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A short post about candles

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  • shane_dublincentre
    When I started seriously meditating, I used to always light candles, and then with time this nice habit disappeared along with a host of others I m now trying
    Message 1 of 9 , Nov 16, 2007
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      When I started seriously meditating, I used to always light candles,
      and then with time this nice habit disappeared along with a host of
      others I'm now trying to resurrect. So I've started doing it again,
      each time I sit down at my meditation space. For me it's a bit like
      switching on a sign that says 'Meditation Space Now in Use', a
      reminder that I'm not just there to sit down and daydream away...

      I share a room with Matthias, who has posted a couple of very nice
      things here. Matthias has the teutonically-instilled discipline to get
      up at 5.45 every morning, which means I am disciplined to get up too
      by default. We have a very small room, just big enough for our bunk
      bed and both our meditation spaces. I like adorning the room with
      lots of inspiring things - beautiful photos of my teacher that make
      you feel he is as alive as ever when you look at them, some of his
      many bird drawings that evoke the flight of the soul, pictures and
      statues of Indian deities.

      My especial favourite is a picture of Mother Kali which currently lies
      in between our two meditation spaces, which I believe may have been in
      Sri Chinmoy's possession at one time or another. Sri Chinmoy grew up
      in a traditional Hindu family whose family deity was Mother Kali, the
      primary deity of many households in his native Bengal region of India.
      Throughout his life, Sri Chinmoy was a pioneering advocate of seeing
      the beauty behind all religions and forms of worship to the Supreme.[1] At the same time, he never lost his fondness for the simultaneously dynamic and compassionate aspect of God that Mother Kali represented.

      This picture I have was mounted inside a circular frame; at the back
      there is an array of wires taped together to light up LED bulbs placed
      around the perimeter - I am told this kind of lit-up frame is commonly
      available in Indian shops in New York. I can't seem to get the lights
      working, but I haven't given up trying. Such is the spiritual majesty
      of this picture that every time I sit down, I light a candle in front
      it along with all the other candles, it just seems the right thing to do.

      Shane





      [1] Unofficial - ]
    • tejvan13
      ... Shane, I think this is an excellent idea. With some activities we get rewarded for spending a certain amount of time, no matter what is going through our
      Message 2 of 9 , Nov 17, 2007
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        >"For me it's a bit like switching on a sign that says 'Meditation Space Now in Use', a reminder that I'm not just there to sit down and daydream away..."

        Shane, I think this is an excellent idea.



        With some activities we get rewarded for spending a certain amount of time, no matter what is going through our mind. But, with meditation, nobody is going to you any reward for just sitting there, with random thoughts going through your mind.

        This is why Sri Chinmoy encouraged aspirants to have a feeling of intensity during their meditation:

        "But every day when we meditate we have to feel that it is our last day on earth, and that tomorrow we are going to die. We know that we are in the Heart of the Eternal Supreme, but each day we have to regard as our last day to aspire. Today if we fail, we will get zero; we will be out of the race. If today is the last day, our sincerity, our aspiration, all our divine qualities will come to the fore and we will run the fastest. Then, when tomorrow comes, again we have to feel, "Today if I do not realise God, then I am doomed. I shall have to wait another five thousand years."

        http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/meditation-service/339.html

        Excerpt from My Meditation-Service At The United Nations For 25 Years by Sri Chinmoy.


        This is also one reason why I enjoy giving meditation classes. In teaching other people how to meditate, we remind ourselves about the essentials of meditation.


        ~

        Tejvan
      • arpan_deangelo
        Hi Shane, Don t forget to blow out the candles before leaving the house. (No, this is not your mother speaking.) I would suggest the candles in glass
        Message 3 of 9 , Nov 17, 2007
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          Hi Shane,
          Don't forget to blow out the candles before leaving the house. (No,
          this is not your mother speaking.)

          I would suggest the candles in glass containers. They last much longer
          and are very safe, so as not to burn down the house. That is why many
          of us no longer use the traditional candlesticks. Or maybe it's just
          some of us(me) are too absent-minded to be trusted with unsafe
          candles.It's just that I think anyone who can lose their flute can
          also easily forget to put out the candle.

          Enough advice for now. All gratitude to you for your advice on my
          website stuff. I may need your counsel again as I try to revive my
          'Arpan.us' website soon.

          Gratefully,
          Arpan
        • martin_the_dude
          Tejvan s post reminded me of an episode of the simpsons I recently watched. The essence of live as if it was your last day to me means that you don t wast
          Message 4 of 9 , Nov 18, 2007
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            Tejvan's post reminded me of an episode of the simpsons I recently watched.

