Release

 

Why is it that the more I open to the light

And the more I open to love

The more the memories come?

Things I thought were gone are resurfacing

Still ugly, still painful, still totally in my way

*

I called on Krishna

I asked him to play his flute for me

And he did

Sweetly, with passionate reverence

But the sound of his devotion

And the brightness of his love

Reminded me

Of all that I have not forgiven or forgotten

This weight I keep carrying around like a corpse

Dead weight

Dead things

His love is so pure!

And I am so not.

*

Shiva

God of Death and Deathlessness

He is consciousness, unfiltered and undiluted

He is energy, unlimited and unimpeded

He is wild

As in:

Not tame

Not programmed

Not here to please your ego or your sensibilities

No…Shiva is beyond all things

Shiva

I bring him my offering

I go to him with my corpse

I lie down, exhausted and defeated

For I, too, feel dead

*

The fire is burning things:

My heart

This corpse

My story – so perfectly composed

All the rationalizations

All the excuses

Shiva wants my blinders and my escape-routes

He wants my insecurities

He wants my shyness and my hiding

He wants my conformity and any apathy I still harbor

He wants my hurt, my anger, my hopelessness and every shred of my fear

“Come,” he says. 

“I am eternally here.

Walk into this fire.

The diamond of your essence cannot be destroyed.

Come.

Let everything else go.”

*

So I come to him

Again and again

Offering him the stones in my heart

Offering him my tears of despair

Offering my sadness for this mad world, the killers and the killed

My suffering is so small in the spectrum of Samsara!

All of this, all of this, must go through the fire

All of this, all of this, must stand up to the light

I am standing now, too

The corpse remains at Shiva’s feet

“Leave it,” he says

In order to dance with Shiva

I am completely exposed

My many faces are appearing and disappearing

My desires are awakened

My emotions are free

He sees them all

He is the stillness

He is the fire

He is the death of all falsehood

*

Upon release,

I hear Krishna’s flute again

He is still playing

Blissfully

He wants to adore me

Me, of all things!

He is the lover

Loving the beloved

*

Who am I to say no to this Grace?

*

 

 

 

Darshan

The face of God looked at me last Saturday.

She was leaving the hall around 2 a.m.  I rushed to stand behind a woman with her baby – what luck because Amma is drawn to babies, and She (of course) walked over and wrestled with his cheeks, giving him love.  The word “Ma” quietly escaped my lips, and that’s when She looked at me, taking me in.  Her face looked youthful and bright with wide eyes.  Her face appeared to elongate as if mirroring my face – I know that sounds strange and even self-absorbed, but I have also felt and seen a mirror reflection when looking at the face of Jesus as replicated from the Shroud of Turin.  God’s face is every face.  Every single face.

God is our true nature, and truly every being contains the inner guru.  As we sort out our karma and seek to live out our dharma, the true nature resides ceaselessly in us and as us.  But there are also Those who come as a Gift.  They contain no trappings of ego or karma.  They are fully liberated.  The pull to love and serve is so strong that they come to show the endless power that love is, the endless power that we are when we surrender to it.

Looking into the face of God is looking into Moksha, supreme liberation.

I received darshan twice over the weekend.  The first night I placed a garland upon Her shoulders and then wept in Her arms like a small child, clinging to Ma.  The next night I waited until 6:30 a.m. to go up for darshan.  It was the spacious time after completing Archana (chanting the 1,000 of the Divine Mother).  The line up to the stage was thinning, and there was a quiet stillness like pregnant moments, even as people talked and music continued.  I got in line, taking the last chair and showing the person with a green scarf the lettered token I’d been carrying.  I shyly kept my Jap Ji book wrapped in a scarf on my lap as I moved through the musical chairs that is the line taking you all the way up to Amma’s arms.

When I was placed in front of Her, I offered up the book while lowering my head.  She quickly handed it to one of Her attendants without giving it any attention, and immediately pulled me close to Her, wrapping me in Her embrace, turning my head one way, then the other, repeating in my ear the words She began telling me last year: “Mah Dohh-Tah, Mah Dohh-Tah, Mah Dohh-Tah” – Her accented way of calling me Her daughter, Her daughter, Her daughter.

