Kundalini Splendor

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Friday, July 30, 2004

On Behalf of All Beings 

"...remember always that as a seeker on the Direct Path you are not undertaking these practices for your own liberation only; you are doing them on behalf of all sentient beings. You know that you cannot be truly effective as an agent of the transformation of the world until you have become yourself increasingly one with God; all your commitment, then, must be to become an ever-clearer instrument of the Divine to use for the benefit of others. It is vital to remember this at all timea, since practice done purely for the self can never liberate you from your self. The best way of always remembering that you are practicing to be of true transformatory help to others is by always beginning your sessions by dedicating all of their beauty, power and insight to the welfare of all beings throughout the universe. End in this way also and dedicate everything that you have experienced during your practice session to the freeing of all beings everywhere from every kind of misery."

Andrew Harvey, "The Direct Path"

Andrew Harvey, to an extremely high degree, exemplifies the dedication and commitment he calls for in his message. He works tirelessly to enliven and further the efforts of all who follow or are drawn to a spiritual path. He is unique among the many, utilizing his numerous talents and gifts for the benefit of all in these times of desperate need. Thank you, Andrew, for what you have given to the world, and for your continuing dedication to all sentient beings of this and all the universes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The Direct Path 

"The Direct Path is the Path to God without dogma or priests or gurus, the Path of direct self-empowerment and self-awakening in and under God in the heart of life. You do not have to go anywhere or take a new name or sign up for expensive intensives to begin it; whether you know it or not, you have been on this path since the day you were born.

When you discover for yourself how real the Direct Path is and how it can transform you faster, and more completely and integratedly than any other, your whole life will change and you will discover with wonder and delight why you are here and what you are here for. You will start to become free from all the political, social, and religious systems that constrain you, with the freedom that is yours by right of being a child of God, the freedom of your divine nature and your divine truth, and this freedom and this truth will make you increasingly an empowered agent of change in every arena in the world."

Andrew Harvey, "The Direct Path, Creating a Personal Journey to the Divine Using the World's Spiritual Traditions"

Monday, July 26, 2004

On Borrowings 

Recently, I wrote a poem containing an image which I wasn't sure was mine. I had the uneasy feeling that it might be an "unconscious borrowing" from something written by my friend Elizabeth Renning, whose poems I have published previously on this site. In response to my question, she replied in an extraordinarily insightful way:

"The issue of borrowing from and being influenced by others is an interesting one for me ... For one wants, of course, to respect another's artistic property, to not engage in plagiarism, etc. But what's also true it that we read other poets for exactly this reason: so that we might be influenced by them! ... so that some of what they do might sneak into our own work ... so we might become part of their family or lineage, and in the way that family members share certain physical characteristics, so does the writing of poets from the same 'family' share certain literary characteristics (or the way disciples might emulate their spiritual Master, seek to 'embody' what she or he embodies) ) ... and what's also true is that the laws of the conservation of matter and energy tell us that nothing is ever, truly, 'new' ... the very elements that compose our bodies have countless past-lives as trees and crystals and saints and flowers and criminals ... in terms of my own use of another poet's words ... when I feel that I am borrowing in this way, I usually pause and try to recall who it is I'm borrowing from, and how much ... I guess I have something of a 'rule' that a phrase of two or three words, in the context of something larger which is my 'own,' is o.k. ... "

Her wise and generous reply led me to reflect on how much we constantly borrow (ideas, thoughts, images, perceptions) from others and how much we in turn give back. As we know, we are always exchanging breath, atoms, and energy with everything around us. From one point of view, each of us is to a great extent a collection of "borrowings," a conglomeration of physical and psychological properties which have come to us through heredity or experience or listening or thoughtful reflection, none of which is exclusively our own. The only uniqueness we can claim is (essentially) the arrangement itself, the particular presentation of elements such as personality or essence or creative achievement.

On the other hand, occasionally an "original" appears--someone who speaks with a totally fresh voice, or offers a completely new vision. Then the world moves forward, its eyes opened more fully to a new sphere or way of perceiving.

