|Photo by Medford CSA farmer Erik Jacobs|
Chipmunk's Own Tale
We each checked avatar.
That was the history of us surprised
No one's came, [spoken in the voice of Mugu, a Tamil teenager]
Noticed anything of importance,
"Wow" no one's pressed
To the balcony.
"Is that a statement?"
It's a letter of approval
Look up here.
"Gimmie that good old time religion." [sung, a variant of the song of that name]
A people falter on this.
Can we say the yoga's asleep?
Tryin' to come up with somethin'.
How many people learn from the inside?
Come over here.
It's our press.
It's got to Auroville
How have rights
You gotta go inside at the outside
So it's aided. [vision of writing this by hand having difficulty spelling aided]
We have images of our soul changing
In many golden moments of 4 hits. [vision of the word poem, small and typed near the bottom of a page, typed by an electric typewriter, which signaled me to end this one]
Table of Contents
An article on inner guidance
An essay on human unity
From First From Within
A column dedicated to exploring the role of dreams, voices, and visions in the integral yoga.
by Douglas McElheny
A column dedicated to exploring the role of dreams, voices, and visions in the integral yoga.
by Douglas McElheny
Vision of Alex Trebek (the host of the TV game show Jeopardy) saying “Ay Carasha!” In the vision I know this has something to do with the TV show South Park in the sense that someone on that show uses that phrase the same way Bart Simpson says “Ay Caramba”. I also know its got something to do with being Jewish.
I had this vision in the early morning and didn’t think about it much during the day. That night though I recorded it in my dream journal and decided to google the word Carasha, since I was unfamiliar with it, to see if it was an actual word and what it might mean. I was pretty amazed at what I found within the first ten Google hits and how it related to the vision as well as to things in my own life. Though I will share what I learned from this meeting of a vision and a search engine, my main reason for writing this article is to try and present, through a startling chain of synchronicities, evidence for a guiding intelligence both in the workings of external events and also on the level of consciousness that fashions inner phenomenon such as dreams, voices and visions. I will also try to show that this guiding intelligence can use the most diverse and seemingly unspiritual things such as pop culture TV, movies, even a favorite flower and connect them together with an inner event (such as a vision or dream) to communicate a message to us.
To start things off the reader needs to know that “Ay Caramba” is an exclamation used to denote surprise in Spanish and was made famous by the character Bart Simpson of The Simpsons. As we will see “Ay Carasha” is a play on this and on one level was a sort of foreshadowing of my surprise at what I found when I googledCarasha. The first thing I discovered was that Carasha is a name since two of the top Google hits were the Twitter and Pinterest accounts of a young woman whose first name was Carasha. Carasha was also black and this was my first “Ay Caramba!” moment with this vision as I was able to connect it with what had transpired the last two nights on Jeopardy involving a young black woman contestant named Frederique. Over the course of these two games Frederique had pulled out two unlikely come from behind wins in the final Jeopardy round. I’ve seen these kinds of unlikely wins many times on Jeopardy but I couldn’t remember ever seeing it happen twice in a row like that. I imagine other members of the viewing audience found it noteworthy as well as perhaps the unflappable Alex Trevek himself. Here we can see the plastic way in which visions do things since it didn’t say “Ay Frederique” but yet was still referring to her. If it had I never would have googledCarasha and that was the whole point as we will see.
So that was the first synchronicity. The second involves the Jewish element of the vision because the next interesting hit on Google was a website called “Kabalarian Philosophy” which gave the significance of the name Carasha(which we’ll look at in a moment). For those who may not know, Kabbalah is an esoteric discipline that originated from Judaism. This website didn’t seem to be overtly Jewish but was in fact about the meaning of names. Regardless you can see the synchronicity with the vision though here the connection was with something I just “knew” in the vision rather than something specifically shown or stated.1Let’s look now at what the website had to say about the name Carasha.
