the birds of the night

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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.

the hidden door

Your code is prime in my DNA, Shiva. All else is
inscribed upon Your fundamental code within the
very genes of this holy organism, from bones to brain.

thus nothing can penetrate beyond the superficial
surface because in the final reckoning, You stand guard.
i am Yours alone, regardless of who claims me, Shiva.
only Your code can open the hidden door of my heart.

the fruitful darkness

soft upon the senses darkness descends, gently pressing,
inviting acceptance, surrender. this is the fruitful
darkness of gestation where borders blur & numinous
exchange can happen spontaneously. words are too slow
for this subtle realm, too angular, sharp & hard. like knives
carving water, they give motion mimicking meaning, yet
little is clear & nothing enduring remains for long.
the gentle fruitful darkness is like a womb, allowing
growth of life without disturbance, nurturing & holding
it in the divinely provided secure protection.

i come from that darkness to You, Shiva, called forth by the
sacred mystery of Your summons, alluring as the
glow of a night-blooming blossom in the pale new moonlight.
soft upon the senses, darkness deepens, gently pressing,
hinting of surrender to the fullness of gestation.
this is where we touch, far beyond borders or worlds. this is
where words are put aside & communion of pure essence
reaches forth, heart to heart. this is all i know, Shiva: the
slow unveiling of the wordless, the advent of light born
of the fruitful darkness, the abundant mother of form.

when You were the sky

when You were the sky, Shiva, & i was a cloud in Your vastness,
You played with me through dancing fingers of wind, shaping me into
magnificent forms far beyond my own insubstantial command.

when You were the sky & i was Your cloud, i was held close in the
purity & power of Your divine reach & thus was in the
fated place to rest upon the wild blessing of Your broad blue chest.
i was at the center of the target, Shiva. Your aim was true.

now the body is human, yet You have come to play anyway:
Your love is spacious, embracing all who sincerely long for You.
just as You opened Yourself in the sky, so it is that now on
earth You appear before me & draw me deep down into Your heart.
You have made me Yours, marked me with Your touch & sign, declared Yourself
in full to me. I say yes again, world without end, & we dance.

what control has a drifting cloud in the windswept heights of the sky?
enfold me in the swift current of Your divine intent, Shiva,
& dance me across the wide sky into the blaze of a new dawn.

lord of trees

fruit hanging on the tree ripens from tart to sweet, ever
maturing & softening, becoming lushly juicy.
fully ripe fruit may fall from the tree, offering itself
to the passing hungry beings, to all who search for food.
this is the dharma of fruit: to nourish all, that the seed
inside may be carried to fertile soil to continue
the ageless cycle of replication & provision.

Shiva, You have given me sweetness, color & fragrance.
i hang here on this branch, ripe & awaiting Your harvest
in the coming time, in the season of ingathering.
whether i grow on the highest branch or on the lowest
is of no concern, for You see my innate potential
transcending the exterior circumstances. You are
the lord of trees, of the green world, Shiva, overseeing
their divine gifts of nurture, shelter, ceaseless protection
& generosity. in the same way, people who give
of themselves without measure abide in Your protection.

i am here on this branch awaiting Your harvest, Shiva,
giving myself to Your service, for this is my dharma.