- to encourage anyone, anywhere, in their exploration of the spiritual path that calls to them even if others don’t understand. you are not alone.
- to inform other seekers that the regular writing of poetry about the relationship with your Deity of choice can enrich life tremendously. the same is true about painting and drawing images of the Deity of your choice. it can bring the relationship alive & facilitate deeper communion.
- to demonstrate that sincerity & devotion in this approach to the spiritual is fundamental & more essential than talent or skill in writing or art.
- to urge especially those who are in the latter years of life to deepen the focus on the nonphysical spiritual realm. poetry & art can help greatly with this.
- to express & fulfill my dedication & devotion to Shiva, who has shown me all that i have painted & written about. He began with the nonverbal intuitive paintings, continued with the verbal expressive poetry & now moves to the global cyber realm. this is my service to Shiva, the Deity of choice who guides my life. (essentially this is my sadhana journal & all the images are from my camera unless otherwise noted. all the poetry is syllabic: same number of syllables in each line.) may you be inspired & energized in your own explorations & journey! namaste!
there are omens
i stroll across the harvested cornfield on the way home from my meditation with the mother hemlock tree in shelter valley. i come to a halt near the massive old oak tree by the fence line & peer up at the clear sky. i see a hawk flying low overhead, firmly grasping a writhing snake in its powerful talons. i stand amazed, fixed in place, watching. i know that this is an omen. a week later, standing on the lawn, i see & feel the hundred year old oak tree crash to the ground in the field with a great sharp crack! it shakes like an earthquake beneath my feet: yet another omen. something big is coming, i think to myself. it is getting close. it is just two more weeks until the world trade towers are brought down, using hijacked airplanes as fearsome juggernauts of destruction. of course there are omens. there are always omens when we are part of something this big that needs the balm of our healing energy helping to mitigate the shock & damage. some of us have the ripe destiny to invoke positive & strengthening blessings from divine helpers, & not to give in to anxious fearfulness. Shiva, You can always use us as first responders, although our response is energy, not words or physical activity. we drench the noosphere with healing, with compassion & kindness. You have placed us here as buffers against the travail of these hard times, Shiva. we are the unlikely assistants in this rugged aftermath of covid too, whose quiet service goes unnoticed, yet forms the foundation for all that follows in this birthing time.
a lifestyle choice
in the nineteen-seventies someone gave me a silver star pendant in exchange for a spiritual reading. they told me that was the only way such a token of power could be obtained: by being given to one. it could not be purchased in stores. it was inscribed with various arcane alchemical symbols, & i treasured that star & wore it for years, feeling quite blessed. many adventures unfolded during that high time, & life transpired in its storied way of travel tales & many lessons learned. then, years ago, it came to pass that the time was upon me to give that inscribed silver star to my youngest daughter, whose given name is summer star. i had promised it to her. its time with me was done, & the opportunity to serve next moves on to my distant daughter in oregon. i hope she wears that star with a happy heart for the benefit of the whole world. such gifts come with a responsibility that cannot be ignored. destiny will certainly see to that! everything comes wrapped in its own birthing story, & all stories are pointing beyond themselves alone to the full deep meaning & message. they are like holy guides showing the way. ah Shiva, so casually are magical treasures passed onward! how vital it is to be fully aware in order to honor such a visiting dignitary, who may well appear as merely decorative, until one can see beyond the visible surface. it will also come about that all such things will eventually be put aside, as awareness moves farther past the "thingness" of life. Shiva, You are here to welcome such deep-seers to join the ever- growing group of people who bless & rejoice & pray & focus on the good, the true & the beautiful. it is a lifestyle choice: choose the way of love, for love itself has chosen us as its own, forever.
the sublime OM of silence
words are useful to describe the surfaces of things & how they function. words are all about things: physical things, emotional things, mental things & how they can combine into new things: ideas, governments, stories, music, spaceships. it goes on & on & on. deep down inside ourselves, fluidity & flow take place beyond the known boundaries of the mind. here, the new & surprising may surface like leaping fish in the clear light of the full moon, flashing with ephemeral rainbows, splashing down as an invitation to the depths. words have no place in this domain where subtle rays of love & compassion are silently healing with blessings of light. here, deep down inside ourselves is a formless realm, yet it can be known as if we are dark-sighted birds of the night, riding on that visualpurple edge of reality that magnifies the shimmer of mystery & wonder. with inner commitment we enter that realm & offer greetings of friendly benevolence in ambient tones that have no words, yet overflow with meaning. You show me this, Shiva. You reveal the sublime OM of silence: how to blend into the inner realm through the pure sonic sweetness that rises up from that formless abode like ageless healing mantras. You help to open the hidden gateway at my core to release the arcane subtle awareness of the divine presence in all. i rest in this. i melt in this. i make my home here, Shiva, in the midst of all that You are teaching me now, including words too!
