Kundalini Splendor

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Non-Yoga of Music 

For the past several years, my own practice has focused on what I like to think of as the "Yoga of Music." For me, the meditation consists of listening intently to a sacred piece of my liking, something which resonates the inner centers and channels, and thus awakens the flow of bliss. What I listen to varies from time to time. Recently, as I have mentioned, I have been listening to Tibetan chanting, complete with bells, cymbals, horns, and drums. You have to be in rather good shape to listen to this music with any real pleasure. When the FBI was trying to flush out the Branch Davidians in Waco, they played similar music full blast, on the theory it would force those inside to come out.

But for me, this and other sacred pieces bring great pleasure. Sometimes I listen to sanskrit chanting, with call and response from leader to group. My favorite here is called "The Chord of Love," chanting interspersed with readings of sacred poetry by Ram Das. Sometimes it is the gentle Vyaas Houston, a major spiritual teacher, especially of Sanskrit, mantra, and the like. Sometimes it is from the western tradition of sacred music--say, Bach's St. Matthew Passion, or the chanting of monks in sacred temples.

So, recently, when I purchased a CD by a well known musician and composer, someone who has produced moving compositions based on ancient Indian chants, I looked forward to a new experience of awakened bliss. However, that was not to be. The CD did contain sanskrit verses, but these were set to a kind of catchy jazzy over the top score--something you might hear at a jazz concert or in a nightclub. Frankly, it really disturbed me. "Why," I wondered, "are they (the musicians) doing this? Why can't they leave jazz where it belongs, and not tamper with the precious ancient forms? Why can't they enter the tradition, and let it do its work on them, rather than trying to re-mold it to fit their own temperament and likes?"

And then I remembered another disappointing purchase I made a year or so ago. It too purported to render the ancient Sanskrit songs, but in this case they were set to something which sounded more like heavy metal--a raucous cacophony of painful sounds. I was never able to play it a second time. It seemed like a pointless assault rather than an opening into the sacred.

So, I guess maybe I am an old fuddy duddy. I believe that the sacred should be just that--a very special state of mind, a melding of player, music, and hearer. That state of mind can, in fact, be reached in many ways--not only music and chant, but through sacred poetry, sacred dance, sacred drumming, movement, artwork, and so on. But the key is that the experience must derive from a sacred attitude and continue in that same vein.

If we want to enter the doors of the ancient temple, we must take our shoes off at the door. We cannot expect to bring in all our own baggage, and begin to remodel the edifice with our own personal taste.

Now, let me add, I have nothing against jazz and other forms of contemporary music at all. I just don't like the attempts at "transforming" ancient practice into something more pleasing to modern taste. What results is a hybrid, not really authentic in either mode.

A final note: when you do your own "Yoga of Music," you should, of course, choose what reflects your own taste, that which speaks to you. And, as they say, there truly is no accounting for taste.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

William Morris, Arts and Crafts, Energies 

Today it did not rain in San Francisco. I seized the opportunity to venture out (I have chosen to stay inside, warm and dry, during much of this prolonged rainy season). I went to the DeYoung Museum, located in Golden Gate Park, where the primary exhibit was the work of William Morris and those associated with the famous Arts and Crafts movement of the late nineteenth century in England.

William Morris was a visionary. He believed that beauty should be honored in everyday life, with lovingly crafted furniture and accessories available to the ordinary citizen. He gathered around him a group of like-minded artists, and they began a common project to reform the tastes and change the buying habits of the middle (and upper) classes in England. They produced exquisitely designed and imaginatively constructed works of art for the home (wondrous chairs, mirrors, vases--an array of items.)

As I entered the exhibit, I noticed something unexpected. My subtle body seemed to "give a sigh," and relax in anticipation of coming aesthetic pleasure. And as I moved along through the exhibit, I felt, yes, tiny yet joyous sensations flowing within. At times I stopped and let my head turn to feel these delicate vibrations which seemed to emanate from the pieces themselves (or perhaps from the lingering spirits of the makers). I have had similar responses in galleries before, but usually they have come from representations of religious subjects, or some sort of visionary art. This was a first for me--to feel the joy of the subtle body (and it was indeed very subtle) from made goods, things themselves rather than representations.

Near the end of the exhibit (a section on Japanese arts and crafts, an independent movement), a life sized carved figure caught my attention. It was a "self-portrait" of Mokijiki Shonin, a wandering Buddhist monk who lived in the 1800's. He paused in each village along the way to do his wooden sculptures. He looked much like certain figures of the bodhisattvas--those with round cheeks, pot bellies, loose garments. He was smiling broadly through his toothless gums. His eyes were twinkling. We can only imagine what kind of poverty and suffering he must have encountered in his travels. Yet, he, like Buddha, transcends the opposites, and sees that all is part of the continuing human drama. I was reminded of the lines from W. B. Yeats' poem, "Lapis Lazuli":

(Three figures are carved on the stone, ancient Chinese who are climbing toward a half-way house on the side of a mountain.)

Two Chinamen, behind them a third,
Are carved in lapis lazuli...

(I) Delight to imagine them seated there;
There, on the mountain and the sky,
On all the tragic scene they stare.
One asks for mournful melodies;
Accomplished fingers begin to play.
Their eyes mid many wrinkles, their eyes,
Their ancient, glittering eyes, are gay.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Tranquility and Ecstasy 

Recently, I have been reflecting once more on what I think of as "the meditation of tranquility" (silent sitting meditation) and "the meditation of ecstasy" (bliss energies awakened through movement, music, dance, poetry,and the like.) I find I am more and more impatient with the notion of "containers," the prescribed forms and protocols which many turn to, to guide them in their spiritual progress.

