|Dr. Robert Puff|
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Issue #1268 - Monday, November 25, 2002 - Edited by Jerry
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If all goes well, on my way up to Lake Tahoe next Sunday,
I'll make a stop at Rasa Ranch. I was feeling joy at the
prospect of meeting Kheyala and family, when thoughts
moved to Ananda. I remembered the extreme heart opening I
lived within in those early years of being Oriana's mom.
Of course, this opening has never changed, but what was
remarkable then, was the awesomeness of this love and
responsibility of parenting.
Then my thoughts moved to next Sunday being the first
Sunday of Advent.. a Christian time of reflection and
preparation for Christmas. When Oriana was young, I
struggled with how to introduce the deeper meaning of
what this season meant to me; without dogma, and as a
counterbalance to the commercial "Santa" influences. At
the time, I was involved with Waldorf education (even
before she actually started school there), and began
reading, translating stories, and developing seasonal
rituals. The four weeks of Advent and the full Christ
Mass season (12 'holy' nights till Jan 6th) continue to
be my daughter and my favorite time of year - though
neither of us 'practice' Christianity. During her school
years, I was asked to teach some of what I'd learned to
other parents at the Waldorf school. Today I see many
books on the subject, a number of which I could have
written (probably should have). At the time there was
Though this is a 'nondual' list, we live in a culture
with Christian undertones (albeit often very skewed
tones), and the truth of bringing Love and Light into the
Heart's manger is essentially nondual. With that in mind,
I thought just for fun, I might offer some of my
experience, as these are very charming rituals to do with
The intent of Advent is one of preparation.. waiting..
attention.. deeper listening.. awareness of light amidst
darkness; and can become a meaningful and rich Advent-ure
into what unfolds through silence, ritual, love and
The fundamental touchpoints are these:
On or before the first Sunday, make an advent wreath
(gather fir branches, small pine cones, berries, and four
candles.. we used 3 purple and one rose.. which have
There are four Sundays (before Christmas). A new candle
is light each Sunday and the light progresses daily. Each
Sunday a different angel story was told (these I
translated from French). These angels look into the
hearts of men and speak to those with attentive hearts
and inner ears.
We used the time to reflect on That which gifts our
presence on this planet.. in a way which is both
evolutionary, unfolds as a story and opens awareness to
the mystery of what is ever present.
The first week we honored the mineral kingdom. We went on
walks gathering beautiful small stones (or polished
stones and crystals). These were gradually placed on our
Advent table in two parallel rows which created a path.
As Oriana got older, we reflected on the minerals in our
body structure. The base framework for manifestation.
The second week we honored the plant kingdom. We gathered
small pine cones, small bits of bark and wood, berries,
leaves. These were used to create the background and
inner sanctuary for the crèche. This matured as
reflection on the various root systems in our bodies
(cells, veins, hair, skin), and gratitude for the ways we
are sustained and sheltered by the botanical realm.
The third week we honored the animal kingdom. We used
colored beeswax and molded animals for the crèche. We
gathered sea shells and feathers.. one year, even a small
wad of cat fur adorned the table. The unfolding of this
was a reflection on our own animal nature, as well as how
we are sustained and clothed by the zoological realm.
The third week we honored the human kingdom. Again using
beeswax, we molded the mother, father, and child for the
crèche.. as well as angels and guardians. During this
week, the mother and father began the journey on the path
we had created, each night moving closer to the sanctuary
of birthplace. This lead to discussion of what it means
to be 'human' (as distinct from animal); of what lies
beyond a personal focus; of the mystery of the unknown
which calls us forth.
Each night as we lit a candle, when she was young,
reciting: "Winter is dark, yet each tiny spark, brightens
the way to Christmas Day". Our family ritual included
practicing Carols, reading from the abundance of
wonderful Christmas stories, opening an Advent calendar,
and generally resting in the love of each other's
On Christmas morning, the baby appeared in the crèche
along with a glass star above the scene and twelve glass
angels (for the twelve nights of Christmas). We then
began with wax to form the visitors and placed the Three
Kings on the path. In our culture, there is a tendency to
think that Christmas is a day, not a season. In more
esoteric wisdom, the time before and after the Solstice
(at least in the Northern Hemisphere) is a window into a
deeper opening through the silencing of the earth's
pulsation of growth, and the dark nights. The twelve
nights of Christmas are the heart of the season.. lasting
till January 6th (Three Kings). The advent candles were
now joined by a white one in the center, and each night,
an angel was added to the table.
The deeper meaning we always tried to direct our
understanding towards, was that the Christ child is ever
born anew in the humble heart prepared for by love and
attention. Some of the archetypes we explored were:
manger = empty open heart; animals bowing down = emotions
and desires in abeyance; Kings = abiding awareness of the
inner sanctuary, is often graced by Presence. As parents
we know what mother, father and child re-present.
As we also had a family ritual of sharing our birthday
(as in offering other family members a gift); one night,
our daughter said "I think what Santa is doing is just
"sharing" Jesus' birthday". Amen to that, we thought!
