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The Missing Piece
James: Dear Marliss, thank you so much for the lovely letter. I am sorry I have been so slow replying but my letters go into a queue, and what with the travel, the new book I am writing and daily duties, it now takes sometimes a month before I catch up. I am in South Africa now and have had time to take care of a lot of things that were in arrears. In any case, appreciation is much appreciated. I made small comments here and there throughout your letter. Take care of yourself and take it easy.
~ Much love, James
Marliss: I hope all is well, James. You must be on your way to India soon. Not a day passes when I do not think of you and the teachings in Doro. What a wonder!
I arrived in New York a month ago to take care of my mother, and ordered your book right away, which I read with joy. Vedanta, James, was the missing piece of my spiritual puzzle! I am working on the Gita home course you gave me and have not yet written with questions, because it seems when one pops up it is answered in the verses to come. But I do take notes and if there are any questions by the end of part one (I am only on page 330) I will be sure to ask you!
I also found a Chinmaya mission just about ten miles away. After returning from the Doro retreat I went on YouTube and started looking at the Chinmayananda videos. The first time I saw him I felt lightning was striking me, but in a kind way. I had to cry I was so touched in my heart! So I am also, parallel to the Gita, working through the first book of his study program Kindle Life (almost finished with that). On Sundays someone from the mission comes and picks me up so that I can hear the teachings in the morning. So there is still a lot of work to do, but it is of course not work at all, it is pure joy. However, I would rather just HEAR the teachings all day long, every day!
I feel I am just where God wants me to be, James, but sometimes I still have this kind of lost and lonely feeling: I am happy and satisfied with whatever life presents me with; still, there is an apparent gap that is growing between myself and others that are not conciously sharing this journey with me. I almost feel like I am from Mars and it feels a bit lonely.
When we cannot mourn with our family when a loved one moves on, when we join the voices of anger over political ignorance, when we cannot swoon with the moods of love even when tenderly touched, when we can only see but not experience the beauty of the divine orchestration in all that is and know this heavenly music that flows through us, when you fake it a bit to fit in but it becomes harder and harder to make small talk, when you seem to stand apart even if you understand that you are a part of all insides and outsides, when you have lost all ambition except to serve the truth, knowing only the truth can make a real difference… is this not the reason a sangha with mature friends is so important until our knowledge is truly stable?
James: Yes, but in lieu of a sanga see all these ideas as only ideas and let them go, for nothing in the world needs to be different from what it is to make it acceptable to you – only the way you see it.
Marliss: I loved your blog at your website, James. I know that more traditional Hindus will be a bit confused about your marriage; it is so different than the normal course of things! Still, I could TOTALLY relate (I am not a Hindu of course!) and felt the wonder of the love you and Isabella, indeed we all are and share. The blog was deeply inspiring. You and Isabella just glow on that picture! I can’t wait to meet her! Congratulations! Sometimes it is lonely on this amazing journey and even if the loneliness does not have to be a source of suffering there is the wish to share in a very intimate way all the love that we are. To have someone that can celebrate life with us fully, life with everything we have been given: body and soul.
James: Thank you, Marliss.
Marliss: You know, James, although through my years of training in Tibetan Buddhism I prayed that I would reach enlightenment but I thought this was just something for very special people. My burning desire was to find a love that causes no pain. I just could not accept seeing how I hurt those that I loved most because of my neediness and ignorance. And I could not accept how I was part of the problems that keep a great part of this world enslaved in suffering. I knew I had to become how I wanted this world to be… somehow. I have felt guided for many years, James, but only this last year have the pieces of the puzzle really fallen together, and like I expressed at the beginning of this letter, Vedanta was the missing piece!
James: I am so happy for you, Marliss. You deserve it. You a person of integrity and perserverance. Grace is earned.
Marliss: Meeting you in India came at a time when I had experienced moksa. I will add the story (PDF) in case you are interested and have time to read it. After returning from India in March, a five-year celibate phase (the happiest years of my life!) ended. A man fell in love with me, and although I wondered how love (me) can fall in love, I enjoyed the way he made me feel and I got involved. Before you knew it I felt like a fish on a hook again! Expectations snuck in. I almost felt as though I had fallen out of grace. And he was suffering too! So much for the fickelness of experience. And just in time, feeling quite confused, the retreat in Doro took place! I am so thankful that, along with the experience, I was given the means to extract the knowledge from the experience. What a time-saver! I never was a seeker, I was a single mom, had a business, was totally content with my spiritual path and had no time for experiments.
Thanks to you, James, my understanding is growing with each day and I am so grateful to you for all your work and striving!
James: You deserve it.
Marliss: If there is anything I can do for you, do not hesitate to ask, please! Actually, there is nothing that I would enjoy doing more than contuing my studies and helping you reach people with Vedanta! I so enjoyed being with you and the group in Doro. Thank you once again for taking a detour and visiting us Italy. My love to your very beautiful wife, James! I hope I can meet her soon.
~ ONE HEART, Marliss