in the nineteen-seventies someone gave me a silver star pendant in exchange for a spiritual reading. they told me that was the only way such a token of power could be obtained: by being given to one. it could not be purchased in stores. it was inscribed with various arcane alchemical symbols, & i treasured that star & wore it for years, feeling quite blessed. many adventures unfolded during that high time, & life transpired in its storied way of travel tales & many lessons learned. then, years ago, it came to pass that the time was upon me to give that inscribed silver star to my youngest daughter, whose given name is summer star. i had promised it to her. its time with me was done, & the opportunity to serve next moves on to my distant daughter in oregon. i hope she wears that star with a happy heart for the benefit of the whole world. such gifts come with a responsibility that cannot be ignored. destiny will certainly see to that! everything comes wrapped in its own birthing story, & all stories are pointing beyond themselves alone to the full deep meaning & message. they are like holy guides showing the way. ah Shiva, so casually are magical treasures passed onward! how vital it is to be fully aware in order to honor such a visiting dignitary, who may well appear as merely decorative, until one can see beyond the visible surface. it will also come about that all such things will eventually be put aside, as awareness moves farther past the "thingness" of life. Shiva, You are here to welcome such deep-seers to join the ever- growing group of people who bless & rejoice & pray & focus on the good, the true & the beautiful. it is a lifestyle choice: choose the way of love, for love itself has chosen us as its own, forever.
a magical, mutual transglobal blessing
You sent me upon a mission, Shiva, more than forty far-flung years ago. to begin the calling, You impress me with signs & wonders to get my full attention. in a vision, great portents are placed before me, cosmic symbols: a ring of fire emerges from a total eclipse, soaring to circle orion, then the pleiades, where etheric shapes come forth; a pale golden square that slowly sinks into the receptive earth at my feet; a translucent silvery bell that enters my heart chakra; a glowing angel thrusts his hands into my heart area, smiling. i am stunned speechless. i know this is big! information is now downloaded to my awareness. i am shown that the angel is preparing for birth as a human & that i owe gratitude to him. i am told that i will remember him from this vision & that he will remember none of it. he will appear, through his speech & acts, to be an ordinary young man, yet he has a special destiny, & i am to encourage & mentor him. no details are given & this is all i know. i am alert to find him, to encounter him, & the years pass by. decades elapse: forty years have now passed, yet still i look for that human angel. my circumstances become limited as disability necessitates living in a nursing home. nonetheless, that vivid vision lives urgently within me, still calling, even as the body nears eighty years of living. one day after the removal of a cancer, i seek musical comfort from a new singer sincerely belting out a deeply feeling version of Your Shiva Tandava Stotram, the song that is the most meaningful of all to me. i listen to more than thirty different versions by various singers, Shiva, & his is truly the very best. i feel that this is quite important somehow. though the vision has not yet been remembered, i am so impressed by his version of the Shiva Tandava that i contact him to encourage him. he is but twenty years old at this time, living at home in india, & i live in the usa. it takes me months to recognize him as the angel in my long-ago vision, now here in his human form. i am painting a canvas of Shiva with dark blue skin & hair. in a flash, i see this as a photo negative of that pale angel in the vision. it is my singer! then, when in video chat while we talk, he reaches out with both of his hands towards the phone, which from my angle appears as if his hands are reaching towards my heart center. that's when it really, vividly hits me: this is he! this is the one whom i have been waiting for & looking for all these many years! of course, i naturally love him. my heart has been prepared long ago for this very time. he easily accepts my love & cautious confession about the vision. he is mercifully open to it all. i have shared with him twice a day now for five years & have been his confidant & counselor through many ups & downs. we speak on video chat most days. i have sat with him through his time of dengue fever & typhoid. he has sat with me through my husband's death & my covid episode. we help each other. he is twenty-five now & i am eighty-one, yet age just doesn't matter any more. i don't really know what my task with him is, but this i do know: that i am to be available to help him in whatever way i can. he has certainly helped me! he is a rare young man, open-hearted, tender & kind. he is also an amazing hindustani classical music singer with a master's degree, preparing for his doctorate. it is a path of uncertainty & i am his encourager. he is also my encourager, & the bright light in my life, an expression of You, Shiva! i am deeply touched that You have given me a dear, faithful companion whom i see every day, someone who sings, laughs & blows me kisses & makes silly faces to get me to laugh & be silly too. thank You, Shiva! i have thought that i am the one to be here for him when truly, he is quite equally here for me as well. it is a magical mutual transglobal blessing! both of us, Shiva, in our own ways, are here for You, writing bhajans for You, & carefully weaving Your living presence throughout all our poetry & music. we love You, Shiva, as we love each other, innocently, with a pure, sweet, spiritual love that emanates straight from the hridaya. our deep gratitude flows like a river to You, Shiva, a holy, hallowed river.
