the woods in the deep of the night

the woods at deep twilight smell sweet & moist, immersed in the subtle
allure of the night's hidden magic. the roosting crows in repose
mutter good night to one another in soft clicks & croaks. shadows
settle over the trees, descending from the hands of the sky like
a shawl to wrap the woods in featureless & faceless protection.

sharp details belong to the day, are necessary to see for
the accomplishments & unveilings that take place under the sun.
deeds are done & tasks await: gathering & dispersing happens.
order is valued & scripts are offered for all the roles & their
requirements. survival is the bottom line. i hold myself in
to fit within the narrow slot allotted for those such as me.

but at night, in the mysterious woods, none of that bright world rules.
here in the darkness, the unknown & irrational prevail, & the
shadows may be doorways opening into other realms. You come
to me through those shadows, Shiva, & tell me of wonders beyond.
You touch my heart & unlock it, & i will forever thank You
for this, for coming to me. i will forever thank You, Shiva.

the woods in full nightfall smell sweet & moist, an invitation to
deeper magic. Shiva, soon the moon will rise high & the darkling
playmates emerge from hiding. there's a song in my heart that escapes
through my lips & it stands as a motto for this entire life. "i
mean no harm; i am passing through. i celebrate all existence."

thank You, Shiva, for urging me out to befriend the darkness &
the unfamiliar. You hold me in Your hands & in Your heart
& i hold on to You forever. You take away my concern &
You leave me with Your grace, here in the woods in the deep of the night.

other levels of the game

internet image
if i were to immerse myself in a cyberspace virtual world,
it would be akin to what i am doing here in this world of the
western mindset. here i train the body to be the compassionate
detached observer of life's unfolding events through the various
daily dramas. i seek to navigate them consciously & kindly.
this brings the exit door of maya's theater of thrills into view
& more options become available, other levels of the game.

i search for the source & essence of that which captivates my desire.
where does all this creation come from? how does it originate? how
else to find out than to venture deeply within, beyond the realm of
maya's dramas to the emanating inner point of awareness?
by way of immersion into the secret chamber of the heart, i
find Shiva, the lord of the animal body, who abides therein.
He shepherds me through the iterations of change to the very source.

Shiva has various names & forms & they are all teachers & guides.
when i turn my focus inwards, away from the changing outer world
towards the realm within myself, Shiva likewise turns His face to me
in the way that i can best resonate with & respond to. i have
guidance & the warm sustenance of subtle divine companionship.

Shiva is the steward of virtual reality, counting this
one i find myself in at the birth of this body. He is quite set
upon awakening me to my full potential of awareness.
i accept His offer! Let the good times roll in total immersion!

these wings

i rise into flight & i break into song, into a thousand
thousand pieces. they all have their own holy lives & they have their
own wings as they fly off to do their own duties. surely songs are
free beings with their own dharma after they emerge from the lips:
they have their own journeys to set out upon. i carried them all
when they were tender & small & it's time now to let them go free.

i break out of the prison i carefully made out of rules, roles
& regulations. i'm cutting the cords; i'm leaving the matrix.
i'm fully out of the chrysalis now, shedding the confining
tight old skin & spreading my wings into the rising sunlight. they
glow & they know just where to go, & i am but a passenger.
Shiva, these wings will take me to You: what else can be their purpose?
what else can they do but take me to You? that's what this life is for.

the open doorway of the sky

things that float & fly trigger primal joy & amazement in us:
birds, butterflies, bubbles & balloons; airplanes, spaceships,
ufos. they draw our attention up to the sky, to the sun, moon & stars
& other wonders too precious & arcane to divide into
diagrams of nouns, verbs & their modifiers, arranged much like
bricks in a wall to assure properly predictable results.

things that float & fly need abundant space, emptiness, freedom, an
openness so vast that the human mind pours itself into a
quietude that watches & wonders without structured boundaries.
You came to me in that way, Shiva, through the open doorway of
the sky, & You established Your home in my heart. You made of me
a temple, a place of worship & rejoicing over all these
long years since my youth. You were my nameless, invisible
companion & confidant & i was the one who held You close.

