Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sampradayam Synchronicity

Before coming to the tradition that I now belong to, I had a dream.  The dreamscape was entirely blank except for an elephant-headed deity sitting in the lotus posture.  My first instinct was to identify him as Ganesh.  However, this deity had five heads, so I second-guessed this assessment.  I only recently discovered that this is an acknowledged and celebrated manifestation of Lord Ganesha: Panchamukhi Ganesha.  Looking at him, I felt a very strong aura of peace radiating from him and, also, radiating out from me in response.

Panchamukhi Ganesha

After having firmly decided to take a Guru, when I received mantra deeksha (initiation) from my swami teacher, I began to see tiny little lights exploding and disappearing.  It was as if I was witnessing the birth of a microcosmic universe.  At first I thought I was just seeing dust particles that were catching the light just right.  But, in addition to just seeing them floating in the air, I would see them exploding out of the shower wall, I would see them in the dark, and I would see them exploding on peoples' faces.  I started seeing them that day, and have continued seeing them ever since.

The day that I received this initiation, I went to a restaurant in Seattle that I like, called Chaco Canyon.  I had already noticed a lot of number synchronicities with the numbers 1 and 7, just from looking at the clock before and after meditation, getting into and out of the car, etc.  I don't remember the specifics.  But when I got to Chaco Canyon and they gave me a number, I remember that it had been enough to make me stop and admire the patterning when they handed me the number 7 to put on my table.

Chaco Canyon Table #

After that, I went to Pike Place Market in Seattle to buy a mala and some herbs from a cool little shop called Tenzing & Momo.  The total on my receipt was $77.77.  When I left that shop, I went to a little Indian import store and bought a tapestry featuring Lord Ganesha.  I hung it on my wall that day.  Eventually, I noticed light coming out of the thing.  When I examined it more closely, I saw that it had little mirrors stitched into it.  When the sunlight would catch it just right, it would flicker and look a lot like the little explosions that I had just started noticing the day that I bought this thing.

Ganesh Tapestry

One of the mirrors pictured center
Here's another number sync I found out about some time later.  My Guru's birthday turned out to be 3/22/1948.  Mine is 3/2/1984.  Same month, same digits in the day except that my Guru's is multiplied by a factor of 11 (a number corresponding to Shiva and also known as a Master number in numerology), and all the digits in the year are the same.  Clearly this conspiracy runs deep. 

Sadgurunath Maharaj Ki Jay!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Number of the Beast

Woe to you, Oh Earth and Sea, for the Devil sends the
beast with wrath, because he knows the time is short...(Revelation, 12:12)

Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the
beast for it is a human number, its number is Six hundred and
sixty six. (Revelation, 13:18)

The Gnostics described two types of Christian: the psychic (psychic = of the psyche/mind) and the pneumatic (of the Spirit).  Psychic Christians were also known as "animal" Christians.  In India, Lord Shiva is known as Pashupati, Lord of the Creatures.  Those who are liberated from delusion identify themselves with the Lord.  Those who are bound to the illusory notion of "I" as distinct from "an other" are referred to as "pashu", an animal/creature. Essentially, the categorization boils down to a person operating either from their more bestial/material nature or their more spiritual nature.  The Gnostics were hip to spiritual materialism and called those who fell into that trap on it or, at least, acknowledged it in speaking among themselves.

Who is the devil?

And he [Jesus] said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. (Luke, 10:18)

  • Lightning = Baraq (Strong's Hebrew Dictionary, #1299, 1300)

  • High Place = Bamah (Ibid, #1116)

  • Conjunction = Waw or Vau, transliterated as "O" or "U"

  • Baraq O'Bamah = Lightning falling from the heights

Thus, one of a handful of probable strings of syllables actually uttered by Jesus in describing Satan is "Baraq O'Bamah".

And he [Jesus] said unto them, I beheld Satan as Barack Obama.
"Thank you, Satan!" (Barack Obama)

Did Jesus predict the name of the Antichrist?  Is this just wishful thinking on the part of Mr. Obama?  Maybe the answer is something even weirder.  

