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.
Shiva, You are the purity of light that sweeps across the psyche.
You set forth that which i now need to know for dispelling the shadows
falling over the vision, darkening, distorting & deadening.
You encapsulate me, holding me in the purity of Your light
as if i am an infant clasped in the mother's arms & suckled at
her soft breast. Shiva, Your fragrance is so sweet that i am dissolving
in it, becoming sweetness, emitting light like a beacon for lost
travelers, or like a campfire kept burning through the night to hearten.
Shiva, You are the intimacy of night, smoothing all the wrinkles
& rough edges that tell of a long arduous journey, soothing the
hungering heart with Your calm touch. the very atoms of You & i
embrace & intermingle in communion that words cannot reveal.
ah, but words can point the way & they can comfort & strengthen also,
until the silence grows so deep that it muffles & floods all else but
the purity of light & the long slow intimacy of the night.
the emptiness of inner space enfolds in peaceful calm quiet.
it sublimes everything into a warm embrace, a touch that feels
as though the sharp edges that had kept the heart enclosed have now been
softened into passing scenery--going, gone, no longer there.
the past is a blur of green, blue, gold, dissolving into nothing
that can be named, including myself. all the names now fall away.
yet an urge remains, a calling, a gentle magnetic pulling that
has me held fast in its grasp & takes me to the still-point of all
that i have ever yearned for in my deepest most hidden heart shrine.
it's You, Shiva. i am calling You--or is it You who call me?
this emptiness of inner space is really filled by You, Shiva:
Your fragrance of jasmine & datura, Your holy siren song
that triggers all the best in me & affects me like ambrosia.
the body wants the known & familiar in a pleasant pattern
formed to cushion & protect the sociocultural program.
that is not possible for me since i overflow its edges
in the way that irrepressible exuberant life will do.
no boundary can contain or limit me, Shiva, for You have
fashioned me thus: for the liminal places & the far edges
where reality melts into color & tone & songs are born.
stories leak out sentence by sentence & numinous myths dwell there.
cradle me close, Shiva, for i am soft & new as a baby
in the absence of enculturation & social compulsion.
only You are vast enough to hold me now that i have cast off
the lines that bound me to the body & its documented past.
all that remains now is the tender intimate vastness of You.
cradle me close, Shiva, for i am soft & new as a baby.