            The essence of 'live as if it was your last day' to me means that you don't wast any time.
            Life is precious and time doesn't actually exist except in our minds. Reality always happens NOW. NO past - NO future- only divine consciousness experiencing eternity.

            Homer Simpson however, has a different approach. After he somehow stumbled into a kind of 'self-esteem-in-return-for-hard-cash' business workshop. Once the coach had convinced Homer to give him a cash check (which only took him 7 seconds) for the book that will change Homer's life you can see Homer in the next scene driving his car while reading loud from the book. "Live every day as if it was your last..."

            Next scene Homer is sitting next to his car on a parking lot, sobbing and crying " I don't wana die! I am soooo young! Sniff Boohhoo ....."

            Can't help it - I love the Simpsons...

            Yellow Regards...

            Martin
          • sharani_sharani
            Hi Shane, After hearing stories of accidental fires caused by lit candles during meditation unattended due to falling asleep, etc, we switched to using battery
            Message 5 of 9 , Nov 18, 2007
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              Hi Shane,
              After hearing stories of accidental fires caused by lit candles during
              meditation unattended due to falling asleep, etc, we switched to using
              battery operated candlesticks on our centre shrine a number of years ago.

              In the states, these are popular at Christmas time in people's house
              windows to be seen from the street. It looks like a real candle but is
              actually a little battery-powered light in the shape of a flame at the
              top of a plastic candle.

              The sentiment you express is beautiful so sorry if it seems like I'm
              dampening the fire. :-) Your post, of course, is alive with spirit
              quite separate from the candles themselves.

              Sharani
            • purnakama2000
              Hello Shane, I think partly because of my Catholic upbringing, I love ritual; and candles and incense have become a daily part of that ritual. There is
              Message 6 of 9 , Nov 18, 2007
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                Hello Shane,

                I think partly because of my Catholic upbringing, I love ritual; and
                candles and incense have become a daily part of that ritual. There
                is something comforting in regularity and ritual. It really does
                announce to the mind "OK, it's time to meditate" and creates a
                sacred internal and external space.

                Also what we wear has become part of that ritual. For me, the act of
                putting on a sari puts me in a completely different space, and
                definitely takes me out of the daily routine. I remember a wonderful
                post by Jogyata about wearing white. [1]

                It's been getting very cold here of late, and I find putting on a
                sari at 5:30 in the morning somewhat daunting, so I have bought a
                special outfit in light blue that is warm and fuzzy that I use only
                for meditation, and now whenever I put it on at 5:30 in the morning,
                I get the same ritualistic feeling.
                I think the mind just needs these things to convince it to get out
                of bed at that hour of the morning:)

                And I have to agree with Arpan, tea lights in glass candle holders
                are much safer:)

                Purnakama



                [1] Jogyata's post: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration/message/15959
              • kamalakanta47
                Martin, you made my day! Thanks! Kamalakanta ... watched. ... you don t wast any time. ... minds. Reality always happens NOW. NO past - NO future- only divine
                Message 7 of 9 , Nov 19, 2007
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                  Martin, you made my day! Thanks!

                  Kamalakanta

                  --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, martin_the_dude
                  <no_reply@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Tejvan's post reminded me of an episode of the simpsons I recently
                  watched.
                  >
                  > The essence of 'live as if it was your last day' to me means that
                  you don't wast any time.
                  > Life is precious and time doesn't actually exist except in our
                  minds. Reality always happens NOW. NO past - NO future- only divine
                  consciousness experiencing eternity.
                  >
                  > Homer Simpson however, has a different approach. After he somehow
                  stumbled into a kind of 'self-esteem-in-return-for-hard-cash'
                  business workshop. Once the coach had convinced Homer to give him a
                  cash check (which only took him 7 seconds) for the book that will
                  change Homer's life you can see Homer in the next scene driving his
                  car while reading loud from the book. "Live every day as if it was
                  your last..."
                  >
                  > Next scene Homer is sitting next to his car on a parking lot,
                  sobbing and crying " I don't wana die! I am soooo young! Sniff Boohhoo
                  ....."
                  >
                  > Can't help it - I love the Simpsons...
                  >
                  > Yellow Regards...
                  >
                  > Martin
                  >
                • cott_doris
                  Dear Shane, I am not sorry for the late reply. I didn t want to let go of this so sacred image in my mind of a brotherly shared holy place. I don t know
                  Message 8 of 9 , Nov 26, 2007
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                    Dear Shane,