Lifetimes of karma are lifted by Amma’s embrace.

I replay Her voice in my head.  I replay Her embrace.  I long to be held in Her arms again.  I long to offer Her all of me.  All of this self-identification.  All of this love.  All of this karma.  All of this beauty, darkness and light.  Everything ugly, everything I hide.  Everything I remember and everything I have forgotten.  I wash this entire being that I am in Amma’s love.  I am dough, I am clay, I soften.

*

But the high from Amma’s love is not static or permanent.  I’ve had a very hard week, full of horrible feelings and emotional turmoil.  I have felt a stark sense of loss. Am I grieving the death of false beliefs and conceptions?  Unfriendly thoughts stampede through my mind, stronger than ever before it seems.  They are like monsters, revealing the ugly faces of jealousy, fear, disappointment, anger, loss, grief.  Why now?

The monster remains in my reflection.  The ego is planted firmly within my consciousness.

These stories, these fantasies, these nightmares – all of these illusions are in my way, like leftover rubble after an earthquake.  Broken, of no use, but still there all the same.  The mind wanders away from truth, seeking shadows, seeking the familiar.

I am so very human, so very low of thought so much of the time.  Can I face the light?  Can I let all of this hideousness be seen?

FACE THE LIGHT
LET IT BURN “YOU” AWAY

ALL OF YOUR NOTIONS, ALL OF YOUR TENDENCIES TO JUDGE AND SEPARATE

“GOOD” AND “BAD” EXIST SIMULTANEOUSLY AND EFFORTLESSLY

IT ALL EXISTS, ALL OF THE TIME, AND MEANWHILE, IN THE CENTER OF TRUTH IS PERFECT LOVE

PERFECT ACCEPTANCE

PERFECT FORGIVENESS

PERFECT UNDERSTANDING

PERFECT PEACE

*

Call it Grace, call it Allah.

Call it Jesus, Shiva, Ram.

Call it Ma.

Call it anything that makes sense to you.

“It” contains everything.

Everything is enervated and alive by the power of “It”.

So, what is it that we are trying to control?

What is it that we are trying to kill?

What is it that divides me or you or anyone from seeing each other as we truly are – as stardust, God-dust, exquisitely unique formations of the Divine?

What else is there to know?

*

The darshan continues.

Through service to others.  Through connections and synchronicities.  Through the light in your eyes.  Through my smile.  Through honesty, however uncomfortable.  Through silence and listening.  Through tears and falling apart.  Through the gritty and uncomfortable, through the resistance, through the shadow dance.

Everything becomes the darshan.  Every face is God.  This greater reality is ever-present, so sublime we don’t see it.  In fact, often we run in the opposite direction from truth, biting hooks, chasing karma.  When will it stop?  When will “we” stop?

Amma gives a key.  She is not the first realized being to manifest in a human body.  She won’t be the last.  The key is your birthright.  Anyone can access it.

I’m less tormented today.  My shadows appear a little smaller, more like wild animals that I am learning to care for.  I have begun to think of my firmly-planted ego as my pet cactus.  It is so prickly, it doesn’t need much watering, but it is still my plant to care for.  And inside, cut open, even the cactus has something wonderful to offer.  The guru is everywhere.

I walk slowly today.

Sweeping the floor of my heart.

Opening the windows of my mind.

Letting in the air that is Shakti.

Namaste.

*

 

Take Refuge

 

Today, I am thinking about what “refuge” is – beyond the physical experience of being sheltered from danger.

I am thinking about spiritual refuge.  Soul refuge.

Buddhists take refuge in the Buddha.

Christians take refuge in Christ.

I take refuge in my Gurus.

Upon contemplation of Him or Her, I dissolve

and I am held.

I feel both sheltered and annihilated, and somehow

this feels like the sweetest kind of safety

when my “self” isn’t running the show anymore.

In this space of “non-self” I feel the bubbling nature of my refuge.

It is Alive!

And curious….

And everywhere…..

It exists in the broken places,

where the gears have been grinding,

where conflict appears.

