Kundalini Splendor

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Anam Cara Newsletter 

Here is the Anam Cara Newsletter, from Lawrence Edwards. It includes a listing of the meditations and workshops he will be giving soon.

August 29, 2006
Anam Cara, Inc. Newsletter
Perennial Wisdom For The Soul's Journey

Join our mailing list!

Greetings and Namaste!

The Buddha said:

Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it.

Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.

"He was angry with me, attacked me, defeated me, robbed me" - those who dwell on such thoughts will never be free from hatred.

"He was angry with me, attacked me, defeated me, robbed me" - those who do not dwell on such thoughts will surely be free from hatred.

For hatred can never put an end to hatred; love alone can. This is an unalterable law. People forget that their lives will end soon. For those who remember, quarrels cease.

(Eknath Easwaran, trans.)

Abiding In Stillness

Out of the stillness the gong sounded, dissolving back into stillness even as it marked the end of the sitting meditation and the beginning of the walking meditation. Thus the silent weekend retreat in August progressed, hour by hour from Saturday through Sunday. During the weekend the stillness and quiet moved to the foreground while the mind dissolved again and again, thought by thought.

Buddha said, "Better than a hundred years of ignorance is one day spent in reflection. Better than a hundred years of idleness is one day spent in determination. Better to live one day wondering how all things arise and pass away." Such wisdom guided the retreat. At the end of it people remarked that they felt a greater spaciousness and quietness of mind. People also noticed how much effort it takes to truly have the mind be silent for even a few moments! It goes after every sound, sensation, thought, feeling, image and on and on! As the stillness and spaciousness open through the deepening silence, this delicious subtle joy arises like a soft glow accompanying the bare awareness illuminating everything. Who can resist going back to that stillness over and over again! That's where even striving and effort, meditation and non- meditation dissolve and freedom prevails.

Programs and Announcements
September-November 2006

We're happy to announce a new website for offering information and support to those interested in Kundalini and the powerful transformative processes She engenders: www.kundalinisupport.org. It has answers to frequently asked questions and invites sharings from readers of their Kundalini experiences. We're grateful for the selfless service, the seva, offered by Roxi Benoit who created the website, and Dorothy Walters who shared her some of her wisdom as part of the answers to the questions.

New and experienced meditators are all welcome to our programs. We have a regular Tuesday evening meditation and chanting group in Bedford, NY that includes instruction and discussions as well as meditation. Courses and weekend retreats are also offered to develop and deepen your meditative practices.

September 13th The Power Of Meditation Enhances Health and Healing Lecture by Lawrence at Gilda's Club, White Plains, NY; 7 pm

September 23rd Rhode Island, WARL 1320am Radio interview; Saturday 11am-Noon, Steve Donofrio Show; streaming live www.1320thedrive.com

Oct. 12-Nov. 9th Cultivating Wellbeing Course - 5 Thursday evenings with Drs. Michael Finkelstein, Susan Rubin and Lawrence Edwards. SunRaven, Bedford, NY www.sunraven.org Course info. at: www.thesoulsjourney.com/events.html

October 22 The Science and Art of Meditation Northeast Regional Biofeedback Society Meeting presentation, Sunday afternoon, Rutgers Univ. For more info: www.nrbs.org

November 10-12 Mysteries of the Divine Feminine and Kundalini Empowerment Retreat Friday eve through Sun. afternoon, Anam Cara, Bedford, NY. Includes lectures, guided meditations, chanting and most importantly, the sacred and ancient Kundalini empowerment diksha.

Pre-registration is necessary for courses and retreats.

Find out more....

Anam Cara, Inc. is a 501 (C) 3, non-profit educational organization dedicated to teaching meditative practices. Our non-denominational programs are open to all.

Thank you for the many ways you have shown support for Anam Cara, Inc. In the fall we will celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Anam Cara weekly meditation satsang. Because of you the years of serving to support people's meditation practices continue to mount. Anam Cara means "friend of the soul" and you've made it possible for us to continue fulfilling our mission in that regard. I am deeply grateful. With great respect and love, I thank you.


