there must be an earthquake away down deep inside me, because my
rivers have stopped flowing & great cracks have appeared in the distant
landscape. i must proceed carefully: no need to note the damage.
it is meant be be a wake-up call to get my full attention.
what has the earthquake released from its secret holding, cloistered in
the far interior depths? what now slowly steps from the crumbled
rubble? where is that light coming from? what is that subtle sweetness,
that fragrance whose dear scent is imbued with the invitation to
come closer? something living & good is calling for attention.
i, who am a cluster of conditioned thoughts wanting to be more,
draw near the One who is emerging from within. the earthquake
declares His advent as He comes forth. He is Shiva, from whom my
core atmic essence rises. it has taken an earthquake to shake
me awake, & i am here, Shiva, yearning to be as nameless, faceless
& clear as the air itself. guide me, that the heart may radiate
blessing & healing to all earthly life. om namah Shivaya!
i yearn to be a stone in the restless river, rushing hard against me in
urgent raging flow. a solidly embedded stone, seemingly forever in
the river, can be swiftly rolled into a new abode by the century's
massive flood. nothing is secure in place, all is moving where it needs to be.
i stay in silence, as is the nature of a stone. let the river do the
talking & the moving & the surging to the eager hungry sea below.
let the river roll me long & smooth that i may be a holy lingam in
Your temple, Shiva, serving as i can best where i finally come to rest.
finally i find myself here at this wall with no door, looming
before me so high that i cannot see the top. i have explored
in all directions, roaming relentlessly, & each time i have
come to that wall that has no door. no matter where i journey, the
wall stands tall. i think that i take it with me, this towering wall
that is built from a lifetime's conditioning & propaganda.
i am like a turtle, carrying my protection. i can hide
within it & never be caught in the open where danger can
descend swiftly, like a fierce raptor from the clear blue cloudless sky.
cracks now breach the wall & they are spreading, deepening every day.
i can see light shining through the larger cracks & it flickers most
temptingly in a code i'm called to decipher. in this way, the
wall becomes my teacher, inviting me to heightened awareness.
hence, a wall can make a prison or a fortress, depending on
the point of view. for now, i am simply relieved to discern this
wall & to know that it will crumble & fall when Shiva sees that
the time is ripe for it. until then, please forgive me for all that
i have left unsaid & for all that i cannot unsay today.
there is holy silence in the heart when all the urgent words are said
& the inner choice stands clear at last. there is nothing more to be done.
silence dwells within the heart when i lay my defenses down & bow
in humble gratitude to Shiva's conquest of my stubborn self-will.
silence reigns within the heart when the internal struggle is over
& i set to work with bandages & ointments, applying them as
needed to both the innocent & damned, for compassion judges not.
from the holy silence of the heart flows now the purity of love.
it seems in reverie that our various human lives are like leaves
swirling in the chill breeze of fall. they are sublimely brilliant, poignant
& pure, swiftly gone, whirling on, flying into pieces in the wind.
each life is different, yet they are also alike in many ways.
they are nuanced with deeply meaningful patterns, tender, touching &
precious. heroic stories are played out in swiftly gliding glimpses
that grip & sweep the viewer far inside to the heart of mystery.
& then they are gone: all the human lives, like the swirling leaves, flying
into pieces in the fingers of the wind within the witnessing sky.
ah, Shiva, You tell me to look beyond the transient to that which
remains continuously present as source essence. You are formless
& vast, & i am a focal point of You, extended into form.
let the leaves & lives fly by: i will return with them to formlessness.
