My books small version

photo by trishbadger.com

(This piece started out as a facebook post about my missing books.)

I’m still grieving over the loss of my song books, my beauties, my musings, the pages of my mind. I wander around the house talking to myself, “where are they?” I say.  Every time I look at the spot I used to keep my Sri Chakra that was also in the bag that went missing, a little part of my heart breaks and I feel like pieces of me are dying.  Enlightened friends tell me it is all inside me, it came from me, and too there is a deeper meaning and a greater lesson out of all of it. I’m almost certain there is no lesson, it is the chaos of the world running into you, like getting in a car accident, or a star exploding in some distant galaxy creating a black hole. The universe keeps swallowing and spitting itself back out without any attachment or a single emotion. The fact that there really is no meaning to life is an encouraging thing. Debatable I know, it means that you can create your own destiny.  If there is no meaning and no purpose to your life, it means that you can give it any meaning or purpose you choose. To me this is encouraging because the love and light I feel for the world and from the world is something that I can control and I wish that energy to be directed through the funnel of pure love, manifesting itself in my physical reality. Huh, I think I’m going to start a blog about this… Anyone want to join the conversation? Send me your grievances and knowledge of dealing with loss……………

Now let’s back up quite a bit.  How did I get here?  Why would a so called “Yogi” ever say life has no meaning?  Also let me start by giving the theme to this piece.  I wish to go deeply into the concept of “dealing with loss.”  I suppose though first you need to know bits and pieces of the whole story.  What is my relationship with loss?

I have no shame in admitting that I have been divorced.  In fact I almost want to broadcast that out to the masses because there might be someone out there going through these same struggles that can benefit and relate to my experiences.  When you tell someone you are divorced (or tell them anything about yourself for that matter) most of the time you are placed into a category in their mind, and an idea of what that might have been like for you.  The fact is there is no two stories that are alike.  Everyone’s feelings are only relative to their own experiences.  Yet somehow the pain is universal, the stress, the loneliness, the hopelessness, etc., and all that comes with it.  Too, you cannot possibly imagine what another must be feeling like unless you too have experienced such things.  You can sympathize and pray for the other’s well being, but you cannot retain the same feelings unless you have walked with them.  I have never suffered the loss of a close family member.  I could never understand the pain of someone who has.  Though my experience may have felt tragic to me at the time one could say it was nothing compared to losing the life of a dear loved one, and too I might agree.  None-the-less I will carry my wiry bones and continue.  I was divorced.  At that time in my life, there were many, many things also falling a part.  Even without my push or pull things were crumbling before my eyes.  Conversely there were new endeavors simply falling into my lap out of the sky.  As much as I grieved the losses I was experiencing, my heart was also crying for my higher purpose and ultimate reality.  At the same exact time that my married life was falling apart my old band Million Year Dance was disbanding in the misted of possibly signing a management deal all in the week before performing a headlining showcase at SXSW.  I was also diving deep into my meditation and puja (prayer) practices and uniting myself to the energy of my teacher Sri Karunamayi.  I was being invited to travel with Her on the American tour that lasted 4 months as well as traveling to India.  I allowed myself to stay open to receive what ever came my way, regardless of how it would shape my life.  mydband4

Fortunately during this time of extreme loss I was in the company of many great souls, meditators, and also spending many hours in deep mediation and tuning into the philosophies being spilled out of Sri Karunamayi 24 hrs a day.  It was almost like an intensive in dealing with my pain.  I felt as if I were shedding off layers of my old life and becoming anew.  I literally felt pieces of me dying and pealing away.  (I suppose that’s the only way it happens, pieces of your life’s history simply has to die for you to move on.)  Also there was a devotee on the tour that had recently lost his wife to cancer!  I felt humbled and I felt the greater since that my problems were very little.  This devotee called his wife, “the Mother of his children and his best friend for 15 years.”  How could I relate to that… too painful.  We became a support system for each other.  I’m making a very long story short here, and also trying to share my first great loss.  What is it that happened?  What was the core feeling?  The visualization could be this:  Everything you thought your life was, it isn’t, every dream you had for the future will never be, every laugh and smile of the person you shared your life with for that short time will only be a memory–it will not live on.  Your life in its entirety is completely turned upside down.

Brett Joerger (tour organizer, mrudugam player) and Tyaga burning the karma load in the Maha Yajna in Memphis while on tour with Amma

Brett Joerger (tour organizer, mrudugam player) and Tyaga burning the karma load in the Maha Yajna in Memphis while on tour with Amma

You are left feeling like a hopeless wanderer.  I could have stayed upset, closed off, negative, casting blame, acting out, giving fits of rage… but I didn’t.  I allowed myself to trust in the energy that some may call God.  I allowed myself to trust that this energy was guiding my every step.  I felt that a new life awaited me.  I had no clue what that new life might be like, and that uncertainty could have added to the anxiety, but I didn’t let it.

