Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Volume 1 Issue 12 Oct 2008


A harness for the Chipmunk Press,
If I can find a better.
Couple nice things
This month.
Where you put a dream in the hands of spiritual practice,
A chipmunk shows you.
How about a calling card
If you need a special retreat?
Relate it to the Yoga.
Can poetry be a map?
I doubt you’d find tiger.
It’s not there in the News.
A page two.
You give the Media its strength?
Careful,
How easy it is
To find yourself
Mr. Bridge.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Destination Sadhana
:
Exploring places of interest to sadhaks of the integral yoga.
By Douglas McElheny

Having to go out of India every six months for a visa might seem like a real hassle. I’m always happy to do it though. Why? Well, there are two reasons. The first is that I am usually fed up with India on some level and ready for a break. What I really look forward to however is the chance to spend some time at Nilambe Meditation Center in Sri Lanka.

For those who haven’t heard of it, Nilambe is a small meditation center located at the top of a tea estate in the hills near Kandy. There is no electricity and conditions are basic, but beauty and silence abound making it an ideal oasis for the work-weary sadhak to take some much needed time for meditation and introspection.

Unlike some meditation centers, Nilambe doesn’t offer courses such as a 10 day Vipassana. So it’s possible to stay as long or as little as you like. There is a daily schedule though:

4:45–Wake Up Gong
5:00-6:00–Group Meditation
6:00-6:30–Tea
6:30-7:30–Yoga
7:30-8:00–Breakfast
8:00-9:15–Working Meditation
9:30-11:00–Group Meditation
11:00-12:00–Individual Meditation
12:00–Lunch
12:00-2:30–Library and Rest
2:30-4:00–Group Meditation
4:00-4:30–Tea Developing Right Speech
4:30-5:30–Yoga
5:30-6:30–Meditation with Nature
6:30-7:30 Chanting and Group Meditation
7:30-8:00–Snack
8:00-9:00–Discussion and Metta Meditation

At first glance this might seem like a pretty demanding program. In reality though it’s not nearly as demanding as the daily schedule for a Vipassana course1 and it has a lot more flexibility. Certain things like chanting, yoga classes, and discussions are optional and many people use the ‘Individual Meditation’ and ‘Meditation with Nature’ times to read, chill out, or take a walk in the surrounding countryside. For the ‘Working Meditation’ you are also left to your own judgement to decide how you want to occupy yourself during that time. There’s always plenty to do though such as cleaning, sweeping, weeding, food preparation, tidying the meditation hall etc.

The atmosphere at Nilambe is quite laid back and nobody is going to be breathing down your neck if you don’t adhere to the schedule perfectly. They are however fairly strict regarding some traditional buddhist precepts for dress and conduct. The first is the separation of the men and women into separate living areas. The second is a ‘dress code’ which basically boils down to covering up as much skin as possible including knees and shoulders which are expected to be concealed at all times. Lastly there is the Noble Silence which is maintained at all times except for the four o’clock tea break.

Now let’s take a look at some practical information for the potential visitor.

Accommodation
Accommodation at Nilambe consists of either single or double rooms with shared bathrooms. The mens rooms (and I assume the womens as well) are simply furnished with a bed and a nightstand. Some of the rooms however don’t have mosquito nets, and I recommend picking one up in Kandy before you get to the center unless you want to spend your nights breathing in mosquito coils.

Nilambe charges a fee of 500 SLR per day for your food and accommodation. This works out to be about 4.75 USD or 210 INR and is quite reasonable in my opinion. The center is of course open to larger donations if you wish to make them. I would also encourage people who visit Nilambe to leave a tip for the often grumpy but hardworking kitchen staff.


Food
Food at Nilambe is tasty and nutritious though some dishes might be a bit spicy for some people. The menu is also a bit repetitive if you stay long term. Kandy however is fairly close, so its easy to head there for a day trip and satisfy your palate with a stop at Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, or one of the local restaurants such as the Devon or the Pub. You are also free to bring your own food to the center. I usually bring some fruit and biscuits to snack on if I get hungry in between lunch and the bedtime snack.

