Thursday, June 20, 2013

Every 17 Years

We had a visitor from town last weekend.
"What's that sound?" She asked, "Is it somebody's car alarm?"
"No.It's the Cicadas. Don't you have them in Winston Salem?"
"Yeah, but not like this."
"There's a lot of trees here, and not much other noise, so I guess they're louder than you're used to in town."
This brood of Cicadas comes out of the ground every 17 years.
About a week ago they emerged. They were all over the road, climbing out of their old skins, drying in the sun, then flying into the trees where they begin singing.
Without the aid of internet or cell phones, every last one of them made their emergence within two days.
Soil temperature and biological change signal it's time to come up, time for metamorphosis.

As humans, many of us feel an urge to meta-morph into something better. We feel an urge to improve, that there is a higher level to pursue.
Insects are programmed to respond to urges and external stimuli.This insures the specie will survive.
Humans are similarly programed to mate and hoard food and possessions as much as possible.
Progress begins when we transform those urges into sharing and loving.
This is just the beginning.
There are multiple skins to grow out of, unhealthy habits and thought patterns to leave behind.
This happens automatically as we grow. If you pull the skin off a cicada before its time, the cicada will die. As it grows, the skin naturally sheds. As we develop spiritually, we naturally leave behind unwanted habits.
 A step by step progression has been described;
1) Faith and understanding that you are a spiritual being - Adau Shraddha
2) Find inspiring friends- Sadhu Sanga
3) Engage in a Spiritual Practice - Bhajana Kriya
4) Clearing stage, bad habits drop away- Anartha Nivrtti
As difficult as it sounds, there comes a time when all bad habits are left behind. The practitioner is rid of them forever. The rare people who achieve this stage are naturally attractive, as the good qualities inherent in all of us, are able to shine through, unimpeded. This appears to be an International phenomena manifest in all cultures and traditions, which gives us faith that it is attainable, that the goal does exist.

The next brood of 17 year Cicada will appear in 2030.
How will you evolve by that time?

Water Deeply

This morning I walked by a neighbor watering her garden.
"Water deep", I advised
"Really?"  She's a city girl, new to gardening, new to the backwoods of North Carolina.
"Yes. If you water lightly, the roots grow close to the surface. When it gets hot and dry, your plants will die."
"Oh..." She had been sprinkling a bit, wetting the surface, then moving on.
 "Water deep and the roots will grow deep,where they belong, where they can survive."
"OK, that makes sense. Thanks!"
Seeds of love and understanding sown in our heart also need regular, deep watering to grow. A recommended "watering" process is to hear or read books like Bhagavad Gita in the company of loving devotees.
We often see inspiring slogans and think, "That's nice. I'd like to imbibe that and be influenced by it." Because it doesn't seep in, there is no permanent change. It takes a while for the message to penetrate. Leave the hose at a trickle for a long time, let it saturate to where healthy roots will grow, you'll see a difference. Water deep.

In Costa Rica during the dry season last year I noticed a lush green spot at a neighbor's pasture. He had a watering trough for his horses supplied by a constantly running spring. The patch of tall grass contrasted with the rest of the dry field. Even with horses grazing, the grass stood over my head. It grew faster than they could eat it because of the regular supply of water.
You can see a similar contrast in your own life by deeply studying Wisdom Books of your tradition. We have unlimited access to media, yet feel 'dried up', uninspired. The fleeting messages we receive from the media don't nourish our heart. We require deep watering, don't just wet the surface.

What Can Repression Accomplish?

I've noticed that bean vines in my garden always wrap in a clockwise direction as they climb the poles. All vines in our area move in the same direction, like the threads of a screw, always clockwise.

 While assisting bean vines to climb their poles, I take care to wrap them in the proper direction, otherwise they get confused and undo any help given. While bean vines are not particularly smart, they do have a specialized skill, something that no one else can do. They create beans.
If we are to help anyone, we must observe their nature. Help offered must be in tune with their nature, otherwise we waste time and cause confusion.
Have you ever given help or advice to someone who didn't appreciate it?
Have you ever endured a good teacher who worked against your grain?
"Even a man of knowledge acts according to his own nature, for everyone follows the nature he has acquired from the three modes. What can repression accomplish?"
Bhagavad Gita 3/33