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.

now that i know Your name

i came to You late, Shiva, at age seventy five. although You came
early to me when i was thirteen, i didn't know who You were, & i
drifted elsewhere. i didn't know how to cultivate the connection, &
maya simply blew me away. You came again when i was fourteen.

the out of body journey that You took me on became a living
seed planted deep within my memory to continue informing
me as an adult. You showed me the holiness of this existence.
You encouraged me with the vision of my true divine potential.
You wrapped me in love. but for years i was like a blind person in a
strange new room, feeling my way through unknown mysterious obstacles
on my way to an equally cryptic & obscure destination.

finally, when my old life is dead & gone & i huddle amidst
the wreckage & the shards of the remaining scraps, finally, You come.
You come in response to the collapse of my beleaguered walls, roof &
foundation. You come because at last i am wide open & asking
for You, calling out, even though i don't yet know Your name. my heart calls
out the loudest of all, for the heart knows far more than the head alone.

& behold! events transpire that bring me to You at last, & You send
a helper with Your everlasting mantra: Om Namah Shivaya.
gradually the blinders fall away as my sadhana deepens,
& i take refuge in You via Your mantra: in You, my chosen
Deity who also chose me, & did so before i knew Your name.
i immerse myself in You, I throw myself off the cliff of the world
into the limitless ocean of You. i paint pictures of You, write
heartfelt poems to You, sing freely to You & i chant Your mantras.

my room looks like a museum honoring You, & even more like
a temple in full swing of celebrating Your sweet sacred presence.
in fact, Shiva, You genuinely do reside here now with me &
in me. You are living through me & i am drawn by You to all that
can assist me to come even closer to You. actually, You
take me to the consummation of my long journey to You, Shiva.

now that i know Your name, we cannot be separated. we are one
life & i am Your expression in the human world, as are others.
it's a mystery & i only have training wheels for exploring
such arcane wonders. it's all Your body anyway, just as i too
am Your body. because i don't know what else to do, i throw myself
upon You to know myself as one with You, vividly & purely.
i won't let go. i won't stop & i won't be sidetracked. You, Shiva, are
my swadharma, my destiny & fulfillment. blessed is Your name,
given as medicine for all. blessed is Om Namah Shivaya.

like a river of sweet healing

Buffalo River internet image
there flows a river, cool, deep & mysterious in many places,
yet shallow, clear & inviting in other locales where it broadens
to tumble over smooth water-sculpted stones. the river shelters, on 
her wild pebbled shores, secret sites of profound quiet communion with
companionable energies. hidden realms of vague otherworldly
ambiances flirt with the edge of my vision, subtly enticing.

these are my favorite places. Here, i can be raptly immersed in
sacred primal natural healing. the sun & sky, trees, water, stones:
they speak in tactile messages to the old lizard living at the
back of the animal brain. all of these peaceful blessed beings croon
tuneful comforting ageless mantras to the body's very bones. trees
softly murmur their undertone counterpoint, & the breath gently adds
its own quiet rhythm to the chorus. the river harmonizes
with her liquid burbling melody. lying on the rounded river
stones by the slow-flowing water, i let go, relax & join the flow.
breathing & being, i merge into the entirety of it all
for an allotted eternity, until the mind comes nibbling at
my fingertips, pushing me to pick up my pen & find words to share.

both nature & the mind are active,  prolific, wanting to reach out,
wanting to exclaim, "look! see the holiness, behold the divine hand
ever reaching out to us, blessing." i look, see & listen deeply,
holding it all cupped fast in the depths of my innermost chamber for
Your blessing, Shiva, You who are the Lord of all tender living things.
i am Your innocent little child, Shiva, holding out my pretties
so that You, too, can enjoy the glory of their wonder & beauty.

nature does this to me: erases the thin clear veneer of subtle
separation that goes with civilization, education &
enculturation. nature rises up within the body, urging
the crimson flower of the heart to spread its petals wide & soak up
the light of cosmic love pouring down like a river of sweet healing.
 

small events & insights

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

the nectar of Your name

once i was a convenience & a commodity, addressed by the
title of the social role i fulfilled--but no more! that old yoke was
lifted & i walked away, turned my back on it all & moved deeper
into the vast mystery. it had been calling to me for most of
my life & now i am free to go, for i am done with the world's work.

only the limitations of my own abilities restrain me
now. my actions are no longer shaped to please the expectations
& demands of others. they come spontaneously in natural
response to circumstances & i observe without interference,
seeing that events come & go, rise & fall, cycling repeatedly.

