the river

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!

shared in the light

after the festive gala celebration comes the thorough clean-up.
after the inmost insight comes steady determined application.
after the fall from grace & light comes the humility to struggle
from the shattered scattered rubble & resolutely rise up again:
what is learned from the darkness is to be gathered & shared in the light.

after the sincere sadhana comes the fading of maya's mirage
in Shiva's pervasive light. He is kneading the soul as if it is
bread being carefully prepared for baking. He is working His light
deep into the cells that i may also be a light unto the world.

wherever i am, Shiva declares it a temple & i bow humbly.
i pray for the trees & the birds & for the young of all who are born
to bless this sad besieged world with the nectar of their sweet purity.
this is the time when abundant blessings are needed everywhere, for
what is learned from the darkness is to be gathered & shared in the light.

tears

some seeds must be watered thoroughly by our tears before they can sprout:
the darkness & moisture are needed before the heat of the bright day.
things soften & fall away in the salty wetness of flowing tears.
it's too early for the light, too early for words to begin pulling
things apart or holding them together by dogged force & grim grit.

first must come the quickening tears, the basic form of the fertilizer
of the soul, for growth needs abundant moisture to support suppleness.
let the tears well up & flow. something inside is moving towards birth,
struggling slick & wet into the soft dark blanket of the deep night.

You know about tears, Shiva. You know what a cleansing release they bring.
You know that they have healing properties & a holy origin.
i will rest in You, Shiva, & the tears will serve Your purpose as i
do japa of Your sacred mantra on my rudraksha seed mala.

mind & body dance in partnership

the body is temporary. that which enlivens it is eternal.
i am that enlivening spark, knowing the body as a beloved
companion animal, responsibly attending to its basic needs.

here's the challenge: the mind interprets the body's needs very broadly, hence
alertness is called for. the body's genuine needs are not so pressing
as the mind's elaborations. discrimination is needed. mind
& body dance in partnership &, as the detached observer of them both,
a balance of discipline & care evolves. sometimes the body simply
cannot have what it wants. the mind defends the body's desires,
hence alert observation, detachment & firmness is necessary.

just as mind & body dance in partnership, Shiva, so You dance with me
in this continuing sadhana, this fierce unfolding blessing from You.

the openness of disclosure


Shiva, when You gave me this sadhana of sharing my journey
with You by way of poetry in a blog, it deepened my life.
i thought of wordpress as a platform for creating a webpage.
i did not realize that it is also a community
of people sharing their insights & life events from various
perspectives & interests, yet all with respectful courtesy.

poetry especially fosters this acceptance, for it is
like a finger pointing to something vital & heartfelt, as there
is the openness of disclosure & the freedom to share.

along with this, our culture & society tend to promote
focus on the gender differences between men & women.
in my sadhana on this path of Sanatana Dharma, i'm
detaching from the body-mind identity & sharing as
the observer & witness to the daily drama of this life.

because of this, i did not choose to reveal the body gender.
there have been times when gender has been assumed & i am addressed
as "sir". since i greatly value truth, i did add "wife & mother"
to my bio under the menu choice "this happened: the story".
this is where i look when i read a blog, so this seemed a good place.

Shiva, i find that each level of growth & evolution brings
the deep work of intensifying clarity & compassion.
it's like climbing a mountain, to discover a vast expanse of
mountains & plateaux going on & on into the far distance.

yet it's only the next step that i need to concern myself with.
so i focus on Your companionship, Shiva, holding Your hand,
walking on this path of inner unfoldment, always attending
to the very next step, seeking harmony & rapport with You.

Shiva, You know me by my energy-signature & essence.
i am grateful. the form is not important but the purity
of intention does matter. thank You for this opportunity
to be forthcoming & visible to others in service & gratitude to You.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA

a beginner’s grasp

i understand that the sun is alive, a great sentient being,
a dear teacher who is surrounded by students, whom we call planets.
this earth, who gives substance for our bodies, is itself alive & in
the midst of its own spiritual unfolding & deep sadhana.
i see also that the human species comes from the quickening
planetary sadhana & our lives reflect the earth's urge to give a
grateful gift to our solar teacher who holds us safe in his body.

he also evolves in his own service to the living galaxy,
spinning in its sadhana like a great cosmic sufi in joyful
fervor with the venerable divine local group of galaxies.
they all gyre together in concert with the vaster galactic dancing
divinities throughout the huge far-flung deep field of untold billions
of galaxies visible to humans through our many instruments.

these immense living congeries of starbeings themselves constitute
a yet greater life unimaginable to flesh & bone lifeforms.
these networks of transgalactic beings express the outpouring called
"the big bang," a cosmic event that has got our full attention.
here we are, human beings peering into the vastest unknown that
we are capable of through our telescopes. we are created thus
by our earth, who gives us these bodies & the burning urge to explore.

oh Shiva! Your expression is vast & varied & the whole of it
constitutes You, spinning in Your dance of creative transformation.
You have given us a beginner's grasp of this immeasurable
existence & i am grateful for the all-embracing overview.

thank You, Shiva, for this immensity of interconnected lives:
transgalactic, galactic, solar & planetary. thank You for
the gods, devas, & unknown others who dance in this great creative
ensemble. we ourselves are an iteration of this grand dancing
cosmic life, kin to planets & stars. thank You, Shiva, for the guidance
& instruction & for being my dance-partner in this brief vision
of one little corner of this vast realm of metagalactic space.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA

now comes the singularity

the daily critique of people & events runs on one channel.
the witness of this drama watches it from another channel.
where do i place my voluntary attention & heartfelt choice?

