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The Cloud of Unknowing Gate and the Gift of not knowing.

A humble junk gate serves as transition between 2 worlds of art and intention on Dandelion Farm. It provides passage through the deer fence from Enchanted Encampment to Dandelion Ballad, from playful mini natural building eco-village/campground to the center of Dandelion with its many ascending spires pointing to the Light and our highest intentions for Dandelion Farm to serve That.

Cloud of Unknowing Gate on Dandelion was named after a 14th century book by an anonymous Christian mystic. The experience of “unknowing” has come and relieved my being like a descending peace dove over a battlefield so many times. The first occurrence remains etched in memory forever. But after that it came more and more often,  releasing the mind while freeing the heart to simply feel.

This often happened as we drove away from home in the late 60’s and early 70’s before I found Adi Da. I would look back at the very familiar home of my daily life and that cloud of mystery would descend over me. My life would become inexplicable, a mystery to me, a total unknown. And HOW, I would wonder could I be that life I was so familiar with?

My mind’s limited knowledge and presumptions and self identity as a whole  came into question as being my actual reality. What is Reality? That is a most profound consideration, the unknowing initiated for me.  Perhaps I will share it’s inception, now that you have tread this trail so far with me in the shoes of my mind.

The unknowing began abruptly in 1994 as I was backpacking in the high Sierra’s, specifically as an effort to release a heart break and a painfully agitated mind that went with it. After days of backpacking,  I was descending out of the high country on a trail with many switch backs. As I came to the end of one of those switch backs  my mind simply fell away into utter PEACE as I gazed mindlessly off into wilderness space. It was a stark and very pronounced switch in my being that had never happened before. And what a wonderful relief!

Now I look back on that first “Unknowing” moment as the very first of so many premonitions of my life as a devotee of Adi Da Samraj to come many years away in the future.

Adi Da demonstrates His Gift of Unknowing to me.

In the early 1980’s  I was leading a group of devotees in garden service  within the walls of Adi Da’s residence, the Manor of Flowers. We had been given the opportunity to serve close to Him while He was living there and home at the time. But we had been asked to stay out of sight from in front of His house so He would not feel obliged to give us His Regard.

As we entered the servers’ back gate and looked around for what needed to be done where we wouldn’t be seen, I saw a 5ft. rock wall with weeds growing out of it right before us. I couldn’t see the front of the house off to my left so this was a perfect place to work. The group and I fell to our little service task of weeding the wall in this Blessed space so close to our Spiritual Master.

A few moments later, looking at the rock as I pulled weeds, my mind dramatically fell away. Ahhhhhhhhhhh relief! But then I  began to wonder if He could somehow see me from His front window. It seemed impossible, but I leaned my face smack up against the rock wall looking sharply back toward the house to my left to see if there was any way Adi Da could see me from His kitchen window.

And there He was with His face pressed up against His kitchen window smiling back at me!!!!!! What a special moment! Eventually I realized this was one way He confirmed to me He had been “meditating” me for many years, releasing the cramp of my verbal mind/ limited self identity over and over and over….until I could become a practitioner and begin to understand that mind/cramp mechanism and become more and more responsible for it myself.

One of the names Adi Da gave His Way is the Way of Divine Ignorance. I have come to understand the unknowing as release of mental self-contraction….or self created illusion with verbal “knowledge” and therefore metal bondage…not to mention  subtle and sometimes not so subtle pain! So I remember and celebrate this Gift of unknowing or Divine Ignorance with a little junk gate on Dandelion Farm, where I delight in the stories of others of unknowing in their lives when we pass through it together.

 

 

Helpers from Heaven

Dandelion Sustainable Farm has been helped my so many wonderful people. With the Blessing for Great Swan Peace Cathedral, another series of  volunteers arrived as if sent from heaven. We owe them much gratitude and praise. You will soon see their images and heroic deeds appearing here.

