Kundalini Splendor

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Monday, July 31, 2006

Kundallini and Prayer 

I have often written about the role of bliss in connection with kundalini. But there are times, such as the present, when bliss must give way to serious reflection on what is going on right now in our world, to the immense amount of suffering we see spread in so many regions, and what, if anything, the rest of us can do about it.

Patricia gives her all through her continuing vigil in Washington. This might be called "prayer through demonstration." Her constant presence has put her in the very center of the action (not the war itself, but through the many, many personal encounters and reactions to events expressed by those who stop to talk with her.) Her accounts bring us all in closer, let us hear and sense the mood of those who pass by her in her witness state. Her conversations and experiences speak to us all--through her we are in touch with people from all over the world, people of various opinions.

What does this have to do with kundalini? Kundalini is (to my mind) itself a form of spirituality, spirituality has to do with compassion, compassion has to do with our willingness to set aside personal concerns and know and feel events as they are impacting our brothers and sisters everywhere.

The question we constantly ask is, what can I do? In many regards, we feel powerless, no matter who we are or where we live. The leaders do not listen. We seem to be getting dragged deeper and deeper into universal chaos and destruction.

I think we can pray. I am not advocating prayer in a traditional sense (though some may choose this route). I am not referring to the conventional "god" no matter what the name he/she is addressed by. I am pondering this question: if kundalini involves a shift of consciousness, if it endows us with a sense of connection with that which is higher than, more powerful, more inclusive that anything on the merely human scale, should we not turn to that connection in times of stress.

To whom, then, should we pray? I like what my friend Jeannine does: she prays to "whomever." We are told by many traditions that we are not capable of describing "deity," since any description is in itself limiting. So--I, like Jeannine, prefer to pray to "whomever." Even certain avowed agnostics prefer not to "close the books" prematurely.

Many of us involved in the current "evolution of consciousness" movement (some call it becoming beings of light) feel that our purpose, in part, is to help to create a spiritual network, a grid for earth itself, to bring into being a new phase for humanity and its home planet. Rupert Sheldrake calls this kind of creation a "morphogenetic field." Why not? If each of us can, individually, experience "the unthinkable," why could we not, collectively, serve a larger purpose orchestrated by unknown but benevolent forces? And why could we not put our collective awareness into the service of this higher reality through what (traditionally) has been called prayer.

I think it is time to pray. To get on our knees and ask. To meditate in the sincerest way for peace to return to our earth. To direct our leaders to return to the ways of human values and human survival, rather than the paths of destruction (for ourselves and others) we have been following for so many years. The future of all of us--our planet, out descendants--is at stake.

I have recently learned that our government is in process of building secret centers for the development of biological and chemical agents for "defensive uses." (See the Washington Post for discussion). Such centers are contemplated for places like the Bay Area, Boston, Maryland, and probably many other locations. They will be top secret. If there is a release (human error?), the toxins could kill hundred if not thousands within a 40-50 mile area. Anyone who remembers the development years of the atomic bomb knows that what we created for our defense ultimately fell into the hands of others, and became a major threat to ourselves. Why would not the same happen to these lethal agents? And anyone who has ever lived around certain kinds of atomic or chemical plants knows that leaks do occur, and people do suffer. Who will protect us from ourselves?

So I say it is time to "pray." With everything within us. With all our power and sincerity and might. To hold in our beings the central desire for the welfare of humanity itself, that it may have a future.

Who knows what such collective effort may achieve? Who knows what the outcome could be? Such a "mind field" can change history, turn events in another direction. It may be our last best hope.

I write this from the heart.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

More from Patricia Lay-Dorsey 

Here is more of Patricia's account of her continuing vigil in front of the White House. As I have said, her work is so important that I think all of us will want to read what she is doing. Amazing woman, for sure!

Saturday, July 29, 2006
Day 10 of my Lebanon Peace Initiative
On this steaming hot day in front of the White House, I again met interesting people from around the world.

First it was Megda and her daughter Amy who had just been evacuated from Beirut a few days ago. Their husband/father had stayed behind in the mountain home where they have lived for years. Up there, Megda said, they could see all the bombing and destruction, but, so far, they had not come under direct attack themselves. When I shared that I help teach art at a school in Dearborn, Michigan, Megda said there were many people from Dearborn with them on the ship to Cyprus. I asked if that included children. She nodded her head and said, "Lots of children!" I got teary-eyed thinking maybe my kids are safe. I've been so worried about them.

Waiting to talk to me while I was with Megda and Amy was a young Israeli family. Fortunately they waited to speak until my new friends from Lebanon had left. I say "Fortunately" because their perspective on Israel's bombing of Lebanon is very different from Megda's and Amy's. Even though they identify themselves as "leftist Israelis" who have been supporting the return of Gaza and the West Bank to the Palestinians, including the elimination of Jewish settlements there, this young man and woman with their two beautiful small children, wholeheartedly support their country's attacks on Lebanon, which they see as "self-defense." The man likened it to responding to a burgler who has come into your home and killed your child. "Would you just sit back and let that happen?", he asked, "No! You would fight the intruder!"

We talked for quite awhile and were able to agree that we want our loved ones safe, but we couldn't seem to get much beyond that. However, as they turned to leave, the woman said, "I hope your family will be safe." I said the same to her.

Not too long after this rather exhausting encounter--such dialogues are not easy--a woman stopped to have her say about my "Israel Out of Lebanon" sign. She said she has family in Jerusalem and things went downhill from there. I tried to find a common place for us to meet, but she couldn't stop ranting. Finally I gave up on the thought of any dialogue and just kept repeating, "I'm sorry you are suffering." Finally her friend literally pulled her away. So sad.

This encounter happened as a policeman was trying to get my identifying information, so he was witness to it. After the woman had left, I turned and said, "That is how I try to respond peacefully towards those who disagree." He just said, "I hope you can keep doing it that way."

By the way, a policeman usually comes up every day to ask how long I plan to stay and to ask my name. The first two days I gave them my name, but I have since learned from my Code Pink sisters and brothers, that, by law, I do not have to identify myself. So yesterday, I didn't. The policeman was very respectful of that. "You don't have to identify yourself," he said. He then asked if I had a permit, but my friends had also told me you only need a permit if you have 14 or more individuals standing on the sidewalk. Any number of people can stand on the street. So I reminded him that I didn't need a permit to stand there by myself. I also know exactly where I am allowed to stand still with my sign and where I must keep moving. If you stand between the two lightposts directly in front of the White House, you must keep moving. Otherwise, you can stand still for as long as you want. It helps to know the lay of the land, so to speak.

Luckily, my tough "assignments" in nonviolent dialogue came early in the day when I was fresh, as it was a hot one. But I always wear my hat, try to stay in the shade--I'm beginning to know the time of day by when certain of the trees at the fence begin to offer shade--and drink lots of water. I also drink a Gatorade a day to keep my "electrolytes in balance."

The rest of the day was made up of more encounters with amazing people.

Like Carlos Duguech, the director of Paz En El Mundo, a peace organization in Argentina. His English--although somewhat limited--was better than my Spanish so we did our best to communicate in my language. He taped my answer to his question, "What do you think about what is happening between Israel and Lebanon?" I guess he'll have someone translate it.

And M. Khorasani, a friend of the Dalai Lama, stopped and spoke with me for quite awhile. He is an imam at a mosque in Northern Califiornia, and apparently knows people in high places. Yesterday he'd met with the ambassador from Saudi Arabia. When he was asked if he wanted to meet Mr. Bush, my friend said, "No." He said to me, "I couldn't bear to shake that man's hand." His companion took a picture of M. Khorasani and me together.

I also met a group of young women from the Middle East--I can't recall which country--who were deeply appreciative of my being out there.

I can't tell you how many times a day I receive thanks from people from around the world for my being there with my sign. And not just those from the Middle East either. A lot of Europeans agree with me too; Asians as well. And so do some Americans. Not many, to be sure, but enough to give me hope. Of course I still hear the "Why doesn't your sign say, 'Hezbollah out of Israel'?" But if they want to talk, I just encourage them to make their own sign and stand here beside me. I tell them I'd welcome their presence.

My day ended on a very high note. Sahar, Marian's friend from Iran, came to meet me at my vigil and we walk/scooted over to my favorite restaurant for an early dinner. Again, Yared, the host, refused to let me pay! What a dear man.

I could write a book about all that I learned from Sahar.

She is a feminist in Tehran, where being one is extremely dangerous. Her companions were beaten badly and some of them imprisoned after a recent demonstration in Tehran. Her heart is there even while she is here. Sahar was practicing as a medical doctor in Tehran when she found herself drawn to the field of Medical Anthropology. There are very few such programs around the world; one of them being at Columbia Univiersity in New York City. After having to jump a lot of official hoops--in order to get a visa she had to travel to Istanbul--she arrived in New York to start the doctoral program in January. She is currently in DC for two weeks working with a program that focuses on AIDS protection--another area of interest to her--for the homeless and prostitutes of this city. Apparently AIDS is a huge problem in Iran, particularly because of the substance abuse epidemic. Did you know that Iran has the largest percentage of people with narcotics addictions--mainly injected heroin--in the world? This was news to me.

We had a long talk about my family in Lebanon. As a feminist in an Islamic fundamentalist country like Iran, where all women's heads must be covered at risk of imprisonment or lashing--Sahar was surprised and upset that I would carry a sign where the women are not only scarved but--in Sana's case--have their faces covered as well. Her question was, "How could I, a feminist, hold up a picture of women who epitomize Islamic repression of women?" My response was one I have often had to give to my feminist sisters: This is my family and I do not judge their personal choices. I may not agree with them, but I try not to judge.

Our conversation--as our walk/scoot after dinner--was wide-ranging and honest. Sahar and I meet on a deep level and I feel honored to be in her company. She is a couageous, committed woman who is making a difference in the world. We hope to spend more time together before she returns to NYC next Friday.

