Monthly Archives: December 2016

The last puja

Tonight is my last night at Soma Skanda Ashram. Shakti and I are the only two that have been here since the very beginning of the building work this year, in early June, and we leave together with Swami Narayana early tomorrow morning.

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I think I would just get madder and madder in love if I didn’t leave here. It’s already totally made. I sent her an email the other day revealing that I’d told the Swamis that I’ll have children and spend the rest of my life with her. But, still no reply. And it really does take over, when living in an isolated mountain chalet with three middle aged/older monks. I can’t quite imagine how my first interaction with ANY younger attractive female will be, but I’ll try and think and act compassionately.

Times have still been absolutely immense here. Here is where it’s at for pujas. Think Shakti full moon puja, but that puja being every single puja we have here. It’s incredible how receptive Lord Shiva is to his praises. You praise him more energetically, and he radiates more energy for everyone to take in. Tonight’s puja, a few months back, I would have said was one of the best pujas ever. But now that that’s a daily occurrence, I can’t say it. Just the pujas are mind-blowing. One more puja and then I’m off.

I’ll be at Skanda Vale for Christmas. I feel like it’s a social visit more than anything. I feel like my spiritual home is now here, but there will be all my Skanda family at Skanda Vale, as well as friends/mum outside of Skanda.
And I leave Skanda Vale to begin my life away from Skanda Vale on the 30th December, the day after I turn 27. They say the spiritual life goes in 9 year cycles, and 27 is the beginning of a new cycle. How extremely perfect timing.

I think I’ve felt quite lonely here recently. I’ve really missed total immersion in communication with those I’ve connected really strongly with. Sure, Swami Narayana is a karmic brother of mine, and we connect on a great level, and we could easily spend lifetimes living around each other. But there’s a difference between the normal connection and that that makes the heart beat a bit stronger, a bit stronger, a bit stronger still. I say I love a girl, but she’s the most recent person to induce the stronger heartbeat. I’ve had it from a number of people before, but really she’s the only one in quite a long time now. And it blinds me when it becomes such a rare experience. I need it much much much more. I get slight doubts about moving to the Isle of Wight because maybe there won’t be those incredible soul connections available there. But it’s there only way at the moment, for now at least.

I’ve been teaching the two new Swamis a number of things for life here. One, I’ve introduced Swami Prema to conch blowing. He was so happy for the opportunity to do the conch in the lunchtime puja, the first and last aarthis, but I realise how much my experience of blowing it every single day for the last 6 months effects the energy of the puja. There’s so much power in what I’m doing – and I’ve learnt to almost completely harmonise, with each conch bow, with the aspect that I’m conching for. This is something that takes a long time to feel the subtleties of. But it’s great that Swami Prema is feeling the devotional aspect of conching.
And I’ve taught Swami Amba the art of garlands making. He’s nervous because he’s never really made a garland before. But I’ve taught him pretty much everything I know, and the rest is for him to learn through experience.

We went for a walk today to the river in the next valley. It’s my old running route, that I ran every day for a month in the summer, but have barely ran since, and haven’t even strolled in over two months because the of snow and ice. It was really good, and felt like I was competing my time here as a result.

I don’t know when I’ll be back. I told Swami Durga (Markus) that I feel like I’ll be here for a seminar sometime next year. It would be to Lord Shiva to sort out really, so I’m detaching from this one, just as I’m detaching from everything else in life. Everything is a product of divine play.

I have quite a clear feeling that I need to set up a proper proper shrine in my new home, and have morning and evening pujas there at the very least. I feel like my time here has taught be so much about worship, especially my time when I’ve been the only devotee. It’s been such a very very incredible opportunity. And it would be impossible for me to stop it having a huge effect on the rest of my life.

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A few good words

It’s amazing what a few good words can do. So, here goes.

Alex, you see the light so clearly, travelling with you was the most magical time of my life, you great lover of everything in the world, you.

