The Yoga of Water

Water the Guru
When I watch the movement of water, I know that I am in the presence of something that can teach me a lot about myself and show me how to navigate the world around and within me;  if I am quiet and alert in my thinking, I will extract a wealth of wisdom from it.  Water takes the form of what I would refer to as a guru.  No, not a slightly chubby swami, looking smug, bathing in his feeling of self-importance with his followers, smiling and chewing on the fruits of their wealth. Nor an emaciated yogi type with hardened skin, a tree branch walking-stick, subconsciously clinging to an ancient tradition, living out a story of being a wandering mendicant; placed a little uncomfortably into a caste system that allows breaches of power, bullying, elitism and an acquired submissiveness by those who feel powerless, imprisoned by a cultural system, educated into accepting their roles in the community, bound by what their society says they must be.  Nah, not that type of guru; the other ones, the ones who give, not ‘takers’, they make you realise that what you are seeking is right where you are, this very moment, it’s there if you dig in; they don’t create a dependency, the guru could take any form at all, and why not, what’s this obsession with the human form anyway?

Water Water Everywhere
My father was born in a tent on the beach; a child from the meeting of two great cultural streams, this has a been an advantageous meeting-ground for me, it has given me a lot of skills, gifts from my ancestors. I lived a number of my formative childhood years near a beach just across the Tasman;  I learned to enjoy as well as fear the water.  The childhood bliss of rolling in the waves with the hot sun on my skin, the sand between my toes, ice blocks and coconut oil.  And the pain; at about twelve years old, my friends and I found a body floating in the surf; that day my world changed  forever.  Death is that ‘something’ most of us are never quite ready for, even when we know it’s on its way and gives us fair warning, just there watching us or circling around those dear to us, waiting to snare those beloveds who we cling to; there is always a sidestepping, a looking away, a saying, “nope not yet”. The alternative is challenging and questioning, to look straight into the heart of the enigma of death, to embark on the journey of a man or woman of ‘power’; power over ourselves not others, a quest to overcome our perceived limitations and be more than we ever dreamed of.  We can make death our teacher and use it as a yardstick for measuring what is important, a filter to sort the small stuff from what really is critical or needs our attention. As we know from every day life, this water stuff can be big or small, and knowing what we do about quantum physics, size, distance and volume doesn’t necessarily always matter;  it’s the ‘essence’, what is at the ‘core’ that counts… in the same way a drop of rose oil in a burner can scent a room, the potential of the wisdom of water is not bound by its size; its very presence  is enough, it’s in the drop; the ocean can come to us.  Water is always ‘giving’, that is why we can learn from it, it gives, it swerves, it takes on what it associates with, it’s beauty is in its purity like when it flows from the Himalayan mountains, potent in its unity, the rolling Ganga.

The Pure Liquid
The water brought death right to the seashore where we were playing, that in itself is a teaching.  I am not sure whether I have genuine a fear of death any more. Either way, my response no longer matters so much nor troubles me; it was something I walked with every day for many years, and was probably because my goal had always been about ‘getting out’, stepping into forever-ness. My issue was more about fearing that maybe I wouldn’t reach the goal, it was crucial that I ‘be’ a man who could walk in the company of Jiddu Krishnamurthi, Ramana Maharshi, Nisagadatta, Kirpal Singh, Shams, my superheroes bigger than Batperson and Superperson.  I now see it wasn’t so much about death at all, it was more about integrity of being.  Initially, I used to relate the journey to the after (human) life, heading towards the ocean that holds all things; my focus was on the totality, not seeing that the water in the bucket is the same as other water.  If we were to look at the scriptures, the philosophers and dreamers, they imply a merging of the small with the large, the river to the sea; for me this is not it, I don’t really think like that, I go the other way.   Even though many times in my formative years I heard the story of the drop of water and the ocean,  I had been chasing the ocean and never seriously considered entering it through the drop;  I was looking away instead of trusting that everything I needed was right here.  We are made of water, attracted to showers, puddles, tin roofs pattering with raindrops, sea shells singing; and hey, coffee consists of water and although chewing beans is delicious, it’s better wrapped in fluid.

