Sunday, January 19, 2020
When Shiva Danced
I do not know how I chose my parents
or if or when.
In a way they were hard to miss,
for they looked just alike.
When I arrived I looked like
both of them put together
(black haired, blue eyed Irish)
and so it all made sense.
I was indeed their child,
one strong and determined,
the other yearning for
beauty in her life.
Life itself is not easy
for certain children,
those different from
all the rest.
She knew that she
was not like the others,
never part of the crowd
or the chosen ones.
She plodded ahead in her own way,
glasses and all,
the library her favorite place,
So when the Mother came,
she knew she was Her child.
She bowed often,
wrote verses for Her,
gave Her the gift
And when Kundalini
exploded, she recalled
her true beginnings,
Shiva Nataranja the dancer,
singing "I am eternal bliss,"
as rapture flooded her body.
January 19, 2020
Friday, January 17, 2020
What if you were an angel,
called to earth to do your part?
What if your wings
were gently lifted from you,
and you were left to walk about on
just like everyone else,
though you could still feel
where they had been?
What if you had come
with a gift
that was especially
though it was hidden inside?
Would you find it, use it,
help others on the way,
give love to all you met?
January 16, 2020
Thursday, January 16, 2020
An illustration of a woman looking up at a huge lit lightbulb with the words 'I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my fate' written on it
‘There’s a certainty and stability about being able to conjure those words’. Illustration: Eva Bee
How can learning poetry by heart help us to be more grounded, happy, calm people? “Let me count the ways,” says Rachel Kelly, who has suffered from anxiety. Whenever she’s feeling wobbly, she finds reciting lines of poetry is grounding, validating and connects her to others who have felt as she is feeling in this moment. And it’s something we can all do: poetry we’ve learned to recite means we have another voice inside us that’s always there, a kind of on-board first responder in times of psychological need.
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There’s also a certainty and stability about being able to conjure those words: they’re a crutch, we can lean on them, they can even do the thinking for us. Kelly describes how two lines from Invictus by WE Henley can make all the difference to what happens to her next: “I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul.” When all she can hear in her head are negative voices, she can drown them out by repeating, over and over, positive lines from poetry: they’re substitutions, life-giving mantras rather than life-sapping ones.
Kelly was very unwell – at one point she was in a psychiatric hospital – when she had an inkling that poetry could offer enormous comfort. “I’d had a lot of drugs and I was in a terribly anxious state. I was clinging on to my husband, who was on one side of me, and my mother, who was on the other. And suddenly my mother started murmuring some lines from Corinthians: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee, for my power is perfected in weakness’. And those words felt like the first stirring of hope. This seemed like a shard of something positive, something I could cling on to.”
He held my hands across the century and said to me I’d be OK
When her mother realised the power of repeating words, mantra-like, she sought out more. “She would drip-feed me little lines of poetry – it was like chicken soup for the soul,” remembers Kelly. “One of her favourite poets was George Herbert from the 18th century, and there are some incredible lines: ‘Grief melts away/like snow in May/as if there were no such cold thing’, from a poem called The Flower. I kept repeating those lines, and they spelled out hope to me: they’re about renewal and rebirth, and I started to know that, as Herbert goes on to say, my shrivelled heart would recover its greenness.” What was so powerful, says Kelly, was that Herbert described desolation – but also recovery. “He held my hands across the century and said to me, ‘You are going to be OK,’” she says.
Today, Kelly is OK: and she’s keen to share the power of poetry. She’s written the foreword to a new book that features 52 poems – one a week, for a year – to learn by heart. They’ve been chosen by Georgina Rodgers, who says the first hurdle to overcome is that for too many people, poetry is scary.
“Perhaps it’s because it takes them back to their schooldays, or perhaps it’s because they think it’s impenetrable,” she explains. “But there are so many accessible poems, and those are the ones I’ve tried to choose for the book.”
Poetry, she points out, is experiencing “a bit of a renaissance” – and it does seem to have a particular appeal in our connected, short-form world. If you want to be pithy, if you want to be quick, if you want to say a lot in as few characters as possible, then it’s to poetry that you should turn. As the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy once said: “The poem is a form of texting… it’s a perfecting of a feeling in language… a way of saying more with less.” But conversely it’s also a means to getting off the frenetic, fast-moving rollercoaster of the digitised 21st century. “It’s a way of being mindful, of being in the moment,” says Rodgers. “We’re so used to looking for shortcuts, to skimming through things the whole time, but poetry makes us sit down and engage, it forces us to take something to a deeper level.”
One of the most lasting cures has been here all along.
My own deadline is looming, and I know I should tear myself away from Rodgers’ book but suddenly, now I’ve chanced upon EE Cummings I know that the most vital thing in my life right now is to recite these lines: “I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)”; and I can’t leave Nikita Gill without pondering on what she has to say (“Most people in your life/were only meant/for dreams/and summer laughter.”)
There are much-loved favourites within Rodgers’ book (No Man is an Island by John Donne; Leisure by WH Davies), as well as less popular pieces such as Thinking by Walter D Wintle (“If you think you are beaten, you are/If you think you dare not, you don’t); but Rodgers says she’s also looked for less well-known work by the big name poets (such as The Eagle by Tennyson; In the Forest by Oscar Wilde).
If there’s one poem that seems to sum up what the book is all about, it’s The Guest House by the 13th-century Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi. Not only does it speak to us across the centuries (Beyoncé and Jay-Z named their daughter after him, while Chris Martin says his poetry changed his life), but also it does that so-difficult task of turning disaster to blessing, guilt to goodness, and grief to joy: “The dark thought, the shame, the malice/Meet them at the door laughing/and invite them in.” All emotions, says Rumi, are valuable – and the uncertainty of life is its treasure, not its pain.
Rodgers and Kelly do not claim to be first with their wisdom on the links between verse and mental health. Bibliotherapy has a long and distinguished past, and the ancient pharaoh Rameses II had the inscription “Healing-place of the Soul” above the entrance to his library. Many centuries later, in 1671, John Milton wrote that “apt words have pow’r to swage/The tumours of a troubled mind’; and later still, in the 19th century, John Stuart Mill attributed his recovery from depression to reading William Wordsworth.
