On February 9, Rama’s birthday, I journey into the heat of the desert with 86 friends from different generations of the Study. Rama used various names for his teaching adventures, but overall he mostly referred to it as “The Study” – meaning the study of self-discovery and God-realization. This event was a family reunion of sorts; I had the good fortune to reunite with some people I had not seen in 10 or even 20 years. I wanted to speak with everyone present, but there is never enough time at these gatherings. Many of us have been hosting Rama birthday events for the past 20 years, but this one felt different. It was not just a celebration of our dear teacher; the intent was also to build a new relationship of deeper cooperation with each other.
Those of us drawn to the Study are constantly novaturient. That is, we are always seeking powerful changes in our life, behavior, or situation. We know life is impermanent, so when things begin to feel stagnant, we know big shifts are about to happen whether we want them or not. Instead of waiting on the sidelines, we tend to consciously ride the transient waves of existence.
On this Path, we experience many major life changes that are akin to internal deaths and births. With each new birth, the seemingly reasonable thing to do is to dip our toe in, and if everything feels comfortable, we quickly jump in feet first. This can feel like the safe way to do it, but there are some serious drawbacks. By the time we have put our toe in, the birth into the new state of being has begun and there’s no stopping it. If the circumstances are not comfortable, we may go through it slowly, agonizing about every new experience as we lament the passing of the old, perhaps even regretting that we put our toe in the water – as if we really had a choice! We’re essentially being born breech. If we have a strong support network, they can help us get turned around, or if needed cut us out of the womb. If we’re alone, we must fight and kick and tear our way into our new life. Either way, it’s a messy and destructive process.
Instead, when we feel the time of massive change is upon us, we can be humble and bow. We can focus on gratitude for all the beautiful and horrible events that have brought us to this moment. With our head down, we can dive into the new version of our being. Obviously, this takes tremendous faith in the process, since there’s no slowing down or stopping. We need to be calm as our old self sloughs off so we don’t create resistance or get tangled in the cord that nourished us. And finally, we must let go of the previous life that sheltered us and allowed us to grow.
Once we are born into our new self, we are naked and vulnerable. That is how I felt meditating in the desert with the members of Rama’s lineage.
When the timing worked out that I could attend the birthday adventure to the desert, the organizers asked me to lead the opening remarks and meditation. After Samvara walked us to a beautiful spot where Rama had taken students many, many years before, I sat in front facing the group, where I could see the remaining stragglers make their way to this special power spot. Once everyone arrived, I spoke a few words and settled into meditation.
I could feel the energy of the desert enveloping me. I could also feel the anger and jealousy of a few people. Thoughts like “Who is she is to be sitting up there?” “Why is she leading us? She’s not Rama!” slammed into me. At first I wanted to push back, to exert my will and maintain my space. As I watched these ideas arise in my mind, I realized these psychic hits were nothing in comparison to how hard I’ve hit myself mentally during the dark moments in my life. It became evident there was nothing any of these extremely powerful people could ever do to me that would be worse than what I’ve done to my own self – and the same was probably true of them. In that moment, I felt our unity. I knew they were me, I was them, and Rama was here with and as all of us.
Compassion and equanimity arose with my mind, and I opened my heart as wide as I possibly could and let the desert do with me whatever it would. I dissolved. Everyone sitting beneath the cliff in the desert dissolved into each other as one tribe, one love.
After my singing bowl signaled the end of the silent meditation, Veronica rose to invite people to share their stories of power. Such delight followed! Laughter, tears, and memories of the incredible miracles we witnessed were shared.
One story stuck in my mind, about a recent dream a woman had. She told us about a glowing line of light on the ground that stretched out to both horizons, and Rama telling her to pick it up. She doubted that she could and hesitated. After some prodding, she gathered her strength to lift the line of light. When she picked it up, it turned out to be light as a feather. Rama laughed and said, “You didn’t think you had to lift it on your own, did you?”
We, along with the thousands of Enlightened beings who have come before us and will come after us, are all carrying the lineage – this line through the ages that lights all the worlds.
Her story was an excellent reminder to all present that the miracles are still happening. Those of us with students already know this, because we hear about their extraordinary experiences and see firsthand how Rama’s light is very much alive in our own lives. The ones in our lineage who are out on their own may have forgotten about the everyday miracles, or have gone through too many breech births to feel excited by the prospect of yet another major shift. Yet, it’s time to dive in and become a new self. I for one am willing to trust the process, to see where Light leads me and our lineage. And for those out there on the sidelines, know we are here, ready to welcome you home.
I don’t know what this new life together in The Study will be like as our conversations continue and grow deeper, but I am excited to find out!
To be notified of new blog posts, please join my Happy News Mailing List.
My work is entirely funded by my readers – by you. If you like what you have read, if you find insight or inspiration in these words, please help pay for this website by contributing any amount through PayPal.me/jennasundell, or visit my Support page to learn more ways you can help keep the work going.