i watch the exodus of the fall leaves from the trees; crispy red, yellow, orange & brown against the cerulean sky. some leaves simply let go & drift slowly to the ground among the other fallen leaves. ah, but some leaves are teased from the silent trees by the busy hands of the wind & whirled on a great journey, as if on a pilgrimage to holy Mount Kailash. they spin in spirals, almost describing arcane esoteric glyphs of power & vision; up, up into the sky & onward beyond my ken.
i ponder on those soaring leaves, taken up through no intention of their own to sail through the deep mystery into the light. they appear to be no different from the other leaves that simply fall softly to the earth & lie there unnoticed. who can say that wind-surfing half the world away to Kailash is any more auspicious than quietly yielding to ones destiny without fanfare, & nobly enduring? in the end, Shiva holds us all to his breast like lost children come home to be cherished at last. in the end, when it all folds up again, we return to our innocence.
it is bright noon in a mystic hot fertile land. i descend the smooth worn
stone steps of the deep ancient stepwell, placing my feet carefully, treading
down & down. the burning sky above is shining in the well, reflecting,
blurring my orientation. i feel like i'm gliding through space into
a liminal realm where all possibilities exist in unison.
hidden portals open, & i find myself plunging fast down, down into
the well, down, down far beyond into a world of light, subtle & almost
invisible due to its ephemeral quality. it glows softly,
surging, as alive & responsive as an attentive mother cat at
nursing time. i curl up in this warm light, feeling like i am a tiny
kitten longing for my mother & all my kitten kin. the living light
lifts me up in one slow rolling movement, holding me close, snugly cuddled,
enfolded in holy love that nourishes me sweetly & completely.
now form melts away like wisps of morning mist in the warm sunshine. all that
remains is intelligent life, endless & immeasurable. without
the form, there is no separation, no discrimination, no struggle
towards a worthy goal, no hard-won conquest, no failure, no need at all.
the shining eye of the sky in the stepwell serves as a sacred lens to
magnify who i really am beyond the clamoring body/mind &
the scaffolding of its urgent needs. it has cleansed awareness & refreshed
the weary heart, as i slowly return to the form that houses me now.
filled with glad wonder, i ascend the time-worn stone steps up from the ancient
ancestral stepwell. i salute the fullness of the sun-drenched day, grateful
to You, Shiva, for Your ever-present teaching: my refuge & my strength.
You are closer to me than the body, which is on loan but for a while.
You, Shiva, remain forever & always with me, essence-deep inside.
i now rise up from the ashes of purification, another
layer of ancient error burned away. again, in this manner, the
sadhana continues: a rising into the noon of consciousness
after descent into the dark interior to enkindle light.
darkness ever comes in service to light. they circle like dance partners
in the most ageless ritual union our ancestors understood.
Shiva, i come forth as Your shakti in a pure primordial way,
as Parvati, Her holy self, also does. it is long ordained thus:
that the seemingly separate polarities blend as one in truth, &
we all rise in time from the ashes of divine purification.
sadhana sincerely continues, in both the light & the ashes.
finally i find myself here at this wall with no door, looming
before me so high that i cannot see the top. i have explored
in all directions, roaming relentlessly, & each time i have
come to that wall that has no door. no matter where i journey, the
wall stands tall. i think that i take it with me, this towering wall
that is built from a lifetime's conditioning & propaganda.
i am like a turtle, carrying my protection. i can hide
within it & never be caught in the open where danger can
descend swiftly, like a fierce raptor from the clear blue cloudless sky.
cracks now breach the wall & they are spreading, deepening every day.
i can see light shining through the larger cracks & it flickers most
temptingly in a code i'm called to decipher. in this way, the
wall becomes my teacher, inviting me to heightened awareness.
hence, a wall can make a prison or a fortress, depending on
the point of view. for now, i am simply relieved to discern this
wall & to know that it will crumble & fall when Shiva sees that
the time is ripe for it. until then, please forgive me for all that
i have left unsaid & for all that i cannot unsay today.
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.
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.
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.
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!
the daily happenings around me are the distractions that delay
going deep within to commune with You, Shiva. life in this earthly
world is focussed upon outer events. You call me away from that
to journey within my inner world to the wellspring of awareness.
thus i must turn my back on the social demands of the outer world.
i must find that internal source from which awareness arises &
flows & i must remain with that, returning always to the central
knowing that "i am", even in the midst of harsh discord & downfall.
