when the sky splits open & sunshine pours
through the broken clouds, i see You, Shiva.
You have no form, yet Your presence is strong.
may the heart be touched & blessings kindled.
may sweetness be released to permeate
all who dwell in deep appreciation
of the sheer wonder of sky overhead
& breath in the warm animal body.
may we bow to Your fragrant presence here,
Shiva. You make beauty from brokenness
& angels from the most humble among us.
when the sky splits open & sunshine pours
golden honey through the clouds, i see You
turning toward this fierce realm. i mirror
You, shining light out freely to the world.
this light is Your own, recycled through me,
giving form to the formless, love to all.
You are present in all things, Shiva, down to the quarks & electrons of existence.
i ponder this as i consider the nature of the bi-valve oyster & mussel.
these sea & freshwater beings make glowing pearls from irritants which enter their shells.
they enclose the discomfort in smoothly cool soothing nacre, pale & opalescent
& humans value these pearls greatly, finding them to be healing & peaceful to touch.
perhaps pearls demonstrate that all problems & irritants are but the seeds of blessings,
the potential to create lambent beauty & wonder from a most unlikely source.
pearls are born from the suffering of creatures, yet they bring calm sustenance to the heart.
perhaps somewhere divine devic beings are uplifted by the beauty that we can
cultivate from our challenges & adversity as we bring gentle compassion
to surround our sorrows & pain while we forgive ourselves into grace & harmony.
we bring joy to the overseeing angels & devas who cheer us on to create
shining pearls of beauty from our sincere urge to be whole & complete within, at peace.
ah Shiva! all that i am is Yours, whether lustrous nacre or thickly darkened dust:
i withhold nothing. i am completely Yours in all ways for i myself come from You.
whether tears of joy or tears of sorrow: all are the primal seeds of pearls for Shiva.
thus the suffering of life transforms into the cultivation of beauty's soft glow.
lifetimes ago in a much younger version of this body,
feeling abandoned & alone, i trudge in despair to work,
crushed by circumstances. bound to a daily routine of duties
working in a natural foods store, i am sweeping the floor.
dull & stiff as a wooden doll, i pushed the broom slowly through
the wholesome organic rubble of the spilled grain, flour & beans.
suddenly a twinkling glimmer of gold pierces through my mood
& i see a perfect gleaming gold star in the dusty dregs.
time pauses as i stand thoughtfully, aware of Your presence,
knowing that You offer me this radiant encouragement,
knowing that You remain with me even when i turn away
to stumble stubbornly on my solitary lonely own.
You give me a gold star, Shiva, even in the density
of personal teeth-clenched hopeless human abandonment.
it is but a small gold star, yet magnified by the power
of Your divine presence touching me & entering my heart.
i yet carry that bright gold star in the deepest pocket of
memory & my heart is blessed by the sweet fragrance of You.
when i have nothing at all to cling to, Shiva, that is when
You catch me in Your arms as i fall & hold me to Your heart.
"cling to me," You whisper in my ear, "cling to Me alone now
& i will carry you safely through to the end of all time."
what wind unsettles the roots of my hair now? what fire flickers in this enveloping night? i cry to the origin of wind & fire: Lift me higher, wind, so that i can see more. give more light, i beg fire, that i may see truth.
the wind wraps me in its fist & flings me far, shreds my deep certainties & my doubts to dust. the fire burns the dust to ashes, grey & thick. i am clothed in ashes, covered head to foot, though this is not visible to most people.
the world does not know that the fire yet flickers, hidden hot in the recesses of the heart. i feed it with the focussed attention of the pure rapt child who has just discovered a butterfly rising from dark concealment up into sunshine, wings glowing bright as embers.
what wind unsettles the roots of my hair now? it is You, Shiva, You as wind, as fire, as a suddenly revealed direct perception. You are the light & darkness, fully filling my awareness until You are so vast that You seem like a field of endless galaxies.
were i not clothed in invisible ashes, no one could see me through the resplendent light of Your presence holding my atoms in place: Shiva, lord of my heart & essence of all.