now, at the endgame of this life, You have given me Your name to
strengthen my sadhana & to encourage me to continue
on here. i'm as though among the singers in a chorus, holding
the notes steady & pouring my heart into the great thundering
sonic concluding celebration of soaring sound. You lift me
skyward, Shiva; You take me to that high place inside that feels like
being on a mountain top with all the shining mystery spread
before me. i fall into You, into that mystery, & it
is none other than the vast undivided Self that exists free
of definition & delusion. here, at the outer edge of words,
things that float, fly & fall need boundless space, emptiness & freedom.

juggling soap bubbles

some things are just too precious & delicate to speak of
in human words. they wiggle sideways, squirm & slide away
& only the yearning to touch that mystic realm remains.

it is more real & alive than anything down here
that comes with rules & penalties. it has taken my heart
hostage & the baffled mind is left juggling soap bubbles
by the light of the dim waning moon, murmuring softly.

Shiva walks the burning grounds in clouds of dust & ashes.
i join my steps with His by the flickering of the fire,
& he lays a crown of soap bubbles on my waiting head.
i smile & do not speak. my heart is full. there are no words.
they finally fall short. i walk silently with Shiva.
nothing given in words lasts, but the heart can point the way.

the spider trilogy 3: angel, arachnid or alien?

i do not know how tightly i guard the borders of the body until
an attentive & curious little spider demonstrates it to me.
i am so intently aware of her that i feel like i'm vibrating.
the net of the mind is held tight over one alert spider: we study
one another for long intense intervals over the day & a half
that she is here. she takes periodic rest breaks & retires into the
dark havens of shadows & i maintain vigilance about where i place
these large human feet when i walk. i examine my whole environment
carefully so i won't inadvertently harm her. i am akin to
a guitar string pulled really tight for the span of the spider's visit.

only after she takes leave & departs do i realize how very
powerful & concentrated the energy has been during her stay.
i am not at ease with insects or spiders at all, so i had been in
emergency alert mode for the entire time my visitor is here.

as days pass by & the energies mellow, i realize at last that
the little spider who stayed & studied me had left a barren place in
my life. it is rather like the silence of an empty house after the
beloved guest has gone. i miss the presence that had brought me such focus.
she is more to me than merely a spider. she is a visitor who
has come through Shiva to teach me. my sadhana is to pay attention.
i love how miraculous life is! she had only a walk-on role, yet
she made a very deep impression on me & has left me pondering.

i know that everything is of value in the divine ecology.
Shiva, all of us serve a vital function as part of a vast wholeness.
since we all are important, i can't know if a spider is an angel,
an arachnid or an alien, so i am grateful for all beings.
beyond the surface appearance: we are holy, we are blessed, we are one.

the spider trilogy 2: into the mystery

little spider, i am surprised that i miss you & the intensity
of your being overlighted by a vaster intelligence & will.
i felt as if a great mothership hovered overhead, surrounding us
in a numinous mystical energy field. everything was vivid,
crisp & focussed. it was powerful, unsettling, yet it was also like
a surprise visit by an honored & well-loved celebrity of note.

little spider, you touch my life in a tender way, like a gentle tap
on the shoulder to awaken me. you have changed my perspective away
from the conditioned, limited humanocentric view towards a far
broader & more inclusive way of seeing life. your visit has blessed me.

thank You, Shiva, for this exalting & humbling experience, which
clearly demonstrates to me that all things & beings are far more than the
face which they ordinarily reveal. we all, without exception, are
sacred seeds of the uttermost divine deity & we would do well
to recognize this & to treat each other in just this very manner.

what a powerful thing, to hold one another in the esteem of our
focussed attention. it's like sitting by a clear rushing stream that blesses
with the ripple & surge of its cooling flow. the energy is healing,
& i thank You, Shiva, for taking me with You into the mystery.

the spider trilogy 1: the spider who taught me

i am sitting on the toilet when i see the spider watching me
from the corner of the room. she is not large, yet has my attention.
i am carefully tracking her since i can't go to her at this time.
she moves to sit in front of the door & now my attention wanders.
when next i look, she is gone. when i rise from the toilet, i check out
the corners & crannies of the room: i don't see her. i carefully,
slowly, alertly return to my room, searching for her. here she is!
sitting in front of my recliner! we examine each other from
across the room. i talk to her, explaining that i would like to take
her carefully outside where i am fully convinced that she would be
happier. i speak in a sweetly soothing voice & go to get my
spider-catcher, a clear plastic drinking glass with poster-board lid to
slide over the opening. i return to see her yet sitting by
my recliner. i move slowly toward her, still speaking soothingly.