Kundalini itself is such an eye opener. Once it takes possession of the self, the world is never seen again in the same colors, and the inner sense of identity changes irrevocably. One celebrates the discovery of the new mode of realization, but one also discovers that such awakenings can lead to a frequently lonely path, since the world at large does not share a similar vision. Yet, energies spread, and ideas move through the " body spiritual." More and more of us report immersion in the subtle avenues of ascent, and exchange not only atoms but encouragement and discovered wisdom as we together move toward a common, yet unseen, goal.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Radiant Body 

I am Buddha,

head aflame.

My turning hands

mold the silence,

palpable as love.

Body of light,

I reflect the many colors.

send forth the myriad forms.

I am the

dancing Shiva,

twirling the worlds alive

igniting the arc of all that breathes..

And I am she who sits eternally

in stillness, waiting,

her unknown child cradled

in her lap.

copyright, Dorothy Walters

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The Mind as the Guru 

"Since all things are born of the mind,
Therefore is the mind itself the guru."

From "Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines," ed. by W. Y. Evans-Wentz

This passage is footnoted as follows:

"It is a fundamental tenet of the Buddhism of all Schools that the human guru is merely a guide, as was the Great Guru, Gautama the Buddha. Each aspirant for Nirvanic Enlightenment must be a law unto himself; he himself, not the guru, must tread the Path. One must eat one's food for oneself; and, as the Buddha taught, each pilgrim on the Great Pilgrimage must really be his own light and his own refuge. Nirvana is to be realized not by the proxy of a guru, but by the yogin himself."

Elsewhere in the text, this footnote appears:

"When, in virtue of having practiced yogic meditation, there has been established communion between the human mind and the divine mind, or between the normal human consciousness and the supernormal cosmic consciousness, man attains to true understanding of himself. He realizes intuitively that the Knower, and all objects of knowledge, or all knowing, are inseparably a unity; and simultaneously with this realization there is born the Great Symbol, which occultly signifies this spiritual illumination. Like a philosopher's stone, the Great Symbol purges from the mind the dross of Ignorance (Avidya); and the human is transmuted into the divine by the spiritual alchemy of yoga."

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Bodhisattva Embraces Stillness 

The sounding brasses
with their rousing tongues
have vanished long ago.

Even the flutes
(notes delicate as birdsong
carried by mist at morning)
no longer stir..

Now I am stroked
with long stemmed flowers
by unseen hands.

My image, that gentle lady
in her Buddha pose,
the one I once listened to
so impatiently,
today beautiful and serene
as she enters her quiet bliss.

Such indefinable joy!
I move slowly
in my turning pose.

Each breath sends tender waves
of longing everywhere,
a garden of flowers
opening together in moonlight.

copyright, Dorothy Walters

(bodhisattva: One who devotes her life to the betterment of humankind.)

Friday, July 16, 2004

Song of the Heart 

The heart is tired

of being trussed

and bound,

told it must not,


shout its joy,

must always crinkle

and bend

and look with measured scorn

upon the world's follies

and frantic goals..

The heart

wants to sing,

to let forth its fullness

in a kind of rhapsody

of celebration,

a ripe declaration

that something important is happening,

even here,

even now,

in the midst of all this


and degradation,

a stirring like a soft awakening bud

at the very center,

the uneasy core

of this spiraling disarray.

copyright, Dorothy Walters

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Prenuptial Agreements 

Let us say that somewhere, in a time not known, in a place not named, "you" (in whatever guise you then existed in that other realm ) volunteered for a cosmic project. You did not know the full nature of that project (other than that it was profoundly benevolent toward the universe), nor did you learn your exact role, nor how the full scenario would play out.

You agreed to enter the earth-field and to undergo birth as an "earth-being," through the common biological processes of that sphere. You were informed that once you were "conceived," (made ready) your memory bank would be scrubbed, and that you would no longer recall your origins nor your previous nature nor even the conditions under which you came. You would be "shrunk" in the process, reduced from your state as a freely roving spirit with near limitless abilities and knowledge, to a small, seriously restricted being, subject to all the challenges and difficulties of the human plane. Pain and agony and frustration would be part of your daily lot, along with all the rest of humanity struggling to survive in difficult circumstances.