how easily my certainty is swayed! these ups & downs wear on the the body, which is not intended to be a yo-yo in the capricious hands of the elemental spirits! it is offered as a gift to You, Shiva, with all the imperfections which are natural & unavoidable in this realm. i don't ask for the way to be smoothly easy, Shiva, only that You stay near me, invisible by my side, enfolding me in Your essence, holding me close to You like Your child. when i feel You near, i can rest in that knowing, & i rejoice in opening the heart's door wide for You. the banner of love is already hanging in its place of high honor. i take my position standing steadfast by it, & i will not be moved, Shiva, except by You, for i am Your own distant relative returning after a long wandering pilgrimage, having come full circle in this chapter of the endless story. now i am without certainty, which is more fragile than i had imagined. yet love remains, for it is the solid foundation upon which You firmly stand established, Shiva. it is this love which i invoke when i ask You to remain, enfolding me deep in Your Being, deep into Your Holy Essence.
with all the many hands of my heart
Shiva, i forgot that Your timely cameo appearances are often coupled with deep inner need & suffering. such profound intensity sends powerful impulses throbbing, cascading through the ethers, which serves as Your invitation. it calls You to me. thus, You explain the usefulness & value of suffering to the awakening soul seeking non-attachment. You tell me that the more powerfully impacted the ego is by things, the less able it is to maintain its iron-strong grip on its favorite worldviews. over time & repeated impacts, the ego becomes more & more unsettled, & therefore more likely to diminish. it becomes weary of hanging on, & can consider other possibilities & perspectives. what is the ego? the ego is the mind's devoted interface tool, the product of primal biological survival instincts. it is convinced of the absolute necessity that the body continue to exist. the ego is a survival strategy, determined that it must be right. when the body is worn down by sufficient suffering, especially the low-level continuing suffering, attachment to the known & certain weakens & decreases. new space opens up in the mind, & humble inner purification takes place deep within the unexplored mind & in the heart. the thoroughness of this purification is necessary to bring the hidden darkness to light & to move through it with dignity & bravery. hold me through this one, Shiva! hold me tightly! together we can comfort the bewildered personality who kneels in exhaustion upon her knees in weary & sincere prayer & mantra. this is in Your hands now, Shiva. i am as powerless here as a small child, except to cling to You with all the many hands of my heart, as what once seemed to be two is now known to be One.
this weird world of stories
some things just stubbornly insist on happening, mo matter how many
corrective measures we take in full sincerity of purpose to change
the outcome. we do all that we know how to amend it, without result.
we term it destiny, fate, karma, yet still we determinedly work to
change it to a desired agreeable outcome. we are called proactive,
take-charge, fired-up, & are encouraged in our actions by the opinions
of others near us & by all we have ever learned in society.
repeatedly we throw ourselves into doing what it seems to take to
obtain our chosen outcome, yet somehow again, so strangely, still nothing
changes in a fundamental way. words are said, promises are made, new
plans are put in place & yet, amazingly, nothing different happens.
this is the point at which we need to realize that vaster forces are
in motion & they are beyond individual efforts to change, no
matter how sincere our urges or how deserving of merit we are.
we are now in the midst of a lesson we need to learn, although we may
not be aware of it. this is the time to be the detached observer
& to stand back, unattached, as events play out, watching carefully for
our cue to act & the timing of the action. we are not in control
of events, although we can learn to adapt & flow without resistance.
we learn to be grateful that we can grow in awareness & compassion,
even here in this audience participation comedy-drama.
it's called maya lila, the laughter & play of this weird world of stories
that hint not to take it all dead seriously. a strong sense of humor
becomes an excellent survival strategy down here in the maya
of jagat, a place where we must learn to turn to the higher powers for
help. the whole universe is waiting for us to mature & take our place
as co-creators with the Holy Ones, such as Shiva, who is no doubt
cheering us on at this very pregnant moment of opportunity.
