Refuge in the Name
My guru always said, “All One”. One day we were at his temple. We had been there all day mostly waiting in the back of the temple for Maharaj-ji to call us. Now it was late and almost time for us to return to town. The bus had come and was waiting for us out on the road. It was the last bus to town that night and the driver knew that Maharaj-ji didn’t want these crazy westerners stuck at the temple overnight, so he was just waiting for us. It was a public bus! There were regular passengers on the bus as well, but it’s India and everyone respects the saints, so they were also waiting. We were called into his room and he told us to leave but nobody could move. The atmosphere was so thick with love that I felt like a piece of fruit suspended in Jello! We were all just swimming in the love, in the sweetness and he couldn’t really get it together to send us away. We all kept dissolving again and again into it. Finally someone said, “Maharaj-ji, what IS this?”. He said, “It’s in the blood. The same blood runs through everyone’s veins. NOW GO!!!”. Same blood…One heart…the heart of God, of Love… of the Universe. All One.
This is the way it is. We just don’t experience it deeply enough, so we feel separate from each other and from that separateness comes fear, selfish desires and vulnerability.
Seeking refuge in the depth of our own hearts is the way to conquer this fear, this anxiety, this suffering that we have to live with. Refuge is within us. Nothing outside can give that love, that freedom, that peace. When we find it within, we have it everywhere.
The repetition of the Name, is an ancient practice and is found in all religions… in all spiritual practices. When we know the name of something or someone we can call out to them. The names of a friend or child or lover have been given in the external world and point only to the physical/emotional part of that person. The Sacred Names are revealed names. They come from within and have been spoken in this world, revealed to us by the Great Beings who manifest Truth.
“Each and every revealed Name of the One Reality possesses irresistibly sanctifying power. Even if the energy of the Divine Name does not produce immediate results, its repetition will eventually be fruitful – like a seed fallen on the roof of a deserted house which crumbles over decades, finally enabling the germinated seed to take root. The conventional world and the conventional self are this disintegrating old structure.” SHRI RAMAKRISHNA
These Names come from the place in each one of us that is our own True Nature, the Natural State, before thought and emotion… so they have the power to turn us towards our true Home. With deepening practice and repetition the Name can release us from our fascination with the external world as perceived by the senses… STUFF!!!
Buddha said, “Stuff doesn’t make you happy.” At least he said something like that. Stuff gives pleasure when we have it and pain when we don’t have it. Neither pain nor pleasure has anything to do with Happiness. When we know who we are, we are Peace, we are Love, we are what we seek… the One.
By repeating the Name, we are planting seeds that will grow into fruits of true happiness and real love. By repeating the Name we are destroying the tendencies that lie hidden within us and create suffering for us again and again and again. We are cleaning the mirror of our heart/mind so our own true beauty can be perfectly reflected back to us. That beauty is the One that lives within us all as who we truly are. When we see that, we fall in love with our Self… and that Self is the same in every being.
When we seek refuge in our True Self, our Buddha Nature, the One, we begin to improve our aim. Our actions now begin to move us towards Love and Oneness and away from pain and suffering. This is not only for us personally. As Ramana Maharshi says, “When we see our Self in another being, why wouldn’t we try to help them?”.
I had this idea to record one chant for a whole CD.I put it off for a long time, but finally I had to give in and just do it. After all, in India there are places that the chanting of just ONE of the Sacred Names has been going on for centuries. So what’s an hour?
Well, for us an hour is a big thing. All the TV shows we grew up with were broken up with commercials every 15 minutes, so we got used to changing the channel and going to the fridge to get something to eat. One way or the other we have developed a very short span of attention. This is not helpful because it is our ability to focus the mind on one thing can begin to free us from the obsessive nature of our thoughts, from the tyranny of thought… from thinking we are who we think we are.
When we are IN love it’s very hard to think about anything except our lover. We don’t even wanna watch TV, at least for the first few days. When we begin to fall in love with our Self we are well on the way.
What does this have to do with the chanting of the Name? They say, (and everyone knows who THEY are), that these Names come from a place within each one of us that is nothing other than TOTAL love, not to mention bliss and all that other stuff. Because these Names arise from within us, by turning our attention to them we begin to slowly move towards the seat of our own Being, our own presence … The Presence… the love that lives within us as who WE truly are.
So, as we sing the Name a gradual awareness arises within us that leads us towards our Self.