Kundalini Splendor

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Friday, March 24, 2017

"Rilke in Glory"––poem by Dorothy 

Rilke in Glory

Ah, Rainer Maria Rilke,
dreamer, poet,
lover of angels

Who spoke those words
into your mouth?

Who held you
as you penned
these lines?

Was it the wind
through the curtains
speaking in a language
that only you

Was it the mountain stream
imparting secrets
as it dashed over the rocks
its unfathomed

What honey
fell into your throat
as you silently

Who holds you now
in angelic arms
as you sing your way
through still unmapped
unexplored territories
of the mind?

(Note: This poem was written after reading Rilke's majestic "Buddha in Glory.")

Dorothy Walters
March 22, 2017

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Rilke––Buddha in Glory 

Buddha in Glory

Center of all centers, core of cores,
almond self-enclosed, and growing sweet--
all this universe, to the furthest stars
all beyond them, is your flesh, your fruit.

Now you feel how nothing clings to you;
your vast shell reaches into endless space,
and there the rich, thick fluids rise and flow.
Illuminated in your infinite peace,

a billion stars go spinning through the night,
blazing high above your head.
But in you is the presence that
will be, when all the stars are dead.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Former Lockheed scientist talks about aliens and UFO's 

On aliens visiting earth

This article is truly mind blowing.  This retired scientist with an impressive background was privy to high level information about alien visitations to planet earth, and where the evidence resides.  He is primarily interested in the technical details of space travel, rather than  where they come from or why they are here.  He explains that because he is now retired, he can speak openly about these matters, though others who are still actively employed by Lockheed Martin cannot publicly reveal such information. 

To see and hear his testimony, go to


"Lockheed Martin senior scientist tells all, before he dies."

"He talks about the famous area 51, how they look, how they power their craft through anti-gravity, how they communicate, where they are from.  No mention of why they are here, what they want.  Says they are also working with the Chinese and the Russians.  He is now dead."

(I myself do not necessarily believe in the reality of alien visitors, but I find the whole topic a fascinating possibility and confess that I watch many programs on ancient and present day visitors to earth. Even the Bible contains tantalizing allusions to the visitors from elsewhere.)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Vajra Body––from Tibetan Medicine Education center 


 Tibetan Medicine Education center

The following excerpt offers some intriguing comments on the role of Kundalini in the creation of the "vajra body," a pure immaterial body that has been transformed through spiritual practice from the 'ordinary body" into this higher state.  It is yet another example of the notion of the alchemical transformation of the dross material self into the gold of a divinized human.

The Vajra body

In the yoga and tsa-rlung teachings, we sometimes hear about the « vajra body », what is it exactly?

‘Vajra body‘ is a term used in Buddhist Tantra and Yoga. Through spiritual practice, the ordinary body may be transformed into the state of a pure and immaterial body, the vajra body, which is also called Dorje-lus, ‘indestructible body‘ because it will not die or decompose forever. This term is also used in the context of a sadhana[1] practice as a relative vajra body.

What is the vajra body made of?

When, in the Tantra and Yoga, you look at the body, you look at it in a more subtle way than the restrictive approach of the ordinary physical body made of flesh, bones, organs and so on. When you look at it at this subtle level, you can see that the body is made of five components: The whole body itself is a channel composed by many sub-channels. Some are visible, while some others are not. Basically, the channels (rtsa) are tunnels for circulation of the subtle winds (rlung) and consciousness (sems). The channels are also tubes for the thikles, the essence drops of the body, and they give space for the friction of tummo, the psychic fire energy (Dröd). Therefore the body is then called a gzhi, which means ‘base‘, base of all. That is why in the Yoga Tantra, the study begins with the proper knowledge on the physical existence and the body composition.

Do channels have a physical base?

