Kundalini Splendor

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Merrilee's States of Consciousness 

To read earlier accounts of Merrilee's awakening, see the following blog entries:

October 11th - Kundalini and Sex
October 26th - Divine Union
November 1st - Kriyas, Inner Visions, Hidden Messages
November 4th - Merrilee and Mechtild of Magdeburg
November 8th - More from Merrilee
November 12th - Merrilee's Journey Continues
November 15th - Merrilee's Journey Continues
November 18th - Merrilee's Story Continues--A Study in Contrasts
November 20th - Merrilee's Mystical Vision
November 26th - Merrilee Encounters the Shadow
November 27th - Merrilee Experiences Visions of the Cross and the Crucifixion

Recently, Merrilee has been contemplating her various states of consciousness. Here is a recent description from her e-mail today (November 30).

My K energy is really cranking today, i.e. I have a lot of it.

I just got out of a meeting where I practiced the fine art of having orgasms while keeping a straight face, and I did this even while looking directly at other people! The only things that moved were my feet (under the table) and my torso, but not noticeably. When my energy is this high, I can have orgasms any time I want by either just visualizing energy going up my spine or by moving my fingers a little. What an interesting life I am having!

Meanwhile, back to the states of consciousness I mentioned earlier. I have come up with a preliminary draft of how it feels to be me these days. I experience the following states, which are, for the most part, mutually exclusive:

1. A mundane, ego-based, consciousness - a "small" self - where I am just my ordinary, everyday self. Lately when this happens, I am not a very happy person. I much prefer the states listed below.

2. A split consciousness, where my "Higher" Self (Inner Beloved) is present and doing something - hand mudras while listening to a CD, for example - and my small self is thinking about what I want to eat for dinner.

3. A blended or dual consciousness, during which I am both my small self and my Higher Self. The degree to which I am my Higher Self varies considerably. For example:

- My Higher Self is only mildly present, but enough so to make me feel very good even as my small self is running the show.

- My Higher Self is medium to very present. When I am like this around others, I switch back and forth between my small self and my Higher Self consciousness. When I am alone, my Higher Self runs the show and my small self just goes along for the ride. (Note: This is the way I have been most of today.)

- My Higher Self is very, very present and my small self has become a tiny speck off to the side of my consciousness. This happens when I am having intense, drawn out visions, and this is when I feel, to quote Catherine of Genoa, that "My me is God".

Monday, November 28, 2005

Poem by Muktabai, an Early Mystic 

Here is the daily poem selected by Ivan Granger for his amazing "Poetry Chaikhana" along with Ivan's very illuminating commentary. What he says here is a very perceptive description of the mystical state as such. (See www.poetry-chaikhana.com for a rich treasury of sacred poetry.)

Where darkness is gone I live

By Muktabai
(13th Century)

English version by Willis Barnstone

Where darkness is gone I live,
where I am happy.
I am not troubled by coming and going,
I am beyond all vision,
above all spheres.
His spirit lives in my soul.

Mukta says: He is my heart's only home.

-- from "The Shambhala Anthology of Women's Spiritual Poetry," Edited by Aliki Barnstone

Ivan's commentary:

Muktabai (not to be confused with Mirabai) was the sister of the highly revered Jnanadev, but Muktabai is a profound poet-saint in her own right.

Their father had been a sadhu ascetic who later abandoned the renunciate life to marry and raise children. This was shocking to orthodox authorities and the family was generally shunned.

When the children were all very young, their parents died and the children had to survive by begging. Yet from this family a spiritual vision of the greatest depth emerged.

This poem is an utterance of supreme unity. Muktabai declares that she dwells in the divine radiance "where darkness is gone." This radiance or light permeates all things. It is the single substance beneath the many forms. Residing in this fundamental awareness, the thingness of things is lost. Separate objects or people are no longer perceived, but a living pool of radiance. No longer seeing a world of subject and object, Muktabai is "beyond all vision."

When Muktabai says she is "not troubled by coming and going," she is stating that, for her, action has come to a halt. The constant interplay of karma, of effort and its repercussions has ceased. This does not mean that all interaction with her environment has stopped, that she has somehow stopped moving or eating or anything like that. The physical body by its nature must always be engaged in some sort of exchange with the world around it. But the ego-self, has subsided into where it lives, where it is happy, the heart. The "coming and going" that is no longer occurring is the false doing of the sticky self, the ego-self. When the ego subsides, the true identity emerges, supremely still and unmoved by action or inaction. Another way of saying this is that action is done, but there is no sense of a doer claiming ownership. You become more of a witness to your action rather than the doer. The awareness is no longer "troubled" by these actions. Because your true nature is finally known, you no longer falsely identify with the actions. Your true self does not come or go, caught in the tides of the actions... the actions gently flow through you. All the while she is at rest "above all spheres" with "His spirit" who "lives in my soul."

In the second line, to use the word as "happy" in this English translation falls short. One could use "content" in the fullest sense imaginable: complete, whole, at rest. But more evocative words would be "ecstatic" or "filled with bliss" -- for these are better descriptions of the natural state when one finally recognizes the life that is the "heart's only home."

Have a day of happiness and contentment, a day filled with bliss!


Sunday, November 27, 2005

Merrilee Experiences Visions of the Cross and the Crucifixion 

To read earlier posts of Merrilee's ongoing Kundalini awakening, see the following blog entries:

October 11th - Kundalini and Sex
October 26th - Divine Union
November 1st - Kriyas, Inner Visions, Hidden Messages
November 4th - Merrilee and Mechtild of Magdeburg
November 8th - More from Merrilee
November 12th - Merrilee's Journey Continues
November 15th - Merrilee's Journey Continues
November 18th - Merrilee's Story Continues--A Study in Contrasts
November 20th - Merrilee's Mystical Vision
November 26th - Merrilee Encounters the Shadow

In the following episodes, Merrilee describes deep inner visions of the cross and the crucifixion along with its aftermath. She herself seems both to witness and experience what she is seeing. Merrilee comes from a Catholic background, and now the images which reside in her psyche emerge as powerful archetypes, which in effect "live through her." Such surfacing of latent visionary material is fairly common in the awakening stages of the Kundalini process. It is as if one becomes "conscious of the unconscious" in a new way, and thus she herself experiences that which she contemplates.

On Saturday, November 19th, I listened to the Trance Tara CD.

During the first track, I experienced the same arm and hand “dancing” that I did last week. My arms and hands took on a life of their own and moved to the beat of the music, as did my head on occasion, all while I was sitting in a chair. I also experienced some neck stretching, and I had a few orgasms.

Ironically, my mind was very busy thinking about mundane things while this was going on. I felt like my consciousness was totally split, like someone/something was moving my body around while the “real” me was thinking about such things as what I was going to eat later!

During the second track, I again started the arm and hand dancing, but shortly into the track my whole body became quiet. Then my head started to move, and it traced a cross over and over. The movements were up and down, side to side, large and small, all in time to the music. After “doodling” the cross for some period of time, my head started to trace a circle, which I interpreted as a halo, over and over on the upper part of the cross. During all this I felt present but in an altered, trance-like state.

A couple of times the halo “doodling” stopped and my head went down to my chest and then spasmodically jerked up. In my altered state, I felt like I was hanging on a cross! That feeling was enhanced later when my head fell to the side (a position reminiscent of crucifixes I’ve seen), my hands came up to the level of my shoulders, and I had a very slight feeling of nails in my hands! Sometime during this, the phrase “Christ Consciousness” popped into my head. Shortly after that I went completely away, i.e. I went unconscious.

I came back to consciousness when the CD ended. My arms and hands and eventually my legs started dancing again, even though there was no music. The dancing soon stopped, and my hands were put in the Pran mudra position - tip of thumb touching last 2 fingertips, with second and third fingers sticking straight out. Shortly after that, my right hand was opened and my fingers were straightened and then curved slightly. My hand started shaking, as it always does when I do healing, and I had a vision of Dorothy’s entire body. I did an intense healing on her for quite a few minutes. And then the session was over.

When I went swimming sometime later, I experienced some arm and hand "dancing" while treading water! It went on even as I was talking to a friend, and it lasted about 10 minutes. I think I could have stopped it if I had wanted. This split consciousness thing is very interesting but also somewhat disconcerting.

I also find this crucifixion vision rather upsetting. My ex-Catholic self doesn’t even want to go there, doesn’t want to think about such things, because I don’t know what to make of them or how to put them into my current spiritual world-view. At the same time, I feel somewhat embarrassed when writing about this crucifixion vision, because it seems presumptuous of me to interpret things the way I did.

And, to add to the confusion, my mystic self appears to be fascinated by all things of a Catholic nature, including the ritual “hardware” (ciborium and/or pyx) that I saw in a previous listening session, and the many mystic women saints that I love to read about.

I have decided that I will just continue to go with the flow and let whatever happens be OK.

On Sunday, November 20th, I listened to the 4th through 7th tracks of the Chakra Dance CD, which is different from the Chakra Chants CD in that the music is much faster and has a very strong beat. Jonathan Goldman created this CD so people could actually dance while doing a Chakra meditation.

4th chakra track –
I began with my usual “dancing” while sitting in a chair, but this time it started with my legs and torso, which again makes me think that someday I really have to get out of my chair so I can truly dance. Later my arms and hands joined in and started doing some very intense, fast movements because the music was so fast.

This time I opened my eyes and watched myself dance for awhile, and I found it much less disconcerting than in the past. I even started to get into it and enjoy it.