The primary characteristic of those under dominion of the Rider-Waite Tarot Devil is their bondage.  Note the number XV at the top, or 15 if you prefer.  Numerologically speaking, 15 = 1+5 = 6.

In Yoga philosophy, Māyā (illusion) is also known as "The World".  Author, Scott Onstott has undertaken unprecedented inventory of earth measurements and found frequently recurring motifs, which imply 'the hidden order of the universe'.  What's more, he's made his compelling data immediately and intuitively accessible by rendering it into viscerally appealing works of art.  666 is one of these motifs, literally embedded into the very framework of the world itself.

Devil Inside

So, based on what we've seen so far, I think it is safe to say that, in a sense, "Satan" is encoded into the earth.  The Bible concurs on this point, calling Satan "The god of this world" (2 Corinthians, 4:4), "The prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians, 2:2), and "the ruler of this world" (John, 12:31).  According to the Vedas and Purānas, we are presently in the age of Kālī, where darkness and ignorance prevail.  The Guru Gītā says that Māyā is intrinsic to the body (sloka 10 [SYDA version]).  The point that I would hope that people take away from this exercise is that sin is, very simply, to look for happiness outside of oneself rather than trying to find it by looking inward.  The prevailing tendency, especially in this age, is for the individual's attention to be directed outward, because of the association with the world and the body.

The Yogi's Seat

This brings up a practical consideration for all you meditators out there: the phenomenon of the yogi's seat in yogic literature.  Krishna covers the subject in the Bhagavad Gītā, the sage Suta discusses the subject at even greater length in the Guru Gītā.  It has been addressed by more contemporary yogis like Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh and Yogi Bhajan.  Between all of these sources, a great number of good candidates for the yogi's seat have been proposed.  Others have been rejected.  Cloth, wood, and stone are all poor choices according to the Guru Gītā.  Antelope, deer, tiger, and sheep skins, certain types of grass, and wool are the more desirable ones that leap to mind.  In an essay by Swami Sivananda whose name I can't recall, in discussing this same topic, he relates that the reason for giving such consideration to what to sit on in meditation and jāpa (mantra repitition) is to insulate the body from "subtle earth currents".  

My meditation seat: A wool blanket, atop a wool-stuffed meditation cushion, atop a mat made of kusha grass

Archetypal Forces

Vidya & Avidya (Knowledge & Ignorance)

 In the terminology of the non-dual philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism, Consciousness-absolute (God if you prefer) is called, Shiva.

This symbol represents Shiva as the cosmic (micro & macro) "Dancing Lord" (Nātarāja).  He is constantly engaged in dancing the universe into and out of creation.

Shiva has five functions: Creation, Sustenance, Dissolution, Concealment, and Grace.


According to Kashmir Shaivism, everything is Shiva only.  Consciousness is everything.  There is nothing that is not God.  Shiva creates everything that exists by willingly accepting limitation, for the sake of experiencing his own manifold nature.  He does this by subjecting himself to his own power of Concealment.  This is a subtle force, a power, his shakti.  It causes the infinite, eternal, undivided, Consciousness-absolute to forget its own true nature as such, but allows the opportunity of an individual experience.  A rock is one such individual.  So is a blade of grass, as is a human being.

This force manifests in the world numerically as 6 or 666.  It manifests as the concept of the Devil or Satan.  As I mentioned earlier, the force is similarly maligned in certain streams of Eastern thought, who have dubbed it "Māyā", which is regarded as unreal and an illusion.  The reason for this is that the seeming existence as a worldly individual equates to suffering.  But it is really just a process, mandated by Divine Will, which allows something to be born of no-thing; for Oneness to birth the realm of duality.  Thinking of it in these terms, it is easy to understand why Jesus would describe it as 'Lightning falling from the heavens'. 

Therefore, it is not surprising to me that people who are subject to the notion of individuality would anthropomorphize this force and demonize it.  Furthermore, since Consciousness is everything, I am not surprised that this force constantly shows up in one from or another.  From the world being patterned upon variations of the number six, to a temporal leader who is very much caught up in worldliness repeatedly and unwittingly uttering, in his acceptance speech no less, three syllables which reveal a message thanking this force by name when reversed.