There are two manners to explain the channels: the tantric, and the Tibetan medicine ways:
According to the Yoga and tantric world, the channels are energetic; they are the body psychic passages where subtle material exists and functions in the form of visible and invisible energy substance flowing through them. The body channels are similar to the cosmic channels that exist even if invisible, such as orbits where planets and stars rotate, and where the cosmic winds flow in different directions depending on the seasons and energy. The celestial orbit is then basically an empty space, yet full of channels. It is called ‘macrocosm of the body‘, because the same phenomenal structure and channels exists in the human body, where it is called ‘microcosm‘. The vajra body channels (rtsa) are passages of blood, wind and consciousness, and function like roots that sustain the life of the person. Channels also function like a house for its owner, the consciousness that principally dwells in the head, heart and lower abdomen. There are three main channels, rTsa-Uma, rTsa-roma and rTsa-rkyangma, and each has 24.000 subdivisions, which makes a total of 72.000 sub-channels described. rTsa are mystic and their functions are to be understood far beyond the common sense and understanding. That is why the total body/mind functions have not been fully discovered yet, even by modern science.
The second concept of channels is found in Tibetan medicine, which develops its description through physical aspects and explains their relationships to the physical existence. For instance it relates the nervous, blood circulatory and lymphatic systems that carry the senses, blood and water substances, respectively to the three main channels rTsa-Uma, rTsa-Roma and rTsa-rkyangma, corresponding to the Wind, Bile and Phlegm humors.

Depending on the people’s constitution, there are natural differences in the channels; some channels naturally have different shapes, and their form may be more or less harmonious, even if still in the normality. These differences though influence the body/mind and especially the yogic spiritual practices.
Relatively to the disease, apart from the cause of disease coming from the four principal factors of diet, behavior, season and psychology, tantra and medicine also say that blocked, narrowed, swollen, curved, contaminated or twisted channels as well as other odd developments by body/mind factors are the main physiological cause of diseases.
The healthy channels should be like the nerves of the leaves, well branched and not disconnected.

What about the other body components?

The body temperature is a body fire and actually a psychic heat that bears many metaphorical names such as ‘gtummo‘, ‘kundalini‘, ‘aggressive serpent‘, etc. We naturally possess this fire energy, and are born with it. Even if, according to the Yoga Tantra, this energy is mainly in a state of sleep and inactive, it still somehow produces body temperature and metabolism, enables the food to be digested, matures the body and gives power and intelligence to the body/mind. In Tibetan medicine it is called medrod or ‘digestive fire heat‘ produced by the digestive Bile (mkhrispa-‘jubyed), which is blown up by the fire-like Wind (rlung-memnyam). Wind and fire are two crucial elements that need each other to produce and give heat to the body as well as to the psyche. By spiritual yogic practice, the heat can be increased and, by burning the dualistic ignorance, giving blissfulness and awareness to the mind, may possibly lead to the vajra body. Beside the spiritual practice, in the medicine point of view, the body fire protects from cold and sustains the body/mind by transformation of the food.

Thikle is a pure state of material energy and a highly refined substance called “treasure of the body”. Loosely speaking, it is the final result of physical transformation of the food by the digestive fire heat described above. There are several thikles. The indestructible thikle refers to the mind consciousness and is located in the heart chakra where also the most subtle Dangma or body essence goes and supports the mental consciousness. Thikle produces radiance, which shines to all parts and surfaces of the body, most importantly the face, chest and forehead. A white thikle that comes from the father also resides in the brain, while below the navel chakra, a red thikle can be found, coming from the mother. The red thikle is also called gtummo or ‘kundalini fire‘. These thikles are the finest material essences that give power to the mind and also become the seats of the consciousness.

The subtle wind is the vehicle of the mind, as said in Tantra, as it carries the mind in the channels. It is inseparable from the mind because mind is also the wind itself (rlungsem-dbyermed), and it resides in the heart.

The subtle wind produces ten gross physical winds - five principal winds and five minor winds - that actively function and sustain the body/mind system such as in brain and heart. They are the subtle and gross life energy breath, called Prana in Sanskrit. The wind circulates in the 72.000 channels and gives the function of mind and mental consciousness.

Inside the channels reside six consciousnesses[2], which are called sems or shespa, mind or knower. The very subtle mind resides below the navel area, the subtle mind resides in the heart and the gross mind is in the head (brain). The mind itself is clear, luminous, and it has no color or form, but when it is confronted to sensory objects, it produces six different consciousnesses (eye, nose, ear, tongue, body and mental consciousnesses), which perceive and analyze the external objects and phenomena such as form, sound, smell, taste and tangibles. The mind is the owner of the vajra body.

The consciousness, thikle and temperature, moved by the wind power, then circulate through the body channels without stopping, from the conception till the end of the life. It is like water that contains minerals such salt, calcium, sulfur, etc and make them flow until they reach their destination.

What is exactly the wind energy?

