blessing

because the body is now old
i reside in a nursing home.
i look back over my lifetime,
piecing its events together
from a wide-angled perspective.
i don't look at other's judgements
but at the many blessings that
You have given to me, Shiva.

now i have sufficient distance
from all the stories & events
to see that they all point to You.
no others have seen this for me
or could see it from the outside.
neither did i see it until
old age slowed me down & illness
forced me to change my point of view.

with Shiva enthroned in my heart,
pulling the veils away slowly,
i see disaster transform to
positive redirection, grace.
i observe shame disappearing
in the light of understanding.

i see You in all that happens
through revelation & insight.
i see Your graciousness to me
even during my ignorance.

my life is now service & gift
when i look through the clear lens
that reveals the arcane patterns
of blessings concealed from the world
& the slicing gaze of skeptics.
behind the apparent events
i see Your divine hand at work,
hidden from the sight of others,
signaling to me of Your love.

i am grateful, my Lord Shiva!
i am grateful You came to me,
that You taught me & guided me
throughout this long life that others
could neither comprehend nor bless.
You are all that i desire &
all that i seek or attend to.
You have chosen me as Your own
& i rest in Your protection.
You are the heart of this life
& all that i need & want.

i am Yours alone

i’m not obedient to society.
i am restless & questioning, persistent
in pushing against the edges & borders.
i don’t identify with culture or race
or nation or gender or wealth or title.
the body appears human. the indweller
is vaster, more inclusive than named alone.

ah, Shiva! the mind can see & say a lot,
yet it all so swiftly changes & flows on.
only You can remain constant in this realm.
only You are truly present within me
when the whole construct crashes down to the ground.

the transformative cycle begins anew
in this realm of infinite variety
where i cleave to You as the only constant.
You are my magnetic north, my sun & moon.
i take up this changing role for You alone,
as Your expression of transformation. thus,
i’m not obedient to society.
i am Yours alone, Shiva, embodied here
in this shining mystery as Your blessing.

lullabies

the sounds of a nursing home late at night echo
dull background humming of central climate control
murmur of someone's tv down the long hallway
sharp clatter of an object falling to the floor
a soft low moaning cry in a frail shaking voice
the quick rhythm of a nurse's hurried footsteps
sudden boom of thunder & hard rain drumming down.
the musical tones in my head rising falling
focussed mind repeating my beloved mantra
singing silent sacred lullabies to Shiva
in the warm arms of the transformative darkness
om namah Shivaya on namah Shivaya

i know You

i know You in my tears which flow in happiness
from the balm of Your presence, renewing vision.
this vision is of the heart open in blessing
& these tears are an offering at Your altar.

i know You in the blood pulsing through the body,
thoroughly pervading everywhere within me.
You sing the same salty hymn in my own blood as
You sing in the mother, the ocean unbounded.

i know You in the sweet morning dew fresh upon
the bright flowers nodding gently in the garden.
i have seen You winking at me from the rainbows
flashing in dewdrops in the early rays of sun.

i know You in the soft drip-dropping of the rain
as You nourish mineral, plant & animal,
journeying all the way up from the wide ocean
& down to earth again by devas dressed in clouds.

i know You in the stream rushing down the mountain
to quench the thirst & guide to fruitful level ground.
animals eagerly come to Your banks to drink
& many little lives rejoice in Your blessings.

i know You in the river in the raging storm,
flooding over human structures, washing away
the known & certain, casting it aside like straw,
reshaping the borders of our crushed illusions.

i know You in the ocean, vast, rhythmic, surging
in & out swelling, thundering, owning the earth
from horizon to horizon, mother of life.
i am but a wave in the broad ocean of You.

everywhere that i look i see You, i know You!
i disappear in the glory of You, Shiva!
it seems that i do not exist except as an
observer of You, again & again, of You!

wild compassion

what could i possibly write about, think about or do
that is not in reality done by You, Lord Shiva?
there is nothing else but You, my Lord. all my words are but
clouds in the vast sky of You, drifting in the wind of You.

out of the light in the eyes of strangers, You can emerge
like swift invisible fireworks that light up my shy heart,
linking me with You in powerful silent explosion.
how can i forget You who dazzle with Your effulgence?

the plot of this human story, like walls, encloses me.
enforcers on the rooftops of my mind shoot down upon
freedom fighters determinedly smuggling contraband thoughts,
yet i press forward with them anyway, dodging sniper fire.

a fierce joke is this maya, long skirts hiding combat boots!
i am laughing & crying, as i also stand apart,
while gazing upon this lovely mesmerizing drama,
wild compassion overflowing the floodgates of my heart.

there is nothing else but You, Shiva. all my words are but
clouds in the vast sky of You, drifting in the wind of You.

