Friday, April 13, 2018

inner child vs. adult self (aka "How are you keeping yourself sick?")






pleasure pain.


pain pleasure.

When the pain has become so familiar, it masquerades itself as the Light (but that is the biggest illusion of them all).

When the real resolution, the true solution is within arm's length, it necessitates just a step at a time of courage, bravery, willingness.

However, the dis-ease stays in motion by avoiding honesty, ignoring open-mindedness, and shooting off the will: the power source.


In secret,
in shadow--

between the fluttering
wings of my heart song--

is where my poems hide.

They ferment to the orchestral waves and vibrations of the storm--inside and out--and they rage against the dark night of the soul.

...and yet:

a new day always dawns
as the sun also rises,

and the precious poems regain their center, their composure--
finding balance in the spotlight and letting their emotions overflow, fully and steadily.

The days keep turning into night: night and day integrate,
and the poems--as in days long past--assume their rightful position as SONGS.

Welcome to The Sound...not of pain, but of MUSIC.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

stardust to remember you by // Inside Out

Brittany Gunnell
UC Berkeley
Tamarkoz De-Cal
6 May 2016
The Path of Remembrance

My desire for knowledge is intermittent, but my desire to bathe my head in atmospheres unknown to my feet is perennial and constant. – Henry David Thoreau

When I stumbled upon these words by Thoreau, I laughed because the same sentiment has applied to me for many years. About seven years ago, at the age of seventeen, I discovered eastern philosophy, yoga, and meditation. I soon found myself trying out guided meditation and ultimately developed a daily—morning and night—solitary meditation practice for myself. However, after the beginning of various personal struggles and pain, I abandoned the sense of contentment and joy this part of my life had brought me. Unfortunately, of course, this time period was when I could have benefited from meditation more than ever.
This past year I have been attempting to reconnect with such a meditation practice. Though I had been succeeding somewhat, I still was not finding the level of discipline needed to stay consistent. After returning to Cal this school year, I was excited to discover the Tamarkoz class with the hope of both meditating more frequently and learning something new. Now that the semester is coming to an end I am grateful to say I have achieved both of those initial goals as I learn to remember that “‘I’ is constant and does not change” since it is the divine inspiration of the Source of the universe and all beings within it (Angha, 1999).
Although we wrote in our meditation journals for class, I also have been keeping personal journals since about the age of twelve. I have compiled different writing pieces of mine that I feel connect with some of the themes discussed in the readings and lecture. This writing will be shared for most of this paper. In Sufism: A Bridge Between Religions, Angha states that “Every child is born free from attachment and religion of its society.” When I mediate, I can feel a sense of understanding that “I was born free, as we all are, blessed with the divine vision within our hearts” (Angha, 2011).
My path to better grasping this freedom experientially—not merely intellectually—can be seen in my own following words. Another common theme of my writing is unification, which Angha describes is, a key aspect of the foundation of Islam (2011). I will now share my writing. As it is sometimes poetry and often free-verse prose, I am choosing to keep it single-spaced with its own differing paragraph separation.

consciousness: inspired

our minds,
our thoughts,

are not
who we are.

we are so much less,
we are so much more.

4:30 PM--Tuesday Evening

The bluffs. Second bench from the right. Familiarity. View of three tall trees and the city of Los Angeles: cars, freeways, homes, office buildings, stores, mountains, sky. Slight breeze. Birds chirping, cars speeding. I've been sitting here a while now. I needed to get away from the dysfunction. To just be.

I missed this spot. It's so beautiful. Sitting in silence makes you realize how everything is moving--constantly moving--around us. Be it the grassy weeds rustling in the wind, birds chirping as they soar together (or hide in their nests), a fly buzzing past your ear, shadows dancing across the rocky pebbles and dirty sand; the smallest things are living. Right now, it is so apparent: though we may not always notice, there is life in everything. We are simply highly-evolved animals and part of this vast, infinite more than those birds in the sky or even those ants on the ground. When you really sit down in complete stillness, when you allow yourself to empty your mind of thoughts (the pain...that loneliness), it becomes so clear.

Why must we torture ourselves? Why do we allow ourselves to give in to this rigid culture? Why are we going through the motions? Why do we think we are everything, that this is everything? There is so much more than this "life;" there is so much more than what we see. I wish everyone could experience that stillness of being. Here. Now. This moment is all we have, all we'll ever have.

A month or so ago I wrote something along the lines of, "Underneath it all, we choose the way we want to feel." And I wanted to expand on that thought. While we have no control over how someone or something may affect us, we do have the amazing ability to choose our ultimate reactions.

Without consciously realizing it, we usually find it easiest to respond with anger/sadness to something that hurts us. We hold on to these feelings. They become a part of us. And though this kind of response is indeed tempting, there are other options: recognition and acceptance. Feel your emotion--be it anger, frustration, bitterness, envy, regret, sadness...anything. Recognize it. And let it flow through you. Sit with it. Then, when you're ready, let it go. And feel the freedom.

