i sowed flower seeds long ago in a grand design of a sacred garden.
i planted bulbs, seedlings, bushes & young trees. i made durable trellises
for passion-flower vines so the flowers could be presented as offerings
to the presiding deity of the garden, the Sun. every year there were
exotic sunflowers too, fantastic colors flirting to be noticed first.
that was long ago. i have kept the Sun's beautiful garden well watered,
fertilized, cultivated & trimmed. it was all a loving offering to
the Sun. He liked it so much that He was moved to confide His own innermost
private name of holy blessing to me: Radiant Giver. He told me that
i could call Him this any time & He would clearly hear me & would respond.
i told Him that i wanted to sing songs about Him & He liked that a lot.
so i sang to Radiant Giver happily. songs of gratitude poured out
freely, like spring rain on thirsty new flowers, like warm honey-colored sunlight
on a cool early spring morning that invites the birds to sing so cheerfully.
we have mingled as one event horizon: sunlight, flowers, trees, bushes, sky
overhead holding us all together under our glorious Day Star who,
in His purity, loves us & loves to be loved by us too. He can't resist
our simple heartfelt songs in our humble untrained voices. now that we also
have been given the Sun's holy blessing name, we too are wholly blessed as well.
we animal-bodied beings too have long ago been carefully planted
with subjective seeds of growth & blossoming into higher & yet higher
octaves of functioning. we are the holy garden that our Sun, Radiant
Giver, has planted & continues to cultivate & lovingly care for.
it is this embodied life that i tend as an offering to Radiant
Giver, that i may bless the world in a way similar to the Sun: with the
warmth & vivid life-giving energy for eagerly evolving new growth.
of course, all along Shiva has encouraged & supported establishing
& deepening this healing connection with the Sun, Radiant Giver of
the present life-wave on earth. Shiva says that we all are working on this one
together to facilitate life to self-improve & thrive. there is nothing
personal or separate about any of this. we are, each one of us,
inextricably intertwined in mystery that loves us like family.
the sky is my delight & favorite mystery. the wind joins in
with a sound track of primal rippling, swirling aeolian music
that rushes wildly through my hair in long pale fingers of cool curved air.
something deep down within feels the allure of distant space & hears the
faint synchronized singing of the blazing stars. they sound like crystal chimes
& tiny bells, & they tell me that they would like to roll their song through
me like a soft warm translucent sphere of healing mist & sweet blessing.
how can i remain separate with all life flirting outrageously
with me? i am not so hard & solid any more. the sky comes all
the way to the ground & wraps itself around me emphatically.
i'm not wanting to get away from it: i know it for a blessing.
"you can take me now, sky!" i cry. "roll your holy song through me, bright stars!
i fully consent." i can't quite say what happens next, because it is
all as nonverbal as it can be. i can say that i am changed now:
i'm not fully of this earth any more. i have cosmic family,
relatives that can claim me from before planet earth even exists.
the sky has done its duty, reuniting me with far family.
the sky is just another word for space after it has taken off
its shiny jewelry & wrapped it in air & clouds & wind & rain.
the sky is domesticated space. just as i have reached up to it
& honored it, so it has been called down to me reciprocally.
i know that all of this comes about because of Your presence, Shiva.
Your hand has been busy in all this earthly & cosmic blending, for
Your work is behind the scenes. it is only because i hold Your hand
in mine that i am able to come as far as i have. You are my
guide & protector, Shiva, & i am as close to You as Your own
existence, actually being a part of You. i am truly,
assuredly, a cell in Your Body, blue like sky curving above
& wrapping around: Your holy arms holding me soft, like love itself.
words are useful to describe the surfaces of things & how they
function. words are all about things: physical things, emotional
things, mental things & how they can combine into new things: ideas,
governments, stories, music, spaceships. it goes on & on & on.
deep down inside ourselves, fluidity & flow take place beyond
the known boundaries of the mind. here, the new & surprising may
surface like leaping fish in the clear light of the full moon, flashing
with ephemeral rainbows, splashing down as an invitation
to the depths. words have no place in this domain where subtle rays of
love & compassion are silently healing with blessings of light.
here, deep down inside ourselves is a formless realm, yet it can be
known as if we are dark-sighted birds of the night, riding on that
visualpurple edge of reality that magnifies the
shimmer of mystery & wonder. with inner commitment we
enter that realm & offer greetings of friendly benevolence
in ambient tones that have no words, yet overflow with meaning.
You show me this, Shiva. You reveal the sublime OM of silence:
how to blend into the inner realm through the pure sonic sweetness
that rises up from that formless abode like ageless healing mantras.
You help to open the hidden gateway at my core to release
the arcane subtle awareness of the divine presence in all.
i rest in this. i melt in this. i make my home here, Shiva, in
the midst of all that You are teaching me now, including words too!
"why are we here?" i ask Shiva as we stand in the long shadows of
the early evening. He has brought us to the field by the old house
in the far north carolina mountain countryside where we lived years
ago. i miss that rustic lifestyle now, living in a nursing home.