1. The name of Carasha creates a happy, versatile, and expressive nature, with good business judgment and a fine sense of responsibility, which should enable you to establish congenial relationships in positions of trust where you are dealing with the public.
2. You have a clever, quick mind, with the ability to accomplish a great deal in a short period of time, although it is not easy for you to systematize your efforts.
3. This name could allow expression along musical and artistic lines and gives you the desire to entertain and to meet and mix with people of refinement and culture.
4. It also brings out your love of home and family, and in close association you are able to show understanding and affection.
5. Others are attracted by your generosity and your consideration of their interests.2
Now most people who know me well would probably agree that this is a good description of some of my more positive characteristics and talents though by no means a perfect description. For example I’m not inclined to meet and mix with people of refinement and culture nor do I place the importance on family that many people do. It was close enough though for me to be impressed by the synchronicity. And there’s one more synchronic Google hit to share.
For this one the reader needs to know that for all of my childhood and a good portion of my adult life I have been a big Star Wars fan. Given this it was quite natural that a Google hit with both Carasha and Star Wars in it would catch my eye, so I clicked through. The website was a wiki for an online multiplayer role-playing game called Star Wars Galaxies. The game is set during the time of the rebellion between Star Wars IV: A New Hope and Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back. Now the exact page I was on was a user profile under the name Carasha and the profile picture was a white Plumeria with a yellow center. Now this is very synchronic because this is my favorite flower not just because I find it beautiful but also because I love its scent. When you combine that with the fact that a picture of a Plumeria isn’t exactly what you’d expect to find on a user profile for a Star Wars video game, it’s hard to chalk it up to chance. It also bears mentioning that the Mother while she was alive stated spiritual significances for an enormous number of flowers. The significance she gave for this particular shade of Plumeria is Perfect Psychological Perfection.
Hopefully I have been able to make a case for the existence of this guiding intelligence that not only set all this up on the level of external events but which also on the level of internal events (i.e. the vision) possesses an omniscience that knew all of this and also knew I would google Carasha and encounter all this synchronicity. But what was the message? Here I can only state what I took from it while at the same time stating that readers may see something more or different in it that is equally valid. So in terms of sadhana I see a message of encouragement, one that addresses both where I am and where the Divine is trying to take me. Right now I’m in the midst of a rebellion to overcome the “Empire” of defects, wrong movements etc. in me. Or to put it another way the one could say a rebellion to throw off the yoke of the Empire of Ignorance. The goal is Perfect Psychological Perfection and I’m even shown the elements of mine in the Carasha name description which just happens to be on a website named after a spiritual tradition.3
But what about the connection with Frederique on Jeopardy and her two unlikely wins? Here I really feel the message of encouragement since I imagine most people who are attempting the sort of changes sadhana entails can become disheartened at times by how unlikely victory seems.
Now this message has in no way wrought an irrevocable change in me in terms of eliminating doubt, fear, discouragement etc. Neither did it come at a particularly low point in my life, but it did give me a boost at the time and I’ve found it helpful to reflect on this experience from time to time since then. That I think is its continuing purpose in my life.
In closing there is one last piece of the message I have waited to share since I think it sums up the message as a whole and is a nice way to end this article. It’s the description Miss Carasha put for herself on her twitter account. It reads:
Fabulous me. But still in progress.
1. I think its important to point our here that like in dreams our awareness in visions seems to be more open and intuitive and what you just “know” in regards to content (or as an overlay of the entire vision) can be significant, at least in my experience.
3. Now the reader may be wondering, as have I, if I’m being directed to look into Kabbalah. At the time of this writing I have not done so because I have become a bit wary of spending much time on things other than Sri Aurobindo and The Mother since they’re my gurus and its their influence (as well as some of their disciples’) that I want going into me. If the universe gives me another push though I think I’ll have a look one of the principle Kabbalah texts.