 Accept the entire situation as a necessary lesson...start to see what the experience taught you or perhaps understand that you may not realize the lessons till later. This option, when acted upon daily, allows for a kind of inner peace and joy that cannot be broken, no matter how intense our feelings may be.

 everywhere at once

Emily Dickinson couldn't have been more right: "To see the Summer Sky is Poetry." There's nothing like that beautiful blue...the zig-zag clouds and the golden sun, just starting to set. There's nothing like a breeze, the slight chill that hits the back of your neck and brushes against your bare feet...whilst the sun beats down on your face. Nothing like a frighteningly close nest of buzzing bees...and the unexpected pleasure brought on by their company. There's nothing like the noises of rustling branches behind you, rushing cars farther down in front, and a speeding plane overhead. There's nothing like shadows created by light from the setting sun...and the realization that its warmth will never actually leave: it's always here, within each one of us.

"I see you colorful; I see you in the trees. I see you spiritful; you're in the breeze. I see it in your hands; tree fingers draw a beam. I see you in the sand; roll down the stream..." – Jonsi

As a flock of birds flap their wings against the summer sky, I am left with this message: our souls are meant to soar.

"isn't it a pity?"

the old saying about "all paths" has never been wrong per se, but it seems to only truly apply in rare cases these days. "all paths" may lead to the same destination in the sense that each "route" holds the same basic truths.

however, as a wise radical once said, the translations have gone wrong. people are looking in the wrong places, blindly accepting (maybe even rejecting) all they've ever been told. if you feel something's missing, stop searching outside yourself or assuming that "this" or "that" will happen when you reach the supposed "end." stop thinking. stop assuming. just be, go deep, and know.

"the harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few."


I slowly open my eyes to find my palms lifted, facing upward against the familiar gray shadows on the ceiling. It's as if I'm seeing my hands for the first time, and I find myself in awe of the intricacy of each finger. Grateful for this newfound angle and appreciation, I proceed to slowly circle them through the air. I close my eyes once more, and this time see thousands of white specks against deep, black space: stars. I have been transported to another galaxy entirely. Whirring through the Cosmos at infinite speed, a familiar white light flickers in the distant center. As the endless space continues to envelop me, I can't help but smile: there truly are universes beneath our skin.


the mind
gets going,

and comparisons

of oneself,

and feelings
of inferiority;

tears of

and a sense
of misdirection;

the mind
takes control,

and all peace
is gone.

are the moments

to pause
and reconnect.

an elusive illusion

sitting in silence, I focus solely on my breathing a breath in, a breath out in and out in and out.... so absorbed in this mindfulness, the experience feels no longer than several moments but upon opening my eyes, I discover that about twenty minutes have passed ...isn't "time" just a curious, fickle thing?

even in the quietest moments

This morning something occurred to me. I mean, I've thought about this a lot recently but for some reason this morning in the kitchen I was reminded and wanted to write about it. This probably isn't going to make sense, but I want to try and get my thoughts out somewhere. I apologize for any incoherence. So recently I've been thinking a lot about the word "worship" and the way so many of us are taught and feel the need to fixate on worshiping higher powers. This may sound weird because I've grown up hearing it all the time, but the word just has such a weird connotation for me. I don't know. Maybe because I don't find it necessary. Or at least the dramatic way that it often occurs.

I don't think God, or whatever term you want to use, has any desire or need for us to "worship" Him/Her (those pronouns aren't even necessary). It just seems like spending so much time worshiping can make us feel unworthy. From this viewpoint many of us say that all humans are "sinners." And according to this, a power higher than ourselves is far better than we are and ever could or will be. Thinking this way takes us away from the opportunity to work on ourselves and belittles us, separating us from who we really are: the Self. It also can take the focus off of ourselves and our own chances for personal growth. It seems like an easy way to disregard personal responsibility, thinking our troubles are too difficult for us to handle on our own and that things happen to us for no specific reason.

We are so busy worshiping wise souls and turning prophets into idols that we forget their original messages. We put people on pedestals, as if we are incapable of achieving their same level of wisdom and greatness because they were somehow chosen and created by God to be better than the rest of us. It's sad because the expansive journey toward Self is beautiful...and the whole concept and desire of this Universe is beyond words. Perhaps instead of constantly "worshiping," we could work on trying to better understand our Oneness, express daily gratitude, and acknowledge the need to love and serve one another.

Although I personally find the idea of "worship" to be a bit extreme, on the other hand, I find the word "devotion" beautiful. That may seem strange because from certain perspectives they could be considered synonyms. But that's not the case for me. I see devotion as something completely different. I associate it with expressing gratitude, a way of expressing the love I feel for the universe in its entirety. For me, the word "devotion" has such a special, comforting connotation.

who we are

To define God in one word, "love" is The Only Term There Is.

Just saw this, and it makes me think. Yesterday I was thinking about this very concept while listening to one of my favorite songs by The Rocket Summer.

"Nothing matters, but what we offer in love."