Shiva hands me a woven basket. "let's go gather some dhatura
flowers for the Shivling," He says. there's a healthy stand of dhatura
bushes growing near the end of the field where the mountain begins to
rise up to the sun. they are large sturdy plants, some about as tall as
my shoulders. the rough, jagged, dark green leaves surround the medium-sized
pale lavender trumpet-shaped flowers. there are many lush & glowing
flowers standing out palely in the dusky dim light of twilight. the
blossoms will bloom throughout the night, & then wilt by morning, repeating
the same process each night all through fall, even into the frost. they are
hardy survivors, these wild dhatura stramonium bushes. yet the
flowers delicately allure, & Shiva loves them to be nearby,
these curious ghostly wildflowers, mystical & oddly scented.
we carefully remove the trumpet blossoms from the bushes' branches.
the plant is strongly green-smelling, definitely a wild scent: nothing
is cultivated here! as darkness falls, Shiva & i carry our
dhatura flower baskets up to the woods close to the waterfall.
we each fill a flask from the waterfall to pour on the chosen stone,
which is a tall husky one, & it loves being cleansed & sanctified.
we place the dhatura flowers on Shiva's favored stone, which is thrilled,
happy indeed, for Shiva Himself is here, placing His own hands on
this new Shivling. the stone becomes so filled with healing that miracles
of everyday blessing move closer. mist from the waterfall adds a
dreamy touch to our worship. it sets a hallowed & blessed mystic mood.
we softly begin singing bhajans & mantras, & the raccoons come
now to join us because they love our singing. next, a fox & a young
bear amble over, & the flying squirrels sail overhead, soon joined
by the pair of small warbling owls who grace the cool night with their strange song.
Shiva & i sit by the sacred Shiva lingam, which is richly
decorated with many dhatura blossoms. moonlight now shines down
upon us all, highlighting the beauty of the natural Shiva
lingam & its blossoms. the animals are all gathered around us
as we sing the ancient praise songs of the holy guardian beings,
affirming their on-going magical presence, encouraging them.
Shiva gazes over at me & winks. i wink back. "I brought you here,"
says Shiva finally, "to show you that you have been following me
for your whole life without realizing it. you have cherished my things:
the wild places, the animals, the mystery of consciousness,
the open sky, the mountain you stand upon, the dhatura flowers."
Shiva regards me warmly. "you are mine, made of my own true essence.
our destinies are entwined." we fall silent & bemused, opening
to the timely new awareness now spreading its roots down deep within.
the dhatura blossoms keep on releasing their subtle consciousness
altering pheromones. Shiva & we, His charges, share communion.
the night is young & blessed by Shiva to heal all who yearn for wholeness.
it seems in reverie that our various human lives are like leaves
swirling in the chill breeze of fall. they are sublimely brilliant, poignant
& pure, swiftly gone, whirling on, flying into pieces in the wind.
each life is different, yet they are also alike in many ways.
they are nuanced with deeply meaningful patterns, tender, touching &
precious. heroic stories are played out in swiftly gliding glimpses
that grip & sweep the viewer far inside to the heart of mystery.
& then they are gone: all the human lives, like the swirling leaves, flying
into pieces in the fingers of the wind within the witnessing sky.
ah, Shiva, You tell me to look beyond the transient to that which
remains continuously present as source essence. You are formless
& vast, & i am a focal point of You, extended into form.
let the leaves & lives fly by: i will return with them to formlessness.
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.
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.
little spider, i am surprised that i miss you & the intensity
of your being overlighted by a vaster intelligence & will.
i felt as if a great mothership hovered overhead, surrounding us
in a numinous mystical energy field. everything was vivid,
crisp & focussed. it was powerful, unsettling, yet it was also like
a surprise visit by an honored & well-loved celebrity of note.
little spider, you touch my life in a tender way, like a gentle tap
on the shoulder to awaken me. you have changed my perspective away
from the conditioned, limited humanocentric view towards a far
broader & more inclusive way of seeing life. your visit has blessed me.
thank You, Shiva, for this exalting & humbling experience, which
clearly demonstrates to me that all things & beings are far more than the
face which they ordinarily reveal. we all, without exception, are
sacred seeds of the uttermost divine deity & we would do well
to recognize this & to treat each other in just this very manner.
what a powerful thing, to hold one another in the esteem of our
focussed attention. it's like sitting by a clear rushing stream that blesses
with the ripple & surge of its cooling flow. the energy is healing,
& i thank You, Shiva, for taking me with You into the mystery.
it happens once that a river bids me to come & lie on its
long water-smoothed swathes of stone beach & touch its fossil runes &
time-sculpted stone poetry. the wisdom of the heart informs my
fingertips & i am enraptured by the river: its limestone
bluffs, meandering expanses of tactile river-refined stones.
they tell aeonic-long tales of the survival & ascension
of creatures from another geological age than this one.