Shiva's dance is the powerful tandava, laying out lines of
commanding energy, vigorous & compelling. our human
dance seems to be the fibonacci-mandelbrot polka, three quick
steps & a hop. we throw ourselves into the perpetually
repeating self-similar patterns, intending to advance our
understanding. each dance move leads on to yet another, with but
a slight change, replication into evolution, flowing on.
new expressions emerge ceaselessly from the old. we step lively
to keep pace, all part of the innate cosmic pattern that subtly
links all expression as one self-similar repeating wingding of a
pattern. three quick steps & a hop & here we go again, dancing
out our destiny in the fibonacci-mandelbrot polka!
when i see the cool wind whirling leaves from the trees in the brisk autumn
noontime, i don't say, "oh, how tragic! what a sad destiny!" instead,
i delight in the bright colors of the crisp leaves & love to see them
dancing in the wind as they pirouette & play in the warm sunshine.
everything is coming & going, moving & changing, being born
& dying. it is the nature of things. beyond the domain of the
physical plane, other frequencies are calling me, for i do not
want to live as if this realm alone is it, as if there is no Source.
i see the sun reflected in a glass of water, but when the glass
tips over & the sun in the water is gone, i don't cry out, "how
tragic! what a sad destiny!" this would be like looking at one square
inch of a huge mural. i don't see the whole picture & i don't know
the whole story: it's being continually refreshed & renewed.
in this world of duality, every blessing holds its challenge &
every challenge also holds its blessing. thus i am simply grateful
for all my experience, regardless of its outer form. gifts are
delivered in various wrappings & i don't know what is inside.
i do know that somehow, somewhere, a gift from my divine Beloved
is contained within it, & i am grateful for the unknown blessing.
this is what You teach me, Shiva. You open up my vision to the
pure celestial shining within the terrestrial. You show me
the lotus rising from the mud & water, reaching upwards to the
sun. my heart is now doing just this as i chant Your mantra, Shiva.
i rise free from the thick cold dark into the radiant light of You.
a bird is free to live according to its own winged nature, for all
animals are free in that way, including humans. the land animals
& sea & sky creatures are all free to live out their innate qualities
in innocent fulfillment of their own true essence, & so are humans.
we have our own unfolding destiny, an arc of training to complete.
we humans are the ladle that stirs the steaming pot of soup simmering
on the cooking fire. the Hand that holds the ladle is a Vaster Hand
than ours, preparing sacred sustenance for numinous devic beings.
as the mere ladle, we don't know the recipe or the recipients.
in fact, we believe that all this is our own triumph & accomplishment,
a conclusion that the other earthly animals are innocent of.
they rest in their own radiant pristine natures, while we humans sweat &
struggle, leaving a trail of wasteland behind us, calling it progress or
collateral damage, as we fondle & guard our medals & money.
ah, the resounding echo of the laughter of the Gods surely thunders
yet in our dreamtime! we loudly praise freedom as we stand weighed down by our
chains, for we are blind to our own bondage, & we proudly call ourselves free!
a bird is free. a fish is free. a deer, a cat, a butterfly: they are
all free within the purity of their hallowed wholeness, impeccable,
while we strategize & plan & lay claim to our own desires with gusto.
& the Holy Hand holds the ladle that stirs the pot & we look neither
upwards nor inwards, believing that we are the makers & doers. the
enjoyers of the feast smile at our ignorance as we laud our freedom.
ah Shiva! You are quite the tease, a Holy Joker & Awakener!
You prepare humanity for a grand destiny that we can't yet grasp,
so You teach us to endure & reflect upon the meaning of our lives.
thus we are here for the long journey, trekking through arcane cosmic cycles
on our way back home to You, Shiva, reaching out to touch Your Holy Hand.
before the pandemic, You inspire me to add an ample image of
Your home, Mount Kailash, to the wall above my altar, Shiva. for more
than two years now the image graces my room, radiating silent
blessings & drawing my gaze upward to ponder its magnetism.
oh Shiva, what a seed You have planted in me! it spans dimensions!
suddenly Kailash is emerging from its picture high on the wall!
i feel the earth trembling in preparation, like the ground underfoot
before a train barrels into view far down the track & moving fast.
it's huge, massive, yet it opens itself to me as i, too, open
to it, & contact is made. Kailash silently enters into me,
through & through, in an interpenetrating deep synaptic instant.
