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.
what do i seek out, time & again? what does my heart compel me
to search for? not money, fame or possessions. not status, land or
followers: i turn my back on those. what calls me? i face into
the rising sun, a fragrant red rosebush at my side, the sweet song
of a wood thrush soaring up from the nearby grove of tall oak trees.
nature comes closest to what i seek, & has helped to pass the time.
once i thought it was companionship with accepting people, but
that human realm is replete with shifting alliances, & it
ultimately offers no lasting truth. we seem to repeat the
old ingrained patterns of the dusty past while striving to break free.
i look for the absence of attachment, for freedom from the leash
that restrains my hands from removing the tightly knotted blindfold.
why do i look outside anyway? i only want You, Shiva.
although other things are attractive, my heart opens only to
You, my love: for You alone does the heart become warm & melt into
complete acquiescence. only for You does the body relax
its grasp upon the allure of the world. only for You, Shiva,
do i release all that i thought was true so that You can fill me
with the truth that brings me refuge forever within Your domain.
it is my true home. the heart knows this & has never forgotten.
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!
fifty years ago--when studying the spiritual tarot--
i used to contemplate the sun's reflection in glass & metal.
at the center of the scintillating bright orb thus revealed, i
would see a dark dancing figure in swift moving exultation.
i would rejoice that a divine being was graciously present,
which my heart would tell me by the warmth of its joyous quickening.
now i know that it was You, Shiva, touching my heart yet again,
keeping in touch. in this way, small events & insights were building
a foundation deep within me, preparing me for You, as the
bride is prepared for the auspicious advent of her wedding day.
much time, preparation & cultivation has gone by since then.
i have honored You in my heart for years now. my wedding dress hangs
ready in the closet & i await You, Shiva, every day.
the heart is filled with longing & the mind echoes with Your mantra.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA
"this is the path for you" they say, dripping devout intensity,
eyes burning as they nail me to their patriarchal history.
thus, religion is designed to create good faithful followers;
education teaches us to memorize accepted answers.
i prefer to ask deep questions in the form of humble prayers
& find my answers in the sky & the curvature of flowers.
i would rather walk a hillside path or sit by a quiet lake
than be closed in a room to give over my mind to them to take.
the price of such daring freedom is to stand outside of custom,
observing with detachment when they would rather have me trust them.
the wisdom of the heart will serve by the blessed grace of Shiva,
whom i trust with all my lives to guide me safely through this maya.
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.
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.
there is a forest where each tree will greet us like a dear old friend
who delights in seeing us again. we know we are home here.
we know that the body has come from this moist, rich soil & has brought
hidden greetings from ancient veiled beings. we know that home is here.
there is a forest where the boulders speak of the time when they were
temples. they now innocently confess that they are still temples,
sheltered by the forest for the sincere seeker of the sacred.
we will feel peace here, wholeness & the tingle of awakening
deep inside, invisible to the loud crowd of pressing people
pacing to the measured steps of the socially required motions.
there is a forest that bathes us in cool deep green serenity.
when we touch the tender new ferns & vines with our bare fingertips
they tell us that we are welcome here, now & forever at home
in this quietly breathing forest graced by slow shifting sunbeams.
"you were born here before," the trees tell us, "& we remember you."
we know this is true because the body responds eagerly to
the dim cellular memory. we have never felt more at home
than when we are communing with trees, stones & plants in the depths of the
leafy living forest where the birds can be heard rejoicing in
their wings & songs. "sing freely," cry the birds, "that's what voices are for!"
so we dare to sing & we know that goodness is at the root of
everything & that the forest is made of the same stuff as the
human body & we are close kin, sharing genes & molecules,
breathing together to sustain life. "we are holy through & through,
every atom holy & blessed," say the trees, "nothing is left out."
Shiva, You made them thus to be our teachers. we are all blessed from
the very beginning, for every atom is made of blessings.
the trees know this & they have been teaching us for millennia.
when we go into the forest we can hear them murmuring truth
into the wind. Shiva, You urge us to listen, for You are their
Lord & Protector. they tell us to live in deeply respectful
harmony & devotion: Shiva, help us to be more like trees!
the body is elderly, yet the dweller within is ageless.
activity is limited by a medical condition,
yet the heart-center is online & the inner work continues
with vivid dedication & continuous cultivation.
in another realm i dwell as timeless receptive consciousness.
the many realms interpenetrate & i am in them all in
various conditions. the bodies change, yet i continue the
journey of increasing awareness & consequent devotion.