Lawrence Edwards, Ph.D., LMHC, BCIAC
Anam Cara, Inc


email: le@anamcara-ny.org
phone: 914-234-4800
web: http://www.anamcara-ny.org

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Symeon the New Theologian 

Here is an amazing poem from Symeon the New Theologian, written some one thousand years ago. I think the mystical experience remains basically the same, no matter what its frame or era. So--there are references to light, to the ineffability of the experince, to the difficulty of withstanding such intense revelation, and, finally, a return to the less demanding world of the ordinary (the world of the senses.) Again, my source is Ivan Granger's Poetry Chaikhana site. I include Ivan's discussion of the life of this fascinating man afterthe poem.

In the midst of that night, in my darkness,

By Symeon the New Theologian
(949 - 1032)

English version by John Anthony McGuckin

In the midst of that night, in my darkness,
I saw the awesome sight of Christ
opening the heavens for me.
And he bent down to me and showed himself to me
with the Father and the Holy Spirit
in the thrice holy light --
a single light in three, and a threefold light in one,
for they are altogether light,
and the three are but one light,.
And he illumined my soul
more radiantly than the sun,
and he lit up my mind,
which had until then been in darkness.
Never before had my mind seen such things.
I was blind, you should know it, and I saw nothing.
That was why this strange wonder
was so astonishing to me,
when Christ, as it were, opened the eye of my mind,
when he gave me sight, as it were,
and it was him that I saw.
He is Light within Light, who appears
to those who contemplate him,
and contemplatives see him in light --
see him, that is, in the light of the Spirit...
And now, as if from far off,
I still see that unseeable beauty,
that unapproachable light, that unbearable glory.
My mind is completely astounded.
I tremble with fear.
Is this a small taste from the abyss,
which like a drop of water
serves to make all water known
in all its qualities and aspects?...
I found him, the One whom I had seen from afar,
the one whom Stephen saw
when the heavens opened,
and later whose vision blinded Paul.
Truly, he was as a fire in the center of my heart.
I was outside myself, broken down, lost to myself,
and unable to bear the unendurable brightness of that glory.
And so, I turned
and fled into the night of the senses.

-- from The Book of Mystical Chapters: Meditations on the Soul's Ascent from the Desert Fathers and Other Early Christian Contemplatives, Translated by John Anthony McGuckin

Symeon was born into an aristocratic family in Asia Minor (Turkey) and was given the name George. From boyhood he was groomed for a life in politics. At age eleven, he was sent to the capital Constantinople (Istanbul) to live with his uncle who guided him in his early education.

When he was 14, George met a monk at the the monastery of Studios named Symeon the Pious. George accepted Symeon the Pious as his spiritual director while continuing to prepare for a life in politics.

Somewhere around age 20, George was overcome by an ecstatic state in which, as with many other mystics, he experienced God as a living presence of radiant light.

Despite this radically transformative experience, he spent several more years attempting to fulfill his family's expectations, eventually becoming an imperial senator. However, his continuing mystical experiences were not compatible with such a public life and, at age 27, he renounced his previous life and became a monk, entering the monastery at Studios to continue under the direct guidance his spiritual director, even taking on the same monastic name -- Symeon.

The closeness teacher and disciple shared worried the monastic authorities that a homosexual relationship might be developing and the two were separated. The young Symeon was given the choice of remaining at Studios and no longer receiving spiritual guidance from the elder Symeon, or he could go to another monastery and keep his spiritual director.

So as not lose the guidance of Symeon the Pious, the young Symeon chose to move to the monastery of St. Mamas in Constantinople. There, Symeon was ordained a priest and eventually became the abbot of the monastery, reviving the monastery's life of prayer and meditation. While abbot of St. Mamas, Symeon wrote extensive treatises (called the Catecheses) as guidelines for the ideal monastic and God-focused life, emphasizing the power of contemplative prayer and meditation.

The mystical spiritual practices that he advocated and his growing reverence for Symeon the Pious after the elder Symeon's death led to further conflicts with authorities and Symeon was exiled in 1009 to a small hermitage on the far side of the Bosphorus.

Disciples began to gather around Symeon and soon the small hermitage grew into a full monastery. It was there that Symeon wrote his greatest and most personal work, Hymns of Divine Love, a collection of poems describing his mystical experiences.

