Instantly the ground we think we stand on can be pulled out from under our feet. One day Rose made plans to travel to Maharaji’s ashram in Kainchi and the next day the person she most loves and relies on is diagnosed with a deadly brain tumor.
That day her world turned upside down.
Rose has an extraordinary heart—but then all hearts are extraordinary. But Rose also understands how to keep the mind from shutting down the heart and how to break the spell of fear with stillness and love. This understanding is now being tested.
As her husband Mike’s sudden terminal illness is turning her life upside down, she knows the only way to deal with it is by coming back to her heart again and again in ongoing reliance on her guru, Maharaji Neem Karoli Baba.
The path of our soul through suffering, joy and grace is difficult for us to see and to make sense of in ways that bring peace to the mind. This is because our perspective is so limited to the situation – or even the lifetime – at hand.
And yet beyond all attachment and pain we can find a place of faith and peace based on experience (not imagination) that can bring us solace and great, surprising strength. It is the Source of inexhaustible love in us—a supreme, unshakable love. It is the love of guru, the love of God, our love.
All turmoil on the surface of life has the hidden purpose of granting us access to that unwavering love. Rose is experiencing this now as never before, and because love wants to share itself, she agreed that I publish some short excerpts from our email conversation.
Rose: This love you offer me is a pulse of Maharaji. The embrace is palpable. The spaciousness I’m having is disarming every thought. I feel safe, secure and clear. It appears I’m making decisions but I’m in a flow of perfection unfolding. I feel soft and held despite all that is going on around us. Saturated and grateful. In love, Rose
That saturation and gratitude, that spaciousness and safety, that security and clarity, are a state of being in which we can flow with presence and power, knowing that anything and everything Life presents before us, is an opportunity for awakening into a yet deeper love.
Our challenges are a catalyst for stretching our capacity for acceptance and surrender to what is. We can react to them with devastation and suffering or do our best to encounter them with openness and acceptance. Resistance to what is, is the root of suffering. But we fall into the shadow in order to release it into the light.
Rose: Sometime ago we worked on the fear that terrified me most – my husband dying. Sitting at his bedside just now, completely vulnerable, willing. This morning weeping doubled me over. The ways I rely on Mike are showing up, the pain is in his physical absence at my side. With the shock subsiding, ambiguous loss is here. For all of us…. our world shattered on Thursday.
I can’t surrender THIS and it’s already gone… was it ever real…, my surrenders are conditional, this but not This… Raging keening weeping … How can this cancer be Love?????
We believe that we have to believe our stressful thoughts. We have an unconscious affinity to fall into disastrous emotions, which we consider inevitable. Then we mistake those who agree with our terror as being compassionate.
But none of this turns out to be true. There is a way of staying in our true being at challenging times and meeting reality with an open and fearless heart.
Rg: Rose, knowingly or unknowingly you are held in the space of unconditional, all-embracing love, your true nature, which is the nature of Reality. Mind objects and wants its way. But beyond our preferences and desires, reality is always offering the best of all possibilities, which is often very difficult to see for the mind. But the heart has the ability to surrender to what is – again and again – and so come eventually to the space of ‘loving what is.’
Cancer is not love, and it is not non-love. It is part of the world of appearances. This world is empty in nature, like a common dream we share, and it is held in the space of love. This love includes anything and everything and when you become still it will show itself to you.
Stillness, like peace, is already present underneath the turmoil. The turmoil is the dance of life in its wrathful mode. This mode is the knowledge-giver. It forces open what we want to be closed, when the time for openness is at hand. This opening is always love. What hurts are the ways we hold on to what is not.
You are held in the complete space of love for which you have to do nothing. It is there, because YOU ARE THAT. Let the tears flow, let the thoughts rage, even then you are safe and you are loved completely.
Rose: I Treasure your wisdom message, so very welcome as a transmission of unconditional love as the hell realms have their way with me and my dear ones. I talk to you. Talk and pray to Maharaji. The Chalisa [a chant to the Hindu deity Hanuman, the manifestation of faith and devotion] is streaming in my mind and heart.
Two days ago, in a brief time of Mike finding his voice, I asked him to talk with Maharaji. He said yes and a kriya shivered his whole body. He has also chanted Ram with me and responded to the gayatri [mantra] with my daughter. Of course the earliest spoken words were the mantra “fuck”.
Navigating my family’s resistance [as they perceive that] I have my head stuck up in my lotus flower calls up fierce strength. Durga [the warrior aspect of the Goddess] is in ICU. All of my new doctor friends are giving me tons to try to make sense of / or not.
Your presence is a lifeline to the hridayam [the inner space of the Heart]. Nowing. Only Nowing while all about me churns.
Rg: There is a force beyond Mike’s (and your) present state. It is the living presence of the guru. We have the extreme blessing to be consciously connected to a being who is one with the Supreme and therefore concentrates his tremendous blessings on us all. Your best way is to remain as connected as possible to that immense compassion!
This may not always make the day-by-day, or rather moment-by-moment, any easier; it does however give it a direction, a purpose, a higher meaning and inevitably an outcome that is beneficial to all.
Dealing with difficulties is the fastest way to God.
Rose: Mike is walking with saints, talking without filters, a wandering love pilgrim. He shifts from speaking of no fear of death after burning in the bardos to making plans to drive, return to work and upgrade his insurance plan for better coverage for when he is over 60.
Dropping all of this at Maharajis feet and stepping into the day. Grateful to be able to share with you in this way.
My heart, Ram Ram
Rg: Please understand that Mike is more than completely safe from the point of view of the soul. I know you can sense that; it should give you some peace. It leaves the realm of our egos to deal with, and there too we are completely protected because we cannot be harmed by what, in the end, has no reality.
When life takes a difficult turn, it is a time when we receive special teachings from a universe that cares so deeply that it does not respect our ego comforts that keep us from evolving and waking up. Then we can break through to new levels of non-attachment and freedom, and from there to inner peace, understanding and love.
“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
Rose: In the hollows that sorrow is carving out of me, I have so much more capacity to drink in Love! It is a physical sensation.
Love is palpable and a great force as I navigate the realms of the medical paradigm … Consciousness is exploding ~ nothing else!!
Mike speaks of being slain. I witnessed his epic journey through the bardos, (as did the children). All he believed he was is gone, he is glowing as he basks in Loving Awareness and smiles so Big with very clear eyes as he breathes with Maharaji.
The love we are experiencing together defies anything previously imaginable.
Rg: What Mike believed he was—was it not far too small? I am so joyful that he is seeing a greater view and that the love that unites you is now revealing its true scope beyond time and what thoughts can contain!
I wish you strength to bend the forces around you into being of service to your higher purpose – and I know your love IS that strength.
Ramgiri Braun, Ph.D.