Getting There and Back
The first thing you have to do is get to Colombo and flying is your only option. Round trip airline tickets are available from Chennai to Colombo for 7000 INR from JetLite and 9000 INR from Sri Lankan Airlines. I have also heard that it is possible to get a 5000 INR ticket from Indian Airlines if you go to one of their offices.

Once you are in Colombo airport you can take a rickshaw, or tuk-tuk as they are called in Sri Lanka, for around 400 SLR to the Negambo bus stand and then catch a bus from there to Kurunegala and then another bus from there to Kandy. It should be about 200 SLR for both buses if I remember correctly. Taxis are also available and can be arranged at the airport.

Once you reach Kandy you have two options for getting to the center. First you can take the Galaha/Deltota bus #633 (about 20 SLR) to the Nilambe Office Junction 17 km away. From there you have three more km to go, up a steep and poorly maintained road. You can either hoof it or jump in a tuk-tuk. The cost for a tuk-tuk at the time of this writing was 250 SLR. Be aware however that there is a gate about two-thirds of the way up which is sometimes locked. If it is you will have to walk the last stretch.

Your second option is to take a tuk-tuk from Kandy all the way to the center itself or to the gate depending on your luck. This should cost in the neighborhood of 1000 SLR or so. From what I understand, if you want some help arranging this go to the Buddhist Publication Society in Kandy.

When it’s time for you to leave the Nilambe staff can arrange for a tuk-tuk to come up to the center and either take you to the bottom of the hill (where you can catch the bus to Kandy) or all the way to Kandy itself. Alternatively you can walk down the hill (a rather nice walk I might add) and take the bus or a tuk-tuk from there.

What to Bring
Here is a list of the things the center recommends that you bring as well as a few suggestions of my own.

a flashlight and batteries
an umbrella (if it’s the rainy season)
a mosquito net
warm clothes (it’s cold at night)
socks
clothes washing powder and a brush
a proper yoga mat (the center only has plastic floor mats)

Also if you will be traveling with cash, be sure to change your Indian rupees to dollars or euros BEFORE leaving India. You cannot change Indian rupees at banks or change houses in Sri Lanka. You can still change Indian rupees ‘unofficially’, even at the Colombo airport, but you’ll get a lousy exchange rate.

Contact Information
It’s possible to just show up at Nilambe and get a room if one is available. Guests are encouraged however to make arrangements a few weeks in advance if possible. Here is the contact info:

Telephone: 0777-804555 (country code is 94)
Email: upulnilambe@yahoo.com

About Kandy
Kandy is also a nice place to spend a couple of days. There’s a very nice and affordable guest house run by monks where you can stay for just 200 SLR a night. It’s called the Burmese Rest House. Nearby is the Sri Dalada Maligawa otherwise known as the temple of the tooth which claims to have one of the teeth of the Buddha. Another place worth visiting is the Royal Botanical Gardens which is a lovely place to spend the day. Then there’s Helga’s Folly which has been ranked as one of the world’s most unique hotels and is a must see if you are in Kandy.


***
I have paid five visits to Nilambe over the past three years, staying for as little as a week to as long as a month. I have always found my stays there to be beneficial though I have encountered some difficulties. The biggest problem I have had, especially during one long visit, was increased activity of the vital mind. I’ve also had some lesser problems with depression. I doubt I’m unique in this regard. When you suddenly find yourself free of all the things that normally occupy you, it’s easy for these sorts of things to come in and fill the emptiness. I’ve never done it, but I imagine a trip to Kandy would help to alleviate things if you found yourself treading water. The best thing I’ve found though is to just keep throwing these things out until they either stop coming or lose enough of their strength so that if they do come they don’t have the power to carry you off for any appreciable length of time.

On the positive side of things, even during short stays I have noticed a rapid amplification of the dream life in terms of both quantity and clarity. I can’t say the same about the voice and vision.2 I have however gotten some good lines of a buddhist flavor while there. Also, the title of the column From First, From Within came to me during a stay at Nilambe.

