Michael Jaidev DeNicola


michaelInto the Light, out of Darkness

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I signed up for the darkroom. Twice in my life have I spent  one day in silence, let alone 11 days in dark isolation. Needless to say, the reality of the situation hit me pretty quick one the door closed behind me…

The dark room in San Marcos located outside of town on the side of a mountain. It is basically a cave – stone walls, low ceiling (7 ft), and very tiny. I had a bed, yoga mat, meditation pillow, shelf for my belongings, ¨compost¨ bucket to poop in, a pee bucket, and a small circle bucket to shower in. I was cool with the set up, simple and to the point. Twice a day Arpi and Arjuna would pass me food through a little slot in the wall. They rang a bell and I knew it was safe to get my food since they sealed it from their side. I would write them notes in the dark if I needed a change in diet, water, a change in a bucket, or whatever. Every two day I would hide under the blankets and they would come in to empty the pee bucket and shower bucket. That was the scedule for 11 days. In the morning, I ate a watermelon and papaya with lime. For lunch, a cucumber and two bananas. For dinner, 4 Avacados with lime and moringa (green superfood) and a papaya.  I was eating lots of spirulina and would occasionally eat ceremonial Cacao that I brought in with me. My simple diet combined with yoga had an wonderful effect on my overall being.
I was let in the room right after lunch. I went from blazing hot sun, to dark cold cave very quickly. My body reacted by immediately getting tired and crashing out. The first day was a haze mixed with excitement, sleep, and meditation. Day two came quick, and I thought I could get used to this real quick. I adopted a flow throughout the day to keep me busy that stayed constant throughout the 11 days. It went something like this:
Wake up super early. Yost, a serious yogi from China, spent 49 days in the darkroom before me. He would be staying in the apartment above me since Arpi and Arjuna found a new house to live in. It was good deal because he was carrying lots of light and he is super quiet. He woke up super early to do his practice every morning, so I was always up many hours before sunrise (although I did not know this until after I left the rooma and talked to Yost about his habits). When I woke, I immediately began a strong yoga practice. Over the course of the 11 days, I dropped all rigidity and began to flow however I wanted to. It was absolutely incredible. For the first time since I started studying yoga (8 years or so) I found myself. The darkness allowed me to completely listen to my inner teacher without distraction. I forgot about the Rules of Kundalini Yoga or any yoga. I just did whatever I pleased. Quickly, I found myself doing insane amounts of squats, hip openers, and groin openers. Forever these have been poses I have avoided because they are so painful for me. When I studied Kundalini Yoga, I thought I could just skip over my lower chakras and just build the higher ones. I definitely piled Love and intense energy into my being, but I forgot about my root. My base, my connection to the Mother. Being in this dark Womblike cave, I was guided to open and connect to the eart. With all the time in the worl on my hands, I listened. Hundreds of squats a day in all sorts of positions, lunges, martial arts lower body exercises, and countless downward dogs led me my body cracking, popping and opening. Emotions were coming up from all different angles very quickly.
On the second day, the largest earthquake in 40 years roared. In meditation, I felt like I was surfing on the earth as my belongings were crashing off the shelf. This was just one of many earthquakes while I was in the darkroom. I accepted this as a sign from the earth that it was time to shake things up. Everymorning I danced for about 20 minutes. Shaking and twisting in every way my body wanted to. It is amazing how quickly I limber up when I shake. Absolutely bliss.
On the 3rd day, I thought I was going to go insane. That day was hardest thing I have ever voluntarily put myself through. The thought of Danielle and rememberance of my deep love for her swept over me. I lost it. I cried my eyes out all day. I could not believe that I put myself in this damn dark hole. What was I thinking? It seemed so intense at the time. I wanted to leave so badly, but I knew that nothing was waiting for me outside of the room. I needed to face my fears. That is what I went into darkness to do. At my lowest moment, I promised myself that I would never put myself in this sort of situation again. No more austere crazy practices. I just want to enjoy life. I began drumming on my djembe and singing all sorts of songs. I wrote myself a note that day that reads ¨Scorpions all dressed in suits. Scorpions, red white and blue. Darkness. Seeded in me is misery. I said Darkness¨