Your task would be to discover and serve, as best you could, that central purpose for which you came. You would at some point be profoundly "awakened" to your inherent nature and given a glimpse of your appointed task, but even then you would not be privy to the overall design nor to the designers and overseers. To a great extent, you would rely on faith itself that you were involved in a worthy scheme, one created to benefit humankind in crisis, and thus the cosmos itself.

Who, then, do you serve? How do you fulfill your "assignment"? How can you avoid the many "traps" which lie in wait, such as ego-inflation, the distractions of the myriad "trivial pursuits" which infest the modern scene? Must you forever struggle alone to fulfill your intention? How will you discover what you are supposed to do?

I think many of us share such intimations of serving an underlying larger purpose, a sense of connection with something unknown but of prime importance. Perhaps our feeling could be described simply as a general inclination toward good. Perhaps such intuitions stem from the soul's prior existence as an inhabitant of invisible celestial realms, the sphere of spirits who descend in order to serve in humility and compassion. (Many early writers have spoken of the pre-existence of the soul, including Plato and Wordsworth, who said that we came to earth "trailing clouds of glory.")

What can we say, other than together we struggle toward light? In the midst of world trauma and personal challenge, we open to transformation, allowing the renewed self to become the impetus for worldwide metamorphosis. One by one, we move into the unknown to allow the new humanity to be born.

Our souls enter holy union with the unseen divine, and thus we honor the "prenuptial agreements" which we know are our own.

Kundalini is one means by which the self is awakened to its own true nature and purpose. For this reason, I think that those who have experienced this process of enlightenment bear a special responsibility to answer the world's cry for help at this time of extreme crisis. We are in a special category, for we know the fullness of love and the inherent joy of that invisible reality. Thus, even in the midst of what sometimes seems like universal catastrophe and woe, we can find grounds for affirmation, and discover reasons for hope. It is indeed as though god (the goddess) holds our hand as we walk through fields of fire.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Joy in Nature 

In my recent entry which catalogued the various states of divine connection (ecstasy, wisdom, conpassion), I said very little about sheer joy. Joy does not necessarily involve any kundalini currents floating into consciousness via the subtle body. It is, rather, an overall sense of "feeling good," of being carried to a level of high exaltation, of total rightness. It comes to us frequently in moments of transcendence, often when we are deeply in tune with nature itself, and we and it seem to celebrate together.

Elizabeth Reninger, whose work has been published on this site earlier, writes poetry about such transcendent states springing from wonder and delight at the beauty of the natural world. She is, I think, in the line of the ancient Taoists who saw in nature amblems of the divine. The romantics of the West also contributed to this tradition, nature itself being a major componentof their vision. (We could mention Wordsworth, Thoreau, Emerson here.) Today, Mary Oliver in particular carries forward this heritage of the poet who intuits at a very deep level the mystery abiding at the heart of immanent reality, the secret unveiling itself all around if we but attend.

Here is another of Elizabeth's poems ispired by her excursions into the realms of nature (for her, also the realms of the spirit.)

Again, I am honored to share her work with you.


dressed in white
velvet, flits among

jade spears, a quivering
cathedral of
leaves, willow and

cottonwood thickening
to green-gold the soft
banks of boulder creek

as mid-day sun pours through
onto churning
froth of small


serene flow surrendering
to ecstasy
wings of air entering

a riot of
transparency ....

copyright, Elizabeth Reninger

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Kundalini, Ecstasy, Wisdom, Compassion 

Kundalini at its finest implies ecstatic joy, the overflowing into the body (or from the body) of a kind of divine rapture, a sense of deep and wondrous connection with the ultimate source.

But what, we may ask, does such intimate personal experience have to do with today's world, which is dominated by war and widespread human suffering? What right do any of us have to indulge in such subjective pleasures when the world so desperately needs all of us to attend to its critical needs, dress its wounds, solve its problems?