Jass, you know that you’re always going the right way even if it doesn’t feel so easy all the time and people don’t understand you. It’s because your instincts are what you are, and if that isn’t the core of being a living being then I don’t know what is.

Judi, you’re just generally a very very beautiful person.

Nat, you hold the belief and strength to affect the whole world around you, and, well, to carry the whole world.

Linda, given the chance to thrive, you are such a warming and nourishing presence.

Mum, you support me and guide me when there’s nothing or noone else, and I understand you’ll always do that no matter what. That is a work of the divine if nothing else is.

Mandy, everyone becomes somewhat happier when you’re around. You’ve never noticed this because you’ve never experienced when you’re not around.

Anja, you make my heart skip a beat, in a good way. I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather stay up really late at night with than you. Maybe I’m not able to be so objective in this, but I see you as such a beautiful person in so many ways.

James, you remind me of several other people who became inspired to look after the lives of young people. You’re effectively massively influencing the world to come in just hanging out with and supporting the kids on the streets.

Dad, I have learnt so much about my admiration for you over recent years. I never thought I’d love you and as my father, but you gave up all the crap that distanced us and worked so unconditionally on our relationship. It’s hard to put into words how incredible it has been for me that you did this, and even continue to do this. I see beneath what most others see on the surface – you often have quite a harsh exterior, but inside is so so special, and I really look forward to reconnecting with that again at the right time.

Naomi, I don’t know what inspired you to ring me that fateful afternoon when your relationship was nearing its end and you were having a panic attack at the time. But your soul was yearning for something I could provide it, you treated me as a teacher of sorts in that time, and that gave me the ability to share things that normally I wouldn’t have the chance to share. You’re hurting a lot, and yet you see so so much light beyond all the pain, and it’s very beautiful to see you seeing light beyond that pain, it’s almost like receiving darshan of the light through you.

Ray, you took on so much that I passed on to you. I was holding this big movement of people yearning for spirituality, and I jumped at the opportunity that you offered. I knew it could be a bit much for you, but you transformed people’s lives and could only have done that with such a direct continuous communication with something way beyond yourself. You say that I gave you so much, but you totally took on what I couldn’t really do myself because I’m not a wide old chap like you. I just had the energy for change and the thrust of spiritual something or other, but you had the tools to build something out of the materials I gave you, and what you built was like a triple rainbow whilst it’s snowing.

Swami Narayana, you hold so much influence and yet focus strongly on bringing things out of me that you see. It’s because of your that I’ve been in Switzerland for six months. It’s because of you that I’ve drummed and blown the conch every single day since being here. And it’s partly because of you that I know so clearly now that I need to father my children. You’ve given me encouragement that few others have ever even hinted at, and you took a massive gamble on me that I’m so happy paid off so strongly.

James, I’ve never quite known what’s brought us together. But that’s a good thing. We’ve been the best of friends without really having anything in common for 12 years, and so our tie is so strong because there’s nothing really tying us together. I imagine you’re the closest I have to a ‘friend for life’.

And Swami Durga, thanks for letting me build this temple with you this summer. It’s been such a pleasure to work with you – you’ve made me turn from a slap-dash worker into a good worker. And when you talk spiritual things, there’s noone quite like it. You talk so much from the heart, you resonate such a clear knowing from experience that nothing can compare to.

The end. For now at least ๐Ÿ˜‚ these are just people that came to my mind whilst writing – not necessarily in any clear order, just the order that they came to me in. This was inspired by receiving a really really heart-warming email from Ian, a guy with a Buddhist background who I was the first to really talk to when he first came to Skanda Vale. His most recent email is incredibly praising of me and my actions, and I feel really good from it, so I thought it be good to offer such words to different key people in my life too.