For me, the essence is found in the free form experience which comes about naturally and often unexpectedly in certain transcendent moments. Once, when I asked someone why people followed the former (more formal, structured path), they answered that the practice itself was the following of the rules. Apparently, some seekers feel that by adhering to a code of conduct, they fulfill their spiritual needs.

Just now, I was listening to a recording by the teacher known familiarly as "Guru Maiya." She recited a poem by Kabir, which reflects my own preference, the heart dancing in ecstasy, not the forms and prescriptions of organized creeds and practices.

There is a great poet/saint called Kabira.
In his song he said, "Dance, my heart,
dance today in ecstasy,
dance, my heart,
dance today in ecstasy.

Love fills the days and nights
with music
and the world is listening to its melody.

In its upsurge of divine love
the planets and stars
are dancing with ecstasy.

In its upsurge of its divine love
the planets and stars
are dancing with ecstasy.

Each new birth of a soul
is a matter of great joy.
The hills and the sea and the earth

All humanity celebrates this bliss
with laughter and tears.
Dance, my heart, dance today
in ecstasy.

Just wearing the outer robes
of a monk or priest
is not enough.
Just doing the pranayama,
up and down, up and down,
is not enough.

Why stay away from this world?
What matters is
the flame of love
kindled in the heart.

Behold, my heart dances
in the delight of a thousand hearts
and the creator is drawn
to my love.

Dance, my heart,
dance today,
with ecstasy."

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Certain early cabalists were known as "merkabah riders." We are told that they attempted to construct a "chariot of light" which would, presumably, carry them in a flash to paradise. Later mystics have thought of the chariot as, in fact, a light body, the self illumined by spirit, which would itself become the vehicle.

This afternoon I was listening to a song in which the world "Merkabah" appeared, and then this poem happened, said by the inner voice.


Some call it a chariot.

Some call it a body of light,

yourself refined,

shot through with love,

pierced like a vessel

of god.

This vehicle rightly made

will carry you

to the Place.

Some will perish along the way.

They say the slightest flaw

or lack

could bring annihilation,

journey's end.

Still, you must keep trying,

polishing and purging,

clarifying your essence,

until you have become

your true self,

this utterly transparent


light ascending.

copyright, Dorothy Walters

Saturday, April 22, 2006

About Buddhism--Authority vs. Intuition 

One of the aspects of Buddhism which has always puzzled me is that, although Buddha himself admonished his followers to "be a light unto yourselves," Buddhist teachers and writings are often quite prescriptive, insisting on fixed beliefs and practices. One must "take refuge" in the Buddha, the dharma (teachings), and the sangha (the Buddhist community). There seems to be little room for "following one's own light" (sometimes called "the direct path"), the personal intuition which can lead the mystic into unmediated insight or bliss.

Likewise, Zen insists on rigid protocols in the Zendo. In earlier times (and sometimes even today), the student was struck with a rod for inattention. The group follows a highly disciplined routine, with rules and regulations to control all aspects of observance, even how to enter, how to sit, proper demeanor, and such things.

Yet, today when I opened a lovely book of Zen sayings, I found many examples with just the opposite perspective. Here are few of these fascinating gems:

Easy is right. Begin right
And you are easy
Continue easy and you are right.
The right way to go easy
Is to forget the right way
And forget that the going is easy.


The Way is not
difficult; only there
must be no wanting
or not wanting.


How shall I grasp
it? Do not grasp it.
That which remains
when there is no
more grasping is
the Self.


At night, deep in the mountain,
I sit in meditation.
The affairs of men never reach here:
Everything is quiet and empty,
All the incense has been swallowed up
by the endless night.
My robe has become a garment of dew.
Unable to sleep I walk out into the
Suddenly, above the highest peak,
the full moon appears.


A special transmission outside the scriptures;
No dependence upon words and letters;
Direct pointing to the soul of man.
Seeing into one's nature and attaining


So, I think, it is, when we expect nothing, seek nothing, insist on nothing--then True Being appears. It is not what we expected, nor what we can tell. But its presence in incontrovertible, and we know it bears our name, even though we and it are now nameless. (Dorothy)

Friday, April 21, 2006

More Buddhas, Taras, Mortarboard Hats 

I have long had a figure of Buddha in my life. My "external Buddha" is in fact a simple figure purchased for a small price by my mother when I was quite young. This sweet image (clad in blue and gold)holds a bowl in his lap, and my mother used to burn incense there, as I recall. Though she had no real knowledge of Buddhism as such, she was drawn, in a mystical way, to the notion of what mystery it might reveal. And--she also left me a "good luck coin," imprinted with another sitting Buddha (I used to carry it, but lost it several years ago.)

Lately, as I have said, I have been experiencing striking images of Buddha (and others) during my meditation practice (listening and moving slowly to Tibetan chants, complete with ritual gongs and heavy drums.)

I really didn't expect to feel or see much today, but decided to do a "healing meditation" for those in need. Soon a brilliantly lit Buddha flashed into consciousness. And this time, instead of appearing with countless replicas lined up behind him, there was a series of Buddhas streaming from his (and my) own head, as if to say, the Buddhas of the cosmos are infinite, and have existed and will continue to exist for all time.

It was as if I became Buddha, carried his body, with its exquisite bliss waves, inside my own, felt the splendor of his illumined spirit. Now, this does not mean that I am going to rush into the street proclaiming "I am Buddha." Not at all. It did tell me that each one of us is Buddha, we are born as Buddha, we exist as Buddha, and will know that truth once our original nature is reawakened. This is not to say we have to become "Buddhists" in any conventional sense. I think of Buddha as an archetypal image of compassionate devotion to this world and all who inhabit it. We act our compassion in various ways, according to our own individual talents and gifts.