And now for the pictures:

Photo #1 is of a group of exchange students from Algeria and Morroco being shown DC by their hosts from a university in southern Virgina. They very much supported my message.

Photo #2 is of Carol who had just returned from picketing in front of a synagogue with her signs. As a Jewish woman she has been focusing on trying to influence Jewish opinions.

Photo #3 is of Amy with her mother Megda, both of whom had just been evacuated from Lebanon last week.

Photo #4 is of M. Khorasani, the Dalai Lama's friend.

Photo #5 is of Carlos Duguesch, the director of Paz En El Mundo in Argentina.

Photo #6 is of the young women from the Middle East who supported my vigil.

Phot #7 is of Sahar and me at the Washington Monument.

// posted by Patricia @ 7/29/2006 11:59:00 PM
becoming a Friend of my Lebanon Peace Initiative
It has been suggested that I invite my readers to do more than support my work here in Washington, DC with good thoughts and prayers; I have been encouraged to ask you for money. This goes against my grain, but I now realize that if you are allowed to give tangible support for this peace effort, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you are doing something worthwhile to try to protect the innocent civilians in Lebanon, 600 of whom have already been killed in 18 days of violence.

ALL of the money donated--sorry to say it is not tax deductible--will go towards paying my hotel and parking expenses here in Washington, DC.

I'm staying at the most reasonably priced hotel I could find in this expensive city--$113.37 a day including taxes, and $10 a day for parking--but that is still going to add up to $2220.66 by the time I leave on Monday, August 7 after having stayed for 18 nights. Unfortunately my need for a wheelchair-accessible room and shower prevents me from staying in a private home, even if one were available. Another advantage of staying here at the Hotel Harrington at 11th & E streets NW is that it is within scooting distance of the White House and Capitol Hill where I spend 4-5 hours every day holding up my sign and entering into peaceful dialogue with passersby.

If you would like to become a Friend of my Lebanon Peace Initiative by making any donation, large or small, please email me and I'll send you my snail mail address to which you can send a check made out to Patricia Lay-Dorsey. If good wishes and prayers are all you can afford right now, please know they are deeply appreciated.

// posted by Patricia @ 7/29/2006 09:28:00 AM
Friday, July 28, 2006
Day 9 of my Lebanon Peace Initiative
So much happened today--in both my inner and outer lives--that it's hard to know where to begin. But I'm going to start with the most significant: my father was restored to me.

Now that might seem like a strange thing to say, especially since he's been dead since 1987. But if you've followed my life through my blog or web site, you've probably heard me speak of my father's career as a founder of the CIA and Executive Secretary of the National Security Council under Presidents Truman and Eisenhower. What I might not have mentioned was that he left the NSC in 1960 shortly after John Kennedy became president, and went to the CIA where he was the Executive Secretary of the United States Intelligence Board until his retirement in 1971. The CIA was very important in our lives. I worked there for one summer during college, and the Director of the CIA at the time, Richard Helms, came to Ed's and my wedding in 1966.

All this as background for what happened today.

The Code Pink/Bring Troops Home Fasters organized a street theater-type of demonstration to welcome Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair to his meeting this morning with GW Bush at the White House. The theme was "Pink Poodles" because the media in the UK refers to Blair as Bush's poodle. I decided to join them. So I got to their spot under the tree across from the White House at 9 AM. Martha and others prepared the poodle-decorated pink parasols while Ann gave us an introduction to the day's actions. Among those attending was Ray McGovern, the former longtime CIA analyst who has been writing and speaking about how the Bush administration doctored the CIA reports prior to attacking Iraq to make them look like they supported his assertion that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the US. Ray has become a well respected voice in the antiwar movement.

So I introduced myself and told him how much I appreciated all he was doing to replace the lies we'd been fed with the truth. Ray is a modest fellow who quickly turned the conversation from himself to me, so in no time at all we were talking about my father and his connection with the CIA. He remembered having seen my Dad's name on many documents he'd received in his work as a CIA analyst. The conversation then turned to the disillusionment Id felt when I'd awakened to all that my Dad must have been party to during his years both at the NSC and the CIA. Ray asked what had triggered my disillusionment and I said the first Gulf War. I described the three weeks I spent in solitude during that war, at which time I finally faced the demons of my Dad's complicity in such horrors as the assassination of Lumumba in the Congo and others.

That's when Ray gave me back my Dad. He took the time to describe the ideals under which the analytical branch of the CIA--the branch he and my Dad had been part of--operated, and how different, and actually cut off, it was from the operative side of the Agency, the undercover agents who can commit pretty horrible crimes. He assured me that, even when my Dad was working with the NSC, he would never have even heard about plans for any assassinations. Such things would have been spoken to the president in private and never written down.

Do you have any idea how it felt to hear this from a man who obviously knows what he's talking about? It was as if the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. I think I'd felt that I had to expiate my father's guilt by the strength of my own commitment to peace. Now that work can be free of past agendas and be MY work not my father's. It's like I can breathe again. And I can also respect my Dad again, which means the world to me.

So that was the inner shift that occurred today; the outer shifts were less profound but still had meaning.

I marched with the Pink Poodles for awhile and was enjoying the sense of solidarity. At least I enjoyed it until the chants turned sour, for me anyway. There's a chant that often comes up about "How many kids did you kill today?" that just doesn't sit well with me. I know there's reality to it, but, in my opinion, it feeds into the violence it's decrying. So I did as I'd done when that chant was started at the big rally in front of the Israeli Embassy on Tuesday night: I scooted away from the crowd. In this case, I scooted farther along the White House fence and began another of my solitary vigils.

That meant I wasn't there when four of the Fasters sat down blocking the White House gate, and were subsequently arrested. By the way, this was an intentional act of civil disobedience, not police brutality. I gather the police--with whom they've developed a good relationship during their weeks in front of the White House--treated them fine. I just hope they were released within a couple of hours instead of having to spend the weekend in jail. Some of our weakest Fasters--Diane and Fr.Louie--were among them.

Soon afterwards, the police not only blocked off the sidewalk and street directly in front of the White House as we've become accustomed to their doing when someone special enters or leaves the White House, they also closed the sidewalk on the park side of the street and even that half of the park. This was new.

I saw it as a success for the Pink Poodles because it seemed clear that they were embarrassing Blair, but my views were not shared by some of my sister activists. They actually looked at me like I was crazy when I said it. They just saw it as another example of their right to protest being taken away.

You know, my own personal ideas of effective activism are changing dramatically here. I'm coming to believe that one-to-one dialogue is where it's at. When individuals take the time to speak and listen to their own and another's truth, that's when minds and hearts can change. I'm now less inclined to see marches, rallies, chants, even being arrested, as the most effective ways to promote change. I know many would disagree, but all I can go on is my own personal experience.

For nine days I've held up a sign that has provoked both positive and negative responses from all kinds of people. And sometimes these individuals have stopped to share their thoughts and feelings with me. If I can keep my mind and heart open to what they are saying, then there's a good chance we can find a place where we can meet. Isn't that what we wish our world leaders would do? Isn't that a path to peace? Whereas when we chant or make speeches AT people, how can we expect them to hear us without getting defensive? Especially if they disagree with our position.

Now, you need courage to do this solitary work for peace. And I do think it's more effective if you can be out there on your own rather than in a group. People feel intimidated if there are even two people, much less a crowd. But if you can have a peaceful demeanor, then folks feel safe approaching you. I'm finding that I am being changed more than anyone, not necessarily my opinions but definitely my way of being in the world. Could it be? Am I finally becoming a peacemaker? Oh, may it be so.

The day offered wonderful opportunities to get to know people like Joan, a spiritually evolved woman who is currently staying in a shelter here in DC. We spent a good long time talking and she told me the story of when she was 12 and met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. here in her hometown of DC. Do you know her first question to him? "How are your children?" He really warmed to her then. She took him by the hand and walked him a block away to meet her parents. She described him as having a deeply spiritual aura. Well, so does she. I'm hoping she'll come back so we can get to know one another better.

I also met Jill of the UK while the park was closed. She'd come over during her lunch hour to see Tony Blair whom she describes as being terribly out of touch with what the people of the UK want. She said they'd had such hopes for him at the beginning but that he'd turned into a bit of a monster, especially in relation to Bush.

My final new friends of the day were Marian and her Iranian friend, Sahar. We met and went to an excellent bellydance perfomance together at a performance space near Chinatown. Marian is the woman who had contacted me in response to my wanting to sell my Michigan Womyn's Music Festival ticket. She tickled me by saying she's going to make a T-shirt to wear at festival with "DARTPatricia's ticket" printed on it. When womyn ask her about it, she'll tell them about my vigils here in DC for peace in Lebanon.

And now I must go to bed. But first, here are today's pictures:

To see the pictures and to get Patricia's full story, go to


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Patricia Continues Her Vigil 

Here is more of Patricia Lay-Dorsey's account of her experience in Washington on her mission of peace. Again, I encourage everyone to read her own blog at www.windchimewalker.blogspot.com. What is going on right now in the world is of utmost importance. The implications are vast for us all. What happens in the next few days may determine the future of the world.

In her post following this one, Patricia describes in a very moving fashion how she was able to talk with an official in the CIA who knew her father when he worked there in a very high level position many years ago. Through him, she discovered that her father was not complicit in the many misdeeds of that agency which have since come to light. This discovery brought her immense relief. As she put it, she reconnected with her father in a very telling way. And, as she continues her journey, she finds that she herself is changing into a much more gentle advocate for peace, finding that personal one-on-one contact is more effective in changing minds or at least in sharing views than mass confrontations.

