the miracle of bread

internet image
baking bread is a dance between recipe & intuition,
plus awareness of timing & process. the living organisms
of yeast must be encouraged to multiply in culinary
choreography with flour, warm water, salt, sugar & butter.
substances are combined together, dough is kneaded & given
time to rise into fullness, then is punched down to flatness, shaped &
blessed to rest in holy repose, rising again, ready to bake.
this dance is a tandava, energetic, demanding, until
heat transforms mere ingredients into the miracle of bread.

Shiva, i am those ingredients: You are the Baker of bread!
i have been combined, stirred, mixed, heated, punched down when i fully
expand, then set aside to rise again. finally, at last, the
oven's heat acts upon that which was inedible & it cooks,
releasing the fresh baked fragrance of bread, a scent pleasing to all.

the acts of mixing, punching & heating are necessary to
produce the correct result. it is no mistake. the highs & lows
come about to teach of the physical realm & to encourage
enquiry into the hidden essence of spirit & matter.
hence i use life's challenges as stepping stones to You who call me.

these "down-times" are an essential part of fully maturing as
a sensitive, receptive being. when thoughts are dull & sluggish
& i struggle upon a bleak inner plateau, it is because
influences beyond ego are triggering transformation.
changes that can't be hurried or stopped now come about on their own.

likewise, it's true that the "up-times" are also not engendered by
my choosing or willing. they too happen as part of a wholesome
natural purification, unfolding spontaneously.
this dance whirls me up & down, around & around, urging balance.
i seek to be cooperative, while remaining grounded too.

those times when i have risen enough & must be reduced again
seem to purify & diminish the ego without judgement,
merely as needful adjustment. nothing is wrong or bad, no more
than the tides of the seas or the winds in the sky. it is life in
physical form, moving, changing, rising & falling: evolving.

yet You are the Baker, Shiva. You are the Doer of deeds, hence
i ask You for guidance & support, training the mind to discern
Your hand in all events. seeing You as the Baker & myself
as the loaf of bread that You prepare is yet another way i
remind myself that i am a cell in God's body, yielding to
Your divine direction for the manifestation of goodness.

just as the aroma of fresh baked bread calls the hungry to eat,
so the fragrance of a devotee calls forth higher beings to
feast upon the sweet healing energies that You evoke from we
who love You, Shiva. thus we all support & bless one another
in a divine ecology that transcends time, space & species.

pieces & parts

i am not meant to fit in or conform. i am made for the part of
independent observer & outsider, watcher & listener.
the body can no longer assert ties to my guardianship, for
Shiva invites me to withdraw my vigilance over the body's
condition & to release it to its natural process. i do.

i release the body to its fate. i focus instead on Shiva:
knowing Shiva, breathing Shiva, seeing, tasting, smelling & touching
Shiva. i plunge deep into Shiva & take full refuge in Shiva,
that i may live truly in Him, for i know that my home is not here.

Shiva, hear my lament! or maybe it's a rallying cry for the
forces of light to shine out ever more brightly & vividly.
Shiva, hear my lament! or perhaps it's the dying cry of the
ego as it exhausts the vasanas of the mind in weariness.

Shiva, hear me in my loss & confusion & have compassion for
this slowness & ignorance. hold me tightly as the ties to the world
dissolve in the natural process of this transformation & flux.
life is eternal; awareness is cosmic; words rest in the light of
sudden pure direct knowing, & pieces & parts are one with the whole.

now comes the singularity

the daily critique of people & events runs on one channel.
the witness of this drama watches it from another channel.
where do i place my voluntary attention & heartfelt choice?

at each moment there is a purposeful return to the witness.
over & over the urge manifests to see truly, clearly,
not to indulge in the ego drama of fierce feelings, needs &
iron preferences enclosing like binding chains & blinders.

if nothing more is done for sadhana than this alone, at least
this much is completed to coax & invite deeper awareness.
hence the mind's tv is tirelessly tuned to the witness channel,
forming the habit of divine detachment as a point of view.
it will eventually happen that the tv is turned off
& that there are no channels at all available any more.

now comes the singularity, the formless blending foretold
by quantum physics & the upanishads & psychedelics.
as the event horizon nears, i surrender the mind to You.
ah, it's better that my heart should thirst & pine after You, Shiva,
than to encounter the hungry ghosts of the active agile mind!

this human heart

i am here in a human body, vowing this human heart to You,
who have given me a task for these last years in this human body.
i am to look back with discernment over the years of this life &
to notice the times in the past when You have touched me & guided me,
shaped & refined me. these are the crucial turning points & stepping stones.

they are pivotal to a constructive, creative life-direction,
spun out of me naturally, like the filmy-fine strands of the web
from a spider in a symmetry of pattern & delicate beauty
which signifies You, my beloved companion on this strange journey.
You are the one specific strand that links & ties the parts together
for usefulness & positive value to manifest in the world.

here is the holistic view of this human life & time in jagat.
here is where i gratefully bow to the body-personality.
here is how ego becomes just another face in the chorus line.
here is where we blend at the heart into a spark of eternal flame.
here i am in a human body, vowing this human heart to You.

bits & pieces

now i know which things keep me from You:
warmth of hot showers, food i prefer,
wanting other people to like me.
i am very happy to get them
& quite unhappy in their absence.
by wanting some things & not others
i chop my life into bits & pieces
& i lose You in the confusion.

i will make You the strong thread that all
the bits & pieces are strung upon.
I will give You the complete garland
because i want You the most, Shiva!
without You my whole life is empty.

above all

body, personality, ego: biggest problem!
everything that upsets me points to all of this:
irritable impatience, self-referencing,
strong preferences, lack of mental discipline.

You have laid it out for me clearly, Lord Shiva!
i'm easily distracted by daily events.
i must repeatedly train the mind to silence,
to focus in the heart & third eye; above all,
to hold fast to Your divine presence, Lord Shiva.