a magical, mutual transglobal blessing
You sent me upon a mission, Shiva, more than forty far-flung years ago. to begin the calling, You impress me with signs & wonders to get my full attention. in a vision, great portents are placed before me, cosmic symbols: a ring of fire emerges from a total eclipse, soaring to circle orion, then the pleiades, where etheric shapes come forth; a pale golden square that slowly sinks into the receptive earth at my feet; a translucent silvery bell that enters my heart chakra; a glowing angel thrusts his hands into my heart area, smiling. i am stunned speechless. i know this is big! information is now downloaded to my awareness. i am shown that the angel is preparing for birth as a human & that i owe gratitude to him. i am told that i will remember him from this vision & that he will remember none of it. he will appear, through his speech & acts, to be an ordinary young man, yet he has a special destiny, & i am to encourage & mentor him. no details are given & this is all i know. i am alert to find him, to encounter him, & the years pass by. decades elapse: forty years have now passed, yet still i look for that human angel. my circumstances become limited as disability necessitates living in a nursing home. nonetheless, that vivid vision lives urgently within me, still calling, even as the body nears eighty years of living. one day after the removal of a cancer, i seek musical comfort from a new singer sincerely belting out a deeply feeling version of Your Shiva Tandava Stotram, the song that is the most meaningful of all to me. i listen to more than thirty different versions by various singers, Shiva, & his is truly the very best. i feel that this is quite important somehow. though the vision has not yet been remembered, i am so impressed by his version of the Shiva Tandava that i contact him to encourage him. he is but twenty years old at this time, living at home in india, & i live in the usa. it takes me months to recognize him as the angel in my long-ago vision, now here in his human form. i am painting a canvas of Shiva with dark blue skin & hair. in a flash, i see this as a photo negative of that pale angel in the vision. it is my singer! then, when in video chat while we talk, he reaches out with both of his hands towards the phone, which from my angle appears as if his hands are reaching towards my heart center. that's when it really, vividly hits me: this is he! this is the one whom i have been waiting for & looking for all these many years! of course, i naturally love him. my heart has been prepared long ago for this very time. he easily accepts my love & cautious confession about the vision. he is mercifully open to it all. i have shared with him twice a day now for five years & have been his confidant & counselor through many ups & downs. we speak on video chat most days. i have sat with him through his time of dengue fever & typhoid. he has sat with me through my husband's death & my covid episode. we help each other. he is twenty-five now & i am eighty-one, yet age just doesn't matter any more. i don't really know what my task with him is, but this i do know: that i am to be available to help him in whatever way i can. he has certainly helped me! he is a rare young man, open-hearted, tender & kind. he is also an amazing hindustani classical music singer with a master's degree, preparing for his doctorate. it is a path of uncertainty & i am his encourager. he is also my encourager, & the bright light in my life, an expression of You, Shiva! i am deeply touched that You have given me a dear, faithful companion whom i see every day, someone who sings, laughs & blows me kisses & makes silly faces to get me to laugh & be silly too. thank You, Shiva! i have thought that i am the one to be here for him when truly, he is quite equally here for me as well. it is a magical mutual transglobal blessing! both of us, Shiva, in our own ways, are here for You, writing bhajans for You, & carefully weaving Your living presence throughout all our poetry & music. we love You, Shiva, as we love each other, innocently, with a pure, sweet, spiritual love that emanates straight from the hridaya. our deep gratitude flows like a river to You, Shiva, a holy, hallowed river.
our sacred blooming
Shiva, You have planted flowers in my willing heart where You have taken up residence. i smell their sweet fragrance rising, & their luminous colors light my whole world. You have placed a reflecting pool at the center of this holy garden, that i may reflect deeply upon the patterns of this life. i sit on the smooth stone by the pool & lose myself in formless existence, allowing the body to remain calmly seated. the scent of the blossoms enfolds, carries me like wings, lifting me higher for clear vision. ah, the light & the peaceful perfume of the flowers works magic, freeing & releasing the shy hidden crippled selves inside. they stretch & flex & become altogether new & curious to know more. i tell them that Shiva has planted beauty inside us & the time to share our sacred blooming has now come upon us. can you smell the sweetness of the blossoming flowers? do you see the huge sky, the glow of light, the face shining in the reflecting pool? do you hear the whisper of wings sounding softly overhead? come & sit with me. let us loosen the locks & bars of the mind. Shiva may plant a garden in your heart too if your earth is soft & ready to receive seed. can you allow the new to enter & to go deeply into the fastness of the heart? flowers may soon be blooming so sweetly that you will not want to leave for less.
Shiva of infinite name & form
Shiva of infinite name & form, You are everywhere within our sight. You guide our journey invisibly, You remain close all through the long night. as iron is called by the magnet, Your wholeness calls out to the fragment! You are the distant thunder booming in the far hills of the searching mind. Shiva, You show Your face in the clouds & we leave our distractions behind. as iron is called by the magnet, Your wholeness calls out to the fragment! Shiva, You free us from delusion to reveal the holiness hidden in the playful changes of maya, & all that we still call forbidden! as iron is called by the magnet, Your wholeness calls out to the fragment! Shiva of infinite name & form, You are everywhere within our sight. You guide our journey invisibly, You remain close all through the long night.