As always, I am grateful that this "exercise in identification" is granted to me with so little effort on my part. I don't think I would be capable of sitting for hours or days or years trying to visualize a certain god or goddess in minute detail, in order to feel oneness of bliss with him/her. And, skeptic that I am, I would ask, "What is the point of this tedious exercise?" But, having experienced it, I know the point, have felt it within, and need no further explanation.

I think things are gearing up, on both physical and spiritual planes. It is in the air. As world crisis deepens, we feel our connection with the inner realms more intensely, as if we are preparing for a final moment.

We must continue our awareness of both inner and outer events, do all we can to bring peace and order into our world, speak our truth, act our principles. This is the time, and each of us must do all we can to bring into being the healing spirit and courage to stand up for what we know is right.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

What the Thunder Said 

T. S. Eliot's poem "The Waste Land" (1922) became famous as a depiction of the despair and spiritual emptiness of western Europe at that time of history. However, in the final section, he offers some hope, turning to the Upanishads of India for inspiration. Quoting from the ancient text, he uses the "seed syllable" (da) which then translates to three different Sanskrit words; these he expresses as meaning "Give" "Sympathize" and "Control." The first (Give) he explains as "the awful daring of a moment's surrender," the willingness to take the great leap of faith or love which tells us we are indeed alive, and not just automatons. To "sympathize" is to break out of the prison of isolation in which so many are caught in our time. And "Control" suggests that the heart (one's own or another's) could be, in the right circumstances, controlled by "obedient hands." It would then respond "gaily," gladly, openly , rather than remaining closed and shut down. (At least, this is how I interpret it.)

When I was in graduate school (English) we virtually memorized this poem, and considered it an emblem of our "lost" and failing world. The use of Sanskrit terms seemed quite esoteric, for few if any of us had any knowledge of Eastern spirituality.

The other day, I happened by chance to open to the passage in the Upanishads which was the source of Eliot's message. I was delighted to come upon it--it was like greeting an old friend, and the message it conveyed is as valid for us now as it was for Eliot (or the ancient devotees.)

Here is some of the passage,which is presented as a conversation between teacher and students:

'Tell us (something), Sir.' He told them the syllable Da. Then he said: 'Did you understand?' They said: 'We did understand. You told us "Damyata," Be subdued.' 'Yes,' he said, 'you have understood.'

Then the men said to him: 'Tell us something, Sir.' He told them the same syllable Da. Then he said: "Did you understand?' They said: 'We did understand. You told us, "Datta," Give.' 'Yes' he said, 'you have understood.'

Then (they) said to him: 'Tell us something, Sir.' He told them the same syllable Da. Then he said: 'Did you understand?' They said: 'We did understand. You told us, "Dayadham," Be merciful.' 'Yes,' he said, 'you have understood.'

The divine voice of thunder repeats the same, Da Da Da, that is, Be subdued, Give, Be merciful. Therefore let that triad be taught, Subduing, Giving, and Mercy.

This instruction deserves attentive reflection. I think that to be "subdued" suggests that one should be humble, and walk gently on earth, without letting ego run away with psyche. We seem to be in a age of fanaticism, where various factions raise loud voices (or weapons) to impose their beliefs on others. We have daily evidence of those "out of control," here and abroad.

"Sympathize" implies acknowledging another's need, another's plight in society, rather than turning away with a "not my problem" response. Sympathy in this sense is akin to compassion and caring, qualities too often missing from the current scene. Many seem unable to comprehend another's background, culture, or situation. Rather than seeking to understand, they lash out in words or deeds to harm or destroy the "enemy," (all that is not themselves.)

And, of course, we can never have too much mercy in our world. Frequently, we get "justice" without the tempering quality of mercy, so needed to keep our human compass on course. In particular, those in authority have need to keep mercy always in mind, lest we wantonly punish or annihilate.

Yes, I was pleased to encounter this familiar passage, and discover its lasting wisdom. How would our world be if we followed these simple guidelines?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Poems Inspired by Poetry 

Today, when I played my Tibetan chanting CD, nothing really happened. This time, I felt no inner energies flowing, nor did I experience mental images.

So I put on a different CD, a lovely disc put out by Deepak Chopra entitled "Gift of Love." On this recording, various readers offer poems based on the verse of Rumi, all dedicated to the Inner Beloved of mystical transcendence. And--I too became inspired to write a bit of poetry:

If Nothing Else

If nothing else

I have these words.

They come to me

like lovers


My prison

is broken open.

Again, I am embraced,

dissolved into

these syllables of light.

Once More

Once more, I am at the doorway


a beggar pleading

to be seen.

Will you give me

some token?

A sign you know

I am here?

Perhaps a fallen petal,

a trailing scent of early blooms,

a soft wind

playing over my cheek?

I want to drown

in this well.

copyright, Dorothy Walters

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ganesha, Buddhas, Mandalas--Images in Meditation 

Today, I did not fall immediately into meditative consciousness. At first the Tibetan chanting was more like background music, merely something I witnessed rather than something I participated. I decided to continue without expectation, focusing on my chi gong movements, and at times striking what I like to think of as "body mudras" (positions which arise spontaneously and are held for a few seconds.)

Then, the images began to appear. First, it was a vague image of Ganesha, the elephant faced god of India, who is sometimes described as a "threshold god." There was, again, an illumined Buddha, with replicas extending behind him. A Tara whose face dimmed and transformed into a mandala composed of a dark circle surrounding by a much larger circle of light. Another mandala suggestive of the familiar Tibetan square with its various bands of color. And, at some point, as if to correct my notion that the same "teacher" never appears twice, the figure of yesterday's "master" with his flat hat came forth. (I still don't know what his nationality is--I even wonder if he might be Japanese, though why a Japanese would be a chi gong master is unclear.)

