i was talking casually with my friend claire, glancing at her,
when suddenly You flash out of her eyes & into me by way
of the eye. there is no time. there is only a vast, inclusive,
infinite belonging & melting oneness. intelligent life
leaps & dances forth, sweeps me into sweetness beyond compare.
it is all i have ever longed for & it enters me fully.
it is me. i am That. yes! my heart knows the wordless truth of it.
& i blink & return back to the conversation with my friend.
meanwhile, no time has passed &, for her, nothing at all has happened.
i didn't know You by name then, Shiva, yet i am wedded to
You & have been since i was 13, a chosen child bride promised
to a vast warm being of power, capable of anything.
that is Your nature, Shiva, & my nature is to be with You.
a few months pass. i am a passenger in a car, holding my
infant daughter in my arms. i look into her eyes & again,
Shiva, You join with me through the portal of the eye of my child.
this merging has no words & no story, only blissful love &
infinite sweetness beyond slow clumsy words or comprehension.
it is from the far distant realm of my heart's true ancestral home.
& i blink, back in the body, as if no time had passed, as if
i were just sitting in a car with other people, holding a
baby, as if the day were typical & i wasn't now blessed.
for i surely am, for we all surely are blessed, yet lacking the
full vision, the deep realization. we can only gaze upon
the far shore, glowing in the distance, & sincerely intend to
journey there in the fullness of time. i call You by name, Shiva,
to strengthen the energy between us, to get Your attention
& to propel myself forward. i am like an arrow that is
already loosed from the bow-string, speeding unstoppably to You.
my attention is focussed fully on You, Shiva, my dharma
& my destiny, & my heart knows the deep subtle truth of it.
fifty years ago--when studying the spiritual tarot--
i used to contemplate the sun's reflection in glass & metal.
at the center of the scintillating bright orb thus revealed, i
would see a dark dancing figure in swift moving exultation.
i would rejoice that a divine being was graciously present,
which my heart would tell me by the warmth of its joyous quickening.
now i know that it was You, Shiva, touching my heart yet again,
keeping in touch. in this way, small events & insights were building
a foundation deep within me, preparing me for You, as the
bride is prepared for the auspicious advent of her wedding day.
much time, preparation & cultivation has gone by since then.
i have honored You in my heart for years now. my wedding dress hangs
ready in the closet & i await You, Shiva, every day.
the heart is filled with longing & the mind echoes with Your mantra.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA
i see that maya's way is to draw us into situations
whereby strands of our connective energy are hooked & woven
into it. many dramas will seek to involve us: family,
national, global, plus hidden inner conflicts & struggles when
all else is calm. it is unavoidable in the world of form.
i notice this strongly now, being elderly & disabled
& thus having less abundant energy. each cause that i feel
called to champion, every imbalance or injustice i seek to
ameliorate draws an energy thread to connect to it.
thus i'm woven into the sociocultural web & am
supporting its constructs with my prana & focussed intentions.
hence i become mindful indeed of where i want my energy
to flow. having less available energy, i must put it
into what i most prioritize. Shiva, what efficiency
You show to demonstrate maya & to teach me to cut the ties
to that which serves me not! all that has been generationally
established calls urgently for participation. family
values, national priorities, social-enculturation:
they all sing their majority-approved alluring siren songs.
refusal is frowned upon: there is always a price to pay for
freedom & mindfulness, yet it becomes necessary in time.
You encourage & support awareness, dispassion & kindness,
Shiva. Your voice eventually becomes more magnetic &
powerful than maya as i travel on this journey with You.
even negative events can serve a positive purpose by
training the mind to be a detached observer. such clear vision
can expand to reveal the pattern that eventually shows
itself to be serving growth. understanding this, i no longer
turn my back on Your guidance, Shiva. my heart goes out to You, blends
with You in fact. all this reduces the attraction of maya.
may we choose with care & may we be willing to pay the price of
our choice. remaining in thoughtless thrall to maya will exact its
own price, even as Shiva extracts His. i choose You, Shiva, &
i willingly pay Your price, for maya is but a dream, empty
& temporary. You, Shiva, are constant & You touch my heart
with Your pure, holy love. i turn my back on the shadow-show of
maya to embrace You, Shiva. i rest in You & take refuge.
when i look at my earlier life, it is as if i can see
a broken mirror that has been pieced together & glued upon
a firm surface. this, my earthly identity, is the broken
mirror, flawed, fragmented & in pieces. You, Shiva, are the firm
surface that holds all the broken pieces together, steadily
present in the background of awareness as i do my duties.
here in this maya of jagat, in the midst of all the shattered
& fractured illusions & dreams, You are that companion who holds
firm to dharma for the well-being of us all. You help to make
the vision clear before us, that we may see ourselves endlessly
held together & bound through divine compassion & bold wisdom.
the patterns made by the cracks in the mirror are but a needed
part of the story. everything has a story to tell, like the
wrinkles on an elderly face or the scars upon a body.
