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.

a narrow slice

i see such a narrow slice of life: in essence, a micro-reality,
the tiny zoomed-in view of a single pixel on its little adventures
in wonderland. with education, training & practice, the questing pixel
of me can see ever more extensive hierarchies of agreed-upon
participation. so many configurations seem possible, & with
eager caution i try a selection of them. but i see such a narrow
slice of reality that the choices seem quite limited indeed. what if
i turn my focus from the various choices of configuration to
the source of them all? what if i shift my attention from the activity
itself to That which is the originating source of it, the focal point?
what underlies & overlights all this strange dreamlike realm? i am ready for
awareness of a larger slice of existence & i set out to find it.

psychoactive substances can offer a preview, an in-depth sample. they
can indeed reveal more & can encourage one to walk the spiritual
path. yet the real deep inner work must be done in every state of consciousness.
it must be the sincere application of devoted intelligence, plus
the focussed desire to realize the central divine essence of the vast
complex surrounding multiplicity that we find ourselves held within.
as for my narrow little pixel-sized slice of reality: i embrace
it & honor it as best i can with what i've got, & then i set it free.

i have done this for years & finally, now at last, You have told me Your name,
& You are truly an amazing wild card! Shiva! this is the best plot twist
ever in my life! that which i had considered could somehow be imagined
is now brought to light & stands revealed like Mount Kailash when the clouds part & the
sun touches its face in kinship. Shiva! it really is You, taking me
beyond the old maya of unworthiness. "why pick me?' i would ask, feeling
that a mistake had been made. yet here i must also acknowledge, "why not me?"
for it's only through Your holy grace, Shiva, that the puzzle pieces are placed
together & the picture emerges completely. this is Your grace alone.
i am a spark of Your sacred flame, alight in gratitude, burning with love.
my narrow slice of reality stands as a portal into You, Shiva.

look beyond the body

we are vulnerable to the human world when we identify
with the body & desire specific outcomes. without the body,
how can we suffer or have problems? discomfort has its roots in the
body & its artifact, the mind. all memory & body-based
experience belongs to the physical domain & is in fact
temporary, coming & going according to circumstances.

i can find only one realm in life that remains constant & steady
in the midst of this churning flow of change: the knowing that
i exist. for the body-personality, this "i am" is akin to the
universal vibration of OM. it's like a cosmic building block,
the basis of causality & creativity. "i am" is
a doorway accessing the subtle realm, a way out of attachment.

these deep thoughts are given to us as keys for opening alternate
realms through a change of focus, which helps us look beyond the body &
the outer world for stability & truth. You gave me this download,
Shiva. You showed this to me & i have truly taken it to heart.
i firmly commit to following the "i am" to its sacred source,
journeying with You, Shiva, for which i feel blessed & deeply grateful.

other levels of the game

internet image
if i were to immerse myself in a cyberspace virtual world,
it would be akin to what i am doing here in this world of the
western mindset. here i train the body to be the compassionate
detached observer of life's unfolding events through the various
daily dramas. i seek to navigate them consciously & kindly.
this brings the exit door of maya's theater of thrills into view
& more options become available, other levels of the game.

i search for the source & essence of that which captivates my desire.
where does all this creation come from? how does it originate? how
else to find out than to venture deeply within, beyond the realm of
maya's dramas to the emanating inner point of awareness?
by way of immersion into the secret chamber of the heart, i
find Shiva, the lord of the animal body, who abides therein.
He shepherds me through the iterations of change to the very source.

Shiva has various names & forms & they are all teachers & guides.
when i turn my focus inwards, away from the changing outer world
towards the realm within myself, Shiva likewise turns His face to me
in the way that i can best resonate with & respond to. i have
guidance & the warm sustenance of subtle divine companionship.

Shiva is the steward of virtual reality, counting this
one i find myself in at the birth of this body. He is quite set
upon awakening me to my full potential of awareness.
i accept His offer! Let the good times roll in total immersion!

this knowing that “i am”

Shiva, i am learning to know all substance as Your body &
all beings with varying forms & functions as Your expressions.
the density of matter cloaks complete knowledge of You, although
You truly are the all-pervading essence of that which remains
to awareness after the transitory departs yet again.

this grand drama of life gives birth to the earthly realm, with humans
& many other beings populating it in a dance of
flowing creativity in a subtle evolving pattern.

Shiva, i know that this body, the source of personality,
is shaped by genes, conditioning & impacting outer events.
therefore it is not who i really am, as You often point out.
i learn slowly, glad that You patiently persist in Your teaching
that who i really am is the one constant steady awareness
that remains vivid when all else is gone: this knowing that "i am",
the same indwelling wisdom common to all created beings.

Shiva, You are above, below, surrounding & within: source,
quest & destination. You are the universal medicine.
like a great tide You are upon me, sweeping me up in the flood
of Your expression, calling me to the heart, core & center of
all the various comings & goings of daily human life.
wherever i focus i see You at the living heart of it.

i know how it finally ends. i know that the light of kindness
will once more prevail & that darkness will again lessen & that
this dance will continue as it always does. this endless cosmic
glory is like a flower opening from bud, blooming, wilting,
fading, falling, releasing the seeds of new flowers to repeat
another sacramental cycle of Your rhythmic dance, Shiva.
i am looking within to the heart's chamber where You dwell & i
simply want to be with You in the refuge of Your calm presence.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA

don’t believe it!

"not everything is of great consequence," is said by some.
"there are things of importance & things of less importance."
don't believe it! the stars are hanging on our very breath!
the farthest galaxies are swimming in our own bloodstream,
heating the body, sharing primal creation secrets
as we come into organized form in our mother's womb.

we emerge from the womb slick with the moist blessing of the
great divine benefactor of arcane organic life.
we come into a world of shattered stone & hidden light.
all things here are pointing back to the source of creation.
everything matters because we all come from that one source
& our very quantum core is shared with the indivisible.

we must remember this when we are told that we don't matter
because of a human-generated code of judgement
based on appearances, differences & social values.
don't believe it! the stars are hanging on our very breath!
the farthest galaxies are swimming in our own bloodstream
in this pervasive quantum entanglement we call life.

only the mind

even though i seem to be identified with the functioning of the mind,
even though i fall short in many ways & at times grope blindly in darkness,
even though i frequently sink into a bleak forgetting & yearn for help,
You do not abandon me & You stand ever-present in the heart's viewpoint.

You do not abandon me because You are the very source of who i am.
only the mind cares about abandonment & measuring up to ideals.
only the mind compares & judges, approves & condemns & sets stern values.
only the mind can turn away from You, lost in the transient storms of thought,
yet You are always available to the call of the sincere open heart.

You are available, Shiva, always standing nearby, ever supporting.
i know this as i become aware of the entrapment of the agile mind
& therefore i persevere in remaining steady, grateful for Your presence.

this small passing mote of human dust gives thanks to You, the divine source of dust
& bright stars & swirling galaxies, coming to me in a way i can grasp.
i salute You, Shiva, & rejoice in Your pure light & Your deep mystery.