5th chakra track –
During this, the throat chakra track, my hands spent 90% of the time near or actually touching my throat. They pointed at, tapped and rubbed my throat over and over. They seemed to have a mind of their own. I again experienced a split consciousness with the “real” me just watching my hands do their own thing.

My hands even went into both the Pran mudra (tip of thumb touching the last two fingertips, with the second and third fingers sticking straight out) and the Apan mudra (tip of thumb touching the middle two fingertips, with the second and fourth fingers sticking straight out) while pointing at my throat. All of this was done to the beat of the music. And at one point the fingers on both my hands pressed very hard on my throat, but it didn’t hurt.

During the last minute or so of this track, my hands started pointing at, tapping and rubbing my mouth. As the track ended, both my hands covered my mouth.

6th chakra track –
At the beginning of this third eye track, the finger tips of both my hands came together. I later learned that this is the Hakini mudra, which has to do with concentration and memory. It benefits the brain, third eye and lungs, while also balancing the left and right side of the brain. My hands were put in my lap in this position, and they never moved during the rest of the track. I then felt like I entered an altered, trance-like state where the “real” me was just a little tiny circle off to the side.

Once again the phrase “Christ Consciousness” popped into my head, and I started seeing visions with my third eye, while my physical eyes were closed. The visions looked like the negative of a black and white photo, and they began with the face of the crucified Christ as it appears on the Shroud of Turin. When this disappeared, various parts of a Christ-like face starting popping in and out of my vision, including a cheek with a beard, a pair of eyes, and some long and tangled hair. Then I started seeing parts of a Christ-like body – a chest with pronounced ribs, bent legs, a side, and hips in a loin cloth. These things kept coming into focus and then fading away into the darkness.

7th chakra track –
My back was arched slightly and my head was put back. My elbows were put on the arms of the chair. My hands were put up by my shoulders, facing somewhat up and out, and my fingers were curled a little bit. I started to feel some heat and pain in the palms and backs of my hands, especially the right one. Eventually it felt like there were nails in my hands and I was hanging on a cross.

I started seeing visions again, and this time they were in color. I saw people taking a body down from a cross. I saw other things, but I couldn’t quite distinguish what they were because it had gotten very dark.

Eventually my head started to move to the beat of the music. It went up and down and left and right. It did figure eights, and it just plain shook. My eyes began to twitch, like they do during REM sleep, to the beat of the music. At the same time my jaw and mouth started to move like I was talking. This was also in sync with the music. And I was still feeling like I was hanging on a cross while all of this was happening.

Suddenly all the movement stopped, and I had a vision of the mouth of a cave or a tomb. It was dark, like at dusk. I saw views of the mouth from a couple of different angles. Then a white mist, which I interpreted as a spirit, started flowing out of the cave and up into the sky. When this started to happen, my arms were lowered and my forearms were put on the arms of the chair. After about 30 seconds or so of watching the mist, the CD ended and everything went dark.

When I went swimming later, my arms and hands started to “dance” again while I was treading water. My wrists began to hurt, so I consciously stopped the dancing. I then felt a lot of unpleasant tension in my arms, and I started having lots of orgasm. It was like the energy had to go somewhere! I closed my hands into fists to protect my wrists, and let my arms move again. The orgasms stopped, and my arms danced for about another 10 minutes or so.

Again, my ex-Catholic self is uncomfortable with these visions that seem to be about the crucifixion of Christ, his body being taken down from the cross, and what appears to be his resurrection – not to mention the feeling that I myself am on a cross! But this is what I saw and felt, and so I continue to just let whatever happens be OK.

I am truly unclear as to what all this means. I do know that when I was between 12 and 14 years old, I asked God to give me the stigmata – the marks of the nails on Christ’s hands and feet, plus the marks of the wound in his side and the crown of thorns. Part of the reason I even thought of this when I was a kid is because my birthday is on the feast of the stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi.

It would seem that, in my recent visions, I am getting some variation of my stigmata wish.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Merrilee Encounters the Shadow 

Here are previous entries describing Merrilee's ongoing Kundalini awakening:

October 11th - Kundalini and Sex
October 26th - Divine Union
November 1st - Kriyas, Inner Visions, Hidden Messages
November 4th - Merrilee and Mechtild of Magdeburg
November 8th - More from Merrilee
November 12th - Merrilee's Journey Continues
November 15th - Merrilee's Journey Continues
November 18th - Merrilee's Story Continues--A Study in Contrasts
November 20th - Merrilee's Mystical Vision

In the course of Kundalini awakening, all sorts of material held in the subconscious may come to light, including disturbing thoughts and images. Here is Merrilee's account of her recent encounter with some of these "negative images." I have included my reply to her e-mail, since she had asked for help in interpreting her experience.

The below happened on Thursday, November 17th.

I decided to listen to only the last half of my Chakra Chants CD. During tracks 4 through 6, I did a lot of hand and arm "dancing" while sitting in my chair. This was very similar to what I did in my session on November 13th.

The dancing occurred even though this CD doesn't have any kind of drumbeat in the music. The dancing actually had no relevance to the music whatsoever. I guess my Inner Beloved was just in the mood to dance! I also felt the urge to get out of my chair and dance standing up, but I resisted. I suspect I will be dancing the regular way in the not-too-distant future.

During the 7th track, I had some visions which were kind of dark and perhaps a little bit creepy, depending on how you interpret them, and there was one that was definitely creepy, which I’m still trying to process. The very last vision was a positive one.

In my first vision, I saw a fast-moving slide show of the faces of statues made out of black stone. Some of the faces looked a bit evil or demonic. They also could have been faces of Eastern gods/goddesses, some of which look rather demonic to my Western eye. I've actually seen a painting of a demonic-looking (to me), black-faced Kali that rather scared me. So I think it depends on how you interpret the faces, and I choose to interpret them as Eastern gods and goddesses who are not evil.

These images eventually morphed into gargoyles, specifically the ones on the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. For whatever reasons, demonic-looking gargoyles don't scare me. Then I started seeing the walls of other buildings in a medieval Paris. I eventually came back to Notre Dame, and finally to the square in front of the cathedral.

Now this is the definitely creepy thing. There were people milling about in the square in medieval garb, including some man who was actually me. There was also some poor woman there who was distraught, crying, in pain and, I think, giving birth while somehow being restrained by the authorities. This man-who-was-me felt glad that this woman was suffering!!! That's what was creepy to me. I don't know what to do with how this man-who-was-me felt. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions about this?

I had one last vision before the CD ended. My hands were opened up and my thumbs were joined together, as were my index fingers, to form a large diamond shape, as opposed to the tiny diamond-shaped aperture in my session on November 13th. My body was bent at the waist and my hands were brought to my face so my third eye was looking through the diamond. At first all I saw was darkness, and then an item appeared to swim up through the blackness. It was a glass and gold vessel that contained a consecrated host or communion wafer. The word “ciborium” came into my head. And then everything went black.

After my session, I did some research on Catholic ritual vessels (which have always fascinated me, by the way), and learned that a ciborium is actually a chalice-like vessel that contains the communion host. What I saw was more like a modern day pyx, which is used to carry communion to the sick. But I also learned that these two terms have been used interchangeable in the past, especially in the Middle Ages, which is the period that seems to resonate the most with me.


Dorothy wrote:

I'm not sure what the dark images mean, other than we open the depths of the subconscious where the shadow lurks, as well as the places of love and light. Some people get so disturbed by the "dark images" that they lose their balance, and undergo serious emotional distress. I don't see this happening to you. Here are two (maybe more) thoughts:

l. These images always lurk in the subconscious--only certain conditions bring them forth. They remind me of the Tibetan descriptions of the bardo states we enter after death. One is filled with the "wrathful deities" who challenge and disturb us. The instruction is to remember that these are merely products of our own imagination, not realities, and that holding this thought will carry us safely through.

2. Now--when you connect these forebodings to the European experience--you first relate the distorted faces to the gargoyles (something you can relate to more easily--guarding spirits). A good transition. Then you shift to the man. I don't know of course who this is, but what it suggests to me is that you are afraid in your deepest self that you might somehow be callous to another's pain--even enjoy it. (This is not to say you are that way--only that you are afraid that somehow you could be--this is the last thing you would want to become.)

However, you are in fact a very, very generous spirit--just the opposite of the image. It is possible that you "overcompensate" a bit to ensure you are not the shadow being, that which you fear.

Merrilee, you have a beautiful, generous loving spirit. The thing to do with a "shadow" image is to acknowledge it and go on.

3. I suppose somebody might say you were the "bad guy" in some former life and now are trying to make up for your misdeeds by being a "good person." But I don't go in much for this kind of "past life karma". I prefer the previous interpretation. A better interpretation (I think) is that you are able to perceive and even share the consciousness of both--the abuser and the abused, the villain and the victim. They "are you" in the sense that we are in fact all one person, perhaps we have played both roles in time, and perhaps part of your process is coming to this realization. (Very hard one, I still struggle with it, can't think I ever could or would commit such evil--yet I know the opposite must be true.)

The one thing that comes up for me again and again about past life experience is that I must have been tortured at some point. I don't know and don't want to know where or when, but that is part (only part) of what I brought in. I also have a theory (may or may not be true) that people who have undergone extreme suffering in a past life are "rewarded" by kundalini (or some other form of transcendent awakening) in this. It is almost as though one has earned it somehow through past suffering (now turned to bliss).

And the ending--the vision of the chalice--is quite beautiful. You are "saved" by your connection to the sacred. You pass through the "bardo" safely, and are blessed by the spirit of the sanctified vessel. Wonderful!

