Archive for Sri Chinmoy

On Prayer & Making Art

My Silence
My silence bridges the gulf between my life’s success
and my life’s failure.
My silence does not magnify my defects.
Nor does it connive at them.
My silence transforms my defects into strength indomitable.

My silence is a climbing flame that warms my world of despair.
My silence is my inner light.
No problem of mine can defy solution.
My silence is a selfless distributor of joy to ever-widening horizons.

In my silence I become a man of sterling character,
a prolific writer, a voracious reader, a divine lover,
a profound inspirer and a triumphant liberator.

In my deep silence I never become a victim to ignorance,
the greatest calamity that can befall any human being.
In my growing silence I am convinced that even as a man on this earth I shall be able to reach heights, transcendental, divine.
My glowing silence alone can accelerate my
Godward march.

My spreading silence makes me see, feel and possess satisfaction,
unalloyed satisfaction.
No more have I to let loose a tirade of tenebrous dissatisfaction.

In activity and vitality I proudly and wrongly feel that
I shall have to take care of the whole world.
In the heart of silence I humbly and unmistakably realise
That it is the Divinity within the world that took care,
takes care and shall for ever take care of the entire world.

Silence is my unceasing petition.
Silence is my unreserved preparation.
Silence is my unlimited realisation.
Silence is the unfathomable fount of my life here on earth, there in Heaven.

What God’s Silence is . . .
is the Eternal Truth.
What God’s Silence serves is the Eternal Purpose.
What God’s Silence becomes is the inevitable Fulfilment.
-Sri Chinmoy

My as I said in my last post, my entire trip was about plugging into the present moment. I experienced the freedom and energy that gives. This first began to happen when I was drawing. I would begin a drawing with energy. My hand flowed easily in its work but at a certain point the ease would be gone. It wasn’t clear to me what to do next. Typically I would have pushed through this sensation to complete my drawing. Instead I listened to what my energy was telling me. I honored my internal clock and set the drawing aside until I was moved again to work. When I picked up the drawing again, my energy restored, it felt as if the drawing completed itself. All my struggle in the process of creation evaporated with my surrender to following the energy.

I believe that internal rhythm, the ebb and flow of energy, is the direct voice of the Divine. The Divine voice is too often drowned out by the external pressures of our everyday obligations, our busyness, and the internal pressures of our self imposed expectations. This is why silence is sacred. It allows us the space to hear and engage the One.

As I began to honor this Divine rhythm within during drawing, I began to understand viscerally something I have known intellectually for a very long time. Time does not exist anywhere but on Earth. The Divine world is not impacted by time and thus to really pray effectively to the Divine I knew I needed to remove time from the equation. Now instead of praying for things to come, for example, “Dear God, please give me the patience I need” I now pray, “Dear God/All That Is, I am patient.” The first prayer brings me situations in which to become more patient, the second calls the Divine into present time, connects me with God without future or past as God is, pure Being, without future or past, beginning or end. That’s when I realized that everything that I do in present time is a prayer: my art, my time with my family, even sitting in traffic or expressing anger.

Prayer is the interface between the Self-Knowing Divine, what we would call “God,” and humanity, the unconscious Divine. Since, as mystics tell us, there is nothing which is not God, it is merely our lack of consciousness which denies Divine presence in every moment and in everything. To experience the present moment is to strengthen our consciousness of the beloved One. When we listen in that moment, we hear the Divine and we are at prayer. Every moment of this type of prayer floods the world with more Light. I believe this is the real reason for creating art whatever anyone’s intellectual ideas about it may be. Making art is the soul’s way of reaching out and connecting with the Divine, it is the artist’s prayer.

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3 things I’m grateful for today:
1) Being able to go grocery shopping
2) Writing this blog entry
3) Finding scarlet runner bean seeds

On the Kindness of God

The dark night has at last ended
I have now seen You.
Inside the depth of my heart.
I do not know what magic abides
Inside me.
Around me is the desert,
Yet I am not parched with thirst.
-Sri Chimnoy

Today I received more instruction on detachment and following Divine will. I had planned to go on a day trip with family and friends. It was a one time deal, and something that had been planned for several months. I couldn’t because of the cold. I felt really devastated about it. I was overwhelmed with sadness.

My experience of the Divine is one of infinite kindness & I have been amply prepared to deal with grief. So I cried and cried. I embraced my sadness because I will not allow grief to stop up my well. I cried it out, I emptied myself and was still. In stillness I found the Divine again.

You might ask how this is kind? There is nothing my heart desires so strongly as closeness and service to the One. I know that the Divine is giving me my instruction in the kindest possible way that I am able to hear. In my early work, none of my figures had ears. I could not hear and my lessons were severe only because I wasn’t listening. Hence 11 shocks to my heart! Now all the figures in my art have ears. I do listen and my lessons have become easier. I am learning to trust, today was a lesson in detaching from my own will and trusting the Divine.

Self Portrait by Sybil Archibald
Early work without ears
Etching by Sybil Archibald
Recent work with ears

Say not in grief that she is no more
but say in thankfulness that she was
A death is not the extinguishing of a light,
but the putting out of the lamp
because the dawn has come.
-Tagore

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Today I am grateful for:
1) My friend Miriam
2) A good dinner
3) My dogs

The Feminine Aspect of the Divine

Goddess of Willendorf

Since yesterday I quoted a mystic who has such a strong sense of the masculine aspect of God, I thought a little balance was in order:

God is a Woman,
I am Her doll.
She is my Love,
She is my All.
-Sri Chinmoy

I have often talked here about my sense of the creative nature of God in feminine terms. I have spoken of the artist’s need to enter into the Womb of God, in order to access Divine creativity. This Womb is a state of pre-Being and is described by Plotinus as “the One”. His use of the term “the One” is wonderful because it is gender neutral. The ultimate act of creativity is when the One emanates or births, Being, everything that is. If an artist can tap into this eternal process, it will add untold power and healing potential to their works.

Often as I write here, I question my use of the word “God” as excessively limiting. I love Eckhart’s admonishment to discard “God” as an idea to allow something greater than we can conceive to connect with us. There is an interesting post on Tim Victor’s blog discussing this very problem. He suggests a term “Godde” as a combination of God and Goddess. I am considering adopting it but it still feels too limiting to me. When I pray, I always say God/Goddess/All That Is, but this may be too cumbersome for writing purposes.

All human definitions and description of the Divine are so very limited, but it concerns me that we limit ourselves unnecessarily by giving God a gender attribute. Of course the Divine has a glorious masculine aspect, this is Being, the active principle. But let us not cut ourselves off from the Womb and stillness.

I’d love your thoughts on the terms you use for the Divine.

Behold, Mary,
you who increase life,
who rebuilds the path,
You who confused death
and wore down the serpent,
To you Eve raised herself up,
her neck rigid with inflated arrogance.

You strode upon this arrogance
while bearing God’s Son of Heaven,
through whom the spirit of God breaths.

O gentle and loving Mother,
I behold you.
For Heaven released into the world
that which you brought forth.

This one,
through whom the spirit of God breaths.

Glory to the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

And to this one,
through whom the spirit of God breaths.
-Hildegard of Bingen

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A bit of good news: Heather’s Poor Excuse is back up and running.