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why i am sharing this nontraditional spiritual journey

  • 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!

love letter of pure light

You are raining down on me today, Shiva, the cool raindrops of
You blessing the heat of the skin. the body is sending You a
love letter of pure light inscribed by the flames dwelling in this heart.
it's a subjective light show, the inner fire & water meeting
to celebrate a magnificent love: it's You, of course, Shiva:
You are the transcendent over-lighting energy that inspires
from morning to morning. so rain on me, please, Shiva! Your holy
healing rain only adds to the celebration of the heart &
deepens the internal communion that so cleanses & renews.

the sky has no pockets

Shiva, You splashed the sky all over me & now birds flock to me
& rainbows romp around the corner, hoping for rain to come soon.
all is included. i lost my edges in the sky's dome. there's no
"i" in the sky, only infinite inclusiveness & the high
advent of miracles & wonders. they float in me like clouds,
sharing their gifts when enticed by human invocations & wants.

i am spread so wide & so thin, Shiva, that the fingers of
the sun slide smooth & warm through me, sounding dulcet musical tones
from my mountain peaks & prayers from my worn plateaux. Shiva, You
splashed the sky all over me & now even the stars take notice,
for i am open to everything made of this heavenly light.
You have made me a portal for the stars to come & go, & now i
am free space, allowing each to shine the radiance of their gifts.

i hold it all lightly, for the sky has no pockets for saving things
& no urge for acquisition. my arms reach around the world &
my hands nudge as the gentle breeze that murmurs "wake up". now that i
am sky-splashed i have no need to hang on to anything because
i stretch from horizon to horizon due to Your playful grace,
Shiva, due to Your grace. You are the sun in the sky of my heart.

a beginner’s grasp

i understand that the sun is alive, a great sentient being,
a dear teacher who is surrounded by students, whom we call planets.
this earth, who gives substance for our bodies, is itself alive & in
the midst of its own spiritual unfolding & deep sadhana.
i see also that the human species comes from the quickening
planetary sadhana & our lives reflect the earth's urge to give a
grateful gift to our solar teacher who holds us safe in his body.

he also evolves in his own service to the living galaxy,
spinning in its sadhana like a great cosmic sufi in joyful
fervor with the venerable divine local group of galaxies.
they all gyre together in concert with the vaster galactic dancing
divinities throughout the huge far-flung deep field of untold billions
of galaxies visible to humans through our many instruments.

these immense living congeries of starbeings themselves constitute
a yet greater life unimaginable to flesh & bone lifeforms.
these networks of transgalactic beings express the outpouring called
"the big bang," a cosmic event that has got our full attention.
here we are, human beings peering into the vastest unknown that
we are capable of through our telescopes. we are created thus
by our earth, who gives us these bodies & the burning urge to explore.

oh Shiva! Your expression is vast & varied & the whole of it
constitutes You, spinning in Your dance of creative transformation.
You have given us a beginner's grasp of this immeasurable
existence & i am grateful for the all-embracing overview.

thank You, Shiva, for this immensity of interconnected lives:
transgalactic, galactic, solar & planetary. thank You for
the gods, devas, & unknown others who dance in this great creative
ensemble. we ourselves are an iteration of this grand dancing
cosmic life, kin to planets & stars. thank You, Shiva, for the guidance
& instruction & for being my dance-partner in this brief vision
of one little corner of this vast realm of metagalactic space.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA

the sky

the sky -- with its winds, clouds, sun, moon & stars & its fiery streaming
mysteries that pull us like a sacred magnet -- lifts us out of
ourselves, calls us to that which expands us & inspires us to awe.
the sky -- with its storms of rain, snow & light -- freely sparks
endless wonder as it plays with our earthly forms & creations.
it touches us with its airy hands, both gentle & sometimes fierce.
the sky holds us in its arms like a mother, guides us on our way
like a father, always there, always here: our holy family.

throughout this life i have taken more true comfort from the sky than
from anything else. the vastness of the curved blue dome stretches
as far as i can see. it is changing, always changing, shifting
in clarity from misty grey to a sea of brilliant azure
with immense rounded clouds like whales making their great mysterious
migrations, called by unseen energies. i too am called by the
unseen: Shiva, Your boundless power & love has convinced me to
cast off into the vastness of the shimmering unknown. the heart
is like a sail, catching the wind of spirit & filling full with
the gratitude that carries me onward in Your companionship.
You are my sky, holding my atoms in place. You are everywhere,
like space, wrapping me in Your indigo sky-blanket with the stars.
hold me close & hold me tight for i am but a child in Your arms.

