there is holy silence in the heart when all the urgent words are said
& the inner choice stands clear at last. there is nothing more to be done.
silence dwells within the heart when i lay my defenses down & bow
in humble gratitude to Shiva's conquest of my stubborn self-will.
silence reigns within the heart when the internal struggle is over
& i set to work with bandages & ointments, applying them as
needed to both the innocent & damned, for compassion judges not.
from the holy silence of the heart flows now the purity of love.
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.
i rise into flight & i break into song, into a thousand
thousand pieces. they all have their own holy lives & they have their
own wings as they fly off to do their own duties. surely songs are
free beings with their own dharma after they emerge from the lips:
they have their own journeys to set out upon. i carried them all
when they were tender & small & it's time now to let them go free.
i break out of the prison i carefully made out of rules, roles
& regulations. i'm cutting the cords; i'm leaving the matrix.
i'm fully out of the chrysalis now, shedding the confining
tight old skin & spreading my wings into the rising sunlight. they
glow & they know just where to go, & i am but a passenger.
Shiva, these wings will take me to You: what else can be their purpose?
what else can they do but take me to You? that's what this life is for.
it is as if i have been granted access to a dimension
previously unknown to me. evening enfolds, & the other
residents are in bed as the mind's silence now invites peace to
embrace. i relax in my recliner, contemplating the soft
surrounding space stretching above me & all around. my eyes lose
their concrete focus & widen into the shifting shadow &
light of the dancing air. it is as if the focus of my eyes
has adjusted to a more rarified realm. i can no longer
separate the vision of the physical eye from the mind's eye.
gradually i become aware of two vague beings on either
side of me. i slowly understand that they are benefactors,
healers, & that i am one of their charges. we communicate
wordlessly as they share their healing energy, which i accept,
leaning back in my recliner. i come to understand that this
interpenetrating higher dimension is always present,
freely offering access to uplifting energies. my own
vibratory rate has apparently quickened enough now to
allow contact. this information flows into me to comfort
with pure intent. all is warmly radiant with the light of truth
& the fragrance of cosmic love interpenetrates everything.
i relax into the healing blessing of this new frequency.
awareness has deepened & expanded to include so much more!
even after the passage of time back here in this world of flesh,
blood & bone, i can feel the benevolent subtle presence of
this more refined vibratory realm, a place of healing indeed!
thank you for the warm encouragement, Shiva! i am heartened &
energized to continue on, for i have now experienced
that which was previously known through the intellect alone. though
that is is not my goal, Shiva, it stands as a marker on the path
of return to You, who are the focus of my attention.
You alone dwell in my heart, which now sings Om Namah Shivaya!
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.
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!
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!
Shiva, You reach out to me through everything: through the high blue sky &
through a sudden breath of ambient air, warmer than the surroundings.
You stroke my cheek & my brow with gentle caressing intimacy &
thus i know--oh, i do know!--that You are here with me now, tenderly
murmuring "I love you" in the sweet subtle language You have taught me.
You are the sky pressing softly against me & the wind is Your breath.
You whisper to me that the body is a sacred vessel & that
the personality is loved just as much as a tiny kitten
is loved by mother in spite of its silly antics & accidents.
You lift me up in ways i can't describe & You wrap me safe within
the sky of You as if i am a gift offered to the storied world.
i am a gift: a virgin, holy mother & visionary crone.
i am Yours. All the roles & parts we humans play, we ultimately
give to You, for the gift & the giver are actually one in fact,
just as the deep blue sky is both space & atmosphere. Thank You, Shiva,
for respecting who i am inclusive of this fleeting human form.
it happens once that a river bids me to come & lie on its
long water-smoothed swathes of stone beach & touch its fossil runes &
time-sculpted stone poetry. the wisdom of the heart informs my
fingertips & i am enraptured by the river: its limestone
bluffs, meandering expanses of tactile river-refined stones.
they tell aeonic-long tales of the survival & ascension
of creatures from another geological age than this one.
they move me to my deepest heart & core. here at the core i find
my sincere root connection to this life, this realm wherein i now
find this body. it is embedded in the moment just as the
fossil beings are embedded in stone. i am not separate
from all that surrounds & supports me. i too am an expression
of Shiva here. what a grand dance this truly is: the minerals
in these bones & the dust on the moon, all one big cosmic event!
i tell this to the river as we lie on the stones in the sun,
blessed by the touch of warmth right down to our boulders, pebbles & bones.
i share my last dream, in which the river blesses me with a stone
imprinted with the stylized shape of an eye. this is the potent
dream--my invitation--that brings me here today, down the long rough
country road to the hidden winding path toward the swift river.
this Shiva-blessed river is kin to the great Ganges springing
from snow-melt in the far Himalayan heights half a world away.
i tell this to the river as we lie side by side in the sun.
once again i feel time & space shift & blend inexplicably,
a fresh fossil moment showing its story to be seen & known,
not hidden any more. we have no secrets, stripped down to essence,
to the wholeness of all existence. the river & i, under
the sun & sky: we lie together on the bedrock of it all
& Shiva holds us in the fullness of His pure eternal love.
He is another sun, hidden behind the one we see, concealed
within the mystery of the secret chamber within the heart.
the river knows this mystery too & is smiling in the way
that rivers can: with a thousand thousand bright shining glints of light.
now at my feet i see revealed the sacred stone of my deep dream,
emerging to be my talisman & companion wherever
Shiva sends us, graced with helpful dreams & miracles as we go.
this stone is known as "Shiva's eye," a guardian on my altar.
the river is the buffalo, the first national river park,
protected from development for all its wooded winding length.
Shiva holds us close to Him, me & the buffalo river stone.
we dream together of lessons learned & goodness to be revealed,
& the river flows clear & i rejoice: OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!
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 are woven through my life,
patterned in my skin & bones.
You have carried me through loss
& danced with me in danger.
my eyes have been uncovered:
now i know You for my guide,
see Your touch upon my fate.
Your hand is raised in guidance,
Your gaze enlightens my path.
i am empty without You.
the fragrance of Your presence
invites me to cling to You,
wife welcoming husband home.
i am foolish to speak of You for what can words say of You? i long to commune soul to soul as we did when You first came to me years ago. You ignited the flame of love, made it burn. it has been a beacon throughout the storms & clashes of life. You marked me for Yourself & i also have vowed my service from a deep well of recognition & heartfelt commitment. without You, i am a shadow falling flat upon dark earth. with You, i am sky, galaxies, dimensions beyond telling. i am foolish to speak of You, yet i do this very thing! it is love's nature to be the profoundest of contagions!