                    I am not sorry for the late reply. I didn't want to let go of this so
                    sacred image in my mind of a brotherly shared holy place. I don't
                    know whether what I see is your room in reality but it's holiness in
                    it's great simplicity and all the lit candles and Guru's pictures and
                    Mother Kali makes it so precious to me and I feel at home there. I
                    could speak for hours and hours only about candles. I love candles.
                    They remind me of the ancient past where there was no electric light.
                    Some faint memories maybe...I so much love simple places with almost
                    nothing added inside; only white walls and if possible the love that
                    was given to them. I think of monks and nuns in a monastery, I think
                    of jails, I think of churches, I think of a palace in Germany near
                    Heidelberg.

                    Recently I was sitting in the bus on the way to my beloved room. (I
                    always find excuses to leave my working place earlier than expected).
                    I just can't stand it, I have to go home. I feel that it is the place
                    where God lives with me. I am so proud that God is living withe me
                    and does not have to be in the street. (This is something Guru once
                    said (paraphrasing) that if we do not build a shrine at home he has
                    to live in the streets. As a child I have been living in the streets.
                    I don't want God to live there.

                    Also, when being in New York, no matter how modest the place was I
                    stayed I sometimes had to leave Aspiration Ground to be alone and
                    sing and meditate. I was more receptive when not being outwardly with
                    Guru and so many people.

                    At the place where I am currently working I sometimes even have my
                    best meditations at a special location (if this says you something).
                    Sometimes I am going to a nearby park and often I can go to a nearby
                    Madal Bal store for midday meditation. But the special place has
                    become holy to me because I can meditate there - I can be alone.

                    There in the bus I suddenly felt so proud that it was possible to
                    live a life of a modern nun. I feel even more like that since Guru's
                    passing. Almost nobody in the streets know that we are modern nuns
                    and monks! We are God-lovers and among that outer turmoil called life
                    we are diving within and meditate on God. That thrills me to the core
                    of my being. Whatever we are doing we do it for Him - in His Name.
                    (Not to forget that he has chosen us to be his children out of his
                    infinite bounty. I don't remember I have ever done anything special
                    for him to get chosen).

                    Whenever things are unbearable I can look up to the sky. That is
                    it.

                    Recently I bought candles that are spreading the fragrance of cocos
                    when you blow them out. Then I imagine Guru getting joy from it as I
                    am getting joy. (some candles are smelly when you blow them out and
                    are destroying the atmosphere because they put some softener and
                    other unhealthy things inside).

                    I am touched by your simple way of living. I feel in comparison as I
                    would be living in a palace in spite of having only one room. For me
                    to leave that room is always painful. You are even sharing your room.
                    You and Matthias seem to be good friends.

                    I too appreciate Guru's love for Mother Kali. (it made me laugh that
                    you can not handle the wires on the back of the picture. Do you not
                    own a not so shiny lap-top and writing a lot of inspiring articles on
                    the Sri Chinmoy website?)

                    Now it is up to us to feel Guru's so divine presence around us and inside us. And I think he makes it so easy for us to jump on the train of meditation.

                    I have a little jar that contains some clay from the ground breaking
                    ceremony. When I put my hand in the pocket I feel with great joy I
                    own a little Tennis-Court with all it's sweet memories. I feel I am
                    right there; it comforts me. At other times when I feel left alone in
                    the turmoil of the streets and strange places I am taking it out and
                    open it slowly to put my finger inside and touch the clay gently. It
                    feels good. It is a miniature world of love and I carry it in my
                    pocket.

                    Hope this is not too awkward English and you got my appreciation for
                    living such a simple and holy life in such a tiny room together with
                    a friend.



                    Doris

                    P.S. Say hello to Colm. It was a pleasure for me to retype the
                    consolation-message. I too keep it close at hand.
                  • shane_dublincentre
                    Hi Doris I loved this article like anything and read it over and over again, each time finding something new to ponder on. I often feel this way as well as I
                    Message 9 of 9 , Dec 2, 2007
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                      Hi Doris

                      I loved this article like anything and read it over and over again,
                      each time finding something new to ponder on.

                      I often feel this way as well as I go about my daily business, shaking
                      hands, talking the talk of daily life. We are in the business of
                      spreading the fragrance of Reality.

