I just returned from 8 days in the desert in Joshua Tree, California.
I was attending a retreat held by my teacher, Paul Muller-Ortega, who initiated me into an exquisite meditation practice he teaches, called Neelakantha Meditation.
October 19th was the 10-year anniversary of my initiation. Every day for 10 years this practice has been my constant companion. And not only this meditation practice but also an ever-expanding array of ancillary practices taught by Paul, many of which center around mantras.
Mantra means “a technology of thought.”
For most, “technology” is defined as a physical object, something that can be grasped or held in the hands. A mantra has no physical form, of course. It is vibration, pure and simple. It is a sequence of phonemes arranged in a certain way that produces a certain effect that resonates into our cells; into our tissues; into our bones; into our consciousness. We are composed of vibration. Truly, we are like flowing forms of vibration, assembling and reassembling over and over and over again and again and again. And what we reassemble into depends upon what kind of vibrations we are consciously and unconsciously absorbing into our awareness.
This fluidity of identity is a blessing. It is one of the reasons that human beings can, at times, prove to be extraordinarily adaptable. Adaptation, defined by Oxford, is “a change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment.”
In 10 years of consistent meditation practice, scriptural study, meditative insight contemplation and, most importantly, the facing into various challenging life experiences using the wisdom of these ancient teachings and practices, I have seen my own capacity for adaptation grow. I have experienced myself manifesting things in a much more efficient and effective way. I have experienced the natural way that we can release long-held negative convictions, preconceptions and misunderstandings that continually steer us into confrontations that are unnecessary and simply deplete our health and mental clarity. Every day, I experience myself growing in various ways that assist me in becoming better suited to my environment.
The photo I have paired with this contemplation is of my son, Christopher Seiji Rajata, enjoying a sleep on the daybed of our hotel room at Nirakanai Resort on Iriomote Island. It was taken the morning of October 19th, the first photo I took that day.
This little being has become the center of my world, as is the case with the relationship between most parents and their newborns and even with older children.
The parent adapts to the rhythm of the child, to meet its needs. This is just naturally understood and done by parents. Schedules shift, sleep patterns adjust and a new sequence of the day to day establishes itself. And that sequences itself then undergoes adaptation again and again.
As I gazed at my son on the daybed that morning – this new little being silently settled into sleep in the middle of the expanse of colorful patterns of the daybed blanket – I thought of Vishnu lying on the bed of the great serpent Adishesha, floating in the absolute nothingness of what is termed the mahapralaya in the Indian Hindu tradition. The mahapralaya is this idea of a great dissolution of time, which sets in motion a timeless pause in which existence has completely folded into itself to eradicate the entirety of the universe, every form and shape and atom of existence. Except Vishnu, and his fellow gods Brahma and Shiva. In the traditional view of these three gods, Vishnu is well-known for his capacity to maintain equanimity and support the continued presence of life, Brahma for his ability to set things in motion and cause life to arise, and Shiva for his power to dissolve, to eradicate things, to burn the surface of life away to reveal what is the most essential component of that life. The essentialness of all of life is the eternal stillness of the great timelessness, an apparent nothingness. Yet, the belief of the tradition is that the apparent nothingness holds the potential for everything to exist. Everything. Whether it is something you can think of or something you cannot think of, the potential for that something quietly vibrates in that timeless pause, waiting for the next cycle of creation to arise so those somethings can burst forth, and open in succession like the petals of blossoming flowers.
As I gazed at Christopher`s sleeping form I thought, “What will my son become? How will he adapt?” I am both excitedly thrilled and cautiously apprehensive about how my son will adapt to his changing world. Because the changes are coming faster and faster. Technology – that which can be held in the hand – is changing our vibrations as well, sometimes consciously but often unconsciously.
This is what makes the mantra that is received in Neelakantha Meditation such a precious technology. It is called the Heart Seed mantra, and it is apparently simple. A very short set of phonemes that form a vibratory seed in which there is a potent vibration, a vibration that can set in motion and support the bringing of every and all of our most noble heart intentions into being. This vibratory potential will also support and enhance our ability to adapt. That enhanced adaptation assists us in becoming able to weave the seeming randomness of life into a pattern that shapes and forms us into a new iteration of ourselves that is more efficient and more effective in all that we intend to do. And this re-patterning occurs over and over again.
Via this ancient technology of the Heart Seed, we open, blossom, grow in tremendously fulfilling and astonishing ways. We become attracted to and captivated by our personal path to create, maintain and dissolve our life in ways that constantly enhance and renew our potential.
And we do not simply get drawn into the various technologies that are so ubiquitous in these modern times. Instead, those various devices that we place in our backpacks and suitcases and handbags and jacket pockets and often have within our immediate proximity – so close as to be in constant contact with them, as if these devices were lovers of sorts – become useful tools and not distractions that create a kind of mini-dissolution of time. We don`t become addicted to the light of the screen. Instead, we become heart-attracted to that essential light of our own self, and that of others.
I want my son to know that light, to awaken to the beauty and majesty of his own creative talents. To know that he is like a star, a brilliant luminous presence that has the potential to compel his life to grow in astonishing and unique ways, to sustain that growth, and to actively disallow or eradicate the things that do not support that growth.
I often perceive my son in all of his shiny newness, all of his softness of form and tenderness of being, a little boy in the vast ocean of this life, and I am filled with so much love for his presence. Daily, he nudges me into a process of adaptation to his presence. I am grateful for this opportunity to adapt to him, to become better suited to his environment. And grateful to my practice of meditation that gives me the technology by which that adaptation becomes a natural and effortless process.