dear young friend & family in Shiva, when i speak of age, you
seem to hear death, probably because of your youth. but for me at
eighty-one, age is a victory, something amazing that is
given to me to rejoice in, & i do! you seem to think that
i rejoice in the nearness of death, but no! it is this life that
i rejoice in. i delight in beauty, goodness & truth. if it
doesn't relate to my purpose, i pay no attention to it.
my purpose is to celebrate life & to release the outworn,
that Shiva & i can commune together more meaningfully.
so think not that age means closer to death! age just as vividly
can mean closer to life, because i can so fully & deeply
enjoy this life now as a seasoned spiritual connoisseur.
years of arcane experience now reveal its value to me.
as i age i become more fully aware of the softly binding skein
of attachments that surrounds the body-personality & weaves it
into the world of having & doing. the requirements, activities,
appointments! the expectations, desires, hopes, education & training!
lifelong this weaving persists, layer upon layer of entanglements,
of outer achievements & awards. i am held & cocooned within the
complex itineraries of others, drawing me further & deeper
into the world, securing me into the expanding global order.
thread by thread & stitch by stitch, i am now cutting through & pulling apart
the widespread web of hypnotic ties that urgently seeks to reattach.
the sociocultural necessities snort & snuffle restlessly,
while i steadfastly turn my back & struggle free; turn my back on them all.
ah, but love has caught me up, has charmed & secured me with a holy hand
that i cannot deny or flee! love has fixed me in place here & will not
let me go. it is more than i am: it is vast, & it is replacing
all other attachments with itself. Your universal medicine has
found me, Shiva, as i now merge with the many into the sacred One.
Your divine love dissolves the ties of the world & it dissolves me also,
Shiva, into the great spiritual heart where life always throbs as One,
knowing no other, & all pending accounts are paid in full forever.
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.
You have given me a place to stand steadfast,
an identity beyond the human-born,
a way to face into life with dignity.
You opened Your heart to me & i entered,
steeped in ignorance & blind arrogant youth.
long have i kept Your memory deep within,
but like a ruby wrapped in ragged burlap
or precious art forgotten in an attic.
no longer, Lord Shiva, no, never again
will i dare turn away from Your instruction,
for age has given me the wisdom & love
to venerate only the dearest blessings
& You are the one who includes all of them!
You are that which remains when the transient
is no longer the focus of attention.
oh my Lord Shiva, how brightly You do shine
at the midheaven of mature awareness!
i now can place myself in this time-bound realm
only in relation to You, Lord Shiva,
who have given me a place to stand steadfast,
an identity beyond the human-born.
i look upon the patchwork of my life
to find that You are the stitching
that holds the many pieces together.
You have revealed the symmetry
that this woman's life has formed over time.
the random struggles & failings
were sincere efforts at understanding
what i could offer to this world.
the pattern comes clear over all this time.
with distance, the patchwork pattern
resolves into a beautiful design --
it shows Your face, my Lord Shiva,
as You enfold me close, next to Your heart,
& everything makes sense at last!