Now it makes sense of course that the inner life would open up a bit when you are out in the country and meditating for a minimum of four to five hours a day. Be that as it may, after five trips I think I can say with surety that there’s a favorable spiritual energy at Nilambe. It’s what you might call a power spot. Why that is I don’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that little piece of property has a spiritual history. Perhaps it’s a place where “the large liberty of brooding seers had left the long impress of their soul’s scene.”3

It makes sense too that while at a place like Nilambe, if you can avoid the potential pitfalls of a retreat situation, you would find yourself feeling more peace, detachment, joy etc. But I also find that after a good clearing out at Nilambe life in Pondy is easier to deal with upon my return. That effect fades after a time, but I have found, especially on my last two trips, that some change of a permanent nature has also occurred which doesn’t fade. For me this has been mainly in the area of surrender, but for others it might manifest in a different way. The point is that I am quite convinced of the utility of periodic retreats for the purpose of psychological integration and I feel that many sadhaks would benefit from such experiences even though they might not be appropriate for everyone. It seems to me that places like Nilambe are and will be quite useful places for sadhaks of the integral yoga to take such retreats and and I would even go so far as to say that I think Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have their eyes on Nilambe. Let me explain why.

On my second trip to Nilambe I went to the library to see if The Experience of No-Self by Bernadette Roberts was available. I found the book in the library and walked outside with the intention of checking it out and who should I see staring up at me but Sri Aurobindo himself! There on the librarian’s table was a stack of books and the topmost book was a biography of Sri Aurobindo with his face on the cover.


At that moment I took this synchronicity as Sri Aurobindo showing his approval of my choice of reading material. As I thought about it afterwards though I thought he might also be trying to show me that he and the Mother have a presence there at Nilambe. If that’s true I can only speculate about why that is, but if what I’ve said about the utility of retreats is accurate it makes sense that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother would establish themselves at a place as close as Nilambe which can be easily reached by their sadhaks. Perhaps in the future, as religious boundaries are transcended in the development of a world spirituality, Nilambe will become a popular destination for Pondy based sadhaks.

But why wait until then? I wouldn’t have written this article if I didn’t want to encourage people to go to Nilambe now. Just try to discern if you have a real inner call to the place and not just a vital one.

For those who want or need more information on either Nilambe or Kandy please contact the center itself or consult Mr. Google.

Metta

Notes and References
1. For an example of a daily Vipassana schedule go to http://traveloncloud9.wordpress.com/2008/01/24/vipassana-meditation-course-typical-daily-schedule/
2. This is only in my case. I imagine someone with a strong opening in this area would notice a difference.
3. Sri Aurobindo, Savitri–Part 2, Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library Volume 29, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, p. 384.
From the poem The Strength to Turn the Page:
by Donny Duke

That do us no harm,
The BBC.
We’re surrounded by news media.
There is a light there.
It doesn’t shine bright enough to see.
It is a huge denial
Of the hidden depths.
It gives factual reports












On doubtful truth.
There’s a waiting agenda.
Men manipulate this medium.
In the party,
You put him in with me.
The news media becomes an accomplice
To control thought,
Ever reaching an opinion
That has no good news.
I don’t mean to be rude.
What’s happened is the phone’s ringing.
I’m gonna let her do twenty times today.
Thank you.
I got my eye on you.
She was giving me a true story.
That’s what she was doing.
Can truth be out of shape?
Can it draw conjecture lines
To falsehood?
Daddy put me to sleep.










What would we do if we opened her temple
And found tribute there?
An oil company perhaps,
The making politician,
Or a religion’s standardizing colony.
Every time,
Usually,
Bugs and bananas.
Here Dina,
Bring that up on the table.
You know who I am:
Right before living,
The half-life that relies on fear,











So soft,
So powerful,
So convincing.
I wait for your dime to move.
Man I lead to disaster
By every known road.
Are you scared?
Doesn’t sound good
Is your average reply.
People
In government know
– Had him in his lap a lot –
Fear












Can give control.
We do what we do.
Now that it’s in front of you
Not bury it somewhere.
We’ll be right back after this message.
Budget on same insistent inquiry
That was aired
On the news.
Our budget
Is a collective congregation
Doing what was told them.
There
Hardly any members at all
Realize
That what they’re doing
– Come here don’t you? –
Isn’t very nice:
Making disaster
So much closer
Because they’re so scared.
They usually sit twelve hours,
The divine help,
Before giving answer.
Put ‘em in there.
Do you know what you came with?
Have you a clean conscience?
I’m not blowing you some confused.
You’re not moving
From that dominating State idea
More important
Than every individual.