The wind energy can be simply described as a wind, but it is difficult to apprehend, as it cannot be perceived by our eyes consciousness. The wind does flow inside the body as well as outside of the body. The general shape of the inside wind is the same as that of the physical body, closed by the skin, because the tissues and organs are completely filled by the wind energy. The wind is pervasive. Wind is the energy, and body and psychic powers, but it also has physical functions in the nerves, organs, and tissues, because there is no solid tissue in the body without wind. All are produced by the material and sub-material of the wind particles along with the other elements. Therefore, if the wind flows correctly and harmoniously, it brings health, prosperity and clarity of the mind, while when wind is disturbed, the mind and body become disturbed and illness arises.
If the wind energy is contaminated by wrong diet, behaviors and delusions, then the wind can circulate in wrong passages, give hallucinations to the mind and reduce its clarity. According to tantras[3], in the 72.000 channels flow 72.000 subtle winds, which impose 72.000 emotions[4]. If these channels are soft, gentle and in the correct way or straight, the wind circulation moves freely and gives creativity and clarity to the mind. If the circulation is blocked or disturbed, 72.000 negative emotions or related emotions may be produced. Commonly, in animals and human beings, these channels are not fully clear and clean, consequently the body ages, suffers, and death exists because of these disturbed energies in the channels.
In fact, this is the identity and image of samsara. Whoever is able to recognize and see this wrong flow of energy in the channels can work on it through the yoga and tsa-rLung practices. That is why these practices focus so much on the wind. Tantras even say:
“The one who knows the channels and their functions, knows the nature of the body. And the one who knows the functions of the wind, knows the functions of the mind.”

The aim of Tantric Yoga is to use that physical body, and to transform it through the physical and spiritual yoga method. Until that, as long as our body is not transformed into the vajra state, it is an ordinary physical body that suffers and eventually dies. To enter this practice, one should first study the ordinary physical body, and then undertake a physical and spiritual path of transformation through practice.

The yoga practitioner looks then to his body with a complete different approach than the normal people or medical doctors. He regards it as a cosmic house created by karma and its intelligence, in which the mind is imprisoned. When, by yogic and spiritual practice, the five components that compose the body are transmuted into the state of pure body/mind - like iron transformed into gold by alchemic method - the body becomes indestructible and is then called ‘vajra body‘, and the mind is liberated from the samsaric illusions.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Billy Collins––Directions 


The best time is late afternoon
when the sun strobes through
the columns of trees as you are hiking up,
and when you find an agreeable rock
to sit on, you will be able to see
the light pouring down into the woods
and breaking into the shapes and tones
of things and you will hear nothing
but a sprig of birdsong or the leafy
falling of a cone or nut through the trees,
and if this is your day you might even
spot a hare or feel the wing-beats of geese
driving overhead toward some destination.

But it is hard to speak of these things
how the voices of light enter the body
and begin to recite their stories
how the earth holds us painfully against
its breast made of humus and brambles
how we who will soon be gone regard
the entities that continue to return
greener than ever, spring water flowing
through a meadow and the shadows of clouds
passing over the hills and the ground
where we stand in the tremble of thought
taking the vast outside into ourselves.

~ Billy Collins ~

(The Art of Drowning)

Sunday, March 19, 2017



Do not try to eat your breakfast
while you listen
to sacred music.

You will be swept with feeling,
fall into a love trance,
She has come.

You may even begin to move
your arms
over your head,
as your crown
fills with rapture

your food
will sit there

You will eat
a cold meal
and you will not care

Dorothy Walters
March 18, 2017

Saturday, March 18, 2017

When I Return 

When I Return

When I die
I will become
Buddha again.

My face, my arms, my body––
all will glow
with hovering light.

I will sit quietly,
enjoying the bliss,
send rays of healing
in answer to prayers.

I will return,
the way the raindrop
into the ocean
and becomes one,
the pounding surf,
 the quiet pool.

If you want to see me,
you can look everywhere,
even in the paintings
and the sculptured forms.

I am the cloud passing,
the light
streaming through the forest.

I am the child crying,
the animal struggling in the trap.

I am this,
I am that I am.

Dorothy Walters
March 18, 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017

Who I Am 

Who I Am

The Hindus call me
the serpent of love,
Shiva's own Shakti
by whom
the world is made.

In Africa,
I am "Num."
I bring blessings
and sweet healing.

The Hebrews think of me
as the Shekinah,
and long for my presence.