It exists in the limitations,

the brick walls and closed doors –

telling us to find another way!

It exists in the desire and the pining and the want –

the pleasure and the pain of being contained in a body,

experiencing ourselves as seemingly separate from all the other creatures.

It exists in heartbreak and misfortune – these things tearing us down to a simplified awareness of what we are made of.

And we, when we are not in a position of seeking physical refuge

from abuse

terrorism

natural disaster

politico-economic upheaval

we may find a thousand ways to perpetuate our own suffering, running away from

refuge

But by miracles I do not understand,

slices of grace are being offered constantly,

when we open the door to the One who is knocking.

It doesn’t have to be God

or Jesus

or Buddha

or a Guru

It can be the spacious kindness within your own sweet self.

Take refuge there.

Love from that place.

*

 

 

Bhakta

 

Like a moth to a flame,

I’m drawn to the light of illumination

It pulls me in and I can’t look away

I can’t resist its warmth

and beauty

and the love I feel

as I draw near

Ohhh, beauty

Destroy me

*

Whenever I leave, whenever I fly away

or fold myself against this flame

I find I miss it

crave it

need it

I am suffering without it, and why have I forgotten?

Why, why, why did I turn away?

Instantly, out of my longing

the flame returns….

It is not of this place

It is not of any conditional or material circumstance

It is eternal, and flowing like a mineral spring

of complete, undying mystery

*

I feel it like reaching for a sweet, ripe fruit

The taste is already on my tongue

but something in this devotional space

is letting me savor the want,

the desire

the longing

An ache for complete merging with this,

the Divine

The arguments for conditional love and happiness

are simply falling apart;

concepts, beliefs, assumptions

are dismantled and strewn across the floor

when the spotlight of love shines

upon the foundation of your mind

The spotlight of love

spits you into the void

and shows you

your own endless nature

*

Do you feel me now?

*

Spaciousness appears….

Everything in you is bowing,

forehead to the ground

Like a bee, you seek

the pollen,

this dust from the feet of the One who gives

sustains

and takes it all away

Show me how to lie down

and Surrender everything

Like Shiva lying in ecstasy

beneath Kali’s lotus feet

God Himself is set free

by the Mother of Everything

Timeless, Deathless, Changeless, Nameless One

Annihilate me

*

The journey of Moksha,

the liberation from self-identification

the freedom from me and mine

Lifetime after lifetime,

like stringing beads on a mala,

I polish my heart with the dust of Her lotus feet

I wash my mind in the dust of Her lotus feet

I long to become

the dust of Her lotus feet

All that is left of “me” and my knowing of

being

anything at all

is just a plea,

repeated over and over:

let me be that

the dust of Her lotus feet

*

 

Holy

There will be some days when you feel more holy than others,

And that is good.

As you bask in the sweetness of your connection to the One who sustains you,

Remember, dear one, you are just like the other.

Reach, reach, reach

For the end of yourself.

Anytime you think you “know” –

Press further.

Press past any idea of being right.

Press into the Mystery.

Trust your gut –

When instinct says:

Get out!

Leave!

I don’t deserve this!

This is not what I want!

Listen.

Protect your precious, precious self.

*

But when Grace hits you like a ton of bricks,

And you can’t stop thinking about

Him

Or Her

Or It —

Please, reach only for that place

Where you dissolve.

Claim nothing.

Take nothing.

Judge nothing.

The Mind is the Ocean,

Cool and vast.

The Heart is on fire,

Erupting with love and yearning for the Thing that binds us.

Fan those flames only, my friend.

Fan those flames only.

*

*

*

Lilith (Shapeshifter)

 

“Before there was Eve, there was Lilith.

She rose out of the dust, the thought erupting in the mind of God. 

Form.  Gender.  Yin.

She rose next to Adam. 

Form.  Gender.  Yang.

The eternal fire was born.