Looks Like This is the Place
(This is one of two essays on human unity that I wrote and anonymously sent to various places and people in Auroville, but to my knowledge it didn’t get around much, and so I post it here and will post the second one next time)
by Donny Duke
Have you ever sat down and tried to pinpoint just exactly where it is we go wrong, what, in the most basic sense, gives rise to such an explosive and turbulent world? Though it’s really no different today than at any other period in our history in terms of the turbulence, the tendency of the world to explode in any given place at any given time, our little moment in the sun, the life of us here and now on the planet, has so many witnessing it and can do so almost instantly, like, over half of the world’s population at any given moment, and that’s being conservative. It’s really more in the fallout of some catastrophe, though, in the incessant chatter after a tragedy, either online in forums or in the form of comments, or on the air of radio or TV, or about town or in the privacies of your more intimate encounters, that you hear the fundamental problem and hence, if your ears have also eyes, and it’s the mind’s eye I’m talking about, see it in all its ugly glory. And I’m talking about all the ill will.
But seeing it’s only the half of it; you have to be able to take that insight, that wordless grokking of idea, and bring it out into the confines of world-bearing words for it to become anything anyone else can use, since it’s a peculiarity of our species to do things like, change the world, in a group. Probably the first obstacle one armed with such a world-changing insight would encounter is that just about every single person you hear, whether online, on the air, or in person, believes they have said insight. So, you are faced with an insurmountable task: how to get the word out?
You would think it would have to be on the strength of the insight and on its consequent wording into edible idea, assuming here no one you hear is saying it out there. You would think, but that is, again, only half of it. Who you are and where you try and communicate your world-solving idea might even be more important than how strong it is in relation to truth, truth being simply what’s actually going on here. We are after all, when you boil us down in Nature, not in Spirit, herd animals.
Let me back up a minute and say this is an experiment. I have such an idea, and in order to try and get it out into the field let’s say, I’m going to attempt to surmount the former criterion of who and do this anonymously, and to meet the criterion of the latter, of where, I’m going to try and get this where the residents of the International Township of Auroville can read it, what is called the city of human unity, though ironically it’s a rather insular and conflict-ridden town, irony the backbone of humanity when sincerity isn’t. I figure no matter what the current state of their ‘union’, it would be the kind of community that would be in the best position to not only receive such an idea package but also begin to put it into play, one way or another.
One could come up with a barrage of concepts that would seem to identify our basic problem: evil, hatred, lack of unity, ignorance, poverty, crime, war, to name some of the more apparent ones, and it’s not that any given one isn’t a basic problem in human life; it’s that they all come from the same place, and it is as plain as the nose on your face. We think we are individuals separate from every other person or thing, separate in the most fundamental sense, in terms of identity – that we are alone inside of ourselves cut off from everyone else. And this comes primarily from the fact that we are largely (some completely) unconscious of up to a third or a fourth of our daily life, the time we call sleep (not to mention of our deeps at any given moment), even though it’s common knowledge we have experience during sleep, experience that we are conscious in, albeit oftentimes as puppets or robots, but that we can learn to control with our will, though just becoming conscious of that experience by being able to remember it and maintaining that awareness would fix our world, if we met our children at the door of birth with that mandate, to be conscious of all of their experience in any given day and guided them on the right use of that knowledge.
How would this fix our world? It wouldn’t all across the board. In some cases it would arm people with foul intent to do harm, and I’d imagine there’d be a stage in the beginning with most anyone where they used their knowledge to manipulate those around them, since this knowledge is power, but if one really does indeed become conscious of all of their experience, that abuse of power becomes self-abuse in time such is the strength of the inner connection between ‘us and them’, ourselves and those whom we harm or manipulate. If a community such as Auroville were to adopt this program such wrong use of knowledge could be greatly curtailed, since it would be part of the initiation of individuals into the community, both those born into it and those coming later, and as such, pitfalls could be more easily avoided, since the initiation would entail right use of the knowledge.
