dear feet: i owe you

dear feet: i owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude for eight long
decades of patient service. you are the farthest distance away from
my center of attention, yet you're as faithful & true as the sun
& the moon are in their service. you bear the weight of the whole body,
so strong & resilient you are; enduring & undemanding.
thank you, dear feet for holding me to my path for all these many years.

dear hands: i love your skill at fitting objects together & making
something useful from them. i appreciate your determination
to be practical, yet somehow to create beauty out of simple
necessity. thank you for holding tight to the really important
core values & blessings. i am equally grateful that you can let
go with grace & ease when the time does come around at last for release.
thank you, dear hands, for holding on tight to love & for not letting go.

dear brain: playground, toolbox & haven of the mind, hammering out the
learned synapses of thoughts, habits & proven survival strategies.
you wear the crown of responsibility for integrating the
parts into a responsive whole. thank you for continuing with your
synthesis of varied patterns into a meaningful picture. dear
brain/mind: thank you for helping me see the divine at work in my life
as it plays happily & innocently with beauty & wonder.

dear Shiva: i am humbly grateful to You for making Your presence
in my life known. You are the living gateway & channel for deeper
awareness of the subtle forces that move in & through me. the brain,
hands & feet owe everything to You, for You are their determining
master now that i have taken refuge in You & have my home &
true identity in You. thank You, Shiva, for reaching out to me
in my need when i was sinking under the dense weight of maya. i
hold fast to You, Shiva, through the magnetism of the holy heart,
the strongest of all the subtle forces, & the most healing by far.

your warm dark eyes

i look into your warm dark eyes, my friend & family in Shiva,
as you sing that sincere hindustani classical music. it flows
out of you like clear streams & tides of pure water & light, nourishing
the dry parched & neglected emotions. you bring new life to ancient
words & you establish a pathway to the heart, which shivers gladly
in response. i focus upon you. i gaze so deeply into your
wise knowing eyes that the Self–the atman in me–touches the atman
in you, & everything else just falls away, recedes into nothing.
i gaze in awe at you, into you, so profoundly that i softly
merge with you in a tender burst of happiness down in the heart's depth.

you seem to feel it also, for you nod & smile & the joyfulness
seems to roll off you like reflected sunlight. it rolls right into my
heart. a sweet flow of grace happens spontaneously between our hearts.
it is ageless & wordless & it underlies the smooth recurring
rhythms of your song. the sound of your singing timelessly enfolds us
both: you in india & me here in america. yet there is
no space at all between us now. you are right here with me, directly
registered in the heart, through the eyes, & through the effulgence of love.

i do not belong to myself any more. i never did. clearly,
destiny has claimed me now for its own mysterious purposes.

my other improper lover

i drift by the window in the east room on this dim early morning
& suddenly, the bright new-rising sun kisses me smack on the lips,
so quickly that i yield & open fully in delighted surprise!
the sun is just above the horizon & it holds on to me for
a solid minute: such a deep soul kiss we exchange! i am filled with
tender light & i overflow into a song of praise to the sun.

the clouds must be very jealous, because they rush right in & cover
up the sun's shiny face behind layers & fingers & fists of clenched
dark clouds. they throw loud thunder & vivid lightning across the wide sky
& lay down thick heavy sheets of hard rain & hail & wind, darkening
the sky even more as i watch the impromptu cloud tantrum play out.

perhaps it may be improper to enjoy a deep sweet soul kiss with
the sun, yet so be it. that kiss ignited my needy heart & blessed the
entire day with its majestic spontaneity & exquisite
timing! i think that the sun must be in friendly cahoots with Shiva,
my other improper lover, for they both can be so surprising!

You came to me softly

You came to me softly in the night all those years ago, Your tender
comfort wrapping me as completely as a swaddling blanket, from the
top of my head to the soles of my feet. i had never felt so loved.

You were bodiless, yet Your attraction was strong, like a tractor beam
sweetly drawing me in to You. i had called You to me: You may have
me completely. i give myself to You fully in service to light.

i said that with a thirteen year old's sincerity in a stifling
society. i turned my back on that world & i faced toward You,
my visitor from another dimensional realm of mystery.
alas, Your visit was so fleeting! You stayed but briefly, just to teach
me how to make an altar that supported my deepest inner life.

after all the detritus & dust has settled, You emerge again
to me, in your body of power this time. i am swept up. i am
wholly pulled in. i am with You, connected at the heart & by Your
name. we are sealed together with Your mantra: om namah Shivaya.