In a world in which we tend to look to what’s new, to cutting-edge science and to medical breakthroughs for hope in better health, there’s something marvellous in the realisation that one of the most beautiful and resonant and possibly longest-lasting cures has been here all along – on the internet, on our bookshelves, under our noses. Words – down the centuries, over the ether, across the miles – have the power to steady us, and to make us feel better.
A life in rhyme: other ways poetry can help
relit.org.uk is a website looking at ways in which poems, novels and other literature can help us to cope with emotional strain.
Writing your own poetry can be a way to access emotions and feelings that have not emerged via other means. Many organisations run therapeutic poetry-writing workshops. Google them in your area.
Grief and loss have long been assuaged by well-chosen poetry. Gerry McCann, father of then four-year-old Madeleine who disappeared during a family holiday on the Algarve in 2007, recently spoke movingly about how he connected with the Middle English poem Pearl, in which a father laments his daughter’s loss.
thereader.org.uk brings people together to read poems or a book aloud. Many of its members are going through a time of transition in their personal lives.
Encouraging the recitation of poetry learned in earlier decades can help elderly people, including those with dementia, to remain connected with their lives and loved ones. For more information, see alzheimers.org.uk
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Sunday, January 12, 2020
Brenda McMorrow is one of my most treasured friends. She travels the world singing kirtan and her original compositions. A free rendition of "Adi Shakti" (song from new album) is now available on the link below as well as Youtube. This song is truly sublime and offers full measure of Kundalini shakti to those who listen with open heart . The album "Chidananda" is now available for purchase. It speaks of the love for and from the Divine Mother, who nurtures each of us in our lives.
I’m excited to share the first in a series of 8 lyric videos and visual meditation videos by Anila Shakya. You can also see it on Youtube at https://youtu.be/mdRypkB_3qs (comments, subscribes and likes there are much appreciated - helps the music be heard by more people!)
The amazing Primordial Spiral by Dan Schmidt that is featured on the cover of my new album “Chidananda” is the moving background to a lyric video for every song on the record. Mesmerizing. Here it is for the song “Adi Shakti”, a song to the primordial feminine energy.
Wednesday, January 08, 2020
from Lynn McTaggart
Intention of the week: Australia
Intention of the Week: Australia
Join us to help end the bushfires
Sunday, January 12, 2020
10:00 am Pacific US time
On one of our webinars last week, many members of my 2019 Power of Eight Intention Masterclass joined a special intention to quell the Australian bushfires.
There’s been a temporary reprieve with the rain, but the forecast is for the heat to build again and for gusty winds to accelerate in the West, spreading the fires further. For our Intention of the Week, let’s all come together for a special intention to help Australia:
Please hold the following intention on Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 10:00 am Pacific US time/1:00 pm Eastern US/6:00 pm UK/7:00 pm Europe:
‘Our intention is that the excessive heat in Australia immediately subside, and that the winds die down, so that the bushfires are completely and permanently contained with no further destruction or loss of life.’
Send in your Nomination for Intention of the Week
Do you have a loved one who needs our healing intention? If so, please send in his or her full name, age, location (town/country), photograph and the nature of his/her illness here: https://lynnemctaggart.com/intention-experiments/intention-of-the-week/
New Age Publishing Limited, Unit 9, Woodman Works 204 Durnsford Road, London, Greater London SW19 8DR, United Kingdom
You may unsubscribe or change your contact details at any time.
Tuesday, January 07, 2020
MEDITATION AND CHANTING CD!
The mahamantra, the great mantra, Om Namah Shivaya, is a throb of your own divine Self. Om Namah Shivaya translates as Om, I bow to the Auspicious One, the Divine within everyone. You are the Auspicious One, Shiva. Limitless is your power, love and ecstasy. That is your true nature, your true home and refuge. Kundalini Shakti gives you the sublime form of mantra, opening the way for you to abide once again in the truth of your radical freedom.
Through chanting and meditation, become absorbed in Om Namah Shivaya, watching as the power of the mantra transforms mind and body into perfect vehicles for the ecstatic One already residing within you as you. The mantra will empower you to live with the boundless wisdom, love, and creativity that radiate from your true Self.
This album includes brief meditation instructions, meditative chants of Om Namah Shivaya, and silent tracks for timing your meditation. The meditation ends with the ringing of a beautiful Tibetan gong (which can be used separately on any smartphone for a ringtone or alarm tone), followed by chanting Om Namah Shivaya to ease your consciousness back into the day. The Om Namah Shivaya chant on this album is the one that so many people attending Lawrence’s programs and retreats love for its power to ease the mind and plunge you into the depths of pure Consciousness. In the stillness of meditation Lawrence first heard Om Namah Shivaya being chanted in this way as the mantra arose spontaneously within the spaciousness of Consciousness. Shaktipat diksha is the ultimate gift that this mantra has to bestow on souls ripe for awakening.
After the meditation tracks is a chant of world mantras from Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and discfinal2Judaism which invoke the unity of the one Source. These mantras are:
Om Namah Shivaya – “Om, I bow with reverence to the auspicious One” – Invokes the all-embracing, omnipresent One, the Divine within – Hindu.
Om Kali Durge Ma – “Om, Kali Durge Mother of all” – invokes the living presence of Great Goddess Kali, the mother of the universe from whom all forms emerge – Hindu.
Om Mani Padme Hum – “Om, Hail the jewel in the lotus” – Invokes the living presence of the Buddha within you as your true nature – Tibetan Buddhist.
Om Tare Tam Soha – “Om, Tara, mother of all Buddhas, resounding in the heart, so may it be” – Red Tara mantra invoking Tara, Mother of all Buddhas and her boundless compassion which brings to the seeker all that’s needed to overcome obstacles – Tibetan Buddhist.
La ilaha illallah – “There is no deity other than God” – Invokes the awareness of the universal One – Islam.
Ein Od Milvado – “There is none but Him” – Invokes the sublime non-dual awareness that all is God, everything is God – Jewish.
Kyrie Eléison – “Lord, have mercy” – Invokes the boundless compassion of the One – Christian.
Sancta Maria Mater Dei – “Holy Mary, Mother of God” – Invokes the living presence of the Divine feminine as Mary, Mother of God – Christian.
The last track on the album is an extended version of the slow Om Namah Shivaya chant that allows you to become more deeply absorbed in this vibration of the Divine within.
