Form And Formless
Nothing in this universe is an accident, all is incident. The closer our meditation moves toward the First Cause of OM, the more we see the universe as the dream of the Supreme Consciousness instead of a series of disconnected accidents in alienated minds. What seemed like accidents were but misconceptions of reality from minds too caught up in the mundane to notice the subtle movements of meaning trying to break through our layers of obliquity. Reality is more meaningful and circumstances in life have more of a symbolic and moral meaning than our intellect and our mundane desires can conceive of. Creation is always trying to guide us closer to the Atman by showing us the way through life by creating interesting dramas and synchronizations. “Time is a moving image of eternity,” wrote Plato. Sometimes the signs that appear to guide us appear from beyond time. The responses sometimes manifest before all of the questions and conflicts manifest in our awareness. Perhaps a dream foretells something important or some great synchronicity continues to repeat itself cyclically in our lives. Somehow, one was prepared for what was yet to come and this synchronicity inspires one with awe. The greater “I” within shows one from beyond time what one needs to know to let go of time’s little tricks and live in the eternal now.
There are as many levels of healing as there are levels to our minds. A physical doctor uses physical substances to treat a physical body. A psychologist uses ideas to treat imbalances in the conceptual mind. An energetic healer works with plants subtle energy currents in the subtle body. A spiritual healer works at even deeper levels of spirit and penetrates the essence of the mind.
When healing one always has to mitigate negative energies. Healers always use deep intelligence and/or intuition to transform the ignorance that creates negative states of mind which result in illness. Therefore, healers are always besieged with negativity. If one is not suited for such an occupation, then one gets sick or becomes mentally imbalanced and abandons the endeavor. For example, psychologists always receive the “transference” of their patients. In the old psychoanalytic traditions of the past century, these psychoanalytic therapists had the highest suicide rate of all occupations. The irony is that the healers ended up worse off than their patients.
As one moves up the higher levels of mind and works with the cognitive and emotional patterns of those levels of mind there is a more potent healing potential but there is also a greater risk of imbalance. I once had some monastic friends that were helping people at very deep levels of awareness by helping them awake their dormant spiritual potential. The wisest ones were always the most careful and prudent due to the fact that they had been burned a few times and learned how to get their own minds out of the process and truly let intuition guide the process. These people healed only those who were ready to take responsibility for their lives and knew where not to waste their energy and efforts. Others who were less mature were always getting attacked with the energies that they were trying to transform. Perhaps they had some vanity or some ambition to be healers and they learned the about law of karma with intensity. Really, nobody can heal except the inner self and the true healers are those who learn how to get out of the way of the essential process and teach others to do their own work.
From a spiritual perspective, from the point of view of the Atman, the I-Witness of the mind, all illness has a mental cause and the remedy for balancing the mind is taking the mind to a spiritual level of awareness; a place where one sees the entire mental structure from an infinite and eternal vantage point. All of the mental distortions and their corresponding illnesses eventually are straightened out by imposing the the graceful, infinite wavelength of the Atman on the incongruities of the finite mind.
When I was in my early twenties I had dreams that I was a woman in my past life. It made me feel very pure. I wasn’t sure if it was literal or a symbolic truth. I was a psychology student very familiar with Jung’s ideas of the “anima,” the feminine, unconscious part of the male psyche. The “animus” was termed the masculine part of the feminine psyche. Contemplating this idea never created any confusions nor distortions. On the contrary, I began to feel that transcending one’s exclusive sexual identification was the key to transcending “maya,” the great illusion. On the inside it is quite sane and healthy for a man to discover his unconscious feminine qualities as they make one more whole and complete. One remains a man, of course, and with the natural desires of a man. However, the impulsive qualities of masculinity begin to wane.