Merrilee, I am writing off the top of my head here. Sift through and take any of it that seems o.k. You will ultimately find your own interpretation--what feels right for you.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Baptisms of Light 

I belong to a small (closed) internet discussion group which is focused on personal kundalini experiences. This circle is a remarkable band of gifted and extremely articulate people. We are now friends who follow each other's lives with interest. Here are two recent posts to our group. I am simply posting them here as they were originally written, with no attempt at editing or corrections (other than minor spelling errors).

Dorothy and Fellow Light Beings,

Your "Ceremonies of Light" project prompted me to write something in a bit more depth about last evening's Fidelio experience. I don't know how well the rest of you know Beethoven's opera, but during the closing scene, Florestan is protected by his patient undercover lover, Leonore (aka. Fidelio), from being stabbed to death by the evil Don Pizarro (played by someone from Texas named Bush).

The entire opera pits freedom as light and proximity to G-D versus darkness and the forces of deception and evil. The closing scene is of liberating the Bastille, essentially, as Don Fernando, the King's magistrate, arrives to investigate intimations of wrong doing. (We don't always get things right. Beethoven, a kind of liberal Romantic modernist, by Baroque and Rocco standards, initially supported Napoleon. He later tore up his dedication of the Eroica symphony to the little big man.)

The music at that moment is right out of the Ninth Symphony, and the Choral Equivalent of "Ode to Joy." It is beyond resplendent. It is overwhelmingly powerful for the likes of a political being like me, who is drawn to illuminate darkness.

As the scene built and built, I felt myself dropping more and more into my disappearing heart. I began feeling a rising sense of heat and formlessness occurring at my heart chakra.

I soon began losing all touch with everything around me, save for a kind of fantastic core meltdown. Closing my eyes, I felt as though I was an atomic pile reactor (under the grandstands at the University of Chicago?). Where would this end up, I remember having wondered to myself, at the time? Perhaps in spontaneous human combustion?

As the crescendo built, my vibrations dropped me into a heart-centric state of ecstatic emotional formlessness. Like my Kundalini initiation, I dropped in to ride an emotional cadenza that propelled me beyond my everyday body. Beethoven's crescendo was playing my heart like a kettle drum, and spiritual ecstasy and freedom were the heartfelt derivatives.

At some point into the experience, I opened my eyes, not knowing where this was taking me? Partially it was out of curiosity, for I wondered whether others could see what I was experiencing? What I saw was the same scene, all right, but with several crucial twists.

For one thing, brilliant white light washed everything around me. It was as though my heart had become a broad floodlight, casting rays of brilliant illumination outward in a vertical wedge, covering about a 45 degree arc.

Those around me were bathed in exquisite white light, while the aura the light cast exploded upward into space, like a great oceanic wave crashing over a rock. At the virtual edges of the light field, the aura suddenly became uneven, giving the light waves the character of water that sometimes stopped, and sometimes continued, in something resembling droplets.

I could see people through the light field, but it was as though I was looking at a strange kind of negative. They each appeared engulfed in a kind of brilliant fog (definitely not the kind I'm used to seeing here in Pacifica).

Looking up at the stage, the lowermost third of it was also engulfed in brilliant white light. Here I clearly saw that the edges of the light field were uneven or jagged, reminding me of wildly splashing--yet curiously controlled--water.

My conscious mind sought to reassert "control" coincident with the closing reverberations of music.

I could not begin clapping for the longest time, caught as the former "I" remained in a samadhiesque reverie.

Blessings and Light,


And here is Jeannine's account of her own powerful mystical experience. Hers, like Michael's, took place very recently. Is something special going one just now?

Today in dance class we were experimenting with the evolution of dance and how that affected the various chakras and hence reflected the evolution of consciousness. As we took different positions I could feel the energy so clearly shift to the various chakras. When we were working with the heart chakra I distinctly felt a new petal open up over my heart at which time I burst into tears. All afternoon I was in a state of great joy. Streams of sweet smelling energy coming through the crown chakra. However, a bill from Sprint ( a company I have hated with great passion for years) and the resulting phone call kind of interrupted the spell. Still it was wonderful while it lasted.


Note: In a later conversation Jeannine told me that what she felt was like a deep opening "about the size of a pea" near her heart. I remembered that some Eastern spiritual systems hold that there is, in fact, another "heart" , often described as about the size of a thumb, near the physical heart. And I also recalled that I was once told that the opening of the heart chakra was "the most exquisite of all."

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Diane's Mystical Journey with the Whales 

Diane Knoll is my wonderful friend who journeys frequently to Argentina where she "talks with the whales." Her ongoing narration has now become her doctoral dissertation at what was until recently the "University of Creation Spirituality," which was founded by Matt Fox some years ago in Oakland. Because her story is so moving and so beautifully written, I asked for permission to post it on this blogsite. It has yet to undergo a final editing (and thus may contain a few typos) but I felt that her powerful description of mystical communion should be shared with as many as possible, and she has kindly agreed. I will continue to post later sections of her book along the way.

Today I give special thanks to Diane for being in my life



You wake up in the morning consumed by an urge to get on with it. What “it” is, you do not know, but it is barking at your heels like the Hounds of Heaven. Something unknown is calling you, and you know you will cross continents, oceans-realities even- to discover it. (Houston 2004, 7)

My soul filled with a yearning, a longing for wholeness, for meaning, for God. It could not be stopped. It could not be ignored. I was pulled by an intensity that demanded an answer. Agreeing with Victor Frankel that “striving to find meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man [sic].”(1962, 97), I came to cherish Matthew Fox’s statement that “What is needed in overdeveloped peoples is a liberation of the mystic.” (1991, 75) I said “yes” to a search for meaning by entering into the mysteries, experiencing God, and discovering liberation. I have indeed crossed continents, oceans and realities.

The mystic’s journey, pilgrimage, call to awaken, requires letting go of structures, beliefs and behaviors that have formed a safe cocoon and often a prison for the soul. The courage to step outside of the known, predictable and linear mechanical world view is essential. The poets and saints, the sacred scriptures, legends and myths proclaim the necessity of this surrender. Our soul’s cry is to be heard, seen, loved and useful. When it seems that the way has been lost, stepping into the unknown is an opening to grace.
The call of the whales became my step into the unknown.



A part of the world that seems to resist domestication, Patagonia is on good terms with the wind, whales, penguins and waves, but puts the endurance of the human spirit to the test. It may be considered as one of the uttermost parts of the Earth, or, perhaps, as the origin of an adventure. (Lichter and Campagna 2000, 7)

Invited to the whales in South America, I begin an adventure that will change my life. Becoming Hildegard’s “a feather on the breath of God” (Durka 1991, 32) I travel to Patagonia to be with the Southern Right Whales, Eubalaena australis, who come to the Peninsula Valdes in Argentina from May until December to mate, give birth and nurse their calves. I will go, not as a binocular holding voyeur but in an indigenous way of respect and listening. Told that the whales have much wisdom if we will only listen, I take a step on a pilgrimage to Creation and transformation.
I began my life journey as a proper robot conforming with excellence and precision to society’s expectations. Becoming empty and exhausted I collapsed inward. The nutrients were missing. I could not survive. Something bigger, something deeper was pulling me. I knew it involved the sacred but I had no idea where to find it. I looked around my conventional upper class world of power and material success and it was not there. If not there, where? After a long period of darkness, a power grasped me, leading me, cajoling me in a dance choreographed with exquisite beauty. The steps have been unexpected and unknown, containing swoops, turns and spins. Each step, even though sometimes dark, painful or silent has in retrospect been guided by grace and has contained a beautiful rhythm, the rhythm of the universe.
The moment my certain and predictable life broke open I could never return to who I had been before. I was exposed to something real that seemed totally unknown to me. It wasn’t unknown, of course, only forgotten. It is as if my education had shut me down rather than open me up, even though with a Phi Beta Kappa key, by most western standards I would be considered quite educated.

Perhaps therein lies the problem. I am educated in western standards. My true education was just beginning. If I, who epitomize what the western technological world is, can be exploded open by Creation, it is indeed possible for the western collective to open and become whole.



We come to understand that what is reflected by nature is not just who we are now but also who we could become. And so we begin entering nature as a pilgrim in search of his true home, a wanderer with an intimation of communion, a solitary with a suspicion of salvation. (Plotkin 2003, 237)

Pulling, throbbing, insistent and unrelenting, a power called and I surrendered, calling me to authenticity, immersing me in nature. The power of the Earth, lost for so long in our culture began my healing. I learned to celebrate, seeing my spiritual journey woven with the same magnificent numinous threads as the cosmos. Nature became my lover and my teacher awakening me to participation in the grand adventure of Creation. .

Living in the Pacific Northwest I am surrounded by mountains, trees and water, truly glorious and abundant Creation, yet I had become so busy, so linear and literal that I could not see the beauty around me. I was asked to go to the opposite end of the earth, so that I could become removed from all that was keeping me blind and closed. I would open to awe on the Patagonian Coast of Argentina.
This removal from the known to the unknown, from civilization to the wilderness, from noise to quiet, allows the soul the space of contemplation, creativity and transformation. Nature embraces, teaches and supports the exhausted, floundering heart, showing a different rhythm and an expanded home. Walking in the luminous power and beingness of Creation we become free to be.
It is a surprise to discover how very far away from our being we have been living. Most humans live as if they are not part of the ecosystem. The folly of human dominance has kept us separate and undernourished. Attempting to fill our hunger and emptiness, humans began a relentless cycle of production and consumption, greed and exploitation.

When we meet ourselves in nature, we can begin the adventure of discovering who we really are, who we can become. We can learn to discard what we no longer need, just as the trees lose their leaves and the flowers their petals, we discover that the possibility of letting go exists for us too. We can grow. Change is possible. We do not need to stay struck by hanging on to what has deadened us. Mutation can be. It is the way of Creation and the hope for us.