And don’t worry if you’re missed out – everyone that I’ve met in this life has had some kind of really nice quality, which maybe is noticeable and maybe no so much noticeable. Our connections of the heart have always been so so beautiful, and there are very few people that have rejected to allow their heart to do this. So Thankyou, everybody ๐Ÿ˜‚

Under the light of the supreme

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There is another ‘supermoon’ tonight. This is my last full moon at Soma Skanda ashram, at least in this sequence of things. I leave, I think, next Tuesday, after having lived here for over 6 months.

Tonight the sky is extraordinary. Yesterday I took this photo of the mist disappearing to reveal the most amazing sunshine, and snowy mountains. Tonight the moon is in the centre of a massive sky. You know how sometimes the sky seems like it’s four times it’s usual size? Everything is alive in tonight’s sky.

I look up at the goporum roof, and remember the immense privilege it was too help build that. It almost happened secretly – I just got told I had to help Swami Govinda with some roofing work, and wasn’t told anything about it, and ended up doing much of the work without him, having either Severine or Benoit working alongside me. One day lunch came extremely late – we weren’t called in until about 4pm, and we were very hungry. It was a fondu lunch, and there were secret little glasses of Kirsch around the table for dipping bread into. I was sat next to Ralph, and we were both laughing about our Kirsch stock continuously being topped up. I was stuffed, and pleasantly away. Swami Govinda said about having a kip for a while, but Benoit refused, saying we had to get straight back to work. I’m the end we settled on being back on the roof by 6pm. This gave me 8 minutes to lie down. To my word, I was back on the roof by 6. But I was alone for at least 15 minutes, until Benoit finally turned up. Swami Govinda arrived maybe a little after half 6. Then a very funny thing happened – Benoit and I were measuring up the last plank that had to be put on, as a notch had to be cut out for fixing around the wooden Kalasam base. We measured plenty of times – Benoit is very thorough with this stuff, as he’s an instrument maker and has always had to be very precise. So we cut the notch out of the plank, knowing it was going to be pretty much a perfect fit because we’d measured it so much. We put the plank in, and there was a massive gap! We were both so shocked! We measured again, and I realised that we’d read ‘9.5cm’ instead of ‘6.5cm’. I’m sure people have this problem a lot, because 9 is an upside down 6 and vice versa. I burst out laughing, it seemed obvious that this was a joke straight from the divine telling us not to be so very serious with what we were doing.

I took a break from the internet today. It felt very good to do. I’ve been feeling quite lonely recently – but I’m obviously not the only one, as Swami B had been clearly feeling the same, and mentioned that he thought people shouldn’t be up here for more than a few weeks at the most because of the isolation. So I’ve been checking my emails a few times a day, craving something from anyone. Well, that’s not quite true – I’ve been hoping to receive contact from Anja, but almost in an obsessive way. And so that’s the energy I’ve been giving off – a feeling of real deprivation. And yet, the world up here is so incredibly beautiful. Just it’s hard to appreciate it when feeling lonely. And I feel lonely even though there’s two very lovely and interesting monks to share time with. It’s funny how I can get so lost in what I haven’t got, I forget about what I have got.

I’ve had some extremely brilliant dreaming lately. Last night was top notch. I can’t say much about it, but it was like saying, yes Simon, worldly distance is really nothing, the astral body transcends all that.

I’m singing new songs in almost every puja now. Sri Ram was trying to encourage us to sing new songs when he was here but I wasn’t so inspired until I started singing on my own in every lunchtime puja. Today I sung another new Amma bhajan (Jai Jai Janani), and tomorrow I hope to sing Krishna Das’s version of the Hanuman Chalisa. Every time I sing a new song, it’s like the temple gets energised that little bit more. It’s an incredible time, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.

But, soon, in just a few weeks, I will be on the Isle of Wight starting something totally different because that’s where I’m next meant to be. I take a deep breath, and move on with it. Everything will be different, but there is so so much potential there. I was reminded this morning of my time at Chรขteau Anand, and in particular the feeling and emotions I had for a little while whilst there. I felt absolutely on top of the world for a while, was completely brimming in confidence. I haven’t felt that since. But i know that it’s there waiting to come out again, but needs for the right setting. And that’s what I’ll find, and then it will be out and free again. Transformative.