I asked Chidghananda about my dreams. I wanted to know if these were symbolic dreams or if perhaps I really was a woman in my past life. He said that I was indeed a woman. He said, “excuse me, but you were indeeed a lady,” just in case some masculine part of me may be offended by this information. I wasn’t in any way offended, he realized this and giggled as if to say “I just wanted to make sure..” He told me stories about this person and even how she died. I only had seen fragments of this life in a dream but he was filling in so many details that I had never seen. When he realized his knowledge exceeded my own, he stopped and said “okay, that is enough for now.” He really helped me to understand something very deep. Once the sexual desires were all transmuted into meditation, my mind had tremendous energy. He began to teach me about spiritual healing and I recalled Tireseas, the blind sage with healing powers who was mysteriously both male and female. He told me to always sleep alone and to never share a room with other people nor let people touch my bed. Most of my work would be done while sleeping and my mind would be very sensitive to the vibrations of other people while I was undergoing this healing training. However, I began to lose the desire to sleep until I was only sleeping half an hour every night. I was not tired, and I meditated instead of slept.
The Flying Frozen Turkey
I was living with some yogi monks in the Ozarks while in my mid-twenties after my time spent in India with Chidghananda. One morning I had to pick up a nun very early in the morning at a far away bus station. She was asleep on the return trip. Just when daylight broke and I could see the beautiful countryside there appeared some flying object in my peripheral vision. I turned my head and saw just a dark blur about 50 feet away from me along the side of the highway. It looked like it was coming straight toward me. There was only an open field behind its trajectory and it appeared to come out of nowhere. I had at least a few seconds to see it getting closer. At about 20 feet away I realized it was an object that looked like a frozen turkey wrapped in plastic. As it got closer I could see the image of the flying frozen turkey getting clearer and closer. I was dumbfounded. Time was moving very slowly and I kept asking myself “is that really a turkey?” All of the sudden it crashed into the front of the truck. The nun woke up and asked what that sound was. She was startled. I told her just to go back to sleep because she would never believe me. She couldn’t go back to sleep and so she asked me to tell her. I told her and we had a good laugh. We joked that I had been handling too much basil on our farm. It always made me feel happy to work with the basil and make pesto. Perhaps it made me too happy and gave me creative visions? I felt that this experience made us friends. She noticed it was dawn and told me the meaning of the her monastic name, Usha, or dawn. It refers to a state of sunrise when birds start to sing.
Years later this person got involved with a dark rebellion within her order. She started making alliances with perverse people like the infamous CobraKiller. I was not a monk but they wanted me on their side and insisted on alliance but I resisted. I just got out of jail in India for the dirty acts of this order. I was in the wrong place at such a time and I was involved in an international legal case. I defended this organization in front of the press of India and the BBC while I was under house arrest. Everyone loved me because I spoke well of them but they never told me the truth about their political problems. I was used as a public speaker by the organization. They knew that I was suspicious and they felt ashamed that they were lying to me. They used to say I was somebody so very special and then they started to hate me as much as they loved me. This nun hated me so much that she began to attack my mother by creating lies about her character so as to completely destroy our image in this society. Other monastics also jumped on the band wagon and started inventing all sorts of lies. It harmed my mother very much and sent her on a negative spiral in life in which she ended up being very depressed. My mother followed me into this yoga society and hardly even knew these people yet they attacked her. I have never tried to forgive the nun. I have always thought someday in the future I will forgive her, but seeing how she has been very cruel to others as well, it is easy to put it off.
The other day a friend reminded me of the name Usha when describing the bird songs at dawn. I recalled the experience with the nun Usha and thought of the “bird song” that morning 20 years ago manifested as the thud of a big Butterball turkey! I wondered why I had such a mysterious experience with a person that turned out to be very negative. Finally, artha, eureka! It was now so perfectly clear. Usha was the goddess who called the dawn, not with a beautiful bird song, but with a dead turkey that crashed against the bumper. She would later attack me and my mother but the universe had already chided her from beyond time and has her showcased in its Theatre of the Absurd. Who needs revenge? Everything is already resolved. It is so easy to forgive a turkey.