The Satori and Samadhi Trap
When we first start to enter the great ocean of Samadhi  (deep mindlessness), it may seem delightful, to many it would be a surprise to hear it might also be like a scorpion sting; or for some, initially it is a bitter potion that gradually steals everything you held close to your heart;  the totally of what we consider as ‘us’ breaks apart; trust me on this one, the lot is going to shatter, this is a ‘given’, so don’t be fooled by the smiling pictures of happy swami people, that’s Hollywood, or India philosophy spam marketing… but it’s ok, it changes shape further along the timeline, the waves settle.  Many people get caught in the initial Satori experience, the ‘awakening’ state, they milk it long after the cow is dry; they set themselves up, the robes, the incense, the books, the pictures, people bowing, micro communities, the gatherings, blissful smile, shoes off at the door; poor pitiful souls; this is nice but it’s nonsense, it’s a bit like playing three chords on a guitar and calling yourself a musician.  If people with a genuine depth of experience are not outspoken, the trail of casualties and tragedies is going to blow out even wider.  All those gurus screwing the pretty vulnerable women – staring into their eyes pretending it’s a spiritual experience, taking the money of divorcees, fiddling young boys; people wasting their lives with narcissists who pilfer the treasures of great traditions and build a private empire with them.  Let’s face it, it is worth having a little common sense here, and carefully investigating who might be the charlatans under a delusional spell; it is quite easy to  research these days.  People who are trapped in an ethereal euphoria always minimise the abuse of power, they cannot see the trail of deceit because of the spiritual fantasy, they confuse their mild ecstasy with someone who says the things they want to hear or believe to be true it’s escapism from the pain of life.

The Half Baked Cake
The experiences that many people have, are no doubt genuine, something has gone on, I would never question that, it’s not my business, but often they get lost in the exhilaration.  When people take their Satori (awakening) or Samadhi experience into the marketplace prematurely, quite often many naive trusting bright-eyed-bushy-tailed followers will get totally stuffed over. I have mixed feelings on whether the stuffing over is always intentional or if it’s more about immaturity.  There’s a certain amount of energy/power which comes with various experiences, and people paint themselves into corners they don’t know how to get out of. The lies get bigger and everyone gets hurt.

There is No Mountain
I used to live in the mountains, I had gone through a bit of a leap in my consciousness. I had to ground myself by going to the city, my world was disintegrating, I was quite young, twenty three.  We all have experiences when we start poking around in super-consciousness, it’s a version of normal, it’s no big deal unless you make it a big show.  I guess I am writing this because some people don’t know how to deal with the experience that goes on in the field of ‘consciousness’. The world although still there, at times becomes a little less solid for a while, this is only an elementary stage on the journey of self-transformation.  Actually it is not so much a journey, it’s more like sitting on a train and throwing all your bags out the window, the surroundings change but you are still in the same spot, it just looks and feels a little different, at times a bit misty, and like phantoms are playing roles.  It would be fair to say there is a ‘gate’ we go through, it is not a final destination, it’s the beginning.   By saying this I do not wish to create an impression that this ‘gate’ is a necessity or common to all or ought to be a goal,  it is still within the ‘known’ on the screen of life and ultimately it will lose its over-importance; it can be a milestone to some.  Spirituality is about losing self-importance, being nothing; if we are ‘something’ it’s always going to get in the way, the guruness gets in the way, the purity, the sadhana, the altered-experience is going to block the view, it all becomes a new chain.

Stealing Our Life Blood. 
We live at the tail end of a fragmented civilisation where there are many petty tyrants, boof-heads who are in the way of themselves and others; they are overburdened with self importance, they dirty the water; they see themselves as the ‘centre’, this is the biggest error a human being can make, not knowing that the ‘centre’ is everywhere, whether someone is a tyrant or not, it’s the same problem.  These mad men wish to control the flow of our water, to deprive communities of what is essential for the human body to function in this world of the five senses and coffee, it’s a necessity for all life on this big emerald colored rock floating in space.  Not only is their manipulation of this life giving substance disturbing our well-being; the mother earth, that wondrous living being we move upon also suffers.  This situation shows us how far we as a species have moved away from what is truly of value, when we poison the life-blood of our world, and others, we have lost our way.  These men, the tyrants who manipulate wealth and resources, hold too much power over a spellbound humanity,  they have become the false Gods.  They are ruthless, they experience a type of sick self stimulation by acquiring what is not really theirs, everything is for their empires, their kingdoms, they gather power by disempowering others.  In their taking, their lack of compassion, empathy and anything virtuous, they poison the world. They do not reflect the wisdom that is hidden in water.  How we treat others and respect the world around us is a benchmark of where we are at;  when we lose our compassion, our sense of care and sensitivity for the very Being we move in, we need to start again.

When we watch the water we see how adaptable it is, it is malleable, it bends when it needs to, it takes on new forms, it works it’s way around things,  we can learn everything we need to know from this glorious element of nature, it is a much better guru than most you will encounter.

Tilopa 2.0

Please note … guest writer coming soon to the Future

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