baking bread is a dance between recipe & intuition, plus awareness of timing & process. the living organisms of yeast must be encouraged to multiply in culinary choreography with flour, warm water, salt, sugar & butter. substances are combined together, dough is kneaded & given time to rise into fullness, then is punched down to flatness, shaped & blessed to rest in holy repose, rising again, ready to bake. this dance is a tandava, energetic, demanding, until heat transforms mere ingredients into the miracle of bread.
Shiva, i am those ingredients: You are the Baker of bread! i have been combined, stirred, mixed, heated, punched down when i fully expand, then set aside to rise again. finally, at last, the oven's heat acts upon that which was inedible & it cooks, releasing the fresh baked fragrance of bread, a scent pleasing to all.
the acts of mixing, punching & heating are necessary to produce the correct result. it is no mistake. the highs & lows come about to teach of the physical realm & to encourage enquiry into the hidden essence of spirit & matter. hence i use life's challenges as stepping stones to You who call me.
these "down-times" are an essential part of fully maturing as a sensitive, receptive being. when thoughts are dull & sluggish & i struggle upon a bleak inner plateau, it is because influences beyond ego are triggering transformation. changes that can't be hurried or stopped now come about on their own.
likewise, it's true that the "up-times" are also not engendered by my choosing or willing. they too happen as part of a wholesome natural purification, unfolding spontaneously. this dance whirls me up & down, around & around, urging balance. i seek to be cooperative, while remaining grounded too.
those times when i have risen enough & must be reduced again seem to purify & diminish the ego without judgement, merely as needful adjustment. nothing is wrong or bad, no more than the tides of the seas or the winds in the sky. it is life in physical form, moving, changing, rising & falling: evolving.
yet You are the Baker, Shiva. You are the Doer of deeds, hence i ask You for guidance & support, training the mind to discern Your hand in all events. seeing You as the Baker & myself as the loaf of bread that You prepare is yet another way i remind myself that i am a cell in God's body, yielding to Your divine direction for the manifestation of goodness.
just as the aroma of fresh baked bread calls the hungry to eat, so the fragrance of a devotee calls forth higher beings to feast upon the sweet healing energies that You evoke from we who love You, Shiva. thus we all support & bless one another in a divine ecology that transcends time, space & species.
i receive each event in life as if it is a message from You,
Shiva. i pay attention. I self-review, scan for synchronicities
& patterns. I detach from particulars & look for general themes.
i open to intuition & focus in the heart, seeking guidance.
whatever may reveal itself, i hold in my heart & search deep to know
how it can bless. i look for the blessing to unfold & reveal itself,
& i thank You, Shiva, for transforming my life & opening my heart.
in the vastness of multidimensionality, You make Yourself known
in Your own way to each of us. no one is left out or overlooked in
the cascading divine abundance of descending ambrosial grace.
You draw near to us according to our ability to receive You,
hence You have innumerable names in this realm of many diverse forms.
Your subtle essence is beyond all name & form, filling the willing heart.
thus it is that i search every event in life for its message from You
& i concentrate focussed attention as if my life depends on it,
for it surely does! thank You for the pure blessing of Your presence, Shiva.
the rolling fullness of the rising sun reflects anew
in the rainbow glint of a dewdrop on the tip of a
sharp blade of tender grass innocently offering itself.
the final lilting call of the whippoorwill fades into
the morning songs of the wood thrush & summer tanager;
the sky brightens slowly, becoming a rose-gold temple.
the morning brings divine opportunity to offer
heartfelt gratitude for the simple gift of awareness.
yes Shiva, tempt us with Your divine magnetic beauty
as You shape Yourself into these many earthly delights!
we shall gladly dance with You in the sweet glory of this
timeless transparent increasingly radiant gold light.
the rolling fullness of the rising sun reflects anew
in our swirling turning rhythmic holy dance, dear Shiva
of hidden charms & endless unfolding transformation.
like the whippoorwill, our voices are silent in the soft
downpouring light as our hearts lift like blossoms to the sun.
esotericists say that the earth itself is deep in a
spiritual initiation by its solar teacher, the sun,
who holds the earth clasped close in an optimal loving orbit
with all the other attending planetary acolytes.
the guru sun with encircling solar system devotees
holds darshan in its ashram of time, space & locality.
humanity is the precipitator, actualizing
the initiation, triggering systemic refinement.
this is akin to the caterpillar's quantum leap into
butterfly, a winged being capable of rising to
new dimensions previously unattainable, unknown.