Within this understanding, it is easy to include all
other rituals of Light (Chanukah, Kwanza, Solstice, St.
Lucia Day, St Nicholas Day, New Years etc).
Thanks for offering a gentle place to share these light
WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS
Dedication For a Plot of Ground
THIS plot of ground
facing the waters of this inlet
is dedicated to the living presence of
Emily Dickinson Wellcome
who was born in England; married;
lost her husband and with
her five year old son
sailed for New York in a two-master;
was driven to the Azores;
ran adrift on Fire Island shoal,
met her second husband
in a Brooklyn boarding house,
went with him to Puerto Rico
bore three more children, lost
her second husband, lived hard
for eight years in St. Thomas,
Puerto Rico, San Domingo, followed
the oldest son to New York,
lost her daughter, lost her "baby,"
seized the two boys of
the oldest son by the second marriage
mothered them -- they being
motherless -- fought for them
against the other grandmother
and the aunts, brought them here
summer after summer, defended
herself here against thieves,
storms, sun, fire,
against flies, against girls
that came smelling about, against
drought, against weeds, storm-tides,
neighbors, weasels that stole her chickens,
against the weakness of her own hands,
against the growing strength of
the boys, against wind, against
the stones, against trespassers,
against rents, against her own mind.
She grubbed this earth with her own hands,
domineered over this grass plot,
blackguarded her oldest son
into buying it, lived here fifteen years,
attained a final loneliness and --
If you can bring nothing to this place
but your carcass, keep out.
THE PATH OF THE AWAKENING
ACCORDING TO GUSTAVE MEYRINK
Stiffen your whole body,
concentrate your mind and force
yourself for one moment to listen to the feeling passing
through your body with a shiver: NOW I AM AWAKE!
If you can feel this, you will also recognize suddenly
that the state in which you were an instant ago was a
sort of dizziness and drowsiness.
And this is the first uncertain step of a long, long
migration from slavery to omnipotence.
Walk this way from awakening to awakening.
Birds in the sky and fish in water
Dart and leave no track behind.
And none can trace the path by which
The sages journeyed to the Self.
from The Mountain Path , april 1975
The Green Meme and Me
from Alices's Restaurant
On my last report, Healing Water's & Sacred Spaces had
two Kits left, and Sensia still has one.
Stephanie and I are working on a permanent kit with a
newly designed Kodo Cup. I don't think Kyara will be
available in the new kit, and the aloeswood will
probably be some cut pieces of Vietnamese aloeswood.
Mica, ash, and charcoal will still be included, and the
kit will probably be a little more money, but still an
excellent beginner's kodo kit.
We are also encouraging retailers to begin selling our
four regular aloeswoods by the gram instead of just the
15 gram package.
The best way to get our Kyara in the future is either in
the Rikkoku Set, or in the Koh Shi Boku 5 stick sampler.
Healing Waters & Sacred Spaces has a Rikkoku set now and
these sets are really a great deal because you get 1
gram of the finest kyara, and 5 grams of Rakkoku, 5
grams of Sasora, 5 grams of Sumotara, 5 grams of Manaban,
and 5 grams of Manaka. It comes in an elegant case.
For the very serious, this is the set that answers those
questions about what each of those types of aloeswood
smell and look like, and for those who aspire someday to
become a real Kodo student, part of the training is
learning to identify each of these aloeswoods, so you
will have a good head-start.
I think the day is coming closer to the possibility of
true Kodo Training in the United States. I think it will
begin by Japanese teachers visiting the United States
and giving seminars. First there has to be more interest
here, and more people willing to support this kind of
effort. But also, as our sales grow we will be more able
to help sponsor such an effort, so everytime you
purchase some Baieido incense you support the effort.
Your support has already enabled us to give free seminars
in New York City, Phoenix, St. Louis, and Santa Fe, and
to translate much of Professor Jinpo's book on Kodo,
translate information from Professor Yoneda on
Aloeswood, and translate the Sakai City video on Incense
and Kodo. The Sakai City video is now available with a
written english transcript. Information from professor
Jinpo's book as well as information and clarifications
from him personally are shared at our seminars.
Information from Professor Yoneda I've been sharing both
at the seminars and on these lists, and will be exanding
that information shortly.
So I want to thank you for your support ad thank you for
helping to bring the art of Kodo to this list, and to
our seminars, and into the United States.
The major plot line of the continual quest for
self-identity is more noteworthy than all the spectacles
and daredevil stunts. Jackie Chan's character mentions
his father's teachings, learns the way to live life on
earth, and establishes a father-and-son relationship. But
the character forgets his relationship with his
environment and other people. Curiously enough, this
situation is able to find a place in the labyrinth of
post-97 political identity. So Hongkongese, in the
immediate aftermath of 1997, are still troubled by "Who
Am I?". Nothing is certain except Hong Kong is China's
son. For the individual, his own identity remains in a
state of flux - ManAlone Ho
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|Dr. Robert Puff|