Back From The Dead
My friend Dharma once told me of how a yogi neurologist discovered some new psychoactive medication and started doing laboratory experiments on his friends. They had a team of doctors as well as yogis and psychics who could supposedly see the kundalini rising, which this doctor believed was facilitated by this new drug. He told me that most people cried and felt bliss and saw how their lives were now more complete. The psychic said they had their kundalini awakened just to the second chakra. Their trips lasted only briefly. When it came time for my friend’s dose, he immediately saw everything go dark. He entered deep inside of himself and said that he saw all of his complexes and was terrified. He wanted to see more because he knew it was all true but it startled him. He remained unconscious for half an hour. Nobody else had become unconscious. The psychic said that his kundalini was awakened into the heart chakra, much higher than with the others who only felt a little bliss with a superficial awakening. I understood how my friend was a little more prepared than the rest for a deep vision.
He was a little older than my father. He had passed through some really tough lessons in his life in the 60’s and suffered many losses afterward. He was from the Bay Area and said his friend G. was the first hippie to ever exist. It was 1964 and this man grew his hair out and started a gardening company called “Flower Power” with a volkswagon van. Everybody though he was crazy because there was yet no social reference for this strange form. A few years later, it was the trend. Well, we all know the 60’s had quite an impact on people. He told me the whole story of how the hippie movement went from innocent expression to sheer degeneration in just a few short years. He pulled himself back together and left the 60’s some time in the 80’s, returned to his yoga and meditation and lead quite an exemplary life. He was so compassionate and could not stand to see people suffer, especially people who were falling into the same traps that he fell into. He reminded me of “The Catcher in the Rye.”
Sometimes, I saw him as a father figure when he expressed his lived wisdom. I realized that people like him were spiritual soldiers who had stormed hell, learned some valuable lessons, and then returned to tell the rest of us how NOT to make those very same mistakes. Other times I saw him as a big brother but sometimes he treated me as the big brother. He reminded me of my childhood friendships.
He and I were the non-monastic residents in the community. We used to pull the engines out of the cars that the monks destroyed and replace them with new ones. I wasn’t a mechanic but I somehow understood these things. Some crazy monk would overheat an engine and we would replace it in a few days. A week later, another crazy monk somehow destroyed the new motor. In the end, all we could do was laugh.
I was still very young and only remained in the community for a few years. The community had passed through a great trauma. One of the monastic leaders tried to murder a nun with cobra venom. He created division in people’s mind and successfully created a parallel and rather perverse movement. My friend was very close to the “CobraKiller” and suffered this fragmentation of the community. CobraKiller left our community but my friend remained with the new director. I was once listening to the CobraKiller telling him over the phone about how bad the new director of the community was. He was inventing all sorts of political divisions and trying to get people on his side. CobraKiller had stolen 60 thousand dollars from our community when he left. It was so clear that this man was deluded and was projecting all of his own criminality on to everybody else. It was soon after this that he tried to murder his unrequited love with cobra venom. To this day, he still influences people as the grand-daddy spiritual leader, even they know he is an attempted murderer. My friend’s mind was very disturbed by this dissolution of his spiritual family. We discussed how the monk was totally out of line as a monastic and also mentally imbalanced. We agreed but Dharma was still very attached to this monastic leader. At that time the monk had only pursued the nun like a psychopath, before catching up with her in India where he gave her the mango lassi drink laced with cobra venom. He told me he was afraid he would start drinking again. He didn’t return to alcohol, but he had chronic back pain and became addicted to some powerful narcotic pain medication. This was so painful for me to see but there was nothing I could do as I hardly ever saw him any longer because I moved away.
Years later he hung himself. I remembered how we once went camping and I was amazed to see that he was a little shaken up by being in the mountains for several days. As if he were a small child, he wanted to sleep with me in my tent. That is how I felt him after he died. I felt him so close to me. He became a part of me. I began to live his sorrows as well as his joy. As time went on there was only joy but I knew there was still something that I must see.
I had just turned 40 and was deciding if it was time to leave my body. The CobraKiller’s friends once tried to say I was a very special person with so many spiritual qualities. Later, after declaring I was not their poster-boy, they said I would die because of my intense kundalini experiences very soon, definitely before I was 40. I had just turned 40 and was laughing at this because I was thinking I would leave my body in bliss, not in some kind of illness created by a kundalini imbalance. I was living alone on a mountain in Chiapas and each day I meditated I saw my end getting closer and closer. There was no despair nor any desire to escape life. On the contrary, my life was just too full of eternity, too full of the eternal Om calling me home.