But although Adam and Lilith channeled elemental love and desire, they also channeled the primal conflict of domination and submission.  Lilith refused to submit.  And Adam didn’t like that.  Or so it is recorded time and again.  Numerous records say this is all about her unwillingness to lie beneath him, in so many words.  The patriarchy tells a story in which a woman demanding equality (sexually, intellectually, in all forms of power) is unacceptable.  Adam’s love for Lilith became twisted and fear-based, and his passion turned into a need for control.  Maybe there is another expression of Adam that has not been told….I truly hope so.”

The old woman closed her eyes in a moment of silent prayer, then continued:

“Lilith inherently understood that nothing and no one can be owned, only perceived and experienced for the moments we are given.  But she was thousands of years ahead of her time.

Her only choice was escape.  Like the Phoenix, Lilith freed herself in remembrance and self-realization…returning to the eternal source.  One can liken this source to the void from which creation is spawned, the black hole at the center of every galaxy, the womb of the universe.

In her awakening, Lilith saw the grand design of existence that was yet to come.  She kept her identity, not as density in a body, but as spirit.  She became everything imaginable that a woman can be.

Yes, everything.

Some legends tell us that Lilith became Queen of the Underworld, birthing all the demon children to begin the realms of Hell.  She is the Succubus and the Siren, the Wanton Temptress, the Evil Witch.  She is ecstatic, she is crazy, she is fearless and relentless.  She is everything both desired and hated.

The message given is to fear her and despise her.  Blame her for all your bad luck.  Protect yourself from her knocking at the door of your knowing, the door of your senses.  Block out her voice whispering to you: “What do you really want?”

She is that which will never be kept, never be controlled.  She is wild and fierce and she is here to mess up your life and your head and wake you up to your own FREEDOM.  She exists in 4 places of the zodiac.  She rises like the Phoenix and she multiplies.

This is how more awakened women are born.”

The old woman took a pause, and calmly sipped her tea with her twinkling green eyes fixed on her beloved granddaughters.

Athena, the younger sister, was especially studious in the realms of astrology and mysticism.  Catching the pause, she quickly piped up: “We know Grandmother, she is Black Moon Lilith, Dark Moon Lilith, Asteroid Lilith and Oscillating Lilith.  She is the Dark Angel; she speaks to us of our desires and our power.”

“Yes dear, good memory.”  The old woman smiled and spoke in a low voice, “However, you can ‘know’all the facts about Lilith, but not know her.”  She spoke slowly, “Your time will come.  You are young and innocent and protected.  Just remember that the Dark Angel has teachings for you and she stands at the edge of your consciousness.  She is the place of letting go and surrender, as well as the place of facing fears and going to battle with your worst nightmares.”

Phoebe was slightly older and quieter, and she glowed with serenity.  From the age of 2, she had been gaining the reputation as natural medicine woman, effortlessly dialed in to the wisdom and magic of plants and animals.  The stories passed down from her grandmother gave structure and guidance to her sensitivities, cementing the value of feminine healing into the fabric of her life purpose.  She could feel the thirst of the entire planet, the basic thirst for love.

Phoebe stroked her grandmother’s hand and touched her forehead to the soft, aging skin in gratitude.  She smiled into the old woman’s face and the old woman smiled back.

*

PART 2: Eve and the Snake

 

“Will you tell us the story of Eve again, grandmother?” Phoebe implored.

The old woman closed her eyes.  Her chair was cozy, her granddaughters were sitting close and her body was not in too much pain.  Her heart was full and a smile played upon her mind.  Why not tell the story that they loved?

She sipped her tea and began:

“Yes, Eve.  Dawn of Creation.  Our Mother.  The One who gets blamed for all the faults in and of the world.  Eve was born of Adam’s body.  Since Lilith had vanished (or been banished), unable to stay in form, Adam lent the density of his own form to the female creation.  And as an extension of Adam’s own body, Eve was willing to let him set the terms for their relationship.  It worked for a time.”  The old woman chuckled to herself, and the sisters grinned at one another while each holding a hand of their wise and mysterious grandmother.

“Adam and Eve walked in the Garden.  The mind of God was awake, and consciousness had taken human form.  It was blissful.  It was peace.  Just existence, needing nothing.  All wonderful.