The Christians term me
the Holy Spirit.
I struck down Paul
on his way to
I entered the room
of the disciples
during the Pentecost
when light blazed over their heads.

In Egypt I am the
magic elixir
poured down
from the gods.

When the Goddess
lived in Greece,
I moved among the dancers.

The shamans inhale me
as they fly to heaven.

I am the rapture
of the saints,
the suffering
of the betrayed.

I am inside you,
in every cell and pore.

I am without
in every stone
and star.

No one has seen me
or held me
in their hands.

I am all that is.

I am you.

Dorothy Walters
March 17, 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Rumi––"Give me Ecstasy" 

Give me ecstasy.
Give Birth to the Beloved in me,
and let this Lover die!
Let a thousand wrangling desires
become one blazing love.

—Jalaledin Rumi

Monday, March 13, 2017

from the Radiance Sutras, Lorin Roche 

It’s always the same.
Barbarians and blockheads,
Rival queens and rival kings,
The drama rolls on and on.

When people honor you,
You are supposed to be glad.
When they disrespect you,
You are supposed to sulk in indignation.

One minute you are cruising on a throne in the sky,
The next you are standing on some bleak patch of dirt.
I say, the Sun regards all with a steady eye.

The force sustaining Earth and Sky
Calls everyone to awaken from this trance.
This whole world revolves around an axis, and I am that.

When you are friends with the Friend to All Beings
Nothing is the same.

Rich beyond measure, abundant beyond counting,
You can move through this life laughing.
Opinions of others have no rulership over you.

~ The Radiance Sutras, Lorin Roche

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Song of the Self––Adi Shankar, Nirvana Shatakan, Hymns 3-6  

Atma Shatkam (The song of the Self)

I am Consciousness, I am Bliss, I am Shiva, I am Shiva.
Without hate, without infatuation, without craving, without greed;
Neither arrogance, nor conceit, never jealous I am;
Neither dharma, nor artha, neither kama, nor moksha am I;

I am Consciousness, I am Bliss, I am Shiva, I am Shiva.
Without sins, without merits, without elation, without sorrow;
Neither mantra, nor rituals, neither pilgrimage, nor Vedas;
Neither the experiencer, nor experienced, nor the experience am I,

I am Consciousness, I am Bliss, I am Shiva, I am Shiva.
Without fear, without death, without schism, without jati;
Neither father, nor mother, never born I am;
Neither kith, nor kin, neither teacher, nor student am I;

I am Consciousness, I am Bliss, I am Shiva, I am Shiva.
Without form, without figure, without resemblance am I;
Vitality of all senses, in everything I am;
Neither attached, nor released am I;

I am Consciousness, I am Bliss, I am Shiva, I am Shiva.

—Adi Shankara, Nirvana Shatakam, Hymns 3–6

(image from internet)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Anna Akhmatova––"A Land not mine, Still"––poem 

A land not mine, still

By Anna Akhmatova
(1889 - 1966)

English version by Jane Kenyon

A land not mine, still
forever memorable,
the waters of its ocean
chill and fresh.

Sand on the bottom whiter than chalk,
and the air drunk, like wine,
late sun lays bare
the rosy limbs of the pinetrees.

Sunset in the ethereal waves:
I cannot tell if the day
is ending, or the world, or if
the secret of secrets is inside me again.

I think the last three lines of this poem are among the most beautiful in all of poetry.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Parker Palmer––The Wild Soul 

The soul is like a wild animal––tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient, and yet exceedingly shy. If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out. But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of the tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek.
~ Parker Palmer

Yes, that is how it is.  We cannot make the Beloved come to us, but we can be receptive, ready, open to Her when she arrives.  And for some (like yours truly) she seldom will show Herself in public.  Ours is a private relationship, maintained in silence and surrender.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Psalm 121––The Unnamable 

Psalm 121

I look deep into my heart,
to the core where wisdom arises.
Wisdom comes from the Unnamable
and unifies heaven and earth.
The Unnamable is always with you,
shining from the depths of your heart.
His peace will keep you untroubled
even in the greatest pain.
When you find him present within you,
you find truth at every moment.
He will guard you from all wrongdoing;
he will guide your feet on his path.
He will temper your youth with patience;
he will crown your old age with fulfillment.
And dying, you will leave your body
as effortlessly as a sigh.

