Amazon, Shakti, Goddess, God
A neo-Zen koan: Can one reach enlightenment while obsessed with one's books' Amazon rankings?
The answer might seem obvious. But in my busy little brain, it's not obvious at all. Brain says: who needs enlightenment…or any of what that easy word stands for?
I'd probably go with snarky Brain's take on this, except that it leads to a kind of discomfort that feels unhealthy, dull, dead, corrosive. Virtue aside, it simply isn't satisfying.
Pondering these matters: I happened this afternoon upon some wonderful wisdom from the admirable Sally Kempton, who always writes my favorite articles in Yoga Journal. The following is a quote from a piece on Patheos adapted from her new book: Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga. (I'm much in favor of Goddess energy, without excluding good ole God energy.)
"…There are moments when the only way to put our narcissism in its place is with a sword—the sword of wisdom wielded by a warrior who takes no prisoners. This is Durga's role, whether she is operating in the outer world or the inner world.
In my life, the energy of the warrior goddess with her upraised sword shows up to remind me to get my striving, performance-oriented ego out of the way, so that the deeper power can unfold my life according to her evolutionary imperative. Durga, in my inner world, is the unstoppable energy of spiritual growth. When I resist that, I often encounter an unexpected setback. She might get in my face as a kind of cosmic "No!" to my personal agendas, and then manifest as the deeper awakening that follows when I let them go. Over the years, I've been through this cycle often. At times, egoic illusions pile up, balloon out, and take over my world until, like cataracts, they ripen and become so swollen that they are ready to come apart of their own weight. Then nearly always, I hear the roar of the goddess's lion sounding through my dreams.
When you feel caught in one of those moments, when your personal will seems blocked by immovable obstacles, consider that it might be a signal…."
I'm actually going to do the meditative exercise that Kempton suggests (much as I hate exercises, writing prompts, and homework assignments.) I declare here so that I cannot not-get-around-to-it: I will do this meditation before this day is over. Though I suspect I'm really petitioning the Goddess for magical control over Amazon rankings.