One day I stopped breathing for a very long time. I felt the kurma nadii in the Vishuddha, throat chakra become really tight. The kundalini could not go back down from there. My breath had stopped but I was perfectly calm and only thought that if I don’t breath, then I will soon leave my body but I felt such bliss that I did not care the least about this. I felt the tension in my neck grow more and more intense. It was impossible to breathe. All of the sudden I feel the presence of my friend and I experience his last moments in life when he hung himself. It was as if I had hung myself. I was aware of the irony- the tension in my neck, no breath and near death, a spiritual parallel to suicide. I was going to die in joy but my friend had died in despair. From that state of near death I could see what Dharma saw, the “bardos” or dimensions where souls travel after departing from this world. I recalled how my friend had seen life a little deeper than the rest and was actually a hero. I saw him as a soldier who was storming hell once again and that the knowledge he brought me was so very useful. I later began to see the other ones who had departed in a circle of light, just like people report in near death experiences, yet I was perfectly conscious and still in my meditation.
I felt these ancestors desire to continue living through me but I questioned how this was possible because I could see myself passing from this world. Then I saw them as rays of light forcing themselves back down, opening the Vishuddha chakra and entering my chest with the sound “ka”, the sound that controls the propensity of hope. Without a hopeful vision one cannot live well in this world, but in eternity even hope isn’t necessary as all is complete. In this state of “death” I received a new and optimistic vision for the future with some new activities that would bind me for a while. I began to breathe again and gradually came out of meditation. A friend’s baby crawled over to me and repeated the sound “ka.”
I returned to the ranch in the desert and became a quixotic narco slayer.
The Sons of Brahmins
There was once a foreign visitor to Ananda Nagar, India. He was supposed to only be there for one month. He got lost in the deep meditation of the spiritual environment which had been cultivated over thousands of years by yogis who could come to finish their spiritual work down by that river and enter the final stages of samadhi.
He would enter the state of breathlessness for long periods of time. Many of the Indian monks hated him for this, while others loved him. People started coming to him with their confessions; older monks who were tortured by the communists.
The old saints were dying off with strange neurological diseases and brain tumors because they ate too many sins from the irresponsible and fallen spiritual society. The sangha was becoming a madhouse and the true saints said that their own sangha (spiritual society) would kill the saints.
He returned home, and continued his practices in another place. The same thing happened. He was hated as well as loved. Some of those who loved him ended up being the most selfish, however. The monastics would bring him the cases nobody else could manage. If they thought he was too high in meditation, they would place a “crazy brother” in his custody. There were rumors that he could heal and some people said he was a saint and a “prototype for future human evolution.” What a valued possession! Little did they know that they were making him ill, aggrandizing their own ambitious egos, and creating a scapegoat for all of their own frustrated illusions that they would later cash in on.
I had a conversation with this friend the other day. He left them long ago to regain his life and health. They still want to bring him back and some still say he is a saint. What was the “saint’s” reply?
He laughed heartily and said: “those sons of …..b…b…b….b….brahmins!”
He is still alive, but considering the state of collective insanity on the planet, that could very well change. These big brothers have too much burden to carry right now. So that a little dharmic, moral order can begin to influence human society again, there must first be some major cleansing. He says that people trapped in the human, materialistic urban matrices are becoming physically and mentally ill due to the inability to harmonize their physical, mental, and spiritual strata of existence with society, nature, the planet and the universe. This recluse friend doubts if modern humans really are fit to continue evolving on this planet. His opinion matters because to me because I have seen him heal many incurable diseases simply by looking at somebody. These people healed aren’t patients because he isn’t a healer, at least he doesn’t consider himself one. They are just people who happen to cross his path at the opportune time. I dare not give away his identity or his whereabouts because the people would devour him with their troubles.
