What’s your part?

In light of recent events, I have been asking-

What are my implicit biases around gender, race, age and nationality?What are yours?

How are they affecting our discernment, and our ability to receive the gifts of those who we disagree with?

These are the questions I myself am sitting with and hope you will too. Last week I went in for an interview for US citizenship. After 19 years of living here, I will be granted the right to vote. The man who granted me this right was a Mexican immigrant, spoke with a Mexican accent, and represented the USCIS.

It was beautiful. In him, was the reminder that I will be just as much a citizen as anyone else. First, second or two hundredth generation Americans are all just that- American. And the law of a land must include and nurture all those who dwell in it- the Tao names this beautifully- IF we wish to create harmony. There are plenty of ways not to.

I have been mourning the sad state of this nation and this divisive politik that wants to get the worst in us.

I know what it’s like to come to a new land without 300 years of my ancestors living here before me- the loneliness, the hope, the despair, the fear of losing the life I have created on a single employer or govt officer’s whim. I know the pain of not being able to call home home, not knowing whether to buy real furniture because my visa may expire in a year.

And through this all, I know the incredible gifts of the Divine- I know what it is to integrate polarities of two divergent cultures within myself, bringing the best of each together, in new beautiful ways.

My family lives on four continents, and my children will be children of an immigrant and my God! I hope they protest louder than I have, calling for reform where reform must happen, because they’ll belong here in ways I am only just about to.

I know the immigrant story from the inside- and I assure you it is not the narrative of entitlement, America hating, self-serving drama we are often sold on the news.

Like wholeness comes from wholeness, trauma perpetuates trauma.

No amount of meditation or immersion in silence clears that out unless we’re truly willing to look in the mirror honestly, take responsibility for the ways in which we ourselves (each and every one of us) perpetuate pain inside and outside and sit with the unbearable within us rather than projecting it outwards, and of course, invite our own pain to be seen, known, lovingly held and transformed.

I content the era of the “power over” strong-handed authoritarian leader is coming to an end, and for that matter, I sense this may be the last time two white men in their 70’s are running this race.

A different reality is taking shape. Like a dying animal you can hear it going out with a scream.

Trump may well be re-elected as many people say (I don’t know), but that re-election is going to bring its own demise.

Even as I feel the collective cry for coherence, I do not think this country is ready to receive it just yet. For as Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev noted, “for a Buddha to rule the world, we must have Buddhas to recognize, and elect one.”

No. I do not think either candidate is the Buddha, but I can see the humanity of both- their failings and their goodness, through the veil. I hope you can too.

When (very soon) I am granted the right to vote, I will use it to elect the man who reflects power, not dominance, models empathy, compassion and humility, and has dedicated his life to serving our nation.

And that would be me doing my part.

My fiercest hope for humanity lies in YOU!


That’s my fiercest hope – is that we come back to the natural intelligence that flows through us, instead of constantly negating it. It’s surrendering to the impulse that is the driving force of life. That’s the impulse of creation coming through you!

What could be more natural?
What else could bring fulfillment?

Click on the image for the full podcast episode!

Dear one,

I had a colorful conversation on my soulful colleague Andy Cahill’s podcast, the Wonder Dome. He asked me what my fiercest hope for humanity is- a beautiful question he poses to each of his guests.

I realized my fiercest hope for humanity lives in you. It breathes in the way you and I show up in the world, and in these catalytic times, our way of being is more important than ever.

In this intimate conversation we talked about being human and whole, and the juicy possibility that emerges when we come together as one- in service of a world that consciously and lovingly includes and transcends all its parts.

If you’ve been in one of my group courses you know this place of possibility, and if you haven’t, I hope you’ll join me. The world is begging us to show up fully for ourselves and eachother.

You can meet me in all my colors if you listen in! 

with hope and love,
Ishita

SHOW NOTES:

Come to Center
Call to Coherence Intensive
Un Becoming Podcast
Sanskrit
Bhagavad Gita
Francis Briers
Stoicism
Dharma

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In the deep

This poem came through tears…as a teacher of mine asked I accept my place in the world. It’s time, I know it’s time.