Well it may happen.
You just need to check your pulse,
What’s motivating you and why.
One day maybe you won’t be able to.










(If you’d like to read more of my verse but written not for the Yoga specifically but for the world at large –socio/political/spiritual– or have some inspired poetry of your own to submit I have a non-literary poetry ezine of instrumental verse: http://theatomicreview.blogspot.in/)


Friday, October 3, 2008

From First, From Within
A column dedicated to exploring the role of dreams voices and visions in the integral yoga.

By Douglas McElheny

In past installments of From First, From Within I have stated very generally and tentatively the two purposes that I feel dreams serve in our lives. Those two purposes are knowledge and guidance. The question is though, how do we make use of that knowledge and guidance? To start answering that question let me first state that, from what I have seen, dreams of the type that show your inner workings are normally applicable to the next day. Given this, it should be possible when the dreams are sufficiently clear to use them as an aid to our sadhana on a day to day basis. To show how this can be done I will relate two dreams with prominent archetypal symbols which not only give knowledge but also a course of action. Then I will describe how I followed these courses of action and what the results were.

Now some readers might be unfamiliar with what I mean by the word ‘archetype’. So before I begin let’s take a look at a some passages from Medhananda’s books on ancient Egypt which give good insight into the nature of archetypes or, as the Egyptians called them, the neteru:

Our archetypes, which are the subject of this book,
are not the imaginary and glorified entities
of some higher world.
They are vibratory constituents of the soul,
energy quanta, the psychodynamics of all living beings 1

They are self-aware master patterns, cosmic functions,
principles and forces, modes of functioning in us. 2

Called in Egypt ‘neteru’ and later in religions ‘angels’ or ‘gods’ and imagined outside of ourselves they are possibilities, capacities, and potentialities which man must discover and develop if he wants to be really himself and live in peace with himself. 3


Let’s take a look at our first dream:

In the dream I am Luke Skywalker and I am fighting with Darth Vader. My weapon however is a wooden sword and not a lightsaber. Then there is a dream shift and I become the observer. As the observer I know that Luke was defeated by Darth Vader. Chewbacca however is now there and he is challenging Darth Vader to a fight. Darth Vader accepts the challenge and is confident that he will win easily since Chewbacca isn’t a Jedi. Chewbacca, however, is the one who wins easily and gives Darth Vader a thorough beating in the process.

Then the scene completely changes and I am watching a battle in space. I see a rebel fighter (either a Y-Wing or a B-Wing, I don’t remember which) make a suicide run and crash into a Star Destroyer. The attack causes major damage to the Star Destroyer and even though it isn’t destroyed, it is now powerless and adrift.

Though there’s a lot in this dream, the basic movement is quite simple and straightforward. It shows (from two different angles) a defeat of the hostile forces, a throwing off of their influence. The thing that’s quite interesting about this dream though is the fact that it is Chewbacca and not Luke Skywalker who is able to defeat Darth Vader.

The morning after having the dream I was contemplating it from an archetypal standpoint and asking myself what capacity or potentiality could be symbolized in the form of Chewbacca. A number of things came to mind. Chewbacca is a hero for one thing. He’s also very brave and strong as well as ferocious in battle. The thing however that struck me the most about Chewbacca at that moment is his unflinching loyalty to his friends, particularly to Han Solo to whom he owes a life debt. Now at the time I had this dream I was reading Medhananda’s book The Ancient Egyptian Senet Game. In his description of the Senet Game Medhanand
a tells us that:

The game of archetypes,

known in ancient Egypt as the Senet Game,

presents itself as a game board
with three rows of ten cases–
each case the kingdom, or playfield, or the House
of one of our psychological powers or archetypes
with whom we are invited to play,
and ultimately to identify,

because it is a fundamental component of ourselves.
To foster that movement of identification we may also
approach each House as a mirror, and ask the question:
Mirror, mirror on the wall, tell me, who am I? 4

With this idea kicking around in my head, I decided that I would ‘play’ with Chewbacca that day. In other words, I would attempt to consciously align myself with the archetype he represented in order to throw off the hostile influence represented by Darth Vader. Since I had to start somewhere I decided to do so with the idea of the faithful friend, but I kept my mind open to the possibility of learning more about Chewbacca as the day proceeded.