He sees all illness as a projection of mental conflicts or imbalances. By intuitively seeing the illness as distorted thoughts or repressed emotions such as fear, anger, or insecurity, he sees how this flow of mental energy interacts with the organs and glands of the body. Maybe this person can’t tell you so much scientifically about the immune system, T4 cells, etc., but he has been known to heal cancer. Maybe one can’t empirically verify how he does it but it is easy to verify that the cancer disappeared. As a close friend, I ask him how he does it. He doesn’t give away many secrets if one isn’t first capable of understanding them, but one thing I have gathered is that he has some way of taking these illnesses into his own being, like the classic “sin eaters.” Perhaps the cancer of one person gives him diarrhea for a few days, or AIDS makes him physically weak for a few weeks. His advanced meditation and yoga practice constantly heal him of these illnesses. If he stops meditating or spends too much time in the city with the mundane, then he gets ill. Also, I said “almost all” diseases. Schizofrenia and other severe mental illnesses are the great challenge for any healer.
What he shared with me is that all illnesses are clusters of unprocessed, unconscious thoughts and emotions that attack the physical body by first creating imbalances in the glandular system. For him not to have the same illness, he must process the thoughts and emotions of the other as if they were his own. If he doesn’t understand these mental patterns behind the illness, then his physical body suffers the same symptoms as the afflicted. I can’t get him to tell me how he does it exactly. He is smug in his non-dualist philosophy and simply says that there is only one being in the universe and this being is only understood by the unprejudiced, tranquil and insightful minds. By understanding this fundamental truth, the mind becomes free of all complexes and relieves the body of having to bear the cross of all of the ego’s ignorance and unconsciousness that create illness and disharmony. He really can explain a little more, but prefers to let people figure it out for themselves..
When I was a boy I was very curious as to whether Christ really existed as a human being or was a deeper, more universal, spiritual archetype embedded in the human conscience. This curiosity disappeared as I began to meditate and understand that the divine grace is always present behind the tranquil mind. I understood that the divine was in the formless I-Witness of the mind. This is what yogis call the Atman. Words and concepts and even the highest philosophy cannot trap the infinite within their limits. What I longed for was this harmony and union instead of a standardized conception of “god” which always seems to go along with some kind of acceptance of religion, cult or tradition. Although I had so many dreams of my teacher Anandamurti in which He often told me very important things and even healed me, I could never allow my mind to get locked into concepts like “guru.” Perhaps I could accept this authority on the inside, but when people started speaking of “guru” in the social context, it was so often based on other people’s conceptions of what the guru is and not so much their own experience and deep realization. This is true in any form of spirituality: the masses follow set standards and concepts and don’t put much energy into realization.
However, it was in the height of my realizations of the formlessness of the divine that I had so many experiences of divine forms! Anandamurti, in dreams or meditation, always guided me toward the formless, actual presence of the Atman and never said anything like “I am the only way.” These experiences always revealed what i saw as deep universal truths. My mind had connected with this particular form that revealed truths so far beyond form. There even once appeared to my physical eyes the luminous form of Christ after a deep meditation. I had no doubt there was a divine presence manifesting as a form. His form was translucent and the jade serpent that i had seen in my first kundalini experiences was seen just behind his eyes at the level of the mid-brain. I clearly understood that it was a symbol of the union of heaven and earth and of god and humankind. The “serpent power” of the kundalini, the divine energy latent in the base of the spine, awakens into the brain and transforms us into something inconceivable for the Aham. This serpent at the mid-brain was completely tamed and within the beauty of the totality of the beautiful head of the Christ figure. I thought of how such an enlightened brain must have incorporated the so-called reptilian and mammalian brains into the mystical, yet to be realized potentials of the human neocortex that has evolved above and around them. Christ is a symbol of this yogic perfection, at least in my experience. The vision was more beautiful and meaningful than anything I ever saw in the Louvre or any other museum in the world. When I recall it I return to that state of ecstasy in the present. As time goes on I understand this as well as so many other visions of true form as deep spiritual truths that one cannot normally grasp without the help of the medium of form.
excerpt from: ImmortalityVishal Quetzal, author profile