Michael Harrings superlative webmaster,  computer genius
Michael Harrings superlative webmaster, computer genius

But first things first! How would we even be sharing all this with you were it not for the most gracious help of Michael Harrings, a rare man indeed? While waiting on a far greater and challenging web service project, he took DandelionFarm.org under his wing.  He has helped immensely to get the site onto a new format and to help us learn the process. Sitting with him at his “Grand Central” web working desk with 3 computer monitors in front, professional web hosting computer below, another computer on a side desk, I felt like I was at the helm of control for a small universe. WOW! It was quite an amazing experience….such POWER! But then what is power compared to LOVE? As we sat there working on DandelionFarm.org we shared stories of Divine Love, laughing and crying all the way. Now a man who cries in Love of the Divine is a man of the highest sort. Michael is just such a man with a real heart to go with all his computer brains. He is so humbly human. SO much gratitude goes from our hearts to Michael!

And then there are the MANY great volunteers that have added their energy and special talents over the years. We estimate over 200 by now.

A fun ATV tour together of our neighbor's ranch
A fun ATV tour together of our neighbor’s ranch

Our latest was Olaia, a 26yr. old from the Basque Country in Spain who we enjoyed immensely during her 1 mon. work/exchange. What a wonderful volunteer, with a STRONG!!! work ethic and a beautiful heart. We had to almost hold her back from over giving on her end of the exchange. She looked around at the work load and took on things with out being asked. Wow!

Olaia showed us how to eat cardoon as her family in Spain does. These volunteer almost too abundantly around our gardens. We love their massive out put of little (spiny) artichokes, and now also the stems as Olaia demonstrated. We will remember her often for this alone.

Cardoon require no deer fence, no water, no care, except chopping them down at the end of their cycle. FREE yummy FOOD!

Olaia was strong in so many ways and working (?) hard at improving her English…that is she loved to talk and drew us into LOTS of conversations about very meaningful things. Open and available to consider new and different perspectives made her such a pleasure to share with! Her help ranged from brush clearing for fire prevention, planting, mushroom starts, mulching, welding-grinding, etc, She made the spring overload of work much lighter a pleasure with her company.

May Blessings rain on Olaia forever!

Great Swan begins: “The gods are watching over you”

The most critical dome construction of Great Swan Peace Cathedral is set in motion. Blessed most potently at the Brightness on Sept. 10 for commencing at the end of Oct. And so the start up is TODAY, but not without challenges and minor miraculous turns of events. Well, that has always been what it’s like serving something Blessed and Called for by Adi Da, the Conscious Light, Incarnate.

Da Hand w flower much orangeGreat attention to every detail and constant offering of my heart, and life to the Divine are essential for a  positive, even miraculous process…This I have learned! Let’s not even think about what its like when there is resistance. I could tell some amazingly examples, negative dark angelstories about that, but not now. Don’t want to even think such thoughts!

 

Now is the time to revel in GRACE, pouring down on Dandelion and the clear Blessed beginnings of Great Swan Peace Cathedral! Light in the forest

 

Dominique, our foreman with 8 monolithic domes under his belt was with us for our late Oct. start up on Great Swan….until he suddenly was not! TOO busy already. That had to go into prayer asap! And a couple days later his job ran out of funds to continue hiring him! He was again available for Great Swan….Oh, that familiar miraculous pattern has begun.

monolitic domesWe kept hearing of Oscar Duckworth, quite an impressive professional shot-crete specialist of the highest degree. When contactkng and sharing with him about the project, he seemed with us to shoot the cement overhead into the air form when we began.

Our project was peanuts, but fun compared to his multimillion dollar hot shot gigs. (He has a most stellar resume!) But just a couple days before we were to begin, he found himself in too much demand by the industry to be the one we were depending upon for a safe, optimum quality cement shoot. YIKES!

Foggy morning on Duckworth Farms in Sebastopol
Foggy morning on Duckworth Farms in Sebastopol

Dominique with much experience EXCEPT the shot-crete application, became determined to move ahead and do the cement shoot himself, taking instruction via the phone from another shot-crete pro. This was something most definitely for prayer, and I told Oscar so. Late the next day Oscar called: “Have you seen my email?”…We chatted as I got up the computer and read:

“Good News: My schedule at the beginning of next week has cleared.
How did you do that?
I am THRILLED!!
Regards, Oscar Duckworth

Well, I didn’t do that. It was just how it works in service to the Divine, when hearts are open to That. I was so thrilled and relieved to hear this awesome news!!!

Goddess of Dandelion mosaic in graceful rain
Goddess of Dandelion mosaic in graceful rain

 

But while praying for the project I missed 3 calls from the UPS delivery man with the nearly $6,000. air-form, which is the most essential element for the Great Swan Peace Cathedral dome. Loren had tried to find out when it would be coming before taking off to shop for project supplies.