My answer is simple: even in the time of war, the sap continues to rise in the trees, the flowers bloom, the animals cavort in the fields and bear their young. Nature does not cease because of human conflict and the grief it inflicts on its victims. When we "celebrate" love, through dancing, or singing, or simply feeling the flow of the inner currents, we affirm life itself, and thereby make ourselves more fit to be participants on the stage of the human struggles.

We do not cease to think because we allow ourselves to experience joy. We need not feel guilt because the heart of love throbs in our veins. Indeed, this is our challenge--to reconcile two seemingly disparate modes--the path of feeling which allows us to experience fully the bliss which is ours by divine right, and the path of thoughtfulness, which anchors us in the world about us. The mind itself is an important aspect of our being. We do not reject awareness of the world's chaotic affairs simply because we experience a few moments of private communion with "god" in our daily practice. The call to wisdom demands that we do not retreat totally into the realm of subjective bliss (though at times such withdrawal seems quite attractive.) We think and learn and grow, and only by the long labor of years of reflection and dedication can we claim to a modicum of "wisdom," that evanescent but essential ingredient so necessary to full development.

As for compassion this is doubtless the most important of all human attributes, the epitome of all human virtue. Without compassion, bliss can easily become callous self-indulgence, and wisdom the arena for mere accumulation of "knowledge." Compassion for one another, concern for the welfare of the whole, not just the select and immediate group, is the key for the world's salvation. Only when we cease to think in terms of "us" and "them", "ours" and "theirs", can we hope to create a world dedicated to the full development of the human, body and soul.

Kundalini bliss does not rule out wisdom nor preclude compassion. All are essential components of our total identity, our completion as children of the spirit as well as the flesh.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

For Robert Bowden: On Inner Guides 

Dear Robert,
Recently, you wrote to me on e-mail asking for my thoughts on a question pertaining to both outer and inner guidance. Unfortunately, when I attempted to respond, my computer deleted your message before I captured even your e-mail address. Your question was quite thought provoking, and I am writing a partial response here, in the hopes you will see it and that you will write again.

As I recall, you asked about the wisdom of relying on "inner" guides, such as (I am interpolating here) spirit guides, or the spirits of departed saints, or perhaps angelic beings, gods and goddesses and deities of various types. (These are not the terms you used, but various practitioners do rely on such immaterial beings to lead them on the spiritual path.)

Now, I cannot speak for others, but can only share my own experiences in this realm. Earlier in my life, I was deeply inspired by symbols of the great goddess herself, as depicted in western culture. For some time, I felt a deep connection with her (like many women of recent times), but ultimately her "felt presence" seemed to grow less vital, and I moved on.

About this same time, I seemed to connect with a true "spirit guide," but broke the connection when something seemed not right about the relationship.

Then, when my major "awakening" occurred, it sprang from deliberate visualization of the god/goddess (shiva/shakti) in union. This meditation is an ancient tantric practice, and has been used for centuries to awaken the inner energies. (I did not know this at the time. I was a total novice.) However, after my early efforts, I soon moved on to other choices. For a time I visualized Krishna, and that seemed to provide a less intense, more manageable arousal of the energies. Ultimately, I left all images behind, and now focus on the energies themselves, often as "currents of bliss," derived from the universal life source; I then dedicate the entire experience to the healing and transformation of the world and all its life forms. In other words, ecstasy and compassion are joined. (When no ecstasy comes, then compassion is always available.)

Kundalini herself is for many the "goddess of goddesses." For me, she represents the energetic force which lies behind and beyond all the symbols and representations of the goddess, both east and west. Kundalini seems to possess a palpable intelligence, which directs the awakening process as it unfolds, now urging forward, now holding back. When she makes her presence known, I feel in touch with a living presence, which I most frequently think of as "the beloved within."