these words

i wrap you in these words
when the cold wind bites through your mask
when the rags you wear fall apart
when your dark secrets are exposed
i wrap you in these words
om namah shivaya

i rub these words into your skin
like rose-scented lotus oil
like a warm healing unguent
like a gentle angel's touch
i rub these words into your skin
om namah shivaya

i feed these words to you
in the emptiness of hunger
in the solitude of your night
in the depths of your abstraction
i feed these words to you
om namah shivaya

i shine these words into you
like sunlight into your shadows
like moonlight upon your ocean
like the warmth that pulls sprout from seed
i shine these words into you
om namah shivaya

i plant these words in your soul
into the nameless they go plunging
into the subtle shifting yearning
into the moist readiness of now
i plant these words in your soul
om namah shivaya

a higher pitch

You have tuned me to a higher pitch.
i feel You singing throughout my cells,
vibrating in the space between thoughts.
Your resonant patterns catch me up
& carry me beyond word & form.
i dissolve back into You once more,
crescendo fading into silence,
recommencing in higher octave --
subliming into pure vibration.
You have tuned me to a higher pitch.

wonder

You took me at the peak of my glad celebration,
negating laws of physics, erasing everything.
You removed the concept "impossible" from my mind,
threw me in a multidimensional miracle
& shocked my mind silent, leaving me in stunned wonder.

that wonder still clothes me like an invisible cloak,
something too amazing to share, yet it changed my life.
speaking of it is like catching fish with hands only,
or caging wind in the hands to bring home for others.

You shine light on my daily rebuilding of structure
through my careful words like bricks in a tall wall, Shiva!
yet i still want to say "look! see! there is such wonder!"
so i string garlands of words that i offer to You
because i overflow with rejoicing that you're here.
i am blazing with Your presence & the light leaks out,
cascading in these limited words i can't curtail.

bits & pieces

now i know which things keep me from You:
warmth of hot showers, food i prefer,
wanting other people to like me.
i am very happy to get them
& quite unhappy in their absence.
by wanting some things & not others
i chop my life into bits & pieces
& i lose You in the confusion.

i will make You the strong thread that all
the bits & pieces are strung upon.
I will give You the complete garland
because i want You the most, Shiva!
without You my whole life is empty.

above all

body, personality, ego: biggest problem!
everything that upsets me points to all of this:
irritable impatience, self-referencing,
strong preferences, lack of mental discipline.

You have laid it out for me clearly, Lord Shiva!
i'm easily distracted by daily events.
i must repeatedly train the mind to silence,
to focus in the heart & third eye; above all,
to hold fast to Your divine presence, Lord Shiva.

just as i am

You keep on limiting my experiences with people
& calling me back to You for yet deeper sadhana.
i think that i was not embodied for this human world
but rather to serve as an expression of Your outreach.
could it truly be that this inner life is my service?
that i am to cleave to You alone & simply to love?
that my presence here on this earth is to bless everything
without attachment to striving & doing & having?
am i enough for You, Shiva, just as i am, like this?

i bow to You in gratitude for all You have given.
You are my source & my refuge, dear divine companion,
& enough has been shared in all these clumsy words:
now, Shiva, my heart will speak to You in simple silence.

inner weather

a grey mood squats heavily on my head,
dropping a veil on the face of the day,
muting sound & body, muffling the mind.
this inner weather comes with no warning,
wrapping around me in a strangling shroud.
i'm a zombie shuffling stubbornly through
daily routines in dull obedience.

Shiva, my thoughts & feelings are all wrapped
in multiple layers of sticky webs,
trapping my fingers & feet immobile.
my call to You sounds like a croaking frog.
there is no color in my life today,
just one thing after another to do
in an endless succession of demand.

ah Shiva! You are sky opening up!
You are tree that calls me to its shade,
the burst of sweet birdsong that pierces the
veil of the ordinary & mundane.
You are the bright sun & i am a ray
You sent to shine in this shadowy world.
the grey mood is blushing rosy pink now.
a burst of glory unfurls in the sky
& You are here in Your fullness, Shiva!

that inner weather is all-consuming
when it has its grim day of dominion.
dear Shiva! now i know the password to
exit that grey place of oblivion:
it is Your name! i call You ceaselessly,
i call You persistently. You are life,
& touch my heart & i belong to You.

please forgive the long forgetful grey days
when i lapse & the body weighs heavy
& my wanting You is but a dull ache.
i vow that i'll always return to You
as vision returns to opening eyes,
& lovers forever return to love.

wild gift

a spider spoke into my ear
as i ambled under her home
in a tree at springtime twilight.
it was a small squeaky warble
with a soprano chittering.
i felt her message in my mind:
"wake up!" she exclaimed, "wake up now!"

i stopped, startled, for i had not
heard a spider speak before &
thus, came to a complete awareness.
earth had opened her heart to me
& i bowed in awed gratitude
before this wild gift that collapsed
my abstraction like a pin prick.
my heart expanded as i soared
into the wholeness of wonder
which is life, when we awaken.

You sent me that spider, my love,
another of Your reminders.
that tiny modulated tone
alerted me to awareness
of the unseen world i wander
as i return to You, Shiva.