the woods at deep twilight smell sweet & moist, immersed in the subtle
allure of the night's hidden magic. the roosting crows in repose
mutter good night to one another in soft clicks & croaks. shadows
settle over the trees, descending from the hands of the sky like
a shawl to wrap the woods in featureless & faceless protection.
sharp details belong to the day, are necessary to see for
the accomplishments & unveilings that take place under the sun.
deeds are done & tasks await: gathering & dispersing happens.
order is valued & scripts are offered for all the roles & their
requirements. survival is the bottom line. i hold myself in
to fit within the narrow slot allotted for those such as me.
but at night, in the mysterious woods, none of that bright world rules.
here in the darkness, the unknown & irrational prevail, & the
shadows may be doorways opening into other realms. You come
to me through those shadows, Shiva, & tell me of wonders beyond.
You touch my heart & unlock it, & i will forever thank You
for this, for coming to me. i will forever thank You, Shiva.
the woods in full nightfall smell sweet & moist, an invitation to
deeper magic. Shiva, soon the moon will rise high & the darkling
playmates emerge from hiding. there's a song in my heart that escapes
through my lips & it stands as a motto for this entire life. "i
mean no harm; i am passing through. i celebrate all existence."
thank You, Shiva, for urging me out to befriend the darkness &
the unfamiliar. You hold me in Your hands & in Your heart
& i hold on to You forever. You take away my concern &
You leave me with Your grace, here in the woods in the deep of the night.
if i were to immerse myself in a cyberspace virtual world, it would be akin to what i am doing here in this world of the western mindset. here i train the body to be the compassionate detached observer of life's unfolding events through the various daily dramas. i seek to navigate them consciously & kindly. this brings the exit door of maya's theater of thrills into view & more options become available, other levels of the game.
i search for the source & essence of that which captivates my desire. where does all this creation come from? how does it originate? how else to find out than to venture deeply within, beyond the realm of maya's dramas to the emanating inner point of awareness? by way of immersion into the secret chamber of the heart, i find Shiva, the lord of the animal body, who abides therein. He shepherds me through the iterations of change to the very source.
Shiva has various names & forms & they are all teachers & guides. when i turn my focus inwards, away from the changing outer world towards the realm within myself, Shiva likewise turns His face to me in the way that i can best resonate with & respond to. i have guidance & the warm sustenance of subtle divine companionship.
Shiva is the steward of virtual reality, counting this one i find myself in at the birth of this body. He is quite set upon awakening me to my full potential of awareness. i accept His offer! Let the good times roll in total immersion!
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.
some things are just too precious & delicate to speak of
in human words. they wiggle sideways, squirm & slide away
& only the yearning to touch that mystic realm remains.
it is more real & alive than anything down here
that comes with rules & penalties. it has taken my heart
hostage & the baffled mind is left juggling soap bubbles
by the light of the dim waning moon, murmuring softly.
Shiva walks the burning grounds in clouds of dust & ashes.
i join my steps with His by the flickering of the fire,
& he lays a crown of soap bubbles on my waiting head.
i smile & do not speak. my heart is full. there are no words.
they finally fall short. i walk silently with Shiva.
nothing given in words lasts, but the heart can point the way.
beyond all form & function, beyond the need for a name:
within the innermost vastness, deep, unknown & dark, You
are here now in bold vivid presence. i don't know just how
i discern it, yet i feel You as if You're my own breath,
soft & full way down inside me, warm & welcome within,
moving gently although unseen, known in silence alone.
breath rises & falls & even speech is quiet at last,
yet still You remain lingering in Your home in the heart.
beyond all form & function, beyond the need for a name:
even so, i call You Shiva, the name that is inscribed
somewhere inside so deeply down it can't ever be lost,
even within the vastness unknown, where it shines as a
spark of Your light. it can't be hidden; it can't be quenched.
the wind is playing with the newly-leafed tresses of the nearby trees
today, tossing them about as if they were the long curls of intense
& passionate spanish dancers. i only see their shadows on my
curtains, but oh, how joyous they seem to be, flinging & swinging their
new spring leaves in dramatic sweeping curves of visual gratitude!
deep within, Shiva, there is springtime in the soul as well, reaching out
eagerly to You in Your guise as the solar winds to dance in grand
cosmic revelry. although i cannot see it directly, i do
notice the evidence of light & freely given exuberant
wonder & joyousness. i am stretching full out to catch it in the
fingers of subtle new awareness & discerning observation.
in this world, only the form is seen, & it too is beautiful in
the way that graceful moving shadows are when cast upon a curtain.
they draw us to open wide the curtain that we may see truly with
direct perception rather than partially & obliquely only.
yes, Shiva, everywhere i look i see Your messages & teachings.
the dancing shadow shapes of the leafing trees are Your fleeting greetings,
giving rise to a broad smile on my face & melting warmth in the heart.
it is as if i have been granted access to a dimension
previously unknown to me. evening enfolds, & the other
residents are in bed as the mind's silence now invites peace to
embrace. i relax in my recliner, contemplating the soft
surrounding space stretching above me & all around. my eyes lose
their concrete focus & widen into the shifting shadow &
light of the dancing air. it is as if the focus of my eyes
has adjusted to a more rarified realm. i can no longer
separate the vision of the physical eye from the mind's eye.