You alone remain constant in this lifetime, Shiva. Your name flows smooth
like pure nectar on the tongue & the heart opens the door wide into
borderless love. sweetness arises warm within. this is the medicine
needed now for the healing of this wounded human world, to soothe the
weary people crying out in wordless supplication for Your grace.

the unseen holy power of the mantra can usher in that grace.
Shiva, Your name repeated over time forms a strong protective field
& the nectar of Your name flows like a slow infusion of Your love.
there is no cure for the pain of the world but there is an anodyne:
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!

the lead bird

she feels it first & deepest. it is undeniable: the call.
it reaches deep down inside & wraps around her heart pulling her
insistently to her feet, impelling forward, onward, upward!
her wings spread wide, she leaps into the air & the call lifts her up.
the call blends with the wind & she is airborne, soaring in the sky.
a great etheric trail follows in her wake, a sign for action.
it is the vitalizing scent of the call, invoking the flock.

the other members of the flock are mesmerized & magnetized,
enchanted by the alluring trail that invites them to follow.
as one, they beat their wings in a low thrumming thunder, lifting up
into the welcoming surges of wind in the high clear sky: what
a rush it is! what a perfect activity: balancing on
the currents of magnetic energy pulsating from the heart
of the earth to her winged children calling out gladly in flight.

moving in supportive harmony together, the living cloud
of birds dances in tandem with the magnetic heart of the earth,
shaping messages of encouragement on the dome of the sky.

the lead bird now melds into the greater flock in the natural
flow of the long group flight that the planet has set into motion.
a new lead bird moves seamlessly in place to guide the flock's journey.
they follow the call of the living earth to their new food & shelter.

i hear the call too. it sounds like OM & it feels like love, & it
comes from You, Shiva, plunging deeply within, irresistible.
my heart flies with the flock, held safe in the arms of heaven & earth,
each wingbeat a prayer, every utterance a sacred mantra.

the heart will hold fast

today is a time of courage when i resolutely determine
to remain alert, not to get lost in memory & mind chatter.
over & over i return to my mantra, the lifeline which You
have given me, to which i cling in the intense storms of circumstance.

i dwell in a nursing home, an imperiled place in a pandemic,
yet nonetheless You remain close when i can see beyond the surface
to the divine timing that cares less for the unit than for the whole.
remaining in an old worn body is not important. You alone
are truly essential & i shall not lose my way back home to You!

birth, death, body, spirit: the dance patterns of cosmic complexity,
& i can no longer freestyle full out but seek now to rest in You.
You are the center of the turning wheel & i will not lose focus
upon You. although passing events may obscure, the heart will hold fast.

the heart will hold fast when hands no longer find a solid place to grip.
thus today is a time of courage when i devote myself to You.
i am here for You. i do not fear the homeward journey of return
for this script has long been written as the time to merge myself in You.
the sun only sets for the earthbound & i am a child of the stars.

lullabies

the sounds of a nursing home late at night echo
dull background humming of central climate control
murmur of someone's tv down the long hallway
sharp clatter of an object falling to the floor
a soft low moaning cry in a frail shaking voice
the quick rhythm of a nurse's hurried footsteps
sudden boom of thunder & hard rain drumming down.
the musical tones in my head rising falling
focussed mind repeating my beloved mantra
singing silent sacred lullabies to Shiva
in the warm arms of the transformative darkness
om namah Shivaya on namah Shivaya