On the flipside, this force is balanced by giving the individual an out, in the form of Grace.  By Shiva's power of Grace, the individual can transcend the very limitation of their own individuality and remember the Unity that underlies it; which is each and every individual's own essential nature.  the individual goes from being the pashu (animal) to Pashupati (Lord of the Creatures).  The jīva (individual) becomes Shiva.  Shava (a corpse) becomes Shiva.  When the individual becomes One with everything in this way, the result is, 'the Peace which passeth understanding'.  The karma engendered by sins, which bind the individual to desire for some things and a desire to avoid others, is burned away.  Everything in the world is only the Self at this point and, thus, is sublimely beautiful; welcome.  The symptom of the fruition of this state is unshakeable equanimity.  This at-One-ment, if you will, is the true atonement for our sins.  

The tradition of Kashmir Shaivism unfailingly reverberates with the chorus, "The Guru is the means" (Shiva Sutras, 2:6).  

I pay homage to that wonderful speech of my Guru, which is like a boat for crossing the fathomless ocean of doubt and is full of words, which yield wonderful meaning.   (Stanzas on Vibration, IV:1)

Although Consciousness is one's true nature, the force of obscuration does not allow one to easily come out from under its dominion.  Being entrenched in the habit of thinking and acting as one who is subject to the force of Concealment, the individual's instincts tend to keep him or her entrenched in this way.  Thus, Rāmana Mahāṛshi said that, for such an individual, the external Guru is necessary also.  The internal Guru manifests the external Guru for the sake of the seeker.  When the external Guru is found, he gives a push to turn inward and also causes attention to be pulled inward by the internal Guru.  

What Rāmana is describing is called shaktipat, the transmission of Grace.  "The Guru is the Grace-bestowing power of God" (Swami Muktananda).  This is a literal (but subtle) force which sends attention inward rather than outward; toward Oneness as opposed to diversity; which bestows spiritual desires rather than animal ones.  If there has been any tendency in a person's life toward these themes, that is Grace in itself.  However, a relationship with the outer Guru basically cranks up the heat as high as it will go.  It is, in essence "....Jumping out of the pan and into the fire." (Guruji).

As an interesting aside, the day that I received mantra deeksha (initiation), I was constantly having syncs with the numbers 7 and 11, among other noteworthy phenomena.  You can read about that HERE.

At any rate, these opposing forces, while often maligned and cast as "good" and "evil" are, according to Kashmir Shaivism, merely the  sport of Shiva: the play of Consciousness (Chit-Shakti Vilas).  It is the Divine Sport, Drama, Comedy, and Tragedy all at the same time.  Consciousness is all-encompassing, indivisible Unity.  It is infinite potential, but unmanifest, similar to the manner in which all parts of a tree are contained, yet unmanifest, within its seed.  "Evil" isn't really evil, it is simply ignorance, which can be dispelled.

If you are interested in receiving what the Guru has to offer, feel free to contact me.  My job as a Swami is to help make this accessible to those who desire this Grace in their lives.  Our work is free of charge.  This is a labor of love.  Finally, if the subject matter interests you, I am currently working on a new translation and commentary on a scripture known as the Guru Gītā, which is the most exhaustive treatise on the matter that there is.  

If man is 5, then the devil is 6, and God is 7.  This monkey's gone to Heaven.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

It's Your Birthday

So yesterday I stopped at a grocery store on my way to go hiking in the mountains.  There was an old lady right outside the door talking to a little girl.  They were talking about her age and I heard the old lady say, "You'll be in school soon!"  To which the adult who the girl was with said, "She had her first day of school today!"  The old lady responded with, "Happy birthday!"  That struck me as an odd response as I walked through the door to the store.

 Immediately upon entering the store, about five steps in, I heard a completely different person (at the customer service desk) say, "Happy belated birthday!"  The timing made this stand out in my mind right away and I thought, "OK, what's going on here right now?"