at each moment there is a purposeful return to the witness.
over & over the urge manifests to see truly, clearly,
not to indulge in the ego drama of fierce feelings, needs &
iron preferences enclosing like binding chains & blinders.

if nothing more is done for sadhana than this alone, at least
this much is completed to coax & invite deeper awareness.
hence the mind's tv is tirelessly tuned to the witness channel,
forming the habit of divine detachment as a point of view.
it will eventually happen that the tv is turned off
& that there are no channels at all available any more.

now comes the singularity, the formless blending foretold
by quantum physics & the upanishads & psychedelics.
as the event horizon nears, i surrender the mind to You.
ah, it's better that my heart should thirst & pine after You, Shiva,
than to encounter the hungry ghosts of the active agile mind!

Shiva, i am here

Shiva, i am here to talk to You & to stay focussed on Your wavelength
rather than to drift within the drama which i see dancing around me.
i see the cracking everywhere, the evidence of a dying age.
even beyond the human ferment i register the shifting aeons,
the mysterious powers that ebb & flow in the wild daily display.

Shiva, i am here to talk to You & to stay focussed on Your wavelength,
to look for Your hidden loving touch of presence, expressing tenderly,
rather than to fashion socially accepted scripts, repeating daily.
i come, appearing as this body-personality, offering it all.
i come to You raw, unfinished & coming apart, yet yearning for You.
This is the record of my sadhana, which gifts You with my total sum.

humanity is the planet’s sadhana

we are born of the earth & quickened by sun.
humanity is the planet's sadhana,
embodying its divine evolution.
we blunder our way toward kindness & light
as the systemic cycles of growth circle
& turn through vast cosmic dance steps, moving &
spinning out inexplicably strange blessings.

humanity is the planet's sadhana.
we blunder our way toward kindness & light,
irresistibly on the upward spiral.

You want me

i don't know why You want me here.
i don't know if what i do is
what You actually want from me.

i only know that You want me,
for You branded that deep within
my innermost wordless true self.

hence all my actions are given
to You in hope that i offer
that which is needful as You call
on me now to act in the world.

i use what You give. You give it
to be applied on Your behalf.
in the end, at the completion,
i only return what is Yours.

that You want me, this i do know
& nothing else really matters.

talk to me

"talk to me," Shiva says, "nothing is too trifling,
for I am the essence of everything here.
you can talk to me." i hear Him in my heart &
i wonder how He can care about such trivia.

"try Me," He says, "the open heart knows no trivia."
feeling shy, i tell Him what i am doing now,
how words reveal themselves for poems, like flowers
unfurling petals to the nurture of sunlight,
singing in the language of fragrant bright color,
a hymn of gratitude, chorus after chorus.

"see what I mean?" Shiva says. "nothing is too small
to hold the whole of creation at its center.
talk to me," He says, "for this too is sadhana."

this is why my lips move silently within crowds
& why my voice is heard in soft conversation
when people are gone, for Shiva is here with me,
teaching the art of divine inebriation
without concern for the opinions of others.

He is right, for all my talking to Him keeps the
door of my heart open wide & He enters &
we talk together about pebbles & planets.
when i can talk no more, He holds me in His heart.

a place to stand steadfast

You have given me a place to stand steadfast,
an identity beyond the human-born,
a way to face into life with dignity.
You opened Your heart to me & i entered,
steeped in ignorance & blind arrogant youth.

long have i kept Your memory deep within,
but like a ruby wrapped in ragged burlap
or precious art forgotten in an attic.

no longer, Lord Shiva, no, never again
will i dare turn away from Your instruction,
for age has given me the wisdom & love
to venerate only the dearest blessings
& You are the one who includes all of them!

You are that which remains when the transient
is no longer the focus of attention.
oh my Lord Shiva, how brightly You do shine
at the midheaven of mature awareness!
i now can place myself in this time-bound realm
only in relation to You, Lord Shiva,
who have given me a place to stand steadfast,
an identity beyond the human-born.

training wheels

the mind yet has its training wheels to help it remain steady.
truthfully, i often find myself laying flat on the ground
wondering how i came to fall so low, how i can arise.
yet i do arise, time after time, & i do push forward.
it has been given to me to repeat this forward motion.

i wanted to opt out, let it all go without my input,
but You have shaped it otherwise for me, my dear Lord Shiva.
thus it is that i give myself to You in service & love.
i am a cell in Your body, You are my reality.
i see this while i yet must play the part You have given me.
i do this in gratitude, for the well-being of all life
is woven in to every inch of each measurable thing,
thus i delight in playing out the role You have given me.

You come to me in love & i greet You in gratitude here
where love & gratitude shine like suns in the sky of the mind.
this is the role that completes all roles, final absolution.
this is the end of roles, concepts, divisions, all mentation.
this is the point of the needle of now, the collapse of words.

yet the body throbs to sun, sky, earth, water & to rhythm,
to music's rhythm that leads us home, removes separation.
music is the dream's exit door, opening into Shiva
who is the dweller in my heart & the maker of music.
music is my training wheels, helping me dissolve boundaries
into primal sound & thus to merge into You, Lord Shiva.
beat Your damaru drum like my very own fast-beating heart!
keep the rhythm strong. i follow it back to my origin.
even training wheels will fall away in the fullness of time.