In any case, though I did not have the intense energetic flow, I did experience the images, which were quite fascinating, I thought.

Now the sequence started with Ganesha, and this brought to mind my friend Michael who is especially devoted to Ganesha. And the Ganesha was followed by the Buddhas appearing as a series, and I remembered that Michael himself had once seen a brilliant vision of similar images in geometric progression, and this vision had marked the beginning of his awakening experience. So I wondered if somehow my images were connected with his inner vision, if my subconscious had "tapped in" to his own connection with universal mind.

We know that we are connected, but no one knows exactly how, nor why the little breaks occur from time to time to reveal the inner relatedness. We are all part of what Yeats called "anima mundi," the world soul. Our conviction of separate identity is a myth, as many writers have told us. God/goddess (the Source) is all that is, and we are each mere aspects of that total reality. We are, indeed, all one person.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Way of the Energies 

Yesterday, I spent much of the morning putting up a rather lengthy post about certain inner images I have experienced lately, both in dream and meditation. I mentioned that I was especially pleased, because I have not seen such images for a very long time.

But, before I could get the post published, indeed at the very last minute, the blogger site failed, and I lost my piece that I had spent so much time on.

So, here is a less polished summary of what I had intended, a description I had written earlier for friends. Before I begin this part, I should also mention that I had a visitor in a "dream" recently, someone I did not know or recognize, who pressed her forehead against mine and held it there for some time. Who was she? Did she open the third eye, virtually asleep for so long? When I went to the movies later that day, I saw a picture of Martina Martinolova (or whatever her name is) in the window of a bookstore, and her face reminded me of my visitor. I have no idea if Martina (who was coming to S. F. to do a book signing) made a call on me, or why, or if it was simply some woman of similar features.

Here is what I wrote for my friends:(please forgive the odd spacing--a result of copying an e-mail that was sent from another e-mail)

I am continuing to meditate and experience energy flow through
listening to Tibetan chanting , and this morning I actually "saw" an
image of a luminous Buddha, who then became a young Buddha, holding
a sceptre or perhaps a large vajra . He was very delicate of
features, and seemed to have many other Buddhas (from the past)
lined up behind him.
> For me, this inner image is significant, since I haven't seen any
visual images for years.
> And then, Beth, just now, as I was typing, and listening to some
Tibetan-like more New Age music (just trying it out to see what it
was like), I saw in my mind's eye an image of the sole of a foot,
with the chakra at the instep. Michael had mentioned healing, and
so I offered healing for the foot at this chakra, and offered a kiss
of healing there.
> I think my "third eye" is waking up a bit. I talked with my friend Andrew
on the phone yesterday, and of course he has powerful inner
connections. I think I am getting more in touch with seen images
from the inner realms, and also with others in this way. Thus
my "meditations" including the energy flows can be dedicated
more fully to those I know who are in need, and to humanity as a
Today, I also saw various images during my moving meditation. I played no music (it was Sunday, and others in the building were at home), but did simple chi gong exercises, which aroused the energies, but without the intensity of those which flowed with the Tibetan chanting.

Almost immediately, I saw a "teacher" come in. He was Asian, possibly Chinese or Korean, and wore a colorful silk robe. He had one of those strange hats (with a kind of flat piece on top, the hat itself fastened by string under his chin.) I was "told" to bow to "the Master," and of course, was not really happy with this, since on principle I reject "masters" and prefer simple teachers. But, as I began to move, this little poem presented itself, and it made things clearer:

The Way of the Master

He is called
the Master
because he controls
the energies.

The Way of the Energies
to God.

The Way of God
leads to
the Original Source.

The Original Source
contains all that is.

(April 16, 2006)

(I recognize that this little poem contains ideas basic to Taoism, so it is not truly original. But I felt that these simple sentences offered a very satisfying summary of ultimate truth--really all we need to know.)

And, as I continued my chi gong movements, I saw two other images (teachers) come through. One was a female Buddha, but she was not very distinct. I saw her as a "vajra holder" (vajra or scepter resting on her left arm) Then I saw the face of a young man with black hair whose beard fell in rather long strands, similar to certain depictions of saints or disciples of earlier times.

Over the years I have in meditation "seen" teachers from many, many cultures and traditions. The same one never appears twice. I am always surprised (as I was today, especially by the first "master"), but grateful for the instruction.

Now I shall try to post this message, and hope it gets through.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Doctrine of Vibration 

For, like a grain of fire
smoldering in the heart of every living essence
God plants His undivided power --
Buries His thought too vast for worlds
In seed and root and blade and flower...

(Thomas Merton, from a poem published today by Ivan Granger)

Question: Do we dip into ecstasy only now and again, or do we strive to maintain the bliss consciousness throughout the day as we go about our usual activities? "Accomplished masters " are said to maintain transcendent consciousness at all times (though some accounts of their day to day behavior would seem to belie this notion.)

During my unpacking, I came across the book of ancient wisdom titled "The Doctrine of Vibration." It is from the tradition of Kashmiri Shaivism, which I deeply resonate with. I opened it to this passage:

It is possible to penetrate into supreme consciousness directly without the mediation of any means. In fact, all means ultimately lead to the practice of "No-means" for it is the direct experience reality has of itself as the uninterrupted awareness the yogi acquires when he penetrates into his true nature. "No practice" is the only practice which conforms fully to reality. Consciousness is ever revealed; it cannot be sullied by anything outside it. Nothing can be added or subtracted from its fullness. Those who are ignorant of this fact fall to the lower levels of consciousness and so have to practice. . .