Amma sings, everybody sings, Om namah shivaya, Om namah shivaya namah Om.

I’m ready to be totally taken away by love.

Reality, and everything else

You don’t need to know me for very long to understand that I’ve got an offbeat sense of reality, to say the least.

Sometimes it’s almost a little shocking to me how my scope of reality can completely change.
The other day, I was totally overcome with emotion, feeling like I’d lost the love of my life (again), but also overwhelmed by the presence of Maha Lakshmi right before my eyes, everywhere.
Tonight my mala broke in the opening aarthi of the evening puja. I was ringing the big set of bells, and on conch duty, and I noticed all the rudraksha beads falling to the ground. For me, it was a clear sign of a new beginning, I’d made this mala in Shiva festival in June last year, using bailer twine as it’s thread because it was all I could find. I was always aware it could break sometime, and was reluctant to get it blessed in mahabishekams after some time because of its liability to breaking. It was a really intense experience, because there’s been so much happening in life recently to do with new beginnings coming very soon, and it was like the divine agreeing that now is definitely the time for things changing.
And we watched a film tonight, called ‘Moon’, and I got so totally absorbed in it that I felt I’d really lost touch with a part of myself, and that I needed to listen to hardcore punk music to reestablish a sense of me.

In these pujas, sometimes I get this light-headed feeling, that coincides with an intense moment in the actual happenings. I’ve now found a way to describe it – it’s like a strong G-force feeling, like when you’re on a rollercoaster and it goes so fast and kind of zaps your head a little. But this is happening to me without any involvement of gravity, or anything else. Its just the energy in the temple. And it’s developing so much every day.

Last night I bit the bullet and wrote a letter. It’s been crazy – I think the energy has been so refined here that the slightest suggestion of things get locked in my mind. Marriage and kids has become an immediate reality of what I need to be doing. That was never such an immediate thing for me before – I mean, the thought isn’t so unappealing at all, but it’s quite intense that it’s become so clear in me. It’s almost like something’s telling me that there’s a bit of urgency to it all. So I kind of declared an act of love. Because for three days it has shook me all over the place – but I told myself I wouldn’t do anything about it until it settled a little. So with a beer in my hand and a few in my belly, I felt finally sober to write to her. And it felt so good to do so, when I finally found how it needed to be written. I realised that I have such a lack of confidence in myself in relationship matters. I’ve had one relationship since my big breakup at 17, and that relationship was never formalised at all. The idea of telling a girl I like her is like the worst idea ever, because, what if she doesn’t like me back? It would be so crushing. But yesterday I bit that bullet and chewed it down to a curd. Things have changed now. So much has happened in life lately that I’ve learnt not to fear the recourse of actions so much. I just watch as the life dramas unfold in whatever ways they need to. But, of course, to stop me obsessing over the matter and it truly driving me crackers, I’ve banned myself from checking emails for the next few days, so I can just live without constantly thinking about her.

And my situation here is so mad. I had a talk with the Swamis a week after the inauguration about my situation here. I asked if I could stay until the end of the 40 days of post-inauguration specialness, but I didn’t want to become a monk so I will leave Skanda Vale shortly after that. They agreed. But I’m still here now – the 40 days finished almost two weeks ago! Swami Narayana told me he’s felt like he’s been in a state of limbo for a little while now. I told him I felt that for most of the summer. He explained that Guru taught that once someone knows exactly what their future is, they become too comfortable in what’s going on now and no longer appreciate all that goes on. I understand that. But it’s mad – it now looks like I’ll be going back very very shortly before Christmas, maybe even only arriving in Wales on Christmas eve. And then I’ll be moving out on the 30th December. I feel like just eloping abroad ๐Ÿ˜‚

I sat at the special rock earlier, where Babaji said a siddha reached enlightenment some many hundreds of years ago. I’d had a headache for a while, so felt I needed to sit and offer everything. I sat there, and realised the stunning beauty of where I was. Everything was very still, really still. There’s noone living anywhere nearby right now – we have the entire mountain to ourselves, pretty much. And then I offered everything, and asked that things resolve in the right ways. For  most of the time I was there, the headache had disappeared. I stood after an hour or so to come back, and the headache came back.
Alas, the communion had finished.