(A Book of Psalms, trans. and adapted by Stephen Mitchell)

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Some Other Place––poem by Dorothy 

Some Other Place

I came from some other place
and there I will return.

I did not know
I was going to
come here,
sit in this body,
receive words with my
fingers gliding across
a machine.

And this world,
how different it is
from that other,
even the scents
and images,
the color
of the clouds.

No Sanskrit syllables sounding,
no fields of delight
as we moved
No sacred fires
or presences,
rustle of trees,
birdsongs in chorus.

and chaos,
constant assault.
Lost pathways.
Cacophony of sound.

Yet even now
something moves inside.

A secret
about to be
a revelation
about to be shared.

Movement of something

How can I become
who I am?

Dorothy Walters
February 22, 2017

Sunday, March 05, 2017



                                  Teachings of the Vedas

  Saturday, March 11
10 am - 1 pm

With Yogacharya Dharmananda (Swamiji)
General Public $25, Caritas Members $20

In this workshop, Swamiji will teach a systematic study of the Vedas, providing answers to the following questions:
  What do Vedas or Vedanta or the Upanishads teach?
What do Vedas or Vedanta or the Upanishads teach?
 What are the stages through which vedantic study proceeds?
 What are the scriptural study materials in each stage?
 What are the spiritual practices at each stage
 How do I know what is the best study material and practices for me?
As always, the material, though proceeding from Hindu scripture, embodies universal Truth as well as universal application. The workshop will include a 2-hour lecture, 15-minute break, and 45-minute meditation.
For information or to register, call 303-449-3066 or go to www.CaritasCenter.org
Yogacharya Dharmananda (Swamiji)is a preeminent scholar and teacher of the Science of Yoga, Hindu Philosophy, and Comparative Religion. He has been the Director of the International Vishwaguru Yoga and Meditation Institute (Rishikesh, India) from its inception to November 2010. He is now permanently settled in America and is living in Loveland. His lectures, especially his mode of presentation with humor, stories and anecdotes, have earned him wide acclaim.

At The Caritas Center * 5723 Arapahoe Avenue * Boulder, CO 80303


Saturday, March 04, 2017

Ramana Maharishi and Kundalini 

Isn't the force or current that Ramana Maharshi speaks of actually Kundalini?  He is describing that incredible energy in his own terms, but the description fits.  Also, I agree with his comments about the Self as non-personal and an all inclusive awareness.  Much wisdom here.  He is worth careful attention.  Pilgrims still circumnavigate the mountain where he lived in a cave for many years.  (Ramona was an Indian saint/sage who lived in India from 1879 to 1950.  For many years he lived in a cave on a sacred mountain and many pilgrims and followers visited him there.)

Note: The following excerpt comes from Wikipedia: Ramana Maharshi described his Self as a "force" or "current," which descended on him in his death-experience, and continued throughout his life:
... a force or current, a centre of energy playing on the body, continuing regardless of the rigidity or activity of the body, though existing in connection with it. It was that current, force or centre that constituted my Self, that kept me acting and moving, but this was the first time I came to know it [...] I had no idea at that time of the identity of that current with the personal God, or Iswara as I used to call him [...] I was only feeling that everything was being done by the current and not by me [...] This current, or avesam, now felt as if it was my Self, not a superimposition [...] That avesam continues right up to now.[web 1]

Ramana used various terms to denote this Self.[note 9] The most frequently used terms were sat-chit-ananda, which translates into English as being-consciousness-bliss;[79] God, Brahman and Siva,[note 10] and the Heart, which is not to be confused with the physical heart, or a particular point in space, but was rather to indicate that "the Self was the source from which all appearances manifested."[78]

According to David Godman, the essence of Ramana Maharshi's teachings is that the "Self" or real "I" is a "non-personal, all-inclusive awareness": [80]
The real Self or real 'I' is, contrary to perceptible experience, not an experience of individuality but a non-personal, all-inclusive awareness. It is not to be confused with the individual self which (Ramana) said was essentially non-existent, being a fabrication of the mind, which obscures the true experience of the real Self. He maintained that the real Self is always present and always experienced but he emphasized that one is only consciously aware of it as it really is when the self-limiting tendencies of the mind have ceased. Permanent and continuous Self-awareness is known as Self-realization.[80]
Ramana considered the Self to be permanent and enduring,[81] surviving physical death.[82] "The sleep, dream and waking states are mere phenomena appearing on the Self",[83] as is the "I"-thought.[81] Our "true nature" is "simple Being, free from thoughts".[84]
Ramana would field many questions about "jnanis" (liberated beings) from devotees, but even the terms "jnani" and "ajnani" (non-liberated being) are incorrect, since it leads one to the idea of there being a knower and a known, a subject and an object. The truth of it according to Ramana Maharshi is that there are neither "jnanis" nor "ajnanis", there is simply "jnana", which is Self:[85]

from Wikipedia (I did not take out the numbers of the references)

