I called the leader of satsang earlier this week and we had a brief, but nice, chat. I have pretty much decided to let the group be what it is. It is the community with which I have spent the most time since I have been here, and it feels easier to approach it again after the inner changes that have been going on lately.
I have started reading Amarananda Bhairavan's Kali's Odiyya and I also received Swami Satyananda's Kali Puja book. It seems that my intentions are flowing easily toward a more focused individual devotion, and that makes it easier to allow some other things to be less than totally satisfactory without there feeling so much of a need to abandon them completely. When devotional energy is active--or at least detectable to the conscious mind--it contributes to a sense of bliss and enjoyment at being in the body, as opposed to the heaviness or dullness that often happens otherwise.
I have the sense that some healing may be going on, because I find that my meditations bring me back to painful incidents related to the Amma organization, almost in the way that hypnotherapy opens a channel to vivid feeling memories of past events. Within and behind the pain that I felt at those times I can sense the vitality that made those experiences so rich. This helps me to affirm the value that I gave to those experiences at that time, and reassures me that my attraction to their intensity was probably about something more than a mere desire to be masochistic, to live in drama, or to be irresistibly drawn to unhealthy and destructive experiences.
Today one of the things I started to recall were feelings related to a conversation I had with my first Amma devotee friend, who I will call X here. I found myself drawn to X quasi-romantically, but also found my feelings confusing. We had the conversation I'm referring to after some issues had come to a head and I was trying to sort through their implications. Feeling what I began to feel again today--apart from that particular situation--I was able to affirm that I did know what I was talking about when, at the time, I felt that I would have preferred to be involved with someone more like X than my partner was able to be.
For a spiritual seeker, of course, it feels good to be around people who reinforce a vivid sense of devotional awareness of the Divine. Unfortunately in my case, the personalities of the friends who spontaneously enhanced that awareness were incompatible with mine. I believe that I have a fairly reliable sense of integrity, and it was difficult for me to conceive that people who consider themselves to be "spiritual" could also be as manipulative as I experienced these friends to be. But keeping in mind that neither of them had achieved comparable things academically or professionally to what I had, it makes sense that they would resort to manipulation and to myths about themselves in order to shore up their evidently bruised egos. No matter what inspiration we seem to be following, unfinished ego business can drag us down and drag others down with us.
There are times when the hunger for spiritual bliss is such that other priorities fade into the background. Perhaps some people get carried along by that bliss into a totally new place in their lives. But for those of us that don't, at least not all at once, neglect of other areas of our lives can--to paraphrase the poet Charles Olson--"make for difficulties." From the perspective of what I'm feeling now, it doesn't matter that my friendships were failures, and it doesn't matter that I neglected aspects of my professional and personal life. It seems that inspiration will find me as it does, and that's that.
Today I re-read what I wrote in my journal after the difficult conversation I had with X. It was near the end of that conversation that I asked him to sit near me on the couch because he looked crestfallen after I essentially told him off. I was shocked when, later that week, he essentially accused me of trying to molest him. In retrospect I wish I hadn't given in to feeling sorry for him. I wish, instead, that I had told him, "No, we can't still be friends. Now please leave." But I didn't have that kind of detachment then. The only real satisfaction I have from that incident is that, once I finally stood up to him, it gave the lie to his pseudo-detachment, of which he acted so smugly proud.
Om Krim Kalyai Namaha,