We are not a machine in a cosmic world only able to look longingly at the fluidity and splendor of nature. We belong. We are not alone. We are not separate. We are part of the elegant unfolding of the universe.



Surrender, even to the divine, is something our culture does not encourage. Surrender to the divine means crossing over from our well – defined roles and worlds into the realm of the gods, where everything is possible and nothing is explained. We have no idea what to expect and so we are afraid.
(Johnson 1989, 24)

How much of life is spent hiding, hiding behind a composed mask of partial life. A body that is doing one thing, a mind another and emotions another, all the while the exterior is plastic and false as it serenely hides the interior activities. Hiding has become a way of life. The pretense of calm, the pretense of charm, the pretense of love is showing, all the while our interior simmers, a cauldron bubbling with action. We are so often numb that we do not even know this powerful interior exists and we live a life of dull imitation of what can be.

Why do we hide? We are in control. It feels safer. It is all we know. Nothing much excites us so we do as we are told. We follow the rules. We are good people, industrious hard working people. It does not occur to us, at least very often, to even question if the rules make sense, if the industrious hard work is important or making a difference. So the deadening complacency and boredom creeps in, covering us with seemingly impenetrable layers. We slog along, trying to make the best of life in the only way we know how. What can overturn this hiding? How can the interior passion emerge to be felt, seen and lived?

This is the purpose of a sacred encounter. A shell is shattered and the pulsating interior radiates outward, free and uncontained. A throbbing joy, hither to unknown emerges connecting to the Divine in radiant wholeness, radiant holiness.
Sacred encounters are often unexpected. Creation offers an invitation and something deep inside says yes before the mind can plan, organize, wonder and worry. The longing for wholeness resoundingly says yes, and probably also says it’s about time. Sacred encounters come in a myriad of ways, the key is to follow through with the yes, not to smother it with logic, fear and practicality. For me it was the whales, another culture, another language, incredibly far from my home. I was a pilgrim on a pilgrimage. Something was waiting to be broken open. The Divine called.
In the presence of the power, energy and magnificence of a whale the hiding dissolves. It is no longer possible to hold up the screen, the armor, the covering. The sacred thrusts through, uniting with our own divinity, exploding, penetrating the separation. This has been the experience of many of us with the whales, no longer able to hide, we are both vulnerable and expansively powerful. Energetically zapped and charged, we have been changed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Patricia Speaks in Beirut as an Anti-War Activist 

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, Patricia recently went to Lebanon as a guest of the family which she supported in every way when the husband was rounded up by U. S. police forces, held for over a year without charges, and then summarily deported. While she was there, she was invited to speak at the meeting of Christians and Muslims which she describes at the end of the speech itself. Patricia, long a forceful voice in our own country, now becomes an international figure. Here is a transcript of her talk along with some explanatory comments:

I've just submitted the following to commondreams.org, alternet.org, and truthout.org:

An American Anti-War Activist Speaks

by Patricia Lay-Dorsey

Assalamu Alaikum.

I come as one woman who hopes to speak for millions of Americans whose voices are not being heard in America or worldwide.

We are those who say "Not In Our Name" when the president of our country, George W. Bush, makes war on countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, takes the oil and other natural resources that rightfully belong to other countries, captures and tortures prisoners--many of them innocent--in his so-called War On Terror, unjustly detains Moslem men of Arab descent in U.S. jails with no charges and no recourse to due process of law...yet continues to say he is "making the world safe for democracy."

We say if what you stand for is democracy, Mr. Bush, then we want no part of it.

We say that you, George W. Bush, do NOT speak for us.

We say your imperialistic and aggressive actions, attitudes and words do not reflect what we believe America can and should be.

We say by our words, actions and attitudes that peace is possible, and it can only come when America takes its proper place as an equal among equals in the world community.

As long as George W. Bush, and people like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove and Condoleezza Rice continue to act as if America is the "boss of the world," we will fight them--nonviolently--with every breath we take.

We are not giving up or giving in to their destructive decisions. We are not going to sit back and let them ruin our nation and the world. We are strong, we are angry and our numbers are growing every day.

Yes, we know there are Americans who support George W. Bush, and his government. Americans who believe his lies and propaganda. Americans who unwisely voted him back into office in 2004.

But we also know that many of them now regret that vote, now see that the war against and occupation of Iraq is a disaster. A disaster that is killing not only our young people--over 2000 of whom have now died in this war--but hundreds of thousands of Iraqi innocents. These former supporters of Bush's war now say, Bring Our Troops Home Now!

I personally met some of these people on September 24th on the streets of our nation's capitol when over half a million people--young and old, black and white, Christian, Jewish and Muslim--came together for a huge march and rally organized by a coalition of national peace groups. It was called "End the War On Iraq!" I have never before felt such power and commitment in a gathering like this. And it was my seventh such march on Washington, DC over the past decade.

Something has shifted in America. It is as if the sleeping majority has awakened and they don't like what they see. Recent polls show that less than 37% of the American people believe Bush is leading our country in the right direction, by far the lowest approval rating for any U. S. president in history. He is losing his grip. Finally.

But we still have three more years of George W. Bush in the White House. Three more years of fighting for justice, for freedom, for accountability, for peace.

And I want you to know we WILL be fighting. We are not giving up. Even if the media never shows you our faces or reports on our words and actions, please know we are there, working together, forming coalitions, traveling to places like Palestine to offer our solidarity to oppressed peoples, coming up with creative solutions to what can seem like unsolvable problems.

And we are not just working for justice and peace; we are working for the life and health of our planet. We are trying to develop sustainable ways of living that do not damage the land, water, air and species that share this, our home.

We are in solidarity with you, our neighbors in Lebanon, as you try to find the truth behind tragedies like the assassination of your beloved Prime Minister Rafik Al Hariri. As you try to find new ways to be in respectful relationships with your neighbors to the north and to the south. As you do all you can to help peace come to the Middle East.

We are together in these struggles. We are one people, no matter what our nationality, our religion, our language. We are one because we share the same home--Earth--and because we all want the same things: to live in peace, dignity and freedom. We want our children and our children's children to have all they need, to share what they have, and to live together in peace.

May it be so.

Patricia Lay-Dorsey, Detroit anti-war activist, presented this speech on Saturday, November 19, 2005 at The Muntada, a center for dialogue between Christians and Muslims located near the American University of Beirut, in Beirut, Lebanon.

Approximately 60-70 predominantly Muslim men and women attended, even though there had only been three days advance notice. They were respectful and attentive throughout our two hours together.

During the question and answer period, everyone expressed surprise and gratitude that there are people in the United States who feel the way I do about George W. Bush and, especially about his war on and occupation of Iraq. What follows are some of their questions:

1) What is your goal, your motivation? What would you like to see the world become?
2) What tangible steps are you in the peace movement taking to change things?
3) How do Americans in general feel about 9/11?
4) You're calling for the removal of George W. Bush but what if a worse president comes around?
5) How do you see the future in Iraq?
6) You said that you were working to overthrow the system but what if an "ideal" president was elected? What then?
7) The U.S. is spending millions to improve their image in the Middle East, with propaganda-loaded radio stations and newspapers. What is your advice to us in the face of that?
8) You criticize the capitalistic system. Is this the general mood in the U.S.? What system would you prefer

see www.windchimewalker.blogspot.com and her journal on www.windchimewalker.com for further description of her visit, including many wonderful photographs.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Patricia in Lebanon 

For the past two weeks, Patricia has been in Lebanon visiting the family she befriended in Detroit when the father (Rabih Haddad) was taken into custody and ultimately deported, though no charges were ever filed against him. Here is a recent entry from her blog site, written only a few days ago.(See www.windchimewalker.blogspot.com for her blog--a site which she maintains in addition to her journal and other sections of her website.)

Thursday, November 17, 2005
It's always the people

In a couple of hours it will have been one week since I arrived in Lebanon. So much has happened that it feels more like a year. And when I write that I'm not just referring to activities and sights, but to inner changes--seismic shifts--that have transformed me in ways I'm only beginning to see. For as wondrous as it is to be in a country that is so different from my own, with its unusual tastes, sounds, smells, sights and physical experiences, what is touching me most deeply is the privilege of living day-to-day as a beloved member of Rabih and Sulaima's family. Nothing could have prepared me for this. And when I go home, nothing can prepare me for how much I will miss them, each one in his and her own way.

These past two days have been full of surprises. The first came yesterday morning when Sulaima awakened me to ask if I would write a biographical blurb and a title for a presentation Rabih has arranged for me to give on Saturday afternoon at The Muntada, a center for dialogue between Christians and Muslims near the American University of Beirut downtown. We'd talked about this possibility a few days ago, but to be honest, I'd doubted it would happen, mainly because there was so little time to arrange it. But Rabih is a close friend of the director and after telling him about me and what I'd done for Rabih during his imprisonment in the States, the director said he thought it would be valuable for people to hear what I have to say. Although their schedule was quite full, he said he'd do his best to work me in. And he did.

I'm calling my presentation, "Not In My Name: An American Anti-War Activist Speaks." I sat right down and wrote it as soon as Sulaima told me it would be happening. I've now read my first draft out loud to Rabih and Sulaima, 15 year-old Sana, 13 year-old Sami and 11 year-old Rami. They all liked it very much; Sami, Rami and Sana's responses were especially gratifying. "Wow! Whew! That's amazing!", said Rami. "Awesome!", said Sami, "Did you really write that yourself?!!". Sana said, "You said JUST what the people in Lebanon need to hear!" These kids sure know how to make their Aunt Patricia feel good. To me, the most interesting part of the whole event will be the opportunity for dialogue that is being built into the program. I can't wait to hear people's comments and questions.