(Image from internet)

Thursday, March 02, 2017

On Poetry––Sri Aurobindo and James Cousins 

from Sri Aurobindo:  That possibility is the discovery of a closer approximation to what we might call the mantra in poetry that rhythmic speech which, as the Veda puts it, rises at once from the heart of the seer and from the distant home of the Truth, — the discovery of the word, the divine movement, the form of thought proper to the reality which, as Mr. Cousins excellently says,

" lies in the apprehension of a something stable behind the instability of word and deed, something that is reflection of the fundamental passion of humanity for something beyond itself, something that is a dim foreshadowing of the divine urge which is prompting all creation to unfold itself and to rise out of its limitations towards its Godlike possibilities. Poetry in the past has done that in moments of supreme elevation; in the future there seems to be some chance of its making it a more conscious aim and steadfast endeavor."

(Cousins was a contemporary of Yeats and wrote poems similar to his.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Elizabeth Gilbert Comes Out 

As many of you you know, Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of "Eat, Pray, Love," the best selling book which became a famous movie.  At the end of the movie, the central character finds her true love (male) on a Pacific Island.  Elizabeth has recently "come out" as the loving partner of Rayya, long her best female friend.  Of course, we applaud her courage and her honesty.  Good for you, Elizabeth.  And "welcome to the club."

As for me, I "came out" many years ago, long before being gay got popular.  However, I have now lived so long alone that I am afraid my membership has expired.  My "significant other" is my Beloved Within, who has become an integral part of who I am.

Side note: A friend of mine (a confirmed heterosexual) once remarked that there is a sequence for many: She said, "First you get married, then you have your children, then you get your divorce, and then you find your woman partner.  It's a developmental stage."

Elizabeth Gilbert's Sept 7th Facebook post)
Dear Ones -

There is something I wish to tell you today — something which I hope and trust you will receive with grace.

This spring, I received news that would change my life forever. My best friend Rayya Elias was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer — a disease for which there is no cure.

In the moment I first learned of Rayya's diagnosis, a trap door opened at the bottom of my heart (a trap door I didn't even know was there) and my entire existence fell straight through that door. From that moment forward, everything became about HER. I cancelled everything in my life that could be cancelled, and I went straight to her side, where I have been ever since.

Many of you already know who Rayya Elias is to me. She's my best friend, yes, but it's always been bigger than that. She's my role model, my traveling companion, my most reliable source of light, my fortitude, my most trusted confidante. In short, she is my PERSON. I have spoken about her so many times on this page, and many of you have heard me speak about her in my speeches, too (such as my "Hummingbird" speech, where I sang her praises with all the love I could muster.) Some of you have even come to see the two of us speaking together on stage, over the years. Anyone who has ever seen us together knows that I am devoted to Rayya. I've never made a secret of it. As Ann Patchett said once of our friendship: "Your love for Rayya has always been writ large."

But something happened to my heart and mind in the days and weeks following Rayya's diagnosis. Death — or the prospect of death — has a way of clearing away everything that is not real, and in that space of stark and utter realness, I was faced with this truth: I do not merely love Rayya; I am in love with Rayya. And I have no more time for denying that truth. The thought of someday sitting in a hospital room with her, holding her hand and watching her slide away, without ever having let her (or myself!) know the extent of my true feelings for her...well, that thought was unthinkable.

Here is the thing about truth: Once you see it, you cannot un-see it. So that truth, once it came to my heart's attention, could not be ignored.

But what to do with this potentially life-shattering truth?

Now let me tell you something I've learned from Rayya, over the fifteen years of our friendship. She is the most brave and honest person I know, and she has taught me more about courage and honesty than anyone I have ever met. Here is her mantra on truth, which I've heard her express so many times over the years, in so many difficult situations:

"The truth has legs; it always stands. When everything else in the room has blown up or dissolved away, the only thing left standing will always be the truth. Since that's where you're gonna end up anyway, you might as well just start there."