Shiva, i am asking for Your help, asking You to have no mercy
toward my dullness & density, my declining ability
& errors of thought. hold me close & repair the damage. hold me close
& bless the shy & tender, the pure & innocent deep, deep within.
hold me close to You & please help me to know that You see through these eyes;
You hear through these ears & You live in this world as You function through me.
hold me through the soul's dark night & hold me through my own & all others'
ignorant stumbling towards the promise of light. i can no longer
endure the dead weight of the darkness in this world's long struggle lightwards.
yet of course i must. the work is before me, as You have given, &
i continue on here in this eternal now. even as i rest
against You, even as You hold me & i press against You so hard
& deep that only You remain, this existence does continue on.
i live in You & You live through me, as me. I press my lips to Yours & You speak through me, carrying me forward beyond the distractions
of the world into Your body of bliss. I thank You for Your mercy.
today the rising sun slides a finger of light into my room
for the first time since deep winter ruled in its darkness. until this
moment i'm not aware that my tiny room refrigerator
has rainbow glitter embedded in its shiny white face. the sun's
rays alone set it sparkling, as indoor light never before did.
i stand in delighted wonder to see the gleaming bright glory
of the tiny rainbow sparkles in the dawning light of this day.
i see the joke, Shiva, & burst out laughing. until the right light
comes at the proper time & angle, i cannot see the glitter
although the refrigerator has been here since fall of last year.
the glitter was there all the time, but i didn't see it till now.
how many miracles in this life do i miss because the right
conditions to see them are not yet fulfilled? potentially the
marvel is available, yet it is veiled from casual sight.
just because it isn't seen at this moment doesn't mean that it
isn't there, only that the unknown necessary conditions
have not yet been realized to unveil the manifestation.
i do what i must as i observe the unfolding of events.
i know that You are smiling, Shiva! i too am smiling at this
simple revelation that i don't have all the information
& therefore can find myself humbly & delightfully surprised.
may i be sincere in my efforts, for things can change in a flash.
having no power of my own, i am couched in limitless power.
knowing the eternal truth, external judgements find no home in me.
i have no home. i have no family, no worldly aspirations.
having no home, i am at peace right where i am. having no desire
to accumulate, i am as weightless as a bubble in the breeze
& i discover myself at last at rest just where i need to be.
every day i find myself anew. every night i release myself
from focussed form & resolute need. soon i will not exist distinct
in my originality, yet existence will go rolling on.
all is nested & folded into patterns beyond casual thought,
sliding through dimensions beyond & enfolding the usual three.
You are with me step by step, Shiva who lives in the cave of my heart.
You ignite the light that dims the dark, returning full color to sight.
i feel the sunrise in my heart in the long cold dark of winter &
now my sleep is over & ended, for my door is standing open.
my door is standing open & fingers of the sun are beckoning.
i have no body; i am formless & free, weightless as a bubble
in the breeze coming to rest, shining alight just where i need to be.
trees are family, dear ones who scent the air with their cool fragrant breath, who comfort & console. we even share much of the same DNA, for we both express through water-based bodies made from the minerals of the earth & its living organisms that swim free in our fluids.
trees, when known through the wisdom of the heart, are also honored as the universal donors of sacrificial saviors, offering their bodies as food, shelter, medicine & calming companionship.
with the subtle vision that You bestow, Shiva, i can see trees as a group consciousness having an individualized expression too, a gentle pervasive presence. under the umbrella of the high leafy canopy reaching overhead, the thirsty lips of the roots plunge down into the dark moist earth, drinking deep from hidden nutriment.
the roots partner in synergy with a widespread fungal network which joins the forest of trees into a single entity, consisting of individuals sharing & blending consciousness & nurture, into one united urge of loving protection & sustenance.
only superficially do trees appear as individuals. beneath the earth's surface they are actually linked in a widespread ecology of sharing, networked with their nearby forest neighbors.
ah Shiva! it comes to this again! the unity that dwells beneath the surface reminds us once more of divine wholeness & endlessly flirts with us, winking & flashing its alluring fullness & blessing.
it reaches out to us ceaselessly in beauty & connection, in subtle soft dreamlike pulses of kinship & alliance. thus do You continually extend Yourself to all who come to You in love.
Shiva, Your warm presence kindles light in the depths of the open heart. You invite me to sit by Your side, when i would but kneel at Your feet.