Did that change the pain?  No, yet it allowed me to see it clearly and deeply without judgement.  Did the assistance of my company and meditations bring my ex-wife back  into my life?  No, yet they allowed me to open my heart and be ready to receive what ever it was that was coming next.  Did I have any idea that THIS is what awaited me?

IMG_7589

I had no clue what the future held.  If I had closed myself down and remained negative I would have never invited such a cosmic new beginning full of the best kind of love.  I am now gently dancing on the surface of the long winded point I’m trying to make.

No let’s jump ahead in time to my current situation and give a little back story.  At some point in the 30 minutes between loading my gear in the car and unloading it to the main stage at Summer Fest a laptop case with 3 song books, a vocal peddle, and a rare Sri Chakra I found in India went missing.  If it was stolen, the thief most likely thought they were going to score a laptop, yet it was something much more valuable.  Not of any value to the thief of course, yet something more valuable to me than any other possession I own.  If I were asked, “your house is burning down, what would be the first thing you would run into the flames and destruction to save?,” I would reply, “My books.”  In fact I have grieved more for my books than I did for my ex-wife.  These books hold 8 years worth of writings, original songs, notes I had dictated from lectures given by Sri Karunamayi of which there are no recordings, and priceless/precious items I gathered while on my pilgrimages in India.  I never move on to different books until I’m completely finished and fill every page of the latter.  So in essence these three books contained the chronological history of my life represented by the pages of my mind.  I had been recently transcribing some of my writings from India for a book I’m writing called A Devotees Journey to the Lap of the Mother.  So many things about my precious books I am mourning.  No one would find them precious but me.

(photo by trishbadger.com) The table to my right is how I would display my books for every show.  They are like my form of the Divine.  I display them like a deity in a Temple, and treasure them as such.

(photo by trishbadger.com) The table to my right is how I would display my books for every show. They are like my form of the Divine. I display them like a deity in a Temple, and treasure them as such.

The thought that someone had stolen the bag and found nothing but some crappy journals and tossed them aside was similar to the thought of driving down the street and seeing your dog dead on the side of the road after being hit by a car.  It is this tragic to me.  I still can’t believe they are missing.  I almost don’t accept the idea.  It may be denial, but I still feel deep in my heart they will they their way back to me.  In essence they are a physical representation of my own soul.  I can feel my soul crying out for me wishing I would come to save them.  I cherished my babies.  I would bring them to every show I ever played, and they would exude my soul and help me engage in the feelings I had when I first wrote those songs.  The entire weekend that followed at Summer Fest I felt like I had been at war and watched my best friends be taken down in a slaughtering gun battle.  Because the weekend was so hectic I was unable to truly feel the loss or accept that the books were gone until my truck was packed up with all my gear and we were headed home.  It was over.  After a successful Summer Fest, Gunjen and I retreated by to our home, and I cried and bellowed like I never have before.  I was sobbing… it felt like the life was being sucked out of me.

Teaching Yoga to droves of hipster kids seeking something different at Summer Fest

Teaching Yoga to droves of hipster kids seeking something different at Summer Fest

Suffering this kind of loss has stages right?  The stages of grieving have been mapped out by said scholars and what not.  I felt as though I was experiencing every stage all at once.  This kind of suffering leaves you with all kinds of questions as well.  The main questions that have framed this piece are:  ”Why would God do something like this to me?”  ”What is the lesson to be learned?”  ”How can I move on?”  And this is where we left off from the first paragraph of this blog.  With this kind of loss, is there any meaning in life?  I know this sounds dramatic.  But let’s look at it deeply without the drama.  Really, is there meaning in life?  Is there any purpose?  It is all very debatable.  My understanding is, no.  No, there is no meaning or purpose to life.  This might shock anyone that thinks they know me.  It is my feeling that if the vast expanse of the universe exists, then my tiny little problems and entire existence just doesn’t matter.  The universe will carry on in all its brilliant chaos with or without us.  And yet, the whole of the expanse of the universe also exists inside my soul, so that would mean that experience of my soul is also reflected in the whole of the entire creation.  We all are one.  When the world suffers, we all suffer.  This is what the Buddha set out to search for yes?  What is this life, and what is suffering?  His conclusion was that you cannot change suffering.  Suffering will always exist.  This same philosophy applies to the shear chaos of the world.  Is it possible that suffering and joy will always exist yet hold no weight as far as what we label to have purpose or meaning?  Yes!  If suffering always exists and there is no escape from it while living in this world, that implies that there is no meaning to your suffering… it simply just is.  To ask why and search for the signs and for the underlying meaning is futile.  What is it in the human being that we need these answers?  It is our own egos that apply meaning and purpose to our existence.  The whole of humanity has the unshakable need to feel important in a vast universe of uncertainty.  Our importance gives us meaning, this meaning gives us motivation, this motivation is what drives our every decision, and these decisions are based on the impact of our feeling important.  Wow, lot’s of ground to cover here… we’ll carry our load and continue.  If you are more confused than when we started fear not, it’s natural.  Simply know this, you should now feel liberated.  The idea that nothing matters, there is no meaning or purpose in life, everything is as it is chaotic and you have no control over ANY of it should be your light bulb moment.  This is liberation.  Now you know that you can’t control the world around you.  You can stop wasting your time and energy trying to manipulate it, and this will FILL you with a light and an energy that you never knew you had, because you were so bogged down with worry and confusion before.  The question now comes, “Well, of what do we HAVE control?” (This was my response to this question on a facebook post:  So what control do you have? ONLY YOU, you only have control of you, you’re emotions and reactions are paramount to the direction and flow of your immediate and future realities.)

