Coffee with Ganesha: A Personal Meditation

This is a meditation that I wrote out for myself for when I am experiencing obstacles. It’s supposed to act as a template for others who are seeking meditation with a deity. Everyone’s experiences will be completely different. This serves as a guide to illustrate the value of the inward journey and what new thought processes can be found while talking to the subconscious. These new thought patterns can be translated into new behaviors that can be beneficial to any one who is on a sojourn to discover the boundaries of who they are and what they are capable of doing.

I have to say, this story can be hard to share with folks. As I begin to write these words, some of these ideas I’m just finding out for myself for the very first time. It’s scary yet I think it makes for an honest expression of self to the readers who indulge me with their time as they adventure along with me through the wild-ride of my life. A life time spent dissociating from myself has landed me in a position where it can be very hard for me to admit what I am truly thinking or feeling.  I have discovered through ritual, mantra, meditation, and the support of my Tribe that I am capable of more than just reeling helplessly through my own thoughts and actions. I want to share my technique in unlocking the mystery that has been my own mind so that others can have some comfort from the demons that trouble them.

For this journey, I chose my primary male deity, Lord Ganesha. He is a wonderful deity to work with if you’re the kind of person that always feels challenged, up against a wall, or helpless against the raging sea of thoughts in your mind. Ganesha’s primary function is two-fold, as I have learned through my studies. He is the God that must be approached before all other Gods as His ancient lore dictates. Ganesha is also the great remover of obstacles and I’ve found that calling upon Him in my meditations is incredibly helpful in understanding a new point of view that I have never considered before. Lord Ganesha assists me to remove my own personal blockages so that I can look at things in an entirely new way and create actions that change my karmic effect on life around me. He teaches me that every action is important and nothing is coincidence.

I see Gods as both spiritual AND mental constructs that enable us to see different sides of situations. Both sacred and a psychological archetype for different aspects of myself. If I call upon Gods, for a moment, I  can see things as They would and challenge myself to think and act differently. The most important oaths I swear are to myself and if I can see the Gods within us, we can see Them on the outside. If you’re interested in working with a particular deity in such a way, do some research on them first. Build an altar and start having that dialogue with them. You’ll be surprised what kind of insights can come from such interactions and the benefit they will have in your life.

Setting

I am sitting at my kitchen table inside of my house. Around me I am surrounded by every reminder of the harvest season. There is a fresh beef stew on the stove, pumpkin-apple spiced candle burning warmly beside me, and as I look outside I am greeted by the spectacular site of a North woods early September. The leafs are no longer the deep-emerald green that they had just been a few weeks prior when the county fair rolled through town. Now the vegetation seems to be a battle of golden hues against decaying accents of brown and umber.

Ganesha’s shrine is just off to my left in our large bay window as I turn my gaze to face Him. Sun sparkles off of the pink geraniums that have taken over the worship space coupled with a rebellious spearmint and a dull Gerber daisy. I settle my eyes and my mind on the elephant-headed God who is presented before me. I begin to speak to the statue as if He is flesh and bone and indeed, after a short time I can imagine the very breaths coming from the icon as prana is shared between us. Ganesha is alive because I live, and so by creating His likeness in my mind, stilling the shattering thoughts for just a moment, I can speak with Ganesha and gain wisdom from His presence within my mind.

Breathing inward, I began to recite my Mantra to Him in reverence of His companionship through my own self-odyssey. I have a special prayer for just such an interaction and here it is:

Dear Lord Ganesha,
Thank you for being within my life and being my friend and Guide. Thank you for allowing my words to travel past the door of the golden palace where all Gods reside.

Om Gan Ganpataye Namah

My gratitude is always expressed intensely and clearly. I want to not only honor my God, I want to instill in my own mind that I actively work to make my life better. It’s not just words that are scrawled along paper or typed into a blog. Actively working to make my life better means treating everything as if it was sacred. This can be very hard when I am faced with personal conflicts or when I am experiencing hardship. It’s easy to say that I treat things in a spiritual or sacred manner, yet it is very hard to consciously stay mindful of the fact that that it is my own work, in whatever direction that got me to this very place I are currently. If I can accept that my actions lead me to where exist presently, I can then change those actions if I am unhappy with the desired effect.

Taking a sip from my coffee mug, I think intently on what challenges are currently in my life and what obstacles that I perceive I am up against. Like waves crashing upon the shore, I find that each difficulty, each obstacle comes back to myself. I think upon Ganesha and intuitively I think to myself that, “If you can accept that all things are one thing (the universe) acting and experiencing itsself, than you can accept that it has a place and meaning in your life that should not be cast away.”

