they hum OM ceaselessly

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i am enraptured by the songs of the mountains! their huge throats are
vastly deep & they reach up high where the air is cool & refined.
the earth itself offers up its sacred bass voice to these mountains.
they sing divine mantras & wordless praise songs of celebration
& they hum OM ceaselessly. sometimes i can feel it in my bones.

they hum OM ceaselessly & this pervades my very cells, provides
a foundation on which i can stand firm, be open to receive. thus
receiving, i myself become kin to the tall singing mountains,
sustaining the foundation of this ephemeral existence.

Mount Kailash is Shiva's beloved abode because He honors
that holy mountain's primordial song. sometimes i can hear the
two of them harmonizing all through the night & long into the morning.
i hold their song dear & i softly weave my voice in also.

a long game

You play a long game, Shiva, so i'm often looking for signs
of You, to get an idea of what You have planned for me this
time. You keep me alert, curious, & i feel lively when
You are near. Your energies make me tingle & giggle like
a shy young schoolgirl. i need more of this for the secret doors
of my heart to slowly work themselves open. that is where the
overflow of silliness dwells, pacing behind the closed doors.

now the doors fly open! & the most arcane silliness of
all comes forth, prancing & skipping & dancing through the biggest
doorway, laughing & flirting as it comes up to me. i hold
out my arms & it leaps gladly up to be cuddled & stroked
& tickled on its little soft fuzzy belly, snuggling close.

"let's play dress-up," i whisper in its eager ear. "come see all
my costumes," i say as i carry this silliness with me.
i have some long game costumes like mountain & ocean & tree.
my favorites are the stars, & that's also what my rescued
silliness wants: to fly swiftly through the sky like a star. it
won't believe me when i say that stars don't actually fly.
"you just haven't paid enough attention," my silliness snorts.
"you watch me now!" it gives a really big, mighty, mammoth jump
that totally breaks free of gravity's ties, & it goes up,
soaring across the sky with a huge grin shining on its face.
it doesn't burn up either, it just puts on a wild dance show
that leaves all the other star systems gasping in awe, & with
 the urgent desire to let their own silliness roam free &
wild. all silliness is good at finding the wells of healing.

in this way, the silliness got set free to be in our lives.
so is this Your long game, Shiva? bringing us more laughter &
ridiculousness? loosening us up to free our vision
from the hard grip of the tight & narrow patterns that we had
become entangled within? what a holy blessing! thank You,
Shiva, for holding my world together from the inside out;
for filling me with Your presence & touching me with Your love.
the rhythm of Your dance echoes in my jubilant heartbeat.

even here in this place

for five years now i have seen my life history in a new way.
before You came to the forefront of my regard, Shiva, i saw
a random collection of chaotic & confusing events
that i tried to make my way through as best i could. i was aware
of a general guidance in my life that took me from place to
place & adventure to adventure. i always heeded it, for
i knew that a great power was present. i was attuned to that.

You finally show Yourself to me at this time of the endgame,
the final act of the play. i didn't know it would become so
intense & immediate, right at the center of awareness.
 because of the quickening Your presence provides, these past events
& adventures fall into a coherent story revealing
the awakening soul coming forth at last. there are no loose ends
any more, no dreadful mistakes or shameful blunders or sorrows.

after eighty-one years, patterns emerge resolving confusion.
it all fits together clearly now, every one of the baffling
puzzle pieces is snugly & meaningfully aligned in place.
i know that beauty & goodness is emerging from it. i know
that the story spilling out is intended to be a blessing
& an offering. i know that i am much more than the body
& its history. i can feel the holy ripeness of this time.

this is where You come in, Shiva. Please teach me kindly to quiet
the mind & calm the inner activity, that i may mirror
You to the outer world more completely. i humbly invite You
to intervene where necessary. my life is Yours already;
please help me to sustain it with grace, kindness & open-hearted
humor, that Your radiant light may stream without obstruction through
me, even here in this place of final attunement & blessing.

