esotericists say that the earth itself is deep in a
spiritual initiation by its solar teacher, the sun,
who holds the earth clasped close in an optimal loving orbit
with all the other attending planetary acolytes.
the guru sun with encircling solar system devotees
holds darshan in its ashram of time, space & locality.
humanity is the precipitator, actualizing
the initiation, triggering systemic refinement.
this is akin to the caterpillar's quantum leap into
butterfly, a winged being capable of rising to
new dimensions previously unattainable, unknown.
Shiva, You are in attendance at this holistic process
as the ultimate progenitor & initiator,
pervading everything within the quantum flux of matter.
as the sun You hold the earth in Your strong arms of gravity
& nurture its essence & ability to change & grow.
i circle around You too, Shiva, held by Your gravity.
this transformation is inevitable, vital & good
& You hold me in Your loving arms just as You hold the earth
in Your gravitational field while it experiences
its transformative travail. Shiva, please comfort & console
as we deliquesce in change, not knowing what we may become,
yet open to Your grace & grateful for Your holy presence.
it is the dark of the moon in january. crystalline stars arc radiant overhead.
virgin snow at deep midnight folds over the hills & valleys of the mountain countryside.
i am wrapped & layered well in a long down coat, my full winter cocoon for stargazing.
i carry a folding lawn chair out to the winter-bare field & place it at the center
of my known universe, open to the arcane communication of stars, open to
the mysteries teasing at the edge of awareness. silence softly & thickly enfolds
like an invitation to transcend the human story & its demands & exclusions.
i am at the still-point of all that i can know of the embodied world, suspended beneath
the witnessing sky in my reclining lawn chair. great shining beings cluster around me.
some of them are stars drawn here by my beseeching heart: others but touch the edge of vision.
all creation is breathing with me in the cold of the gleaming night as the stars reach down.
the sky is alive & dancing. i am part of it, for only the body is of earth.
i spread my fingers & stir the still, cold air. the stars stir something deep within, preparing
me for You, Shiva, laying me open beyond all concern. an ageless destiny has
called me forth into this night of shining snow crystals & stars to commune with these elders.
the rolling silent land, the clustered trees & the old bones of the mountain hold me while the
great glowing sky of stars enters me & fills me with quiet yearning. Shiva, You call me.
i respond to Your call to go beyond the human realm, for this place is not my true home.
i find my home in You, Shiva. this world is my domain of service & these words are one
form it takes. they are like stars calling to be seen, alluring, shining forth even in the
desolation of deep winter snow in the dark of the moon. they are the fixed stars of my
inner space, spelling out Your holy name, emblazing "Shiva" to light the sky in blessing.
i meander through the field in the misty coolness of spring, in the flowering, green, birdsong morning of a new day.
everything is rising up to worship the sun: the mist, trees, birds, flowers, the very air, my heart, all reaching toward the sun. all rises up to You, Shiva, who touches as the sun with warm light rays on chill skin & blesses with down-rushing sweet love. it is forever You behind another's face, closer than my own heartbeat & deeper, more dear. i celebrate You as i meander through the field in the misty spring coolness.
i recall an early teaching You gave me, Shiva, instructing
through my daily living in modest but memorable lessons.
one early sunny spring morning i set out to find wildflowers,
delighted to greet the small blue blossoms scattered like confetti
throughout the rolling country pasture by the newly greening woods.
the tiny blue faces with their smears of dusty yellow pollen
are pure & simple: innocent emissaries of the divine.
they grow vigorously, lush & colorful where the soil is thick.
there is a barren area too, rough with red clay & pebbles,
yet i see one little uplifted blue face in the dry rubble.
a single tiny blue flower, dwarfed, ragged & scrawny, is
reaching upward into the light in the midst of the parched dry dirt.
i bow in respect, swayed by the beauty of this frail survivor
simply doing its best to grow in an unfavorable place.
this touches me more deeply than the abundant clusters of bright
flowers in favored locations, robust in their vitality.
sometimes it is a heroic act just to be alive, seeking light.
You don't refuse anyone who longs for the light of truth, Shiva:
& so it is that i too continue resolutely onward.
i was blind for much of my life, Shiva:
blind to Your presence & power, to You
as the essence & core of all things &
beings. i was unaware & drifting.
i was blind to all but the surface. the
superficial outer aspect lulled me
to sleep in a deep hypnotic dreaming
that was decades in length & deadening.
yet night turns to day inevitably,
thus i finally awaken when You
relentlessly thrust me forth from my rut.
it was furnished with my favorite things,
though i chafed at its narrow restrictions.
now my sight returns & i see the truth
of Your presence. there's no escaping it.
now that i see Your ubiquity, my
heart frees the old bolts that held the door closed.
my heart is vowed & pledged to You, Shiva.
although i am a late bloomer, You wait
until my blossom is full wide open.
now i am here before You, patiently
offering it to You in tender love.
i'm blinded by the outer no longer,
coming to You stripped of worldly dowry.
i am transparent to Your ceaseless light,
rainbows shining wherever You touch me,
words dissolving like darkness into dawn.
there are no words to describe You adequately & hence
many words appear, like birds singing in the rising dawn.
they can't help themselves. it's their dharma to sing at first light.
i can't stop myself from discerning You in varied ways.
i sense You like water gently raining down upon me,
drenching me with Your ten thousand glorious names & forms.
everything points to You, turns to You, just as sunflowers
yearn earnestly for the sun & track its course in the sky.
i seek You in events & persist until i find You.
with equal determination I turn my gaze inward
& seek You within the hidden "i" of this persona.
ah Shiva! i play hide & seek with You as though i were
a mischievous deva lost in an earthly frolic.
i stand behind these many words i write for You, meaning
well, just like the dawn bird who sings so joyously, or the
tall sunflower lifting its face up to worship the sun.
it is the dharma of my sunflower heart to love You.
You touch me with a gentle nudge of friendly tenderness,
though You express through the insubstantial & not through flesh.
i feel You nevertheless: Your signature energy, Your
fragrant spiritual love that inspires the best in me.
there is a fountain of light hidden deeply within me.
Your dear presence brings it alive with sparkle & color.
You warm the very center of me with Your touch of fire,
with your inviting calmness & radical acceptance.
there are no gazing eyes, no tempting lips, no shapes or forms.
there is love that feels like ice melting slowly in sunshine,
releasing into light the cold hard form that had seized it.
in Your light, Shiva, edges & borders blur & dissolve.
Your touch is like the delight of a rainbow remembered
for its extraordinary timing & divine glow.
it lives, keeping me company while the fountain of light
at my core explodes like fireworks bursting into flowers.
holy is the rapture of fire & water, playing
as spirit & matter, Shiva & Shakti, uniting.
ah Shiva! let us float upon the waves of fond regard
&, rising as mist, leave it all fading behind as we
become transparent, as we become the splendor of light,
as we become pure rainbow & nebulous aurora.
oh Shiva! this dance of luminous flowing shapes dissolves
into nameless effulgence of electrons! yet still You
generously consent to these pale words as pointers
toward that alluring numinous love calling us home.
You are my home, Shiva, my heart's abode & resting place;
i traverse this labyrinth of life securely in You.
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.