The obstacle is lifted. The feelings of pain and anguish, abandonment, laughter, joy, and all other human emotions that I had kept shutting off finally felt like they had a place inside my heart.  Feeling alone, separate, cast aside from the rest of humanity because of my own internal struggle has been the same thing that others have gone through and experienced in their own way. I had been arrogant in thinking I was special. I have seen these struggles and yet I didn’t understand what they were because I was too busy just seeing things from just  my side of the equation. Divorcing myself from ego and admitting all of this opened a new door. It took time to learn how to watch and silently observe the similarities and to also admit vulnerability in myself so that I could transform that weakness into strengths.

I started the meditation with the intent of telling Ganesha why I was nervous about becoming Clergy. I have friends that tell me I have no reason to be anxious or worried about what comes next. The memory of when I asked myself and the Gods if this is what my calling had been comes flashing into my mind. It was nearly two years ago when events began rolling forward and changing so quickly and painfully. Rolling along somewhere in the backwoods of Wisconsin going at break-neck speed on a dust road, I was crying because I felt so lonely and numb on the inside. I felt that humanity had betrayed me and that somehow I had betrayed humanity just by being alive and going through the human experience.

I blamed myself and other people for every imaginable sin I could come up with and for some one who proclaims herself as a Pagan, this can seem like a pretty strange admission. I was so angry and so heart-broken that I couldn’t think clearly or rationally and that made for some pretty terrible disconnections from myself. I was shut-off on the inside and I was dying to be turned back on and have a purpose. The yearning grew more and more until I physically yelled out in my car, “DO YOU WANT ME TO BE CLERGY? IF SO, SHOW ME A SIGN.” I rarely ask for a sign and yet I needed one in this moment. I think I needed affirmation after being so badly disappointed again and again by what circumstance had in store for me.

My mind flashes to the present. I reflect on the past two years and all of the wonderful experiences that happened along the way. I not only looked for affirmation from the Gods, I looked for self-affirmation that I was up for the task of helping others. I knew what demons I had to contend with and I also knew the reward of victory would be different than all of the other times that I set myself up to fail. I remember how passionately I felt about serving the Gods and then I remembered that I had learned that it wasn’t just about serving the Gods at shrines, it was also about serving people in their homes. I remember feeling the fear of people turn into the love of people. As I studied new pantheons, learned different rituals and observed different traditions, I saw the pearls within each that were strung together on the thread of fate.

Paganism has afforded me a look inside to see what was around me. It humbled me to realize how alike I was with the rest of humanity instead of how unique I perceived myself to be. A foundational understanding of humility enabled me to understand the next level of Paganism. There is no hero, no savior within my beliefs because I must stand to be my own savior. Only when I can look to myself for strength do I truly learn what it means to stand on my own and have confidence in myself.  Since there was no longer any one to wait for to save me and no longer any one to be disappointed by, my own brain could begin to heal its self and take on a better attitude.

Taking more deep breaths and pausing occasionally to recite a Mantra, I can feel the anxiety rolling off my shoulders and bringing me some level of comfort. Confidence, self-confidence is not a state I have felt in a very long time. No matter what obstacles I face, I can always journey inward and speak to Ganesha and my higher self to unravel the complexities of my normal thought process.  Sipping on my coffee and taking deep breaths, I feel contentment. I know that the next chapter of life, while on the outside might seem terrifying due to it’s unknown nature, it’s nothing I can’t handle. I have learned to relate to the rest of humanity and have found the humanity inside myself. I am blessed with the opportunity and privilege of being a Pagan and being afforded the ability to serve other Pagans who are all my guides and teachers in the same process. I am thankful to the universe.

Finishing my coffee and making an offering of sacrificial candies to Lord Ganesha upon His altar, I thank the Great Obstacle Remover once more and extinguish the candle. I have discovered that even though I came to Ganesha feeling challenged and perplexed by allowing myself to think differently about my situation enabled me to come to the state of mind that I desired to be in. I’m fully in the present and feeling contentment. My breathing is easier and my thoughts no longer threaten to spiral out of control.

These might seem like some huge personal admissions to the rest of the world, especially since I posted all of this on the internet for everyone to read. They aren’t really anything all that ground breaking or special because they are all lessons I’ve learned through watching the people around me, taking their words and actions to heart and comparing it to my own approach at life. Being Clergy heals me through self-understanding and gives me an endless lesson about myself and the rest of humanity and how I excel or fail is directly mirrored to those that I am humbled to serve. The Goddess Kali and the God Ganesha are my templates from which my foundation is built and the thought-model at which I tackle challenges that set themselves before me.

I encourage any one to have a dialogue with themselves. Write it down. Maybe record your voice having such a conversation with yourself. If you believe that Gods are real and can act as our guides, call upon Them in your own way.  These little pilgrimages inside have helped me overcome countless negative thought processes and have assisted me in my own transitional process. Thank you to all that have read and shared in this experience with me. If you have insights on this experience or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

 

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