But Saturday isn't the only opportunity I'm encountering to enter into dialogue about world events with the people of Lebanon.

Last night, after a very successful shopping spree on Beirut's Hamra Street (Rabih's old "hood"), we went to visit his grandfather, uncle, mother and aunt. At 95 years old, Abdullah Kobersi may have lost his sight and most of his hearing, but this lawyer, poet, philosopher, author still has a sharp mind, quick wit and global consciousness. He speaks Arabic, Spanish, French and English fluently and has visited and lived all over the world. He said if he were to move to the United States, he'd want to live in Boston. I think he was there as recently as 1993.

Then today Sulaima invited her women friends to come meet me. All of them have lived at least part of their lives in the United States and she felt they'd be interested in hearing my perspective on what is happening there during the Bush era. What an interesting discussion we had! Not only have these women lived in America but they are true citizens of the world. One is originally from Nicaragua and another from Greece. Two of the women brought their 18-19 year-old daughters. All these women are interested in and informed about world events. Sulaima says they were surprised to meet an American who is so critical of her government. Of course we already knew they were seeing nothing about people like me on CNN, the only American news station they get here. At every opportunity I'm trying to let people know that there is strong active resistance to George W. Bush and his policies in the United States. This feels like an important part of what I can bring to Lebanon during my time here.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Merrilee's Mystical Vision 

Merrilee's Kundalini awakening began in September of this year. I began posting entries written by (and about) her soon thereafter. For the earlier accounts, see the following blog entries:

October 11th - Kundalini and Sex
October 26th - Divine Union
November 1st - Kriyas, Inner Visions, Hidden Messages
November 4th - Merrilee and Mechtild of Magdeburg
November 8th - More from Merrilee
November 12th - Merrilee's Journey Continues
November 15th - Merrilee's Journey Continues
Novermber 18th - Merrilee's Story Continues: A Study in Contrasts

In the following experience, Merrilee enters mystical awareness (seeing the unity of all things) in a stunning climax to her daily practice of movement and inner visions.

On November 13th, I had some amazing experiences while listening to Jonathan Goldman’s Trance Tara CD.

For the first 7 minutes of the first track (I peeked at the clock), I had my usual head and neck and body kriyas, back-arching and orgasms. For the rest of the track (19 minutes), I “danced”. My hands and arms took on a life of their own, and also sometimes my head and upper torso and even occasionally my legs, all while I was sitting in a chair.

I moved to the drumbeat in the music in a very coordinated, graceful fashion. My hands moved in beautiful patterns which I couldn’t do consciously if my life depended on it! Sometimes my hands and individual fingers moved unbelievable fast, but generally the movements were slow and graceful.

I was amazed at how my hands moved so well together, so harmoniously. I was also amazed at how many different things my fingers did, how many graceful positions my hands were put in. To my knowledge, none of these positions were formal mudra hand positions. And my hands and arms never stopped moving the whole time. Occasionally I would open my eyes to watch them, but I found this a little distracting and even disconcerting.

During the second track of the CD, I had visions. I sat quietly for a minute or two as the track began, and then my head began to trace the chalice-like symbol (from last week’s session), which appeared right in front of my third eye. (Note: I had my eyes closed.) My head traced this symbol over and over – “doodled” it, if you would – until it started to change. It eventually morphed into a flower with dark-blue-almost-purple petals. The part with the petals was the same shape and size as the gemstone in the chalice-like symbol. The rest of the symbol morphed into a green stem and leaves.

As my head continued to trace the flower, it multiplied and filled up a garden in front of me. As my head began moving in circles, the flowers filled up the area behind me. Then the flowers filled up the whole hill I was sitting on, the valleys below the hill and the mountains off in the distance. At some point my arms had started moving, I think as the mountains were filling with flowers. Then my arms started circling above my head, and I felt/saw the whole world become covered with these flowers.

Eventually my elbows came to rest on the arms of the chair, with my hands up and my palms facing upward, and I felt like I was holding the flower-covered world in my hands and against my chest. Suddenly there was a very bright light shining down on the world from high above. It was so bright I couldn’t see the flowers anymore, but I knew they were still there.

The world started getting bigger, and my arms moved down to my lap so I could hold the world in my arms, in my lap and against my chest. The world got bigger and bigger – and lighter and lighter – and eventually it floated off into the Cosmos. Then my arms and hands started moving to the music again, and I had a sense of myself as part of the Cosmos.

As the track was ending, the tip of my index finger and thumb came together on each hand, and then my fingers and thumbs were joined together to create a tiny, tiny diamond-shaped aperture. My hands were brought to my forehead and my third eye looked through this tiny aperture. It was like looking through a microscope where the power was quickly getting stronger and stronger.

I started out seeing molecules, then atoms, then protons and neutrons, then whatever comes next - muons, leptons, quarks, strings, waves, particles, etc. The music ended and still I continued seeing things, until I think I saw what was quite possibly Lynne McTaggart’s Zero Point Field – the vast sea of energy which connects everything in the Universe. At the same time I was seeing McTaggart’s Field, I was also able to see a planet-filled sky above me, and I felt like everything was all one, all the same. And then it all went dark.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Merrilee's Story Continues: A Study in Contrasts 

Merrilee's Kundalini awakening began in September of this year. I began posting entries written by (and about) her soon thereafter. For the earlier accounts, see the following blog entries:

October 11th - Kundalini and Sex
October 26th - Divine Union
November 1st - Kriyas, Inner Visions, Hidden Messages
November 4th - Merrilee and Mechtild of Magdeburg
November 8th - More from Merrilee
November 12th - Merrilee's Journey Continues
November 15th - Merrilee's Journey Continues

Here, for the first time, Merrilee speaks of one of the common signs of Kundalini awakening--sudden mood shifts from high to low, joy to discomfort. Such swings can occur for no apparent reason and can be minor or extreme. To her credit, she becomes a witness to her own experience, and doesn't let it distract her from her responsibilities in the external world.

(Oddly, such heightened states can sometimes seem to occur simultaneously, joy and pain mixed in one, as if the energies are flowing through and arousing the deep centers of cellular memory.)

from Merrilee:

The below events happened on Wednesday, November 9th.

My morning was truly a study in contrasts. I experienced a complete about-face over the course of just a couple of hours.

I woke up very tired, anxious, sad, jumpy and just down-right crabby. My eyes, ears and feet hurt. The foot pain was definitely Kundalini related, and the pain in my eyes and ears might have been, too. I couldn't see too well out of my left eye for a few minutes, and my hearing seemed to be a little off.

During all this, I remembered a dream I had three weeks after my Awakening in which I found out I was supposed to take a cruise. I was upset because I had not signed up for the cruise (my Awakening) and had never been on one. And, if I was going on one, I needed to go home and pack (get prepared), which I was never able to do (because my Awakening was spontaneous). That's how I was feeling this morning as I got ready for work and drove to the van stop.

But then on the van, as I listened to some wonderful Gregorian chant sung a cappella by 4 women (Anonymous 4), things started to change. I started feeling intense love for everyone. My heart (chakra) literally felt swollen with love. I had transient pains in the front and back of my body in the area of my heart. I cried a fair amount because of how I was feeling. (Fortunately it was pretty dark and my van mates were mostly asleep.) During all this, my Kundalini energy was very present in my neck - soft, sweet chills kept running up and down it.

When I first got to work, I felt intense love for everyone I interacted with. I almost felt like I could see people's souls or the divine part of them.

Throughout the day I felt a lot of transient chest and heart pain, like perhaps my heart chakra was being worked on. I also occasionally felt pain in my back near my heart chakra.

Ironically, in the afternoon, I got very annoyed with people in a very large meeting. I just wanted to get away from everyone and everything!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Why I Don't Trust Academics 

Recently, I had occasion to view the bibliography of a highly distinguished professor of philosophy in a leading university. She had attained star status in her field, had published studies on major philosophers with the most prestigious presses, had won numerous distinctions and awards.

As much as I admired her obvious brilliance and dedication, the list of achievements brought to mind certain deep feelings I carry about the contemporary academy and what I perceive as its skewed priorities. And so began this inner conversation (rant, maybe) on a topic which touches me deeply.

I, of course, was a "professor" for many years. Like many in my field (English and American literature) I chose my profession because--as one colleague put it--even as a child I loved stories. The mystery of meaning, the power of narrative to hold and enlighten, the spell of myth and symbol--these drew me in, and held me as a devoted disciple for many years.

However, though the students and I loved to explore texts for both technique and theme, something around us changed. I began to lose faith when I discovered that philosophers were unwilling to deal with the ancient questions such as What is Truth? Ethical choice? Beauty? They examined only those questions which had answers (such as what did so and so write about or think on this subject?) Theirs were, in my view, the easy choices, a refusal to confront the essential human questions in a meaningful way.

The scientists, of course, had long since abandoned the search for ultimates or even human connections, ignoring the spirit behind the appearing phenomena; they limited themselves strictly to the material universe. It had to be that which can be weighed, measured, or detected through instrumentation in order to be of interest or the subject of valid research. God or any semblance thereof was off limits in the laboratory.

And literary criticism, in a similar fashion, abandoned the search for meaning and chose instead to consider writing as mere "text," something to be examined in its own right with no regard for author, intent, or possible connection to human experience. "Deconstruction" became an industry, with its own arcane vocabulary, its own protocols, where suggestions of Mystery were not welcome.