the fallow field is demonstrating rest to replenish reserves,
giving rise to the serendipitous wild growth that heals the earth.
the erupting volcano is demonstrating the power of
hidden forces far beyond human control or understanding.
the earth shaking, shifting beneath our feet, is demonstrating that
even the seemingly hard & firm is only temporary.
the vast fierce winds of a formidable storm are demonstrating
the untamable invisible force of that which we call air.
the flooding rivers & oceans are demonstrating the power
of permeability, perseverance & nonresistance.
the awe felt when viewing a rainbow or stars on a moonless
night is demonstrating the power of numinous mystery.
the blossoming flower garden is demonstrating the sublime
beauty of cooperative beings sharing innermost gifts.
the caring human being is demonstrating that goodness springs
up naturally to nourish & bless all planetary life.
thus in this manner, Shiva, all existence is demonstrating
intrinsic wholeness composed of many interrelating parts.
as the sun is to the circling earth; as the earth is to all its
living beings, so are You essential to me, without a doubt.
i embrace You, Shiva, in all this rampant variety &
unsettling change, for You alone are my heart's true compass & guide.
i am grateful to be aware of You dwelling deep in my heart
where Your light can leak out in thought & word & deed to bless & heal.
this very moment the hatchling finally cracks the egg-shell open,
tumbling forth, naked, wobbly & damp, heartbeat sounding, breath whispering
in, out, pulling "now" in, pushing out all that came before, repeating.
this very moment the shy nestling gawks over the rim of the nest,
body throbbing with her hunger, innocent eyes & mouth open wide.
this very moment the brave fledgling dares to test her new wings in flight
& plunges falling into the wind, which holds & lifts her high & free.
I am Your fledgling, Shiva, urged from within to stretch my wings & fly,
soaring with You beside me, ascending this very moment, right now!
i see the plump dark springtime clouds rolling over the near horizon,
rushing on their fingers of rain. this is You, frolicking in the sky,
Shiva! You weave Yourself through my hair in Your guise as the gusting wind.
ravens soar in circles above, rejoicing in Your divine presence.
i also soar in my own way, through intuition & heart & eyes,
delighting in the moist richness of wind & rain & Shiva my love,
in these exciting springtime energies rising up & raining down.
tender roots descend into primal wild earth, drinking hidden nurture,
abiding dusky deep & sweet within, urging tree & grain to green.
Shiva, You enter me as well, intimate as rain upon the earth,
softening the hard & brittle, increasing the receptive & moist.
You coax the yearning sprout from the seed, leaving all the tough husks behind
as testament to limitations transformed through Your grace, & released.
the world encompasses us like a glove, holding us in place,
making sure we know the moves & all the proper things to say.
Shiva says this is the embrace of a protective cocoon
designed to split open when we expand to fill it too tight.
it is meant as an interlude in a long cosmic journey,
& these words are but the quick flickers of one with wings in flight.
i see them draw together,
i observe them pull apart:
the sun & moon in a space
embrace, joining holy hearts.
flaming embers fall to earth,
descend from the cloudless sky,
hinting at the mystery
that the soul will not deny.
Shiva's dance goes on & on
as galactic seasons change.
His music calls. i respond
as i always do, again.
i see us draw together,
i observe us pull apart
in this sacred dance of life
wherein i give You my heart.
following Your guidance, Shiva, i continue to review
my life story & the blinders placed there by memory &
society, finally revealed & stripped of their power.
You have ripped the bandage from the wound & healed it with Your touch.
You healed it with Your touch, strongly resembling a surgical
procedure, as the whole is freed from the iron grip of the
presumptuous part. i need a new perspective now. it's time.
the upheaval of the quaking earth i long considered firm
beneath my feet has flung me out of my resting place & tossed
me in the air. & that is how i learned to fly & look from
there on high to see the patterns playing out in a vast expanse.
i see the story scrolling by, the hidden now revealed--&
this life makes sense, i can see it now. this life makes sense at last!
this life makes sense at last as the hidden stands revealed,
shaped by Your holy hands to prepare me for the part i play.
all i've learned in the past must now be dropped, must be left behind,
just like the empty chrysalis when the butterfly takes flight
& forgets all that had come before as if it were a dream.