At the end of the day, my wife and I dropped a load of stuff off at the Goodwill near where we are staying.  She  spotted a pile of stuff that somebody had left near another thrift store that just closed its doors, so we went to check it out.  I had recently decided that I needed some clothes for job interviews.  When I got there, I found a garbage bag full of clothes that are exactly my midget size.  This might not seem like a big deal to you.  If that's the case, you're obviously not a 5'5'' grown man.

I was reminded of birthdays as a young kid, when you get all the stuff you need -- a year's worth of socks, underwear, and pants -- but none of the toys you were asking for. LOL.  So, "Happy birthday to me," I thought.  (It isn't literally my birthday for the record)

This begged the question, "So to whom do I owe these thanks?"

That's when I pulled this out of the bag:

And was reminded of the 1008 names of God. (There wasn't a phone in the box)

I don't know if there's a more clear way that the universe could tell a person that they are being Divinely taken care of, kept in a safe way, if you will.  Thank you, Sri Ganesha. OM Gam Ganapataye Namaha!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dog Days

As I was putting together the first post for this blog, I happened to notice this:

I sync with the numbers, 1, 3, and 7 most often; often doubled up (factors of 11) or in triplicate (trinities).  The 5s and 9s circled here are also pretty common for me but not as frequent.  It's actually been a few years since 9 has been on my radar.

Also, 11 and 5 are the numbers most frequently associated with Shiva. 11 is more specifically linked with Rudra.  The name Rudra means "one who howls", and also has been said by some to mean "red".  He is a fierce manifestation of Shiva.  Bhairava, another name for Shiva (also considered to be particularly terrifying), is said to ride a dog as his vāhana (vehicle).  Just yesterday, my son was asking me why it had to be so hot.  So I described how we are in the "Dog Days of Summer", because Sirius, "The Dog Star", is in a certain alignment with the Sun that is said to amplify the amount of heat that is radiated down to the Earth.  I'm not claiming to be an expert on the matter, but that's what I told my son.

This brought me back to a time when I was eighteen-years-old that has always stood out in my mind as a fond memory.  I had given my friend a ride to his aunt's house when I stepped out of the car to find a very friendly, very large St. Bernard.  We became friends immediately and, before I knew it, he had circled around me to run at me from behind.  He then ducked to walk underneath me so that he could stand up at which point he carried me around like a horse.

So, in a nutshell, Shivo'ham.  "I am Shiva!"

I guess that makes me Keanu, too, who also resonates with the Dog Star.  I didn't notice, 'til after I had already typed "trinities", the obvious fact that that is the name of his co-star's character on The Matrix.  And of course, where you have the Lord and his consort, a trinity is implied, right?

Shivo'ham, I am Shiva.  Idam'eva Shivam, indeed this too is Shiva.

(For the record, the 55 photos had been at that number for some time, but the 333rd friend just arrived today, and the number of people on Facebook's chat changed very shortly after I snapped the screenshot.)


Shortly after I posted this, I saw that a friend had shared this photo on facebook:

This is a scene from the movie 'Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind'.  I must have watched this movie a hundred times (also with my son) without ever making this connection because, in the version that I watched, this sentence is translated differently: "Pull the ship toward the left!"

At any rate, this totally resonates with my equating the star, Sirius, to the deity, Bhairava.  Let me break it down for you.  Those red-eyed bug-looking things are called "OM"s in this movie.  Their eyes are red because they have become enraged and are on a rampage. In Hindu cosmology, OM is God in the form of the seed syllable of the entire universe.  The wrathful form of OM is Bhairava.  So this frame is, in a sense, depicting Bhairava and simultaneously bringing our attention to Sirius.

"Why Sync, Swami?"


Nothing in existence is fundamentally divisible of separate.  All things and events are part of an inseparable union.  Synchronicity happens when we notice the bleed-through from one seemingly separate thing into another -- or when we, for a brief moment, move beyond the mind's divisions of the world.  -- Jake Kotze
When we notice synchronicity in our lives, it is an affirmation and a reminder of the true nature of Reality; of the Self in whom all exists, and who paradoxically exists in all.  Sync is always there because we live in a self-aware universe.  The universe is Shakti, the Goddess, the body of Shiva, the Play of Consciousness.  When we stop and take note of the 'coincidences' that occur around us all the time, it tends to automatically promote self enquiry (ātma vicāra), the question and subsequent contemplation of, "Who am I?".  It reminds us that there is more than meets the eye; to not become lazy in our thinking; to constantly remember the Self.  We perceive our existence as separate individuals only because of mental conditioning; i.e. out of habit.  If we have this attitude toward synchronicity, we are promoting the habit of perceiving unity.  Incidentally, I mentioned the word 'coincidence' above.  It is worth noting that, whenever I use that word, my Guru says, "There are no coincidences!".