Note: The expenses for this trip have mounted. Patricia has decided to accept contributions from those who might wish to show support for her and for this cause in this way. Here is her invitation:

If you would like to become a Friend of my Lebanon Peace Initiative by making any donation, large or small, please email me and I'll send you my snail mail address to which you can send a check made out to Patricia Lay-Dorsey. If good wishes and prayers are all you can afford right now, please know they are deeply appreciated

Thursday, July 27, 2006
Day 8 of my Lebanon Peace Initiative

People are so kind. Yared, the Ethiopian host at my favorite restaurant here in my DC neighborhood--The Elephant & Castle--wouldn't let me pay for my dinner tonight. While I was eating my fish & chips, we'd talked about my work here in Washington to raise awareness of the plight of the Lebanese people. I guess my story touched him because when I asked for the check, the waiter said my dinner was free.

I'm finding this kind of family-feeling everywhere I go in DC. Whether it's the police checking to be sure I'm OK, strangers offering to get me water, people helping me open doors and getting out of the way so I can use the curb cuts, or simply being met with smiles even when I suspect they're not real fond of my message, I am feeling taken care of wherever I go. Although I'm alone most of the time, I do not feel lonely. Besides, I feel very strongly the support and loving thoughts of you, my faithful readers. Your support means more to me than you can imagine.

I got a late start this morning after needing to catch up on my sleep. The only trouble with having an evening activity like yesterday's film at the Women's Museum, is that I still need/want to put up my blog before going to bed. Last night that translated into a 3 AM bedtime! So I let myself sleep in this morning until 10:30 AM.

I started out at the Code Pink/Troops Home Fasters' tree across from the White House. I'd read on Democracy Now! that Code Pink's founder, Media Benjamin, had been able to get into the joint session of Congress for yesterday's speech by the Iraqi Prime Minister, and had interrupted it by standing and yelling, "Iraqis want the troops to leave. Bring them home now!" She'd been arrested for disturbing the peace, and she and Diane Wilson, who's in her 24th day of a water-only fast, had been interviewed by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on today's Democracy Now! show. I wanted to hear the story from the source.

Well, Media wasn't there, but Diane was. And so was Fr. Louie who had his own stories to tell.

A number of Code Pink/Troops Home Fasters were doing their best to get into the hearings on Captiol Hill being held to consider renewing John Bolton's nomination as US representative to the United Nations. In everyone's opinion that I know, Bolton is a disaster, a one-man promoter of ever more anti-American attitudes worldwide. I have my own personal issues with him. It was John Bolton who single-handedly squashed any attempts to pass a UN resolution censuring Israel for "disproportionate use of force" against Lebanon. And he, with the help of Ms. Condi Rice, also destroyed any international calls for a ceasefire. John Bolton is an enemy of peace, in my humble opinion.

But the Congressional police apparently saw not John Bolton, but Franciscan priest Fr. Louie Vitale, as a "dangeous enemy" this morning. Louie has spent up to six months at a time in federal prisons for civil resistance actions against nuclear weapons at the Nevada Test Site. They held and questioned him for an hour after he'd tried to get into the Bolton hearings, which were supposedly open to the public. The only way he got free of them was to ask that they call Congresswoman Pelosi's office where he had an appointment, and have her OK him. After meeting with an aide in Pelosi's office, Father Louie walked over to the Korean War Memorial where he'd heard VP Dick Cheney would be speaking. He managed to yell out a few words about bringing the troops home before he was ordered to leave.

Now, I don't know how Louie had the energy for all this--he's been on a juice-only fast for 24 days and is a skinny as a brown-robed serpent. What a sweet, deeply commited man of peace.

After checking-in with the fasters, I scooted up to Capitol Hill to do my work. I chose to spend the day in front of the House Office Buildings because there seems to be more activity over there. Besides tomorrow is their last day in session before the August summer recess.

As I said to my friend Dorothy in a phone call during a break, holding a sign for hours at a time is quite meditative. It becomes timeless time, but the key is to stay totally present and engaged. I try to catch people's eyes and smile, so that even if we don't agree, we've made a connection.

The vast majority of responses today were positive. I sense people are waking up and not liking what they see. Of course there are still those who see Hezbollah as the #1 Enemy, but their numbers are decreasing day-by-day. Rarely do these folks stop to speak to me, so I just smile and let them go on their misinformed way.

As always, I had wonderful conversations with passersby. Andrew Bestor was the first. He is focused on the CIA's role in just about everything and has a web site that you might find interesting.

Next it was Eva from Toronto and Tenzin from Connecticut. They've been in DC for months working with the International Campaign for Tibet. Tenzin is Tibetan and was born in a refugee camp in India, so this is work about which she feels passionate. And Eva impressed me as a deeply compassionate woman, one who longs to bring peace and justice to the world. She offered to help publicize my work for the Lebanese people, and asked me a lot of probing questions. Our time together was like a cool shower in the middle of this hot muggy day.

And for me it was a special delight to reconnect with Tammara of the Miltary Families Speak Out whose Operation House Call was set up not far from where I parked with my sign today. I'd gotten to know Tammara when the Midwest Bring the Troops Home Now Bus Tour came to Detroit last September. I was their driver/liason from Camp Casey Detroit. Earlier today, Al and Stacey of the MFSO group had given me fresh cut-up fruit. A real treat!

As I say, I received lots of positive feedback for my cause today. More thumbs up--literally--than ever, even one from a high-level Navy officer dressed in his whites. Many people thanked me for doing this, often God-blessing-me too. I appreciate all forms of blessing, especially when I know it goes directly to the people for whom I stand.

I took a different way home and found a hidden treasure along the way: the Bartholdi Park at the corner of Indpendence Avenue and Washington Street. It's run by the Botanical Gardens and offers an oasis of peace in the midst of the city. It soothed my soul just to be there. Like yesterdy when I realized how much I'd missed music, toay I saw how much I've missed flowers. But now I know where to find them again.

Friday, July 28, 2006

On the Question of Karma 

Someone recently suggested that the reason some people have trouble with kundalini awakening and others do not depends on "karma." That means (as I understand it) that those who did bad things in a past life will have difficulty and those who were good boys and girls will not.

I simply cannot believe this. The notion of "karma," especially as it may involve suffering or retribution in this life for some past action, is not admissible as far as I am concerned. First of all, there is absolutely no proof for such statements. Its claim rests on the assertions of some ancient "gurus" who also claimed to have answers to virtually all questions. Though I think there is much wisdom to be gained from studying the ancient writers, I don't swallow their teachings whole.

Some of these same folk also believed that there was a (literal) snake who lived at the base of the spine which rose when kundalini was awakened, that the sperm of the male literally went into the head, thus giving great pleasure to the practitioner who did not waste his energies in sexual discharge as such. In order to achieve this desired goal, they sometimes employed women for this arousal process. It is reported that some of these (male) practitioners had to use three or four women for this purpose, since their responses were slow to arouse. There are even reports of women being recruited off the street for this purpose. Obviously, we today would not condone such practices.

Some believed that there was an actual lotus at the crown, which opened at the moment of awakening. Now, when one has certain experiences, one can sense how such misconceptions might have arisen. Sometimes the energies rising do in fact feel like a snake biting its way upward. The brain itself can become a center of ecstasy in the awakening process. And the opening of the crown can feel like "a thousand lotus petals opening." Many have experienced such sensations. But these are metaphors which we now know not to take literally. They are attempts to explain to the uninitiated what kundalini feels like and does.

I do not think we should abandon our minds when we explore ancient wisdom literature. I think we should sift and contemplate, and take only that which seems sound and reasonable, especially as it accords with our own experience.

True, I do not totally discount the notion of past lives as such. We may in fact carry in with us some remnant or buried memory of certain prior events. Certainly we bring in an energy body which seems to have a great deal to do with how we are going to react to our present existence.

I believe the key to all this is to use our own minds and experience to contemplate, weigh, and judge. I feel that the last thing somebody having difficulty with a kundalini awakening should be told is that it is due to "karma," some deed not remembered in some past life somewhere, and which they are now powerless to do anything about, other than to suffer. This is too close to the doctrine of certain churches, which preach that you must "suffer for your sins" and insist that you do penance to bring yourself back to god. It also is reminiscent of Franz Kafka's "The Trial," where the accused is brought before a judge and sentenced, though he is never able to learn the nature of his crime. For those lacking in self-esteem, it could be a major blow to an already frail sense of self. I think such persons need to be reassured and encouraged, ideally even held and allowed to pour out their grief in tears. In other words, they need to be loved, not condemned.

If we want to look for the cause of kundalini difficulties, we should begin by looking at present life experience. Was this person victimized or abused early on, perhaps sexually or physically or verbally, by callous parents or other adults? Was he/she subjected to subtle or obvious criticism, so that a solid core of self-respect failed to develop? Has he/she undergone adult trauma--rape, violence, terrorof all kinds? The list goes on and on, and includes the millions of victims of social injustice such as discrimination for whatever reason, and the horrible suffering of those imprisoned or tortured or killed by government or other agencies. Surely these many millions were not condemned to whatever by their own "past karma."

Who among us goes into the kundalini experience in a state of perfection? Who is not grappling with inner issues or physical imperfections which cause us difficulty in the kundalini process? Only someone totally balanced in mind, body, and spirit will succeed without periods of pain and despair as well as times of pleasure. I have yet to meet this person.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Making Your Soul 

Making Your Soul
(For Patricia Lay-Dorsey, who knows how it is done)

To do it, you must be prepared
for emergency measures,
to give sustained devotion
like that of a saint
telling her beads in unbroken rhythm
whether standing in mounting snow
or beneath the scalding sun.

This process is quite specific,
not a child's game
of shadows on the wall,
nor some adult's mindless consumption
of warmed over soup
and yesterday's bread.

It is not the business of the therapist
to take you there,
though she might help you
to prepare for the journey,
nor is it the domain of the "master teacher"
who has all answers.
He does not really know you,
though he might offer
some useful information.