So I did what Rayya has taught me to do: I just started there. I spoke my truth aloud.

For those of you who are doing the math here, and who are wondering if this situation is why my marriage came to an end this spring, the simple answer is yes. (Please understand that I cannot say anything more about it than that. I trust you are all sensitive enough to understand how difficult this has been. As David Foster Wallace once wrote: "The truth will set you free — but not until it's had its way with you." Yes, it has been hard. Yes, the truth has had its way with us. And yes, the truth still stands.)

So. Here is where we stand now: Rayya and I are together. I love her, and she loves me. I'm walking through this cancer journey with her, not only as her friend, but as her partner. I am exactly where I need to be — the only place I can be.

The reason I haven't yet spoken publicly about me and Rayya is because we (and our families) have needed this cocoon of privacy over these last few months, as we face all and process all these massive changes and challenges.

So why am I speaking publicly about this now?

Because — for better or worse — I am someone who lives her life in the public eye. This summer has been an essential period of silence, healing, and incubation for us. I have needed that time, and I've been grateful to have it. But summer is over. I have work to do in the world — work that I can't put off anymore. I will be out and about in a very public way again over the next few weeks and months. People will be looking at me again. And when people look at me, they will inevitably see me with Rayya, because — as God is my witness — whenever Rayya is healthy enough to be by my side, she will be by my side. (Trust me: We will not be wasting a moment of our time together, for as much time as we are given.)

For reasons of my own integrity and sanity, I need to be able to walk into any room in the world with Rayya on my arm, feeling relaxed enough to stand comfortably in simple openness about who we actually are to each other. If I can't be my true self (whether at home in privacy, or out there in the world in public) then things will very quickly get messy and weird and stupid in my life. Sure, I could pretend that Rayya is still just my best friend, but that would be…you know... pretending. Pretending is demeaning, and it makes you weak and confused, and it's also a lot of work. I don't do that kind of work anymore.

Here's what it comes down to for me: I need to live my life in truth and transparency, even more than I need privacy, or good publicity, or prudence, or other people's approval or understanding, or just about anything else. Truth and transparency not only make my life more ethical, but also easier. (Why easier? Because untruth is always complicating, and truth — no matter what the consequences — is always strangely simplifying.) So that is why Rayya and I have decided together to speak up publicly now — both about her cancer and about our love for each other. It's for the sake of our own integrity, but it's also intended to make our lives simpler.

As for what I am asking from you, in response to my truth?

Let me begin by saying what I am not asking for. If any of you kind souls out there are tempted right now to send me or Rayya information about treatments or cures for pancreatic or liver cancer...I gently and respectfully beg you to restrain yourselves. (One thing you discover when a loved one has cancer is that EVERYBODY has either a miracle story or a horror story about cancer that they are desperate to tell you. Rayya and I are already drowning in all these stories of special diets, amazing clinics, terrible doctors, new trials, cautionary tales… I understand that people only want to help, but please don't overwhelm us with any more data, ok? Rayya has chosen her path through this illness, and she is strong in her choices. Thank you for caring, though!)

But here is what I will ask for: Because I believe in love, I will ask for love.

Whatever extra love you might be carrying around in your hearts right now, could you direct some this way? I would appreciate it so much, and — trust me — it will be felt. And it will help. We will resonate with it, and we will thank you for it. Because truth is the force that guides us to where we need to be in life, but love is the power that heals us once we arrive there.

Peace, blessings, and health to all.

(Image from internet)

Monday, February 27, 2017

A Morning Surprise 

A Morning Surprise

This morning, as I stood in my dressing room and prepared to brush my teeth and get ready for the day, I decided to try something different.  I took a whiff of my favorite essential oil (frankincense and amber) to see if it would offer a moment of relaxation, as it often does.  I immediately felt my shoulders go down in a more relaxed pose, but then I felt something more.  To my surprise, I began to feel bliss, here and there, in this area and then that.  What started as nearly imperceptible joy (stroked gently by a feather?) grew until I was feeling deep delight everywhere I moved my hands (again, never touching). I continued this sweet practice for about thirty minutes, about the maximum time I can easily stand.

This lovely experience led me to contemplate, once more, the difference between asana yoga as sacred practice and yoga as secular exercise.   Of course, the latter has many benefits.  It revivifies and tones the body in marvelous ways.  It gives you more energy, makes you more loving toward your fellows, and  makes you stronger and healthier.