However, this still does not answer your question directly. Again, I can speak only from my own subjective experience. For me, the bottom line is that I do feel in touch with what I can only call a "divine presence." This presence is not particularized by name or form, but is rather sensed indirectly, felt rather than perceived. We do not "converse," in a usual way, although occasionally I do direct specific questions and even solicit help on particular issues. I sometimes characterize this "wisdom voice" as the "inner guru," but I give it no further distinction, other than as my own inner guide, leading me gently and unobtrusively on the right path for me. This inner guru is always there, often in silence, yet available when needed. This unseen consciousness seemed to lead me through the kundalini process through the years, when I had no outer guide. At times the journey was quite difficult, but ultimately I survived.

As I sort out my thoughts, it seems that my "inner guide" has more than one face, just as we as conscious beings do. Sometimes "she" appears as bliss, sometimes as thoughtful observation, sometimes as creative source for poetry. In all of these manifestations, she is leading me ahead to new levels of discovery. Perhaps she is my own "higher self," perhaps more than that. I bow to her before practice, and I feel that she in turn bows back--that I am essential to her own expression, just as she is essential to mine.

I think each of us has such an inner guide, who waits until we are ready, to reveal the next stage of our path. I think the common saying, "When the student is ready, the guru will appear," refers to this inner guide, which to some degree is our own innate wisdom and fullness discovered more completely.

For the most part, my contact comes through devotional practice--which often consists of listening to sacred music or poetry, or performing ritual movement, including mudras or bodily poses. At these time, it sometimes happens that I sense the energy body open with a special delight which includes a feeling of being entered or filled with something invisible but indeed wonderful. It is a sense of total love, total acceptance, total fulfillment. It is, in one person's words, as if "god is moving through your body."

As for advice, I think I would say this: The dedication to the divine which manifests without name or form usually arises late in one's spiritual journey. (At least, this is what I have been told.) Before that, one yearns for some more tangible guide, something to give needed direction and encouragement. The danger of focusing on an "inner guide," I would suppose, is that one might end up simply "speaking to oneself" without knowing it, that the "higher being" is in fact merely a projection of one's own imagination. However, if the advice offered is sound and the approach pure, then perhaps the connection is useful. After all, who is to say where the "smaller self" and the "higher self" begin and end?

I guess my final word is, choose the approach which seems right for you. Test your choice against your feelings--are you comfortable with this relationship? Does it seem to lead in the direction you wish to go? Do you feel that this is a connection of beneficial results, opening you to new levels of awareness? If it makes you uncomfortable, if it creates anxiety or makes you uneasy, then I would say, "drop it," no matter what the seeming benefits are. It is easy to get off track with "inner guides," just as one may be misled by certain outer guides.

Robert, I hope I have presented your question with reasonable accuracy, and that my answer is helpful. Thank you for writing, and for raising this intriguing issue. It has caused me to think more deeply about my own life, and to sort out some of my thoughts about the matter. Above all, I hope you discover this open letter to you, and that you will contact me again soon.

Many thanks for your original e-mail. I'm glad you liked "Unmasking the Rose," and wish you all success in your own spiritual journey.

Many Blessings,

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Love Poem 

This time, darling,
let's go all the

None of this
and messing about,
no clumsy shuffling
with our clothes
still on.
Let's tear off
our garb,
every stitch and ribbon,
stand there
and stare
at each other
raw naked,
then fall into
a tumbled heap
ready to make love
all night,
forgetting all the rules
and boundaries,
or even whose limbs
are whose.

copyright, Dorothy Walters

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The Ancient Taoist Abandons His Library 

Why should I keep reading
more and more volumes,
piles and stacks mounting
ever skyward?
More and more words
revealing less and less?
Will they become
a ladder to heaven?

Why should I cling
to these wordy prescriptions,
drawn out expositions
of the perfectly obvious?

I have met them all,
the three precepts,
the seven pillars,
the eleven guiding principles.

Yin and yang,
receptive and active,
lover and beloved--
these compose all.

God in the soul dances
and I too make my turns.

I think I will go out
into the garden,
where the moon flowers
float among the buds,
and observe the silvered rose
cradling its silken heart.

Copyright, Dorothy Walters

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