The experience never got much easier because I was holding so much pain from my break up with Danielle. I  never again felt like I was going to go insane though, instead, I stayed busy. After morning yoga, I would eat my watermelon in bliss. While waiting to digest, I would play my Ukulele, drum, and sing. On the 8th night, Arjuna let me borrow his Harmonium for the last 3 days. It was the greatest gift I have ever received. I found 3 simple chords, CFG, and sang every mantra I knew over them for hours a day. At times, music was my savior in the darkness. Hearing the sweet notes sing from my ukulele, or to watch the incredible drum beats that my drum danced to. Absolutely amazing. On the 4th day I became inspired to devote my being to embracing creative expression. It is where I find the most bliss and my mind is most clear. At some point, I would love to have a warehouse where I can splatter paint everywhere, play music, and gather with friends, family, and students. Through creative expression, dance, and opening my lower body, I came to a huge realization: I am a Goddess! I have been embracing and building my Yang God self for my whole life. I created huge seperation between male and female, and this caused me to rely on the opposite sex to be fulfilled. In Taoism, they say that you have an internal infinite Yin Yang energy from your sexual organs to you heart. When you connect to this energy, you are complete and will find happiness always inside of you. It is time for me to embrace my inner Goddess. When I opened this connection, she graced me with a beautiful pink lotus flower that fell on my crown during meditation and filled me with supreme bliss. When we open and allow our inner being to fill us, love pours in and around us. Wahe Guru!
After music, I would usually practice Sexual Kung Fu. An Taoist system of sublimating sexual energy into the core of your being, rather than keeping it pent up or losing it through genital orgasm. By building up the energy, then using muscles and mind power, you draw the energy into your bodies microcosmic energetic orbit. The sexual energy nourishes your spine, brain, and then runs down your front channel where it is stored in your belly. An incredible practice that can lengthen you life, allow a man to become multi orgasmic, strengthen your body and mind, nourish your soul, and allow you to have a kick ass love life. Everyone is so obsessed with exercising our bodies, but barely anyone exercises their sexual muscles. Wow, we could all be having a lot more fun and be completely fulfilled without losing energy through haphazard sexual experiences. Our sexual energy is our greates power. Ancient wisdom through Taosim and tantra shows us that we can utilize this energy for sustained bliss. Rather than a quicky that leaves you depleted, hungry, and wanting more. This practice is rapidly enhancing my life, Mantak Chia´s literature on the practice of sexual kung fu is incredible. Check it out if you please.
God = everything. I love God. Therefore, I love everything. For a long time I was trying to zap negative emotiong with rays of light and love. The darkness helped me to remember to embrace these emotions rather than to fight them. When I love my pain, I let it go, and it is transmuted. Also, if I am upset or angry about something, aren´t I really just angry at myself. Since God = everything and I  = God, then I = everything. Weird…when this hit me, I shuttered. Any emotion I feel, I am really feeling it towards myfself. Hence the saying ¨everything is just a reflection of you¨. And why Christianity tells us ¨Love your neighbor as you would love yourself¨¨ I heard and read these words numerous times. They never clicked until my higher self connected them to me here on earth. I do not expect anyone to buy into these words, but sit with yourself. Feel deep inside of you. Why do you feel certain ways? Hmmm….curious.
I live life intensely. This has led to extreme ups and downs. Kyle once said to me ´You never leave any stone unturned´. True, I like to live and experience things to the fullest. But for many years now I have been trying to fit into some sor of mold. Some sort of structure that would define me. This has led me into extremes that I  served me at the time, but are no longer a concern of me. When I started practicing yoga, I defined myself as a ¨yogi¨. I strived to be the best yogi I could be. Waking up super early, practing hard, eating pure, going through periods of celibacy, abstaining from alcohol and drugs, etc. etc. Little voices popped in my head ´What would Yogi Bhajan do?