and happily sharing their findings. When they start having problems or feel they are stuck somewhere but not necessarily knowing where, and realize all their accumulated knowledge doesn't get them where they want to be, they get very upset because they know so much already! I usually try not to say anything unless asked, but even when asked, I still don't feel like offending them with my opinion, though oftentimes they do get offended: spiritual ego is the strongest and trickiest of all! It takes open mind (or rather heart) to realize it's not about knowledge; if you know everything about atom power but you are, for example, stuck in a snow cave and don't know how to dig snow, you will die of hunger - just because your grand knowledge is not applicable to the situation. It's completely useless where survival instincts are the most important. 

Growth is like that: you may know the entire Encyclopedia Britannica by heart but when a moment comes, all knowledge fades away and there is only one thing left: whether you're ready to jump, to trust your heart, to give up all for nothing...

Most self-proclaimed gurus (non-enlightened humans who decide to teach others how to get where they have never been) just don't have any idea and say you can get there without any 
sacrifice: just pick the most powerful techniques from this master and that master, practice them together and you will be "there" in no time. I've been witnessing a horrendous misfortune that happened due to this approach: an amazing human being who is very close to me got split in half doing exactly that. And there is nobody to blame: he wanted fast results and - voila! - got fast schizophrenia...

"Gurus" can talk all they want, and promise lots of wonderful things, including express-delivery of enlightenment right into your ajna chakra, but if they have not reached, they can't possibly know what to do in order to reach... leave alone teaching others! Will you listen to a 400lb fitness instructor (if he's not 400lb of bone&muscle of course)? He hasn't lost weight yet, hasn't done it, hasn't achieved any results, so how can he teach others?... Another scenario is when a guru has reached somewhere (most probably a very attractive place; a place you want to be at - acquired some powers, extrasensory abilities of the 4th body) but not the Ultimate; he got stuck there and is now trying to convince others that it's the final destination. 

Watch The Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorowski - he has some striking (and even funny) characters stuck at the bottom of the Mountain...the whole array of them, from first (physical) to the highest bodies - and I won't be surprised if he got inspired by real "gurus" while creating them. 

Theory or philosophies don't help here - one must walk the walk. And the only criterion that works here is whether one has transcended.

I will be harsh now, but here is my point: if a person has not reached the state of the Ultimate, don't waste your time reading what they have to say about the Ultimate. Rather, read or listen to enlightened masters and practice their [PURE] techniques. Without mixing anything. Without adding your own. Trust me, they have a way broader perspective than your or my comparative mind can ever muster. They've been there, they've done it, they have a method to get there. 
Walking this path on your own, without a Master, is like climbing Mount Everest without a map: it will be as hard to achieve for you as it was for the first enlightened man! A Master who has been there is offering you a map from the point of view of the apex, so he's offering the true and proven method. Now, imagine you're using several maps while climbing: you will get so confused and waste so much more time... Or if you use a map that leads to a beautiful valley rather than the top: so you will reach the valley, you might even enjoy it, but was it your initial intent? 

True Masters are few, and many of them have not uttered a word (just graced disciples and devotees with their holy presence) but there are several beings who have both transcended and left us a priceless legacy of wisdom and modus operandi. Masters of this caliber come once in a thousand years, and are often hard to understand for their contemporaries, but at least it's worth a try. If you are really interested in your growth, accept a Master into your life. Without a Master the road is unpredictable and oftentimes dangerous, if not lethal. You will be surprised how different it feels to be looked after by an Awakened One, especially when your Master is not in the physical realm.

I have only seen glimpses of the beyond, but am happy to have a wonderful enlightened master Osho to guide me, to prevent pitfalls, to move me away from misleading, though often very tempting, directions.

And, most importantly, from wasting my time and energy on express methods. Humans tend to judge everything, including enlightened beings. They assume that they have a better perspective: comparing teachings of several masters, picking and choosing from the wealth of their heritage. I, as a very curious and somewhat nerdy human being, too, like to study everything new and exciting, but mysteriously, through books, discourses, unexpected communications and sometimes even my husband, the Master shows what's true and what's not, and helps to identify mirages in the desert. Which, unfortunately, are plenty.

Here is what Osho said about fast results for the unprepared:

"So if suddenly by chance a person happens to be in a state in which the grace can descend on him or a sudden situation is created in which shaktipat happens to him without a medium, then there is every possibility of his freaking out or becoming insane. The energy that has descended on him may be too much and his capacity to hold it too little; hence he can be completely shattered. Then unknown, unfamiliar experiences of joy become painful and unbearable.

It is as if a man used to staying in darkness for years is suddenly brought out into the daylight: the darkness will deepen all the more and he will not yet be able to see the light of the sun. His eyes were accustomed to seeing in the darkness, so they cannot stand the glare of light and will close.

So sometimes it happens that such a situation can come about within you in which the unlimited energy of grace can descend unknowingly on you; but its effect can be fatal, destructive, if you are not ready. You have been caught unawares so the happening can turn into a disaster. Yes, grace can also become harmful and destructive.
In the case of shaktipat the chances of accident are very few, almost nil, because there is a person who is functioning as a medium, as a vehicle. Passing through a medium the energy becomes gentle and mild, and the medium can also regulate the intensity of the energy. He can allow only that amount of energy to flow into you which you can hold. But remember, the medium is only a vehicle and not the source of this energy.
So if a person says that he is doing shaktipat, that he is doing the transmission of the energy, then he is wrong. It would be just like the bulb declaring that it is the giver of light. Because the light is always emitted through the bulb, the bulb may be deluded that it is the creator of light. This is not so. It is not the primal source of light but merely a medium for its manifestation. So a person who declares that he can perform shaktipat is under the same illusion as the bulb" (In Search Of The Miraculous, Vol.2 p.3).