From the Metaphysical to the Mundane

Via on Jun 11, 2010

Dilemmas of a Householder II

There was a time in my life where I so strongly desired to be in perfect Presence all the time that my desire for Presence became the greatest pain I had ever felt.

I sought absolute ego death; annihilation of self into Self, the surrender of “I” into that which is greater than all Its parts combined.

The desire to merge with the supreme and eternal – whether you call It God, Brahman, Allah, nirvana, liberation, or any of the other words we might use to describe the ineffable – became unbearable. I was being driven mad by it. Separation from Itness (God, Krishna, Nirvana, Allah…) was agony. I desired always to surrender myself to this deeper home.

Hari, hear my plea.
Dark One, I am
your servant,
a vision of you has driven me mad.
Separation eats at my limbs.
Because of you
I’ll become a yogini and ramble
from city to city scouring the hidden quarters -
pasted with ash, clad in a deerskin
my body wasting
to cinder.
I’ll circle from forest to forest
wretched and howling -
O Unborn, Indestructible,
come to your beggar!
Finish her pain and touch her
with pleasure!
This coming and going will end,
says Mira,
with me clasping your
feet forever.

-Mirabai

I found myself struggling with the life choices I had made. “If only I were a sadhu,” I thought, “then I could give myself over, cease the thinking, the planning. I could give myself fully to Presence.  I could constantly allow for the sweet surrender that is the greatest Union.”

But that choice, the path of the sadhu, the path of austerity, was not the choice I had made in building my life. I had two children to attend to. A husband. A career. I had deadlines to keep, money to make, children to care for, to love and support.

For months the ache of longing and the confusion caused by my desire for Presence was like a sword stuck through my heart. The pain of separation was searing; almost unbearable.

But I had already made my choices about how I was going to spend my life; once a mother, always a mother. I could have left my career, I could have left my home, I could have left my husband. (As a matter of fact, the leaving of my now-ex-husband was already in the works.)

But I could never leave my children. The suffering caused would be too great.

And my love for them, I am almost guilty to admit, felt like a loadstone around my neck, heavy as an anchor, yet pointing in the only direction I could go; nowhere.

Finally I began asking, “What is Presence? How can I be committed to relationship with others, and Present in The Eternal at the same time? How do I stay Present in love?”

The question rolled around my mouth in wordless curls. It ricocheted through my mind. It bounced and bounded, banged against the edges of my self.

After weeks of weighty rumination, after hours of sitting on my zafu, after what felt like gallons of tears, and after surrendering fully to the burning pain of separation, I broke through the koan that had formed itself inside of me. In a moment of realization, the answer arrived, fully formed and lotus-like.

The question became the answer; “how can I be present in love” became, “love is Presence.” Love is not attachment. Attachment is not love.

Attachments are the causes of dukkha – often translated as suffering, though in my opinion this is a limiting interpretation of the term.

According to Tantra Yoga, these attachments are called kankucas, or “becloudings”. According to Georg Feuerstein, the kankucas can be translated as partiality, knowledge, attachment, time, necessity. Partiality, because we cease to allow for fullness of being. Knowledge, because we cease to allow for growth. Attachment, because it clouds possibility of outcome. Time, because it limits consciousness of the eternal. Necessity, because it limits us.

In Buddhist terminology, the attachments are called skandhas. The skandhas are form, sensation, perception, impulses, and consciousness.

Of these attachments, form is the strongest (and the easiest to encapsulate), because

1., form leads to the illusion of separation from the formless, and

2., because form is transitory, and attachment to form as self leads to dukkha.

The skandhas are the aggregates that form a sense of self, and are the causes of clinging.

All of the skandhas, or parts of the sense of self-as-form are the causes dukkha.

My attachment to what I considered the “perfect” form of Presence, was, at that time, causing my own suffering.

These are obstacles to liberation; the illusion of separation, and the expectations, desires, and responsibilities that we so often mistake as love and commitment.

As a householder, the desire for subsumation into the nondual must merge with the path of devotion, which is often a dualist form of worship. Moment to moment, we dance between mergence and devotion.

Loving in Presence is showing up to my relationship with my children, my husband, and my responsibilities in life in the fullness with which I show up to my relationship with the Divine.

How do we stay present in love? How do we stay Present in abiding relationships with mortal beings? By releasing the illusion of separation, moment to moment.

And when we find ourselves in separation, we stay Present by devoting ourselves to those we serve as if they were God Itself.

Because, after all, they are.

About Lasara Allen

Lasara is wife to her true love, and mother to two amazing young women. She’s also a best-selling author, an educator, and an activist. Lasara’s first book, the bestselling Sexy Witch (nonfiction, Llewellyn Worldwide), was published in 2005 under the name LaSara FireFox. As of 3/6/2012, after a coaching sabbatical, Lasara has openings for three three-week, individual, personally tailored coaching and mentoring programs. She also has slots in a cohort-model group coaching program available for a limited amount of time. Lasara is available for one-session commitments as well. Make whatever commitment feels best for you. Lasara offers individual coaching on topics such as; * Mental and Physical Health and Wellness - accepting your diagnosis (or that of a loved one) - learning to live with awareness of strengths and vulnerabilities - Learning to live gracefully within your spectrum of the possible * Mindful Relationships - self as primary partner - loving partnerships, friendships and connections - marriages - parenting - family * Spiritual Contemplation and Alignment - Entering into and committing to your spiritual inquiry - Learning to listen to listen for and hear the divine in your life - Inquiring into the role that faith may play in informing your path - The role of meditation, contemplation, and prayer in your practice For more information and endorsements, visit: http://lasaraallen.com/about-lasara/coaching-services/

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2 Responses to “From the Metaphysical to the Mundane”

  1. [...] The Presence of Devotion, The Devotion of Presence Lasára Allen Today you will have to go over to elephant journal and read The Presence of Devotion, The Devotion of Presence for my 800 [...]

  2. codaa27 says:

    This was wonderful to read and something I've wondered myself. Thank you for writing this.

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