your warm dark eyes
i look into your warm dark eyes, my friend & family in Shiva, as you sing that sincere hindustani classical music. it flows out of you like clear streams & tides of pure water & light, nourishing the dry parched & neglected emotions. you bring new life to ancient words & you establish a pathway to the heart, which shivers gladly in response. i focus upon you. i gaze so deeply into your wise knowing eyes that the Self–the atman in me–touches the atman in you, & everything else just falls away, recedes into nothing. i gaze in awe at you, into you, so profoundly that i softly merge with you in a tender burst of happiness down in the heart's depth. you seem to feel it also, for you nod & smile & the joyfulness seems to roll off you like reflected sunlight. it rolls right into my heart. a sweet flow of grace happens spontaneously between our hearts. it is ageless & wordless & it underlies the smooth recurring rhythms of your song. the sound of your singing timelessly enfolds us both: you in india & me here in america. yet there is no space at all between us now. you are right here with me, directly registered in the heart, through the eyes, & through the effulgence of love. i do not belong to myself any more. i never did. clearly, destiny has claimed me now for its own mysterious purposes.
my beloved in Shiva
i can't save you, for that is yours alone to do. i merely stand by the sign warning you of danger & firmly attempt to get your attention, pointing urgently to the sign. you smile vaguely as you blindly amble onward, provoking the hidden guardians just ahead, a surprised look on your face when you plunge to the ground as the guardians fall upon you. the remainder of the story is yet to be played out: the wounds, the regret, the empty resolve to continue onward into the building storm on the horizon. the wind blows hard. many warning signs are posted all alone the way, which you persist in ignoring in your heedless push forward. all my cautioning words fall on dry ground & become sharp stones that you carefully circumvent. you follow your own agenda, that much is clear, & i too take my place among the ignored signs, while you stumble toward your destiny as if you chose it. i can't delay what you have to learn. i can only watch from the far side of the path as you push headstrong into the trap awaiting you, concealed within your very own reckless mind. i can't save you from yourself, for that is yours alone to do. my beloved in Shiva, your path is to be walked by you. i stand here as your witness & as one who loves you in spite of your folly as you face into the challenge of your life.
the fibonacci-mandelbrot polka
Shiva's dance is the powerful tandava, laying out lines of commanding energy, vigorous & compelling. our human dance seems to be the fibonacci-mandelbrot polka, three quick steps & a hop. we throw ourselves into the perpetually repeating self-similar patterns, intending to advance our understanding. each dance move leads on to yet another, with but a slight change, replication into evolution, flowing on. new expressions emerge ceaselessly from the old. we step lively to keep pace, all part of the innate cosmic pattern that subtly links all expression as one self-similar repeating wingding of a pattern. three quick steps & a hop & here we go again, dancing out our destiny in the fibonacci-mandelbrot polka!
i rise free
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.
a holy joker & awakener
a bird is free to live according to its own winged nature, for all animals are free in that way, including humans. the land animals & sea & sky creatures are all free to live out their innate qualities in innocent fulfillment of their own true essence, & so are humans. we have our own unfolding destiny, an arc of training to complete. we humans are the ladle that stirs the steaming pot of soup simmering on the cooking fire. the Hand that holds the ladle is a Vaster Hand than ours, preparing sacred sustenance for numinous devic beings. as the mere ladle, we don't know the recipe or the recipients. in fact, we believe that all this is our own triumph & accomplishment, a conclusion that the other earthly animals are innocent of. they rest in their own radiant pristine natures, while we humans sweat & struggle, leaving a trail of wasteland behind us, calling it progress or collateral damage, as we fondle & guard our medals & money. ah, the resounding echo of the laughter of the Gods surely thunders yet in our dreamtime! we loudly praise freedom as we stand weighed down by our chains, for we are blind to our own bondage, & we proudly call ourselves free! a bird is free. a fish is free. a deer, a cat, a butterfly: they are all free within the purity of their hallowed wholeness, impeccable, while we strategize & plan & lay claim to our own desires with gusto. & the Holy Hand holds the ladle that stirs the pot & we look neither upwards nor inwards, believing that we are the makers & doers. the enjoyers of the feast smile at our ignorance as we laud our freedom. ah Shiva! You are quite the tease, a Holy Joker & Awakener! You prepare humanity for a grand destiny that we can't yet grasp, so You teach us to endure & reflect upon the meaning of our lives. thus we are here for the long journey, trekking through arcane cosmic cycles on our way back home to You, Shiva, reaching out to touch Your Holy Hand.
now that i know Your name
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.
the eggs of a strange bird
some blessings are so amazing that i don't recognize them as blessings for years, sometimes even decades. they are like the mystic eggs of a strange bird, bound to hatch in their own time, placed in the nest of me, knowing not what may come from them or when. i have seen blessings change into challenges overnight & challenges throw off their concealment to emerge as blessings. therefore i will rejoice in the gifts of the moment, holding them lightly that they may fly when they are called by destiny. You teach me to regard blessing & challenge with equal eyes, Shiva: as opportunity in disguise, to be esteemed. i cannot court one without bowing to the other also. we are all golden beneath the dust, deeply imprinted with the urge to evolve into wholeness. there is no turning back, no refusal to be what i yearn to be & am at heart. i will protect these strange eggs, Shiva, & will accept what may come from them with gentle respect for their divine origin.