a mystic dialect of OM seldom heard
instead of a warm breeze on the first day of spring in the ripe countryside, we receive a new world fully gift-wrapped in thick soft heavy snow. i stand beneath my meditation tree, a full mature hemlock whose thick branches protectively extend all the way to the ground. they guard the inner holy chamber here in the temple of the green sun in safe shelter valley. most of the trees in these thick woods have already leafed out, so when the surprise snowstorm rushes silently in during the predawn hours, all the various trees & bushes are transformed into strange creatures from another realm, frozen in mid-step. but the most mesmerizing thing i notice is the sound that the wind makes as it gusts through the trees. i have never before heard such a sighing, murmuring whisper rushing from the play of the wind in the snow-covered leafy branches of the trees! i stand entranced by the untimely swirling flakes. i bask in the sweet aloneness, soothed by the temple of the green sun. all sound is softened, blended into the continued soughing of the wind in the boughs of the trees. this is the time to go deep within, to plumb down beneath the surface of the mundane in a rare inner archeology to reveal the heart. this is when the world pauses & i'm standing on the edge of everything i have known, poised to take that next step forward. all around me the white cloaked trees stand as dignified sentinels. the wind links us in a shared meditation, giving voice to the trees in a mystic dialect of OM seldom heard. ah Shiva! thank You for the precious gems of memory that we share from Your akashic records. that rare magical spring equinox under the calm quiet cover of snow always soothes & uplifts when i visit it. this is a sweet healing. is that You, Shiva, whispering in my ear? or the soughing of the wind in the snow-laden branches? or perhaps they are really much the same thing, upon deeper reflection. You are always guiding me towards seeing the wholeness that includes all the parts. guide me now, Shiva, please guide me from deep within.
a sparrow flies to the window sill early this dawning–a small humble bird–& he erupts into song! i mean that he seems to puff up & grow enormous to my inner sight, & then he just explodes into singing, like a crystalline shower of rainbows & stars! it is dark enough to see the whole extravaganza, almost a surreal fireworks display, a musical magical frolic of the best music & light show that i have ever witnessed! the sparrow's song transports me instantly to the revered pure land, where beauty, kindness & affection are themselves a language, a heart-spoken silent speech. i have just enough time to draw in a deep breath of this purity & love, & now i am standing by the window again. the song sparrow, looking in at me from the window sill, winks at me, a broad exaggerated, knowing wink! i quickly wink back & grin because, Shiva, i would recognize You in any disguise! thank You for giving my day a festive beginning. thank You for this big smile stretching wide across my face!
out of this world
the occasion of covid finds us again at this nursing home. covid is a great respecter of age, finding mature elder bodies to be the very best hosts: simply too tired to refuse entry, so come on in! it is surely the way of nature of the elderly to make way for the new generations of fresh young bodies to carry on. they have the strength & resilience to do the most necessary things in this world. caring for it comes to them now: to these lively & eager fresh fledglings who flex their ready muscles & minds as they wait for their turn in the sun. in the meanwhile, at nursing homes throughout the struggling world, the designated elderly await their journeys home to the pure land where all bodies are composed of luminous light & originate from the universal refulgence, starshine, & from Shiva's abiding love. but weep not, for there is no suffering, & this fateful transition comes to all of us in good & proper time, like a graduation party after the most difficult course ever encountered at university. now our preparation is over & done, the course is completed & graduation is in the past. we are now freed from old obligations. nature has taken its given course. all is well in the vaster holy realm wherein we find our true home of the heart. it is far beyond the portal that covid opened to us for a brief time, yet it works well for our sacramental homecoming. Shiva waits for us there to welcome us with song & dance! i hear that the music & light show is out of this world!
the gulf of mexico
for those who come to the gulf of mexico, he is the great comforter. his warm enfolding arms soothe & support, & his broad white beaches heal & delight. primal peacefulness laps the sand within the waves that have traveled untold mystic miles & miles to gently greet all who come for this healing. the peace is absorbed into the gracious sand to be shared in the swelling, streaming surges of surf, the soft susurrus of wave whispering to wave. just to sit on the sand & watch the waves as they slowly roll in will calm the clamoring heart. searching through the sand can reveal amazing tiny treasures: dainty diatoms, etched sea glass, smooth water-sculpted minerals that resemble the magical jewels worn by mermaids. driftwood of all varieties invites inspection, & rare sea shells are hiding nearby, just waiting for a curious hand to uncover & discover them. the gulf feels like a venerable dear friend & a wise teacher who is always ready for another willing student. i am such a student, & have been an observer of the gulf since i am a small child. he is my first teacher & i honor him greatly. the gulf of mexico is one of Shiva's forms that He takes on to be accessible to all who may be called to Him, as i was. it is a gentle introduction to a companion who is as free & available as water & air. thank You, Shiva, for being manifest in all the great natural things of this living earth: holy mountains, deep oceans, rivers, fertile plains, huge clouds & sky wonders of all kinds. there is nothing we can touch that is not somehow touching You too, Shiva! i am sincerely counting on this fact!