the birds of the night

internet image
i am a friend to the birds of the night who emerge out of
the liminal spaces where light & dark meet & dance & blend.
we call out our wild joy to the moon & stars who now come forth
from their seclusion to shine soft subtle light into hidden
realms of moving misty forms, shifting through beckoning shades of
visibility. i am called beyond my borders by them,
enticed by these swirling shapes that glide, turn & recede from me
with the flowing meandering moves of those from somewhere else.

Shiva, lord of darkness & light, You are also truly lord
of us liminal people, drawn like moths to Your fiery love.
we sing with the birds of the holy night: the owls, whippoorwills
& chuck-will's-widows. like the drunkards brash midnight serenade,
we are loud & we won't stop our eager full-throated calling,
our powerful celebration of this transitional time.

i am a friend to the birds of the night who emerge out of
the liminal spaces to proclaim our heart's vision to You,
who wear the moon in Your hair & like to hear our songs: Shiva!
the banner of Your love flies for all outsiders such as we.

what sweetness pervades

there are different ways of knowing than by form alone.
there are alternate ways of being than those offered by
the urging of consensus sociocultural demands.
they will find you when you are made more tenderly receptive
by forces vaster than you can understand or encompass.

it feels like destruction & devastation: the spaciousness!
the bones of the old order no longer demanding your flesh,
the freedom of nothing remaining to lose, save or cling to.
you may fall into the heart of gravity or glide in winds
of the cosmic breath of OM. you may pause at the still center
beyond human thought as the divine play of polarity
sets the cost of exit & ushers you through the dark doorway.

into the void you descend, the nothingness: but what sweetness
pervades that mysterious emptiness! what love flows warmly
through the center of the heart! there are many other ways of
knowing than by form. Shiva, this i learned & now share freely
in the same way that birds feel the urge to sing in glad wonder
as the new day reveals rising light; or as the flower spreads
the fist of the bud into petals held wide like fingers to
salute You, Shiva, & bask in the rays of the newborn sun.

now comes the singularity

the daily critique of people & events runs on one channel.
the witness of this drama watches it from another channel.
where do i place my voluntary attention & heartfelt choice?

at each moment there is a purposeful return to the witness.
over & over the urge manifests to see truly, clearly,
not to indulge in the ego drama of fierce feelings, needs &
iron preferences enclosing like binding chains & blinders.

if nothing more is done for sadhana than this alone, at least
this much is completed to coax & invite deeper awareness.
hence the mind's tv is tirelessly tuned to the witness channel,
forming the habit of divine detachment as a point of view.
it will eventually happen that the tv is turned off
& that there are no channels at all available any more.

now comes the singularity, the formless blending foretold
by quantum physics & the upanishads & psychedelics.
as the event horizon nears, i surrender the mind to You.
ah, it's better that my heart should thirst & pine after You, Shiva,
than to encounter the hungry ghosts of the active agile mind!

the dweller within is ageless

the body is elderly, yet the dweller within is ageless.
activity is limited by a medical condition,
yet the heart-center is online & the inner work continues
with vivid dedication & continuous cultivation.

in another realm i dwell as timeless receptive consciousness.
the many realms interpenetrate & i am in them all in
various conditions. the bodies change, yet i continue the
journey of increasing awareness & consequent devotion.

when words are available i rejoice, Shiva, i rejoice that
i am able to see a more expansive vision through Your grace.
the constraints of the physical realm dissolve in other domains.

the body is elderly, yet the dweller within is ageless,
returning repeatedly to the wholeness of heart-consciousness.
i am aware of You, yet there is no separation present.
we are blended consciousness, distinct yet simultaneously
combined as well. love is the substratum of our union, Shiva.

who i really am does not need a physical body to be.
i am forever You at heart, eternally Your expression,
dedicated to You as only ones deepest Self can be. here
now is the pure land in mellow shining glory, the beating of
the divine heart of the world sounding OM, sounding OM, sounding hOMe!