After Million Year Dance disbanded I was left wondering what to do and where to go next.  My father said casually, "I'll just be in your band, haha."  Did he manifest this reality?  Did he create the space in time that he was to be performing in front of hundreds of dancing young hippy kids?  Maybe!

After Million Year Dance disbanded I was left wondering what to do and where to go next. My father said casually, "I'll just be in your band, haha." Did he manifest this reality? Did he create the space in time that he was to be performing in front of hundreds of dancing young hippy kids? Maybe!

One could argue that out of suffering comes great joy!  One could say because you experienced this great loss of your first wife you were able to find the true love of your life in Gunjen, and that is the “silver lining,” so to speak.  This could be true.  However, I attribute it to the control I had over my own mind and my own attitude.  If I had remained negative, and casting blame and stuck in the “woes me” of it all I would have projected that into my future reality, and possibly the quality of my next relationship would suffer this same pattern.  You see where I’m going?  You really do have the power to manifest your own reality.  While you cannot control the chaotic outside world, you can control how you react to it, and transfer-ably how you frame your attitude to the prospective future of your life from that moment onward.  I feel that it was my own mind, my own soul, my own heart that drew Gunjen into my life.  I longed for a match that suited me.  I longed for a life partner that would offer to me what I knew I was capable of offering another.  Gunjen is the manifestation of everything I ever wanted and dreamed of in a life partner, and that’s just reality.  What will come of the loss of my books?  What lesson is to be learned?  Well , I’m not certain there is a lesson beyond making sure you have copies of everything you hold dear to you.  If there is no meaning there is no lesson.  Also one could argue that the lesson learned was the act of experiencing and feeling first hand the extreme depression of this kind of intimate LOSS.  One could say that you need to experience pain in order to know the light of true joy and happiness.  This may be true, but it still doesn’t imply any meaning or purpose to these experiences.  The feelings and emotions and actions of the day, just simply ARE… They are just there.  And what should be harnessed is the ability to observe them without any judgement what so ever.  This activity will lead you to the answers your heart craves.  Because what your heart truly craves is ultimate happiness, and you can have it.

Again let us review, that if your life has no meaning or purpose this is a liberating fact.  This means that you can choose which meaning and purpose your life will hold.  You can adjust and tune with the greater love and purity within your heart, and project those feelings onto every movement you make while living in this chaotic world.  I choose to funnel all my experiences and decisions in life through the sphere of pure love and light.  All my life’s focus is to be angled through these high feelings of love, piece, compassion, trust, surrender,  understanding, equanimity and so on…  Some may choose to project different emotions and feed into the chaos of the world and allow that to manifest into their present and future realities.  I choose not to.  ”I choose what ever I believe is real, time is only a spinning wheel.”  This is a lyric from a song of mine called “Dream the Everlasting Life,” and these lyrics are in DIRECT relationship to the core of this piece. Link to Video Clip of song Dream the Everlasting Life

How do we deal with Loss?  Feel it, live in it, be with it, study it, without any judgement what so ever, and push it through the funnel of your love, pure heartedness, compassion for others, and all the other beautiful, positive, light shining things that reside in your spirit.  You cannot deal with loss, you cannot change it, it will happen to you and all those around you.  What you can deal with is how you manifest your present and future realities… and this is what I will base my entire life’s work around.  And together may we manifest a reality of peace, compassion and harmonious love… the way human beings are intended to live…

Meditating on tour with Amma in Memphis TN.

Meditating on tour with Amma in Memphis TN.

(Other quotes from friends that shared insights with me on facebook.  Some very wise folks out there.)

Mattia Mackenroth Loss can be a gain, there are the stages of grief, but you can get to a point where you realize that what you are grieving over is a part of you still that you will never lose.

Cassia Berman ‎”Invest in loss.”–Professor Cheng Man-Ching. Meaning: if you invest in gain, you always run the risk of losing. If you invest in loss…..

Mike Welch You don’t lose what you’ve borrowed. Everything you have is borrowed.

Josh Monroe Blanchard Realize that everything happens for a reason. If something bad happens, just wait, and something extraordinary will happen to you that could not have happened without your loss.

Julia Olivarez I’m reminded of the story of Thomas Carlyle, whose maid found his just-completed book and, thinking it was trash, threw it into the fire. Carlyle just sat down and wrote the book again! Spirit throws us the curveballs; how we catch them is, I think, the beginning of grace.


Tags: , , , , , ,