over the years & under the banner of love

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i keep returning to the image of the pool in the forest
of japan. it is central in the artwork painted on the low
lacquered table that my parents purchased in tokyo. the painting
offers mystic access to the portal that the pool really is.
other dimensions impinge into our world via such portals.

underneath the lacquer in the painting, the peaceful private scene
seems to hint at subtle secrets & mysteries, if one would but
linger for a while by the side of the serene pool; if one would
but gaze, long & unfocussed, into the coolly soothing waters
that gently touch the smoothly rounded stones waiting at water's edge.

i keep returning to that tranquil pool in the deep cool forest
of japan. i wonder whose eyes may peer out & contemplate me
from the shifting shadows of the nearby trees. what dark rich fragrance
may rise like a questing spirit from the leaf-strewn earth stretching out
into the timeless magical realm between realities. i
easily slip into resonance with the silent magnetic
yearning of this mystical portal. i feel soothingly softened.

ah, there is so much HARD in this heavy world! how sweet to become
soft & yielding for a while, as the eternal mystery makes
its slow way through all available channels. i am drenched with it,
all shiny & wet with the birth fluid of this very moment.

hello Shiva! You must surely be the Lord of Portals, for there
are so many open portals of passage to Your side! thank You
for the tender intimate communions with wonder & magic
that You have freely shared with me over the years & under the
banner of love. one day soon we will sit together by this pool
& touch its chill waters, honoring it as one of the varied
hidden portals placed roundabout as a blessing to humankind.
i will wait for You, Shiva, by the pool in the restful forest.

capable of melting

when i was a small sparrow & i ate seeds where i could find them,
i said "thank You" to Shiva for giving them to me. when i was
a hawk & i could catch a sparrow on the wing for my supper,
i said "thank You" to Shiva for providing my next meal for me.

when i was a deer & i munched on tender grass & leaves to feed
my hunger, i said "thank You" to Shiva for offering Himself
to me in this form. when i was a wolf & i ate deer to stay
alive, i said "thank You" to Shiva for this welcome gift You bring:
& i laid myself down flat upon the ground, prostrating to Him.

now i am human. i ask Shiva what He suggests I should eat.
He tells me that i, myself, am both the eater & the eaten.
Shiva confides that everything is made from His own body, that
all things nurture in their own way: & that once i eat i also
am confirmed within the realm of the eatible. all matter is
circulated & transformed in the process; as caterpillar
becomes chrysalis; as water evaporates from the ocean
to become rain. all matter is subject to transformation, &
the master-transformer is Shiva, who provides everything that
we eat from His own primal substance, His body of expression.

all is given by divine provision, for it is one & it is
holy. i call this Shiva; others may say God or Jehovah,
Allah, Buddha, Krishna or the Tao. Although appearing as quite
diverse, all is seen essentially as one, when examined with
holistic sight & a receptive heart capable of melting.

though all is made from the substance of that one vast holy being,
what i eat does become part of this body, thus i'm selective.
i don't eat anything that has a face, so i eat vegetables,
grains & milk products, giving some degree of purity for You
Who finally partake of me in the higher realm that i am
headed for. i say "thank You," Shiva, as i offer myself like
a sweet, juicy purple plum, ripe on the branch in morning sunshine,
ready for a transformative journey to Whom all things return.

anotherWhere

the things that we see & touch in this world are the shiny mirror-blurry
reflections of beauty from anotherWhere, so familiar! we know that
dear realm from the hot sweet-swift throb of recognition deep within the heart.
we yearn for that original purity, & we chase after the things
of this world hoping to reclaim it, yet it disappears in the grasping.

the music we hear that moves us to the core is a faint intimation
of that glorious music of anotherWhere. we hope to follow it
back home to our place of original purity, yet we have become
heavy, dense & cumbersome in bodies of warm meat & blood. we know
somehow that we are so much more than this, & we quest after that which is
still beyond our ability to register. yet this journey comes to
us all eventually. it is what happens when we can finally
struggle & shrug our way out of our protective yet restraining cocoon
or chrysalis. Shiva silently oversees this inevitable
timely transformation. He gives us the push & the lift to open our
wings & soar finally into the purity of that embracing space
of endless enfolding love that we can never quite forget. even our
new wings are made of shimmering light & music now that we return to
our root origin. it is our home, & we are here bearing the gifts of
our various wanderings, ending our exile in moist meat & dense bone,
as we return again to the living light of the soul's divine abode.