the body comes & goes, comes & goes, & You go on forever,
Shiva of numberless names, including the name i once thought was mine.

sunrise in my heart

there is a sunrise in my heart. with each breath the sunglow increases;
with every thought of You, Shiva, the passing moment warms & brightens.
this sunrise of You fills me completely & i become a fountain.

there is a sunrise in my heart & love wells forth, showering gently
down, falling like a nourishing rain into all the thirsty places.
the cracked soil softens & brings forth tender shoots of green that flow like grace
through hidden lowlands & the wild places of nature, my own as well.

a chorus of birds is singing in the light that leaks from the sunrise
in my eager open heart. they fly to me now, bringing gifts of ferns,
flowers & leaves. they recognize Your energy signature, Shiva.

there is a sunrise in my heart, a faithful guiding light that persists
& ever returns to its sentinel post, comfortingly present.
in this light the sacred subtle dimensions soar luminous, revealed,
& You beckon to me compellingly to stand with You in the light.
like a falcon returning to the falconer's arm, i come to You.

we will not stop our singing

i saw the timeworn tumbled stones of a great temple where
once the mother goddess prevailed in peaceful times long gone.
the mountain had another name then. we all had truer
names & spoke in warm clear vowels that blessed the trees leaning
toward us in the sweet communion of celebration.

now our names are clipped short & our words clash & clatter sharp
against the stone, like bullets ricochetting upon the
broken temple walls. the stones weep. i hear them late at night
when the owls call into the darkness that has crept across
the land & over our minds. this night we lean toward the
promise of dawn, toward the morning song of the wood thrush.
the hands of the heart reach out in tender supplication.

like the old scattered temple stones, we wait for another
era, a coming time, a milder season, & we give
new names of soft syllables to the old things. we lift our
hopeful eyes to the mountain top & the sky & sing. we sing.

can You hear us, Shiva? we will not stop our singing, we
will not close up our throats again, but loud & strong we will
ever sing of beauty & wholeness that never ceases
pushing toward the light. hear us, Shiva! we call You now,
laying out the breadcrumbs of our invocation, lighting
the path with our love & urgent need as we voice our song.

the mountain calls out through us to You, Shiva, offering
itself as Your temple in these times that beg our response.
we will build a new temple from these tumbled mother-stones
& sing in calm flowing syllables nestled in silence.

i am

i am a stone at the bottom of the cascading stream,
smoothed by its invisible elemental cool fingers.

i am the sky in the water, the water in the sky,
the many in the one & the one within the many.

i am the music of the water splashing & tumbling
over the shoulders of the bowing hills, & rejoicing.

i am speech & the subtle space between the streaming words.
i am the silence & the fragrance of the peaceful heart.

i am an expression of You, Shiva, discovering
again my personal absence in Your holy presence.

the pearl inside

today is broken glass, sharp edges, crippled promises,
missed deadlines & forgotten friendliness. a lost child cries
quietly, alone in a dim locked room in an attic.

Shiva! You bring me the circumstances of these jagged
hungry-ghost feelings to help me discover that they do
indeed pass & do change & are not who i really am.

Shiva, You keep breaking me open so i can discern
the truth of my existence, or perhaps so i can find
the pearl inside, made from the good intentions of others,
imposed upon the soft tender innocence deep within.
that pearl is not mine, nor do i claim it or desire it.
it is Yours. only You can transform what the beauty hides.

Shiva, i will cleave to You with unrelenting firmness
as we resolve into the same essential beingness.
here the wave of me merges into the ocean of You:
here there is no broken glass, no lost child, not even words.

the mines of maya

we are at work in the mines of maya, clearing & refining,
opening space for light to shine. we need that light in this mine.

that which is dark & jagged, we polish, smooth & purify.
we ourselves are being refined in this manner by the gods
who, in their turn, are also being refined & clarified
for the refulgence of light, the renewal we want to feel.

oh how we fly when we can & how we crawl when we must!
the dense events of life can weigh us down with added gravity
& subsequent immobility. we are at work in the
mines of maya, cleaning, digging out the darkness to find the
subtle veins of light concealed in all things, yet accessible.
light is hidden everywhere, Shiva, for You gave us this gift:
the light that calls us home, the yearning in our hearts for Your grace.