Inside you, there is an
secret flame.
She is burning always,
without fail.
She is waiting for you
to join her in a knowing fashion,
to lead you ahead.
Her voice is one you have always known.
She wears your face.

Dorothy Walters
July 27, 2006

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Patricia's Vigil at the White House 

See http://windchimewalker.blogspot.com/ for the full account of Patricia's vigil.

Several days ago, Patricia Lay-Dorsey set out alone in her van (modified to accommodate her disablility) from Detroit to Washington. There she began a solitary vigil, to speak for the Lebanese people, who are being invaded and killed by the hundreds in the current war of aggression by Israel. These folks are not terrorists. They are the ordinary citizens who, like you and me, have no real say in what is going on in the "higher circles" of their government, nor any way to control the extremists who have assumed sigificant power in their country.

Patricia, as you may recall, befriended a Lebanese family earlier, when after 9/11 the father was summarily picked up by U. S. security forces (in front of his wife and terrified children), taken by the "authorities" to an unknown destination, and held in solitary confinement for many weeks, not even being allowed to contact a lawyer or let his family know where he was. His "crime"? He was co-founder of one of the two largest Arab humanitaran organzations in the world, and as part of his work was responsible for collecting money for their aid work among refugees in Afghanistan, Kosovo and other war-torn countries. He was never brought to trial, in fact, never even charged. After nineteen months--sixteen of them spent in solitary confinement--he was secretly deported, and his wife and four young children were deported two weeks later.

Then, some seven or so months ago, Patricia traveled alone to Lebanon to visit this lovely family, who welcomed her as their own. She has described that visit eloquently in her journal.

So, when the invasion began in Lebanon, Patricia felt as though her own family was threatened. First, the wife and five children fled to their mountain summer retreat. When that also was threatened, they made it out of the country into Syria, and ultimately into Kuwait where she has family. The father was out of the country on business when the attacks began and was unable to get back into Lebanon to help.

At first, Patricia was virtually the only protester (against the invasion) at her post before the White House. Her daily blog accounts of her experience engaging in dialogue with people from all over the world is fascinating reading. Now, apparently, more people are growing interested in her and her personal witnessing for her own deep felt truth. Here is her blog from yesterday. I think the look in the eyes of the young returned soldier in the last picture would bring tears to the eyes of anyone whose heart is not totally hardened. (See her blog for the pictures, which would not reproduce here.)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Day 6 of my Lebanon Peace Initiative

This was a day full of media interviews, lots of activity in front of the White House, an organized protest opposing Israel's wars on the Lebanese and the Palestinian people, and an heart-connecting encounter with a young American soldier recently returned from fighting in Iraq. A BIG day!

It started with an 11 AM appointment with Christina Ramirez, a reporter with the Scripps Howard news service, at my post in front of the White House. She'd heard about me and my vigil through a sister Michigan Womyn's Music Festival festi-goer who had read my post on the MWMF online bulletin board about needing to sell my festival ticket. Christina expressed the desire to write a "profile" on me, so we had a long, wide-ranging interview as I held my sign in front of the White House fence. She'll let me know if/when/where it is published.

For several hours there were more ""suits" (Washington's power people) and media folks going in and out of the White House than I have ever seen. Code Pink was also out in full force with banners, bullhorn, chants and cameras following their every move. Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki was visiting President Bush and everyone wanted a piece of it...myself included. My agenda was visibillity for my sign, and there was plenty of that.

Just as Christina had finished taking her last picture, a man came up and asked if he could interview me too. This was Alec Russell, Washington Bureau Chief of The Daily Telegraph of London, who wanted to know why I was the only person out there with a sign about Lebanon. He said the people in the UK are terribly upset about what is happening there, yet he sees little concern being expressed by the American people. We discussed my countrymen and women's tendency to accept the sound bites fed them by such media sources as Fox News, and talked a bit about why I was doing what I was doing. He took notes as we talked but I don't know if anything will come of it. It was interesting for me to hear his perspective. I'm learning by standing in this spot where the world converges, that Europeans, as a rule, are MUCH better informed and more critical thinkers than their Ameriican counterparts.

I then got my meal of the day--I've gotten into the habit of eating just once a day--and went back to my hotel room for a little time out.

At 4 PM I was on the road again, this time off to Metro Center to take the train over to the Van Ness/UDC stop where I plannd to join a "funeral" protesting Israel's concurrent wars in the Middle East. It was sponsored by the Anti American Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Arab-American Institute, and a coalition of other organizations. It promised to be large. On the way over I received a call from Walid, a filmmaker whom I'd met in front of the Senate Office Building on Friday. He'd been trying to hook up with me to film me as part of a documentary he was doing on peace. We agreed to meet at the demonstration.

When I scooted out of the Metro elevator at Connecticut & Van Ness, I found dozens of black cloth-draped cardboard coffins being constructed by a willing crew of volunteers. I also met up with Walid, his two sons and their black lab named Princess. Wald and his youngest son filmed an interview with me before turning their cameras on the growing crowd of participants and media from around the world. I guess that's one of the perks of being an activist in the nation's capitol--when you get media attention, it is worldwide not just local.

We marched down Connecticult Avenue, and then through residential streets to the Israeli Embassy, a huge complex on Van Ness Street. On the way, I met two Lebanese-American women with whom I resonated deeply. We talked as we walked/scooted. When we stopped in front of the embassy for a rally, Rula introduced me to her two daughters. I've invited them to bring signs and their friends to the White House one day this week and join me at my vigil in front of the White House. They seemed taken with the idea.

I must admit I was turned off by some of the chants, and am discovering that I might have outgrown the mass protest mentality. It seemed more for the cameras than for us, and was appealing to the lowest common denominator of our humanity. I did not feel uplifted or effective as I do when I'm dialoguing with individuals, or even just siting silently with my sign. Nothing against this demonstration, the organizers and participants; it's just that I've changed.

On the way back to the Metro, I scooted with Danielle, an activist sister I'd first met at the Saturday vigil in front of the White House. On the way we met three young Palestinian men. One of them, Mohammed, gave me his card and asked that I email him my blog address. They expressed profound gratitude for all that I am doing here in DC.

What happened next is what I will never forget.

After I'd gotten back to my neighborhood, I decided a little ice cream would go good. I'd seen a Giffords ice cream shop a block from my hotel, and had wondered if their ice cream was as good as I remembered from my growing-up days in Falls Church, Virginia. I soon found that it is. But it was not the ice cream that I'll remember, it was the young man I met and ended up spending time with as I ate it.

Joey had asked me about my sign when I'd first come into the shop. After I'd gotten my cup of lemon and coconut ice cream and scooted over to an empty table, he came up and started talking about war, in his case the Iraqi war. I invited him to sit down. For the next hour, this 21 year-old American soldier opened my mind and heart to te realities of what it's like for our young men and women over in that hellhole George W. Bush and his folks have created.

This was Joey's first night off the psych ward at Walter Reed Army Hosptial where he's been since returning to the U.S. last Thursday. He told me it is crazy over there and it made him crazy. We talked at length and depth about his experiences in Iraq, his buddies who were killed, the commanding officiers who didn't give a damn about him or his buddies, the Iraqi people who scared him to death, his assessment of Mr. Bush's disaster, a bit about his earlier life in Kentucky and his young wife who worries.

For an anti-war activist who says she wants the troops home but has never even talked to one of them before, it was a moment of epiphany. For the first time I saw that these young men and women we're putting into harm's way, and sometimes turning into murderous monsters, are tender shoots who are being yanked from the soil where they were meant to grow and tossed aside like rubbish. They do not deserve this any more than the Iraqi innocents deserve what happens to them.

After awhile I invited Joey to join me for a walk. I took him over to the White House. It was obvious that he was much impressed. When he asked if I thought George Bush would meet with him, a returning soldier in the war he had begun, I said, "Why don't you go see." So Joey walked up to the guard desk. A young White House staffer was there saying goodbye to a couple who were leaving the grounds, and Joey asked her if he could talk to the president. He said he'd just gotten back from fighting for our country in Iraq and thought he should have the right to see the man who had sent him there. He was respectful but firm in his request. She smiled, thanked him for defending his country, and said he'd have to call a certain number to request an appointment. Joey didn't even write it down. As we left he said, "I should think I'd have the right to see the man who made me crazy." But of course, he didn't.

I ask you to hold in your hearts Joey and all our young men and women whose bodies, minds and spirits are being damaged and, in some cases, destroyed, by Mr. Bush's war on Iraq. They deserve better than this.

My photos follow. From having read my entry, I think you can figure out who is who.

Note: Unfortunately, I cannot reproduce the photos here. But I urge everyone to go to her blog site and look at these (and all the earlier entries and pictures.) The look in the eyes of this young man is enough to bring tears to the eyes of us all.

Please read Patricia's blog. Please hold Patricia in your heart and send her messages of support. She is to my mind the representative of all of us who cannot be there in person, but support the cause of innocent victims of violence, wherever that may be.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

About Bliss: Some Things I Have Learned 

About Bliss: Some Things I Have Learned

What is bliss? Where does it come from? How does it feel?

Over the years (about twenty-five, to be exact) I have experienced a great deal of bliss (as well as pain). I have given bliss much thought. Here are a few of the things I have observed along the way (based on my own experience).

First, bliss is a very tricky word. For some, it means simple happiness or contentment—perhaps even a kind of cosmic consciousness in which one feels connected to the All in a state of serenity. In the latter state, some yogis apparently lose all consciousness of the outer world and are totally immersed in their inner experience.