Oh, and for quite a while, Mummy Bear, my teddy bear that I’ve had since 2 years old and who I have with me here, has actually taken on the cuddling form of her….. In teddy bear form, yet the energy is there.

Sri Kamala Lakshmi, Vasudevaya

I feel somehow heartbroken.

Walking back up the hill, the moon and Venus ringing their bells, I collapse in a heap against the snowy bank. I cry out the words ‘Sri Kamala Lakshmi, vasudevaya…Sri Kamala Lakshmi, Narayana…’. It’s the only thing that helps. Things lift somewhat when I offer it all as a manifestation of goddess Lakshmi. It’s all it can be, to have this much of an effect. Om Sri Kamala Lakshmi, I bow at thee lotus feet. I surrender all to thee. You send my life in the sweetest of directions.

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So I sit here, momentarily in an empty Swiss mountain Shiva Shakti temple house, listening to the Kamala Stotram…because it’s the only thing that helps. I guess I’m kind of processing all of what’s happened not only over the weekend, but over the last few months. Dozens of shooting stars. And then, just communicating in the most natural sense. Om Sri Kamala Lakshmi. Om Sri Kamala Lakshmi.

It’s partly because of her that it was made impossible to even contemplate a monastic future in my life. We worship Lakshmi in the temples, and Lakshmi tells me that I need to fall in love in the deepest sense possible in this incarnation, and that needs to be shared with a young lady sent by Mother. And very occasionally in this life I’ve got the hint that that is how it shall be, sometime, in life. I’ve done pretty good at keeping the people I’ve felt it with close to me in life, as good friends, and when the time becomes right Sri Kamala Lakshmi shall create the connection. There is nothing I shall do, except for always always offering it, in the temples and at my shrine but also internally and in nature. There’s nothing else I can do. I am an instrument of the divine – I am always doing things how I’m given the messages they should be done. And it pains me a lot now, as this feeling is so strong there, but the time is yet to be quite right.

Whilst the time is not quite right, I am given the inspiration to delve deeper into dancing. I imagine myself becoming a 5 Rhythms dance instructor in the future, and I must dedicate my life immediately after leaving Skanda Vale to the 5 Rhythms. At times it will be all that I have in the world to keep me going. But that doesn’t mean that life will be empty. The rhythms give so much fullness to life – as everything else kind of falls away, and the clutter gets cleared.

And yet, I also have to have a partner in life to do this with. I also get the message that I can’t go through this alone anymore. I need that total bodily and spiritual support that few can possibly offer, but Mother will make the offering..

The mountain temple is empty now. Today we had 15 of us here. The puja was immense. The last few days have been full of incredible pujas. Last night I absolutely sung my heart out to Lord Subrananya, Skanda Kartikeya, and had it not been for the air being so dry I’m sure I’d have been crying away whilst singing. I don’t know what made the connection so strong. And then Anja has been singing mesmerising bhajans to divine mother, and today Andreas sung his Shiva bhajan and I saw somehow all the energy being directed towards the bottom of the road that I will be moving into in Brading, Isle of Wight. Lord Shiva has given himself there already to get things ready for me!!!

Bhajelo Ji Hanuman! Oh Friend! Remember Hanuman!

So I carry on. The hardest is yet to come, I see it right in front of me, and I’ve just got to give absolutely everything up and trust in it all being alright. Because it always has been before.

The only difference now is that there’s a really very pretty girl close to my heart, who I’ll be departing from maybe for a long time when I leave Switzerland in a few weeks.

Bhajelo Ji Hanuman! Bhajelo Ji Hanuman!