gradually i become aware of two vague beings on either
side of me. i slowly understand that they are benefactors,
healers, & that i am one of their charges. we communicate
wordlessly as they share their healing energy, which i accept,
leaning back in my recliner. i come to understand that this
interpenetrating higher dimension is always present,
freely offering access to uplifting energies. my own
vibratory rate has apparently quickened enough now to
allow contact. this information flows into me to comfort
with pure intent. all is warmly radiant with the light of truth
& the fragrance of cosmic love interpenetrates everything.
i relax into the healing blessing of this new frequency.
awareness has deepened & expanded to include so much more!
even after the passage of time back here in this world of flesh,
blood & bone, i can feel the benevolent subtle presence of
this more refined vibratory realm, a place of healing indeed!
thank you for the warm encouragement, Shiva! i am heartened &
energized to continue on, for i have now experienced
that which was previously known through the intellect alone. though
that is is not my goal, Shiva, it stands as a marker on the path
of return to You, who are the focus of my attention.
You alone dwell in my heart, which now sings Om Namah Shivaya!
i was talking casually with my friend claire, glancing at her,
when suddenly You flash out of her eyes & into me by way
of the eye. there is no time. there is only a vast, inclusive,
infinite belonging & melting oneness. intelligent life
leaps & dances forth, sweeps me into sweetness beyond compare.
it is all i have ever longed for & it enters me fully.
it is me. i am That. yes! my heart knows the wordless truth of it.
& i blink & return back to the conversation with my friend.
meanwhile, no time has passed &, for her, nothing at all has happened.
i didn't know You by name then, Shiva, yet i am wedded to
You & have been since i was 13, a chosen child bride promised
to a vast warm being of power, capable of anything.
that is Your nature, Shiva, & my nature is to be with You.
a few months pass. i am a passenger in a car, holding my
infant daughter in my arms. i look into her eyes & again,
Shiva, You join with me through the portal of the eye of my child.
this merging has no words & no story, only blissful love &
infinite sweetness beyond slow clumsy words or comprehension.
it is from the far distant realm of my heart's true ancestral home.
& i blink, back in the body, as if no time had passed, as if
i were just sitting in a car with other people, holding a
baby, as if the day were typical & i wasn't now blessed.
for i surely am, for we all surely are blessed, yet lacking the
full vision, the deep realization. we can only gaze upon
the far shore, glowing in the distance, & sincerely intend to
journey there in the fullness of time. i call You by name, Shiva,
to strengthen the energy between us, to get Your attention
& to propel myself forward. i am like an arrow that is
already loosed from the bow-string, speeding unstoppably to You.
my attention is focussed fully on You, Shiva, my dharma
& my destiny, & my heart knows the deep subtle truth of it.
fifty years ago--when studying the spiritual tarot--
i used to contemplate the sun's reflection in glass & metal.
at the center of the scintillating bright orb thus revealed, i
would see a dark dancing figure in swift moving exultation.
i would rejoice that a divine being was graciously present,
which my heart would tell me by the warmth of its joyous quickening.
now i know that it was You, Shiva, touching my heart yet again,
keeping in touch. in this way, small events & insights were building
a foundation deep within me, preparing me for You, as the
bride is prepared for the auspicious advent of her wedding day.
much time, preparation & cultivation has gone by since then.
i have honored You in my heart for years now. my wedding dress hangs
ready in the closet & i await You, Shiva, every day.
the heart is filled with longing & the mind echoes with Your mantra.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA
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.
when i look at my earlier life, it is as if i can see
a broken mirror that has been pieced together & glued upon
a firm surface. this, my earthly identity, is the broken
mirror, flawed, fragmented & in pieces. You, Shiva, are the firm
surface that holds all the broken pieces together, steadily
present in the background of awareness as i do my duties.
here in this maya of jagat, in the midst of all the shattered
& fractured illusions & dreams, You are that companion who holds
firm to dharma for the well-being of us all. You help to make
the vision clear before us, that we may see ourselves endlessly
held together & bound through divine compassion & bold wisdom.
the patterns made by the cracks in the mirror are but a needed
part of the story. everything has a story to tell, like the
wrinkles on an elderly face or the scars upon a body.
oh my Beloved, You upon Whom my earthly life depends, Who
reveal my true identity to me: Your name is on my lips.
ah Shiva, my Shiva! the sweetness of Your name melts upon my
tongue like warm honey & fills the heart with bliss. You are my very
ground of being, my oxygen & water, & i say Your name
as tonic for the healing of us all: OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!
this broken mirror shines with Your holy light, Shiva, my Shiva!
this peaceful old hippie is also the daughter & wife of career soldiers.
thus have i landed here in this military nursing home for old soldiers.
it's clear to me from Shiva's teaching that this body & the circumstances
of its birth are not who i really am, but is the role that has been given.
in outer action due respect is offered, while inwardly it can be seen
as karmic duty until awakening. Shiva's hand propels the action.
There's no limitation to the inner life, & culture is shed like old skin.
outwardly the role is well fulfilled & the long social dance is nearly done.
hippie & soldier live side by side when the dust of the battle has settled.
ideals, livelihood & bodies are but props in this grand play of maya.
yet still i speak of my love for Shiva: He rises in my heart like the sun.
my hands lift up in namaste & the warm light of His love pours freely down.
"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.