I no longer require proof to accept what has been stated above.  But there were some instances, along my spiritual path in particular, that really made me stop and acknowledge that I was immersed in something much bigger and much more intelligent than myself.  I still notice synchronicity all the time.  It has become so common place for so long, I almost don't give it a second thought anymore.  But I will use this blog to document and share some of my experiences with Sync for the sake of those who might be wondering, "How can you believe this stuff?"

Applicability to the World at Large

I recently attended and delivered a presentation at the 2014 Olympia Sync Summit, which I discuss in detail HERE.  I had a great time, but one of the things I wondered is, "Huh, I wonder why all these Sync heads are SOooooooo into this stuff."  So I spent a lot of time thinking about this and re-evaluating what Sync means to me.  In addition to the reasons I mentioned above, I was able to draw some other meaningful conclusions as well.  


Synchronicity essentially boils down to pattern.  The study of synchronicity is simply the noticing of how these patterns occur in our lives.  Scott Onstott summed it up very well at the Summit when, addressing the massive amount of examples of numeric motifs encoded into the whole of reality that he had just used to completely blow all of our minds, he said, "This suggests that the universe is patterned by a higher Consciousness."  I am quoting from memory here, but this sums up the gist of his statement anyway. 

Without delving deeply (at all) into the matter, even the most superficial study of music theory quickly reveals that the subject is all about pattern.  Music consists of patterns.  The notes that a piece of  music is composed of are determined by pattern.  The particular instrument, the material that it is made of, and the dimensions of the instrument are just a few of the variables that determine the tonal quality of a particular note.  How those individual instruments interact in the context of a particular piece of music is an example of pattern.  Each musical phrase contained within that piece of music is determined by chords, scales, modes, progressions, etc.  Music is simply a rich tapestry of patterns, expressed via the medium of sound.


Some of the most influential and arguably the best musicians of all time have been accomplished occultists.  This is no coincidence (there's that word again).  Let's take a moment to examine what an occultist is.  "Occult" simply means "secret" or "hidden".  A Swami is technically an occultist because he presumably has some degree of insight into the "Great Mystery".  If he (or she) does not, it is at least something he is actively pursuing.  A magician is an occultist because he has somehow become aware of repeating motifs that pattern the universe.  By grouping together elements who have some meaningful (albeit hidden) relationship, and which also relate to his goal, his intention is strengthened, magnified, and sent into the universe.  Since we live on a sphere (or perhaps a toroid as some have speculated), whatever we put out is destined to return to us.  To become a magician is to simply make that relationship of cause-and-effect more conscious, allowing us to better nurture the conditions that will foster the desired outcome.  One prop that has long been used toward that end is the use of correspondences.  Correspondences are determined by examining the patterns underlying diverse phenomena and taking note of where the patterns in question exhibit a harmonious overlap.  For example, the low E string on a guitar sounds the same note as the high E string, just an octave lower.  What dictates the note is the waveform of the sound.  At certain intervals, as the waveform becomes either longer or shorter, the not will repeat itself at either a higher or lower pitch.  If we follow the waveform out of the realm of sound, we can further ascertain colors and smells, for example, that resonate harmoniously with the particular note in question.  Thus, correspondences are a tool that the magician can make use of to completely immerse his sensual experience in that which harmoniously resonates with his goal.  Certain points in time and space, constellations, archetypal figures, etc., all have their particular correspondences as well.  We're only scratching the surface here.  Everything that exists is interrelated in this way.  My goal is simply to make the concept itself clear.  Synchronicity is simply the act of taking notice when these correspondences reveal themselves.  Perhaps now it is starting to become clear how Sync is not only a real thing, but practical as well (at least in some sense). 