So essentially...when it comes down to it:

Nothing matters, but what we offer in the spirit of The Creator--what in actuality makes up each one of us. There's no hierarchy. No anger. No judgment. No punishment. No hatred. No revenge...only Truth suppressed under the illusion.

"Yes, there are many things that are wrong with the world. So many things to be against -- but you can't be against everything. At some point you have to begin to stand for something. Maybe the most important question is not what am I against, but what do I stand for? On my best days, I want to stand for love conquering a multitude of wrongs. I want to stand for forgiveness, for mercy, for beauty, for grace...I make no assumption of shared faith. I can only assume that you and I are radically different -- we live in different cities, we have different pursuits, different jobs, different upbringings. And finally, when it comes to what you believe or disbelieve, I would imagine that we all hold widely different understandings of what God is or isn't... I love you and I love our differences."
–Jon Foreman

 I want to never forget that we're all human. We're all struggling in various ways. We are all learning. We all have a unique purpose here. We are all manifestations of the divine. I want to maintain empathy and compassion.

Nothing matters, just tell yourself again and again and again...nothing matters, but what we offer in Love.

so we let our shadows fall away like dust

Every day is a lesson. The more I read, the more I introspect, the more I look back on things with this ever-enriching perspective, the more I realize. The more I understand. The more things make sense. All the shattered & scattered pieces recombine and join together again. The giant puzzle's rough edges and seeming imperfections give it a sense of character. It is just as beautiful, but now holds a different essence.

I literally feel the love within my heart. And I mean that in full sincerity. Sometimes it's a literal experience. It makes breathing--just being--an entirely different experience.

 "With golden string our universe was brought to life, that we may fall in love every time we open up our eyes." –Sleeping at Last

I feel content.
I feel grateful.
I feel protected
I feel loved.

I am what I feel; I am what I AM.


Angha, M. (1999). Dawn. Riverside, CA: M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi Publications.

Angha, N. (2011). Sufism: A Bridge Between Religions. London: MTO Publications.

Tamarkoz Practice Section
: Friday / 4:30pm
Lecture/Discussion Section: Monday / 5:30pm 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

the night is young

your existence,
your way

of being

my heart

with gratitude.

your existence,
your way

of hearing

a chord

full of harmony.

i want
to sing;

to skip,
and frolic.

thank you,
thank you;

thank you, dear sir. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Breezeblocks //// Boats & Birds

Presently it's pouring rain on my end. Hard drops pound on the rooftop of what was--once upon a time--a sky blue sanctuary, a safe home: ample air, open space, and breathing room to tend to a fluid and vital life force... a flourishing period of reclamation, six years overdue. 

And yet... 

That sacred space of warm, bright light became twisted--disastrously and wrongfully plunged into a sick devil's playground. A freezing place of control, manipulation, isolation, and suffocation.

I can now hear the familiar comfort of that distant train whistle ...but am nevertheless disheartened to realize how much colder it feels now in this bed. 

Wait for it.

It was indeed a beautiful letdown when I crashed and burned. Spinning and falling all the way back to the ground, something has shifted--baptizing my mind with room to breathe. A beacon of clarity reveals itself, smiling knowingly. 

Various memories flood inward rapidly--returning, rushing, and bursting forth: each one so very simple and so very obvious, one can't help but laugh. In fact, the grotesque, invasive toxicity has evaporated...been purged from the scene. 

Oh, what joy! What gladness. 

My own intricate and ever-so lovely, lonely breed of darkness is lit again as in days long past. Sparks fly: the wild fire of youth assumes its rightful place and some semblance of a home. 

Thank you for being exactly who and what you are. In so doing you hold a whimsical, crystal-clear mirror that reflects an open field out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing. Immensely grateful to have met you there. To be honest, I gotta admit Rumi may wanna reconsider his words; I am beyond pleased and pleasantly surprised to discover that the phrase "each other" seems like it may make sense after all.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

a secret chord

tonight i was home alone for an hour and a i sang. i walked around the house, singing as loudly as i wanted. no inhibitions. even belting at points. i honestly haven't sung that way--with such freedom,  joy, and devotion--since early 2011. yes, i've been home alone plenty of times throughout the years (sometimes even for days). of course, i sang aloud as much as i wanted; it has just never been as special as this. before i felt inspired to begin, it was already set to a playlist of songs that mean the most to me.

every lyric is what i feel.
every lyric is truth.

every lyric, every note is prayer.

// I see a light shine now.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

breath of the heart //

"There's only two mistakes that I have made: it's running from the people who could love me best and trying to fix a world that I can't change."

It's amazing how much the above lyric resonates with me and sums up much of the past five years of my life.

I am thankful to say that I am reconnecting with whom I ran away from. And the good news is--in spite of the fact that I can't take it upon myself to feel responsible for the world--I can make a difference every day. I can't try to force change upon anyone or control situations in hopes for beneficial results; I can work on myself and perhaps influence others in the process.

I can contribute to the natural, inevitable process of change by sending out love and positive energy on a daily basis. Simply being my true self and living from a state of balanced inner peace in all situations is what gives me the chance to contribute to the world's healing and our evolution.

So I will.