¨ I found myself quoting him and ultimately living a lie. I was not following my heart. This caused me to lash out against myself. I would go on periods of binge drinking, smoking tons of pot, eating unhealthy, not meditating. I would crash, beat myself up, then fast and swear everything off again. This cycle has repeated for the past 6 years or so, each time getting a little less extreme. Thank the Lord that I finally connected to myself in the darkroom. And to be honest, I don´t give a shit what Yogi Bhajan would do, or Jesus, or Buddha or anyone else. In fact, I only care what my heart and higher self would do. I have not been here before so how can I be defined? I am no one else, I am everyone else. No judgement on myself will serve me anymore. I am in the wind, and ready to float effortlessly through existence. I got so pissed off in that room that I punched the ground, screamed, banged a drum, and recognized my souls desire for a huge change. It is time to celebrate. 2012 is here. Wahe Guru! We are the people we have been waiting for. I am I am. Blasting light up to the heavens, receiving from the earth, and being showered with golden light from the Universe. No more of this intense behavior for me. I am going on Auto Pilot graced by the direction of my higher self. My rational mind is still fighting me because it doesn´t want to let go, but fuck it, I am done fighting. The mentality that I have held on to my whole life as a ¨warrior¨ is only creating a war. Even if I called myself a Rainbow Warrior, then I am creating an opponent. Mother Theresa said she would never go to an Anti-war rally, but would attend any rally for Peace. I get it now. I am a peaceful being here to bring light and Love. No more war, no more effort. Just fun. A thirst for life, joy, and love. I only aspire to be what I already am. Love thyself, Wahe Guru.
After Sexual Kung fu, I would usually drop for Sat Kriya or another sort of meditation. Continuing to move the energy that I built up. Pranayaam was very intense during this time. Withing minutes I could make my whole body buzz with life. After about 7 days in darkness, I began seeing all sorts of light everywhere. There was always light moving through my consciousness. I found that intense squats always led to a huge golden mandala right above my third eye, pranayaam resulted in scattered light, and deep meditation many times led to an extremely condensed, bright ball of light that I could never fully look at. If I laid down and lost focus, I would often see what seemed to be the night sky filled with brilliant stars. My dreams were always extremely vivid. I dreamt many times over of the ocean. Scuba diving, sailing, or just observing the ocean in my dreams. I also dreamt of an earth shift. One where we were sent into a different orbit and the night sky was filled with all diffent sorts of planets and celestial bodies. It was wonderful to have the space, silence, and darkness to observe the effects that certain exercises or breathwork had on my brain. Again, I always had the most profound visuals after doing a series of squats and then standing up. Mandalas made of Golden light that could never be replicated due to their intricate nature and ultimate perection.
From day 9 on, anticipation really kicked in. Originally I signed up for 9 days, then extended it to 11 because I wanted a DMT experience. When day 9 came, I wanted to get out of there very badly. I stuck it out though, hoping to find some sort of bliss. Insanity kept trying to creap back in on me, and I had to continue with a strong yoga practice to keep my body tired enough to sleep and my mind off of the outside world. I showered once a day in cold water, squatting in a little tub with little water pressure. It was not the most pleasant shower, but I always felt refreshed and renewed after my rinse off. Always taking time to unknot my hair and massage my body with macadamia nut oil. A shower usually meant my day was winding down. One more music session, dinner, and then hip opening yoga followed by meditation and sleep. Once day 9 hit though, I had so much energy I barely slept. Maybe a few hours a night. It was tough for me to keep my mind occupied, so I fell back into many dramas involving Danielle. I am pretty sure I relived our entire relationship over again a few times. Many vivid memories of bliss in Hawaii. I cried for my beautiful friend, and sent her love over and over again. I know we cannot be together, but I love her with every bit of energy in my mind, body, heart and soul. My mind would try and create situations where we could be together once again, and it would leave me in a pile of tears. I learned to pick myself up, enjoy the good memories, appreciate my time with her, and embrace everything for what it is. Thank you sweet Danielle for everything you gifted me with.
Yost woke me up with a yoga practice at 1 am on my last night in the darkroom. He was excited I was getting out at sunrise and wanted to greet me, so he started his yoga extra early. I was super confused because I fell asleep and was immediately woken up by his heavy yoga asanas. I figured it was the usual time, a little before sunrise (I could hear roosters crowing in the morning usually as the sun rose). I rose, and began yoga. Hours passed and I was so confused. Arjuna and Arpi were suppossed to greet me a little before sunrise. I decided to let myself out of the darkroom and see meditate under the stars, if they were still out!
