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.
there must be an earthquake away down deep inside me, because my
rivers have stopped flowing & great cracks have appeared in the distant
landscape. i must proceed carefully: no need to note the damage.
it is meant be be a wake-up call to get my full attention.
what has the earthquake released from its secret holding, cloistered in
the far interior depths? what now slowly steps from the crumbled
rubble? where is that light coming from? what is that subtle sweetness,
that fragrance whose dear scent is imbued with the invitation to
come closer? something living & good is calling for attention.
i, who am a cluster of conditioned thoughts wanting to be more,
draw near the One who is emerging from within. the earthquake
declares His advent as He comes forth. He is Shiva, from whom my
core atmic essence rises. it has taken an earthquake to shake
me awake, & i am here, Shiva, yearning to be as nameless, faceless
& clear as the air itself. guide me, that the heart may radiate
blessing & healing to all earthly life. om namah Shivaya!
when i see the cool wind whirling leaves from the trees in the brisk autumn
noontime, i don't say, "oh, how tragic! what a sad destiny!" instead,
i delight in the bright colors of the crisp leaves & love to see them
dancing in the wind as they pirouette & play in the warm sunshine.
everything is coming & going, moving & changing, being born
& dying. it is the nature of things. beyond the domain of the
physical plane, other frequencies are calling me, for i do not
want to live as if this realm alone is it, as if there is no Source.
i see the sun reflected in a glass of water, but when the glass
tips over & the sun in the water is gone, i don't cry out, "how
tragic! what a sad destiny!" this would be like looking at one square
inch of a huge mural. i don't see the whole picture & i don't know
the whole story: it's being continually refreshed & renewed.
in this world of duality, every blessing holds its challenge &
every challenge also holds its blessing. thus i am simply grateful
for all my experience, regardless of its outer form. gifts are
delivered in various wrappings & i don't know what is inside.
i do know that somehow, somewhere, a gift from my divine Beloved
is contained within it, & i am grateful for the unknown blessing.
this is what You teach me, Shiva. You open up my vision to the
pure celestial shining within the terrestrial. You show me
the lotus rising from the mud & water, reaching upwards to the
sun. my heart is now doing just this as i chant Your mantra, Shiva.
i rise free from the thick cold dark into the radiant light of You.
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.
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.
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.
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.
the sky is aswarm with color & form, astral beings struggling
to be born from misty glowing primal substance. ceremonies
of birth & transformation take place daily in the pregnant sky
overhead, expressing the glory of their evolving colors
& shapes. they move, swirl & communicate in ephemeral script
embedded with subtle messages of renewal & release.
we are cherished. we are cared for by vast lifeforms who enliven
our gifts & our challenges (for they are so similar, like kin).
they are Your emissaries, Shiva, Your mystic, yet visible,
hands, moving in holy flowing sign language within the portal
of the sky. You give us such illuminated invitations
to Your transcendent dance, whether in the heavens or in the midst
of daily working life on earth. You send constant invitations
to the here & now, wake-up calls both gentle & fierce & You don't
abandon us here. You will always bring more opportunities.
the sky is aswarm with color & form, reminding us in its
vibrant glory of the hidden hands of blessing comforting us.
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!
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.
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
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.