When I found the messages I called Loren to find out his where abouts. “I’m at Kelseyville Lumber”… 45min. away!! Oh no! I then called the UPS man to tell him I was was the one to receive that BIG package he called about. “Not today, mam. I am already at my next delivery at Kelseyville Lumber”….”Oh, that is where my husband is with van and trailer”….”Well, I’ll be!…..”

It turned out the lumber company  fork lifted the massively heavy package into Loren’s van, making it easier than had it happened as intended at the farm. The UPS man said to Loren, (not knowing anything about what he was delivering) “The gods are watching over you”

Dominque’s little SWEET lady, Michele, the coolest rebar worker of my gender I have ever met, had these words to say, (after visiting Dandelion Ballad, the site of Great Swan Peace Cathedral): “I gotta work on this project…Its EPIC!”
Dandelion Ballad a song to the heart of all
Dandelion Ballad, a song to the heart of all

 

 

May it ALL be Blessed and completely Graceful!

Now at last, weeks later, we share images after the safe and successful completion of the Dome cement work for Great Swan Peace Cathedral.

Air-form for Great Swan ready to inflate
BEFORE…Air-form for Great Swan ready to inflate

The BIG DAY arrives for placing and inflating
the air-form. This is actually like a big balloon make to our specifications for Great Swan.
Here you see the uninflated air-form from Queen of Heaven Gate and then the inflated.

Michele, forewoman and Candace jump into each other’s arms, so happy to be INSIDE the first step of the Dome.

Next our basic team poses inside. Note how white it is…This is just the plastic air-form!

Air-form inflated and ready for shot-crete.
AFTER….Air-form inflated and ready for shot-crete.air-form standing there.

Then our most critical miracle of intervention: Oscar Duckworth, the “best of the west” overhead shot-crete professional at work. His help that was essential in many ways for the safe dome construction.

 

 

Thrilled to be INSIDE the just inflated air-form for Great Swan...women workers hug.

The team inside freshely inflated air-form
The team inside newly inflated air-form

 

Oscar Duckworth doing shot-crete inside Great Swan Peace Cathedral air-form.
Oscar Duckworth doing shot-crete inside Great Swan Peace Cathedral air-form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Swan air-form and truck delivering shot-crete
Great Swan air-form and truck delivering shot-crete

This is how we will be seeing Great Swan for some time to come, as all kinds of other parts are prepared to add.

entrance art for Great Swan
entrance art for Great Swan

A good start on the massive amount of metal work in the Peace Cathedral vision that came in 2002, was done that year and the next. A LONG last, more is on the way in “Valcan’s Daughter”, the mostly open air  welding shop on Dandelion.

Count Me In!

Great Swan for sendingGreat Swan Peace Cathedral is hovering in my consciousness constantly now. Who will help? How to do each little element that has to happen? Daily calls and discussions….looking for the right skills, the right people who will respect  the deeper nature of this work.

Much is unfolding. People connections of all kinds are happening. Deeply good people are helping already in related ways. Inspirations flow with an uncommon effulgence accompanied by profound Joy, and thus the vision of Great Swan grows more full and clear in my consciousness.

I have shared little story of how Great Swan came as a calling to me with many  people. It is now a web page of its own with a detailed version of the story.  Construction will begin in a few short weeks! There will be tons of welding of metal art for it  and many months of mosaic stained glass window work.

Yes, a good start has been made on the metal. Those are details of finished metal in the plan you see. But oh, so much more is yet to be made! I feel the aging of my body, its struggles and the great demands it carries already. I have to constantly go beyond fears and limitations in mind and body, as does Loren…daily. The financial means to cover this also have to come. This is a fearful undertaking were it not for the surrender of all in Trust I practice. This is a great Leap of Faith, the Holy Jumping Off Place for me.

Metal Hymn with mosaic
seen through Blanket of Flowers arbor

And then there are these magical moments of providence. Mike is one of those neighbors among several in the neighborhood that weld art. I have been telling him about Great Swan for quite a while. Today, he suddenly GOT IT, that this was something pretty BIG in many more ways than one, something that he HAD to be part of. “Count me in!” he said, “especially when it comes to the art welding”. You have to know what music this was to my ears!

