sometimes i am a garden lying fallow after harvest, stripped of my nourishing abundance. my leaves are brown & crisp, stalks & stems are brittle & broken, scattered on the resting earth as a testament to blessings given generously. i can breathe into the earth even when i cannot reach for the shining sky, so i go deep, deep down past the spent dry roots. i sleep, forgetful of bright springtime & sun, returning the physical substance to its origin. i dream. i dream of You, Shiva, Who planted me here & cultivated my pure essence & reaped my natural bounty. it has emerged from tiny hard seeds hidden in the darkness of the ground, & grown to lift many arms & hands up to praise the sun & honor the moon. it has been glorious, & i thank You, Shiva, as i release the firm form into the cool darkness & soft dust of the waiting earth. lying fallow is also part of the process that yields the next abundant harvest in its own time. hold me, Shiva. hold me as i rest quietly without care, dreaming of formlessness & freedom from this human dharma.
i see that maya's way is to draw us into situations whereby strands of our connective energy are hooked & woven into it. many dramas will seek to involve us: family, national, global, plus hidden inner conflicts & struggles when all else is calm. it is unavoidable in the world of form. i notice this strongly now, being elderly & disabled & thus having less abundant energy. each cause that i feel called to champion, every imbalance or injustice i seek to ameliorate draws an energy thread to connect to it. thus i'm woven into the sociocultural web & am supporting its constructs with my prana & focussed intentions. hence i become mindful indeed of where i want my energy to flow. having less available energy, i must put it into what i most prioritize. Shiva, what efficiency You show to demonstrate maya & to teach me to cut the ties to that which serves me not! all that has been generationally established calls urgently for participation. family values, national priorities, social-enculturation: they all sing their majority-approved alluring siren songs. refusal is frowned upon: there is always a price to pay for freedom & mindfulness, yet it becomes necessary in time. You encourage & support awareness, dispassion & kindness, Shiva. Your voice eventually becomes more magnetic & powerful than maya as i travel on this journey with You. even negative events can serve a positive purpose by training the mind to be a detached observer. such clear vision can expand to reveal the pattern that eventually shows itself to be serving growth. understanding this, i no longer turn my back on Your guidance, Shiva. my heart goes out to You, blends with You in fact. all this reduces the attraction of maya. may we choose with care & may we be willing to pay the price of our choice. remaining in thoughtless thrall to maya will exact its own price, even as Shiva extracts His. i choose You, Shiva, & i willingly pay Your price, for maya is but a dream, empty & temporary. You, Shiva, are constant & You touch my heart with Your pure, holy love. i turn my back on the shadow-show of maya to embrace You, Shiva. i rest in You & take refuge.
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!
following Your guidance, Shiva, i continue to review my life story & the blinders placed there by memory & society, finally revealed & stripped of their power. You have ripped the bandage from the wound & healed it with Your touch. You healed it with Your touch, strongly resembling a surgical procedure, as the whole is freed from the iron grip of the presumptuous part. i need a new perspective now. it's time. the upheaval of the quaking earth i long considered firm beneath my feet has flung me out of my resting place & tossed me in the air. & that is how i learned to fly & look from there on high to see the patterns playing out in a vast expanse. i see the story scrolling by, the hidden now revealed--& this life makes sense, i can see it now. this life makes sense at last! this life makes sense at last as the hidden stands revealed, shaped by Your holy hands to prepare me for the part i play. all i've learned in the past must now be dropped, must be left behind, just like the empty chrysalis when the butterfly takes flight & forgets all that had come before as if it were a dream.
this dream so grips us that we do not see we are insubstantial wisps of smoke & bone, blurred reflections in a dusty mirror. ah, the beauty of the shifting colors, the subtle hint of light & shadow glimpsed beyond the swift moving montage of form! this dream of maya invokes the senses with the bright promise of fulfilled desire. here, rainbows are mystic stringed instruments in the hands of the heavenly devas. ah! the beauty of the shifting colors, swirling in that sweet varied melody! the dream glows before us enticingly, enchanting in this lengthy human sleep. yet i do awaken from the dream's spell resuming my firm stance, cleaving to You in sincere sadhana & devotion far beyond the dream's enticing allure, to blend my heart & mind with You, Shiva. again i persevere in Your service as i have vowed, & so i do remain. i will stand steadfast with You, dear Shiva, upon the skyclad heights of Mount Kailash.
i dwell in a realm of endless mirrors, i myself a dream, writing a poem about a woman who sees that the world is a dream & she now writes a poem about this event. and next, Lord Shiva wakes me up with a bang & a shake & a warm hearty laugh. He takes hold of me & opens my eyes -- & i am at home, at home, at home now in Lord Shiva's arms.
we are the people of flesh & smoke, children of the dream, shaping our hands into alphabets for those who cannot hear. we cannot hear! we are the people of blood & bone, gathering our food, protecting it with swords, hands & words, urged on by our desire. we are hungry! we are the people of mist & fog who rise & dissolve-- invisible-- as the sun drinks up the water of our lives. we are fleeting! we are the people who rise & fall, a luminous rain to soak the soil with blood & blessing, turning & returning. we rise & fall! we are smoke & mist, drifting in dream in this reverie, lovely maya, sweetly inviting, shadows urged to action. we are so dazed! our hands form the shape of the word "love". our hearts demand this. love gives itself, offers a place to stand even in this dream. although our blossoms fade, we are fragrant!