But, as I hinted earlier in discussing music, these sorts of connections aren't the exclusive domain of magical ritual as the average person conceives it (as if there is anything that isn't just that).  In addition to music, all art relies on these connections.  Its ability to translate these connections into something visceral is the sole appeal of art.  Technological advances fall squarely within the dominion of these connections.  What is technology other than an icon of man's harnessing nature and directing it toward his will?  Even when we speak and write, we are making use of patterns and, in the case of writing, their symbols.  According to scripture, language itself exists on some archetypal plane as the very embodiment of duality itself, prior to its temporal manifestation.  Its use by man (in varied form), by this reasoning, is simply due to some innate ability to reflect this most primal of patterns.

In short, we are all magical creatures and  we are all manipulators of this patterned universe of ours in
one way or another, whether knowingly or unknowingly.  Each of us is a magician in his or her own right.  As interconnected as we all are -- to each other, to dimensions not ordinarily perceived, and to this earth we find ourselves upon -- it behooves us to ask what we want our net impact to be; to engage consciously in our relationship with ourself (because that's all that all this is at the end of the day isn't it?).

For me, the answer is that I want to leave this place better than I found it.  My approach to this is twofold.  In my capacity as a Swami, I guide those who ask for my help toward the firsthand experience of the most fundamental Self; the experience of Oneness only.  It is really the Grace of my Guru that does this, but I have been empowered to serve as an instrument toward this end.  At any rate, to help facilitate this realization is the highest good I can possibly do for anybody at the individual level.  I also continue to engage in the work of remaining permanently in the full awareness of Self, myself.  It also follows that one who sees everybody equally as the Self is quite naturally going to have a positive effect on everyone else they encounter.  This is powerful work and I am honored to be able to play a role in it.


In the above approach, the focus is primarily inward.  In terms of directing my energy outward in some meaningful way, I have found a champion in Permaculture.  I submitted my final project for a Permaculture Design Certificate course right before leaving for the Sync Summit.  I should be receiving my certificate soon.  The ethics of Permaculture are:
  1. Earth Care
  2. People Care
  3. Return of Surplus

Incidentally, these values are very much in keeping with the values of the Vedas of ancient India.

At any rate, Permaculture is essentially the application of specific strategies to the design of any human settlement, or the site of any human activity for that matter, which promote the harmonious interaction of the people involved with the land.  It hinges upon the recognition of the patterns that have been left upon the land by the cosmic forces which have shaped it.  Once sufficient information has been gleaned from said patterns, the next consideration is how to arrange the individual elements needed to meet the needs of the people occupying the space, in relation to both the patterns observed and to each other, in such a way that maximum productivity, sustainability, and ease of maintenance are promoted. 

For me, the most exciting application is the re-hydration and vegetation of arid or degraded landscape.  Where it might otherwise take in excess of hundreds of years for an area to evolve into a mature forest, the Permaculturist can fast-track forest succession, bringing that time down to four or five years.  That is, four or five years to the establishment of the forest; that is, until everything is well enough established, that you could walk away and there would be no stopping it.  Generally speaking, you're looking at a little upwards of a decade 'til full maturity.  Oh, and did I mention that, since you're the one designing the thing, it can totally be a food forest!?

If the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden is an allegory for the descent of Spirit into matter and apparent separation, sādhana (spiritual practice) is the way back.  Thus, the knowledge of good and evil (duality) is transcended and the only thing remaining is the Knowledge of  Love, of Oneness, of Bliss.  Here in this hell-on-earth realm, we see the fruit of the discursive thought of the masses clearly manifest.  Yet, I firmly believe that we can turn the base metal of individuality and that of scorched earth, into Gold through the inner work of sādhana and the outer work of Permaculture.  We can literally re-plant the Garden of  Eden here on Earth as well.  Geoff Lawton says, "Permaculture is revolution disguised as a garden."  I have only scratched the surface here but, if you have about an hour-and-a-half, you can learn a lot more about the subject from this video of Geoff Lawton below.

What are you going to do with your magic?