                      Sometimes we can show people the actual flower; other times we know
                      that they will just tear it apart if we do. So we merely let the
                      fragrance that has been coaxed forward in our meditation flow out
                      through our heart, our eyes, our smile.

                      Shane

                      ps I am travelling at the moment, and brought a bag of little
                      tealights and holders with me but they all disappeared out a hole in
                      my rucksack on the way.....





                      --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, cott_doris
                      <no_reply@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Dear Shane,
                      >
                      > I am not sorry for the late reply. I didn't want to let go of this so
                      > sacred image in my mind of a brotherly shared holy place. I don't
                      > know whether what I see is your room in reality but it's holiness in
                      > it's great simplicity and all the lit candles and Guru's pictures and
                      > Mother Kali makes it so precious to me and I feel at home there. I
                      > could speak for hours and hours only about candles. I love candles.
                      > They remind me of the ancient past where there was no electric light.
                      > Some faint memories maybe...I so much love simple places with almost
                      > nothing added inside; only white walls and if possible the love that
                      > was given to them. I think of monks and nuns in a monastery, I think
                      > of jails, I think of churches, I think of a palace in Germany near
                      > Heidelberg.
                      >
                      > Recently I was sitting in the bus on the way to my beloved room. (I
                      > always find excuses to leave my working place earlier than expected).
                      > I just can't stand it, I have to go home. I feel that it is the place
                      > where God lives with me. I am so proud that God is living withe me
                      > and does not have to be in the street. (This is something Guru once
                      > said (paraphrasing) that if we do not build a shrine at home he has
                      > to live in the streets. As a child I have been living in the streets.
                      > I don't want God to live there.
                      >
                      > Also, when being in New York, no matter how modest the place was I
                      > stayed I sometimes had to leave Aspiration Ground to be alone and
                      > sing and meditate. I was more receptive when not being outwardly with
                      > Guru and so many people.
                      >
                      > At the place where I am currently working I sometimes even have my
                      > best meditations at a special location (if this says you something).
                      > Sometimes I am going to a nearby park and often I can go to a nearby
                      > Madal Bal store for midday meditation. But the special place has
                      > become holy to me because I can meditate there - I can be alone.
                      >
                      > There in the bus I suddenly felt so proud that it was possible to
                      > live a life of a modern nun. I feel even more like that since Guru's
                      > passing. Almost nobody in the streets know that we are modern nuns
                      > and monks! We are God-lovers and among that outer turmoil called life
                      > we are diving within and meditate on God. That thrills me to the core
                      > of my being. Whatever we are doing we do it for Him - in His Name.
                      > (Not to forget that he has chosen us to be his children out of his
                      > infinite bounty. I don't remember I have ever done anything special
                      > for him to get chosen).
                      >
                      > Whenever things are unbearable I can look up to the sky. That is
                      > it.
                      >
                      > Recently I bought candles that are spreading the fragrance of cocos
                      > when you blow them out. Then I imagine Guru getting joy from it as I
                      > am getting joy. (some candles are smelly when you blow them out and
                      > are destroying the atmosphere because they put some softener and
                      > other unhealthy things inside).
                      >
                      > I am touched by your simple way of living. I feel in comparison as I
                      > would be living in a palace in spite of having only one room. For me
                      > to leave that room is always painful. You are even sharing your room.
                      > You and Matthias seem to be good friends.
                      >
                      > I too appreciate Guru's love for Mother Kali. (it made me laugh that
                      > you can not handle the wires on the back of the picture. Do you not
                      > own a not so shiny lap-top and writing a lot of inspiring articles on
                      > the Sri Chinmoy website?)
                      >
                      > Now it is up to us to feel Guru's so divine presence around us and
                      inside us. And I think he makes it so easy for us to jump on the train
                      of meditation.
                      >
                      > I have a little jar that contains some clay from the ground breaking
                      > ceremony. When I put my hand in the pocket I feel with great joy I
                      > own a little Tennis-Court with all it's sweet memories. I feel I am
                      > right there; it comforts me. At other times when I feel left alone in
                      > the turmoil of the streets and strange places I am taking it out and
                      > open it slowly to put my finger inside and touch the clay gently. It
                      > feels good. It is a miniature world of love and I carry it in my
                      > pocket.
                      >
                      > Hope this is not too awkward English and you got my appreciation for
                      > living such a simple and holy life in such a tiny room together with
                      > a friend.
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Doris
                      >
                      > P.S. Say hello to Colm. It was a pleasure for me to retype the
                      > consolation-message. I too keep it close at hand.
                      >
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