DENIAL IS NOT A RIVER IN EGYPT.

kiri-16gb-sd-card-6025A woman introduced to me by a friend visited me the other day. We had a nice chat and I offered her something to eat. She came into the kitchen as I got her meal ready and hovered over me, eyes wide with anxiety, asking me questions about ingredients, process, et cetera, until I got a little snippy and asked her to sit at the dining table. My irritation was due to the fact that she does this every single time she visits; you see, because she is far from home (California) and misses home-cooked meals, I always offer her something I hope she will enjoy.

Please note that her attitude is not normal: her eyes go wide with strain when the subject of food comes up, and she tells me she cannot eat most things (being veg or vegan is wonderful, but her behavior goes way beyond these humane rules for good living). My own attitude, I said, is to accept what is given to me as long as 1) food is offered from the heart 2) is hygienically prepared and tasty 3) and that it does not violate my principles of general eating. I told her that my favorite breakfast when I leave the house early to walk up the mountain is two dosais with mouth-watering chutney and sambhar, relished at a roadside stall. I don’t watch the cook carefully to monitor everything she does—no, for me, that would be disrespectful to this lovely local woman who wakes up before dawn to do what she does in order to feed her own family. On the contrary, I am genuinely grateful that she is so willing to please me, always giving me a little more of the red chutney, another ladle of hot sambhar, and a big smile. When I tip her extra, her smile grows and her eyes are full of light. Continue reading

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EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL

b71a7289e9e20118cedd41eba5a47a6fAll through the night it had snowed heavily; when I awoke, in a beautiful Ashram in America with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, I looked out to see my world blanketed in pure white. Usually I love the snow, but this time I was furious with myself—for all the mistakes that had led to this point in my tumultuous life.

As many had made it a point to inform me, I’d been blessed with more than most—and yet I’d continued to mess up my life, due to impulsiveness and bad judgment. My most recent crisis was the result of a decision to break away from a man I’d deluded myself into believing would make me a perfect spiritual mate; gradually I came to see him as superficial and ethically unreliable, and had forced myself to cut the cord.

I’d written to my first major spiritual teacher and he’d invited me to this Ashram in order to recover. And yet, despite precious links with this powerful place, I still found it hard to manage in a small cramped dorm space even as I dealt with yet another big life change; the demons of uncertainty threatened me with dire predictions of impending doom and life was, in a word, hellish. Continue reading

Brian Feinblum’s Interview with Mira Prabhu

e86345da08c09d1879f0e7eda3a5e911What inspired you to write your book?

Krishna’s Counsel is the second of a trilogy of novels whose theme is moksha(Sanskrit word for ‘liberation from suffering’). (Please see here). My first novel, Whip of the Wild God: A Novel of Tantra in Ancient India, is set in a civilization reminiscent of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, and my third, Copper Moon Over Pataliputra, is set in 300 BCE. I intended to stick with historical/mystical fiction, but way back in 1999, my Manhattan-based literary agent suggested I write a contemporary novel about an Indian woman who had moved from East to West. Nothing happened until many years later when I found myself marooned in a guest house in Rishikesh in northern India: a wild festival raged all around me, keeping me captive in my suite, and so I decided to sink my teeth into something that would engage my monkey mind; in six months, I had written the first draft of Krishna’s Counsel. Continue reading

No Accident & No Judgment – Samsara’s Seven Flavors #7/12

no_accidentsFlavor #3: Nothing Happens by Accident. Mahamudra claims that nothing that happens in our lives is an accident. Say I stop for petrol in a quiet Himalayan town and bump into a pal I haven’t seen since high school — well, that’s not an accident — my friend was brought there by certain karmic energies, and so was I.

This is a particularly important view to cultivate when we encounter tragedy — because it’s when the shit hits the fan that we really go nuts. Accepting that a horrid experience is the result of our own past karma, and that we are in effect creating our own experience of reality by how we think, speak and act —  can make all the difference to how we transcend the negative effects of hard times.

Let’s consider the specific feelings the first three flavors of samsara work with: impermanence works with the (wrong) feeling that things are going to last; the lack of ownership works on the (wrong) feeling that I own these things; no accident works on the (wrong) feeling of: why does bad stuff always happen to me? Why did I lose my job? Why did my lover get pancreatic cancer? Practiced with understanding, all three flavors can help us ground ourselves in the reality of what is. Continue reading