when she sees the glass in my nearing hand, she quickly scurries away,
out of sight. i sit in my chair, transferring the glass to the little
table in front, still talking to the spider. she slowly emerges
from hiding & returns to sit in front of my chair. i simply talk
companionably to her & slowly reach for the spider-catcher,
calmly rising with it in my hand. again, upon seeing the glass,
she scuttles rapidly away, disappearing from my sight once more.
i apologize to her for causing fear & explain that outside
truly is better than in here, but she does not show herself again to me.
hours later she returns to sit by me, seemingly still curious.
i am determined to safely remove her, but she won't permit it:
whenever she sees me with the glass in hand, she speedily departs.

the next day i ponder this wonder-filled visiting spider event.
she seems as intent on watching me as i am on watching her. she
does seem to make certain that i see her, so it seems that perhaps she
is giving me a message. an exchange of energy does take place:
i can feel the connective charge between us, the mutual regard.
slowly, like the sun rising over the far horizon, i begin
to understand more of this event. Shiva, You teach me by coming
as a spider to awaken me to the great holy realm of small
earthly life. oh! didn't i just write a poem about maya's web?
that's a spider-friendly image, & the lesson is to do what one
must with conscious awareness & with kind & full intent to bless, while
safely navigating maya's alluring situation set-ups.
there is no judgement involved. it is all too vast & mysterious
for heavy-handed words or confining concepts to seize & capture.

i set my pen & paper down as i prepare to rise from the chair.
wait! what is this? again my gaze lights upon the intrepid spider
who taught me so very much, sitting here once more at my feet right now!
a flood of wonder rushes all through me. the spider moves aside to sit
nearby & i grab my smartphone to take her picture. she poses calmly.
i move to get the spider-catcher & she moves too, swiftly gone now.
this is no ordinary spider, accepting the smartphone held in
my hand, yet fearing a glass held in that same hand! does she know my thoughts?

i can't help but laugh in amazement at this glorious, outrageous
display of divine playfulness! what else is there to do in the face
of such events? anything is possible: Shiva can play the role
of a spider. all life is holy & blessed in the midst of this pure
sacred rising toward the endless glory of the light of being.
all life is included in this abiding divine downpour of love.

comicstrip superhero

i am a modular being, layered like a cake. the body,
mind & feelings compose the ego-personality layers,
& the witness stands central as portal to You, Shiva, making
the cake of me multidimensional, bridging & blending realms,
giving You access through me to pour bright energy to the world.
as witness i'm like a comicstrip superhero, peeling off
the outer layers of my disguise. i step forth when the need calls
to be the willing witness who can see the gift of the patterns
organizing the richly varied drama of daily life.

i aim to be detached so that no harm can ever befall me.
yet maya still seduces by lavishing me with my fondest
wishes, now fulfilled, luring me back to her sticky web. desires
i never knew were there have merely lurked just beneath the surface,
awaiting their cue to surge forward, & i am stuck yet again.
i'm caught once more in a situation i never saw coming
& don't want to let go, all layered enticingly & well.

where is my one-pointed awareness? where is my heart flying free?
where is that cool-headed detachment when i'm stuck here in maya's
web? You've brought out my hidden attachments, Shiva, the acceptance
i had never dared hope for before, & i get to unravel
the ties & the knots that i wasn't aware were there. it feels like
do-it-yourself open-heart surgery, & i'm clumsy at best.

maya entices me to plunge into the world where i'm whirled through
the cycles, the ups & the downs, with many a story to tell.
Shiva, You use all of maya's ruses to hone my edges as
sharp as keen knives that i freely may cut through the many ties that
weigh me down, bind tight & hold me back. i need to see it all through
to the final credits at the end & then the lights will come on
again. You will be revealed by my side to the inner vision
as maya shifts the scene & the music rises to bridge to the
next episode. the detached witness rises once more within to
do it all again, yet on a higher turn of maya's spiral.
this is our dance, Shiva, round after round, recognizing & then
refining the moves of the drama, turning the darkness to light.