In fact, there is nothing we can do to free ourselves. All forms of practice, whether internal or external, depend on consciousness and so cannot serve as a means to realize it. He who seeks to discover this reality by practice is like a man who tries to see the sun by the light of a firefly. . .

(It--that is, the path of No-means), is liberation itself. (It) is the way of bliss, it is the untroubled rest within one's own nature experienced when the recognition dawns that it is this which appears as all things. At that instant the powers of will, knowledge, and action merge into the bliss of consciousness.

"In this way, even supreme knowledge, divested of all means, rests in the
power of bliss said to be (the presence) of the absolute here (in every moment of experience.)"

I had a taste of such "unbroken awareness of bliss" at the beginning of my awakening experience, but it has long since worn off. Now I go back and forth from transcendent to mundane consciousness, experiencing the bliss mainly during "practice" (for me, music and slow movement), then moving into "every day consciousness" thereafter. Of course, my "practice" is quite short, sometimes only five or ten minutes of intense bliss flows. And sometimes, I confess, I don't even do that. I was never very disciplined in my approach--and my awakening came as a gift of grace. Much of what has come about since also seems to be more from grace than something earned by arduous effort, at least in recent years. I do not do hours of yoga or formal meditation or other forms of "practice." I seem to fall into the moment of joy instantly and effortlessly, for whatever reason.)

And, as always, I wonder if the ancient realized ones were more able to sustain their powers because of their protected environment. In the street, in the hustle and chaos of the city sidewalks, in the world of today when we seem to live on the edge of imminent disasters one after another--is such a state possible for the majority?

And, do we really want to reside in the "bliss state" at every moment? I believe it was Kabir who said, "I like the taste of honey, but I don't want to be honey."

What is the appropriate state of consciousness for our times?

We do the best we can, and are grateful for those moments which are given.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Once Again, Tibet 

Yesterday, I did attend the three part documentary on Tibet. It offered a convincing picture of what life in the monasteries truly is. It was quite revelatory, and for me, part of the revelation was that I had no interest in nor patience for the detailed, laborious preparations the monks undertake for major ceremonies. I watched with detached interest, until they began chanting in a most poetic way (the translation, that is, was quite poetic). It was, as so often, the language which captured my attention. And the recitation from the Book of the Dead was also exquisite. It is a film well worth seeing, if Tibet calls to you.

Today, I again played a section from my CD of Tibetan ceremonial chants, and once more I went into instant rapture. This time the energetic flow was not as "intense" as before, but it was, in its way, as sublime in its delicate play throughout the channels of the body. As with yesterday, my head was first to open in soft delight. Then various other parts of the subtle body were included as I continued, doing little but moving my hands and arms slightly. Sometimes I gasped in wonder as the little thrills of energy played over and through the nadis (channels of energy).

At one point, I remembered an earlier visionary state (some years ago) in which I was told that in the final days of days global transformation, we would each be required to stand with arms upraised, like Moses outside the promised land, in order to bring in the extremely refined vibrations of the major earth transfiguration. As I did this today, I realized that it would be quite difficult for me to hold this pose for very long, but I was told that would be all right, since one could rest from time to time as others held the energy field. As exquisite sharp energetic bursts entered my palms, it occurred to me that the story of the Christ on the cross could be an allegory, in which shafts of sacred light pierced his palms during the crucifixion. This would indeed be a sign of divine intervention, a merger of divine and human, the human infused with holy energies. And the stigmata which are widely reported around the world could be evidence of the same numinous "marking by light," the blood being merely a by product of the sacred penetration of the material human body.

The vibrations awakened in my morning experience were so exquisitely high, so delicately sensuous that I could only receive them for 10 minutes or so. After all, we are all merely human, even though at times we seem to be participating in a process of divinizing matter.

And, lest there be any concern that such episodes may result in egoic inflation, they are generally followed by events which quickly pull us back to earth. I had to rush out into the rain and murk, to stand waiting for soggy intervals for various buses, to wade rivulets pouring down sidewalks--all this to keep my appointment at H & R Block to do my income tax. I had put it off as long as I dared, but it was an abrupt transition from the sublime to the mundane. As Wordsworth said, "The world is too much with us."

(Note: the reason I am posting such intimate experiences is that such occurrences seem to happen less and less frequently now that I am some twenty-five years into my process of awakening. I think it is important to note the energetic shifts which may accompany such later manifestations, long after the initial drama has subsided.)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Frustration, Reconnection 

Recently, several of my friends who also are members of a small (closed) internet kundalini circle confessed that they, too, felt disheartened, discouraged, anxious and somewhat scattered--as if they had made no progress, but were somehow flung back to the beginning of their awakening process. Here is what one member wrote. Fortunately, she is able to see her situation in more than one dimension.

What a relief (to hear that others feel the way I do). Yes, after confronting (my husband) yesterday and demanding that he return the garden hose to the simple way it was when I was a child and he replied why didn't I go on some valium until I could stabilize from the terrible mood I have been in lately , and I thought, "Would it be too silly to get a divorce after 47 years?" I actually thought of writing to you all. My astrology friend had warned me of the big energy shift for the eclipse and as usual I entertained my usual skeptical attitude but the last 6 weeks have been as wild a ride as I have been on in a long time. I had three separate sets of out of town company at the same time my confusion was at such a peak that the guests started to make remarks. In the middle of all this, (my husband's) youngest brother suddenly died of we don't know what. On the other hand I began to see pictures of art projects in my mind which I haven't been able to do for some time. Two nights ago we watched a DVD on crop circles which left me with a sense that there was a large ball of energy at the back of my head, enormous energy coming from my right hand and a sense that something was on the verge of happening. Although I have not been able to sleep well I did have a very revelatory dream which I actually recalled which I cannot usually do. I kept thinking this is nothing short of revelation. When I do reiki on myself I have found something in my gut which seems like dark energy indeed. Strange smells come from my body. Instead of celery juice which I did not know about I ate a brownie with frosting and ice cream which did not help my nervous system but did quiet my anger some...I have entertained the thought these last few weeks that I really had made no progress at all on myself and that I was self-deluded and that K symptoms were probably some form of cancer. Am I on target? .