In the Deep
5/25/20

Deep
in the deep of the deep
something profound is stirring.

Even as I cloak myself -
Parvati to Kali,
hiding between the play
of Sun and Moon

something quiet is moving.

Listen:

From heart to heart,
the heart of God.

This is a beautiful incarnation.
There is a majesty here!
A profundity-

Joy!

I walk where spirit and matter kiss...
and
withinbecomeswithoutandallaround

A magnificent incarnation!
It is a Truth.
I stand at the top of the mountain.
It is a Truth.

And from here it is seen so clearly-

all the while the only thing stirring
was Vishnu's play-
His Sudharshan chakra
swirling through this world
quietly
creating another.

The call of fire in our hearts

Fire.
Our world is on fire. And so is my heart.

Art by George Redhawk

Fire. 
Our world is on fire. And so is my heart.

And I know that fire is the element of transformation- the cycle of initiation, purification, becoming…this is a becoming that necessitates the burning away of all that is false- inside and around us.

Between a peaking global pandemic, uprisings and protests for basic human rights and dignity and political mayhem, the past fortnight has truly tested us all!

I hope you are simultaneously safe and stirred to the core in the very best of ways because a new reality is pouring into this planet rapidly and calling us to take our place in it in a whole new way. Somedays it has felt to me like drinking right from a firehose!

They say hindsight is 2020, and 2020 is here. What you want to see when you look back at today, is begging be seeded now. The call to alignment has never been louder!

This stirring is not punitive, but rather an invitation into embodied wholeness. 

If you’ve been denying your truth, hiding in the shadows with a dream in your heart, stifling your voice, waiting for someday to live your purpose, I want you to ask yourself: what are you waiting for? If not now, when? If not you, who?

I know the path is uncertain and scary- I’ve walked through this fire myself before, leaving familiarity, safety and comfort to heed an inner calling. So I also know, that every time we step in through the fire, committed to living nothing less than the life we came here to live, when we dare to welcome truth over comfort, courage over fear, we are supported in unimaginable ways that bring us into a state of grace. 

Our planet needs your unique medicine in ways only YOU can bring! In ways that make you come alive!

Are you willing to let the false burn away and embody your truth? In your very ways of being and doing?  

The world just opened a direct path to your innermost calling. Come claim your rightful place in it. Align! 

In this radical time, feeling is not just healing, it is also the doorway to inspired, aligned action. Remember, there is no transformation without embrace- within and between us. 

To help you digest, reset, find purpose and resource in this fiery time, I am offering mini restorative sessions at no charge to you.

If you haven’t worked with me privately, you may be amazed at how impactful and powerful these re-sets can be. 15 minutes of attuned presence can transform lifetimes of pain.

This work is for you if you want to live a fulfilling, vibrant and authentic life. 

If your heart is also on fire, join me. Whether you want to offer the world your unique medicine, express your authentic voice or need support to heal and release emotional, relational and spiritual roadblocks, our work together will help you realize your deepest longings. 

All you need to begin is curiosity. Let’s talk.

Please take great care of your hearts and share this invitation with someone you know who could use it. 

I’m here. I’m listening. I’m standing with and for your brilliance, and the power of the human collective to rise in love together. 

Only love,
Ishita

Design-in-self

What I sought to create, I found inside myself.

11 years ago (feels like lightyears), for my architectural thesis I designed CeSRON- the Center for Self Reflection, Otherness and Narcissism. A building designed to be a mirror for our inner space.

Little did I know I would create Come to Center, a live mirror that does just that, or that I would end up becoming that mirror myself for others, down the line. 

This surreal project was a celebration of, in a very tongue n cheek way- the obsolescence of self-awareness- before I had heard of transformation, awakening, healing, or any of the work I do now- ALL of which is about self-awareness.