Kailash fills my room, overflows my heart, stretches my mind wide open!
love has found me again! Kailash is a mystery primed to trigger a
powerful psychic download. Kailash is a transducer for cosmic
power, which is stepped down by the galactic presence to our local
representative, the Sun. the Sun then relays it on to Kailash,
who holds it for all. Shiva, You are the mobile unit of Kailash,
the compelling human face needful to ground the divine presence here.
in the end, it all folds up back into itself as the Supreme Source.
yet maya's magic mirror multiplies images, & Kailash stands
at the head of them all, as a mountain rightfully does. suddenly
Kailash has come off the wall & into my heart, carrying the crisp
transcendent scent of mountain air & mystery, inviting approach.
thank You, Shiva, for bringing me home to meet the cosmic family.
i can now fully understand why the sage Lao Tsu wisely says:
"without going outside, you may know the whole world. without looking through
the window, you may see the ways of heaven." Om Namah Shivaya!
i see such a narrow slice of life: in essence, a micro-reality,
the tiny zoomed-in view of a single pixel on its little adventures
in wonderland. with education, training & practice, the questing pixel
of me can see ever more extensive hierarchies of agreed-upon
participation. so many configurations seem possible, & with
eager caution i try a selection of them. but i see such a narrow
slice of reality that the choices seem quite limited indeed. what if
i turn my focus from the various choices of configuration to
the source of them all? what if i shift my attention from the activity
itself to That which is the originating source of it, the focal point?
what underlies & overlights all this strange dreamlike realm? i am ready for
awareness of a larger slice of existence & i set out to find it.
psychoactive substances can offer a preview, an in-depth sample. they
can indeed reveal more & can encourage one to walk the spiritual
path. yet the real deep inner work must be done in every state of consciousness.
it must be the sincere application of devoted intelligence, plus
the focussed desire to realize the central divine essence of the vast
complex surrounding multiplicity that we find ourselves held within.
as for my narrow little pixel-sized slice of reality: i embrace
it & honor it as best i can with what i've got, & then i set it free.
i have done this for years & finally, now at last, You have told me Your name,
& You are truly an amazing wild card! Shiva! this is the best plot twist
ever in my life! that which i had considered could somehow be imagined
is now brought to light & stands revealed like Mount Kailash when the clouds part & the
sun touches its face in kinship. Shiva! it really is You, taking me
beyond the old maya of unworthiness. "why pick me?' i would ask, feeling
that a mistake had been made. yet here i must also acknowledge, "why not me?"
for it's only through Your holy grace, Shiva, that the puzzle pieces are placed
together & the picture emerges completely. this is Your grace alone.
i am a spark of Your sacred flame, alight in gratitude, burning with love.
my narrow slice of reality stands as a portal into You, Shiva.
i came to You late, Shiva, at age seventy five. although You came
early to me when i was thirteen, i didn't know who You were, & i
drifted elsewhere. i didn't know how to cultivate the connection, &
maya simply blew me away. You came again when i was fourteen.
the out of body journey that You took me on became a living
seed planted deep within my memory to continue informing
me as an adult. You showed me the holiness of this existence.
You encouraged me with the vision of my true divine potential.
You wrapped me in love. but for years i was like a blind person in a
strange new room, feeling my way through unknown mysterious obstacles
on my way to an equally cryptic & obscure destination.
finally, when my old life is dead & gone & i huddle amidst
the wreckage & the shards of the remaining scraps, finally, You come.
You come in response to the collapse of my beleaguered walls, roof &
foundation. You come because at last i am wide open & asking
for You, calling out, even though i don't yet know Your name. my heart calls
out the loudest of all, for the heart knows far more than the head alone.
& behold! events transpire that bring me to You at last, & You send
a helper with Your everlasting mantra: Om Namah Shivaya.
gradually the blinders fall away as my sadhana deepens,
& i take refuge in You via Your mantra: in You, my chosen
Deity who also chose me, & did so before i knew Your name.
i immerse myself in You, I throw myself off the cliff of the world
into the limitless ocean of You. i paint pictures of You, write
heartfelt poems to You, sing freely to You & i chant Your mantras.
my room looks like a museum honoring You, & even more like
a temple in full swing of celebrating Your sweet sacred presence.
in fact, Shiva, You genuinely do reside here now with me &
in me. You are living through me & i am drawn by You to all that
can assist me to come even closer to You. actually, You
take me to the consummation of my long journey to You, Shiva.