For the most part I agree with what D. describes when I admit to myself what I feel is my purpose. I did not have an unhappy childhood however, partly because I have a twin sister. My granddaughter read an essay at her graduation last week that started out "I have a very weird grandmother especially compared to other people's grandmothers." I liked that better than (my husband's) remark about the valium. . . Congratulations to all who are embarking on the great learning experience of an intimate sexual relationship. No mystery school can compare.

I have no idea why this (computer) is writing so big but it kind of gives a little more zip to how I feel. Sometimes the anxiety is almost unbearable and I feel so defeated that I have not been able to control it more. Thanks to all of you for being there. I still think I was right to complain about the gadgets on the hose. There is no reason the hose needed anything else on it than when I was a child. We had one thing right and couldn't leave it alone. Love (to all). My I feel better.

I have shared some of her emotions recently, but today was in fact a kind of breakthrough day for me. I have not been able to do any "practice" for several weeks during this horrendous and all consuming move process. I was fearful that somehow I had lost the ability to connect with the "inner beloved," and would be doomed to a very mundane existence in future.

But this morning I decided to put on a CD of Tibetan chant, in order to prepare for a movie on Tibet which I was planning to see in the afternoon. When those deep throaty growls and clanging cymbals began, I immediately dropped into ecstatic consciousness, and felt the soft, gentle, but totally transformative energies stir thoughout my system. In fact, it was in some ways an advance on the "old days" when I took such pleasure from the Tibetan ritual chants. This time I danced (in my mind) the way the Tibetan performers do, and vocalized certain tones along with the chanting monks. For a time, I was, in fact, a Tibetan monk, experiencing the full pleasure of awakened bliss.

And I was deeply relieved to discover that I had, in fact, not "lost it," but that it was still there, quietly waiting for me to provide a time when reconnection could occur.

The sun actually came out today, and that may have improved the overall context for spiritual expression.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ivan Granger on Celestial Drink 

Once again, I could not resist reprinting Ivan Granger's daily poems and commentary, this time a brilliant exposition on "celestial drink." This is the "amrita" we so often hear about from the saints and other realized souls (and Ivan, in a published statement, confessed that he too had tasted the divine honey.) I think I am particularly fascinated by this phenomenon, since it is outside my exxperience. When I was in the beginning stages of awakening, I often experienced ecstasy by pressing or running the tongue across the palate, but I did not taste the divine nectar.

What follows is Ivan's selection of poetry which touches on this subject, and his highly illuminating commentary. Thank you again, Ivan, for sharing your valuable research and insightful interpretations with us. (I have included the additonal information at the bottom to encourage you to explore his www.Poetry-Chaikhana.com in case you have not yet done so.)

We're back! During this past week's hiatus, I realized that there is an important element of the Celestial Drink that we haven't properly explored yet: Taste.



Bliss is sweet -- literally. When you relax deeply into it, it becomes physical as well as transcendental. Not only is bliss an internal realization of wholeness and at-one-ness, it is also perceived through the external senses as the purest delight each sense can comprehend.

For many mystics, the sense of taste is the most pronounced, and bliss is experienced as a sublime, fulfilling sweetness resting upon the tongue as it warms the heart. Often accompanying the sweetness is an awareness of an all-pervading white or golden light. The sweetness, the warming of the body, the golden-white color naturally inspire descriptions of the Celestial Drink as honey.


Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt -- marvelous error!-
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt -- marvelous error!-
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt -- marvelous error!-
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night, as I slept,
I dreamt -- marvelous error!-
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.

- Antonio Machado (1875 - 1939)
Times Alone: Selected Poems of Antonio Machado, translations by Robert Bly


Amrita and Yoga

Poets and saints of the Hindu/Yogic traditions most often refer to the Celestial Drink as “amrita,” usually emphasizing its perfect, nectar-like sweetness.


The sweetness of his lips is a pot of nectar,
That's the only curd for which I crave;
Mira's Lord is Giridhar Naagar.
He will feed me nectar again and again.

- Mirabai (1498 - 1565?)
Women Writing in India: 600BC to the Present, edited by Susie Tharu and K. Lalita


This sweetness creates a sort of spiritual riddle that the intellect can't quite resolve: In the vast and formless awareness of spiritual ecstasy, there appears to be no separate identity. There is no “you” in the mundane sense. There is not even a sense of “God” in the external sense. There is no inside you for there to be a sense of God or some “Other” outside of you. All that can be truthfully said is that there is unbounded divine awareness that fills you and all the universe. You are a living part of That, individualized but not separate. Instead of countless beings, there is conscious Being.

So the question becomes, how can there be such sweetness upon the tongue when there is no one there to taste? There is sweetness, but who is doing the tasting?


What could be the Other when First is naught?
What is to dwell when nothing is born?
Viewers none, who can bear witness?
Untouched by tongue, taste the nectar blessed.
Akha, you will understand if you view this sensibly,
It's the possessed who grieve for father's father.