But true yoga has none of these as its purpose.  The word "yoga" is generally interpreted to mean "yoke" or "joining."  But what is yoked or joined?  Done with the right attitude, it is the small self uniting with the large Self, human connecting to the divine.  To achieve this state, it is essential to have the Kundalini awake and functioning in harmony with the great life force that creates and inanimates the universe.  It is at that point that we know what we truly are––a tiny particle in the Great Bliss that is called God/Goddess, the ultimate reality.  The corollary of this is the realization that we, in fact, do not exist as separate beings, for It and we are one, in the way a droplet is part of the ocean wave. Many are angry and deeply disappointed at this idea, for in them the "ego" (sense of separate self) is strong.  However, I believe that our energetic body (subtle body) survives mortal death, and so we may reappear in new packaging as humans or other astral beings again.

Does what is called "Kundalini yoga" awaken Kundalini?  I have my doubts, but have had others who have practiced it claim otherwise.  Is "hot yoga" actually yoga or just a form of exercise?  Yoga was created in a very hot climate, where I think it was especially suited for slow movements, held for sufficient time to allow one to feel a spiritual connections to the unknown gods.  Remember, in ancient times in India and elsewhere there were ceremonies specifically designed to summon the gods.  I suspect that their arrival involved not so much a physical manifestation as deep ecstatic feelings within, such as can be known (to some extent) even today through slow and thoughtful movement.

Alas, some yoga teachers today do not even know the history of yoga, its purpose or intended divine nature.  They do good in the world, but not that which was the original intention.

One more thought:  I believe that the origins of the actual asanas of yoga, as well as the movements of such practices as chi gong or tai chi, came about because the ancient   practitioners found that certain bodily postures awakened bliss, and thus these became the favored forms.  Today the emphasis is often on doing the forms correctly, not feeling the energies they were created to arouse.  Once the movements were codified, they often lost their original shakti and became rituals empty of inner joy.

I consider experiences such as I had this morning to be a form of yoga, for they reinforce one's sense of connection to that which is most sacred and most mysterious in human experience.  Anything (music, nature, art, poetry) that arouses this feeling is also yoga, the ultimate connection to the unseen divine.

Dorothy Walters
February 27, 2017

John O'Donohue––On Finding Your True Home 


Each one of us is alone in the world. It takes great courage to meet the full force of your aloneness. Most of the activity in society is subconsciously designed to quell the voice crying in the wilderness within you. Until you learn to inhabit your aloneness, the distraction and noise of society will seduce you into false belonging, with which you will only become empty and weary. When you face your aloneness, something begins to happen. Gradually, the sense of bleakness changes into a sense of true belonging. This is a slow and open-ended transition but it is utterly vital in order to come into rhythm with your own individuality. It is the endless task of finding your true home within your life. It is not narcissistic, for as soon as you rest in the home of your own heart, doors and windows begin to open outwards to the world. Your connections with others become real and creative. You no longer need to scrape affirmation from others or from projects outside yourself. This is slow work; it takes years to bring your mind home.

John O'Donohue


This reflection by John O'donahue points to a truth that many of us try in vain to ignore.  Social pressures are always great––to force us to "join the crowd," to be "one of the boys (or girls)."  Going against that current carries a heavy price.  If we do not conform to the expectations of our society, we are considered odd or strange or even somewhat deluded.  As children, we are relegated to the role of outsider.  As adults, we are seen as persons who reflect discredit on our families and communities.  The result is that we are forced to hide our true natures and act in ways that "do not make other people nervous."  

Yet, we persist.  As one of Flannery O'Connor's characters comments (a mother observing her eccentric daughter) "Every year she gets more like herself and less like other people."

But it is such non-conformists who contribute what is most valuable in our society.  These are the creators, the pioneers, the ones who defy the accepted ideas of the times to formulate new paradigms, produce new forms of art, new ways of being.  The others, lagging behind, may resist such novelties for a time, but eventually even they may catch up and seek to learn from their brothers and sisters who moved ahead and now become the invaluable teachers of those who were so slow to change.

Someone said, "Revolutions are never won.  The opponents simply die off.

P.S.  As the nonconformists mature they will encounter more and more friends and acquaintances who are much like them.  They will recognize and support one another.  At last, they will have found their tribe.

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