it can’t be hidden

beyond all form & function, beyond the need for a name:
within the innermost vastness, deep, unknown & dark, You
are here now in bold vivid presence. i don't know just how
i discern it, yet i feel You as if You're my own breath,
soft & full way down inside me, warm & welcome within,
moving gently although unseen, known in silence alone.

breath rises & falls & even speech is quiet at last,
yet still You remain lingering in Your home in the heart.
beyond all form & function, beyond the need for a name:
even so, i call You Shiva, the name that is inscribed
somewhere inside so deeply down it can't ever be lost,
even within the vastness unknown, where it shines as a
spark of Your light. it can't be hidden; it can't be quenched.

dancing shadow shapes

the wind is playing with the newly-leafed tresses of the nearby trees
today, tossing them about as if they were the long curls of intense
& passionate spanish dancers. i only see their shadows on my
curtains, but oh, how joyous they seem to be, flinging & swinging their
new spring leaves in dramatic sweeping curves of visual gratitude!

deep within, Shiva, there is springtime in the soul as well, reaching out
eagerly to You in Your guise as the solar winds to dance in grand
cosmic revelry. although i cannot see it directly, i do
notice the evidence of light & freely given exuberant
wonder & joyousness. i am stretching full out to catch it in the
fingers of subtle new awareness & discerning observation.

in this world, only the form is seen, & it too is beautiful in
the way that graceful moving shadows are when cast upon a curtain.
they draw us to open wide the curtain that we may see truly with
direct perception rather than partially & obliquely only.

yes, Shiva, everywhere i look i see Your messages & teachings.
the dancing shadow shapes of the leafing trees are Your fleeting greetings,
giving rise to a broad smile on my face & melting warmth in the heart.

lying fallow

sometimes i am a garden lying fallow after harvest,
stripped of my nourishing abundance. my leaves are brown & crisp,
stalks & stems are brittle & broken, scattered on the resting
earth as a testament to blessings given generously.

i can breathe into the earth even when i cannot reach for
the shining sky, so i go deep, deep down past the spent dry roots.
i sleep, forgetful of bright springtime & sun, returning the
physical substance to its origin. i dream. i dream of
You, Shiva, Who planted me here & cultivated my pure
essence & reaped my natural bounty. it has emerged from
tiny hard seeds hidden in the darkness of the ground, & grown
to lift many arms & hands up to praise the sun & honor
the moon. it has been glorious, & i thank You, Shiva, as
i release the firm form into the cool darkness & soft dust
of the waiting earth. lying fallow is also part of the
process that yields the next abundant harvest in its own time.

hold me, Shiva. hold me as i rest quietly without care,
dreaming of formlessness & freedom from this human dharma.

a marker on the path

it is as if i have been granted access to a dimension
previously unknown to me. evening enfolds, & the other
residents are in bed as the mind's silence now invites peace to
embrace. i relax in my recliner, contemplating the soft
surrounding space stretching above me & all around. my eyes lose
their concrete focus & widen into the shifting shadow &
light of the dancing air. it is as if the focus of my eyes
has adjusted to a more rarified realm. i can no longer
separate the vision of the physical eye from the mind's eye.

gradually i become aware of two vague beings on either
side of me. i slowly understand that they are benefactors,
healers, & that i am one of their charges. we communicate
wordlessly as they share their healing energy, which i accept,
leaning back in my recliner. i come to understand that this
interpenetrating higher dimension is always present,
freely offering access to uplifting energies. my own
vibratory rate has apparently quickened enough now to
allow contact. this information flows into me to comfort
with pure intent. all is warmly radiant with the light of truth
& the fragrance of cosmic love interpenetrates everything.

i relax into the healing blessing of this new frequency.
awareness has deepened & expanded to include so much more!
even after the passage of time back here in this world of flesh,
blood & bone, i can feel the benevolent subtle presence of
this more refined vibratory realm, a place of healing indeed!

thank you for the warm encouragement, Shiva! i am heartened &
energized to continue on, for i have now experienced
that which was previously known through the intellect alone. though
that is is not my goal, Shiva, it stands as a marker on the path
of return to You, who are the focus of my attention.
You alone dwell in my heart, which now sings Om Namah Shivaya!