I am in a Brooklyn apartment, celebrating Friends-giving on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. In a week, I leave for India on a one-way ticket. I am spending a few days with my friend Nick, and most of the guests are entering a near comatose state after hours of binge-ing on carbohydrates, starches, and sugar.

One of Nick’s roommates is further gone than the rest. Earlier in the evening she lamented about her job, and expressed her wishes to find a rich Jewish man to marry. Someone that would make her parents’ proud. Now, her legs are splayed over one arm of the love seat. With a start, she wakes from her slumber and begins to half shout, half mumble obscenities, directed at nobody.

I look at the black man next to me. He looks back at me. Nothing to do.

Three and a half years later and I am beginning to learn the lessons of doing no thing.
The more I observe my mind, the more of a danger it is. What I saw as judgement I now see as pride. What I see as pride is now arrogance. A dragon unwilling to be tamed.

I am learning to listen to, and trust the voice that speaks inside. I am finding that to listen requires silence, detachment and even-mindedness. I feel like I’m swimming upstream in a river of noise, craving, and distraction.

Shiva says: Do nothing and receive my grace.

Shiva says: Do nothing and receive my grace.

Earlier this year, I sat up until five in the morning for Mahashivatri, the “great night of Shiva.” It is believed that the early morning hours when the world has slowed almost to a stop are favored by Shiva. He shares his auspicious blessings with those who are able to still the mind with all its expectations, the body with its unnecessary movements.

On Mahashivatri, planetary alignment supports the vertical energy in the body, so long as the spine remains upright. When this is done, no effort is needed to receive the benefits.

Now when I sit in concentration, I feel the kundalini energy rise up, beginning at the base of my spine, rising to the crown of my head, where Shiva sits in contemplation. My third eye channels the awakened energy, bringing me into dimensions beyond. My seat is grounded and heart open.