To me, the new approach was like considering the Bach Mass in B Minor not as a glorious aesthetic/transcendent experience, but simply as a printed score, dissecting the notes and technical markings as meaningful in themselves.

In other words, the new academics and researchers lost touch with spirit, in effect murdered feeling. They armored themselves against the realm of the subjective, became domed against heaven.

What would happen, I wonder, if one of these "super intellects" were to be touched by kundalini, awakened to the mystery within? Would their psyches crumble, as their entire structure of beliefs (which is who they are) were to be demolished? I think there is little chance that such "rational beings" would ever be catapulted this way into god/goddess awareness. They are too well defended, too far into denial of all but what is, finally, a very narrow reality. Transcendence is not their goal.

Hence the high rate of alcoholics among their number, the many abusers of wives and children, the bitter egoists who use the arena of faculty politics to assuage their sense of inner loss.

Only those open to possibility will be seized by the divine. Only those who can say "Yes" will be taken into the Mystery.

(Note: I am neither anti-intellectual nor anti-academics as such. Many good and generous souls take refuge within the walls of the university, but often they are deeply wounded by their experience there.

Also, I should point out that I am not trying to put the traditional God (or some modernized version of such) into the classroom, as in religious fundamentalism. What I am calling for is a return to a more human and humane perspective, in which subject matter conveys more than mere facts, where invitations to speculate and ponder remain open, and where learning is in some way presented as relevant to the human adventure. Such schools as Matt Fox's University of Creation Spirituality or the California Institute of Integral Studies have managed to capture this spirit of learning in recent years.)

A further comment: I have for some time felt that if the university rejected its commitment to improving the human condition, to bringing light into the psyche, and enabling and ennobling students with models of truth and transcendence, this task would be taken over by other agents. And indeed, this is happening, as alternative universities spring up, as speakers, conferences, books, periodicals, internet sites and workshops offer the kind of exploration and experiential discovery I am describing. I like to think this blog is one such medium.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Merrilee's Journey Continues 

The below events happened on Sunday, November 6th, while I was listening to Jonathan Goldman's first Chakra Chants CD. Again, I included as much as I could remember.

Note: The chalice-like symbol that I mention below originally came to me in a dream in the 1980’s. For many months after that dream I would draw the symbol whenever I doodled.

The base of the symbol is like that of a simple chalice or drinking goblet, and instead of having a cup on the top to hold liquids, the symbol has only curved arms, which makes it look like a hollow cup. The base and arms are made of gold.

Inside the arms is a gemstone that sits in the bottom of the cup area. It is as tall as the top of the arms. It is purple (my favorite color) and is the shape of a grape with the smaller end at the top. The gemstone is carved all over with stylized flower petals that are shaped like the letter “U”.

General things about today’s session:
- Spent most of this session with my head thrown backwards, even on the lower chakras. Had occasional back-arching which only lasted a few seconds.

- Had a lot of head kriyas during every chakra track, with new movement patterns that included U-shaped half-circles with my head either upright or bowed, in addition to the regular up and down and/or left and right movements. Felt like an attempt was being made to keep my neck loose.

- Felt continuous pressure on my third eye chakra beginning with the 2nd chakra track all the way thru to the end of 7th one.

- Felt continuous pressure on my heart chakra beginning with the 4th track all the way thru to the end of the 7th one.
- Had 25 or so orgasms.
1st chakra track –
I had a lot of whole body kriyas (shaking and jerking). I also had some neck ones where my head moved up and down and/or side to side. I had a few orgasms.

2nd chakra track –
While my upright head was being moved in U-shaped semi-circles, I remembered the chalice-like symbol I mentioned above. Somehow the movement reminded me of the arms of the symbol.

I was told that I’m supposed to visualize using this chalice symbol sometimes when I do healing. I “saw” myself holding the base of the chalice with my left hand and sending healing energy through the purple stone by putting my right hand behind it. I used this vision to send healing to Dorothy. It was during this vision that my third eye chakra starting feeling pressure, and this continued for the rest of the session.

3rd chakra track –
This is the only track where my head was taken out of the head-thrown-back position. It was put into a very definite bowed position, which really stretched the back of my neck. My bowed head was then moved around a lot in the U-shaped semi-circles, which stretched my neck even more.

At one point, my head was put upright and moved as far right as it could go. After I had an orgasm, it was moved as far left as it could go. After I had another orgasm, the whole process was repeated to the right, but instead of going back to the left again, it was bowed and the semi-circle movement began again.

During this whole track I kept visualizing the chalice symbol.
4th chakra track –
My head was put in the head-thrown-back position again. I saw white light coming from high above my head into my heart. The light was almost liquid and reminded me of milk. I sent it out to family and friends and covered the planet in it. I didn’t see the chalice symbol during this track.

I went into the back-arched position a couple of times, but was quickly brought down again. This usually ended in an orgasm. At one point, my head was put in its normal position and then bent as far as it would go to the left so my ear was on my shoulder. After an orgasm, it was bent to the right. After another orgasm, it was put back in the thrown-back position.

5th chakra track –
I saw blue light coming from high above my head and flowing into the front of my neck. Then the chalice symbol appeared, and my head was thrown back further and my mouth opened as wide as it could go. Purple light from the chalice, with blue light on either side of it, streamed into my mouth and down my throat. During this I was also feeling a lot of pressure on my heart and third eye chakras.

Eventually my mouth closed and, even though the track was still on the 5th chakra, the purple light from the symbol started going into my forehead.

6th chakra track –
The chalice symbol moved about a foot away from me into some white light streaming from far above, and I could see the light reflecting off its gold base. (Prior to this the symbol was just a few inches in front of my eyes.) The white light went through the stone in the chalice, turned purple and went into my forehead. I felt a lot of pressure and some amount of pain in my third eye chakra. I also continued to feel a lot of pressure in my heart charka.

7th chakra track –
My body stiffened so that my head and shoulders were pushed into the back of the chair and my legs and feet were pushed down into the footstool, and I had an intense orgasm, after which I was returned to a normal sitting position. Then so much pressure was put on the top of my head that I was pushed down into the chair and my lower body actually scooted forward a bit. This didn’t last very long, and eventually I was returned to a normal seated position.

From a vantage point outside my body, I saw the top of my head disappear and white smoky light start flowing into it. I then started viewing things from a position inside my head about eye-level but near the back of my head.

I saw the white light fill up the whole inside of my head, including down into my jaw. I eventually saw the light go down into my chest. When this happened, I got an intense pain in my heart chakra that only lasted for a minute or so. After that I saw the white light go down into my torso, down my legs, and all the way down to my toes. Shortly after this the CD ended and the light slowly faded and then everything went dark.

Postscript –
Again I felt an intense desire to devote myself to my Kundalini process, and to whatever cause I’m eventually suppose to take up, by listening more to my CD’s, by doing things like Chi Gong and other exercise, by reading all the books I’ve bought recently, etc.

Here is another chapter in Merrilee's amazing story. As she indicates, this experience took place only last week. Again, how grateful I am that she is willing to offer us this "front row seat" for her incredible opening (which began only about two months ago). Those who ask,"What is kundalini like?" would do well to read this account. All personal responses to the onset of kundalini are of course unique, but hers is a revelation of what the experience can be like for one in the initial stages.

By the way, Merrilee continues to work at her job, which requires her to be quite attentive to rather complicated detail materials. She seems to be handling the tension of "mundane vs. sublime" quite well thus far.

The only other narrative I am aware of which traces the day to day (and even minute by minute) unfolding of the kundalini process is the account written some years ago by B. S. Gael. He lives in India and writes primarily of his psychic and emotional mood swings during the beginning stages (as I recall.)

Merrilee seems to be undergoing a highly speeded up process, in which the various stages occur rapidly, one after the other.

I decided to experiment with doing some kind of spiritual practice while riding in my work-sponsored vanpool in the early morning when it was still dark. Below is what happened to me on Tuesday, November 8th, beginning about 5:45 AM.

I started the process by sending energy up my spine while listening to some Gregorian chant, which I often find soothing and even trance-inducing. At first I experienced my usual orgasms, which I toned down since I was in public. Fortunately, no one was sitting in the seat next to me, plus most of the people on the van were asleep.

I don't remember the exact order of the rest of this, so I will just tell you the events. Most of these things occurred after I redirected the energy from my spine into my body, which I've never done before. By the way, the movements, kriyas and orgasms were all toned down and rather discreet.

First, the usual physical things occurred:
- I had a couple of whole body kriyas.
- I had head kriyas - up and down, left and right, and up & down & left & right at the same time.
- Twice my head was bent sideways right and left all the way down to my shoulder and I had discreet orgasms.
- I even did a quick back-arching thing, all the while hoping it looked like I was stretching.
- My right hand started shaking really obviously. Fortunately no one could see it.

Then came the fun stuff! I had an experience that I think is similar to the kind you have, Dorothy - slow, sweet ecstatic energy flowed all across my back, up the back of my neck, across my shoulders and down my arms to my elbows! Wow! It was totally erotic. I even started breathing like I was turned on - because I was! I played with the energy by doing hand mudras or just moving my fingers (wow), by moving my shoulders or my head or my neck a little (more wow), and by putting energy into my chakras (additional wow). And I thought about you a lot as I was doing this, about how this is probably very similar to what you experience. It was incredible!

It's very nice to know that I can do this kind of thing on the van sometimes, if my energy is co-operating and if no one is sitting next to me, the latter of which happens about half the time.