The deep power of mantra arises from beyond the mind, beyond thoughts, beyond words. The ordinary mind mistakes mantra as just another thought form and thus doesn’t recognized its true potency. The real power of mantra is the Consciousness of the Self, Kundalini Shakti, vibrating into form and manifesting the sound body of the Infinite which the mind can then perceive as mantra. Take hold of the mantra and you take hold of the Divine. Absorb the mind in mantra and you dissolve back into the One, the Source of all. Know the true nature of mantra and you will know what it is to merge into the ocean of Love that is your Divine Self.
The word “mantra” means “that which protects.” It protects one from the ignorance of one’s true nature and from continuously acting out of that ignorance, creating countless life-times of karma. Become absorb in the mantra and know your radical freedom, your true nature as the Self of all. You are what you seek. The ancient Vedas proclaim: Tat twam asi! Thou art That!
The translations of the mantras only hint at their true meaning and power. The meaning of the words are the least important aspect of a mantra. The Consciousness that is invoked and transmitted through the mantra is what truly initiates and sustains awakening to the One. Fully enter into the vehicle of mantra and discover where it takes you. You can learn more about the power of mantra and mantra practices in Lawrence’s books, Awakening Kundalini: The Path To Radical Freedom and The Soul’s Journey: Guidance From The Divine Within.
This album was created to support people in their meditative practices and the proceeds go to helping support the non-profit Anam Cara Meditation Foundation whose mission it is to make meditation available to everyone. For more information please visit www.anamcarafoundation.org. Lawrence Edwards is the founder and director of the Anam Cara Meditation Foundation. The website has additional free resources.
Penned by Kalidas
You may laugh out loud, be moved to tears or pulled into deep contemplation by what you encounter in Kali’s Bazaar. Readers will return often to this accessible collection of poems to draw from its wellspring of devotion, revelation and celebration of the Divine present in every moment, every being and all of creation. Bring inspiration, clarity and practical instruction to your spiritual path or meditative practice through insightful and often ecstatic poetry from a devoted master meditation teacher who has more than 40 years of experience teaching and practicing the arts of meditation. Dr. Edwards has trained in Buddhist, yogic, Kundalini and other mystic traditions, in addition to his professional training in depth psychology, biofeedback and neurofeedback.
Kali’s Bazaar penned by Kalidas
Author: Lawrence Edwards
Illustrator: Molly Edwards
Publisher: TSJ Publications in conjunction with Muse House Press
Trade Paperback, 202 p.
Publication date: 2/2012
Copyright 2011 Lawrence Edwards
All Rights Reserved
Superlative Reviews For Kali’s Bazaar:
Kali’s Bazaar is poetry in the ecstatic tradition of Hafiz, Rumi, and Kabir. This type of poem isn’t cultivated or tidy; it’s devotional and raw. The fundamental drive and message of Kalidas’s poems are eternally important—they speak of love, fearlessness, and joy, and they speak about all of these things in a large voice. The style of the poems departs from the more refined voice of traditional poetry, which might not appeal to every ear. But because of their driving intent to realize and “see through,” the poems in Kali’s Bazaar are worth a look for anyone trying to do the same.
Keith Belcher – Yoga International journal, Fall 2012
Extraordinary poetry — pure bhakti!
Roger Woolger, world-renowned Jungian analyst, past-life healer and author of several books including The Goddess Within.
This collection of devotional poems, a rarity in today’s world, will awaken the heart of love within any reader whatever their spiritual tradition. Lawrence Edwards, a long time devotee of the Devi (the archetypal feminine that exists within all), has had the blessings of some of the leading Masters of our time. As these ecstatic poems reveal, he provides a shining example of the spiritual life fully lived, able to embrace with eloquence all of life’s extremes from suffering to bliss. These poems are in the tradition of the great ecstatic poets such as Rumi, Kabir, Hafiz and others. They transport the reader beyond this world of duality into unconditioned Oneness, a rare gift indeed!
Most of the poems came to Kalidas during meditation by “the Divine’s power of Grace.” Others were born amidst the challenges of daily life. The sign of a wise teacher, he doesn’t separate the inner, devotional life from the world’s suffering, but rather weaves them together masterfully. These poems radiate a passionate, timeless, love-saturated intensity and will touch your heart in unimaginable ways.
Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle, author, Ten Thousand Joys & Ten Thousand Sorrows: A Couple’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s. Excerpt included in an anthology of Best Buddhist Writers, 2009.
Here, gathered over many years of quest and deep experience, is a beautiful symposium of devotional poems to awaken the mind and rejoice the heart. The introduction is a powerful call to the incandescent reality of inner experience. Here are poems to savor, to guide, to bring tears and, above all, to dissolve the veil that lies between us and the Divine Presence who tells us that we live within Her Being and Her Love.
Anne Baring, British Jungian analyst and author of One Work: A Journey Toward The Self, and co-author with Andrew Harvey of The Mystic Vision and The Divine Feminine. www.annebaring.com
Those on a sacred path will recognize that Kalidas (Lawrence Edwards) has made an authentic life journey and, through his poetry, is sharing his piercing insights and exalted states. His relationship to the Mother allows us to hear her voice in every sound, to see her magnificence in every sight, to feel her fiercely loving caress in every touch, and to sense the rhythm of her beating heart in our soul. Reading these poems transports and transforms the reader through delight and deep satisfaction.
Martin Lowenthal, Psychologist, Tibetan Buddhist, Founder of the Dedicated Life Institute and author of several books, including Alchemy of the Soul and Buddha and the Art of Intimacy. www.dli.org
In this collection, Kalidas (servant of Kali) offers us the distillation of a lifetime of spiritual seeking and devotion. Each poem glows with the iridescent spark of that sacred essence left in the alchemist’s dish when all the dross has been sifted away. Yeats used the phrase “when naked to naked goes” to describe such moments, when the unadorned soul unites with the Beloved in shameless adoration. These poems allow us to observe at close hand this profound process by which the mundane substance of the material self is transmuted into the clarity of the refined being, the gold of pure spirit.
For years a monk in India, later an accomplished Jungian therapist, workshop leader, and meditation master, Kalidas (Lawrence Edwards, PhD) now devotes much of his time to helping others on the path, particularly those undergoing unexpected Kundalini awakening. This is the gift he returns to the world, precious goods recovered from a lifetime voyage into the authentic self.
