On Thurs 7 Aug 08 @9PM I had a deeply moving and spiritual experience when I lit candles and deeyas for Tibet. This was in unison with everyone in my time zone and done globally. I'd like to explore this and share my experiences with you and hear yours as we participate in universal collective prayer events together. I hope to work together with all the universe's beings as we move toward the ideal of Universal Collective Prayer.

Come join me in Universal Collective Prayer!

May God Bless Us All!

UCP-Universal Collective Prayer is produced by Meady's Musings Production . Copyright 2006-2011

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Meditative and Reflective Ash Wednesday to All!

Tonight on Universal Collective Prayer I wish all a meditative and reflective Ash Wednesday as I feature the voice of my brother in sharing the Eucharist that is the Christ...Deacon Greg Kirk! :)
Oh...the dance that is Universal Collective Prayer! And guess who is the muse?! :)

Ash Wednesday

Feeling my way through the church, the darkness is a stark reminder of how much darkness there is to overcome: the darkness that comes from wanting more and more, the darkness that comes from seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, the darkness of duality. The scents of beeswax and incense beckon me to the sanctuary. Slowly, I turn up the light. As the Roman lights begin to burn, I once again appreciate that enlightenment is a "process," something that can't be forced or rushed. I feel the words of Jesus vibrate through me "I am the light come into the world" and "you are the light of the world." Of the many words I've heard to describe enlightenment, "light" is no doubt my favorite.

I move to the altar and begin lighting candles. As candles flicker, I remember Jesus the light and I smile. I'm not thinking of the rural rabbi, the historical man. I'm not thinking about Jesus, the construct of theology. I'm mindful of the Third Jesus, the teacher of God-consciousness who came forward to offer a path, a way that is universal, a way that is open to everyone. I offer a prayer for three special friends who share in this understanding of Jesus: a shaman-Candyman in the north of Mexico, a beautiful historian in Mexico City and a metaphysical tea drinking muse in Trinidad.

I strip the altar of elaborate fabric. Beholding the stark, grainy wood I am reminded of the beauty of simplicity, I silently pray the mantra "keep it simple." Turning, I gaze above on the massive crucifix hanging behind me. The corpus on the wood speaks of another stripping - a naked man who bared his soul to the world and finally turned self over to Self, in a heroic act of trust. Throughout this process, he offered many lessons on how to enter the kingdom of God, a kingdom that is love and only love. This is my task, this is our task, regardless of the path we follow. To strip away fear, to let go of everything that hinders us from embracing the One beyond name and form. To live is to trust in the non-local, trust in the universe, trust in the power and eternal dimension of love.

The people file to the front of the church where Father John and I await them with ashes - burned palm leaves from last year's Passion Sunday. The ashes remind me ot the brevity and unpredictible nature of human praise and affirmation, the ashes remind me of the certainty of death. I impose ashes on foreheads repeating "turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel." Each face I gaze on, each sign of the cross I make with ash is a prayer for this person in front of me to experience the Third Jesus. Each cross I trace is a request for this brother or sister to experience enlightenment, to reach Self-realization. Each time I hear myself say "turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel" I know that I am really intending "may your self trust the Self."

Goodbyes have been said and the parish has gone home. The candles are extinguished and lights turned off. As I feel my way out of the church, I realize that this is how it is now. One of the most important teachings the Third Jesus imparted to those who follow him is that one's greatest teacher is oneself. I must feel my way through life. I must feel my way to enlightenment. Gaining from the knowledge, experience and wisdom of others will always be important. But ultimately, I am called and you are called to the same unity, the same oneness with God that Jesus of Nazareth experienced and lived. Each way is unique, each life will experience and express it differently. As I leave the church I am certain that someplace deep inside of me, a place so deep it cannot be seen or touched, the following words are whispered - " be yourself."

"I come from Elsewhere, and though I do not know where that is, I am certain to return there in the end." - Rumi

Love, +Greg

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Maha Shiv Ratri-A Night of Sitting for Lessons from the Supreme Yogi of the Universe!

For some on my island the carnival begins
For others with Shiv we will sit and pray
Shiv is for me the supreme yogi
And also the dancer
And we the dance
He is also an animal protector
A real hippy master
Of him I now blog on my Universal Collective Prayer!

