Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Make Peace, Make Peace


Bruegel's "Mad Meg"
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao

One of my favorite ways to define what I consider real freedom or real liberation is: you no longer have an argument with yourself,
you no longer have an argument with God,
you no longer have an argument with others,
you no longer have an argument with Life.
Adyashanti

I went to a workshop this weekend with my Teacher, Wong Loh Sin See.
During one of our meditations I had a vision of my heart. This painting by Bruegel, that I’ve posted, gives a good feel for what I saw and experienced.
My chest was filled with angry, little, tormenting gods.
Bruegel has them as demons, but it was clear to me that they were gods, stirring up quiet a fuss in my heart chakra. Set this painting into frienzied motion and that is my recollection. Curiously, I didn't find it the nightmare you might imagine. It was more a curiosity.

Gods of the heart chakra?
I have heard of sounds and colors and mandalas specific to each chakra, but never had I heard about specific gods.
So, this was interesting. Still, I probably wouldn't have mentioned it, if our discussion hadn't gotten into "energy." This whole macabre scene seemed to be a reflection of my subtle energies.
Of greater significance seemed to be the message that now seemed to be coming up,
“The gods are angry and need to be appeased.”

“Appease the gods!” Could this be true?

I asked Leong about this, forming my question along these lines:
I understand that our inner energies sometimes assume the form of animals.
A lion has been particularly helpful to me. This “lower higher self provides” a wild, fierce energy and strength when there is a need.

Now, it seemed that on a little higher level, there are these minor gods… but their activities seemed much less beneficial. Black arms arm whirling in all directions, contorted figures, baroquely elaborated in the darkness of a bloody underworld - these guys are on the rampage.
This cannot be all that good.

It reminded me that on most days recently I have had a fair amount of chest pain.
Is this why my blood pressure has not responded to three months of medications and now the meds feel like they're poisoning my system?
Is this why there’s an aneurysm ballooning out the top of my aorta?

If there are gods within that sometimes need appeasing, now may be the time.
But, could this be so? Such a belief is not really that much a part of my usual mindset.

Leong gave a long answer and he also gave a short.
The words that cut right to the bottom line were simple:
“It’s not appease... it is Make Peace.”

Yes, those were the Teacher’s words to me when I initiated with him,
“Make peace. Make peace.”
How many times have I replayed those words?
At the time, they were directed towards the dissolution of my twenty-year partnership.
Today, they pointed deep inside, so much more profoundly as to constitute a whole new lesson.

Sunday morning dawned and the image of those tormenting gods was still fresh in my mind.
Who are they?
With whom am I to make peace?
Of course it is my self.
But, in such new territory for my soul the self-image still seems as Other to me.
I wanted names and more specifics.

So, I Googled, quickly finding good faxsmilies online,
crowded upon on the fa├žade of the Hindu temple in Bangkok,
Wat Phra Si Maha Uma Dev.

Parvati, the consort of Shiva, covers the temple and so I started reading about her.
Generally considered a benign goddess of Nature, she also has some fearful aspects namely, Durga, Kali, and the Mahavidyas.

"Durga" echoed in my head along with one word, “Yes!”
I clicked the link to her.
Durga is Parvati’s fighting form, a warrior with 10 arms riding upon lion or a tiger, carrying weapons and assuming mudras.
In short, she’s not so foreign to my being after all.
Hadn’t I begun with lion energy and realizing the gods were above (or "riding") that? And wasn’t this all about the battle being waged within my heart chakra and chest?

I moved on to Kali.

Click.
Knowing what I would find since Kali has visited me for years and her energy is no stranger.
She has this wagging, curling tongue that is a dead give away of when she comes to call.
The first time I assumed her fierce posture with my own tongue curling out, I was so relieved that tradition has us meditating with eyes closed. I didn’t care to see nor to have any witnesses from my meditation group.
She is a black and devilish being and yet, a goddess. (How bad can that be? - Well, there is that wicked tongue...)

Instantly, I was back to the TEE procedure, my benumbed tongue choking my throat (Exsanguinate).
Oh! That must have pissed her off.
I resolved to take a bow to myself and her next time the doctors have to take a look.
It seemed the respect due oneself and goddess, as basic as the Inuit hunter’s bowing to the animals they hunt. (Hadn't I just written how they'd reduced me to an animal? Exsangunate!)
Still, doctors have to do what they must do, and perhaps next time I can make the process less a sacrilege by first paying my respects.

It’s written that:
Once, during their numerous love games, things got out of hand between Shiva and Parvati. What started out in jest turned into a serious matter with an incensed Shiva threatening to leave. Left with no choice, Parvati multiplied herself into ten different forms, the Ten Mahavidyas, one to block each of the ten directions, thus preventing her consort’s escape. (Am I trying to escape?)

But, Ten!
Perhaps that explains all the crowding that I saw, the busyness of Bruegel.
It certainly explains the carnage.
The Ten Mahavidyas cover the whole range of feminine divinity with a heavy nod to the horrific:
Chinnamasta - the Goddess who cuts off her Own Head (or ruptures her aorta?)
Bhairavi - the Goddess of Decay
Dhumawati - the Goddess who widows Herself
Bagalamukhi - the Goddess who seizes the Tongue (geeze, another one with tongue issues!)
Matangi - the Goddess who Loves Pollution (or is that modern medication?)
Kali - the Eternal Night

But, I am not too dismayed.
“Mahavidya” comes from maha (great) and vidya (knowledge, revelation)
and each form made Shiva realize an essential truth.

So, I will think on all of this and see if I can find a way to
“Make Peace. Make Peace.”

To these who are my self,
Namaste, I bow down.

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