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.

the heart knows this

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.

the open doorway of the sky

things that float & fly trigger primal joy & amazement in us:
birds, butterflies, bubbles & balloons; airplanes, spaceships,
ufos. they draw our attention up to the sky, to the sun, moon & stars
& other wonders too precious & arcane to divide into
diagrams of nouns, verbs & their modifiers, arranged much like
bricks in a wall to assure properly predictable results.

things that float & fly need abundant space, emptiness, freedom, an
openness so vast that the human mind pours itself into a
quietude that watches & wonders without structured boundaries.
You came to me in that way, Shiva, through the open doorway of
the sky, & You established Your home in my heart. You made of me
a temple, a place of worship & rejoicing over all these
long years since my youth. You were my nameless, invisible
companion & confidant & i was the one who held You close.

now, at the endgame of this life, You have given me Your name to
strengthen my sadhana & to encourage me to continue
on here. i'm as though among the singers in a chorus, holding
the notes steady & pouring my heart into the great thundering
sonic concluding celebration of soaring sound. You lift me
skyward, Shiva; You take me to that high place inside that feels like
being on a mountain top with all the shining mystery spread
before me. i fall into You, into that mystery, & it
is none other than the vast undivided Self that exists free
of definition & delusion. here, at the outer edge of words,
things that float, fly & fall need boundless space, emptiness & freedom.

lying fallow

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.

the shadow-show of maya

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.

the wisdom of the heart

"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.

what sweetness pervades

there are different ways of knowing than by form alone.
there are alternate ways of being than those offered by
the urging of consensus sociocultural demands.
they will find you when you are made more tenderly receptive
by forces vaster than you can understand or encompass.

it feels like destruction & devastation: the spaciousness!
the bones of the old order no longer demanding your flesh,
the freedom of nothing remaining to lose, save or cling to.
you may fall into the heart of gravity or glide in winds
of the cosmic breath of OM. you may pause at the still center
beyond human thought as the divine play of polarity
sets the cost of exit & ushers you through the dark doorway.

into the void you descend, the nothingness: but what sweetness
pervades that mysterious emptiness! what love flows warmly
through the center of the heart! there are many other ways of
knowing than by form. Shiva, this i learned & now share freely
in the same way that birds feel the urge to sing in glad wonder
as the new day reveals rising light; or as the flower spreads
the fist of the bud into petals held wide like fingers to
salute You, Shiva, & bask in the rays of the newborn sun.