Dorothy Walters, PhD, author of numerous works including Unmasking the Rose: A Record of a Kundalini Initiation; Marrow of Flame: Poems of the Spiritual Journey; www.kundalinisplendor.blogspot.com
The poignant imagery and keen spiritual insights I found in Kali’s Bazaar delighted me. But what moved me even more was that they revealed Lawrence – whose vast knowledge and rare understanding of Eastern traditions have long marked as a man of profound intellect – to be a man of even deeper heart….
Teri Degler, author several books, including The Divine Feminine Fire and The Fiery Muse: Creativity and the Spiritual Quest. She is an international workshop leader on the Divine Feminine. www.teridegler.com
With great humility (a sign of an authentic teacher) Lawrence Edwards reveals to us his spiritual inner life empowering us to accept our own inner experiences instead of thinking something might be terribly wrong.
As we read these devotional poems aloud to each other we discovered – not new landscapes but the same landscapes with new eyes. This beautiful writing reminded us that Spirit is in everything, including our relationships. Kali’s Bazaar is definitely a gift of grace for anyone, including couples to share.
Charles Whitfield, MD, author of Choosing God and Teachers of God
Barbara Harris Whitfield, author of Spiritual Awakenings and The Natural Soul. Barbara-Whitfield.blogspot.com
The book is magnificent, epic!! It, in brief lines of prose and deep inspiration, exposes the eternal truth and
perennial philosophy naked to the world. It is a book that can be read in an hour and must be studied for a
lifetime to reveal the astonishing truths hidden in its pages.
Kali’s Bazaar contains a distillation of the essence of all the world’s mystery and ecstatic traditions. Embrace
the light streaming from its pages!
Curtis Allen Paulson, author of Quantum Christ
Monday, January 06, 2020
Phil Williams, a fomer NFL consultant, lost his beloved daughter when she was in her late twenties, and was himself devastated by his loss. After two years of deep depression, he experienced sudden awakening into divine love which he describes in the following entry. I wish to thank him for allowing me to publish this account of his awakening experience here. At the time this description was written, he was living in Çosta Rica. Meg is his wife.
In the fall of 2018, something different was happening inside of me. For the first time in my life I could feel changes occurring within me, exciting new paradigms forming, ones that were unlike anything I had ever experienced as the old Phil. After learning several years earlier that the world was not as I had always thought it was, and having staggered through the most life-altering (shattering) event that a parent can, or maybe any person can, I had come to a place, I believe, where I was totally open, willing to free my mind to whatever God might reveal, regardless of what those who label themselves authorities deemed as the truth, or whatever authoritative literature, or the like, stated. I was all in, digging with all of my emotional and spiritual strength, in pursuit of whatever God might have in store for me. In pursuit of life.
Leading up to this time, as I have already explained, I had created stories from the depths of my grief and sorrow, you might say from the depths of my brain damage. Those stories had felt so real, so true, so painfully legitimate, that I had left a wake of destruction behind me. Or at least it felt (looked?) that way. Yes, I was beginning to see life differently than I ever had, bolstered by my new understanding of the spiritual realm, and was more excited than I had been in a while. More relaxed and excited.
Meg, on the other hand, was growing immensely in her own way, but edging away from me. I think she had been damaged by my stories...
As stated earlier, I had come to strongly believe that we all create stories born from illusions instigated by our egos seeking after security. It takes a lot for us to be able to look at the root causes of these stories, built like formidable fortresses, constructed to defend our egos and our fragile territories. Of course, they never do the job we assign to them, causing a myriad of problems along the way, so we usually just concoct more stories, and round and round we go. My personal stories of pain, with Meg at times as the main culprit, had taken on a life of their own during much of the proceeding few years, mainly during Hannah’s illness and death, and had left a swath of scars along the way, in both of our hearts.
Sometimes I talk too much. I’m an outward processor, throwing words and thoughts out into the public domain probably a little more than I should. I admit it. For example, in my conception that speaking your truth was of the utmost importance, with a heart that felt like it had been severely damaged, I would occasionally spew stuff out to Meg like this:
“I feel like my heart died. I will always love you, but my heart has just been too beaten up. I hope that my heart returns, and I truly believe it will. But it has died. I just can’t seem to feel it anymore. I want more than anything for us to love each other as we once did, even more so, and I believe it will come. But, like I said, I feel like my heart died.”
I’m not sure how many times I recited this motif, or something like it, but each time Meg would softly listen, I fear little by little losing her heart along the way, my story and my words dragging her along a ragged path. As I said, losing a child is brutal on relationships, sometimes even more so when one of the partners has a big mouth. As in...yours truly. Though both of us had fought hard to get back on our feet, and perhaps stretch further than before in our quest for
reality, truth, and life, we still recognized that losing a child would almost certainly require a lifetime of healing.
Meg was reaching out for her own rock to cling to, her own needs for security. And I guess if I had been in her shoes I would have been concerned after listening to my heart dying quips. So she was doing what she needed to do, and that certainly meant that fully trusting me and my commitment to our relationship, was not part of it. At least for the time being.
I could tell that Meg was not warm towards me, that she was pursuing her own agenda,
but I simply and naively assumed, like I always did, that things would just sort of work themselves out. Especially since I knew I was changing. In relationship, though, as I was soon to learn, watching the other person change is often fraught with challenges, certainly more so when there are so many questions afloat, some of which point to a pretty deep crack or two. Meg needed to be cautious with me. And maybe even more accurately, and acutely, her heart had been affected, too. I didn’t blame her. And yet I figured that the changes in me would be noticed, and eventually remedy all of our issues. At least I was hoping so.
In late October, Meg’s sister, Amy, flew down to Costa Rica for a week or so. I guess it was kind of later on during Amy’s visit that I began to notice that Meg was, like I said, edging away from me, enough so that I decided to address that very issue on a Saturday morning, just a few hours before both Meg and Amy were to hop on a bus for San Jose and then fly to the United States.
“So what’s up?” I asked. “I can tell something’s on your mind, something different. You want to talk about it?”
She seemed a bit nonchalant. “Yeah. But it can wait.” She shuffled her feet and thought for about one second. “I guess we can talk about it now.”
“Okay,” I said.
