Tribute

A born rebel and warrior, it is hard to imagine how I ended up sitting here writing to you. My dad is waiting by the gate of his memory care community waiting for me to take him to the doctor after I had not been able to for seven months due to the worldwide pandemic ravaging this planet. But this is how She works, I’ve learned. She who is to be obeyed. She whom lifetime after lifetime they have tried to control. To contain. To dismiss. To use. This is more Her story than it is my own—really. No other story can explain the miracle of being lifted from the jaws of a mundane, willful existence to the gentle, sensational touch and containment of bliss. 

I call my dad Mr. Marty. He was a Marine, a marathoner, a mountain climber, and a failed executive. Like many of us, in his youth, he was full of arrogance and ambition. After abandoning his early calling to be a Protestant minister, when his dad said, “Only weak men become preachers,” he joined the ranks of many sleepwalkers pursuing a business career. It never worked out. But what did work out is his spiritual journey.

I am relieved to see my dad basking in the sun and waiting for my arrival. I tap on the fence, “Dad, I am here.” I was scared earlier this morning what shape he’d be in, as Alzheimer’s tends to advance more quickly the longer it’s present. Then, while I was meditating in my seat of ten years, the Gurus appeared in a triangle formation at my back. A surge of power shot through me and I heard something in energy that, if put into language, was “Do you still doubt us? We are right here. You are protected. Everything is fine.” Immediately I am at ease. 

My dad opens his eyes upon hearing my voice and lets out a bellowous “AH HA! You’re here!” Everything is okay. No. It’s perfect. Until I notice his false teeth are missing, as are his glasses, which, without, he is legally blind. My inner fire rises, and I shift rapidly into “get ’em” mode. How could they? I think. They knew I was coming! I warned them many times. Then I stop. I smile to myself and return to the love flowing forth from my dad. Absolutely nothing is wrong for him. He’s happy. I gently request the dentures from a nearby nurse. When she arrives with them, he puts them in with some assistance.

Knowing my dad would need to wear a mask for protection from Covid-19, I had spent a considerable amount of time planning how best to approach this. He doesn’t remember much from one minute to the next. I didn’t want to scare him, but I had to keep him safe. The current Guru of our lineage had just shared a strong but encouraging talk about the discipline needed in these times to stay safe and to be of help to humanity. I decided to read it to him before putting the mask on. He had been her sincere devotee for over thirty years. My spiritual teacher promised me, “You will be able to channel Her for him, and he will do this for you. She is a powerful vortex of the Goddess energy.” 

This works seamlessly. Mr. Marty happily dons the mask. We head off to a day that reveals the promise in action. We go to Veteran’s Hospital. My dad has his physical. His vitals are perfect, and as typical, he spreads total love, joy, and compassion to everyone we meet and every seemingly ordinary activity we tackle. The closest thing I hear to a complaint is “My nose itches in this thing,” as he points to the mask and asks to take it off.

“I know, Dad, but we have to wear it in here to be safe.” I point to the CDC poster hanging on the VA wall. He begins reading it slowly, out loud. 

“Does it itch your nose too?” he asks.

“Yes, but we have to do this together. Remember our talk about discipline?” 

He chuckles and goes back to humming and singing. “Oh yes! That’s right. We’ll do this together.” 

How did he read the poster? He had no glasses. He can’t see. He couldn’t even get out of bed when I was younger without his eyewear. How is this happening? Come to think of it, how did he see the flowerpots while walking and tell all of the colors, or walk everywhere without bumping into things, or read the dispenser that said “Purell”?

It is said that when kundalinī reaches its transcendental abode, Shiva and Shakti fully merge in a state of supreme bliss consciousness. This is my dad. He’s been perfected, I believe. He sees what he cannot possibly know. He tells me I am doing an incredible service when he knows nothing about what I have been doing. When I talk to him about meditation, he laughs and shouts out, “Keep going!” If anger or unhappiness arises in him, it’s a flash, not a state. He’s steady and stable no matter what we encounter. Today it’s masks and safety measures, a long overdue haircut, and discussing and filling out his advance directive for death. 

The doctor asks, “Marty, do you want to be resuscitated if something happens at your home?” 

My dad looks confused and turns to me. “What does that mean, Sweetheart?”

“Dad it means that when you are trying to leave your body, would like to be left alone to peacefully complete the process. You know how you always told me, ‘When I’m ninety-five, I will just lie down in śavāsana, say OṀ NAMAḤ ŚIVĀYA, and leave.’”

“Oh, of course, That’s just what we do! But maybe it will be eighty-five.” He smiles at the doctor. 

I smile, too. This is a master class in Grace. How did I get so lucky? And why did it take so, so many years to recognize what was right in front of me for the taking? 

I’ve had the good fortune to spend a lot of time with these wisdom teachings and many great teachers. Like my father, though to a lesser degree still, I have shed so much anger, disappointment, guilt, and shame. My life at times seems unrecognizable to who I once thought I was. I spend weeks at a time in stillness, peaceful, contented. I spend other weeks feeling as though I’ve already died and gone to Siddhaloka (a subtle world where perfected beings reside amongst lush, verdant gardens, meditating in a permanently blissful state).

Kundalinī-shakti sits, waiting patiently within. When she awakens, she reigns supreme. And in time, if you are willing to tend to Her, she will unveil your most radiant, supreme Self. She will engulf anything and everything that stands between you and your bliss. 

~   ~   ~   ~   ~

This was an early attempted Prologue for my upcoming book Mātrikā’s Muse: A Journey to Awakening Through the Senses. Though it is not the one I am using, it is a fit tribute to Mr. Marty, my dad the yogi, and to kundalinī-shakti.

Marty left his body this last Friday, July 29, 2022, ten days before his eighty-sixth birthday of August 8. It was precisely when he said he would go. It was also the eightieth birthday of his beloved girlfriend who introduced him to yoga and the guru many moons ago.