You are woven through my life,
patterned in my skin & bones.
You have carried me through loss
& danced with me in danger.
my eyes have been uncovered:
now i know You for my guide,
see Your touch upon my fate.
Your hand is raised in guidance,
Your gaze enlightens my path.
i am empty without You.
the fragrance of Your presence
invites me to cling to You,
wife welcoming husband home.
You come in the form of an owl, swift-swooping close by my face
to assure full wakefulness, calling out to me in kinship.
You come in the form of a large majestic bobcat crossing
the path i follow, pausing a few meters away to stare
deeply into my eyes, entwined with me in wordless wonder.
You come in the form of a raccoon, earnestly enraptured
by the devotional chant i sing. You stand at my feet &
place Your hands on my knees, peering up at me curiously.
You come in the form of a fox, pulling me outside at night
with the gripping power of Your commanding bark that beckons.
You dance on the snow in the moonlight out in the fallow field
& the heart responds to You as if You are my beloved.
You come in the form of a mother bear bringing her three cubs
for a family picnic at our generous bird feeders.
You come in the form of a hawk soaring up over my head,
grasping a snake in its talons, snagging my rapt attention.
You come in the form of a shy flying squirrel at twilight,
gliding smoothly, dipping down to hear as i sing sacred chants.
You come in the form of a wild turkey seeking refuge while
recovering from an injury, glad for the provided food.
You come in the form of a gallant male grouse who soon becomes
the wild turkey's companion as we all meditate beneath
the sheltering branches of a sky-blessed hallowed hemlock tree.
You come as the sun & moon, as all the earthly delights &
heavenly realms that entice & enfold us in sweet wonder.
Shiva, You are all that's left when I release everything,
when there is not a "me" to perform any action at all,
for action appears to take place in a spontaneous flow.
in this manner, through me, You create these poems for sharing.
thus, glad expression is given to the Source of existence.
in the divine realm, these words are lotus blossoms & roses
placed at Your holy altar, Shiva. here on earth they flow through
the pen from the heart to You. i am Your wandering child coming
home again, the wave ever returning to the ocean.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA
i lay sick & powerless in a bleakly raw subjective realm.
Shiva, i sought You but there was no ability to connect.
i had little capacity to focus. neither mind nor heart
was able to hold steady nor could the body find restfulness.
i saw the inescapable fact of transience & that the
body, from birth to death, is at the mercy of the fickle world.
i saw the fixed agenda of the sociocultural rule
& the curtailing framework of dogma, belief & submission.
the shiny domain of civilization seemed rather uncivil
as the coronavirus occupied my senses & raged its
own battle against the entrenched forces held deep down within
body & mind, digging up the time-worn bones of old suffering.
i felt dispirited, Shiva, & vulnerable to culling
for the offense of inconvenient & unwelcome viewpoints.
i lay there unable to register Your presence & feeling
like a pariah outcast refugee from another planet.
this is where i see in my own life that the eternal goodness,
who is given myriads of names, has repeatedly blessed me
with supportive visions & insights. Shiva, You are the true source
of my sustenance & guidance, providing strength & endurance.
what need has the body for power when all power comes from You?
what is the need for seeking acceptance from other people
when You visit & love me within my heart's innermost chamber?
who in all this manifested place could possibly equal You?
You are the fire, Shiva, & i am a spark of You, flying
from Your fire into the frying pan of this hungry jagat earth
into this body, then forgetting. like the coronavirus,
this place greatly dulls intuitive spiritual awareness.
Shiva, thank You for providing me the experience of the
coronavirus blocking me from You & bringing its parade
of old energies to me. i endured it & outlasted it
& i bow before You now in gratitude & humility.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!