Symeon's doctrines and poetry emphasize not only the possibility, but the necessity of personally experiencing the Divine. He also stated that one need not be a monk or renunciate, saying that one "who has wife and children, crowds of servants, much property, and a prominent position in the world" can still have the divine experience.

He is called Symeon the New Theologian to distinguish him from John the Evangelist (called John the Theologian in Greek) and Gregory of Nyzanius (also called Gregory the Theologian in the Eastern Orthodox tradition).

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Poem by Ivan Granger 

Here is a lovely poem by Ivan Granger, together with his own thoughtful comments about it. Be sure to check his website, Poetry Chaikhana, which is a treasure trove of sacred verse.

white world

By Ivan M. Granger
(1969 - )

i can still see them
when the mist
draws about

the eucalyptus
the wattle in flower

but they are
not quite

fog sails
across the grass

but the white world
is still
Thought for the Day:
Accept others
as they are
and you will remember
your own natural beauty.

I thought I'd share a poem with you from my Maui days. Where I lived, high on the slope of Haleakala Volcano, we had eucalyptus and wattle trees, and almost every morning was filled with mist...

The white, the "mist" that "draws about" is the radiant light that shines throughout existence. When that eternal light is perceived directly, it can be a gentle glow or a flood of brilliance. That light can be described as a "mist" because it permeates everything with its whiteness while it obscures the surfaces of things, swallowing all objects into itself. You "can still see them" -- objects, the world -- "but they are / not quite / there" -- they are perceivable but they no longer seem tangible or real in any deep sense. Within that all-embracing light, everything else becomes ghost-like, outlines of seeming that at best you pretend are real...

And, although the "fog sails / across the grass," although that light seems to be flowing outward, radiating and moving, you see that the only reality in this world built of light is complete rest, "the white world / is still."
(copyright, Ivan Granger)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Living With Buddha (poem) 

Living with Buddha


I never expected this.
As always, it was my usual
solitary three, me, the music,
the vibrations coming on like waves
gentling the shore.
And then the Unseen came,
taking my breath,
sly cat circling the cradle
where the naked baby lies,
and then suddenly—
You appeared,
radiant being
lit from within
like an icon set in a temple
incandescence lighting
your face, your breast,
now there was the outer image,
and this inner brightness as well--
what was I to do?


True, there had been a leading up to—
for days, Tibetan music
with its untamed gongs and drums
beating the blood
to a kind of lost frenzy,
movement whipping the vibrations
to a pitch,
like a lash
over the waves,
everything pulsing,
bliss, they call it,
who can give it a name?


And then the day when Buddhas
in geometric procession,
appearing one behind the other,
like figures in a text
on perspective,
showing how objects maintain power
even as they diminish,
I couldn’t even move.


I found it there,
on the wall of the import store,
holding me in its gaze,
Buddha in a wall painting,
a kind of scroll
with the Teacher
captured in the design,
they name it thongka,
majestic presence
calling me.

But I didn’t yield.
I left empty handed.


But three days later
I returned,
telling myself,
If it’s still there,
I’ll take it,
if not, I’ll simply say
it wasn’t meant to be,
and think on nonattachment.

It was waiting.
I ran my hand over the face
and felt sweetness
ripple like musk
over my wrist.
I’ll take it, I said.


Next morning,
when I bowed
to this image
on my wall,
the energies
pulsed so sweet and strong
I almost could not stand.

First, my head
was blessed
as if his aura
touched my own,
then torso, legs,
all began to dance,
and I became a turning
Buddha field
of light,
my limbs like blossoming
some kind of nectar,
I could not even ask
what was happening,
I could only
whatever it was.


And so each morning,
there was boundless bliss
and teachers came,
each day someone new,
I gave them nicknames
to keep them straight,
“Sturdy Boy” or “Master Chi”
or “Ting Mao” with his flowing
sleeves and fan,
Tara with my mother’s face,
so many, all to lead me
in my morning dance,
new movements,
new postures,
I was easily led,
bliss currents streaming.


When I moved in close
to get a better look,
the Buddha field
surrounded me.
I turned my face gently
right and left,
I felt its soft stroke
along my cheeks,
I bowed
and began my movements
once again.