For me, bliss is something which is felt in the body. Now, already there is a problem with definitions, since there are, in fact, many “bodies.” I feel it in the physical body, but more importantly, I feel it in the energy body, the sheath which I think of as an electromagnetic field which surrounds the physical form. This sheath utilizes the physical substance of the familiar material body to convey its impulses. Everyone has such a sheath. The difference is that after kundalini is awakened we can (perhaps) feel what is going on there, as well as what is happening deep within the physical self. Sometimes we can feel this bliss even by “stroking our aura” (running the hand near but not touching the skin itself.)

Bliss can be felt in many ways. Sometimes it is like a streaming flow of pleasure running perhaps through the arms or elsewhere, enlivening with joy certain places more than others. Sometimes it is a concentrated feeling of absolute rapture located more in a particular place (say, a chakra such as the root (base) or the heart or head. Bliss is vibration, but it is more than a simple “buzzing” or sensation of heat (though kundalini itself may include these.) Bliss can occur in unexpected places, such as the inside of your head, or the inner ear or the ridge around your eyes. It can manifest anywhere in your system, and can be intense or subtle.

One of the common misconceptions about bliss is that it can be induced through practice and concentration. But I have known yogis who did extremely disciplined routines of all kinds for years, and never felt the bliss. I have known many other people who have suddenly, for no apparent reason, been swept into a torrent of rapture, bliss filling their beings like nectar flowing.

Another misconception (I think) is that a teacher who talks of bliss (or vibration) really knows the meaning of what it is. I have noted that many teachers of yoga (particularly in the West) have never been touched by bliss. Certain ancient systems don’t even acknowledge that it exists, particularly those which preach abstinence as a way to enlightenment. Some teachers dismiss the “bliss waves” as fiction, stating that the ancient texts speak only of energy which is “hot, or cold, or like electricity.” (Other texts say quite the opposite.) The current fad of “kundalini yoga” doesn’t necessarily produce either kundalini or bliss states, though it is good exercise.

Other systems, such as esoteric Tibetan Buddhism or Kashmiri Shaivism do acknowledge bliss. Their practices (including sound, movement, chant, mantra and such) seem (to me) to be aimed at the arousal of bliss states (shakti), or to release the feelings within.

Bliss, to me, is “god moving through your body” (as a gifted psychic once explained to me). It is the signature of the divine. It tells us that we are part and parcel of an ocean of love, we and it are one. To be “awakened” is to know this truth as actuality, rather than theory.

Thus, I am puzzled when certain teachers say of bliss, “If you are lucky, you will get over it,” or warn you not to focus on the bliss lest you get distracted from the “real goal.” What is the “real goal” if not to merge with this vast sea of love in its highest expression, to be infused with the infinite real. And bliss itself can act as the teacher, leading you from level to level, stage to stage as your process unfolds.

Such feelings of rapture or ecstasy need not be defended or even explained. They simply are, irrefutable facts of experience, and, for me, all the evidence I need of divine connection.

Bliss is not one thing. It differs for each person, and for every person over time. Some females actually experience spontaneous orgasm when bliss first awakens. This has not been my experience. Years ago, my bliss came on like a marching band carrying me to states of intense, totally rapturous feeling. Today it is gentle, soft—something which can be felt at times just by moving the eyes or softly flexing the fingers. This is subtle bliss, not as dramatic as the earlier forms, yet infinitely pleasurable. Often I feel it as soft energy flows in the hands and arms or around the head. It still feels like a stunning affirmation of who “I” am (not a separate being, but a tiny part of something vast and infinitely real but which I can’t define.)

My bliss is very shy. Often when I am in the presence of certain teachers or devotional performers, my bliss will retreat within, and I will feel little or nothing during the public experience. But when I listen to sacred music or practice chanting at home, when I bow to the image on my tongka, above all when I enter a shifted state of consciousness, the bliss will return. Again and again this happens. Again and again, I am told “I am you.” But do not exist in a perpetual state of “bliss consciousness.” Only when I am prepared to enter a totally devotional mood, to receive fully this token of love, does bliss come. And, once I leave the meditational state and go about the business of the day, the bliss retreats. I am now in a very different form of consciousness.

I think that maybe this experience is so totally sacred, so completely esoteric, that it can be discovered only in the most intimate of circumstances, that is, when you are totally alone with the “Beloved Within.” The public setting precludes the private response. So, for me, as always, I need not go abroad to find what I am seeking. I already have it at home in my living room.

The final question, of course, is how, then, can we all experience such bliss? I wish I had the answer. It is one of the great ironies that this great gift cannot really be shared or given to another (at least not by me.) It seems that the “inner divine” chooses its own time and circumstances to manifest. In the meantime, we can, I think, prepare ourselves for that moment which might arrive.

We can prepare by putting our lives in order, by addressing our issues (whether psychological or physical)’ by studying and progressing on the spiritual path through the wisdom of others, whether from books or actual contact (and we will respond to these in a very selective fashion—we will exercise caution, not give away our minds to anyone else, no matter how renowned); by being grateful for those times of joy and epiphany which are granted to us. And we will ask for guidance within, to be led to those levels of experience appropriate for us at this stage of our development. And, perhaps most important, we will choose to do whatever we can to make this world a better place. That, I think, more than anything else, is likely to take us to what we seek, bliss.

Sunday, July 23, 2006



He was not afraid
of what was beautiful.
He was able to capture it,
place it on his canvas
like bits of crystal light
frozen forever
into symmetry.

The famous water lilies
were more than real,
beyond the merely observed.
The blooms of their chalices
leapt from that shining surface
like lanterns set adrift
on water, to find their way
to other destinations,
regions not yet explored.

And the cliffs, the winding
upward path, the trees and their
burnished leaves,
you knew that you too had
been there,
breathed their brightness,
tasted those succulent hues
like strawberries
ripe in the mouth.

You too felt the salted breeze
along the coastal shore,
your flesh stroked
by the sensuous sun,
heard the surge and withdraw
of the deep sea drone,
the throaty note
from below.

What he gave us
was more than himself,
his eye, his craft.
It was, rather,
the throb at the core,
the very pulse
of whatever it is.

Dorothy Walters
July 21, 2006

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Anatomy of Bliss 

Note: My computer has been down for several days, and hence I have not been able to post. (Oddly, my computer failed, my watch stopped, and my tape player lost its sound all within 24 hours. My watch has now restarted, and my computer is working again--all very mysterious.)

The Anatomy of Bliss

No one knows why.
It could be anything,
a sudden shift in the atmosphere,
a rush of hormones,
the cells sparking off
one another’s memories,
sharing secrets from
their own private past,
underground network of nerves.

I can’t unravel
this speech,
translate its phonemes
into anything meaningful,
recognizable, clear.

This is why I have abandoned
foresworn the hidden syllables
of desire.

I just let this whatever it is
play over me,
lead me to recognition
like a primal self
moving into dream state,
like a wanton child
toying with its
mother’s breast.

Dorothy Walters
July 20, 2006

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

computer down 

Dorothy's computer is temporarily down. She'll be back as soon as possible.

computer down 

Dorothy's computer is temporarily down. She'll be back as soon as possible.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Up and Down Mystic 

In the post from yesterday, I stated that we all follow a cyclic pattern of highs and lows, uppers and downers in our lives. The mystic is no exception to this. Very few of us are firmly established in the higher state at all times. Certainly I am not. Ecstasy is inevitably followed by pain, rapture by some unwelcome physical reaction.

Friday had been a near perfect day. I (once again) felt exquisite bliss flows as I listened to Tibetan chants. I went out into the city, and even then, felt soft waves of pleasure from time to time. I wrote the "Four Love Poems to the Invisible" on the bus coming home. My joy was interrupted at one point when someone started screaming obscenities at the next bus stop. Like most people, I turned away and pretended not to notice. But my inner bliss came to a halt.

But my faith was restored on the next part of the ride. The bus was very crowded, but a woman sitting near me insisted I take her seat. She herself was well into her sixties. She was rather heavy, and as she stood before me hanging onto her strap, she swayed so that I was a bit fearful that she would fall on top of me.

Finally, a seat opened next to me and she sat down. I thanked her again, and mentioned what a pretty jacket she was wearing. She seemed to have some difficulty understanding, and I sensed that she was not an English speaker. Then she answered, obviously very pleased, "Linen. Linen." And it was indeed. We did not try to say anything else to each other, but I felt she was indeed a very good and kind woman.

When she left, she looked at me and said , "Goodbye." I think she also had been cheered by our little exchange.

So I felt good when I got home. That night I watched "Brokeback Mountain," one of the most moving films I have ever seen. Anyone who has ever suffered deep loss, who has known happiness of a special kind and then had it snatched away (whether by society or other circumstances) will resonate with this story. But for me, it was especially significant, since I know what it is to be judged and oppressed by society at large for private experience, and what it means to lose that which you most love. Generally I don't think about these matters, most of which occurred long ago. But now something was coming up like a drowned body rising to the surface of a lake. I was awake much of the night thinking about these issues and indeed was slightly ill next day. And I felt ill again today.

And then suddenly my stomach ache released. I was in fact reflecting on something else and this reflection brought up anger. And I realized (once again) that I had been repressing anger, the anger underlying the grief which the movie had aroused. This is my chronic problem--repressed anger leading to physical symptoms. Maybe this time I'll remember the lesson and "let it go."

I wrote the following poem as a reaction to the movie. For me it was an experience of catharsis, saying how I felt. Perhaps it will also speak to others when past sorrows come back like ghosts demanding recognition once again.

Brokeback Mountain

I keep telling myself
it was only a movie,
but no,
that grief has taken over
my soul,
moved in like a thief
and now inhabits
the whole house,
this house with dark ribbons
on the door.

Old wounds throbbing
once again,
old sorrows weeping
like statues in a burial

I myself
lost in this fog
of remembrance,
how it was
to be bludgeoned
by sorrow,
how it felt
to be carried out to sea
on that reckless wave,
to be slain
again and again
by the blade invisible
to everyone
but me.