initially, You came to me softly in the night, yet now we walk
in the light of day in bold unconcern & nonchalance. after all,
You do have me completely, while the human world has but a small part.
i travel this journey with You, Shiva, swaddled in Your divine name,
which surrounds & overlights like the wild charm of Your holy aura.

a long game

You play a long game, Shiva, so i'm often looking for signs
of You, to get an idea of what You have planned for me this
time. You keep me alert, curious, & i feel lively when
You are near. Your energies make me tingle & giggle like
a shy young schoolgirl. i need more of this for the secret doors
of my heart to slowly work themselves open. that is where the
overflow of silliness dwells, pacing behind the closed doors.

now the doors fly open! & the most arcane silliness of
all comes forth, prancing & skipping & dancing through the biggest
doorway, laughing & flirting as it comes up to me. i hold
out my arms & it leaps gladly up to be cuddled & stroked
& tickled on its little soft fuzzy belly, snuggling close.

"let's play dress-up," i whisper in its eager ear. "come see all
my costumes," i say as i carry this silliness with me.
i have some long game costumes like mountain & ocean & tree.
my favorites are the stars, & that's also what my rescued
silliness wants: to fly swiftly through the sky like a star. it
won't believe me when i say that stars don't actually fly.
"you just haven't paid enough attention," my silliness snorts.
"you watch me now!" it gives a really big, mighty, mammoth jump
that totally breaks free of gravity's ties, & it goes up,
soaring across the sky with a huge grin shining on its face.
it doesn't burn up either, it just puts on a wild dance show
that leaves all the other star systems gasping in awe, & with
 the urgent desire to let their own silliness roam free &
wild. all silliness is good at finding the wells of healing.

in this way, the silliness got set free to be in our lives.
so is this Your long game, Shiva? bringing us more laughter &
ridiculousness? loosening us up to free our vision
from the hard grip of the tight & narrow patterns that we had
become entangled within? what a holy blessing! thank You,
Shiva, for holding my world together from the inside out;
for filling me with Your presence & touching me with Your love.
the rhythm of Your dance echoes in my jubilant heartbeat.

anotherWhere

the things that we see & touch in this world are the shiny mirror-blurry
reflections of beauty from anotherWhere, so familiar! we know that
dear realm from the hot sweet-swift throb of recognition deep within the heart.
we yearn for that original purity, & we chase after the things
of this world hoping to reclaim it, yet it disappears in the grasping.

the music we hear that moves us to the core is a faint intimation
of that glorious music of anotherWhere. we hope to follow it
back home to our place of original purity, yet we have become
heavy, dense & cumbersome in bodies of warm meat & blood. we know
somehow that we are so much more than this, & we quest after that which is
still beyond our ability to register. yet this journey comes to
us all eventually. it is what happens when we can finally
struggle & shrug our way out of our protective yet restraining cocoon
or chrysalis. Shiva silently oversees this inevitable
timely transformation. He gives us the push & the lift to open our
wings & soar finally into the purity of that embracing space
of endless enfolding love that we can never quite forget. even our
new wings are made of shimmering light & music now that we return to
our root origin. it is our home, & we are here bearing the gifts of
our various wanderings, ending our exile in moist meat & dense bone,
as we return again to the living light of the soul's divine abode.

butterflies from a cage

time is not a commodity that we can cook & store in jars
for later use. we cannot condense space into a small cube for
eventual expansion, neither can we press smiles between the
pages of a book to set free at our whim, like butterflies from
a cage. we are essentially helpless, yet with sincere intent
to live kindly in this peopled world. we feed & cuddle our high
aspirations every day, & they snuggle up to us at night.

i am awaiting Your instructions, Shiva, holding out my hand
to You to guide me inward to the heart & onward to beyond.

thread by thread

as i age i become more fully aware of the softly binding skein
of attachments that surrounds the body-personality & weaves it
into the world of having & doing. the requirements, activities,
appointments! the expectations, desires, hopes, education & training!

lifelong this weaving persists, layer upon layer of entanglements,
of outer achievements & awards. i am held & cocooned within the
complex itineraries of others, drawing me further & deeper
into the world, securing me into the expanding global order.

thread by thread & stitch by stitch, i am now cutting through & pulling apart
the widespread web of hypnotic ties that urgently seeks to reattach.
the sociocultural necessities snort & snuffle restlessly,
while i steadfastly turn my back & struggle free; turn my back on them all.

ah, but love has caught me up, has charmed & secured me with a holy hand
that i cannot deny or flee! love has fixed me in place here & will not
let me go. it is more than i am: it is vast, & it is replacing
all other attachments with itself. Your universal medicine has
found me, Shiva, as i now merge with the many into the sacred One.