How many minutes
could I stay
in this electric clasp?
How long survive
in this dense
field of love?


High, high.

Were these the vibrations
of the inner realms,
the place of gods and
deities of every kind,
the suprarmundane,
other worldly
spirits from the
secret sphere?

When Zeus came down to Semele,
she vanished in a flash.

Who can withstand
such demanding love,
who is willing
to be pierced again and again by light,
light purified at source.

First, you arrived
like a flower
lit from within,
holding its own sun.

I let your
multiple form
devour my mind.

Now you are an image
against my wall.

Each morning
I stand before you, bow,
move about a bit,
while you watch quietly,
compassionate wisdom,
easy love.

Dorothy Walters
May, 2006

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Yoga Spandakarika (poem) 

Yoga Spandakarika

I don’t know why it is
that each time I turn to
something inside
starts throbbing, proclaiming,
Yes! Yes!

You keep pulling me toward you
with your sacred tremoring,
your magnet of desire
for more, always more. . . .
I want to drink
until I drown
in your flood,
taste wisdom dispensed
to a horde of expectant pilgrims
who have crossed the Himalayas
laying their heads to earth
now all waiting patiently,
mouths open,
to receive your
immaculate drop.

Note: the “Yoga Spandakarika” (“Song of the Sacred Tremor”) is an ancient text of Kashmiri Shaivism which, for some reason, deeply attracts me.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Truth Seekers 

The Truth Seekers

I am trampling over every wisdom
just to kiss the face of love.

Eric Ashford

Nobody told us how to think
or what to believe.
Or if they tried,
we didn’t listen,
busy with inner signals.

When we traveled,
we went our own way:
instead of compasses
we would simply
sniff the air
and set our own course,
finding direction
like lost animals
returning home.

Sometimes we went
whistling along
with our hands in our pockets.
Sometimes we stumbled
over rock and rough clay,
falling forward
to our knees,
bruising our hands.

But we always got up
and started again,
knowing that
what we were looking for
was waiting up ahead,
shining and beautiful,
just as we had always

Dorothy Walters/Aug. 25, 2006

Friday, August 25, 2006

Poems by Michael Black and Elizabeth Reninger 

Here are two poems by my friends Michael Black and Beth Reninger. I feel very blessed to have such talented and deeply spiritual friends in my life.

Monterey Cypress

Last evening, while under
The watchful gaze of a
Magnificent Monterey Cypress,
my son and I played catch.

At the time, I recall
The tree tugging at my
Heart, and I admired its
Great beauty, for it gave
So much and asked
So little in return.

Imagine my shock this
Morning at discerning
That the sound of stinging
Chainsaws emanated from
The street above.

Half curious, half distressed,
I walked up so see what
All the activity, the noise,
Was about?

I saw—much to my horror—
My faithful Friend being
Dismembered branch by verdant

My Heart sank, as though
My limbs too, one by one,
Were being stripped of their
Fleshy bark.

A lone worker walked by and
I asked him, Why? Shrugging his
Shoulders, and gesturing, he said in
Spanglish: "Ask her?"

It was only then that I realized
Last evening, that the tree was
Saying its final goodbye.

In the gathering darkness, it
Reached its evergreen tendrils
Out to those who felt its love,
Its connection, as a total gift.

I am crying now. The incessant
Whirring of chainsaws and
Shredders bears its rotating burden.

Wasn’t it Harry Truman who,
Not long ago, ordered that the bomb be
Dropped into a forest that we might
Learn from its energetic aftermath?

Dear Deva of Trees, of Monterrey
Cypress, my profound apologies for
Our insensitivity, our tone deafness.
I almost took your gift for granted, for so
Long, and now that offertory has been
Rescinded by a neighbor who didn’t know
Any better (May Truman have long since apologized!).

I vow to you, Now, that I will plant a hundred
Cypress in your wake: not to compensate
For that which is irreplaceable, rather, I
Only desire to return your courageous gift
Of steadfastness, of peace, of beauty, and of
Standing grace, to this windswept, coastal place.