- Akha (1600? - 1650?)
Wings of the Soul: Poems of Akha, the Spiritual Poet of India, translated by Krishnaditya


As Thayumanavar exhorts us below, let us seek that Substance…


from The Prayer to Being - Let us Contemplate

The Life of Life of this world and that;
The kindred of them
That have lost the sense of I and mine;
The unattached perception
That is the Eternal Perfect Bliss.
The life that is void,
The matter that flows within the heart,
The triple-fruit delicious,
The candy sweet,
The ambrosia divine.
Let us seek that Substance
And with eyes streaming pearls of tears
And hands clasped in adoration
Let us contemplate.

- Thayumanavar (1706 - 1744)
translation by the Himalayan Academy


The Nectar of the Buddha

Of course, Buddhist yogis and meditators also speak of the Celestial Drink...


from the Song on Reaching the Mountain Peak

Come, you gifted men and women,
Drink the brew of Experience!
Come "inside" to enjoy the scene --
See it and enjoy it to the full!
The Incapable remain outside;
Those who cannot drink pure
Beer may quaff small beer.
He who cannot strive for Bodhi,
Should strive for superior birth.

- Milarepa (1052 - 1135)
The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, translated by Garma C. C. Chang


Here, the great Tibetan Buddhist yogi Milarepa compares the Celestial Drink to beer rather than wine.

I love the _expression “small beer” to refer to mundane alcohol which gives only mundane intoxication, while “pure beer” is associated with the giddiness of Bodhi, or awakened awareness.


In the following poem, Saraha, an early Buddhist from India, sings the praises of “honey” and “sky-nectar” while, at the same time, taunting both mundane sensualists who can't imagine a spiritual reality and also criticizing mystical-sensualists who seek the “experience” of the Celestial Drink's sweetness without really diving into the deeper reality it signifies.


from The Royal Song of Saraha (Dohakosa)

Forsaking bliss the fool roams abroad,
Hoping for mundane pleasure;
Your mouth is full of honey now,
Swallow it while you may!

Fools attempt to avoid their suffering,
The wise enact their pain.
Drink the cup of sky-nectar
While others hunger for outward appearances.

Salt sea water absorbed by clouds turns sweet;
The venom of passionate reaction
In a strong and selfless mind becomes elixir.

The unutterable is free of pain;
Non-meditation gives true pleasure.
Though we fear the dragon's roar
Rain falls from the clouds to ripen the harvest.

Like a brahmin taking rice and butter
Offering sacrifice to the flame,
He who visualises material things as celestial ambrosia
Deludes himself that a dream is ultimate reality.

Enlightening the House of Brahma in the fontanelle
Stroking the uvala in wanton delight,
Confused, believing binding pleasure to be spiritual release,
The vain fools calls himself a yogin.

- Saraha (8th century)
translated by Kunzang Tenzin


There is an interesting reference at the last part of this selection. When Saraha refers to Brahmins and yogis “stroking the uvula in wanton delight,” he is talking about a yogic technique often practice with the specific intention of receiving amrita or the Celestial Drink. Certain yogic practices involve rolling the tongue back so the tip of the tongue can gently press against the upper palate and the uvula which hangs down at the back of the throat. Of course, most people don't have a tongue long enough or limber enough to do that, so the process of “milking” the tongue is used, a regular massaging of the tongue to lengthen it. Some teachers who take this practice this practice to the extreme initiate their students by having them cut the membrane beneath the tongue. All that to give the tongue greater mobility so it can reach back to more quickly awaken the awareness of the the Celestial Drink's sweetness experienced there.

I hope it is obvious that those techniques are dangerous and can result in choking, so never attempt such a practice without proper guidance. And, though some yogis find such practices helpful, they are definitely not essential. The Celestial Drink can be tasted without such extreme measures, as mystics all over the world will testify. Most importantly, as Saraha rightly points out, the goal is not the taste or “experience” of amrita; the goal is to consciously merge into the blissful Reality. The honeyed Drink is simply one of the more lovely _expression of That.

The goal is not to taste honey, but to dive into the comb.


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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Human Complexity, and a poem (I, Too, Could Be Ironic) 

Several times recently, I have felt that various others have not lived up to my expectations. The housecleaner who didn't show in time of need, the gracious landlord who became Scrooge at the last minute, the friend who did not keep the promise of help--all these have led me to wonder, what does such behavior say about human nature? Are my expectations too high? Am I too easily taken in? Why do people act in a way counter to our notions of what is good and right.

A partial answer is presented in a recent movie. In an extreme case, a brilliant writer approaches his live human subect both as a commodity to exploit and as a victim he wishes to help. It is as if the writer himself is so split in his inner nature that one side hardly comprehends the motives of the other. He is both admirable and deplorable, light and shadow intermingled.

All of us carry similar contradictions within. We like to think of ourselves as composed strictly of positive aspects. But in truth, we embrace both, as difficult as that may be to admit.

The poem below deals with the intellectual who uses his/her mental superiority to view with condescension those who cling to a vision of faith which he (the intellectual) insists is mere delusion. The mental heavyweight has used logic to demonstrate that there is "nothing there" beyond what can be noted by the rational mind. He is like Flannery O'Connor's character who has "seen through to where nothing is." From his superior position, he smiles in derision on those lost in swamps of (to him) illusion, below.

However, this scenario also carries complex overtones. The ostensible visionary may be hostage to a false enlightenment. He may, in fact, be duped by a shallow or warped vision, leading to a dangerous egotism, a conviction that "I alone am right." His revelation may lead to dogmatism, or fanaticism.

How is one to know the difference between true and false, trustworthy and misleading? Only great inner wisdom, and constant seeking can carry one safely ahead. One may end up being flayed for truth, or else be infused with angelic bliss. One must be prepared to accept either outcome at the moment when grace descends.

