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.
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.
i am not the body-personality nor am i the author of the
actions of that physical being. i am the observing awareness, the
indwelling presence ever abiding beyond thought, who calmly witnesses.
that which is done through the body's agency, because of the influence of
the personality, belongs to that entity alone. it is not mine.
i am the pure bright awareness enlivening the body: truly, i am
not of the body. i am ever free, ever stainless, like a cloud in the sky,
like space itself, just present, offering no resistance & no attachment.
now i am standing on the threshold between body-personality &
observing awareness. in daily life both flow with the evolving events
of the moment. yet the body-personality has many ups & downs,
whereas the awareness remains clear & steady, unattached to the outcome.
this is what i contemplate in sadhana, Shiva. i currently am a
fluctuating amalgam of spirit & matter. it's like that tremulous
moment when the butterfly realizes that she is in the chrysalis &
can remotely sense her wings slowly developing, but she herself is yet
vulnerable & powerless to act. nor is it needful, for creation
is unfolding & happening naturally, by itself, for all of us.
ah Shiva! this sadhana is on-going, a way of life, & i am quite
fundamentally drawn to it, attracted like the moth to her fulfillment
in the fire of flaming truth. i am witness to the blazing conflagration.
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.
i do not know how tightly i guard the borders of the body until
an attentive & curious little spider demonstrates it to me.
i am so intently aware of her that i feel like i'm vibrating.
the net of the mind is held tight over one alert spider: we study
one another for long intense intervals over the day & a half
that she is here. she takes periodic rest breaks & retires into the
dark havens of shadows & i maintain vigilance about where i place
these large human feet when i walk. i examine my whole environment
carefully so i won't inadvertently harm her. i am akin to
a guitar string pulled really tight for the span of the spider's visit.
only after she takes leave & departs do i realize how very
powerful & concentrated the energy has been during her stay.
i am not at ease with insects or spiders at all, so i had been in
emergency alert mode for the entire time my visitor is here.
as days pass by & the energies mellow, i realize at last that
the little spider who stayed & studied me had left a barren place in
my life. it is rather like the silence of an empty house after the
beloved guest has gone. i miss the presence that had brought me such focus.
she is more to me than merely a spider. she is a visitor who
has come through Shiva to teach me. my sadhana is to pay attention.
i love how miraculous life is! she had only a walk-on role, yet
she made a very deep impression on me & has left me pondering.
i know that everything is of value in the divine ecology.
Shiva, all of us serve a vital function as part of a vast wholeness.
since we all are important, i can't know if a spider is an angel,
an arachnid or an alien, so i am grateful for all beings.
beyond the surface appearance: we are holy, we are blessed, we are one.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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!