“Well,” she said, “when I get back from the states, I was thinking maybe in January after the holidays, that you could go somewhere for about six weeks, and then I could go somewhere for about six weeks. That would give us three months apart, time for me to better hear my voice.”
Meg and I had been around each other, day in and day out, probably more than anybody I had ever known, for over thirty-one years, so time apart actually sounded good on the one hand. But on the other...
“So you want a separation?” I asked.
She shook her head. “No. Just time alone. Time to think. Time to hear my voice.”
I’m thinking, yeah, a time of separation.
“Okay,” I said.
And that was pretty much it. I drove them to the bus stop in Puerto Viejo and hugged her
goodbye, both of us throwing out I love you’s, both sensing that we were diving into uncharted waters. Scary waters, perhaps. Sad waters. They left, and I drove home to ponder.
Over the next couple of weeks I continued to immerse myself into meditation, breathing, and A Course in Miracles. I also seemed to be receiving downloads from somewhere. Downloads? you ask. Yes, downloads, as if my mind had been pried open and a multitude of stories began to pour in. I had begun writing short stories, mainly about grief and healing and the mystical/spiritual, for a few weeks already, but now they were bursting into my mind like an angry ocean through the walls of a rickety dam. So I wrote. And wrote. And continue to do so.
A few days before Meg was due to arrive back from the states I had an extraordinary experience. Why did this happen? My best guess is that the modalities I was practicing - the meditations (guided and unguided) and breathing exercises - and the studying I was doing, were both beginning to affect me on a subconscious level. I awoke in the middle of the night and instantly a movie began to play in my mind. I was awake and I knew it, and yet, without warning, it was as if a DVD had been inserted into a slot in my brain and the video began to play. This was not thinking. It was watching.
I was transported back in time to revisit several events in my first seven or eight years.
First, I was plopped down into the nursery at my father’s church in Macon, Georgia - Hillcrest United Methodist Church. I was two or three years old. The thing is, I was sort of like old Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, invisible and simply observing the action. With one caveat - I could watch myself as a little boy while feeling the emotions of that little boy. I was terrified! My parents had dropped me off at the nursery and I had felt utter abandonment. I watched as that little boy - me - freaked out and began screaming in fear, once again, feeling it within my own being as I lay in my bed watching. The nursery workers had to go get my dad, the pastor, to come and calm me down.
Next I found myself jumping down off of my bicycle looking down into a large culvert, still in Macon, when I was probably six years old (yeah, we used to could ride about anywhere we wanted to back in the day, learning to ride bikes at a young age, and with parents who trusted us to somehow make it home everyday). At any rate, I had gone to the culvert to find my olderbrother, Steve, who was down next to the water with a friend. As I stood by my bicycle, he reached down, picked something up, cocked his arm, and launched whatever it was in my direction. I felt a sharp pain on my left shin and quickly looked down. Blood was spurting from my leg and a sharp piece of glass was laying on the ground beside my foot - the bottom part of an old coca-cola bottle. I looked down at my brother and he was laughing. I jumped on my bike and sped home, blood flying everywhere, stunned and upset that he could have been so mean. I still have the scar.
I could sense that I could shut the video down whenever I wanted to, but I let it keep rolling.
Next I was on a swing at elementary school in Dawson, Georgia, where we had moved after Macon. It was my first day of school in our new town, third grade, and I was scared to death. School was already let out for the day and I was waiting for my mom, my face dug into the chains that held up the swing, crying, terrified. I was somehow convinced, I think, that this new place and the new way they did school was going to be my downfall. I saw the tears erupt from my young eyes, and at the same time, felt the fear in my old heart, over five decades later.
Many more scenes began to rush through my mind, staccato style, with just enough of a visual from each one to remind me that I was a deeply wounded human being. Eventually I halted the projector.
I lay there in my bed, confused as to why the movie had begun to play. As I relaxed and processed it all, I had the sense that I knew why the movie had come to me. Though I couldn’t be sure, I believed that I was being given a significant glimpse into much of the reason that I behaved and felt as I did during many of life’s episodes. It was obvious to me, for example, that
the mere possibility of abandonment could leave me in a state of panic, especially if it was of a foundational nature.
Ahhh, a state of panic. That proverbial corner was now directly in front of me, and though I was somewhat oblivious, seeing it but not recognizing its impact, I was just about ready to make that turn.
Over the following two weeks I experienced a phenomenon that many others have also
been confronted with, but up until then I had somehow been spared from. For those who have suffered through panic attacks, for suffering it surely is, you know how frightening and debilitating they can be. Throughout my life, as far as I knew, I had never even come close, even during Hannah’s illness and death. Delirious, fragmented, sorrowful beyond words, agonizingly distraught, and so much more, and yet no panic attacks. But in late November of 2018, I would seemingly be confronted with the gates of hell, itself.
I would wake up in the middle of the night and feel sheer panic, with no warning, my mind frozen in a state of heightened anxiety and despair, as if my entire world had fallen apart and there was nothing I could do about it. I was destined for a life of utter loneliness, abandonment, and pain. Saturday night, November 24th, was the worst.
It also preceded the most amazing experience of my life.
Earlier in the day my favorite dog, a Rottweiler that I had become very attached to, died in my arms, and in a fashion that left my body humming and my emotions gyrating all over the place. His name was Tank, and I loved him dearly. He was so full of life and such a good boy.
We had detected heart worms far too late, apparently; yet we kept hoping that he might get better, that the medications he was taking would somehow work. They did not, and I sat with him in my lap in the back of my truck outside of the veterinarian's office for maybe ten or fifteen minutes (it felt like hours) as he went through what was obviously the throes of death. I was borderline delirious, crying profusely, clearly stumbling through his last minutes while re-living, at least partially, the death of my daughter. With a high degree of certainty, I believe this trauma took me back into the memories of Hannah’s last moments, and I simply had not recovered by the time I fell asleep that night.
And so, for the third night since Meg had arrived back home from the states on the 20th, I awakened from a deep sleep with my body humming as if I had been plugged into a powerful electrical socket, accompanied by a deep sense of loneliness and loss, my mind frantic. It was so profound that I wondered how I could live this way, and then realized that I did not want to live this way, that I could not live this way. I did not feel suicidal, per se, (or perhaps I was?) but certainly felt that I could not continue this way. I was devoid of rationality, or so it seemed, nothing but fearful thoughts bouncing psychotically around within my mind. I kept trying to slow my mind down and find some relief.