in the end

i watch the exodus of the fall leaves from the trees; crispy red, yellow,
orange & brown against the cerulean sky. some leaves simply let go
& drift slowly to the ground among the other fallen leaves. ah, but some
leaves are teased from the silent trees by the busy hands of the wind & whirled
on a great journey, as if on a pilgrimage to holy Mount Kailash.
they spin in spirals, almost describing arcane esoteric glyphs of
power & vision; up, up into the sky & onward beyond my ken.

i ponder on those soaring leaves, taken up through no intention of their
own to sail through the deep mystery into the light. they appear to be
no different from the other leaves that simply fall softly to the earth
& lie there unnoticed. who can say that wind-surfing half the world away
to Kailash is any more auspicious than quietly yielding to ones
destiny without fanfare, & nobly enduring? in the end, Shiva
holds us all to his breast like lost children come home to be cherished at last.
in the end, when it all folds up again, we return to our innocence.

butterflies from a cage

time is not a commodity that we can cook & store in jars
for later use. we cannot condense space into a small cube for
eventual expansion, neither can we press smiles between the
pages of a book to set free at our whim, like butterflies from
a cage. we are essentially helpless, yet with sincere intent
to live kindly in this peopled world. we feed & cuddle our high
aspirations every day, & they snuggle up to us at night.

i am awaiting Your instructions, Shiva, holding out my hand
to You to guide me inward to the heart & onward to beyond.

my beloved in Shiva

i can't save you, for that is yours alone to do. i merely
stand by the sign warning you of danger & firmly attempt
to get your attention, pointing urgently to the sign. you
smile vaguely as you blindly amble onward, provoking the
hidden guardians just ahead, a surprised look on your face
when you plunge to the ground as the guardians fall upon you.

the remainder of the story is yet to be played out: the
wounds, the regret, the empty resolve to continue onward
into the building storm on the horizon. the wind blows hard.

many warning signs are posted all alone the way, which you
persist in ignoring in your heedless push forward. all my
cautioning words fall on dry ground & become sharp stones that you
carefully circumvent. you follow your own agenda, that
much is clear, & i too take my place among the ignored signs,
while you stumble toward your destiny as if you chose it.

i can't delay what you have to learn. i can only watch from
the far side of the path as you push headstrong into the trap
awaiting you, concealed within your very own reckless mind.
i can't save you from yourself, for that is yours alone to do.

my beloved in Shiva, your path is to be walked by you.
i stand here as your witness & as one who loves you in spite
of your folly as you face into the challenge of your life.

a murmuration of starlings

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the universe is music. everything sings its song, shaped from primal
essence & counterpointed by a sweetly unique sound signature,
unlike any other. we meet & combine our melodies into
vast dances & soaring flights of glad praise. each & every galaxy
is a grand ongoing concert of expressive communion. solar
systems join in with their own complimentary contributions, as
each planet adds its favorite riff to the cooperative mix.

with subtle inner focus, one can hear the combined glissandos of
multiple galactic groups. it's enough to strip the body away
& release the cramped spirit to rise in ecstatic jubilation
of woven sound! we phase in & out of quantum fluctuations like
drumbeats of emphasis nearing crescendo. we dissolve formlessly
in the whirling, stirring intergalactic sea of sound vibration.

let me put it this way. when i look out my window at the rising
golden sun this morning, i am pierced by the yearning of the sweetest
sound i have ever heard. it massages me inside & out, & leaves
me gasping with the fading glory of its echo. it is the song
of the Self of the sun, praising Shiva for its life & song, much as
i also do. i, too, find that i'm essentially music reaching
for a harmonic partner: for a grand interwoven chorus of
soaring harmony, sounding like a murmuration of starlings looks.