On that particular day I had nothing that was absolutely necessary to do. Given that, I would have preferred to stay home and do some reading, but in the spirit of being the faithful friend I decided to devote my morning to serving myself and others. I had promised a village woman I knew that I would take her to get a pair of glasses so I headed to her house first. She wasn’t home, so I left and headed for Nehru street and that’s where the magic began.

What I mean by ‘magic’ is the wonder and gratitude I felt as things unfolded like clockwork from that point on. Things happened in such a way that I knew I was doing exactly what I needed to be doing and there was a feeling of being in synch with the universe. There was also the sense of the presence of the Divine and the feeling that my hand was being held by the Mother. Anyone who has had this experience will know what I am talking about, but for those who haven’t I will try to capture that magic as I describe the events that transpired. That’s not a simple task since there is a very subjective element in the matter as well as the fact that the whole thing could be written off as ‘coincidence’, but I will try.

My first stop on Nehru street was a fabric store where I intended to be a friend to myself and get some fabric for some new pants. Anybody who’s gone to Nehru street at around 11:00 am knows how hard it is to get a parking space. On that day however I found one quite easily, and as soon as I saw it I had this strong sense that it was meant for me. After parking there I felt a strong movement of gratitude and within that gratitude the sense of the Divine taking care of me. The feeling grew when I saw that directly across the street was a fabric store. It seemed pretty obvious to me that this was where the Divine wanted me to purchase the fabric so that’s where I bought it.

My next stop was Jaya Emporium where I had to buy some velcro for a friend. It was quite a bit farther down Nehru street so I got back on my moped and still feeling the wonder and the presence I headed in that direction. I had a strong suspicion I wouldn’t have any trouble getting another parking space and sure enough I found one just a few meters away from the entrance to Jaya Emporium.


After buying the velcro, my final act of friendship was to head to VAK bookshop where I intended to buy a copy of the Savitri Concordance for Donny.5 When I got there, I saw VAK was having a sidewalk sale so I decided to see what was available. You can imagine my delight and amazement when I found two copies of the Savitri Concordance on sale for 50% off. I thought that I should get the other copy for David, but I wondered if that was being a bit selfish. So I asked the Mother to give me a sign that I should buy the book for him, and then I opened it. The first thing I saw was the guide word at the top right hand corner of the page which was ‘helps’. I took this to mean that the book would be a help to David so I bought both copies.



Later, after returning home, I was thinking about the morning’s events and I realized I had been on the right track with the idea of Chewbacca as the faithful friend. I saw too that the second part of the dream with its act of self-sacrifice was showing my own act of self-sacrifice which was to go out and do things for others instead of relaxing at home. And what is more characteristic of friendship than self-sacrifice?

It also seemed pretty clear to me that by following my intuition and leaving the house, I had put myself in resonance with both the inner psychological movement and the outer active movement that were in accordance with Divine Will for me on that particular morning. If that is true then this would explain why most of the morning worked out so beautifully and harmoniously. I imagine though that such a resonance could very well manifest as a day of adversity and obstruction where the feeling of the divine presence is nowhere to be found. It would all depend on one’s personal needs at that moment. Here’s a quote from the Mother that I feel verifies my feelings on the matter:


a divine movement cannot be measured by apparent signs–it is a certain kind of vibration that indicates its presence–external tests are of no avail, since even what is in appearance a failure may be in fact a divine achievement 6

In this case though a beautiful and harmonious experience was what I needed on that particular morning in order to learn what I needed to learn and to make the progress I needed to make.