Man and Woman were experiencing the earthly delights, free of any concept of greed or shame.  They knew themselves as innocent because they knew their oneness with each other and with the Creator.  Nothing had interrupted that understanding.

Or had it?”

“And then who comes along?” both sisters chimed in lilting voices, as if on cue.

“That’s right my darlings, who does come along?  Yes, yes, forever misunderstood.  The Teacher, the Alchemist, the Shapeshifter.  The One who came before.

The Snake came along, sliding like poetry and serene with inner-knowing.  She was right there all along, but Eve’s consciousness found her.  Some would argue that Lilith returned to form as the Snake in order to share the understanding of Karma, Samsara and the cycle of life-death-rebirth.  Who can know?  Who can say?”

The grandmother gave her usual shrug and sideways smile, her voice sounding nonchalant.  She took another sip of tea.

“Lilith had been awakened.  She saw it all; she had surrendered to the endless possibilities of universal consciousness.  She took form as the Snake, and the divine feminine with the awakened mind encountered the divine feminine existing as bliss.

Who is hunting who?  The Snake or Eve?  Eve or the Snake?  The search for knowing was there before the beginning.  Before any form could be had.”

“It was like the Big Bang,” said Athena with her infectious smile.

“Correct,” the old woman replied, while admiring how well the girl was tracking.  “It had to happen.  It was consciousness awakening to itself.  Awakening within itself.  Snake rises like the kundalini, rising from the base of the spine and coiling her way upward, igniting every chakra.  Snake is awareness.  Which is why she guards the Tree of Life.”

“She is described as a thief!  A scoundrel.  A manipulator.” Phoebe’s bright face darkened as she pointed out the common fabrication of evil projected onto the Snake.

“Yes, yes.  So much fear.  The fear to see who we are.  To speak of our desires.  The fear of choosing to think for ourselves.  The fear of feeling anything and everything.

Can we compare this to the awakening of the Buddha?  Living in bliss, unaware of any pain.  Protected from the greater ‘reality’ at all cost.  But then something within pulls him to discover the life that exists outside of his palace walls, and he is forever changed.  He sees the vicious cycle of life and death.  He sees suffering and Samsara.  Only then can he awaken (much later after much spiritual practice!).

One perspective is that the Buddha found his way out of Samsara because Eve found her way in.  How can one return to an awareness of Being if one has never left that awareness?

Both Lilith and Eve are recorded as making inadmissible mistakes.  And this is where we see ignorance breeding fear and fear breeding hate.”

The young women closed their eyes and listened to their grandmother’s voice, sparkling like morning dew on the web of the story of life.  Giving homage to the mystery.

The old woman surrendered to the words:

“The fear of Wisdom

The fear of Knowing and Experiencing

Existence

Some kind of primordial misogyny, born out of this Age-Old tale

‘Stupid girl’ – referring to Eve

‘Evil’ – referring to the Snake

‘Innocent Adam,’ seduced into temptation by his own wife

‘Idiot Adam,’ never again should he let himself be played by a woman

Forever remember that Eve let herself become prey to manipulation and in turn became the manipulator

Strip her of her power as punishment

And God, what did ‘He’ do? 

He was angry!  He cast them out.

He was saddened and disappointed.  He felt betrayed. 

He called for Separation

What a human thing to do.”

 

The old woman’s gravelly voice rolled on:

“I see a different story

I am not alone

Who is to say, who is right and who is wrong?

The Tree of Life

Beating, Breathing, Knowing

The Snake of Wisdom

Mystery and the Unknown

The desire to Know and to Experience

The desire to feel

Out of the Dark

Came the Light

To cast a brightness on every nuance, every possibility

Every pain and every pleasure

Offering us complete freedom

The path we take to return home is as individual as the body carrying the mind that has chosen

THIS, dear ones!”

 

The old woman looked at her granddaughters, both sitting silently, eyes closed, their faces turned up toward her, their matriarch.  She was the woman they would forever thank for reminding them of the truth of their being.  For allowing them and encouraging them to show up fully as themselves, to experience as many colors of life as their desires would lead them to.  For softly showing them how to put aside all attachment to their identity in order to find an even deeper freedom, to reconnect to the shining emptiness of the Source from which we all originate and return to.  Nothing to fix.  Nothing to hide.  Nothing to prove.