i dissolve into that wholeness & slowly, atom by atom, i
find my home at long last as the silence between sounds smooths & soothes.
this silence holds all sound in potential. everything, from galaxy
to human, eventually returns to this deep silence & leaves
the gift of its song as a testament to a shining life. Shiva
gathers up all our songs, cherishing them in perpetuity, &
He honors them for their holy origin & for our sacrifice
in the name of goodness, beauty & the fulfillment of our dharma.

william gates: 1931–2019

i'm glad you are free of the ailing body that held you down &
the old brain that forced you into the role of prisoner, bowed & 
bent. biology is the prison &, when the gates are all flung
open finally, that is freedom from the body's binding thrall!

i have been strolling through the playground of my memories with you.
we had such wholesome fun together, my dear helpmeet & playmate!
i rejoice in your light & love that yet flows to me in nurture.
it circulates freely: love knows where to go. nothing–neither hand
nor heart–can hold it back. you poured it out as blessing when you were
released from the body's burden, & now it flows like great rivers
throughout all the thirsty continents of this life. it flows back to
its origin in the great mystery, as you, too, have done, as
you continue to do every day, as do all my thoughts of you.
i rejoice that you are free of the body that held you down &
the brain that finally yielded to your peaceful liberation.

thank You, Shiva, for being my safety net when i was falling
into singularity. You caught me. You hold me yet, for You
 are everywhere, of infinite arms & gentle nectarean
grace. You are my refuge & partner beyond all biology.

the good, the true, the beautiful

the first thing that i understand clearly from You, Shiva–looking back
over the years–is the importance of dwelling on the good, the true
& the beautiful. all else is just not relevant to my purpose:
aligning my energies with influences that benefit & bless.

i had to want to turn away from darkness, bitterness & despair.
i had to do it again & again for years, turning away from
the old shadows, facing into the light. You kept urging me onward,
Shiva, sometimes with gentle sweetness & sometimes with a lashing whip.

thank You for being the goldsmith to my jagged lump of grimy gold, melting me down to the bare bones & building me up again, all smooth
& shiny to reflect the golden light of Your divine healing love.
may this mirror You have made of me dazzle the darkness with Your love.

satyam, shivam, sundaram: om namah Shivaya! om haum joom sah!

the ancient stepwell

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it is bright noon in a mystic hot fertile land. i descend the smooth worn
stone steps of the deep ancient stepwell, placing my feet carefully, treading
down & down. the burning sky above is shining in the well, reflecting,
blurring my orientation. i feel like i'm gliding through space into
a liminal realm where all possibilities exist in unison.

hidden portals open, & i find myself plunging fast down, down into
the well, down, down far beyond into a world of light, subtle & almost
invisible due to its ephemeral quality. it glows softly,
surging, as alive & responsive as an attentive mother cat at
nursing time. i curl up in this warm light, feeling like i am a tiny
kitten longing for my mother & all my kitten kin. the living light
lifts me up in one slow rolling movement, holding me close, snugly cuddled,
enfolded in holy love that nourishes me sweetly & completely.

now form melts away like wisps of morning mist in the warm sunshine. all that
remains is intelligent life, endless & immeasurable. without
the form, there is no separation, no discrimination, no struggle
towards a worthy goal, no hard-won conquest, no failure, no need at all.

the shining eye of the sky in the stepwell serves as a sacred lens to
magnify who i really am beyond the clamoring body/mind &
the scaffolding of its urgent needs. it has cleansed awareness & refreshed
the weary heart, as i slowly return to the form that houses me now.

filled with glad wonder, i ascend the time-worn stone steps up from the ancient
ancestral stepwell. i salute the fullness of the sun-drenched day, grateful
to You, Shiva, for Your ever-present teaching: my refuge & my strength.
You are closer to me than the body, which is on loan but for a while.
You, Shiva, remain forever & always with me, essence-deep inside.