While the rest of the world at large is on high alert for more than several well-founded reasons; quarantined, working from home by choice, or let’s hope not down with “the flu”, let’s take a moment to remember, or realize, that if you should, all of a sudden, ecstatically scream out loud, “I AM THE BANANA!” during meditation, two things:
- You would not be the first, and…
- You wouldn’t be wrong.
Let’s start with number 2.
It’s a simple concept, really. Let’s turn to the alchemists of old for some perspective on it.
If we are all made of “prima materia”, or “first matter”, or the “primitive, formless base of all matter similar to chaos, or the quintessence of aether” (Wikipaedia), as is generally agreed upon, then the understanding that “WE ARE ALL ONE” takes on a whole new level of meaning.
Simply said, we’re all made of the same stuff; human, animal, mammal, avian, vegetable, mineral… Well, you get it. We are ALL “ONE.
To explain further, this from https://awakeninthedream.com:
“The “famous secret,” and the basis of the alchemical opus is the unique prima materia, which is the chaos and raw material out of which the refined substance or “gold” is produced…
Symbolically speaking, the enigmatic prima materia represents the unknown substance within us that carries the projections of the unconscious. It is the psychic emulsion or medium in which the subconscious contents within us are encoded. The prima materia is thus a symbol for the unconscious itself.“
It is the unconscious aspect of ourselves that drives us, at least until we become conscious. And even then, we are never fully free of it’s machinations, even when remaining in a state of high self-awareness.
The unconscious, or subconscious, has us identify as singularities, disconnected from source, blowing willy nilly about, ironically, in the same winds that will eventually lead us back to unity and source.
That, along with the ultimate realization that we were never separate from the UNITY or ONENESS at all; merely sleeping under the illusion of separateness.
Meditation = Self-realization
So, if we are indeed “ALL ONE”, then why can we not be ONE with the banana… or the turnip… or the cat… or the Ruby Slippers?
Much like Glinda, The Good Witch of the North, says to Dorothy at the end of her epic journey to find her way home, “You’ve always had the power, my dear. You just had to learn it for yourself.”
Yes, we (the Western mainstream, not including the Indigenous of this land, to whom I will dedicate an entire Blog Post to shortly) always had the power, but not the blueprint to move from unenlightened to enlightened…
Until they came.
I’m referring to self-realization, which occurs most often through grace (available through all faith-bases), and the undeniable power of meditation, as was taught to us, here in the West, by the intrepid Masters and Swamis that came to show us the way.
Which brings me to number 1.
As promised last week, and in an endeavor to continue my series on the meditation Masters who came to North America, one of the brightest stars to arrive on the meditation scene in North America in the 1970’s was Swami Muktananda, or Baba Muktananda, as he affectionately became known as to his devotees.
The following is from Siddhayoga.com:
“Swami Muktananda, 1908-1982, began the life of a sadhu, a wandering mendicant in search of spiritual fulfillment, at an unusually early age. Though as a young man Muktananda gained recognition for his yogic attainments, Swami Muktananda often said that his spiritual journey didn’t truly begin until he received shaktipat, spiritual initiation, from the holy man Bhagavan Nityananda. It was then that Muktananda’s spiritual energy, kundalini, was awakened, and he was drawn into profound states of meditation. Nine years later Muktananda attained the state of God-realization.
In the 1970’s, on his Guru’s behalf, Swami Muktananda brought the venerable tradition of his master’s lineage to the West, giving the previously little-known ‘shaktipat’ initiation to untold thousands of spiritual seekers. Muktananda established Gurudev Siddha Peeth as a public trust in India to administer the work there, and founded the SYDA Foundation in the United States to administer the global work of Siddha Yoga meditation.
Before Swami Muktananda took Mahasamadhi in 1982, he wrote many books and established more than six hundred meditation centers and a number of ashrams around the world. In May 1982, Swami Muktananda Swami Muktananda appointed two successors, Swami Chidvilasananada and her brother, Swami Nityananda. Three years later, Swami Nityananda resigned from the Suru;s role. Swami Chidvilasananda became the sole head of the Siddha Yoga lineage and sole Guru of Siddha Yoga students. Swami Chidvilasananda continues to share Swami Muktananda’s spiritual legacy with the world through her travels and teachings.”
It was at the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Upstate New York, that I too received shaktipat from my Teacher Swami Chidvilasananda, otherwise lovingly known to spiritual adepts world-wide as Gurumayi.
And WOW. More like a gazillion times WOW… Was that something!!!
I will share all about that most profound of profound of experiences in an upcoming post.
Right now, I know you’re wondering what any of this has to do with a banana?
Well, it’s like this…
When Baba Muktananada first came to North America in the early 70’s on his mission to enlighten the West, one meditator at a time, through the process of “shaktipat”, or awakening the conscious energy in the body, he had the “juice” cranked up pretty high.
That was what I heard from several individuals who had experienced shaktipat initiation at the hands (and heart) of Baba Muktananda in the early 1970’s, just a couple of generations (and a bit) before my shaktipat experience in 1998.