I was fascinated by the race riots in Detroit- and in studying, and considering what led to the violence and deep separation between people, I saw very clearly, how the inner division leads to outer conflict. I was just so curious about the moment at which a child looks in the mirror and says- “me”. 

I spent final year of architecture school studying Lacan and Jung and Heiddeger and falling in love with Gordon Matta Clark…. I had a hay day questioning everything in a way that ultimately led to transcending my discipline of design and architecture altogether, when staring at the face of human suffering. 

What supported this inquiry was a reflection from my professor- I had finally found one person who saw my hunger for the edges of knowledge, and encouraged me to go all out-wherever you are Rupinder Singh I am so deeply grateful for our time together spent in joyous explorations of the depths of art, architecture, meaning, connection and dissection of life itself! For hiding my keys to get me out of hiding in the bottomless pit that was opening up as I got closer to facing existential truths. You weren’t just a teacher, you were a healer to me.

I didn’t know it then, but the questions alive in all these drawings are: What is the root of separation?

How did we become people? What got made into a self? Who am I? What is this? I even labeled the diagrams things like (my favorite) “Labyrinthine search for self”, never suspecting any of this had to with Spirituality.

And the thing is, I knew then, that all this, is really the search for our center. I just hadn’t seen I was literally searching for my self and that the answers lay within me, and that I could trust all that which I knew, but couldn’t understand. 

That took time. It took living in inquiry and eventually turning inwards.

It took facing the pain of my own inner separation, seeing through the trap of needing to understand things that lay beyond the confines of the mind.

As they say, hindsight is 20-20! Of course it adds up. Having looked in the mirror long and hard, coming to face myself over the years, now I have become the mirror I once set out to design.

Everyday, I hold a mirror to reflect back the truth, power and wisdom that lies within my clients, their shadows, their light and everything in between. In deep inquiry, I appeal to something that lies beyond my clients’ intellects to allow them to step outside the confines of their minds- diving into their conditioning, their traumas to find freedom within.

The journey of personal healing paves the path for our collective transformation. 

I often say, everything is everything- all forms reflect the One. What appears to be separate, is a facet of difference, not separation.

From the outside it may seem like I am doing transformational work, business consulting, designing a building, painting a painting, writing a poem or telling a story… 

From the inside, it’s always been about one thing- falling ever more deeply into loving exploration of myself, and life itself!

no-thing

Let me preface this by saying once again that words are never true and all forms of communication are inherently subjective, and this one is no exception.
That said, living from non-dual experience, it is pretty clear there is only One. Because ‘things’ are just processes disguised, it feels more correct to say there is only One process than One thing.
However, as I noticed at some point in life, not everyone is experiencing existence without separation. It’s kinda curious isn’t it? In the dual experience multiplicity is mistaken for separation, fueled perhaps by the perceived evolutionary need for self preservation- which appears to necessitate differentiation between self and other, the formation and attachment to that identity. And the One/Self/Whole nature becomes forgotten.
Even the different stages of awakened consciousness models are inherently embedded in a dualistic model at a level. As I pointed out my discomfort with this to a teacher (Steve Ulicny) in a discussion, he noted there aren’t different states of consciousness, but different experiences of Totality.
But of course!
The Whole/One/Formless is unchanging. There is only One Process. The experience of it as such however, changes with the neurophysiological state of the ‘experiencer.’ So, there aren’t different stages of consciousness, but simply different degrees of experience of Oneness. In the fully integrated functional neurophysiological state (enlightenment, the culmination of spiritual awakening), the experience of Oness/Totality is total.
No remnants of a separate self remain, and as the ultimate alignment within solidifies, deep trust emerges, leading to surrender of individuality. The piece of the whole (the small wholeness) begins to function in coherence with the Whole, of which ‘it’ is a perfect and complete reflection, ultimately totally.
So, from this perspective, it’s obvious that everyone everywhere is capable and wired for the experience of re-cognizing/re-membering/coming home to Self/One/Wholeness, often termed Awakening, and the delusion of the separate self falls away.
And while there is only One Process, there are as many ways of experiencing it, as there are its reflections. 7.2 billion people on this planet = 7.2 experiences of Wholeness. Here to be/experience just that!
It’s why formlessness keeps coalescing into form in the first place.
Which is why a role I play in the world is to serve as a constant reminder to look inwards, within, without attachment to method, process or external models to compare experience to- which leads to distortion of isness. But instead, to look within and see what is true for you now! What has the One Process incarnated into you to experience fully, in this moment? Allowing it to be seen, held, known, loved, celebrated! That’s the premise behind Open Meditation.
Reminds me of a poem Shunyata (voidness) I wrote a while ago…
“existence smiles, experiencing itself
as you in me in me in you and I”

