April 22nd, 2020
OṂ GAṂ GAṆAPATAYE NAMAḤ
OṂ ŚRI GAṆEŚĀYA NAMAḤ
NAMO GAṆEŚĀYA VIGHNEŚVARĀYA
OM! Let us meditate on the benign face of Lord Ganeśa, the face of grace itself!
Let us bow to Ganeśa, the remover of obstacles.
Ganeśa in the Indian tradition, is known as the remover of obstacles. More precisely, he is the energy who stands in relationship to obstacles. We know from our perspective that consciousness is one, whole, eternal. In order for us to exam this perfection, its characteristics, qualities or values are teased out. This is the whole consideration of diversity; what is absolute and whole, out of its freedom, svātantrya-śakti, breaches that wholeness to move into diversity, separation and with that, we experience a profound loss. It is like birth, the child cries at being pulled from their mother’s womb. So, too, we cry, it is a cry of the heart, at being separated from our spiritual mother as it were; from wholeness. It is a palpable ache.
It is this loss, that impels the vama, the outer current, to move like a heat seeking missile to fill the hole created by that loss. We do so in various ways, but because life is in a state of constant flux—not stable and eternal—but temporary and ever changing—that feeling of fullness, completeness, never lasts. So, we are in constant search mode. We intuit that there must be something out there that is solid, lasting, eternal. This, sets us on a path to find that something. It is the awakening of śakti within us always present, but not always available, that sets us on the path to find a teacher and teachings, an authentic sādhanā, that will provide us the framework necessary to begin to understand- to hold, contemplate and above all experience the fullness that is the source of all creation.
Ganeśa is also known as Gaṇapaty, Lord of the gunas, the categories. We seek to align with the highest energy who lords over all the categories. So Ganeśa, he who stands in relationship to obstacles. What is my relationship to the obstacles in my life? Both inner and outer. How do I meet them? Do I move from habitual pattern which lock steps me into furthering my limitation or do I engage, in a new fresh way as I stand upon the ‘ledge of freedom’ that my daily practice permits? This ledge is the natural slowing down, the pause that permits individual awareness to stand free, even for but a moment, between cause and subsequent action. It is the madhya space, the in-between and we begin to see why this space is held as sacred. For in that moment, in that opening, we are able to choose. Of course, it matters what column we are choosing from. Do we choose from the habitual, which is pretty deeply grooved, or something new? This newness may feel odd, clunky even – like the saw that skips over clean wood- it does not quite take hold immediately. But with practice, we create new grooves even, as we sand down the old ones.
The Indian tradition is rich in myth. The mythology of Gaṇapaty is vast. He is said to be the son of Parvati and Śiva. Meant to keep Parvati company, to guard her from unwanted attention, and permit her to focus on what is important, while Śiva is away meditating and doing his deeds in the world. He guards her inner sanctum, where she bathes and readies herself; only admitting those through who have the adhikāra, the readiness, qualification, or entitlement to receive initiation or sacred knowledge.
So, we chant to the 'placeholder' of this energy, Ganeśa, first to remove all inner obstacles that prevent us from entering the inner sanctum of our own abode and bathing in the waters of our own sweet consciousness. It is from this daily bath, that our individual awareness emerges refreshed, rejuvenated, and thus impacts our capacity to meet obstacles on the surface. Meditation is the bow that permits awareness to be pulled back deeply into potent source, such that when we open our eyes, awareness is released; hitting its target with effacacious potency each and every time. How do we stand in relationship to obstacles?
Why do we chant?
There is benefit in raising the voice, a harmonic convergence of sorts. After all, we are beings of vibration and we respond to vibration. The Sanskrit language has a potency and richness unparalleled. There is no need to even know the meaning, if there is one, the vibration itself is healing. But those who have a regular practice of meditation, receive so much more. For those, due to the time spent in that inner sanctum of deep samādhi, when chanting or reciting, it calls forth that sweetness like an echo and once again, we are immediately refreshed, bathed in the potent water of source. Meditation is the gift that keeps on giving.
We do not meditate for any one session, no matter how sweet or fiery, but for the cumulative effect. Like putting money in the bank, so that when it is needed, it is there.
We rehearse these themes again and again. Always jñāna and vijñāna- the Śaiva Tantra exquisite understanding of knowledge and experience. We give the mind something to hold on to, something to lean into until recognition dawns in our experience.
Neelakantha Meditation- what are we doing? Neelakantha Meditation is a simple profound and elegant practice. It is natural. It is innocent. It requires of us only that we surrender.
It is natural, not forceful. We say yes, there is a discipline at the surface of life. We’re creating the nirodha-saṃskāras as the Yoga Sutra so beautifully clarifies. But then also it is just the fact that this pulsation of consciousness, as it is increasingly powerfully present within us, just entices us. And we don’t even have to think. It’s not a decision. We’re just drawn to close our eyes and to deepen into that uplifted state. We use the natural inbuilt mechanism of the mind to want more. The heart seed mantra is the tool “man + tra”. We apply it like a pair of pliers, we leverage the endeavor.
It is innocent. Innocence is not naivete. It is not childish though it is pure in its enactment as the child is in her wonder. We do not manipulate or force. We sit and accept what shows up knowing that if it is sweet, it is healing and nourishing. And if it is fiery or agitating, it is benevolent in that it is ridding the body- mind of what hinders the light- always there- to shine more fully.
It requires only surrender. What are we surrendering? Surrender is not giving up. It is not complacency. It is permitting, for a short time, the release of our individual identity- of who we know ourselves to be- and permit awareness to bath in its oceanic, vibrant, rich source. So that when we open our eyes and take in the world, we see more clearly, more truly.
Of course, this fades. So, much like the daily bath we take for our outer body, we must dive in again and again and again.
My most fervent desire is that all individuals will know the powerful treasure they hold within their very beings. In this we create both an individual and collective ‘heaven on earth’ even in hellish times.