I woke Meg up and told her my predicament. I lay back down on the bed, on my back, grabbed her hand, and placed it over my heart. I held it there. I then did the only thing I could think of, the only thing that had given me the slightest touch of relief during the other two panic attacks. I knew that I needed to be present, in the moment, in the now, where there is no future or past, where all of our problems exist. I began to breathe through my nose, to force my breathingto slow down. In - feel the breath in my nostrils; out - feel the breath through my nostrils. In - out. Focus on the breath. In - out - in - out - in...
What happened next is impossible to fully describe with words. Impossible to describe period. As I became present, the most profound and remarkable experience followed. Time was suspended. Honestly, to tell it right, I would have to say that time did not exist, and not only did it not exist, had not existed.
As I lay upon my bed, fresh off of an episode of Life Sucks, I Might Want to End This Thing, I found that I was swimming in a sea of the most unfathomable bliss imaginable. Meg lay beside me, half-asleep, believe it or not, as I drifted into a world of beauty indescribable. We are limited here by our need to use words and labels, so that’s what I’m going to keep throwing out, but maybe it’ll help a little if you’ll also sort of allow yourself to let go and believe that God is beyond our words and labels and beliefs and everything else we have been trained to believe in while here in our 3-D world. I had a few brief moments of what I am forced to try to label with certain words and descriptions, and as the words flow onto the screen they feel inadequate.
For starters, there was no start. As I have tried to explain, it just was. There simply was no start to my experience. I had been deposited into timelessness in such a way that it had simply always been that way (and I inherently knew that it would always be so). It was sort of like waking up from a dream and realizing that you have been dreaming, back into reality. In fact, it felt exactly like that, except that it was more real. In other words, my life on earth seemed a blurry nothing, almost, compared to the depth of reality that I was immersed in.
I knew that I needed nobody. To be clear, I was aware that I was accepted fully by all that mattered (God, Creator, Source) to such a degree that I recognized that our perceived need of
some other person or persons (to complete us), or even thing or things, is an absolute, 100%, unquestionable illusion. Never have I felt so certain of anything in my life. The Creator of the universe accepted me with perfection and nothing could take it away. Nothing! This I knew, and still know, regardless of what anyone could throw at me from a religious or anti-religious standpoint. This realization eliminated my fear of abandonment, for I knew that it was impossible. Not impossible from a physical body standpoint, from that sticky emotional body thing we have going on while in our 3-D world, perhaps, but from an ultimate reality standpoint, which is, well...reality.
The peace that enveloped me was beyond what I had ever thought possible. A stunning sea of tranquility had embraced me within its life force of love, and pulsated all around me and within me. I was cocooned inside, and yet it was also within my being.
I lay there, still with Meg’s hand on my heart, floating in a sea of the most amazing combination of peace and love and acceptance that I could have ever even dreamed possible. And that would have been more than enough to make it the highlight of my life. But there was one more attribute to this experience that I have to share; in fact, the one attribute which coaxed out the only words that I spoke audibly during this time of absolute presence.
I’ve been around for a pretty good while on this earth, long enough to have raised four amazing children, remain married to a beautiful soul for more than three decades, as well as experience gazillions of things in life that make me grateful to be alive. All of them, every single one, lumped together and packaged, couldn’t begin to touch the beauty that I touched (or that dropped down and touched me). I began to speak audibly, into the ears of God, as it were, saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you...” On and on I went, a heart overflowing
with gratitude that exceeded what I thought gratitude could even elevate to, by a number that probably doesn’t exist. For the first time in my life, I truly understood what a thankful heart really was, what gratitude meant. I’m not sure how many times I spoke it, maybe ten or so, maybe fifty. But I wasn’t counting, and time wasn’t really happening anyway.
As I lay there after orally expressing my deep gratitude to my Creator I was certain that I would experience this bliss for as long as I remained awake. I somehow knew. I rested for a few minutes (though I’m not sure how long) in that spirit of love and peace and knowing, soaking it up, but I also instinctively knew that it would be gone once I fell back asleep, and would subsequently rise from my slumber. As I lay there I softly recalled a story that I had read of someone who had more than likely had the same thing happen to them, and that it had lasted for months afterward. I didn’t envy that person, but I knew that it would not be the same for me.
I figured that there was a significant purpose for me, a compelling reason that I had been immersed in such Love. I was humbled, not the slightest bit proud. Quite the opposite, in fact, marveling at the love of God that I could be allowed to receive such a taste of, what I have now come to believe is our eternal destiny. Why did I experience this? And why did it come seemingly attached to such a painful, humbling event - the panic attack? I can only speculate. But I believe that God was touching me, embracing me, enveloping me in love, because it is what I needed, and because this is happening with more regularity across the spectrum of humanity during these interesting days that we live in. And potentially because I was on such a desperate journey spurred on by my beautiful daughter. Or...well, I just don’t know why. But I do know that this experience has given me an anchor, an understanding that this world we see with our body’s eyes is illusionary and not to be trusted.
I have tried to share the story of what happened that night with a few people, to encourage others, mainly to be met with a change of subject. I understand. It’s not normal, difficult to process for many and alien to others. I get it.
Before I leave this, I would like to say one more thing about it. I am as close to certain as I can be that this place of being, this experience of joy and peace and love and acceptance and gratitude and more, more, more, awaits all of the Creator’s children. All of us! I realize that many of our beliefs, religions and otherwise, suggest something different to many, but I personally believe differently at this point. This experience only confirmed for me what I was beginning to see as our destiny, that the creations of a loving Creator would share a timeless bliss with this very Creator.
Oh, how the beautiful, the mystical, the real seems to slip through our (mental) fingers as
if it is a mist that dissipates when the sun’s rays become intense enough. When I woke the next morning, the tingle of excitement was still with me, it’s true, and the desire to shout it from the mountain top was also there, and yet the beautiful experience itself had departed (though I sensed a remnant lurking), a forever memory that I knew I would never forget, but I no longer felt the intensity of at that moment. In other words, I knew what had happened and that it could not be stolen from me, yet the consuming bliss had softly faded away.
In fact, I had one more panic attack, the very next night, even.