Open Meditation Meetup

New online meetup to demystify meditation and build conscious community.

Looking at collective social, economic, political and cultural suffering I have always asked why? And, what can I do?
For years, I looked to architecture, design, writing op-eds for the answer. Every line I drew as an Architect, every space I envisioned, was aimed to mitigate disconnection, depression, anxiety, overconsumption, isolation…but it didn’t seem quite enough, when people were suffering the nature of their own thoughts and emotions.
Design aligned the exterior, but if our interior itself was misaligned all beauty, wonder and joy would be missed. And it is. Everyday, we suffer our own constructs, individually and collectively.
A good friend once said to me, “In America you have to be rich, white, thin and beautiful to be happy. Ishita you are not the richest, whitest, thinnest or most beautiful person, but you’re probably the happiest!”
And in that spirit, as I grappled with the divisive and fear based political upheaval, I realized more and more that I can only ever do one thing- be whole in myself and keep clearing out my own core wounds so I can serve the highest and best for all, through the highest and best in me.
What can I do? Facilitate conscious connection to fullness and wholeness already within you which is our birthright. When we feel safe, full and connected, we act out of love not fear.
That was the birth of Come to Center. The only “work” that feels both worthy and true for me.
Meditation aligns our interior. Gandhi once said, “Happiness is when what you think, say and do are the same.” And that is my “secret.” Conscious alignment.
I dream of a conscious and present world, where every being acts from stillness, fullness, from love, for the highest good of all, which is the highest good for each.
Wherever you are, I hope you will join me for Open Meditation. It’s what we really need in the world now.

embrace

transformation can only occur in embrace.

embracing I
am
become

love,

transforming holes into wholeness.

look-
where did    you      ever       find
a piece of the          whole
(a (small) wholeness)
less than,
that?

did you find shelter from your shadow in the womb of darkness?

in the great No thing
where Allness
hides

swallowing form
forgetting to remember
whence you came?
how will you know the shadows you carry?

without
ever turning to the Sun

in embrace

 

 

*photo by Nikki J.

 

the ease of being!

erik-on-the-water-copy
the ease of being

no action 

           rooted
 in      lack

could ever

bring

forth fulfillment for fulfilment

is

here    now     whole ness
               !          (the nature)


of being 

               free and full and delight full !

action
            may
                     (or may not)
arise and 

you 

will know from the 

very 

ease of being

 

in prose:

No action rooted in lack could ever bring forth fulfillment.

Fulfillment is here and now. Wholeness is the nature of being- free, full and delightful! Action may or may not arise- you will know, from the very ease of being.

and more:

To examine inner grasping with curiosity and amusement, rooting into being, is to invite its own dissolution.

Photo above
My husband floating on backwaters in rural Thailand, March 2016 (from STUDIO-ish)

Mother

On life after delivery and life after death…

from the Hungarian writer, Útmutató a Léleknek:

In a mother’s womb were twin babies. One asked the other:

“Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”

“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”

The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”

The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”

The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”

The first scoffed. “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?”

The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.”

Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, while in silence you focus and really listen. You can perceive Her presence, and can hear Her warm presence and loving voice, calling down from above.”