Actually Mike taught me to weld on Metal Hymn, my first bigger welding project. He helped sooooooooooooo much! He earned our love and gratitude forever.

Then when the lady of his life first came to Dandelion and saw Metal Hymn, she announced that was where she wanted to get married, not even knowing the big part Mike played in it. And so they were married in the place Mike had worked so hard to help create….One of those special little miracles that just keep happening for people who volunteer on Dandelion. (Oh, so many sweet stories flood my mind of the wonderful things that have come to volunteers on or shortly after their time on Dandelion).

 

 

 

 

 

Frog Pond becomes Sea of Infinity

This title may sound like one of those frog-to-prince or ugly duckling-to-swan fairy tales. But it was beyond any fairy tale I heard as a child, beyond my imagination.

Lake of Dreams Curtis

It happened one unusual morning on Dandelion Farm…..Well, really it didn’t start that very day. It began a couple weeks earlier when I signed up to go on retreat  on the Mountain of Attention Sanctuary. It was a  summer in the early ’80’s. And I was excitedly headed for an ecstatic retreat in the Company of Adi Da Samraj, so I thought.

But as I arrived and settled in on the first day, word came that He was LEAVING! And sadly, He did that indeed, quite soon thereafter. I was in “Great Food Dish” as He walked, staff in hand, up the stairs and past the windows, allowing those inside to see Him pass by as a farewell gift to us all. He stopped in front of 7th Gate on the path and leaned over to kiss little Naamleela good-bye for the time and walked out of sight.

Da early 80sSo began my 2 weeks of retreat. There had been so many retreatants before. But suddenly the flood of people from around the globe onto retreat in His Company had withered down to three die-hards…myself among them. Instead of a large, passionate group  to share meditation and the long, long “full cycle of devotion” formal recitations and chanting  every afternoon, there were 3 of us alone together. Chanting with out accompaniment with non musical types? You have to have done it to appreciate this unique form of torture.

We were as dry as the dearth of devotees. I felt unusually incapacitated in my feelings and in my practice altogether the whole retreat. This is to say it was utterly, painfully BORING. There was nowhere to run from this pain of boredom, other than the devices of a real beginner’s mind…Talk of PAIN! But with no place to run I struggled and persisted all the way through the 2 weeks of minor hell, feeling it was all such a waste of time!

Back home on Dandelion Farm, I was much relieved to simply walk in nature again, contemplating in my heart with a slowly resurfacing feeling ability…Yes, I was beginning to  slowly, for some mysterious reason,  be able to feel again. I noticed the peace of nature and the sun shining a bit brighter than usual…ahhhhhhhhhh, nature, what a relief!

I enjoyed my relaxed walks a couple more days. Then I headed for the irrigation pond to lap up a bit more of that wonderfully bright sun, swimming leisurely for a bit before rolling over onto my back to bask in the noticeably more radiant sun as I floated on the still waters.

But as I rolled over onto my back it was like  a page from one reality to a TOTALLY different REALITY! Instantly my mind fell away as brightness overwhelmed all. But as that wash of brightness swept me away, for an instant I was a lotus flower floating on the waters, unfurloughing all the petals of my being outward from my flowering heart-core in unfettered immense LOVE of the Light. No self…… drifted deep away…no time….nothing…..but at some level of unthinking awareness there was the most exquisite, pervasive, delicious, heart deep and cellular PLEASURE.

I became aware of that unknowable, reality for a fleeting instant as it quickly vanished, pushed out with the reassertion of limited mental self identity and the words of my returning mind, “Is it right to feel such PLEASURE?” Those words arose clearly before my conscious awareness like an ugly blight, a pestilence descending upon Reality free of mind, exquisite in every way beyond description.

Quite quickly I realized this was a Blessed Gift after a difficult retreat, and a sign of “delayed Transmission” from my Master. (I was unfortunately generally slow on reception). But I could only marvel that Adi Da had been able to give this Gift in spite of my devotional incapacity and beginner’s unpreparedness, and with so little time in His Company…through the window as He left.

Clearly I had all kinds of limiting presumptions about His ability to serve me, that this experience drew into sharp perspective. Such amazing Gifts of Help from Adi Da have high-lighted my limited understanding of Who He Is more than once and thrown me into unknowing awe!

You may enjoy “The Cloud of Unknowing Gate” post on this subject.