KILL YOUR DARLINGS

609df17e7afd69d496563edfe63c57a7This is serious advice for serious writers—to kill our darlings. Sounds brutal, no? Well, actually, what it means is that sometimes we come up with great material, but, in the context of the whole piece of work, say a short story or novel, this terrific piece of writing does not work to create a vivid continuous dream that the reader can resonate with. It hurts to do this, yes, that particular piece may have been celestially inspired, but sorry, it ruins the whole and therefore, once we have stepped from our opus and decided that it sticks out like a sore thumb or ruins the thread of the plot, we must be willing to commit word murder. A sacrifice of the brilliant part to the cosmic whole.

Fortunately today we have computers—I often marvel at what great writers in the past did. Imagine writing War & Peace with ink and paper and then trying to kill or rework sections of it—my god, how lucky we are today! We can cut our darling out of the current piece and store it safely in another file so we can use her later, in a place where she does work. And it strikes me that this advice is valuable anywhere, even as we begin the intense and often lonesome journey into the spiritual heart. We must kill our darlings, all those ideas, habits, dreams, concepts and conditioning that no longer mesh with our present map of reality. And we must make sure they stay dead, by burning their very roots, so that they do not rise up again with a vengeance to ruin our perfect plan for blissful liberation. 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

The Spider & The Blue-Throated God – Part 1/2

This post has been written in response to the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge. This week’s challenge can be found at the following link: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/writing-challenge-health/.

eugene_oregon

I owe a colossal debt of gratitude to a woman I shall call Grace, whose kindly face, hennaed hair, hooked nose and elfin green eyes still come easily and with great affection to mind. I met her over a decade ago, at a friend’s potluck dinner in Eugene, Oregon — a fairytale town where I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a hobbit or two come frolicking down the road, yodelling a hey-ho-happy-to-be-alive kinda song.

Instead of enjoying this slice of paradise, however, my thoughts had begun to stray obsessively into the future — specifically on the looming prospect of having to leave Eugene for south India, where I’d set in motion the construction of a beautiful home for myself. Whew, was I mad at myself for taking this big step! And what the hell had I been thinking? My radical ways had taken me way out of the Indian mainstream…and when, for God’s sake, had I ever fit into my conservative community? But now it was too late — huge amounts of money had already been paid towards this dream dwelling, and this time I had no option but to suck it up and go with the flow. Continue reading