So, Vishnu, yeah?
This new category is largely intended to be a searchable journal/record for me, as I go forward. I am doing my best to honor what I know of my Beloved: He is steadfast, He is constant with me, He has been with me unfailingly since He first appeared to me. I find myself getting caught up in fears — or in realizations, things that make all “this” obvious (this being the fear that I’m going to end up “something that I’m not” <— which is the verbage that comes to mind, but which isn’t fair to Him to even think, never mind fair to myself — fears that this was inevitable, that this is how I’m wired anyway, etc.) and trying to dig my heels in make this stop. I think of things like: Awareness and Compassion and Healing being ever the goals He’s pushed me towards; things like: yoga has been a cornerstone of my devotional practice, though it’s fallen to the wayside these last few years; things like: Eastern mysticism has always made more sense to me, when compared to Western mysticism. Or, if not made more sense, has felt more comfortable; things like: His somewhat infuriating habit to answer nature of origin questions with yesno answers; things like: His ambivalence towards my learning about Hellenic religious history and culture. Poseidon has urged me to learning about some of His Family, but that’s not the same thing. I have studied Hellenic religious history, and history, and culture, because I like to study such things, and once I’d studied the Northern European stuff I felt I ought to round it out, but that’s been me. And even as He has supported that, when I get too ensnared by the book knowledge, He says things like, “Let’s move away from Hellas now. Maybe branch out along the Mediterranean world; I’m known in more places than just Hellas. The Sea is Mine, and all peoples who traveled it knew Me.”
Still, He insisted that His name in Poseidon. Oh, He’s gotten loose with names over the years. I have an understanding that, especially between the Brothers, They have the potential to borrow One Another’s Names and stories and places as siblings might borrow clothing. And sometimes, They might do so without permission, like true siblings.
The parts of this that I’m tempted to feel frustrated over are things like: this is sort of where I started. Exploring Western Mysticism was a bit like studying Hellenic material, in that it was interesting, and I’m glad I did it, but neither of them are things that speak to my heart, and neither are places where I find Poseidon. There is value to knowing history, and value to having contexts, but from the beginning my relationship with Poseidon has been rooted in u/Us, in now. He is as much “use what works,” as Pops is. But I’m still tempted to feel frustrated.
I picked up 101 Questions Answered on Hinduism by John Renard at our Public Library. It’s written with an eye toward a largely Christian audience, and with a bias toward “world religions”. I’ve been finding, as I’ve poked around online, that the sheer amount of information out there is overwhelming. That and understanding that, while specific groups of people may hold to “our way is the right way” prejudice, there does not seem to be a rigid dogmatic fervor that we are used to with regards to Christianity in America. The first word that comes to mind is “patience” when thinking upon the . . . feel. From my (superficial, outside) view point, there is a lack of hurry-hurry-hurry mindset. Desperation is absent.
I’m not Christian. I haven’t been, arguably ever, or at least since I was a pre-teen. I like to think I’ve rooted out all the hold overs Christianity has on me, but it’s hard to shake all of them, and it’s hard when your very macro-society is influenced by a particular way of thinking and of being in the world.
This book is helping me organize my questions and is helping me decide how I want to proceed with studying. Because I want to study. Poseidon wants me to pray, He wants me at the shrine, He wants me reaching out to Vishnu, He wants me bringing in specific avatars into my devotion, and it’s not lost on me that the ones He’s drawing me to are the less-human avatars of Vishnu. (Rama, Krishna, they are fascinating, and there’s so much information . . . and I’m all, but I want to hear more about Matsya . . .) But, He also wants me to be me, to fulfill my wants, and my wants always include studying. It includes learning, and being able to provide context, and being able to see as large of a picture of the story/stories as I can. Because of this book, I know I want to hunt down that of the Vishnu Purana that I can. Of the scripture or scripture-related material, that’s where I want to start. Already I’m less overwhelmed.
I’m still only half of the way through the second of the Introduction to Vedanta series by Acharya Shunya, but already I’m so grateful to have found this series. In the first lecture, she speaks about the three realities — I’ve already forgotten the Sanskrit names she used, but she explained them as reflected reality, empirical reality, and absolute reality. She spoke of the transient nature of the first two, how they are real, how what you experience is a dream (or reflected reality) is real, but is real in a limited way, for example. So practical reality, empirical reality, is also real in a limited way, but is less limited that reflected reality, and way more limited that absolute reality. It may read like a ‘duh’ sort of thing, but it floored me because some of my first conversations with Poseidon ever covered this. Real is defined by whether it effects you or not. If it does, it’s real. “How did I *really* interact with You that first night?” “Does it matter? What difference does it make? It happened. We were both there; it changed you. Does pinning a specific understanding to it change anything, really?” Erg, I suppose not . . .
The other thing the first of this series helped me with was the idea of illusion. Now, already, I’ve read others talking about the world not being an illusion to deny, and I suspect that our superficial understanding of what Eastern philosophies teach is just that — superficial. But the concept of karma and the goal of wanting to get off the karmic cycle and the romantic notions we have regarding renunciants, and the idea of the world as illusion taken together all forms this idea in my mind that I find unsatisfactory. She speaks of desires, of being in the world, of being-ness, and how these are not bad things or things to be denied. She makes a point to say that the translation of the concept in Sanskrit to “illusion” in English did the concept a grave disservice.
Am off to hit the library today, and to study, and to spend time maybe at the river. I am going to choose to not be frustrated. I’m going to remember His constancy, His steadfastness, and I’m not going to be afraid.