On Sunday night Trinidad time which is the closest equivalent time at -4GMT to the festival being celebrated on Monday night in India I and other Trinidadians will be celebrating Maha Shiv Ratri 2009. For me it will be a time to sit in pray and meditate on the lessons of someone I consider to be the supreme yogi-Shiv himself. To me you can want no other guru in the Art of dance, meditation and yoga. Those of you following my blogs will be fully aware of my obsession with the great one when I started this blog in Aug of 2008 going on about how a friend I made on Flickr from a place one may not normally associate with Shiv-Estonia, gave me full rights to use his beautiful picture of this beautiful statue-murti of Shiv sitting in meditation himself at Rishikesh in India. Jarmo went on to explain to me that the murti is a little bit bigger in size than the average human being so large enough to be awesome but not too large to become distant...I felt the murti so lifelike that I could see myself sitting at his feet and learning the art of meditation and yoga straight from him! :)

I had the picture up on my computer in work...at first it was a bit intimidating for me...after all snake and all and so serious...but then as I watched and watched...I realised look at the form look at the discipline...look at those abs....look at the positioning of the back...the fingers! And to me he look so focused so at peace...such a supreme yogi! It more and more dawned on me that when he is so immovable so at peace so engrossed in his contemplation of the universe well his hair just grows...all manner of things sit on him...so even if a cobra wrapped his neck while sitting there he would not be disturbed...a normal person would have felt fear, danger at such a poisonous creature poised on his neck...but not him such a Super Supreme Yogi is he! Of course I know officially Hinduism has a list of reasons for the iconography but this is my journey...my story...and in my contemplation of the murti is what I saw...what I learnt...

Then one night when I had moved away from the desktop image...I had a dream of him...I saw myself in my room as it is and it was as if I could see myself asleep on my bed yet I was in a dream and at the top of my head there was water flowing and I could hear the water falls...and the swirling spiralling from up above...He sat at the top of my head at the top of the fountain...and as he sat then a snake wrapped his neck...I recalled the coil...I recall the actual path of the swirl...I noted the shape on my white board at work...what did it mean I still do not know but it was so profound an experience and incredibly refreshing and inspiring...also when I awoke and I looked at my clock it was 3:33 AM. Some say that numerical combination is a sign that the gurus are among us! All I can say is that it was one of the most profound, refreshing dreams I've ever had!

Hinduism as it is practised in Trinidad is mostly Vaishnavism but I believe Shiv was such a strong character that when the Aryans invaded India from the North and they started to move to the South and I believe eventually to Lanka (hence the Ramayan epic)...they couldn't help but embrace the Shiv form. So the Vedic civilization that formed very much embraced Shiv as an integral part. He was that supreme you see! :) But yet still most of the North are the Vaishavites...the South the Saivites. My ancestors came from the North as most of the Indians here and so we are mostly Vaishnavites but we all hail the supreme yogi!

Shiv is so much...he is the dancer and we the dance...he is a protector of animals and perhaps in the local folk lore of Trinidad he would be like Papa Bois a bit...is how I see it...he lives in the forest at one with it and with all its inhabitants. My grandfather the late Pandit Parasram Maharaj used to always tell us that story on Shiv Ratri night about how the man who was a hunter got lost in the forest on Maha Shiv Ratri night...the story unfolds about Shiv's love for animals and compassion for all living creatures...

I always knew of the cosmic dance of Shiv in Hinduism but I never fully understood the concept of 'God' or 'The Universe' being the dancer and us being the dance until I was reading Paulo Coelho's The Witch of Portobello and he was saying that and it baffled me...but on contemplation over a year or so I fully appreciated it...it also made sense in terms of this picture the Hari Krishna's have in their Gita in one of the pics describing the universe as this big body...showing a planet as a knee...a sun as an eye etc...Vaishnavites and Saivites combine...one cosmic dance! One Universe...learning from all...Universal Collective Prayer! And it just makes you want to swirl with it all like the dancing dervishes of Rumi and Sufi mystic fame! :)

I used the dance idea in my theatre production Me Eat Manicou?....my character Maa Chinee - Mother Sugar (to represent the Indo Trinidadians as the last people who worked in sugar in Trinidad and still live mainly in those areas). She is a cosmic mother of sorts and combines forces with Papa Bois (the old French Creole character who guards the forest and its animals.) Well she does this dance to show her anger at how things were unfolding...and while it wasn't exactly the cosmic dance it drew on that energy and I show you it here!

And as I leave you in Universal Collective Prayer I attach a vid I've shared on these blogs already when I prayed for the Dalai Lama's health in 2008...here it is again on Universal Collective Prayer...Shankar Sahney reciting the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra amidst some of the famous Shiv sites in India. The Maha Mrityunjaya mantra sits in the Vedas as one of the great mantras next to the Gayatri. Again an indication of how the Vedic civilization was one for incorporating the best from all parts and corners of the land at the time. I have my own personal story with this mantra as well but I will leave that for another time. Hope you enjoy the lessons with the supreme yogi on Sun night Trinidad time. Blessed Maha Shiv Ratri 2009!

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