now that i know Your name, we cannot be separated. we are one
life & i am Your expression in the human world, as are others.
it's a mystery & i only have training wheels for exploring
such arcane wonders. it's all Your body anyway, just as i too
am Your body. because i don't know what else to do, i throw myself
upon You to know myself as one with You, vividly & purely.
i won't let go. i won't stop & i won't be sidetracked. You, Shiva, are
my swadharma, my destiny & fulfillment. blessed is Your name,
given as medicine for all. blessed is Om Namah Shivaya.
when i was a whale in the pure blue-green depths of the ocean,
i would listen to the brilliant burning stars in the midnight
sky singing their melodious nocturnes. the stars inspired me
to respond, & that is how our vocal ensemble began.
this was many kalpas before the earth took such a dense &
definite form. everything was more permeable then, joined
yet by etheric strands of willingness & humility.
i sang with the stars in a harmony of clear crystalline
tones & sonorous gut-deep moans. we would send our voices out
into the ethers like a school of fish spreading out to bless
& explore wondrous new realms. we were a net of consciousness
in a vast ocean of love, those many long kalpas ago.
when i was a whale in the pure blue-green depths of the ocean,
hungry & yearning, i sang with the stars until nothing was
left but sound & light. we would combine & melt together in
a vast harmonic oversong that continues to resound.
it is rooted in our ancestral dreamtime & even yet
flourishes here, in the midst of this current deep density.
Shiva, You taught the stars to sing & then they taught me, way back
when i was a whale in the ancient ocean in that early
version of earth. i still recall the holy magic of that
great cosmic outpouring of sound, & i rejoice in it yet.
memories of that age are woven deep down within the strands
of dna, still resonant with that timeless euphoric
blending of amicable entities. they join sea & sky
in their dulcet pulsing music of light & sound, aimed like an
arrow at the target of the heart. thank you for this, Shiva!
baking bread is a dance between recipe & intuition, plus awareness of timing & process. the living organisms of yeast must be encouraged to multiply in culinary choreography with flour, warm water, salt, sugar & butter. substances are combined together, dough is kneaded & given time to rise into fullness, then is punched down to flatness, shaped & blessed to rest in holy repose, rising again, ready to bake. this dance is a tandava, energetic, demanding, until heat transforms mere ingredients into the miracle of bread.
Shiva, i am those ingredients: You are the Baker of bread! i have been combined, stirred, mixed, heated, punched down when i fully expand, then set aside to rise again. finally, at last, the oven's heat acts upon that which was inedible & it cooks, releasing the fresh baked fragrance of bread, a scent pleasing to all.
the acts of mixing, punching & heating are necessary to produce the correct result. it is no mistake. the highs & lows come about to teach of the physical realm & to encourage enquiry into the hidden essence of spirit & matter. hence i use life's challenges as stepping stones to You who call me.
these "down-times" are an essential part of fully maturing as a sensitive, receptive being. when thoughts are dull & sluggish & i struggle upon a bleak inner plateau, it is because influences beyond ego are triggering transformation. changes that can't be hurried or stopped now come about on their own.
likewise, it's true that the "up-times" are also not engendered by my choosing or willing. they too happen as part of a wholesome natural purification, unfolding spontaneously. this dance whirls me up & down, around & around, urging balance. i seek to be cooperative, while remaining grounded too.
those times when i have risen enough & must be reduced again seem to purify & diminish the ego without judgement, merely as needful adjustment. nothing is wrong or bad, no more than the tides of the seas or the winds in the sky. it is life in physical form, moving, changing, rising & falling: evolving.
yet You are the Baker, Shiva. You are the Doer of deeds, hence i ask You for guidance & support, training the mind to discern Your hand in all events. seeing You as the Baker & myself as the loaf of bread that You prepare is yet another way i remind myself that i am a cell in God's body, yielding to Your divine direction for the manifestation of goodness.
just as the aroma of fresh baked bread calls the hungry to eat, so the fragrance of a devotee calls forth higher beings to feast upon the sweet healing energies that You evoke from we who love You, Shiva. thus we all support & bless one another in a divine ecology that transcends time, space & species.