Your divine love dissolves the ties of the world & it dissolves me also,
Shiva, into the great spiritual heart where life always throbs as One,
knowing no other, & all pending accounts are paid in full forever.

Shiva

i come to You as a beggar when i ask You to grant me Your grace.
i come to You as a seeker when i chant Your mantra every day.
i come to You as a lover when i sing praises of Your glory.
i come to You as a servant when i find You living in my heart.
i come to You as a devotee, humble, having no words at all.
i come to You as iron comes to the irresistible magnet.
i come to You in gratitude that You saved me from my lonely hell.

earthquake

there must be an earthquake away down deep inside me, because my
rivers have stopped flowing & great cracks have appeared in the distant
landscape. i must proceed carefully: no need to note the damage.
it is meant be be a wake-up call to get my full attention.

what has the earthquake released from its secret holding, cloistered in
the far interior depths? what now slowly steps from the crumbled
rubble? where is that light coming from? what is that subtle sweetness,
that fragrance whose dear scent is imbued with the invitation to
come closer? something living & good is calling for attention.

i, who am a cluster of conditioned thoughts wanting to be more,
draw near the One who is emerging from within. the earthquake
declares His advent as He comes forth. He is Shiva, from whom my
core atmic essence rises. it has taken an earthquake to shake
me awake, & i am here, Shiva, yearning to be as nameless, faceless
& clear as the air itself. guide me, that the heart may radiate
blessing & healing to all earthly life. om namah Shivaya!

silence of the heart

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.

i rise free

when i see the cool wind whirling leaves from the trees in the brisk autumn
noontime, i don't say, "oh, how tragic! what a sad destiny!" instead,
i delight in the bright colors of the crisp leaves & love to see them
dancing in the wind as they pirouette & play in the warm sunshine.

everything is coming & going, moving & changing, being born
& dying. it is the nature of things. beyond the domain of the
physical plane, other frequencies are calling me, for i do not
want to live as if this realm alone is it, as if there is no Source.

i see the sun reflected in a glass of water, but when the glass
tips over & the sun in the water is gone, i don't cry out, "how
tragic! what a sad destiny!" this would be like looking at one square
inch of a huge mural. i don't see the whole picture & i don't know
the whole story: it's being continually refreshed & renewed.

in this world of duality, every blessing holds its challenge &
every challenge also holds its blessing. thus i am simply grateful
for all my experience, regardless of its outer form. gifts are
delivered in various wrappings & i don't know what is inside.
i do know that somehow, somewhere, a gift from my divine Beloved
is contained within it, & i am grateful for the unknown blessing.

this is what You teach me, Shiva. You open up my vision to the
pure celestial shining within the terrestrial. You show me
the lotus rising from the mud & water, reaching upwards to the
sun. my heart is now doing just this as i chant Your mantra, Shiva.
i rise free from the thick cold dark into the radiant light of You.

suddenly Kailash

before the pandemic, You inspire me to add an ample image of
Your home, Mount Kailash, to the wall above my altar, Shiva. for more
than two years now the image graces my room, radiating silent
blessings & drawing my gaze upward to ponder its magnetism.
oh Shiva, what a seed You have planted in me! it spans dimensions!

suddenly Kailash is emerging from its picture high on the wall!
i feel the earth trembling in preparation, like the ground underfoot
before a train barrels into view far down the track & moving fast.
it's huge, massive, yet it opens itself to me as i, too, open
to it, & contact is made. Kailash silently enters into me,
through & through, in an interpenetrating deep synaptic instant.

Kailash fills my room, overflows my heart, stretches my mind wide open!
love has found me again! Kailash is a mystery primed to trigger a
powerful psychic download. Kailash is a transducer for cosmic
power, which is stepped down by the galactic presence to our local
representative, the Sun. the Sun then relays it on to Kailash,
who holds it for all. Shiva, You are the mobile unit of Kailash,
the compelling human face needful to ground the divine presence here.

in the end, it all folds up back into itself as the Supreme Source.
yet maya's magic mirror multiplies images, & Kailash stands
at the head of them all, as a mountain rightfully does. suddenly
Kailash has come off the wall & into my heart, carrying the crisp
transcendent scent of mountain air & mystery, inviting approach.
thank You, Shiva, for bringing me home to meet the cosmic family.

i can now fully understand why the sage Lao Tsu wisely says:
"without going outside, you may know the whole world. without looking through
the window, you may see the ways of heaven." Om Namah Shivaya!