Here’s how John Chambers, one such meditator, described the early 1970’s shaktipat initiation scene with Swami Muktananda:
“It was like living in a cross between Dante’s Purgatory and a Walt Disney animated feature film. A thousand faces filled the semidarkness. The air resounded with titters, groans, and guffaws. People rocked back and forth, assumed strange postures, thrust their arms up in the air. A steady buzzing like a swarm of bees came from the back of the auditorium. Over to one side, a high-pitched cackle broke out. It was followed by a loud gurgling noise, and then the words, “Yum! Yum!”
A sock with a foot inside it brushed against my ear. The young man beside me was coming out of his headstand.
A small, dusky-colored man, about seventy years of age, wearing an orange ski cap, dark glasses, and a saffron robe, was advancing calmly through the cacophony. He moved quickly from person to person, stopping briefly to bop each one with a peacock-feather wand. Sometimes he lingered for a moment to pat someone’s head as if he were testing the strength of the skull. Then he went on.
This man’s name was Paramahansa Muktananda. Everybody called him Baba. He was one of the bestknown of the numerous spiritual teachers who spent time in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s.
This was the summer of 1979. I was in the meditation hall in Muktananda’s ashram in South Fallsburg, high up in the Catskills sixty miles north of New York City. This big, sprawling collection of buildings, lined with fresh gardens and honeycombed with rooms large and small, was the headquarters of Muktananda’s Siddha Yoga Dham (or “Home of Siddha Yoga”) of America Foundation (SYDA).
I fixed my gaze on Muktananda, who was advancing down the row where I was sitting. He was unperturbed as he made his way through this agitated, noisy throng. His peacock-feather wand flicked regularly up and down, while with one hand he reached out regularly to pat somebody’s forehead.
He strode forward with an oddly loose-jointed gait, shoulders thrust back, belly forward, as if he were a pregnant woman. But it was he who was doing the impregnating. I’d been told that the big circles, or “eyes,” on a peacock feather were supposed to possess the power, not only to impregnate peahens from a distance, but also to seed the souls of men and women.
And that was what Baba was doing. He was sowing a seed in each of us. When he stopped and touched a head, it was to make sure the seed had fallen in the right place. In the language of Siddha Yoga, Baba was administering shaktipat; he was awakening the shakti, or “conscious energy,” in each of us. That energy was coiled up snakelike at the base of the spine in a configuration called the kundalini.
Baba’s own kundalini had been brought to full maturity long ago, or so we had been told; by dint of years of meditation and chanting, it had mounted up through his spinal column until it reached his brain and then his soul.
The shakti was alive in Baba from head to toe. He had become what is called in Siddha Yoga parlance, ‘firmly established in the Self’ the greater, cosmic part of ourselves that the normal self, which has not known it since birth, seeks to reunite with.
Muktananda was a fully realized human being, so brimming over with the bliss-bestowing conscious energy called shakti that he could awaken it in each one of us with a word, with a touch, with a look even with a thought! The peacock-feather fan was a conduit that the fire of Baba’s shakti flowed through to reignite the guttering lamps of soul within us all.
It was the awakening of the kundalini that was causing all the commotion in the room. When the kundalini woke up, it found itself hemmed in by a mass of psychic debris.
The way up the spinal column was only three feet long, but it was lined with psychic scar tissue samskaras, or “impressions” from your previous lifetimes. The kundalini had to fight its way through these samskaras through your bad karma, so to speak, and they resisted powerfully and noisily; they liked it where they were, and were loath to cease to exist.
In that first intensive in the meditation hall, we all let off a tremendous amount of psychic steam. The awakening shakti assaulted, broke up, and forced out the hard, resistant, blackened accretions of many a badly lived lifetime. That was the reason for all the giggles, screams, guffaws, all the bizarre and unclassifiable sounds that erupted in the auditorium: people were disgorging “negativities”; they were letting go of bad karma; in the parlance of Siddha Yoga, they were “having kriyas.…
I went about my business: classes, meditation, chanting, more meditation. It was very calming; but always, wherever you were, you regularly heard kriyas going off like rifle shots, sniffs, pants, shouts, and guffaws accompanying the sudden discharge of samskaras…”
And now finally…
In Baba Muktananda’s own words, “You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.”
And believe me when I say those waves weren’t kiddie pool sized… they were more like energetic tsunamis!
When Baba Muktananda was administering “shaktipat”, as stated in John Chambers’ article above, the “kriyas” or spontaneous movements or sounds coming from those receiving shaktipat, made it seem like the meditation hall was some kinda koo koo zoo for meditators.
They were, however, far from koo koo. In fact, what they were doing was burning through traumas and karma, leading to an accelerated ascension through the power of meditation.
This went on for some years. Then for reasons I have no idea about, Baba Muktananada turned down the tsunami factor on the shaktipat kriyas – and people were having significantly less of them – yet were at the same time still receiving full shaktipat.
It was at this time that my friend, Bill’s story took place.
Baba Muktananda was his Guru, and he had been to several shaktipat initiation ceremonies from the very beginning of Baba’s time in the US.