they move me to my deepest heart & core. here at the core i find
my sincere root connection to this life, this realm wherein i now
find this body. it is embedded in the moment just as the
fossil beings are embedded in stone. i am not separate
from all that surrounds & supports me. i too am an expression
of Shiva here. what a grand dance this truly is: the minerals
in these bones & the dust on the moon, all one big cosmic event!
i tell this to the river as we lie on the stones in the sun,
blessed by the touch of warmth right down to our boulders, pebbles & bones.
i share my last dream, in which the river blesses me with a stone
imprinted with the stylized shape of an eye. this is the potent
dream--my invitation--that brings me here today, down the long rough
country road to the hidden winding path toward the swift river.
this Shiva-blessed river is kin to the great Ganges springing
from snow-melt in the far Himalayan heights half a world away.
i tell this to the river as we lie side by side in the sun.
once again i feel time & space shift & blend inexplicably,
a fresh fossil moment showing its story to be seen & known,
not hidden any more. we have no secrets, stripped down to essence,
to the wholeness of all existence. the river & i, under
the sun & sky: we lie together on the bedrock of it all
& Shiva holds us in the fullness of His pure eternal love.
He is another sun, hidden behind the one we see, concealed
within the mystery of the secret chamber within the heart.
the river knows this mystery too & is smiling in the way
that rivers can: with a thousand thousand bright shining glints of light.
now at my feet i see revealed the sacred stone of my deep dream,
emerging to be my talisman & companion wherever
Shiva sends us, graced with helpful dreams & miracles as we go.
this stone is known as "Shiva's eye," a guardian on my altar.
the river is the buffalo, the first national river park,
protected from development for all its wooded winding length.
Shiva holds us close to Him, me & the buffalo river stone.
we dream together of lessons learned & goodness to be revealed,
& the river flows clear & i rejoice: OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!
i see them draw together,
i observe them pull apart:
the sun & moon in a space
embrace, joining holy hearts.
flaming embers fall to earth,
descend from the cloudless sky,
hinting at the mystery
that the soul will not deny.
Shiva's dance goes on & on
as galactic seasons change.
His music calls. i respond
as i always do, again.
i see us draw together,
i observe us pull apart
in this sacred dance of life
wherein i give You my heart.
a quick storm blows in, rolling & flashing through the huddled mountains in the springtime afternoon,
churning & darkening the sky slowly to slate. i stand outside watching an orb move
through the fallow field, appearing as bright as a firefly at first, yet nearing & becoming
obviously much larger & more amazing, weaving from side to side in serpentine fashion:
a ball of fire the size of a human heart meanders up the ragged field, gliding freely
like a sentient being exploring a new place, lingering, then speeding on, alive! You!
it is You, Shiva, touching my life again, sending wonders to me like tender love letters!
You hover two meters up in the air now, the mountain before you watching through many eyes.
All existence seems to take a breath, full & still, waiting for a message, a resolution.
You, a magical intelligence from an unknown realm, are spearing me with astonishment
as You turn & glide back & forth down the field the way You came, curving smoothly through the charged air.
bright & buoyant, radiating Your presence, You pause for a timeless moment, a quiet instant.
i am caught up in the pure wonder of Your livingness as You are poised in the lucent air.
suddenly, as if a decision is made, You swiftly cut through the air, move away from me,
& plunge into the woods on the far side, returning into the mystery, departing here.
i am hanging off the cliff of my amazement, feeling something hard crack open deep inside,
feeling the pulsing powerful wholeness of You pulling me from my makeshift shelter of words
& plans & desires & lists & laundry & cooking & that necessary car maintenance.
oh Shiva! You know how to split & splinter my careful house of scheduled events into scrap!
a few days later i follow Your path through the trees: i know that You are not done with me yet.
a recently fallen old tree lays in a clearing by the creek, offers a log to sit on.
i meditate there for hours by the water, downloading the message that You have left for me,
feeling the key of it fit into the keyhole of the lock i didn't know was on my heart,
sensing You seat Yourself there centrally. You have come to remind me that I am vowed to You
& all else is my field of service & cannot replace You as primary & focal.
without You my life is scattered dust & ashes, grey & choking, smothering fragile new growth.
with You all takes on a magical aura of wordless communication, hyperreal.
Shiva, You are my primal addiction & without You i quietly suffer & sicken.
You are the essence of life & the body & personality serve You honorably.
You are the indwelling life that gives form its allure. i seek You & release focus on form.
Thank You for the gift of knowing Your name & the ability to recognize Your presence!
i’m not obedient to society. i am restless & questioning, persistent in pushing against the edges & borders. i don’t identify with culture or race or nation or gender or wealth or title. the body appears human. the indweller is vaster, more inclusive than named alone.
ah, Shiva! the mind can see & say a lot, yet it all so swiftly changes & flows on. only You can remain constant in this realm. only You are truly present within me when the whole construct crashes down to the ground.
the transformative cycle begins anew in this realm of infinite variety where i cleave to You as the only constant. You are my magnetic north, my sun & moon. i take up this changing role for You alone, as Your expression of transformation. thus, i’m not obedient to society. i am Yours alone, Shiva, embodied here in this shining mystery as Your blessing.