And the abandoned shirt
still hanging
on the closet door.

Dorothy Walters
July 15, 2006

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Thoughts on Poetry 

The poems which I posted yesterday were inspired by opening a book of love poems by Rumi in a bookstore. I actually wrote the poems while I was riding the bus home, and still in the spell of the master's words.

Interestingly, I had written this little reflection on Rumi and the nature of poetry just the night before. It seems that I was, indeed, quite "open to Rumi."

(And once more I broke my vow and bought the book, only to discover when I got home that I already owned it. I now have about 30 books of Rumi, and they add immensely to my life.)

Some Thoughts on Poetry

The poetry of Rumi is very transparent. It is couched in language that anyone can understand—simple statement, clear metaphor. Yet even in translation it carries an impact, wields an inner power, not entirely accounted for by the words themselves.

For Rumi (like other mystics, such as Hafiz, Kabir, St. John, or Mirabai ) deals with fundamentals. His verses speak to the soul in its many stages—sometimes in yearning, sometimes immersed in its pilgrim journey including its recurrent moments of struggle and despair, sometimes in celebration of discovery, sometimes involved with consequences or aftermath of illumination. So when we read such verses, something resonates deep within even when we are not fully conscious of what it is.

In a real sense, these familiar stages of the mystic path are also the categories of the human spirit. Together they constitute a psychological spectrum or wheel, and wherever we are in our lives can be located at one or another of its stations. Thus, whether or not we name ourselves mystics or spiritual seekers, this is our own inner cycle which we act out according to our own natures and commitments. All of us yearn for valid connection to that which is larger than ourselves, whether we give it the name of a god or goddess, or cast it simply as a divine presence or give it the name of our chosen vocation or rebel against it in angry or resigned disillusionment And of course the dark night of the soul comes upon us all at times. The stalwart spirit hangs on until the wheel carries her once more into light. Those who renounce belief entirely console themselves with other pursuits, maybe becoming aliens or outlaws, or fleeing to the safe enclaves of intellect where those gather who have looked within and discovered nothing, and thereafter proclaim to one another and the world that nothing exists.

The post-modern spirit has difficulty with Rumi and his ilk. What is too simple, too evident, that which speaks too directly to the inner core of desire and feeling, is rejected in favor of that which can be more easily controlled and manipulated, dissected, regressed to its component parts. It is as if the human witness is afraid of being tricked or overwhelmed by knowledge too profound for the psyche to sustain amidst all the confusion of the current scene. Artistic creation itself becomes the mirror of chaos, and poetry the emblem of despair.

Chaos and despair are real, and must be confronted and acknowledged as part of the journey. But there must also be a tolerance for other possibility, a willingness to break through when the moment comes. We must be open to Rumi, let his words (and those of other poets of transcendence) transmute us at the deep levels. We must be willing to move into the next stage.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Four Love Poems to the Invisible 

Four Love Poems to the Invisible

You’re taking me
there again.

I am muttering:
Where have you been?

But already
it’s too late.

We’ve already
arrived at our old
trysting place.

I am already fainting
from the perfume of the flowers
in your mouth.


I know,
don’t tell me.

I’ve fallen in love
with a sound,
a Tibetan growl.
And some strange instrument
I can’t name.

You know what this stuff
does to me.

That deep throated
love note,
that unplumbed pitch
that tears at
your bones.

No more talking now.
Just listen.


Every time
I turn my back on you
you appear
on the other side.

This morning,
I found you
lying beside me
In bed.

Next you were
looking back
at me
from my mirror.

Now you are
a blooming bush,
a torched blossom,
a feather
drifting by.


Once more,
I’ve been

But I’m
not complaining.

I don’t care
if you leap
from a plane
or jump
from your horse
and tackle me
on the Mongolian steppes,
or come by
strumming a guitar
and scattering rose petals.

Anything will do.
Just don’t leave.

Dorothy Walters
July 14, 2006

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Poems: "Tibetan Chants" and "This Power which Possesses" 

Tibetan Chants

More sound than meaning.

More meaning
than we can say.

Receive us into
these harbors
of resonance.

Carry us into
the deep cellars
of ourselves,
the old sea caverns where
our spirits echo
back and forth
across the walls
of recognition.

Let us know all
the beginnings,
the primal roar,
the first incoming wave
which became
the shape of
who we are.

This Power Which Possesses

Like a blade of fire traveling across
a frozen lake,
splintering the ice
as it goes.

Like wind as hurricane
stripping the trees,
giving each its blessing
in its wake.

Summer rain washing against
our soul’s ear,
love stroke,

Dorothy Walters
July 12, 2006

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

More Tales of the City 

Once again, I ventured into the city to do an errand across town. Walking toward the bus stop, I noticed that the Orthodox Russian Church in the next block had its doors open, and that people were going in. So, after some hesitation, I decided to venture in to see, finally, what was inside. The interior of the church (which I viewed from the vestibule) was dazzling. It was covered from floor to ceiling with rich replicas of Byzantine mosaics. Indeed, the ceiling itself was decorated in brilliant, sumptuous colors.

A service of some sort was going on. Some six or eight robed priests stood at the front leading the service. The congregation (at least those standing near me) frequently crossed themselves and bowed, and as I watched them I realized that only a few minutes earlier I had stood before my tongka and had likewise bowed. In fact, during my bows I had felt the soft energetic flow move into my head, and had wondered if this sensation might in part explain why the bow is so important in many religious traditions. For me, it is as if you bend forward to receive god in your head.

Then in the church there was some quite lovely chanting, and I felt little "buzzes" of delight as I listened. My, I thought, no wonder people are attracted to this tradition. First you are given a feast for the eyes, then solace for the ears, and you yourself are allowed to affirm with your bodily movements your sacred connection with the divine.

Then I noticed a sign near the door to the sanctuary. It said that men should not wear hats during the service, and that women should not wear short skirts or shorts or pants. When I read the last item, I realized that I was wearing (as always) slacks and sweater. Suddenly I felt like an intruder, the unwelcome outsider. And I quickly left. Apparently, this church demands that all women wear skirts. Now, I have nothing against skirts that other women (or men, for that matter) choose to wear. But for me it is a symbol of subordination, the demands placed on women throughout the ages to assume an inferior role, and to succumb to the dictates of fashion and the "feminine mystique." I do not own a skirt, and don't plan to acquire one. It is doubtless part of my continuing rebellion against stereotypical roles and appearances. So be it.

As I continued my journey, I was struck once more by the diversity of this city and its citizens. I stopped by a lab to give blood for a routine test. The phlebotimist was from the Philippines, someone whose family had been prominent in Philippine politics. He said he himself would be arrested should he return.

Then I went on into the Castro, the gay section of the city, to have lunch. As I sat at my outside table, two very sweet young fellows asked if I would take their picture. Of course, I was quite glad to do so. Oddly, these gentle young men were dressed in leather, a choice which seemed at odds with their manner. Well, San Francisco is for many a place of fantasy, where one can play act one's innermost desires. And one way of doing that is by one's dress.

After lunch, I went to a store looking for a certain kind of hat to protect against the sun. One section of the store was stocked with costumes and accessories of all kinds, from feather boas to wigs. More ways to fulfill the inner dream of the self.

I didn't find my hat, so went home looking the same as when I arrived.

But on the way, I couldn't resist going into a metaphysical bookstore--and despite all my vows to the contrary, bought two books, one called "The Tantra of Sound" and the other "Yoga of the Mahamudra." For me, these, more than anything, are the symbols of who I am.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

An Early Awakening 

Here is an account of kundalini awakening which occurred to the writer at the age of 12. This is the earliest I have heard of, though my friend at the ashram (resident guru) told me such things often have happened in India. Children there sometimes simply "go into the forest" when such experiences occur.

As yet, I am not sure how this experience affected her later life, but hope to learn more later. Most of the experiences I have heard of occurred to women around fifty, the age when Jung says real individuation begins. It would be interesting to know more about this whole matter of age of awakening, but I don't know of any studies.

Yes, I too had a kundalini experience in my 12th year. I was sitting in
a junior high school gym at what we called an assembly. I felt a pop in
the base of my spine, and then an uprushing of energy. I lost
consciousness of this world and experienced a deeply blissful state. Apparently
no one noticed anything, because when I came to, people were filing out
of the gym as normal. I gradually 'came down' over the following week,
but the experience has colored the remainder of my life. Especially my
teenage years were affected by it. I never dated in those years, kept
to myself.

Monday, July 10, 2006

More Poems from Eric Ashford 

Eric Ashford continues to pour out his amazing poems of love to the Goddess. As one reader said, "Poetry blazes from his pen." I consider him one of the finest poets around, and again enourage you to look at his blogs (http://goddessthemes.blogspot.com/ ) Read his profile to discover his other sites.

heartbreaking joy

The Goddess woos you
with a heartbreaking joy.

There is always pain
as your masks fracture one by one
but that too is Her tenderness.

The brittle boned scaffolding
of your mind topples over.
Your dismay is in Her care
as She pulls you aside
to watch it collapse
in the slow motion replay
of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

She wounds you with the only remedy
that can heal the dead.
Her heartbreaking compassion
is to let that charade of yourself
decline and dwindle

with no hope of recovery
from the pain of Her love.


a bloom in the open mouth of bliss

The Goddess is dancing again.
Her wild tarantella surges
through every cell and sinew.
Shakti rising, they call it
but it is more a ravaging.
A molestation so loving
that flesh itself speaks
with the wild prayers of a forest fire
to become this blood-soaked
siren song of being.

I am an image of what love becomes
when it falls for itself.
A light slays my ghosts today.
Immodestly I demand
more transfusions of intimacy.
More onslaughts of Her tenderness.

