The Lake Under The Moon – Metta Teachings

Winter is behind us now. This brings a feeling of light, hope and openness. We can look out of the window at trees and see them forming leaves. Golden Daffodils adorn our gardens once more. The snowdrops and crocuses are also bountiful. This year more than most! I like to think it is not only a new beginning but  also a time to ponder on what lies ahead. Although in the quiet moments  of a Spring day, reflection on what has past is often more on our minds.  Dare we expect more from this new year than the last?  In the old Pali dialect, the language of the Buddha (upanijjhāna),  “reflection” has the self-same meaning that it does in English—it means to be like a mirror or the surface of a deep pond, to receive an impression and hold it without adding anything else. It also means to contemplate or consciously consider. To listen to the inner voice of reason.

Years ago, at Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, New York, Bhikkhu Bodhi spoke of this, and of the Buddha’s advice to his 7-year-old son Rahula. The Buddha told his son about the importance of honesty, telling young Rahula to practice reflection—to reflect on the inner and outer consequences before, during, and after doing something. Please consider trying this. The results are subtle but quite amazing. Consider how you feel before you perform an act of generosity, during, and after. Also consider how it feels to do something less than noble or not do something. Let’s say, not to eat or drink too much or be angry or stingy, to un-grasp the hand of lifelong habits. What is amazing is that this type of practice of reflecting on the quality and consequence of our lives is a way to expand time by opening and deepening and enriching the time we have to spare.

In meditation or just being  alone with our thoughts , we allow ourselves to reflect on something that has already happened. We can allow a memory or experience to arise within us, and like the surface of a deep pond, reflecting the moon without fighting it or fleeing from it or freezing it or adding anything at all. Remember that the ancient root of the word, “understand” means to stand under, to allow the truth of something to soak in. It also suggests holding and supporting, standing under our own experience, receiving it. Think of the lake under the moon.

Crocuses in the garden

Re-written from an article published in Parabola magazine.

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Remembering The Day In Puttaparthi – More Sathya Sai Memories

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I remember on the day Sathya Sai Baba left us five years ago, someone wrote these few words about how radiant Baba had been. Time and time again we were to read similar accounts from those who visited Sai Baba over the decades he gave darshan. So for the last time, I shall report these simple but beautiful words again.

 

“Baba’s face was radiant and his smile so beautiful. He was walking towards me. I could hear my heart pounding loudly in my chest as he came closer. Baba now stood close to me. My attention was focused on his lotus feet. As soon as the border of his orange robe exposed his feet, I stretched out and rested my head on them in a state of total surrender. My head lay on his feet  for a while. Baba then gently moved back and walked away.

Baba walked around the hall slowly, raising his hand in blessing now and then. After some time had passed, to my astonishment, I realized he was walking towards me again. He searched in the crowd, and when his eyes sought mine he stopped and stared. I noticed  his large penetrating pupils, they seemed to be the color of amber, I was  completely taken aback, stunned and dazed. I sat there dumbfounded, in a trance. When I regained my awareness, Baba had already left.  All the devotees were getting up and leaving.

On the journey back home, I was silent, I felt strange and tranquil.”

 

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Remembrance Day-By Terry Reis Kennedy

April 24, 2016

 

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The sun burst upon me like a blast of heat from a furnace as I stepped outside of my house, Sai Prem, on Coconut Grove. It was only 9 a.m. and my clothes were already dripping with sweat. I made my way towards the ashram in a daze of grief, of bliss, of ineffable mixed emotions.

I walked through the tiny streets of Puttaparthi town remembering how I used to run to the main road when word rustled through the air that Sai Baba was out in His car, on the way to visit the students, or His pet elephant Sai Gita, or patients at the hospital. I was crazed with joy seeing Him in His car. I was not the only one.

We hurled flowers at the windows, we touched the doors; we were Gopis and Gopikas that not even the police could stop. Swami loved our madness as He smiled out at us, sometimes even having the driver stop the car so He could have a word with someone. The blasting heat, the monsoon downpours, nothing could keep us away from Him. Before we had a cover over the mandir He would often stop the rain when He came out for Darshan. He loves us that much.

And today it is the same. It was the 5th anniversary of my Sat Guru, the Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s leaving—the day He chose to exit His body, a day the Hindu’s say, “He took Mahasamadhi”, meaning the day He returned to the Supreme Consciousness He is, the Great Quietude. In plain America English, He died. Yes, He is immortal. We are all immortal. But for me it was a day I felt pressed into a mold of mortality. Everything I’d lived for, been living for, seemed to have vanished.

Until I got home to my writing desk where I could record my thoughts, I felt barely part of the world as I had known it. Luckily there was a message from my editor at Bangalore’s Deccan Herald asking me to write a recollection of Sai Baba’s life and to have it done in two hours. Most of my professional life I’ve spent meeting deadlines. I was so relieved to have another deadline to meet. As I typed the remembrance I realized what a gift My Baba had given me….a deadline. But in this case it was a lifeline. By having to go to work, to be of use, to focus on readers that would be wanting the news of Swami’s passing, I felt purposeful. There was no time for crying.

Within hours of completing that news story millions of people from around the world were on their way to little Puttaparthi to say good bye to Sai Baba, the “man” who had changed the face of India and the world. The God we loved, the One Who had loved us beyond our understanding.

Today, five years later, He remains the same for me. As I continued on my way to the ashram the crowds grew thicker. I heard that 40,000 people were in Hill View Stadium eating their free breakfast provided by the Central Trust, Baba’s Trust, ensuring Swami’s devotees that nothing has changed for them. Puttaparthi town continues as before. Swami will never leave His home. He had promised us and He had promised His mother Easwaramma. The breakfast plates were also carried home to those who could not walk to the stadium. Everyone got fed, the poorest of the poor, the richest of the rich.

As I neared the Ganesha Gate entrance, I saw that some people were going up Gopuram Road to the stadium and some were coming down carrying their gifts of saris and dhotis, heading towards the ashram. As I entered and passed through the security check I felt lighter, less hot. A slight breeze was turning the leaves and swaying the bougainvillea blossoms. Incense wafted towards me.

After hearing Swami’s discourse from years gone by I found myself smiling at the youngsters who smiled at me. “From which place did you come,” their perennial question made me happy. Though I have lived in Parthi for 25 years I told them the truth they wanted to hear. I replied, the United States of America. Oh, the USA one of them said, as if to let me know how informed she was.

In spite of the heat, in spite of the crowds I managed to get into the Ladies ‘side of the dining tent. And I was served a heaping plate of south Indian delicacies, foods of a region that I have come to love…slowly, very slowly. It was like an arranged marriage, Telugu country and me. First I found I could not adjust. But Mother Sai taught me how to accept the things I could not change, and to change the things I could—that meant transformation. I learned how to grow where I was planted.

Today, I heard a little voice inside me say, “Remember Who loves you, Baby.” And I remembered. Thank you, Bhagawan, for my life.