I walked out, opened my eyes, and almost fell over. The starred filled sky was spinning at great speeds and my knees felt wobbly beneath me. My perception of everything had drastically changed. I made the move to get on all fours and slowly moved to a dark space where I could star gaze. The stars filled me with complete love. I will always appreciate them more after this experience. Within minutes, a shooting star blazed across the sky filling my being with love and joy. I made my way towards the woods, but almost fell off the staircase I was climbing, so I dropped again to all fours and slowly made my way back into the dark. I figured best to wait there until someone could safely accompany me out into the light.
Light exploded from the back of my head when I went back into the dark space. All of the sudden, I could see my shadow in the complete darkness. Behind me, a glowing orb shined. I sat and meditated on this orb. Nothing happened, but this was without a doubt one of the coolest experiences I have ever witnessed. An orb of light following me…wild.
I watched the blazing sun rise over the volcanos of Lake Atitlan with supreme bliss. Hummingbirds sipped the nectar of flowers all around me, clouds played tricks, friends smiled, and I was back into the light. My whole being was vibrating and continued to for the majority of the day. I ate breakfast and showered with a new appreciation for everything. An absolute rebirthing.
Since the darkroom, things have unfolded rapidly. Sufi moved into a pyramid sort of house and invited me to stay in her extra bed the first night I was out. I climbed trees, picked oranges and other wild fruits, danced on the earth, bathed in the sun, and ate as much fruit as I wanted. Looking at myself in the mirror was refreshing and very enjoyable. I saw an inner radiance and child that I missed seeing in the mirror. Tears filled my eyes throughout the day.
The following day, Keith (the Cacao Shaman) was having a ceremony. It was to be my first ceremony with him, and I was super excited. He opened the space with a fun, light hearted attitude that filled my spirit. I drank the ceremonial cacao, sat, and began meditating with the 5 other beings there. Keith walked us through different visualizations and a couple people began weeping. Keith worked with individuals and eventually got to me. He totally broke me down. He made me slouch and look at the girl crying next to me. I watched as he worked with her, then turn to me and in many words told me to relax, let go, stop trying to be this perfect yogi…I listened and I tried my best to feel.
In the dark I had a dream where I was in a house in Stoney Creek on the water. A brick wall had been built up to hold the ocean back but a tsunami or something was coming. I could hear a man say ¨here it comes.¨ Waves started crashing against the wall, bending the bricks. I was extremely frightened that the wall might break, so I fled the house as the waves continued to crash. When I shared this dream with Sufi and Arpi, they both agreed that I was holding emotions back (hence water). With Keith and the Cacao spirit, I revisited this wall. I did everything to try and break it down. Dig under it, wack it, any and everything. After many minutes of failing, Bubba came to me. He was in his Dragon form. (Bubba is my familys Black lab. During a few shamanic journeys he has come to me as a dragon, one of my spirit animals). I jumped on Bubbas back and he began whacking the wall with his tail. I held on to his neck tight and felt all the love in the world for this wonderful being. I felt it returned unconditionally. He would do anything for me. I love him so much, and the wall started to break. Tears started flowing and did not stop for the next hour or so. Bubba is my happy place. During my crying we ran through the woods, he breathed fire, we swam in oceans, and I let it all go.

I love nature, and I will do my best to try and help her in any way that I can.

When I left the ceremony, the universe gave me a beautiful gift. A yogi friend, Ajna, left yesterday for the Rainbow gathering. She needed someone to stay at her house while she was gone. I happened to be there, and now I am staying at an amazing space way up in the mountains. I watched the sunrise over the volcanoes across the lake this morning and could hear nothing other than the singing of birds. I am completely in nature with an amazing space to let my energies integrate. I am about a 20 minute walk from town and will be visiting Keith again on Wednesday to continue opening my emotional body and working on transmuting the pain that surrounds me. I feel blessed. I love you all.

 

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