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.