Then, little by little, I began to settle back into what I will call a place of growth. Morning and evening meditations (guided and unguided), breathing modalities, and deeper into A Course in Miracles and other writings.
At this point in my journey, I had become certain of one thing - things are not as we see them. I had been allowed to peak behind the veil and steal a glimpse of what I now see as reality. Of the workings of the universe, as it were. This peek (peak?) alone opens the mind to a world far beyond the dream world of life on earth as most of us experience it, of the way that I have experienced it for almost all of my time here.
Undoubtedly, we have all asked those questions, haven’t we? The ones like why am I here? what is my purpose? is there really any meaning to all of this? and a million more. But because we are so busy, so educated, so propagandized, so saturated with beliefs that we have learned somewhere along the way and have honed to razor’s edge to protect our psyches, so fearful of losing our foundation, we trudge forward trying to squeeze as much pleasure as we can out of our years, and protect ourselves from the pains.
As I found out, no matter how hard you try, you simply do not have that type of control (in fact, I see the belief that we can control anything as an illusion). It is a forever losing game, one that we keep fighting in hopes that the tides will change, that fortune will smile on us with a life of at least some modicum of peace.
At least where it relates to this world we see with our body’s eyes.
Saturday, January 04, 2020
Shiva is in all Things
The Lord of Appati
is both inside and outside,
form and no-form.
He is both the flood and the bank,
he is the broad-rayed sun.
Himself the highest mystery,
he is in all hidden thoughts.
He is thought and meaning,
and embraces all who embrace him.
(from Poems to Shiva :The Hymns of the Tamil Saints––Indira V. Peterson––Princeton Legacy Library)
This poem gives expression to a notion that appears in many traditions and under many
names: God is everywhere and is both seen and unseen, hidden and yet known, manifest and potential, immanent and transcendent, boundless and contained.
(image from internet)
Friday, January 03, 2020
Andrew Harvey delivers a profound message for us all. Listen if you can possibly do so. He is the great prophet for our time.
Thursday, January 02, 2020
You were my mountain
and it was my task
to climb you.
And so I strove,
step by step
through drifts of snow
and mounds of rubble,
always forging ahead
sun and sleet,
desert and flood,
to the unseen destination
why I came,
what I would be
once I reached the top,
how I looked,
how I would act,
together we climbed,
waiting to see
what I would become.
December 28, 2019
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels . . .
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to accept these things
that are not possible
a friend was telling me
how after her father died
his photograph appeared
on her computer
each morning as she
for her coffee.
And when her mother died
it was she whose picture
And when her beloved aunt
died, her likeness came through,
the single one of her among the many
others (family picnics, new babies,
dogs and cats and horses) on the machine.
When I asked my friend
how that could happen,
she said she didn't know
and didn't need to know.
She loved them all
and was happy she got to
greet them so often
even after they
December 30, 2019
Monday, December 30, 2019
Her long black and white
hair running down her
shoulders, like a creek
with all its mysteries.
Brown eyes, kind
like a bear waking
to a new morning.
She wore a crisp white
shirt with blue jeans
and pretty light tan
You could not miss
her silver and turquoise
belt buckle with an
engraved claw, which
was an invitation to see
the fine craftsmanship
of the Tohono O'odham
and Navajo Indians,
inside a small trading post
store called The Coyote
on a dusty desolate road
not far outside of town
in the month of December.
Behind a glass counter
displayed were red clay pots
on small colorful weavings
along with friendship
baskets and hand crafted
artifacts. I was surprised
to find sweetgrass in the
region and traded with the
elder woman green frog
skin for it. In exchange she
handed me the braid with
some coins. She noticed
my Ojibwa beaded earrings.
There was really nothing
more to say. She gave
me thoughts for a life time.
I lit the sweetgrass on
- Ziibinkokwe, Turtle Clan (Patricia LeBon Herb)
Sunday, December 29, 2019
Honoring the Light - Part III
Meditation #232, December 29, 2019
Science and Spirituality, Deep Ecumenism
Our spiritual traditions world over honor light as an expression of the Divine. Consider the African tradition.
“Beautiful you rise, O eternal living god!
You are radiant, lovely, powerful,
Your love is great, all-encompassing.
Your rays make all radiant,
Your brightness gives life to hearts,
When you fill the Two Lands with your love.”
To talk of Creation is to talk about light. This is evident in so many creation stories from that of Akhenaten in Egypt above to that of Genesis and Psalm 104 and the prologue to John’s Gospel in the Bible as well as mystical works of Judaism such as the Zohar and the Kaballah and also today’s Creation story from science. Let us revisit the latter.
The originating power that brought forth a universe made reality such that stars, lizards and supernovas would all blaze with the same numinous energy that flared forth at the dawn of time. The first of the atoms, hydrogen, was special because photons or light waves could pass through them without ever being obstructed. Hydrogen becomes a special conductor for light to move through.The eventual birth of supernovas was an explosive light burst, whose intensity outshines even a galaxy of two hundred billion stars.
Albert Einstein said in the early part of the last century that “all I want to do is study light.” As the century drew to a close, we could begin to glimpse what science is learning through light and about light. Light drives all energy systems. Plants and we eat light, breathe light, drink light and transform light into energy. Light is far more prevalent in the universe than is matter—indeed, for every molecule of matter there are one billion particles of light!
The Egyptian prayers to the sun as well as the aboriginal rituals that follow the sun’s path from rising to setting are seeming more and more wise every day. Part of the scientific contribution to light at this time in human history is to insist on the need to become sustainable again.
Climate crisis is telling us in very loud terms that we are on a death path—the medicine includes the practical application of solar awareness. Sun energies are uniquely renewable and sustainable—the time when humans ran their enterprises on fossil fuels coming to a close. We must rediscover light or perish.
If we are to fit into creation once again instead of attempting to stand outside it and control it (and in the process killing it), then we must imitate nature’s source of energy. As physicist Fritjof Capra puts it: Ecosystems differ from individual organisms in that they are…open with respect to the flow of energy. The primary source for that flow of energy is the sun. Solar energy, transformed into chemical energy by the photosynthesis of green plants, drives most ecological cycles.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths.