I also did some healing on your back during all this. I put my hands in the Pran mudra position - tip of thumb touching last 2 fingertips, with second and third fingers sticking straight out. When I visualized your back, my right hand started to shake and move in a pattern, so I visualized purple light coming from the tips of my second and third fingers and going across your whole back and down your arms in sync with this pattern. It felt quite powerful. (I like the Pran hand mudra for doing healing, and I have done other healing things with it.)

One last thing - during the day I had a number of flashbacks to what happened on the van, and a couple of times I experienced energy flowing up the back of my neck and into my ears and cheeks, which felt quite wonderful!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Mary Oliver, Medicine Woman 

For a very long time I, like so many others, have loved the poems of Mary Oliver. She is a true descendent of Emerson and Whitman, a lover of nature and the world even in times when the outlook is bleak. The literature of the twentieth-century focused conspicuously on the themes of isolation and despair. To forego despair was almost literary suicide, for such an attitude did not match the prevalent notions that only the naive writer could be affirming and give expression to joy.

In the midst of such widespread disillusionment and bitterness, Mary Oliver dared to write poems of the heart, offering songs of exultation in her own beautifully crafted verses. Nature is, of course, her great theme. And, as I observed her reading in San Francisco last week, I felt the perhaps I had discovered why.

As so often happens when I stare intently on a speaker or performer, I saw her "change" into someone other. Suddenly it was not Mary Oliver I was looking at, but a tribal woman, someone with a fuller body than Mary herself. She wore ceremonial dress and headdress, and was obviously a woman of wisdom and power. I was not sure of her exact origin, but I felt she was connected to some early northern band, although I was not certain of the continent. At first I thought it was Asia, then I realized it could be some ancient tribe of the far regions of North American or Europe.

So when Mary revealed to us that even as a high school student, she played truant, preferring to roam the hills and forests rather than to sit in a stuffy classroom, I felt that her "past life" might offer some clues. One so attuned to nature as she had been in her native role would not easily accept the constraints of "civilized" society. She would again seek out the sacred universe of living things, and renew her powerful bond.

In this life, she has beautifully combined her love of nature with her command of language to give us something very precious. She is herself an amazing being, daring to speak her mystical vision in our time of widespread skepticism and disdain.

Thank you, Mary Oliver, for being in our world and for having the courage to speak your truth. Your rewards and universal acclaim are well deserved.

My friend Michael Black accompanied me to the reading, and I thought his response was quite insightful:

And speaking of gifting, Dorothy called and invited me to join her and several other friends in a rare appearance by Mary Oliver. The evening was exquisite. Oliver's poetry packed its usual vibrant power, and sitting face to face with her, she is a rare gem of an individual. Her presence is formidable, but in a soft kind of way. Dorothy, I believe you referred to her as "crusty," if I recall that one correctly? Salty, too, from the P-town looks of it.

I was fascinated by her walking the same paths, day in, and day out, and seeing more clearly the splendor of what lay underfoot. Wedding her Ohio origins with the New England landscape creates a fascinating hybridization. Oliver's capacity to see clearly, succinctly and to capture with words the essence of things is beautiful.

She also revealed, in a question, that she has joined the ranks of the Episcopal Church, the latter apparently serving as a safe haven for her transcendental mysticism.

Mostly what I am left with is the impression of a highly original mind/being that doesn't shirk their responsibility to see clearly and reflect back the magnificence of the world

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Merrilee's Journey Continues 

Here is another entry on Merrilee's journey of awakening. As always, I thank her for her willingness to share these intimate details with us. I feel that by learning more about one another's experiences, we get a firmer sense of what kundalini is capable of once it awakens.

She is handling her experience exceptionally well. She is accepting the various phenomena as gifts from the Mother, and trusts that she is being led toward a future goal of healing others with her newfound energies.

The below events happened on Saturday, November 5th, while I was listening to Jonathan Goldman's Chakra Chants 2 CD. I included as much as I could remember. Ironically, it takes me longer to write about this than to experience it!

General events:

I had some notable differences in breathing patterns during this session. I experienced:
- very fast and shallow breathing (especially during intense feelings)
- deep, diaphragmatic breathing
- “regular” breathing.

I had maybe 40 orgasms.
During the 4th thru 6th chakra tracks my lower jaw quivered on and off (help with future speaking role?).
During the 4th thru 7th chakra tracks I had lots of minor head kriyas, with movement up and down or sideways, sometimes very slowly, sometimes quickly.

1st chakra track – I had a few body kriyas during which my whole body jerked and shook.

1st thru 3rd chakras tracks -
I experienced a dozen or so neck stretches, similar to ones in the past, except my head was in a sideways position instead of being upright, so that my ear ended up on my shoulder. I actually felt like someone was pressing my head into my shoulder to get a maximum stretch. Each stretch ended with a couple of orgasms, and then my neck was stretched in the opposite direction. Sometimes I remained in a stretched position for quite awhile before I had the orgasms.

A couple of times I was put in the back-arched, head-thrown-back position, followed by the body-curled, head-bowed position. Each of these was followed by an orgasm.

4th chakra track –
My body was first put into a really extreme back-arched, head-back position, and I had such an intense and long-lasting orgasm that I fell out of that position and ended up half sideways in my chair.

After I recovered from the orgasm (it took a minute), I was put back in the back-arched, head-back position, but it wasn’t as extreme. After I noticed that my neck and jaw were hurting, I was put in an even less extreme variation of this position.

During most of this track, I had a vision of white light streaming into my heart from someplace high above my head. Later the light in the stream turned into a rainbow of colors with white light on either side of the rainbow.

5th chakra track –
My back was arched less, but my head was thrown back more with my mouth open as wide as it could go. I saw blue light coming into my mouth and down my throat. The source of the light was somewhere high above my head. I again had asked for help in my future speaking role.

After thinking about the future, I started thinking about my current job and the fact that I don’t like it and worry about doing enough to keep it. I then had a combination lucid-dream and déjà vu experience, where files suddenly and magically appeared on my computer at work. This made me feel like things would be OK.

6th chakra track –
My head was still thrown back, but my jaw was now closed. I saw purple light streaming into my forehead from someplace high above my head. I felt pressure on my forehead from both inside and outside. I also felt pressure in my sinuses. I felt like I was only about half conscious. I sent energy to Dorothy to help her eyesight.

7th chakra track –
I was put in a normal sitting position. I had a vision of the top of my head being completely open. Smoky white light streamed into my head from someplace high above. I was still feeling pressure on my forehead. I was again only about half conscious, and then I went away completely. I came back as the track was finishing.

Some further notes –

I lose track of time during these sessions and end up feeling like only 15 minutes has passed, even though the CD’s actually last about an hour.
I always listen to these CD’s using headphones, which enhances the effects of the binaural beats on them.
The night before and the morning of my session I had really bad pain in my lower abdomen. During the session my pain went away, and it stayed away all day. I experienced some gurgling sensations during and after the session.

Some thoughts from my session –

I want to be more appreciative of these wonderful gifts and experiences.
I want to listen to my CD’s more often. I already get up at 4:00 AM and don’t think I can get up much earlier, so I will have to make time in the evening somehow.
I want to stay more in touch with my Beloved Within throughout the day, but I'm afraid that won’t help me get more done at work. Maybe there is some kind of happy medium.
I want to spend more time getting ready for whatever it is I’m supposed to do in the future by reading and getting in better shape physically. Now that swimming season is almost over, I need to find something to do to replace that form of exercise.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Patricia's Transformation 

Here is a recent entry from Patricia's Journal (see www.windchimewalker.com) describing her journey from a racist cultural background to full love and support of the Afro American community.

Patricia, by the way, is now in Lebanon, visiting Rabih Haddad and his family, all of whom she befriended when he was incarcerated and then departed by the U. S. government. (No charges were ever filed--he was taken out of the house suddently in front of his wife and frightened children, held without bail or legal counsel--for quite some time his family did not even know what had happened to him.) He is very much a man of peace, and wrote Patricia a very loving, tender letter of thanks afterwards.

Once again, Patricia demonstrated her courage in the face of injustice. I'm sure she will describe this latest "adventure" in her journal when she returns.


I literally pinched myself (Ouch!) in the night to see if I was dreaming yesterday's mountaintop experience at Rosa Parks' funeral. I still can't believe it.

How have I, a white woman whose southern ancesters owned slaves, managed to find myself not only accepted but often loved like a sister by descendents of the very people my people treated so cruelly and unjustly? And it isn't just my ancesters either; I still have extended relatives in the south whom I understand use the "n" word and think nothing of it. I've not heard it myself but the daughter of one of my cousins told me her Dad is like that.

I myself was part of the oppression--not by choice, but nonetheless--by being raised from the age of six months to two years (1942-44) by a black woman we called "Mammy." When I think of her, as I often have of late, I cringe at the realization that I don't even know her last name--her given name was Fanny--or if she had children of her own that she had had to leave in order to come north to Virginia to raise me and my older sister. This is my shame. But, paradoxically, it is a shame mixed with gratitude, for I can never think of this dark-skinned woman with her bandana-wrapped head without recalling the love that she lavished on me, much more love than my own mother was capable of giving. I can't help but think it is because of her that I grew up to feel more at home in the black community than the white, and to be a natural gospel singer without knowing why.

So when the magnificent gospel choir yesterday sang of healing, I felt it in my cells, bones and being. It was as if Mother Parks herself were holding me, forgiving and healing me. I wonder how many of the 4000 people in that huge room, the 1000 who were watching it on closed circuit TV in the church community hall, and the 100s more who waited outside the church and on the route to the cemetery until after 7:30 PM that night also experienced her healing, forgiveness and love? I sensed Rosa was busier in death than she'd been in life, and that's really saying something!