when words are available i rejoice, Shiva, i rejoice that
i am able to see a more expansive vision through Your grace.
the constraints of the physical realm dissolve in other domains.
the body is elderly, yet the dweller within is ageless,
returning repeatedly to the wholeness of heart-consciousness.
i am aware of You, yet there is no separation present.
we are blended consciousness, distinct yet simultaneously
combined as well. love is the substratum of our union, Shiva.
who i really am does not need a physical body to be.
i am forever You at heart, eternally Your expression,
dedicated to You as only ones deepest Self can be. here
now is the pure land in mellow shining glory, the beating of
the divine heart of the world sounding OM, sounding OM, sounding hOMe!
the body comes & goes, comes & goes, & You go on forever,
Shiva of numberless names, including the name i once thought was mine.
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.
a quick storm blows in, rolling & flashing through the huddled mountains in the springtime afternoon,
churning & darkening the sky slowly to slate. i stand outside watching an orb move
through the fallow field, appearing as bright as a firefly at first, yet nearing & becoming
obviously much larger & more amazing, weaving from side to side in serpentine fashion:
a ball of fire the size of a human heart meanders up the ragged field, gliding freely
like a sentient being exploring a new place, lingering, then speeding on, alive! You!
it is You, Shiva, touching my life again, sending wonders to me like tender love letters!
You hover two meters up in the air now, the mountain before you watching through many eyes.
All existence seems to take a breath, full & still, waiting for a message, a resolution.
You, a magical intelligence from an unknown realm, are spearing me with astonishment
as You turn & glide back & forth down the field the way You came, curving smoothly through the charged air.
bright & buoyant, radiating Your presence, You pause for a timeless moment, a quiet instant.
i am caught up in the pure wonder of Your livingness as You are poised in the lucent air.
suddenly, as if a decision is made, You swiftly cut through the air, move away from me,
& plunge into the woods on the far side, returning into the mystery, departing here.
i am hanging off the cliff of my amazement, feeling something hard crack open deep inside,
feeling the pulsing powerful wholeness of You pulling me from my makeshift shelter of words
& plans & desires & lists & laundry & cooking & that necessary car maintenance.
oh Shiva! You know how to split & splinter my careful house of scheduled events into scrap!
a few days later i follow Your path through the trees: i know that You are not done with me yet.
a recently fallen old tree lays in a clearing by the creek, offers a log to sit on.
i meditate there for hours by the water, downloading the message that You have left for me,
feeling the key of it fit into the keyhole of the lock i didn't know was on my heart,
sensing You seat Yourself there centrally. You have come to remind me that I am vowed to You
& all else is my field of service & cannot replace You as primary & focal.
without You my life is scattered dust & ashes, grey & choking, smothering fragile new growth.
with You all takes on a magical aura of wordless communication, hyperreal.
Shiva, You are my primal addiction & without You i quietly suffer & sicken.
You are the essence of life & the body & personality serve You honorably.
You are the indwelling life that gives form its allure. i seek You & release focus on form.
Thank You for the gift of knowing Your name & the ability to recognize Your presence!
when i threw myself headlong & heartshort into the rowdy suffering of the world,
You gave that to me, You allowed me the vividly intense experience i sought.
thank You, Shiva. i learned to endure & to value the kindnesses that kindled my heart.
when i wrapped myself deeply in my personal sorrows, You gave that to me as well.
Your permissions were generous. my greed was strong & omnivorous & relentless.
thank You, Shiva, for allowing me the deepening darkness that urged me to seek the light.
when i called out to You in love & longing, You came to me & held me to Your heart.
You remained with me as i meandered the obscure paths & the hard brightly paved ways.
You turned my life around when You transported me in my car to a different road
than the one i had set out upon. You wonder-bombed me, awed me silent, stunned & still.
You got my attention, enraptured me, woke me up & laid a new path before me.
on this new path we walk together & You teach me, remind me of what i forgot.
You comfort me in the midst of discomfort. You instruct me as guide & companion.
Shiva, for the time of intimacy to come i had to be stripped of my armor,
my shiny conclusions & competence, & brought to the knees of my humility.
it is here that i surrender my love to You & open to Your love beyond words.
so it is that You place me here in Your service within the crucible of Your love.
thank You, Shiva. without You all is hollow, yet dense enough to leave bruises behind.
with You Life is rich & promising like an april sunrise on a sentinel hill
in the pure realm of the devoted heart. i am Yours, Shiva. You are Lord of my heart.