I want more.
I want to be Her own delight
as She shudders and wails
in this tussled bed of surrender.
To feel Her pleasure in me
as She pushes upwards through
my striving stems of desire
to bloom
in the open mouth of Her bliss.



and I am scooped out of the dark
like nectar.

You breathe me out
and fashion Your heart to fit mine.
I am out of the broken nest
of the past and future.

Lovers make do
with each other.
Turning away from their faults
but I have grown
to be Your own memory.

Nothing is between us
but the sky of this moment.

(copyright, Eric Ashford)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Kundalini, Language, and Vibration 

Recently, I came across a website by a dedicated linguist, who has analyzed in great detail the various sounds and syllables of language, to determine what their impact might be on the listener. She has in fact compiled whole dictionaries and glossaries of infinite numbers of sound produced by language. I wrote her this letter, thinking she might be interested to know what the impact of language, especially sacred language, might be for someone with awakened kundalini. (Those of you who already know my story will find repetition here; others may find it helpful)

I found your site through Patricia Bralley's blog, and thought I would send you a brief response. I am a retired English and women's studies professor. I went into English lit because I loved narration and poetry, and taught, in all, about 40 years. For the most part, I was drawn to the story line itself and all its implications for human experience and to poetry as a wondrous and evocative mode. I thought I knew a bit about literature and its possible effects. I was not a linguist as such, and was more interested in the level of archetype and symbol and theme and meaning, rather than detailed analysis of the linguistic/semantic level.

In 1981 I experienced dramatic kundalini awakening.  I don't know if you have any familiarity with this process, but for me it served (among other things) to make me infinitely more sensitive to everything without and within. Colors became deeper, music more sensuous, and inner awareness much richer. I went into what I can only call "ecstatic states" (deep rapture akin to sexual feelings, but yet different.) Bliss became a daily occurrence (a sense of sweet energies located in special places or else flowing throughout the body.)  My chakras opened suddenly--my crown opened and ecstatic energy seemed to flow into my very cranium--the ancients of India describe the experience as resembling "a thousand petals opening. It was a very new and radically transformed universe for an English teacher.

Now all of the above is preliminary to what I am going to say now. Music became a very important stimulus for awakening the inner rapture--it was as if my "subtle body"(or energy body, that which works through but yet is not the same as the physical body) was itself a vehicle for deep, sensuous arousal (again, more a general feeling than sexual arousal as such.) Along the way, I was persuaded to take lessons in Transcendental Meditation, a technique based on awakening "higher" states of consciousness in which awareness itself is paramount. No energetic work was involved or acknowledged as significant. Bliss was not mentioned. I was given a "mantra" which I disliked intensely, and soon became ill. I quit T. M. and tried to go back to my former (inner directed ) practice, but it took some time to recover my lost ground. Later my "inner teacher" gave me a mantra, quite different from the other, and this I dearly loved. I resonated in bliss as I recited these simple syllables, though at first I had no idea of their meaning.

I then took a class from Andrew Harvey, who taught me to listen to poetry in a new way. Andrew has a deeply resonant, beautiful voice, and as he read, I felt the "inner centers" vibrate with joy. Then, just reading sacred verse (Rumi) "turned me on" in this quasi-physical way.

Then I visited an ashram for the first time ever.   This group did Sanskrit chanting.  When I heard these sounds, I thought I was going to faint with delight. It was as though a thousand tiny musicians were playing my "inner keyboard," as if my body had become a sounding board resonating in total rapture. I could not get enough.

Now Sanskrit, like Hebrew, is said to be a sacred language. It presumably is intended to "resonate the inner centers," open the chakras, and thus (in my view) allow for an inpouring of divine love. At least that was my experience of it on this first mystical encounter. After that, every time I heard Sanskrit I again fell into near rapture. For some time my spiritual practice consisted of listening to recordings such as Vyaas Houston (a Sanskrit scholar and chanter) reciting the Gayatri Mantra, a short verse which is recited daily in India by hundreds of thousands of worshippers Now I had no idea what these words meant. I only knew that they afforded me infinite bliss.

The same was true for a marvelous recording of kirtan (call and response form of sacred musical chant) by Jai Uttal with Ram Das reading sacred poetry (the latter in translation,but still very powerful.) I assumed the power resided in the sound itself, that Sanskrit (as sounded in the kirtan) under all conditions could evoke this effect. Of course I later discovered this was not the case, that those who are prepared in a certain way (through kundalini awakening, mostly) will respond in such a manner. Likewise, I discovered, much to my disappointment, that not all renditions of spoken Sanskrit will have this effect--it seems to depend on the speaker or singer as well as the mood of the listener and the nature of the setting and who knows what else.

I also found that when I heard other forms of chanting (such as Hebrew), I had a similar somatic response. Sometimes I think part of my reaction had to do in part with a heightened awareness brought on by sensing the combined energies of a spiritual congregation acting in harmony (coherent energy pattern.) So--after all those earlier years of dealing with language in ways that I loved, I discovered (after this "awakening") the true nature of language as sacred experience, how it can convey deep feelings (sensuous and powerful) as well as meanings, how those feelings can be aroused quite independent of any awareness other than that of the feelings themselves. In this state, there is no separate subject, object, process--these are all one.

Your work is deeply impressive. As for me, I took the experiential as opposed to the analytic approach. I simply jumped in the river and found I was all but drowning in bliss. I have no real idea what is going on with words and sound (and movement and music and images and power places and other things as well--they too can awaken bliss). But I do feel I have been quite blessed to have had such experiences. They have made my life a real adventure, one I would never have anticipated taking--I have entered a world I did not know existed.

It has now been some 26 years since my experience began. It still continues, though in a much gentler, more subtle form. It's been quite a journey

Saturday, July 08, 2006



This is the constructed world
we lived in
before we found that other,
pulsing beneath the skin
where original light and shadow
cried out in joy,
became our soul
as we stood
in constant wonderment
at how those lovers
flowed into one another
like melting images
on a screen,
like waves becoming shore.

Dorothy Walters
July 8, 2008

Friday, July 07, 2006

Monet, Nature, and Art 

Yesterday, I went (again) to the Monet exhibit currently being shown at one of the major museums here (just down the street from me, actually.) I have been quite impressed by this collection. It is more than mere art. To begin with, it clearly and impressively illustrates exactly what happened when art turned from the dark tones of the previous era to the brilliant, luminous, light filled canvases of the impressionists. It is one thing to read about this shift in books. It is quite another to stand before it and contemplate its many depths and nuances. (The originals by the way are infinitely more powerful than the bland reproductions of the famous water lilies you so frequently encounter in the dentist's office.)

This show was extremely powerful. First of all, Monet clearly loved nature on a very deep level. He was (I am convinced) a nature mystic of a high order. He had a profound connection with the "spiritual essence" of what he saw, and he captured the scene so that it seems to be somehow "lit from within," like a stained glass window with the light simply pouring through. And he was not afraid of beauty.

These two attributes set him well apart from many of our "post-modern" painters, whose work seems to be more an intellectual exercise or an experiment in chaos than a presentation of that which speaks to the soul of the viewer. In the nineteenth century and on into the twentieth, poets and writers such as Wordsworth and Thoreau sensed that there was a divine power or presence behind the surface appearance of the natural world. The sensibility of the nature mystic has now gone out of style--instead of connection with, there is a pervasive deconstruction of--and many, I fear, don't even know what this experience--of oneness, of being filled with delight and wonder at nature's presence--is.

In cutting ourselves off from nature in this way, we lose an important part of our human capacities. In the universities, such perspectives (as Monet's) would be dismissed as "hopelessly romantic" and naive. High art disdains the mystical in favor of the--what?--maybe the analytical, the revelation of the nothingness and meaninglessness beneath the surface. Since meaning no longer exists, the artist focuses instead on surface and texture and arrangement and color--the "abstract" as opposed to the concrete and recognizable world from which we construct our lives and which (for some, at least) resonates with "intimations of immortality". In much of popular culture, the audience is confronted only with massive doses of destruction and violence. Our world sometimes seems to have turned from beauty to the pursuit of sensationalism.

I am very old fashioned. I like to stroll through a forest or beside a mountain stream and enter into an altered state--I think of it as a state of wonder or joy. I like to experience exaltation. I love Monet. He is the real deal. He reminds us of who we are.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Here are some upcoming offerings by Lawrence Edwards, Ph. D., my friend and one of the preeminent authorities on the kundalini experience. See his website www.thesoulsjourney.com for further details, and to sign up for his free newsletter. (note:in the process of copying and pasting this notice, I lost the more attractive format of the original announcement.)

Courses, Retreats, Weekly Meditation Group


August 19-20, 2006

Abiding in Silence

Meditation Retreat
Led by Lawrence Edwards, Ph.D.
Saturday 2pm-10pm, Sunday 6:00am-3:30pm
Anam Cara, Inc., Bedford, NY
Fee: $150, includes light meals
To register call 914-234-4800

Dive into the depths of meditation by living in silence, even for this brief span of time the effects are powerful. Deepen and expand your meditation practice by nurturing it with the time and attention it deserves. Silence will be maintained except for meditative chants of mantra and the opening dharma talk. Program includes sitting meditation, walking meditation, chanting and mindfulness. All are welcome!

Anam Cara, Inc.
Bedford, NY

Preregistration required
Call 914-234-4800
Register early.
Checks can be made out to Anam Cara, Inc.
Mail registration to:
Anam Cara, Inc.
P.O. Box 215
Bedford Hills, NY 10507

November 2006

Mysteries of the Divine Feminine
and Kundalini Empowerment

November 11-13, 2006
Friday evening 7pm- Sunday 3:30pm

Led by Lawrence Edwards, Ph.D.

