Centering Technique for Any Moment


Take a deep releasing breath and drop down into your heart. Ask, “What do I really want?”

Take another deep releasing breath and drop down into your body and ask, “What is my next step?”

This simple centering technique provides instant insight into what is really going on for you at all levels, and it will give you something you can move forward on right away.

— Michelle Casto

Grass at Sunset (August 27, 2012, 8:47 pm, Anchorage, AK)

Entering the Void with the Eyes Open

If you look around, you can find a face of God in each thing, because He is not hidden in a church, in a mosque, or a synagogue, but everywhere. As there is no one who lives after seeing him, there is also no one dying after seeing Him. Who finds Him stays forever with Him.

–Shams Tabrizi

Rose Hips and Dragonfly (August 29, 2012, 5:34 pm, Anchorage, AK)

This is the final drawing of this series, still in progress. As I drew the rose hips on the front hedge, a dragonfly landed smack on the drawing. I had already photographed a dragonfly that landed on our mailbox earlier, so I used the photo as a guide to bring Dragonfly into the drawing. It felt so right to have him in it! Perfect! The perfect ending for this series. Dragonfly has always been a sign to me that the ancestors are near.

The Need to be Right

Nothing is more self-defeating than the need to be “right.” It very effectively bars the gate to true understanding. It guarantees that one will not be able to be of significant help to oneself or others. It throws a thick blanket in front of the potential to experience awe and wonder. It can give one a sense of having a life of passion and purpose– but, in truth, that life is dry and hollow and full of strife.

Reflections on this Assignment

The challenge of this assignment “Art in the Making: Entering the Void with the Eyes Open,” has been to progress along the path toward awakening by engaging in open-eyed meditation. The ultimate goal is to attain Shiva Dristi, the eyes of Shiva, to become Shiva, to realize Unity awareness where subject and object are not separate, but One. The teachings of Kashmir Shaivism address various means of attaining this state.

Unity awareness happens with efforts made after one has received spiritual initiation from a realized Master. Through this initiation the Kundalini energy is awakened, and under the tutelage of the Master, the student makes efforts under his own inner guidance (from the awakened Kundalini) which meet the grace that is being showered upon him/her.

Previous to this assignment, I spent perhaps three years practicing meditation on nature. This involved short segments of time (sometimes longer) of being attentive to nature in the morning, with awareness of the breath. (This practice was in addition to a longer morning meditation practice as well as other spiritual practices such as chanting and selfless service to my path.)

It was from all of this, but specifically from the nature meditations, that the assignment was born. Drawing was to be employed as a means to this end of becoming one with the object of observation. What came up in the gap between subject and object were: fear of the unknown, a sense of personal inadequacy, and a resistance to surrendering fully to the process.

I cannot say at this point that I have achieved the goal. Often my experiences of unity still come during meditation with the eyes closed and meditation on the form of the Master– and in pure meditation on nature. When the pen is in hand, it is harder because the aforementioned “obstacles” appear.

Nevertheless, I have faith in the assignment. I know it was right for me. And I will continue to take my inner guidance regarding what assignment comes next. I am certain that these assignments are stepping stones along the path to the goal of unbroken unity awareness.

Entering the Void with the Eyes Open

To be freed of all the ups and downs of the path and no longer be tormented by the possibility of a fall, the yogi must see reality perfectly and completely. The insight is itself liberation and the moment it dawns the yogi is instantly freed. This sudden realization is the goal of Tantric Yoga. Accordingly the Tantra declares: “He who perceives reality directly, even for the brief moment it takes to blink, is liberated that very instant and never reborn again.”

Although the yogi’s body and mind continue to function as before, they are like mere outer coverings which contain, but do not obscure, the mighty, universal consciousness which operates through them. The yogi’s body is the universe, the senses the energies that vitalize it, his mind Mantra, the rhythm of the breath the pulse of time and his inner nature pure, dynamic consciousness. Raised above all practice, and hence all possibility of falling to lower levels, the yogi realises that he always been free and that his journey through the dark land of Maya was nothing but a dream, a construct of his own imagination.

— Mark S.G. Dyczkowski, The Doctrine of Vibration, An Analysis of the Doctrines and Practices of Kashmir Shaivism


I believe that this is what the Christ meant when he said, “Wake up.”

Morning Thought

Suffering is the way of the world. To transcend suffering, you must rise above attachment and aversion.

True service is to cultivate single-pointed inner devotion, and to follow practices that enable yourself and others to awaken and become free of the play of opposites. 

I think that this is what Gurdjieff was referring to when he said that “man is third force blind.”

By consistently invoking the third force, we have the hope of awakening.

This is what Gurdjieff called “The Work,” and it IS work.

The Mind and the Heart

Unconnected to the heart, the mind is brittle and unyielding, as dry as a husk. No good and beneficial fruit will come from this kind of thinking. The heart disconnected from the mind leads to delusion, infatuation, and divisiveness. For the birth of true knowledge the mind and heart must vibrate as one. It is a discipline that must be borne. The great beings that we hold in our collective memory have done just that. It is the birthright of all of us.

Park Strip Memorial (August 3, 2012, around 10:30 pm, Anchorage, AK)