Her hand also was seen in what came out of the mouths of our federal elected officials, two planeloads of whom had traveled to Greater Grace Temple on Detroit's northwest side from their positions of power in the U.S. Congress. Former President Bill Clinton, his wife NY Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, the sole African-American U.S. Senator, Barack Obama, Congressional Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, former presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, Detroit area Congresspersons John Conyers, Jr. (a former employer and close friend of Rosa Parks), Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and John Dingell each spoke directly from the heart and with such profound reverence for Rosa Parks' contribution to our world that my political cynicism was replaced by a more balanced view of the humanity of these people. Another healing.

I also underwent a change of attitude towards religion, its place in people's lives and the power of those who truly live its creeds. Rosa Parks was such a person but so were some of the women and men who preached at this celebration of the triumph of life over death. They even had me screaming and waving my hands overhead at different times during those seven and a half hours...especially the Rev. Charles Adams, pastor of Hartford Memorial Church in Detroit, whose preaching/prayer/call to action also had the usually-sedate Jesse Jackson on his feet, bouncing around, grinning and nodding his head energetically. This was church at its best!

I'd say the theme of the day was don't stop now, don't eulogize Mother Parks in words without commemorating her life in action. As the Rev. Al Sharpton, another empassioned preacher, cried, "You need to make a Rosa resolution to correct what you see." An idea came into my head that has been cropping up regularly of late. I intend to pursue it when I return home from Lebanon. By the way, it is not a work I want to do, but know I NEED to do. That, for me, is often the sign that I'm on the right track.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

More from Merrilee 

Here is yet another entry on Merrilee's journey of awakening. This event occurred just about a week ago. She was then about two months into her kundalini experience. Again, thanks Merrilee. Not many would be brave enough to share their experiences almost as they are happening. But what you offer is a vast window into how the kundalini can operate in its opening stages--and we are all eager to learn as much as we can from one another about this mysterious process.

Dear Merrilee--

Your experience continues to amaze me. Again, it seems like you are literally flying through the stages. What you are describing are (I think) also kriyas--the term applies to any involuntary muscle movements or vocalization--but yours are impressively dramatic. It is also interesting that this was your response to Johnathan Goldman's "Trance Tara" CD which used to send me into total and instant rapture.

I have other friends who also have intense kriyas--one in particular is convinced that they are healing responses--that her body is, she feels, being healed of many old wounds and in effect being "remade." (Dorothy)

Hope you are having a fun weekend. I am having a quiet and somewhat spacey one so far - and that's OK.

I listened to the Trance Tara CD today and had some interesting experiences. Nothing terribly intense happened (I am such a spoiled and greedy mystic!), but some interesting things did occur.

At the beginning I experienced just a few minutes of my classic kriyas (shaking and jerking). Then, for quite a few minutes, I was treated to what can only be described as a chiropractic or massage treatment on my neck! My head was slowly moved up and down and all around, so as to stretch my neck in many different directions. It was a very methodical process, and each side of my neck received an equal amount of stretching.

Following that, my upright head was turned as far left as it could go and held there for maybe 10 seconds. During this time I had a couple of very intense orgasms. Then my head was slowly moved through a kind of figure eight pattern and turned to the right as far as it could go and held in that position. I again had a couple of intense orgasms. This pattern was repeated three or four times. (Note: I hurt my neck in a car accident in 1991.)

On a number of occasions, I was put into my "regular" position of back arched and head thrown back. Following each occurrence of this, my body was put in the exact opposite position (body curled forward, head bowed), and I would have an orgasm.

During the second half of the first track, I started "dancing" in my chair. I thought of you dancing to this CD, and I could understand why. By "dancing" I mean that various parts of my body would move in time to the music. Sometimes it was just my head or my shoulders or my hips or my legs. Other times, various combinations of my body parts would move at the same time. It was quite fun, and, in case it's not clear, none of this was under my conscious control!

I occasionally joined in out loud with the chanting that is on the CD (this was my conscious choice), but I found that doing so distracted me from what my body was experiencing.

During the second track, which is quieter I think, I was put in the back-arched, head-back position, and I pretty much stayed that way. What I did - or tried to do - during this track was some healing on your eyes. I kept thinking that this was "your" CD, and that it was only fitting that I should try to do some healing on your eyes while I was listening to it.

I focused on my own eyes when I was attempting to heal yours, which is how I generally do healings. I felt consistent pressure on my eyes and eventually even some pain in them. I figured these were good signs. I also humbly asked the Goddess to heal your eyes. And then I asked not-so-humbly! My impudence seemed to be well-tolerated by the Goddess. (This actually reminds me of how I used to relate to my Mom. Even when I was kind of teasingly presumptuous with her, we both knew who was ultimately in charge - and it wasn't me!)

Eventually, I went away/went to sleep in the back-arched, head-back position, and I came to shortly before the CD stopped.

On reflection, I realize that the above events are amazing, especially the "someone's-moving-my-body-around" part, but, at the same time, I am truly spoiled, and I want so much to recreate my experience of Divine Union. I imagine - and hope - it will happen again sometime.

One other thing - last night and today my Inner Beloved and I have been talking more. I also get teasingly presumptuous with Her, and She definitely doesn't mind. I can almost feel Her smile at me. She reminds me of my Mom in many ways, except She's not as warm. I told Her that, and She basically said the warmth will come later! Right now She's trying to direct my behavior and give me some important message.

(Copyright material)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Poem from Jeannine 

Here is another poem from my longtime "spiritual buddy" Jeannine. I have posted her before, but always love her work.

Night bathing in the ocean

Night bathing in the ocean,
I rose out of water cleansed,
But planted in my flesh
was the seed of the moon,
sprouting just before sleep,
I could feel it... vines
spiraling up the spine.
Now in a forest of dendrites
blossoms iridescent as dragonflies.

(copyrighted material)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Gathering of the Kayaks 

It was a perfect day on the northern California coast. We had gathered on the beach to say farewell to our beloved friend, Mary, who had died (at the age of 56) only a few weeks before. Her partner (who had supported her staunchly through many years of struggle with cancer) was there, and she offered a most moving tribute. Another dear friend showed us the kayak paddle she had made in honor of Mary--it was embellished on one end with the sacred design Mary had worn as a tattoo, and a bear on the other. She told us that she had felt Mary's energy pouring through her hands as she crafted the paddle. Someone sang a native American song. Others spoke their memories.

There were perhaps 50 or 60 of us in all. I marveled to realize that together we represented the many stages of Mary's full and most active life. Some (I was one of these) had known her since she was very young--and some were even friends from her high school days in Kansas. Others met her when she was a brilliant graduate student in comparative literature at U. C. Berkeley (it was rumored that she was the brightest student in the program, and it is a program peopled with only the best and the brightest.) Other friends had come into her life when she entered the world of high tech after jobs for professors of humanities became, in effect, non existent. Always disciplined, always outstanding, she rose quickly through the ranks of her firm and in fact retired to live on the coast with her partner in her early fifties.

Mary had had breast cancer but was declared risk free after five years. Then, three years later, the cancer returned, having metastisized into bone cancer.

She now started a journey unlike any she had experienced before. For, in the course of her seeking ways to heal her body, Mary discovered a doorway into her own soul. And once more Sandy, her partner, journeyed with her.

First, Mary went on a strict diet at the behest of a physician who was known for his success with this treatment. In addition, she dutifully traveled an hour each morning into San Francisco to participate in an early chi gong class offered by a famous medical chi gong teacher. She discovered acupuncture and energy healers. Then she found a dedicated spiritual teacher/counselor near at hand, who led her tenderly and lovingly into the new realms. Mary and Sandy participated in native American healing ceremonies, sometimes sitting eyes open for fifteen hours in the tent while the chanting continued around the sweat lodge fires. As she had during all the earlier phases of her life, she approached these new realms with discipline and total dedication.

But nothing helped for long. She did not suffer extremely in her last months, but she experienced sufficient pain to feel that she was ready to move on.

So, when we gathered to pay tribute to Mary, we were saying goodbye to a most extraordinary human--a person remakably accomplished in mind, body, spirit.

It was totally fitting that her ashes were to be scattered at sea by the kayakers who were her friends--Mary herself had been outstanding as a sea kayaker--even after she was diagnosed the second time, she and two friends had paddled around the wilds of northern Alaska, camping at night on shore in this wilderness area. Sometimes they even saw bears near the campground. She was indomitable.

So, on this sunny November afternoon, the kayakers set out to sea with Mary's ashes and also those of her mother, who had died just two weeks after Mary. It was an impressive flotillia, with 22 kayaks in all,fanning outward toward the distant horizon. Those of us who waited on shore watched in silence for as long as we could see the boats. Then we returned to the house for stories and refreshments.

Now, one of the people attending was a (female) Zen priest who had chanted from the Tibetan Book of the Dead during the days immediately before Mary died. She was present at the actual moment of passing. She told me that a few minutes after the outward breath stopped, she saw on Mary's body the signs of one destined to be reborn as what I at least think of as a bodisattva--a being dedicated to compassionate service on behalf of all humankind. At the very end, she had witnessed Mary's energies flow from her crown in the beautiful colors of an ocean sunset. She saw her countenance take on the radiance and serenity of bliss. And Sandy observed this as well.

i remembered that I had told Mary a few weeks earlier about the theory that the kundalini itself is released at the time of dying, so that at death one is embraced by bliss, total divine love. Mary had made a slight bow with hands held before her as in prayer and murmured, "Yes, yes."

And so it was. Her bliss was fulfilled. Her destiny for her next embodiment was set.

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