oh my Beloved, You upon Whom my earthly life depends, Who
reveal my true identity to me: Your name is on my lips.
ah Shiva, my Shiva! the sweetness of Your name melts upon my
tongue like warm honey & fills the heart with bliss. You are my very
ground of being, my oxygen & water, & i say Your name
as tonic for the healing of us all: OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!
this broken mirror shines with Your holy light, Shiva, my Shiva!
the daily happenings around me are the distractions that delay
going deep within to commune with You, Shiva. life in this earthly
world is focussed upon outer events. You call me away from that
to journey within my inner world to the wellspring of awareness.
thus i must turn my back on the social demands of the outer world.
i must find that internal source from which awareness arises &
flows & i must remain with that, returning always to the central
knowing that "i am", even in the midst of harsh discord & downfall.
Shiva, i am asking for Your help, asking You to have no mercy
toward my dullness & density, my declining ability
& errors of thought. hold me close & repair the damage. hold me close
& bless the shy & tender, the pure & innocent deep, deep within.
hold me close to You & please help me to know that You see through these eyes;
You hear through these ears & You live in this world as You function through me.
hold me through the soul's dark night & hold me through my own & all others'
ignorant stumbling towards the promise of light. i can no longer
endure the dead weight of the darkness in this world's long struggle lightwards.
yet of course i must. the work is before me, as You have given, &
i continue on here in this eternal now. even as i rest
against You, even as You hold me & i press against You so hard
& deep that only You remain, this existence does continue on.
i live in You & You live through me, as me. I press my lips to Yours & You speak through me, carrying me forward beyond the distractions
of the world into Your body of bliss. I thank You for Your mercy.
i am floating in the night sky, a cloud in the moonlight. i have no
fingers for grasping & securing, no feet for running & jumping.
i have no eyes to see appearances, no mouth to speak of myself.
the mind is awed by the cascading torrents of stars & disappears
into silence. it's consumed by stars & silence & the rolling flow
of currents of electromagnetic energy swirling up from
the earth & down from mysteries invisible, unknown & unseen.
the moon's gravitational field gently enfolds me as i float high
in the nighttime sky, a cloud in the soft moonlight; yet i am neither
deaf nor blind, merely immensely detached. perhaps my form may appear
as human at times, but i would rather be a cloud soaring above
earth, looking into the arcane depths of deep space where dark matter,
quasars & galaxies are clumped thickly like glitter on black velvet.
it's peaceful to cease being human for a little while & just to be
a cloud floating in the night sky in the moonlight. it's hard to hurt
a cloud. they do not bleed or complain & they mind their own business.
as cloud or human, i'm an innocent expression of Shiva, who
lives in every atom & holds all form together & sometimes lets
it fall apart. i rest in Shiva & float where He flows, like a leaf
carried by the river or a cloud in the depths of the nighttime sky.
it's good that being in a human body is not a full time job!
today the rising sun slides a finger of light into my room
for the first time since deep winter ruled in its darkness. until this
moment i'm not aware that my tiny room refrigerator
has rainbow glitter embedded in its shiny white face. the sun's
rays alone set it sparkling, as indoor light never before did.
i stand in delighted wonder to see the gleaming bright glory
of the tiny rainbow sparkles in the dawning light of this day.
i see the joke, Shiva, & burst out laughing. until the right light
comes at the proper time & angle, i cannot see the glitter
although the refrigerator has been here since fall of last year.
the glitter was there all the time, but i didn't see it till now.
how many miracles in this life do i miss because the right
conditions to see them are not yet fulfilled? potentially the
marvel is available, yet it is veiled from casual sight.
just because it isn't seen at this moment doesn't mean that it
isn't there, only that the unknown necessary conditions
have not yet been realized to unveil the manifestation.
i do what i must as i observe the unfolding of events.
i know that You are smiling, Shiva! i too am smiling at this
simple revelation that i don't have all the information
& therefore can find myself humbly & delightfully surprised.
may i be sincere in my efforts, for things can change in a flash.
empress creek begins as a spring beneath a boulder in the dell
above the bluff. it cascades down the worn stone face of the bluff &
becomes empress waterfall, flowing as creek down to the valley.
this is the place where i am called to honor the old earth mother.
at high-water times the waterfall roars & surges down the bluff,
overflowing the banks as the stream rushes on. in low-water
times the flow trickles down the face of the bluff with hardly a sound,
though the cool air still kisses my face & birds come to drink water.
one summer between high-water & low, i am called to the creek
to place a clear crystal the length of my hand into the water.
this crystal is being cleansed & dedicated to the mother
here at the foot of the small mossy boulder standing as a guardian.
the boulder abides as high as my chest, as broad as it is tall,
covered in emerald moss that sparks with bright diamonds of water.
i see the salamander now, small as the tip of my finger,
glowing bright ruby red, resting on the thick carpet of moss,
regarding me with gleaming eyes: here is the mother, observing!
i expand beyond the human realm, gaze as if from high above
upon this holy emissary, the fire salamander,
sharing in its alchemy. a hand divine touches me in this
intimate domain of trees & flowing water, boulders ranked like
soldiers standing tall. all of life has gathered up its potency
to send this jeweled messenger, whom i thank with humility.
empress creek holds us both in misty air beneath the canopy
of the noble watchful trees. the private holy moment, itself
a wordless prayer, holds me open & enraptured here in the warmth
of the day under the flickering leaves like fingers stroking the air.