Another reason this kind of experimentation, research, whatever kind of learning you called it, would best be begun in Auroville, apart from the fact that it was founded to be the very place human unity is to be worked out, is because the people there would be more likely to have the inner development necessary to have meaningful dreams and other conscious inner experience, else they would live in conventional communities and not have come to such an intentional township to begin with (the ‘call’ to live in such a community presupposes that), not all by any means, but enough people to do the inner work. I was surprised to learn early on in my investigation of the experience during sleep that most people don’t even think they have such experience, and if they do occasionally remember something of that experience it’s a chaotic jumble with little meaning, few have what would be called dream experiences, and many dream mostly in black and white, hence in modern technologically-based societies there’s little or no emphasis on becoming conscious of the experience during sleep.
The first thing you need to be convinced of, not taught based on the words of experts, but by your own personal experience, is that we are connected to one another on the inside of ourselves, and when you think about someone with sufficient force, either of love, anger, hatred, jealousy, whatever force of emotion, they pick that up in their experience during sleep (though it’s more like you pick it up in your subliminal consciousness as soon as whoever think-feels it, and the experience isn’t formulated into a communication, a message, until you’re in the receptive state of dreaming), and the reverse is true; you pick up the feeling-toned thoughts of others that are about you. It doesn’t even have to be personal, doesn’t have to have your name attached. If people have strong feelings about a particular grouping of people of whatever category, members of that group pick up those feelings. When it’s hatred, and let’s say the group of hated people do hateful things themselves, they are armed with more hate to continue harmful acts. If it’s goodwill the reverse is true; they are disarmed to the extent goodwill sent to them via the inside can disarm harmful social actors, which is just enough to help disarm them completely when they are sincerely undergoing a process of change to correct their harmful behavior. Becoming conscious of your experience during sleep will convince you of this inner connection, especially if you are becoming conscious of that experience with the people around you with whom you live, move, and have your being. You might now can see how this knowledge would help humanity be a better race, and if you’re particularly far reaching in your thought, you’d see how this knowledge would in time revolutionize human society.
It would do so because the more you become aware of that inner connection, which, it must be understood, is not only with other human beings, but with all living things, and even objects would not be out of that loop, the more it becomes more than a connection; in time it becomes a shared identity, something that begins as a slight suspicion (like of that inner connection) but slowly blossoms out into a quiet knowing, which by this time has come out of the inner life and is staring you in the face in any face you look into, and once you begin to see you are ‘them’, using that word here to denote people you don’t particularly like or people you like in a way that causes them harm, you begin to limit any harm either in thought, word, or deed, you might give them. When the insight of a shared identity becomes a reality for you, what you see when you look out on the world, you would not easily be able to cause harm to anyone regardless of the strength of your impulse to do so, though by that time even your impulses would have begun to surrender to the mental realization and not carry so much overwhelming strength, and nor would hatred sent to you by others be able to override your realization and push you towards obeying your nature and doing something harmful.
I say that because we operate under the assumption that we have an absolute freewill – all human law is based on this assumption –, but the truth of the matter is we are not so free, and not only do many if not most harmful acts come as a result of impulses rising up and taking over, but also the ill will people feel towards those that cause harm to others is largely the result of the same subconscious action. I shouldn’t have to mention that in the process of becoming conscious of the experience during sleep you at the same time become more aware of the complexes in your subconscious that are putting the chains on your freewill.
Becoming conscious of sleep, something so very basic you’d think it’s one of the first things we do in the process of becoming self-aware (you’d think), we would see that human unity isn’t an ideal that we have to adopt and promote but part and parcel of our daily reality, one we just don’t yet recognize, and we’d also come to understand the world is much bigger than things, or I should say, that it isn’t a thing; identity is inherent in it, yours, ours, and theirs too. Where’s the harm in that?
(If any reader might feel I would be the last person qualified to speak of human unity because you know something of my story and are of the opinion that if you've done wrong you no longer have the right to speak about important matters, reading another essay on my Atomic Review might widen your mind and open you heart enough to give me the benefit of the doubt: Make Peace With the World)