Phoebe and Athena both opened their eyes slowly.  Their calm faces were radiant and full of life and love.

The old woman finished the story:

“You know the ending, my darlings, the one that is also the beginning.”

The sisters nodded.

THIS choice, to awaken in the mind of God.  To eat the fruit of Wisdom from the Tree of Life.  THIS is the kind of energy it takes to power the Big Bang and to set the Cosmos in motion for eternity as we know it.

The story is still beginning.

A change is coming and we can feel it.

This life is like a rope – and we are swinging between delusion and realization.  To attempt to cast anyone’s experience outside of the realm of your understanding and compassion is a grave mistake.

Eve has been the teenage boy who suffers low self-esteem and acts violently as a result.  Adam has been the woman begging for change, missing her teeth, skinny as a rail and making you want to look away.  Lilith has been every neglected child everywhere.  She exists in every girl, boy, woman and man who has had their sense of self stripped away and must fight to reclaim their dignity.

Lilith exists in the darkness as a source of strength for anyone who is experiencing or healing from abuse, in particular sexual and psychological abuse.  She will ride with you in the hell realms as you slay every imaginable demon blocking you from the brilliance of your own endless being.

The Tree of Life was meant to be eaten from.  And we are meant to live and live and live again, so that we may finally begin to recognize one another for who we really are.

The fruit is placed before us.

We are hungry for the truth it contains.

This moment is the opportunity to take it in.

If not now, then when?”

*

 

The Beheading

I don’t want the rose-colored glasses.

I want the gritty, changing landscape of your personality and face.

I want to touch your feral mind.

I don’t want the pretense of wrapping this up in a tidy package.

I don’t want shiny paper.

I don’t want the sophomoric ideals that get filed away so that it can all read like some manifesto of a life that was fantasized, but not lived.

*

I don’t want to try to make this look pretty.

*

I want my savage heart to be recognized by one who has found the end of himself, and stayed, made a home there.  One who needs nothing from me – or anyone – to know that he is ok.  One who loves himself enough to tell me – or anyone – that he needs a hug, or a friend.

I want to know someone who turns from the dazzling lights of outer “reality” to move ever-deeper through the darkest tunnels of the inner experience.

*

So please, look at me with the eyes of your knowing.

See that I am so very imperfect, in every possible way.

See that nothing can stop me from traveling in these tunnels, leaving behind the world of identity.  As unpopular as it may be, and even as the ground crumbles beneath my feet, all I can do is press on toward my own beheading.

*

We are searching because we know there is a light in these tunnels.  Even when we can’t see it, we can feel it.  Sometimes the light appears and it is so very small.  Like a tiny memory of something sweet, something that keeps you coming back for more.

Gradually, and randomly, the light becomes larger and brighter.  It fills up the entire cave of your being.  The light pours through you and out into the world, into the eyes of everyone you meet, filling your words and your deeds.  You are the light.

And as the light, you are moving and living and breathing in this body that feels so dense and so real.  You are filled with emotions governed by the body through the endocrine system.  You are full of thoughts, worries, beliefs, convictions.  Hopes, dreams, aspirations.

Something in you is telling you to continue walking.  Walk even further into the dark forest of your consciousness, into your own void of owning/controlling/knowing/being anything.

Walk.

*

My form is disintegrating as I walk.

Who is “I”?

My limbs fall off.

Who is “I”?

My head is cut off and rolling away from me.

Who is “I”?

The head tries to stay in control, staring at the scattered body parts that it once called its own.

Who is “I”?

A presence remains.  Unattached to the head, the trunk, the limbs.

It is now existing as raw energy.

It is living now as it has lived throughout the ages.

We don’t recognize it, lifetime after lifetime.

We forget:

we are it.

*

I don’t want the rose-colored glasses.

I want the beheading.

I want all-pervading consciousness to live in me, through me, as me.

Because any idea of “me” just doesn’t add up anymore.

*