Moving on, I imagine many readers have no doubt taken note of the fact that I have yet to speak about being Luke Skywalker and fighting Darth Vader with a wooden sword. The truth is I was so focused on the Chewbacca part of the dream that I didn’t spend any time thinking about Luke and his wooden sword until I began writing this article. Now Luke is of course a symbol of the hero archetype, but what could the wooden sword symbolize? I have to admit I was stumped so I asked Donny what he thought about it. He said that in his experience wood is often a symbol for the vital. Now this is just pure speculation, but perhaps the wooden sword shows the course of action I almost followed that morning which was to stay at home and read. Now I would have been reading valuable and consciousness expanding works, the kinds of things that sharpen one’s sword of discrimination, but I still would have been following a vital preference. Looking at things from that perspective one could argue that the uplifting of consciousness I would have gotten from the reading would not have been what I needed on that morning for my sadhana. As a consequence I might have found myself in a real struggle with the suggestions of the hostile forces. Like I said, this is just speculation on my part, but it is a thought provoking possibility.


During our discussion of the wooden sword Donny drew my attention to something else worth noting. He pointed out that Chewbacca with his big heart and beast like appearance is a symbol for the higher vital. That made sense to me because the movement of friendship expressed itself in me in a higher vital way. Given that, I would guess that this particular archetype was either of a higher vital variety or (if it was of a higher origin) it manifested its action through the higher vital. I suppose if we gave it a name like the Mother gave names to flowers we could call Chewbacca (in this case and in the context of this dream) Selfless Friendship in the Higher Vital.

***
Moving on, let’s take a look at dream number two.

When the dream begins I see Captain America discussing something with the X-Man Jean Grey.

Then the scene changes to the inside of a factory. On a table I can see this very strange looking thing like a body bag and I can hear people snooping around outside. Then I am Captain America and I am inside the bag. I open it up and let myself out. I am looking around for Jean Grey but she is not there. Then I see some enemies and I try to shoot them with a gun I have but it doesn’t seem to have any effect. So I charge one of them and then I see my brother Rick is there. I’m wondering why he doesn’t help, but then he reveals that he is on their side. I become angry because I realize that he has betrayed me and I try to stab him with a screwdriver a few times. I can only get him in the arms though. I can’t hit him anywhere on the torso.

So I decide to retreat and I run out of the factory. I decide the best thing to do would be to just fly away. So I take off in flight and fly for a little while. Then I come back down to earth and fly though a dark and ugly forest. After passing through the forest I find myself in a suburban neighborhood. I want to go back to my house but I am a bit wary about doing so. I am worried that if my enemies know my address they might be there waiting for me. At the same time I am concerned about a female friend who I know is waiting there for me. I am concerned that they might have gone there to capture her.

In this dream the basic movement is quite clear. It shows a struggle with the hostile forces and something in myself represented by my brother Rick. In this case though, there is no quick and decisive victory as there is in the Chewbacca dream. There is a period of flight where I am free of the hostile influence, but upon returning to the ground the threat is once again present.

That morning when I woke up the vital almost immediately starting acting up. This went on for an hour or so. Then I found myself with a quiet moment to contemplate my dream and I could see the difficulties I was having reflected in its content. The bad guys were of course the hostiles and my brother seems to me (in this case) to represent a sibling rivalry complex I have. As a child and a teenager it would make me furious that my brother could do some things better than I could and I wanted to be as good at or better than him at everything. This irrational complex still manifests in my close relationships and on that day it was the thorn that was pricking the vital.



Since Captain America was obviously my course of action I turned my attention to him. Here we see an obvious symbol for the hero archetype, the power for victory in the inner battle. But why did my subliminal choose Captain America as opposed to another hero?

Captain America is brave and courageous and of course patriotic. He is also a man who follows his principles and his beliefs about what is right and true. In other words, Captain America is very sattwic. So it seemed to me that my best course of action was to be as sattwic as possible.


In this case, I have to confess that there were no spectacular or synchronic outer events that complemented this course of action. I did find it effective though for throwing out the negative emotions and thoughts. Whenever I would catch myself being taken away by the turmoil of the vital I would stop and ask myself, “Would Captain America act this way?” By doing that I was able to derail the vital movement for a short time. It was quite persistent though and it kept knocking at the door. But after a couple of hours of following this practice the vital movement stopped knocking and I was clear for the most of the day. When evening came, it started knocking again for a short time, but it didn’t have the strength it had possessed in the morning. Using my Captain America technique I was able to stay on top of it and throw it out before it could really get its hooks into me.