The extraordinary power of Consciousness to transcend the mind and body, indeed the entire world, and thereby to know the Infinite directly, is called Kundalini in the yogic tradition. This power of Consciousness is innate to everyone and is often depicted as a goddess. The Divine Feminine as the Great Goddess both creates the many forms that bind us and it is She who releases us from that bondage. It is by Her grace that ultimate lasting freedom is won. She is known in some form in every spiritual tradition, from Mother Mary to Inanna, from Ma Kali to Tara. In this retreat people will be guided through practices that awaken and unfold the inner power of meditation, Kundalini. With that light of Consciousness we will explore the archetypal realms of wisdom, grace and transcendence. Through empowered mantra, shaktipat, chanting, breath work, and the profound tales of the Eastern and Western mystical traditions we will further access the inner source of true knowledge, wisdom and freedom. That inner source is your own highest Self, the Divine within, beyond all forms. This retreat is for men and women! We all have but one divine Self! Kundalini, the power of the Self to know Its Self awakens the most profound levels of meditation and transformation. There is nothing more potent, nothing more liberating, nothing more empowering. Come and discover the real secret code that gives the most profound meaning to life and access to divine wisdom.

Friday 7-9pm; Sat. 9am-5pm and 7-9pm; Sunday 9am-3:30pm
$250 Registration Fee
Includes lunch Saturday and Sunday
Additional meals and accommodations extra.

Anam Cara, Inc.
Bedford, NY

Preregistration required
Call 914-234-4800
Register early.
Checks can be made out to Anam Cara, Inc.

Mail registration to:
Anam Cara, Inc.
P.O. Box 215
Bedford Hills, NY 10507

Refund Policy: Full refund given if cancellation is received 8 weeks prior to the program or if the program has to be canceled for any reason. 50% refund given if canceled 4-8 weeks in advance. If you cancel within 4 weeks of the retreat no refund is given and 50% may be applied to a future program. The balance will be received as a tax deductible gift to Anam Cara, Inc.

Sharings from people who have attended this retreat:

Very powerful energy came through the empowerment ritual, the chants, meditations and when you touched my head it felt like a liquid golden energy flowed in. I love your interpretations and guidance on myths, the Vedic texts, etc. It was all beautiful, profound and full of love.
K.R., artist/entrepreneur, Tennessee

I came without expectations and am leaving with a wealth of potential, feeling lighter, having shed some armor that no longer served.
A.C., herbalist/healer, NY

I experienced transformation on a very deep level. Lawrence is a master!
T.O., accountant/lawyer, New York

The empowerment ritual had very powerful energy come through. I felt the Kundalini-Holy Spirit-heart connection. I was also impressed with the beautiful people who attended this weekend - all with deep waters.
L.B.; therapist, NY

Words are difficult to convey what I feel, sense, experience - still, although the intense impact of the weekend has faded, the memory is still alive and I feel the Kundalini alive and active within me. I had no expectation of the intense experience of Kundalini moving through me again when I came to the retreat. But, in the safety you provided, your warmth,caring and presence, as well as your skill in preparing and leading us toward the Kundalini you created fertile ground for the Kundalini to emerge. I was open to the experience of the weekend, whatever it would be, with no fear or desire for anything to happen or not happen. It's been 30 years since the last intense devastating cataclysmic experience with Kundalini, and I think I've been going through a lot of internal preparation for many years for this to open again. This experience was very different with the Light streaming down from above into the crown chakra moving through all the chakras, along with the intense vibrations, shaking, tears that flowed voluminously. It seems to me to be a full circle from the last experience, this time integrating rather than fracturing.

I feel different inside now - more solid and lighter - more connected internally and externally, many opposite qualities seeming to coexist side by side, marrying, joining, yet existing on their own within me as I feel more centered, open, connected on many levels - particularly to a vast pervasive quietness within that I am constantly aware of simply by turning my attention to the inner. Warmth and energy flows through my body as I continue to feel many signs of Kundalini within me. There's a qualitative difference I feel inside since the retreat. I also feel very connected with you and the others who were there - a sense of community and connection despite the distance or infrequent contact between us.

I can't thank you enough, Lawrence, for your wonderful nurturing support for each of us as well as your openness and skill in facilitating the Kundalini emerging.
K.L. - psychotherapist, California

Anam Cara, Inc. is a nonprofit organization founded by Dr. Edwards for teaching people meditative practices.

Directions to 501 Guard Hill Rd, Bedford, NY 10506:
From Mt. Kisco take Rt. 172 east, from in front of the hospital, toward Rt. 684. At your second light turn left onto McLain Ave. Take McLain through the stop sign and keep going 'til you go through a sharp S curve with Guard Hill Rd going off to the right on that curve. Take Guard Hill Rd, over Rt. 684, past the clock tower, and then to #501. You will see a mailbox for 491 and that is the driveway for 501. The red with gray trim carriage house is just inside the driveway on your left. Pull in as far as you can and park. Please arrive early. Bring a blanket, cushion and something for writing.
From Bedford take Rt. 22 north and make a left onto Guard Hill Rd. just after leaving the center of town. 501 will be on your left about a a mile or so up the road.

Meditation Group:

Tuesday Nights, 7:30-8:45 pm
Sponsored by Anam Cara, Inc., Bedford Hills, NY.
For information and directions please call 914-234-4800

Swatantriya Meditation - The meditation of absolute freedom. Swatantriya Meditation is based on the inner power of Consciousness called Kundalini It embraces and empowers all meditation techniques to take one beyond the ordinary confines of the mind.

An ongoing nondenominational meditation group that meets every week except for holidays. $15 suggested donation per session. All donations go to support Anam Cara, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to making meditation and related practices available to everyone. You are welcome to come as often as you choose. Beginners are welcome, along with experienced meditators. A wide variety of techniques and practices are taught, including chanting and mantra meditation. For information please call: 914-234-4800.

Directions to 501 Guard Hill Rd, Bedford, NY:
From Mt. Kisco take Rt. 172 east, from in front of the hospital, toward Rt. 684. At your second light turn left onto McLain Ave. Take McLain through the stop sign and keep going until you go through a sharp S curve with Guard Hill Rd going off to the right on that curve. Take Guard Hill Rd, over Rt. 684, past the clock tower, and then to #501. You will see a mailbox for 491 and that is the driveway for 501. The red with gray trim carriage house is just inside the driveway on your left. Pull in as far as you can and park. Please arrive early. Bring a blanket, cushion and something for writing.
From Bedford take Rt. 22 north and make a left onto Guard Hill Rd. just after leaving the center of town. 501 will be on your left about a half mile or so up the road.

If the group is going to be canceled on any evening due to bad weather or some other circumstance, then a message on 914-234-4800 will state that the group is canceled for that evening.


Living Better with Chronic Illness or Pain

A dynamic 5 session course led by
Michael Finkelstein, MD, Susan Rubin, DMD, CHH, and
Lawrence Edwards, PhD

Course includes written materials, meditation CD, foods, recipes and 10 hours of interactive learning with these three doctors to support and guide you to greater wellness.

Registration Fee: $295
Advanced Registration Required; please call: 914-234-6646
For additional information visit: www.sunraven.org

In this course you will learn:

Integrative holistic medical approaches to chronic illness and pain.
To create healthy delicious meals that support optimal well being.
How to meditate, become deeply relaxed and explore the profound inner worlds beyond the mind.
How to use meditation to relieve suffering and expand wellness.
The uses of herbs and supplements in supporting healing and wellness.
Strategies for optimizing movement and physical activity.
How to expand your sense of well-being even when the body isn't well.
By the end of this course you will have designed and begun implementing a specific personal plan for enhancing your health and well being.

By making use of what you learn you will be able to increase your energy and sense of well being, decrease your stress and discover the ways in which you can lead a fuller life. Working with your physician you might also find that you can reduce your need for medications.

Registration Fee: $295
Advanced Registration Required; please call: 914-234-6646
For additional information visit: www.sunraven.org

Dr. Michael Finkelstein is board certified in Holistic and Integrative Medicine with a practice in Mount Kisco, NY. He is a graduate of the Program in Integrative Medicine with Andrew Weil at the Univ. of Arizona. He is the chief of the Department of Integrative Medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital and Medical Director and Founder of the Center for Health and Healing of Northern Westchester.

Dr. Susan Rubin is a holistic health counselor with a private practice in Bedford, NY. She facilitates group programs utilizing food, movement and stress relief, creating a supportive environment for those facing health challenges.

Dr. Lawrence Edwards practices transpersonal psychotherapy, biofeedback and neurofeedback in Bedford, NY. He is an internationally known meditation teacher with 35 years of experience training people in the science and art of meditation. He is on the faculty of New York Medical College.

Unfolding the
Power of Consciousness
4 week course

• Develop the mental strength to be at peace.
• Increase your ability to focus your attention.
• Gain the many health benefits of meditation.
• Free yourself from your mind.
• Establish a meditation practice at home.

Dates to be announced

The course will give you the experience of several different types of meditation techniques and help you to develop a comfortable meditation posture for your practice at home. Eastern and Western meditation techniques, mantra, chanting, the philosophy and psychology of meditation and numerous other fascinating topics will be explored.


July 16, 2006:

The Science & Art of Meditation
10am-1pm Sunday July 16th

Summer Learning Retreat
July 14-16
Perspectives On Mutuality:
Neuroscience, Psychotherapy and Spirituality
Offered by the Center for Intentional Living

For info and registration:


Conference held at: Sheraton Hotel, Danbury CT

September 2006 :

The Science & Art of Meditation

Date to be announced, 2006
To register call: 914-234-4800
Anam Cara, Inc.
Bedford, NY

In this popular seminar Dr. Edwards will present the compelling scientific research on the extraordinary health benefits of meditation. From reducing stress, to improving sleep and reducing cholesterol, meditation improves the quality of life for practitioners. During this seminar you will also learn specific meditation techniques to use on your own as you integrate the art of meditation into your daily life.

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