Shiva, You gave me this, long before i knew Your name or how to
discern the sweet fragrance of Your hidden essence enfolding me.
although i served the mother then, she naturally led me to You.
You are my holy love, my mighty only love & i will sing
my songs to You, for You fill my heart so full it's overflowing.
all that once seemed so separate now reveals its true connection.
this peaceful old hippie is also the daughter & wife of career soldiers.
thus have i landed here in this military nursing home for old soldiers.
it's clear to me from Shiva's teaching that this body & the circumstances
of its birth are not who i really am, but is the role that has been given.
in outer action due respect is offered, while inwardly it can be seen
as karmic duty until awakening. Shiva's hand propels the action.
There's no limitation to the inner life, & culture is shed like old skin.
outwardly the role is well fulfilled & the long social dance is nearly done.
hippie & soldier live side by side when the dust of the battle has settled.
ideals, livelihood & bodies are but props in this grand play of maya.
yet still i speak of my love for Shiva: He rises in my heart like the sun.
my hands lift up in namaste & the warm light of His love pours freely down.
"this is the path for you" they say, dripping devout intensity,
eyes burning as they nail me to their patriarchal history.
thus, religion is designed to create good faithful followers;
education teaches us to memorize accepted answers.
i prefer to ask deep questions in the form of humble prayers
& find my answers in the sky & the curvature of flowers.
i would rather walk a hillside path or sit by a quiet lake
than be closed in a room to give over my mind to them to take.
the price of such daring freedom is to stand outside of custom,
observing with detachment when they would rather have me trust them.
the wisdom of the heart will serve by the blessed grace of Shiva,
whom i trust with all my lives to guide me safely through this maya.
the field with edges crisp & clear by day becomes a blur at night.
i find my way by feel alone & not by focussed searching sight.
edges dim as colors shift into hidden subtle camouflage.
elusive spirits are inspired to dance & play as if on stage.
the dark sky rolls its mysteries out as i stand entranced to see
moving shapes turning to me for my attention in silent plea.
i have no eyes for shifting things, no heart for fading fleeting forms.
i'm here for the love of Lord Shiva who gives to me his welcome.
the field, spread out beneath the stars that swim within the darkling deep,
is now become a welcome mat to cushion Shiva's holy feet.
He rises through the ready earth, descends down from the pregnant sky,
unfolds His presence everywhere: He dwells in my heart, deep inside.
the field is a holy temple now, filled with Shiva's radiance.
i am the awakening soul who's here for Shiva's famous dance.
we steadily repeat this theme of separation & reunion,
as we have done since time's begun as blessing & benediction.
having no power of my own, i am couched in limitless power.
knowing the eternal truth, external judgements find no home in me.
i have no home. i have no family, no worldly aspirations.
having no home, i am at peace right where i am. having no desire
to accumulate, i am as weightless as a bubble in the breeze
& i discover myself at last at rest just where i need to be.
every day i find myself anew. every night i release myself
from focussed form & resolute need. soon i will not exist distinct
in my originality, yet existence will go rolling on.
all is nested & folded into patterns beyond casual thought,
sliding through dimensions beyond & enfolding the usual three.
You are with me step by step, Shiva who lives in the cave of my heart.
You ignite the light that dims the dark, returning full color to sight.
i feel the sunrise in my heart in the long cold dark of winter &
now my sleep is over & ended, for my door is standing open.
my door is standing open & fingers of the sun are beckoning.
i have no body; i am formless & free, weightless as a bubble
in the breeze coming to rest, shining alight just where i need to be.
once i was a convenience & a commodity, addressed by the title of the social role i fulfilled--but no more! that old yoke was lifted & i walked away, turned my back on it all & moved deeper into the vast mystery. it had been calling to me for most of my life & now i am free to go, for i am done with the world's work.
only the limitations of my own abilities restrain me now. my actions are no longer shaped to please the expectations & demands of others. they come spontaneously in natural response to circumstances & i observe without interference, seeing that events come & go, rise & fall, cycling repeatedly.
You alone remain constant in this lifetime, Shiva. Your name flows smooth like pure nectar on the tongue & the heart opens the door wide into borderless love. sweetness arises warm within. this is the medicine needed now for the healing of this wounded human world, to soothe the weary people crying out in wordless supplication for Your grace.
the unseen holy power of the mantra can usher in that grace. Shiva, Your name repeated over time forms a strong protective field & the nectar of Your name flows like a slow infusion of Your love. there is no cure for the pain of the world but there is an anodyne: OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!