Ultimately, one can never convince others of the validity of such intimate transformation, for it is a "self-validating experience." All kundalini lovers know this. The inner transfiguration which follows the key moment is true for the self, but possibly no one else will share this conviction, for it is outside their own realm of experience and/or perception.

I too could be ironic

Yes, I know.

I too could be ironic,

exposing all the naked flaws

and imperfections

of those who lose themselves

in the labyrinth of faith,

whom I might then call

desperate souls grasping

at feeble straws

of belief,

along with claims of transformation,

passport to nirvana.

As if, they say, some current or universal force

had touched them,

carried them to new heights of knowing,

as if some visitor from outer space

had first undone them,

then reconstructed them anew,

some lightning bolt

of revelation shattering them

to their core.

How ridiculous it all seemed then.

In fact, my mantra for many years

was "how absurd."

Then one day the moment

came. . . .

And then I knew,

was blinded by unspoken truth

as I opened to

who I was.

Dorothy Walters
March 19, 2006

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"Once in the Forest," and How We Perceive Others 

I have in recent years developed a new way of looking at others. I no longer see them as fixed beings, frozen at a certain moment in time, but rather as fluid entities, moving steadily through their life stages, constantly changing. When I see a young person, I visualize them as they will be in future, as they move into new phases of their existence. And with older folk, I imagine what they were like in earlier life, what their appearance and talents were before. For, in truth, these earlier or later "incarnations" are as much "who they are" as the present manifestation.

And as for me, I do not think of myself as being of a particular age, but rather as "myself" moving through a particular decade or stage.

Here is a little poem I wrote recently on a related theme. I suspect that many of us have prized souvenirs or tokens of some earlier time in our lives, which we continue to treasure as important symbols of our total existence.

Once in the Forest

Once in the forest

I stopped to gather

a handful of moss

which had caught my eye.

O, how it glistened

with its sumptuous

reds and greens,

its streaked yellows and browns.

This silken treasure became

my constant companion,

traveling with me


my anchor, my deep joy,

my sustaining emblem

until its luster dimmed

and faded,

like something left too long

in an attic,

a once gilded child’s toy

gone to rust,

no longer useful.

But it stays alongside me,

I still cling to

the remnants of its former glory,

the tattered elements

of its beginnings,

its rich obscurity.

It tells me who I am.

Dorothy Walters
March 29, 2006

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Lawrence Edwards' Workshop and a poem 

Lawrence Edwards, Ph. D., author of "The Soul's Journey" and a long time leader in the Kundalini Research Network (and a wonderful guy) is offering the following workshop and retreat. I have heard from those who have attended these in the past, and they tell me it is amazingly restorative to be with Lawrence in these settings.


The Power To Change Your Life


SUNDAY, May 21, 2006


Registration Fee: $120 (includes light lunch)

9:00 am – 3:30 pm

Anam Cara, Inc., Bedford, NY

Taught by: Lawrence Edwards, Ph.D.,

Internationally known meditation teacher and author of:

The Soul’s Journey: Guidance From The Divine Within

For more information: http://www.thesoulsjourney.com/events.html

Give yourself a day to let it all go and discover what is beyond!

Meditation heals the body, even lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure. More than that, it calms the mind, bringing inner peace as it opens the gateway to the extraordinary domain of pure Unbounded Awareness. Through guided imagery, healing mantras, chants, gentle movement and ancient teachings you will mine the riches of meditation and deepen your access to your powers of healing and self-renewal.

For information or to register call: (914) 234-4800

Weekend Meditation Retreat: June 9-11, 2006

Mysteries of the Divine Feminine:

Kundalini Awakening and Empowerment.


by Lawrence Edwards, Ph.D.

Author of The Soul’s Journey: Guidance From The Divine Within

The extraordinary power of Consciousness to transcend the mind, body and even the world, to know the Infinite as your very own Self, is symbolized as the Goddess Kundalini in the yogic tradition. This great power is known in some form in every spiritual tradition. Awakening Kundalini marks the most important turning point in the soul’s journey. In this retreat people will be guided through practices that awaken and continue the unfolding of the inner power of meditation and yoga - Kundalini. With that power we will explore the archetypal realms of transcendence, wisdom and grace. Through mantra, chanting, breath work, and the profound mythic tales of Inanna, the Black Madonna, Kali and Kundalini we will further access the inner source of true knowledge, wisdom and freedom. That inner source is your highest Self, the Divine within.

June 9-11, 2006
Friday: 7-9pm, Sat. 9am-5:30pm, 7-9pm; Sun. 9am-3:30pm

Anam Cara, Inc., Bedford, NY
$250 (includes lunch Sat. & Sun.)
Accommodations and additional meals extra

For more information and people's sharing from having taken the retreat, please visit: www.thesoulsjourney.com

Sponsored by Anam Cara, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching meditative practices. www.anamcara-ny.org

(now from Dorothy:)
I have long taken pleasure in the fact that poets do not always have to "look on the bright side" of things. All of us have moments, or even days, when we are not in an ecstatic state, when we feel more cut off or a bit lost in our journey. I believe that these moments should be honored as part of total experience of the seeker who sometimes "finds," sometimes is in the state of searching and not immediately finding. However, if we have once experienced the "vision", that memory becomes a great source of courage to continue. And, of course, it is at times like these that the opportunity to be with such empowered and empowering teachers as Laurence Edwards is especially helpful.

The Pilgrim’s Song

If you ask me about holy longing

I can tell you how it is to go on

for lifetimes with hands

holding nothing

but a begging bowl

filled with regret

and a thin film of desire,

waiting for rain.

copyright, Dorothy Walters

(P. S. The final line here now seems a bit ironic, since we in San Francisco have just broken the record for the most rainy days in March.)

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