i see the people who live here & the people who work here coming & going, coming & going, like a human tide. this is nursing home life, the last stronghold of the weary form, the final chance for deconstruction & renunciation of body-self identification, countdown to release the encumbrances of earthly life. i seek to use it well. the intention is to show that it's never too late to serve the vast Beingness interpenetrating all life & form. names & shapes come & go, ebb & flow, yet the Nameless remains. the Nameless comes forth to us all through the veil of name & form, therefore Shiva has come to me even through my ignorance. i honor this time & the One who holds me like a lover. He is here & i will go with Him when the tide rushes out. names & shapes come & go, ebb & flow, yet the Nameless remains.
You meet me formlessly as i reach to You inwardly, shedding the dense outer form, progressively dropping identifiers until only beingness remains. i know You in this world by Your energy signature absorbed in our formless unions, which continue to bless. You touch me now as i, in my elderhood, freely yield myself to You who have blessed this life inexplicably, enduringly, persistently, for i am slow to wake. You have remained with me throughout my ignorance, Shiva. You are the one constant in all this shifting flow of life. i embrace You in deep devotion & dedication. absolve me of my ignorance, enfold me in Your love. You meet me formlessly as i reach to You inwardly.
as i write these words to You on paper, Shiva, i am inviting You to be near me, to touch me with Your grace, with Your compassionate way of revealing ageless truths as if they had grown & blossomed deep within heart & mind & only now could reveal their shining fragrant presence. as i write these words to You on paper, Shiva, i find myself feeling as if i sit by a wood-burning stove enjoying the heat as wood is sacrificed to the fire. we all burn with this indescribable divine flame. it consumes our errors, making ashes of our mistakes. as i write these words to You on paper, Shiva, i am asking You to come so close that i lose myself in You, so close that the meaning of the words "You" & "i" dissolves. there is no more writing, no more words, no "i" & no "You"-- only now exists, only life, just this burning moment.
i am foolish to speak of You for what can words say of You? i long to commune soul to soul as we did when You first came to me years ago. You ignited the flame of love, made it burn. it has been a beacon throughou the storms & clashes of life. You marked me for Yourself & i also have vowed my service from a deep well of recognition & heartfelt commitment. without You, i am a shadow falling flat upon dark earth. with You, i am sky, galaxies, dimensions beyond telling. i am foolish to speak of You, yet i do this very thing! it is love's nature to be the profoundest of contagions!
i don't get myself in trouble when i am thinking of You. i am trouble on two feet when i am thinking of myself & my history, struggles, desires & high priorities. since i am unable to stop thinking, it's best to think of You, so i write this poem for You to demonstrate to myself that i want my focus on You, not the temporary drama. i don't get myself in trouble when i am thinking of You.
i am like a great bird spreading wide wings open full, swiftly lifting up into the eager energy of the new morning sky, aiming at the brightest light. like an arrow tunneling through the air to the sun is the pull of my heart to the fire of Your presence. there is no other for me, Shiva. my heart is Yours. compelled by love, like a fragment of pure forged iron to a magnet, i move toward that which calls to me. i rush to respond & embrace my deep destiny. it feels like coming home after a lengthy journey, like losing who i thought i was, finding who i am. as the old ties are tearing apart, falling away, i rise like a great bird spreading wide wings open full, like an arrow tunneling through the air to the sun. there is no other for me, Shiva. my heart is Yours.
it's all interior, nothing much that comes to action -- a certain peace, a quiet calm, an acceptance of now. i have little to show to the world, Shiva, few good deeds or great service. just a subtle subjective shift, a deep bond with You, whom i feel abiding now within my heart. even this becomes dim & murky when the world looms large. this is a long grim struggle, Shiva, just to hold steady. i tire. i sag. i observe the fading of memory. the mind is such a rebel, refusing obedience. i am bereft, adrift, undone, hard-pressed as a person. the old costume was cast off long ago. i have none now. i have only You, Shiva, Your tender inner presence. all in all, a pretty good trade for who i thought i was. You guide me from within & weave Your presence through the day. You are real, constant, unchanging, ever-present, central. all in all, a pretty good trade for who i thought i was!
after i tell You my stories, Shiva -- the old ones, the stories told to me, about me -- they fade away. in their place are the new stories, emerging now that i am ready to receive my true place in this life. the new stories are about You, Shiva, how we met & how You continued coming to me in spite of my blind ignorance & grievous errors of thought. it helps me to live in this world, being aware that You are now, & always have been, central in my life. without knowing Your name i have known Your warm presence & ever sought to be near You in my heart & mind. dear Shiva, i am entirely swept away by You. You cause my heart to open & You bless me with love. in this world of maya i have been given a shield of protection by You & my life is devoted to You & what You may want of me in this dream realm. i do my duty to You here until You take me beyond all the stories, beyond the form, into You.
some days i am like a cloud floating in the wide blue sky, sun streaming into me like fingers of divine blessing, wind carrying me effortlessly in a smooth swift flow. other days i slog my way through the thick mud of the day, struggling to take just one more step forward yet again in the endless trudging of step after step after step. some days i lay flat on my back in mud, surrendering to inertia like an old balloon slowly deflating. other days i say Your name before i fully awake, feeling You deep within the hidden chamber of my heart &, finding You there, lift my hands in glad salutation. today i see all these changing shapes of the shifting days, witness the flickering parade of possibilities. they are so real to the human self pushing through maya! my heart opens in compassionate wonder & soft love. i seek refuge in You, Shiva. i am Yours forever.
how can i resist the call of a fallen flower when my altar is open & receptive to offering? the flower did not ask to be an altar offering yet circumstances now conspire to bring them together. thus have i come to You, Shiva, myself a fallen bloom & You, opening to take me in Your companionship. just so do the pieces of the puzzle find each other, as a great coming together of need & the response. no matter. however it happens, we are joined, Shiva. it is the way of things for me to cleave to You, my love. every moment of this life points to You. i see that now. this fallen blossom adorns the altar of Your vastness as an offering to the deep wholeness underlying the unending changes of this transient earthly realm. every fallen flower sets upon a homeward journey.
when i talk to You, Shiva, detachment slowly happens. no longer can i repeat the tired old stories in my head. they dissolve & show their essential unreality as patterns that keep repeating habit-like in the mind. they are just snapshots of a passing moment, inflated, grasped, given importance by other's firm opinions. the mind is choked with all this mental debris, mirroring the rafts of plastic garbage cluttering our blue oceans & the poisons leaching from dumps, fouling the groundwater. i won't go there anymore. i feel the danger. i know. i turn my back on the chatter of inner dialogue & face toward You, Shiva, who has shown me this wisdom. You are the antidote to the poison i have swallowed & i hold fast to You, placing You foremost in the mind. purify my thoughts, Shiva, please remind me of You. i want You to fill the mind with Your clarity & light. i want to fall into You like a rushing waterfall! catch me like the ocean that i may dissolve into You!
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," 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 hold me in His heart.