Shiva, You are in attendance at this holistic process
as the ultimate progenitor & initiator,
pervading everything within the quantum flux of matter.
as the sun You hold the earth in Your strong arms of gravity
& nurture its essence & ability to change & grow.
i circle around You too, Shiva, held by Your gravity.
this transformation is inevitable, vital & good
& You hold me in Your loving arms just as You hold the earth
in Your gravitational field while it experiences
its transformative travail. Shiva, please comfort & console
as we deliquesce in change, not knowing what we may become,
yet open to Your grace & grateful for Your holy presence.
to me You have no form, though i love the forms ascribed to You.
You are essence, presence, numinous energy signature.
You are within me as i move in the vast ocean of You.
You signal to me through clouds & i reply in semaphore.
my whole life is a semaphore, an action-adventure play
designed to get Your attention, to call You to see my need.
i tire of action & searching & i turn within to rest.
so it is that in the calm of this silence, You come to me. You come.
You come like the breeze, like dew at dawn, like the stars emerging
out of nothingness into somethingness, calling out my name.
You wrap around me as if skin, & i breathe You like the air
until i grow bright as the crescent moon shining in Your hair,
placed in the darkness of Your hair, no longer able to speak,
silently rejoicing in You who are hidden in all forms.
You are essence & presence, evoking deep recognition.
You call Your own & i respond, fighting through forgetfulness.
i continually move forward, slowly & steadily.
Your energy is my primal imprint, marking me for You.
i am Your agent of transformation coming home to You.
You live in my heart, Shiva, melting my resistance
to transformation & its needful dissolution.
this is a small pralaya, a time of rest & calm
after the long intense birthing & care of the born.
down from the mountain & into the plowed field is the
natural path for water to flow, & for me too,
past the resistance & ignorance, proceeding onward
to the deepest place of the innermost sweet stillness.
slowly bindings are easing, tangles are resolving
& quietude is soothing the rough edges & rips.
the surface is placid, the currents at rest for now.
this is a small pralaya, a time of rest & calm.
You live in my heart, Shiva, melting my resistance.
there's an emptiness i will not look at again,
a hidden hole i will not fall into this time.
day dissolves into night, turns into weeks & months.
all softens & shifts in the blue melting distance
& i cling to You now. i cannot do this alone.
but with You it can finally be accomplished.
You can do all that i am unable to do.
just be here with me & keep me company
while this great transformation rages in us all.
Shiva, Your cool rain is a sweet benediction,
healing & soothing the raw edges of the heart.
comfort me with rainbows, lift me upon Your clouds.
i would float upon Your love, myself a blessing.
the world is my field of dharmic group service now,
yet You are my center & i hold fast to You.
although i bend beneath the hard weight of this life,
i do not fall nor do i neglect my duties.
not by any virtue of mine, but through You alone
is the work done, & the fruits of work go where You
determine in Your mysterious, profound way.
all is done by You, beyond human mind & heart.
it is done by You & i am Your agent here
on this blue planet which, itself, struggles toward
a greater life in this primal cosmic cycle,
time after time, aeon upon aeon, onward.
we humans are Your transforming agents, Shiva,
created, formed & born for Your service & grace.
looking through the cosmic lens, i can see how we
are the outreach of a vast emanating source.
thus do i celebrate this opportunity
to praise You, yearning to return to Your wholeness,
resting in the cool downpour of Your cleansing rain.
You weave Yourself into the pattern of my life after childhood departs -- my cry for meaning calls You to me. You show me how to make an altar, tell me about the world appearing as pairs of opposite qualities. You teach me to balance opposites through You, by taking refuge in You.
i cannot say that You save my life because first You tear it all apart. or i tear it apart because i can't stand the emptiness any more.
You bring me to a mountain to serve & honor everything as sacred. You're the thread stitching all together in a pattern of pure symmetry. jewels are hidden in the design, dappled light, trees, foxes, bears & crows, sunlight glowing through mist & green leaves, birds carrying messages to gods.
i have loved You in Your many forms. You are pattern, You are energy. You are the weaver & the woven, the rhyme that repeats in my lifesong, great maker & breaker of patterns. i am Your expression, Lord Shiva, i am You singing me into life, laughing in delight at our playing.