the river

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!

shared in the light

after the festive gala celebration comes the thorough clean-up.
after the inmost insight comes steady determined application.
after the fall from grace & light comes the humility to struggle
from the shattered scattered rubble & resolutely rise up again:
what is learned from the darkness is to be gathered & shared in the light.

after the sincere sadhana comes the fading of maya's mirage
in Shiva's pervasive light. He is kneading the soul as if it is
bread being carefully prepared for baking. He is working His light
deep into the cells that i may also be a light unto the world.

wherever i am, Shiva declares it a temple & i bow humbly.
i pray for the trees & the birds & for the young of all who are born
to bless this sad besieged world with the nectar of their sweet purity.
this is the time when abundant blessings are needed everywhere, for
what is learned from the darkness is to be gathered & shared in the light.

here within these walls

when i am meditating in my room or doing japa of Your name,
i am heartened by the subtle ways that You gently reveal Your presence.

here within these walls may drift the rich leafy-fresh scent of forest after rain.
there may be a slow warm touch upon the cheek as if You are here by me.
perhaps i suddenly feel Your heat melting the ancient chill in my heart,
or i look out the window & see the clouds spelling Your name in holy
script upon the sky. sometimes an almost-visible blessing wave may roll
through me & i open my heart as wide as i can for love to pour out.

i am nourished by You, Shiva, & i want to share Your kindness freely.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA

mind & body dance in partnership

the body is temporary. that which enlivens it is eternal.
i am that enlivening spark, knowing the body as a beloved
companion animal, responsibly attending to its basic needs.

here's the challenge: the mind interprets the body's needs very broadly, hence
alertness is called for. the body's genuine needs are not so pressing
as the mind's elaborations. discrimination is needed. mind
& body dance in partnership &, as the detached observer of them both,
a balance of discipline & care evolves. sometimes the body simply
cannot have what it wants. the mind defends the body's desires,
hence alert observation, detachment & firmness is necessary.

just as mind & body dance in partnership, Shiva, so You dance with me
in this continuing sadhana, this fierce unfolding blessing from You.

filling the willing heart

i receive each event in life as if it is a message from You,
Shiva. i pay attention. I self-review, scan for synchronicities
& patterns. I detach from particulars & look for general themes.
i open to intuition & focus in the heart, seeking guidance.

whatever may reveal itself, i hold in my heart & search deep to know
how it can bless. i look for the blessing to unfold & reveal itself,
& i thank You, Shiva, for transforming my life & opening my heart.

in the vastness of multidimensionality, You make Yourself known
in Your own way to each of us. no one is left out or overlooked in
the cascading divine abundance of descending ambrosial grace.

You draw near to us according to our ability to receive You,
hence You have innumerable names in this realm of many diverse forms.
Your subtle essence is beyond all name & form, filling the willing heart.

thus it is that i search every event in life for its message from You
& i concentrate focussed attention as if my life depends on it,
for it surely does! thank You for the pure blessing of Your presence, Shiva.

intrinsic wholeness

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.
 

darkness melting into dawn

You shake me like a garment in the wind
& the vasanas fly away like dust.
i shiver, stripped down to my bare essence,
yet rejoice when i see You at the heart
of each unsettling disturbance & change.

You hold me in my rawness, respectful
& close & wrap Your light full around me.
the world fades into moving shadows,
brushed aside by the swift sweep of Your hand,
& still You hold me close to You, Shiva.

You strip the ancient karmic mask from me
that conceals my true effulgent nature.
You face me in Your solar radiance
& all-pervading positive regard.
You tell me i am Yours, marked with Your sign.

this harsh human life is no loss, Shiva,
not in the face of such noble blessing.
the temporal moving shadows recede,
flickering at the edge of awareness
like distant darkness melting into dawn.
& still You hold me close to You, Shiva.

gateway to You

in this life everything serves wholeness & healing.
even when things fall apart & end badly, in shreds,
all nevertheless serves to bless our unfolding growth
as divine beings discovering our potential
to transcend events & actions in this hungry world.

i keep on returning to You, Shiva, for in You
there is comfort & strength to persist & persevere
with the many worldly duties that call for presence,
attention & compassion. i am glad to be able
to serve, even in the smallest most humble of ways,
for every single act is a gateway to You.
bless the innocent heart as Your holy dwelling place!

the lamp shares its light

when these poems are written, it is as if we are conversing
& You are revealing luminous & precious inner treasure.
it forges a connection & creates a continuing flow
from You to me, cascading out to all the people who see this.
thus it is a conduit of blessing that moves through me & out
into the world like an outpouring deep into cloistered chambers,
opening the closed doors & windows, lighting lamps & making tea,
settling into human life with no prejudice or reluctance.
it is as if we are conversing when these poems are written,
Shiva, & sharing our communion just as the lamp shares its light.

touch me now

You meet me formlessly as i reach to You inwardly,
shedding the dense outer form, progressively dropping
identifiers until only beingness remains.
i know You in this world by Your energy signature
absorbed in our formless unions, which continue to bless.

You touch me now as i, in my elderhood, freely yield
myself to You who have blessed this life inexplicably,
enduringly, persistently, for i am slow to wake.
You have remained with me throughout my ignorance, Shiva.
You are the one constant in all this shifting flow of life.
i embrace You in deep devotion & dedication.
absolve me of my ignorance, enfold me in Your love.
You meet me formlessly as i reach to You inwardly.

like the ocean

when i talk to You, Shiva, detachment slowly happens.
no longer can i repeat the tired old stories in my head.
they dissolve & show their essential unreality
as patterns that keep repeating habit-like in the mind.
they are just snapshots of a passing moment, inflated,
grasped, given importance by other's firm opinions.

the mind is choked with all this mental debris, mirroring
the rafts of plastic garbage cluttering our blue oceans
& the poisons leaching from dumps, fouling the groundwater.

i won't go there anymore. i feel the danger. i know.

i turn my back on the chatter of inner dialogue
& face toward You, Shiva, who has shown me this wisdom.
You are the antidote to the poison i have swallowed
& i hold fast to You, placing You foremost in the mind.
purify my thoughts, Shiva, please remind me of You.
i want You to fill the mind with Your clarity & light.
i want to fall into You like a rushing waterfall!
catch me like the ocean that i may dissolve into You!

a place to stand steadfast

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.

blessing

because the body is now old
i reside in a nursing home.
i look back over my lifetime,
piecing its events together
from a wide-angled perspective.
i don't look at other's judgements
but at the many blessings that
You have given to me, Shiva.

now i have sufficient distance
from all the stories & events
to see that they all point to You.
no others have seen this for me
or could see it from the outside.
neither did i see it until
old age slowed me down & illness
forced me to change my point of view.

with Shiva enthroned in my heart,
pulling the veils away slowly,
i see disaster transform to
positive redirection, grace.
i observe shame disappearing
in the light of understanding.

i see You in all that happens
through revelation & insight.
i see Your graciousness to me
even during my ignorance.

my life is now service & gift
when i look through the clear lens
that reveals the arcane patterns
of blessings concealed from the world
& the slicing gaze of skeptics.
behind the apparent events
i see Your divine hand at work,
hidden from the sight of others,
signaling to me of Your love.

i am grateful, my Lord Shiva!
i am grateful You came to me,
that You taught me & guided me
throughout this long life that others
could neither comprehend nor bless.
You are all that i desire &
all that i seek or attend to.
You have chosen me as Your own
& i rest in Your protection.
You are the heart of this life
& all that i need & want.