Saturday, December 28, 2019
Mostly it is when a small thing
suddenly becomes a large thing,
a tiny fist of paper
and you witness
a whole new landscape,
or a quiet piece of music
swells to a crescendo
or a so so movie
in the final scenes.
We never know
when the leaves
right into our
or the person we
for the first time
of past lives together
and we in turn
begin to vibrate,
like the leaves,
or feeling as though
we are, finally,
after so many years,
going to levitate,
just like the monk
in the story.
December 23, 2019
Shoveling Snow With Buddha––Billy Collins
In the usual iconography of the temple or the local Wok
you would never see him doing such a thing,
tossing the dry snow over a mountain
of his bare, round shoulder,
his hair tied in a knot,
a model of concentration.
Sitting is more his speed, if that is the word
for what he does, or does not do.
Even the season is wrong for him.
In all his manifestations, is it not warm or slightly humid?
Is this not implied by his serene expression,
that smile so wide it wraps itself around the waist of the universe?
But here we are, working our way down the driveway,
one shovelful at a time.
We toss the light powder into the clear air.
We feel the cold mist on our faces.
And with every heave we disappear
and become lost to each other
in these sudden clouds of our own making,
these fountain-bursts of snow.
This is so much better than a sermon in church,
I say out loud, but Buddha keeps on shoveling.
This is the true religion, the religion of snow,
and sunlight and winter geese barking in the sky,
I say, but he is too busy to hear me.
He has thrown himself into shoveling snow
as if it were the purpose of existence,
as if the sign of a perfect life were a clear driveway
you could back the car down easily
and drive off into the vanities of the world
with a broken heater fan and a song on the radio.
All morning long we work side by side,
me with my commentary
and he inside his generous pocket of silence,
until the hour is nearly noon
and the snow is piled high all around us;
then, I hear him speak.
After this, he asks,
can we go inside and play cards?
Certainly, I reply, and I will heat some milk
and bring cups of hot chocolate to the table
while you shuffle the deck.
and our boots stand dripping by the door.
Aaah, says the Buddha, lifting his eyes
and leaning for a moment on his shovel
before he drives the thin blade again
deep into the glittering white snow.
~ Billy Collins ~
Friday, December 27, 2019
Why wait for your awakening?
The moment your eyes are open, seize the day.
Would you hold back when the Beloved beckons?
Would you deliver your litany of sins like a child’s collection of sea shells, prized and labeled?
“No, I can’t step across the threshold,” you say, eyes downcast.
“I’m not worthy” I’m afraid, and my motives aren’t pure.
I’m not perfect, and surely I haven’t practiced nearly enough.
My meditation isn’t deep, and my prayers are sometimes insincere.
I still chew my fingernails, and the refrigerator isn’t clean.
“Do you value your reasons for staying small more than the light shining through the open door?
Now is the only time you have to be whole.
Now is the sole moment that exists to live in the light of your true Self.
Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.
Please, oh please, don’t continue to believe in your disbelief.
This is the day of your awakening.
Thursday, December 26, 2019
You are the bow that shoots the arrows
and you are the target.
Rilke Sonnets to Orpheus)
Yes, it is breath
and yet more than breath.
It is what flows through
when we are not looking,
rivers of delight,
cascades of feeling.
It is that bird
looking at me
as I look at it,
it is the sky
my capacity to say.
And yet it is also breath,
what anchors me
to this plane of earth,
what sustains me here
and perhaps in
that other unknown
and unknowable realm,
that guessed at
that undetected and yet
as familiar as rain,
as certain as sunrise.
December 23, 2019
Wednesday, December 25, 2019
Away in a manger
or a crack house
or under a bridge
or in a bombed-out village
or a refugee camp
or in the mesquite shade close to the border wall
some Mary is giving birth.
Even as you read this
a child is being born.
What if one of these were the promised one,
the beacon of hope,
the seed of a new light
in a dark time?
What if they all were?
What gifts would you bring
if you were wise?
- Larry Robinson
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Sonnets to Orpheus, Part One, IV
You who let yourselves feel: enter the breathing
that is more than your own.
Let it brush your cheeks
as it divides and rejoins beside you.
Blessed ones, whole ones,
you where the heart begins:
You are the bow that shoots the arrows
and you are the target.
Fear not the pain. Let its weight fall back
into the earth;
for heavy are the mountains, heavy the seas.
The trees you planted in childhood have grown
too heavy. You cannot bring them along.
Give yourselves to the air, to what you cannot hold.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~
(In Praise of Mortality, translated and edited by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)
Monday, December 23, 2019
When the world is full of hate
When the world is full of abuse
When the world is full of disregard
When the world is full of corruption
When the world is full of greed
When the world is full of confusion
When the world is full of fear
When the world is full of despair
On this winter solstice
time of reflection
Reflect on the beauty of humans
when they walk in grace
And remember those who chose that path
even in the darkest night
Wishing you a year of joy and peace,
Stephanie and the animals
Sunday, December 22, 2019
The Winter Solstice is a cosmic vortex. It's a time when the mystical forces of transformation are deeply present for those of us who know how to call them. Yes, it's also a social time—as many of you may be immersed in holiday shopping, social events, and year-end cleanup (or beach holidays if you are living in the Southern Hemisphere!) But if you can be sensitive to the quality of this time, it can be a powerful opportunity for an inner reset.
For many of us, this solstice is the culmination of an intense year. Some of you may have experienced triumphs in 2019. For others, the year might have been really really hard. Or, as it is for most of us, somewhere in between. Whatever the year was like for you, you have a chance right now to bless and release the struggles and the triumphs of the year past and to intuit and intend the direction for the year to come—a year that promises to be filled with change.
Like me, you probably intuit that 2020 promises to be a time of great change, even revolutionary change. We can see now the harbingers all around us, and we don't know now how it will all play out. That's why it's so important, at this time when the energies of the old year are departing, and the energies of the new year are gathering that we use this time to clarify our own intentions. I'm very excited to be coming together with so many of you for the coming Solstice Teleseminar. The emphasis is on releasing and transforming, on letting go and letting in, on touching into the love that streams from higher realms at this time of year, and allowing it to fill our bodies and illuminate our minds.
The year 2020, and the new decade is waiting for us, filled with gifts and challenges and above all, with opportunities for awakening. We get to open to it now by releasing what we no longer need, and by inviting the light of our highest promise to unfold within us.