After-Mom

I’ve recently taken an interest in lucid dreaming, especially its potential as a tool in exploring consciousness, investigating the psyche, and gaining psychological insights. In beginning this practice it’s useful to know the landscape of one’s dreams so I’ve begun keeping a dream journal to record my dreams. Additionally, I’ve been going through my personal journal in which I’ve recorded remembered dreams over the years and transcribed them in dream journals. In the process I came across a dream about my mother I had a couple of years ago and it brought to mind a couple of other experiences I’ve had since her passing.

Since she left her body on 21 May 2008, I’ve had several moments when she has touched me in in a significant way. These moments don’t confirm any particular belief in life after death, an afterlife, rebirth or reincarnation, but they touched me deeply, nonetheless. I don’t subscribe to any religious persuasion nor do I consider myself particularly spiritual. However, I am open to such possibilities and I strongly suspect that there is something that lies beyond our range of perception and our concepts of conventional waking reality.

The first two events are extracted from my Padawan Yogi blog (no longer online) and the third is from a dream I had and is extracted with notes from my dream journal.

Chants for Ma Kirtan
Sun, 08 May 2011

Michael and Melissa led a wonderful Chants for Ma Mothers’ Day Kirtan this morning. I’ve enjoyed the energy of the kirtans I’ve attended but this simple kirtan really moved me in a profound way. The first chant, Jai Ma, opened something inside me and a lot of feelings and emotions came to the surface. I had tears on my cheeks and my voice was breaking. It’s hard to describe but it was powerful and intense. At the time I wasn’t able to identify the feelings, it was just raw emotion. Looking back I can only guess the predominant feelings were love and loss. Even several hours after the kirtan, the intensity had ebbed but the feelings still weighed heavily on my heart.

My mother passed on three years ago this month and on Mothers’ Day she was going through the process of dying so I guess I’m always going to have that association with the day. The kirtan obviously triggered something inside me and brought it to the surface. Maybe I’d been holding them in for the past three years and they needed to come out.

03-17-2013 Meditation & Yoga
Sun, 17 Mar 2013

My practice since injuring my shoulder in October has been sporadic and it shows. My pranayama, asana and meditation practices have all shown obvious signs of neglect. Now with spring coming and my shoulder almost fully recovered , along with a couple of good sessions, I’m feeling motivated to get my sadhana back on track. My good friend and teacher, Melissa, will be leading a week-long spring detox next month and the more I think about it, the more convinced I become that I should do it. Hopefully, I’ll have more success than I had with the fall detox. If I can at least become semi-competent at making kitcheri, I should do alright.

I had a good home practice yesterday. Parts of it were challenging but I worked my edge and it felt good. For the first time in nearly five months, I was able to do Savasana in relative comfort without placing a blanket or something under my head. It seems strange that a pose like Savasana would give me such difficulty. I’m happy that my shoulder is finally almost healed. It’s not 100 percent yet but it’s getting close.

This morning I made the effort to make it to Melissa’s guided meditation class and her hatha yoga class at Day Yoga Studio. They were my first Sunday classes with her since she stopped holding them at S.W.O.R.D. back in September. I found that, while I enjoy classes by other teachers, I really missed Melissa’s classes. Her Sunday mediation and yoga classes will be a priority.

This morning’s meditation was a heart meditation using visualization, drawing in what you wanted to bring into your life and releasing that which you wanted to let go of. I have a little trouble imagining the process she describes but often, into the meditation, a vision will form. I saw white, fluffy clouds and in one cloud there was a hole through which I could see bright blue sky. Occasionally, I could see a refracted ray of sunshine on the edge of the hole. I don’t know if this has any significance or how it relates to the meditation, but that’s what appeared to me.

In the time between the meditation and the asana class, I rested in Supta Baddha Konasana, resting my shoulder blades and the back of my head on blocks. I find it quite relaxing along with being a nice hip opener, back bend, and heart opener. It turned out that she would have us start the class reclined either on a bolster or on blocks.

The class itself was challenging, keeping me at my edge. No particular pose or sequence stands out; it was all good. Again, Savasana was quite comfortable and without props.

Toward the end of Savasana, thoughts about death popped up. They were mostly about deaths in my family, particularly my mother and my paternal grandmother. One thought that came up was that my mother’s atman had either been reborn or was about to be and the body she occupied was (or would be) nearby. There was another recent death that appeared in my thoughts. It wasn’t anyone I knew personally but her unfortunate and random death in Afghanistan had touched my heart. I acknowledged the thoughts and let them go.

It was nice to talk to Melissa for a few moments after each class about my shoulder injury and my practice. She has always been one of my favorite teachers and I’ve learned so much from her.

30 June 2015 Dream
I see my mother and give her a hug. While hugging her I feel a sensation of unconditional love, untainted by any feelings of sadness, grief, or loss. I felt that I had transcended to a higher level of consciousness.

Notes: The dream resonated with me for several days afterward. I found it interesting that in the dream and when reflecting upon it later I felt no sadness or grief. If anything, I felt a sense of relief and it may have signaled an official end to my grieving.

See also: Ninth year remembrance

Ninth year remembrance

It was nine years ago today that my beloved mother left her body. She left it reluctantly and fought against the transition all the way. In the couple of weeks I was there I witnessed her incredible strength and determination to stay with us. Family was extremely important to her and in the years since her passing I have come to a greater appreciation of the depth of her contributions and sacrifices to raise her family and to support all of us long after we left the nest. Although she’s not with us physically, she lives in our memories and in our hearts. I can only relate my own experiences but I often feel her spiritual presence.

For several years I was troubled that I was not present at the time of her passing. I had always felt a very deep bond with my mother and it seemed like I still had some unfinished business with her. I also felt there was a lack of closure. About three years later, there began a series of events spread over several more years through which she led me through my grieving, assuaged my feelings of guilt, and affirmed her unconditional love.

I never say that she’s in Heaven or anywhere else. Personally, I don’t accept the Christian concepts of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. I find them spiritually limiting and based upon an abstract system of rewards and punishment. I’m more attracted to Eastern ideas of karma and rebirth which, to me, seem more logical and more rational. The idea that she has taken on a new birth is comforting. Her spirit, which is not bound by the limitations of the physical universe, has spoken to me at times when my mind has been quiet enough to hear her.

None of above reflects a belief in anything, only ideas and possibilities. I can only relate my own experiences or what I think I’ve experienced. Just the same, I’ve pondered ideas and concepts regarding the spiritual dimension or realm. I borrow from many disciplines, to include Eastern philosophies and quantum mechanics.

Monthly Detritus Report (05-11)

Another month’s worth of random chatter from the Monkey Mind as it leaps from limb to limb, howls, scratches its balls and flings feces at passersby…

  • 06 – Henry the 8th (Herman’s Hermits) in my head since yesterday. Watched The Tudors Wednesday. Coincidence?
  • 08 – The only one to show up for the Radical Yogi workshop. Am I the only "radical yogi" in Dayton?
  • 08 – Mother’s Day kirtan at Sri Yoga. A lot of intense feelings for my mother came to the surface. Still feeling it. Jai Ma!
  • 11 – TV observation: Everything needs a cup holder so our toxic 64-oz beverages are always within easy reach.
  • 14 – Naked Gardening Day or Naked Plumbing Day? No garden but I do have plumbing.
  • 15 – RT @nudiarist: I Missed World Naked Gardening Day (No naked gardening but did some naked plumbing.)
  • 26 – I love restorative yoga. “I love you” meditation was interesting but I’ve been telling myself that for decades.