There was this one time that he, along with maybe 100 other spiritual adepts, were in the main hall, called the “Shakti Mandap”, at the ashram in Upstate New York where Baba had taken up residence, and everyone had just received shaktipat initiation from him.
All was so quiet, you could hear people’s breath rising and falling in their chests…
Until all of a sudden, one young man, from the back of the hall, having the realization that we are all one – and I mean ONE – and having ended the illusion of separation from source, suddenly and uncontrollably broke the dead silence and yelled out, “I AM THE BANANA!”
…at which point, the surprised silence that ensued could no longer be held, and the room went up in an explosion of belly laughs, guffaws and howls of laughter!
They were clearly not laughing AT the young man’s utterly hilarious yet most profound realization, rather more in solidarity with him. After all, the whole point of meditation is to achieve self-realization – and if happens through the full awareness of oneness with a banana, so be it!
As an aside, it was the recently departed and dearly beloved Baba Ram Dass, American spiritual teacher, psychologist and author, who introduced Baba Muktananda in 1970 to eagerly awaiting spiritual adepts.
I’ll leave you with a pertinent quote from Baba Ram Dass for trying times: “If you want to cure the world, don’t emanate fear – emanate love.”
From Bananas to Beatles
Next week we’ll be exploring yet another Master Teacher that came to the West to help spread the good word on meditation.
Only this time, we’ll be looking at him through the eyes of the iconic Beatles. Yup. The Beatles!
Once again, I will sign off with Baba Muktananda’s greatest teaching of all, for which he is remembered by countless devotees and students:
“God dwells within you, as you.”
Namaste, dear Baba, with all my heart filled with immense gratitude.
The Overcoming Addiction Series Guided Meditations
Two weeks ago, we kicked off a very important series of Guided Meditations on Overcoming Addiction.
I specifically researched and created the Overcoming Addiction Series for those who are, or would like to, overcome any type of addiction: from smoking, overeating, or to being addicted to negative thought patterns.
According to scientific research, those who choose to meditate alongside other wellness efforts while overcoming addiction, will likely be addiction free 25% faster and 80% more successful in remaining so if they continue to meditate.
The Series in in 3 Parts, with 6 Support Guided Meditations to come!
There are 3 Parts to the Overcoming Addiction Series. Parts 1 and 2 are available in 30 and 60 minute versions each, and Part 3 is available in 15 and 30 Minute Versions. Parts 1 through 3 are accompanied by 6 Support Meditations meant to be practiced after Parts 1 through 3 have been listened to at least once.
It is highly recommended that Parts 1 through 3 be listened to often for the duration of the time period required to overcome the addiction, and that the Support Meditations become part of a daily meditation practice, reviewing at least one (of choice) per day.
Last week I released Overcoming Addiction, Part 2: “I am not my addiction.”
Overcoming Addiction, Part 3 of 3: “I can do this!”
Here’s an excerpt:
“…Notice your thoughts now… without judging them, fighting them or feeding them, gently bring your attention back to your breath. Be curious about what happens to these urges over time as you continue to meditate – and appreciate your newfound ability to surf them and no longer be controlled by them… The key is to replace the fear around the craving not going away with the interest in the process of making it go away… You have already proved that you can… It’s now a matter of “practice makes perfect”. Remember, you CAN do this and be addiction free, once and for all!…
As you continue to focus on your breath, repeat inwardly:
I am ME…..
I am all that I am…..
I am not my addiction nor what anyone else perceives me to be…..
I am light, I am…..
I am love, I am……
I am truth I am…….
I am strong, I am…..
I am real, I am……
I am newly whole, I am……….
I am grateful, I am………
I am whole, I am………..
I send love to every part of my body… I send love to my skin… I send love to my hands, arms, feet and legs… I send love to my head, neck and back… I send love to my own inner, pure and beautiful inner child… I send love to my entire being, and wrap myself up in a blanket of love and peace…
I am worthy of love – my own, and that of others…
I am addiction free, I am…
I inhale love and exhale gratitude……. and
I offer peace to myself – and to all who seek it… and chose peace, to embrace the love of others – and myself – today and all days…
Allow yourself to come back to the room. You are relaxed, yet invigorated. You are calm, yet alert. You are on your way to full recovery – and you are at peace. When you are ready, open your eyes…”
Please share this Guided Meditation Series with anyone you feel might benefit from it. I thank you for that, very deeply, in advance.
There is a 15 Minute Version and a 30 Minute Version of this Guided Meditation.
The only difference between the 15, 30 Minute and 60 Minute Versions of all 3 Parts is that the longer versions have more pure meditation time to beautiful, heart-opening music at the end, just before you are asked to come out of meditation.
Here’s a link to the Overcoming Addiction Series, Part 3: “I can do this!” Guided Meditation: 30 Minute Version:
Here’s a link to the Overcoming Addiction Series, Part 3: “I can do this!”, Guided Meditation: 60 Minute Version:
About Meditation.Works Guided Meditations
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With Great “Lovitude”,
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…more Guided Meditations for adults and new Guided Meditations for children, teens and elders, on subject matters that matter to them most!
As always, Happy Meditating!
With great “Lovitude”,