From this example, it’s easy to see the utility of an exercise like this for throwing off negative influences. It gave my mind something to focus on as well as a psychological movement to practice, one that was tailored specifically to my needs on that day. Here we can see the benefit of getting to know these types of dreams. They can give us a kind of mini-yoga to put into practice for our sadhana needs at a given moment.


So that’s all I have to say about Captain America, but I have yet to address the presence of Jean Grey and also the meaning of the female friend I am so concerned about at the end of the dream. I’ll start with Jean Grey.



Jean Grey like most super heroes has a code name. Hers is the Phoenix. So she’s an obvious symbol of the “psychological capacity for resurrection.” 7 The reason I am bringing this is up is because I feel it relates to an experience I had on the day of the dream.

At one point in the day while I was sitting in my chair I had a thought occur to me that concerned spiritual liberation. The gist of the thought was that I was on the path to spiritual liberation and that I would reach that goal. Whether it happened in this life or another was of secondary importance. The eventual victory was sure and that’s what counted. Now this is a thought I have had many times before, but this time it was accompanied by a very strong sense of knowing that was more on the level of feeling than thought. It was a kind of knowing that eliminated all doubt from the mind and all anxiety from the vital, even if only for a short time. Now I may be wrong but I feel this kind of knowing is a quite common experience and I imagine that many people could recognize what I am describing. But just because it is common doesn’t mean it is of a small significance. According to the Mother these types of experiences are quite important. She tell us:


People often have all of a sudden an illumination of consciousness, an inner indication, an unusual perception. But when they are not turned exclusively towards the desire to have experiences, they don’t attach much importance to it. Sometimes they don’t even attach enough importance. The indication came, showed them something, but they were not even aware of it. Yet it is not these things which give you the impression that you are living in a wonderful world. These things are quite normal. Suddenly an opening in the mind, a light that comes, one understands something which he did not before. You take that for a very natural phenomenon. But it is a spiritual experience–or the clear seeing of a situation, the understanding of what is happening in oneself, of the state one is in, an indication of the exact progress one ought to make, of the thing that’s to be corrected. This too is an experience and an experience that comes from within; it is an indication given to you by the psychic, People take this also as quite a natural fact. They do not attach any importance to it. 8

Now, if I’m on the right track here, then the questions arises as to how this experience is connected to the phoenix force. Well, on one level I think that’s because at that moment my sense of identity was slightly shifted from the perishable surface self to my eternal and immortal reality. But in addition, the experience itself was quite cleansing and rejuvenating. It had the effect of a renewal. The effect on the outer being was short lived to be sure, but perhaps it had more lasting effects on deeper parts of the being. Anyway I think the reader can see my logic in viewing this experience as a rebirth of sorts.

Coming into the home stretch we have one symbol to go: the female friend. It’s hard to say anything for sure about her since she is never seen. Could she be a reference to Jean Grey/Phoenix? Maybe, but I’m more inclined to think that she represents my vital which the hostiles wanted to put back under their influence. But like I said it’s hard to know for sure.


With that we have reached the conclusion of our latest foray into the realm of dreams, voices, and visions. I hope you have found my examples this month to be clear and instructive. The subject of dreams and their utility in our day to day sadhana is an exciting and valuable avenue of research and I hope to say more on it in the future, maybe as soon as next month. See you then.


Notes and References
1. Medhananda, Archetypes of Liberation, Identity Research Institute, Pondicherry, 2006, p. 17.
2. Medhananda, The Way of Horus, Identity Research Institute, Pondicherry, 2006, p. 46.
3. Medhananda, Archetypes of Liberation, Identity Research Institute, Pondicherry, 2006, p. 9.
4. Medhananda, The Ancient Egyptian Senet Game, Identity Research Institute, Pondicherry, 2006, p. 15.
5. The reader should be aware that in the column I often make reference to my fellow Chipmunk Press collaborators Donny Duke and David Watson.
6. The Mother, Questions and Answers 1929-1931, Collected Works of the Mother Volume 3 Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, 1977, p. 171.
7. Medhananda, The Ancient Egyptian Senet Game, Identity Research Institute, Pondicherry, 2006, p. 170.
8. The Mother, Questions and Answers 1954, Collected Works of the Mother Volume 6 Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, 1979, p. 352-353.