Now I know why so many Monterey Cypress
Seeds are gathered at the center of our
Dining Room table. May they each bear splendid
Witness to your gifts, G-D’s gifts, and to our
Determination to live as though we are One,
Rather than the Many, rather than the one
who Deins stand above all earthly others.

Oh Monterey Cypress, Thank you for reminding
Me last evening of our most precious gifts.

(Copyright, Michael Black)

Here is Beth's poem:

shards of glass
from the shattered bottle
catch the moon's radiance

midnight and still
I'm here

(copyright, Elizabeth Reninger)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Poem by Eric Ashford 

The following amazing poem appeared on Eric Ashford's blog site today. Wonderful, Eric! Many thanks for reminding us what it is to fall into the Mother's arms full force, never even looking behind.

(from the following blogsite):

Exploring the infinite aspects of the Goddess

she is passionate

They told us not to be together like this.
They said we should be one
and indivisible like light.

They told us not to yearn
or long for the touch
of this delicate ravishing presence.

They said:
Every desire is an attachment.

I saw that even their words
attached themselves
to their sticky minds.

I saw the Goddess dance
and She was my lust for life.

I am clinging to my love.
I am desiring Her
with every bloodstained
intimation of self.
With all the painted
transient flight of my identity.

I am encroaching on the impossible.
I am trampling over every wisdom
just to kiss the face of love.

copyright, Eric Ashford

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Other Gems from Odier on the Spandakarika 

As I move deeper into this text, I find more and more passages which confirm my own inner beliefs. Here are a few of these: (Note: Odier's words are in italics. Other comments are from me unless otherwise noted.)


The mystical experience is one; abolishing all dogmatic limitations, it is silent fusion, the abolition of all disputing.

There is an ongoing discussion among critics as to whether all mystical paths are the same. I think the core experience, the forgetting of the small self and the uniting with the larger reality, sometimes called the Self, is the same for all. "Many paths up the mountain, one destination at the top."

ON SITTING MEDITATION (something I have never been overfond of and seldom practice--in fact, I have some difficulty attempting this for very long--I want to be up and moving and entering into a sense of sacred union in that way):

Tantrikas are not much in favor of the idea that one must be seated in meditation in order to enter vacuity. Like many of the Ch'an masters, they sometimes make fun of sitting and say to anyone who will listen that a few decades of sitting are useful. Sometimes they are against meditation and say that it is useless to meditate before the awakening. One may wonder what purpose it would serve after?


(first, from the original text): Actor and action are united, but when the action is dissolved by abandoning the fruits of the act, the very dynamic that is tied to the ego exhausts itself, and the tantrika who is absorbed in this profound contemplation discovers the divine tremor liberated from its ties to the ego. The profound nature of action is thus revealed, and he who has interiorized the movement of desire no longer knows dissolution. He cannot cease to exist because he has returned to the profound source.

(now from Odier): Act and actor, subject and object, perception and perceiver are united.. . . thus we free ourselves by experiencing energy without a goal.

(now, from me): I am not sure whether by "action" the writer is referring to action in the world, or something such as the action of moving meditation, when actor and action indeed become one. In any event, if you do this kind of practice (which is free, undirected, and uncodified), you do so without expectation of any particular outcome (unlike the case when you are trying to learn certain set forms, improve the posture, acquire greater skills). You "act" in order to be further united with the Beloved within, and your "success" is merely that sense of inner fulfillment as the subtle body embraces that which it loves and receives love in return.

And, I might add, that in my belief one does not meditate, practice, suffer austerities, and the like in the hopes of reaching some nebulous state called "enlightenment." One does one's activity for sheer delight of the inner spirit, who knows that in this state, enlightenment exists as undisputed joy, for that is the nature of the ultimate insofar as it is given to us as humans to experience it. More may be revealed to us after death, at some other plane of existence, but for now, this is our ultimate gift. "The mind cannot grasp it, the intellect cannot know it; scholars cannot describe it. Yet the Self affirms its own reality in the moment that is given."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rapture and Asceticism 

Recently, I watched a DVD documentary called "The Yogis of Tibet." Most of those who were presented were present day yogis, many of whom had followed the rigorous practices of their predecessors, going back to very early times. Some had lived for years in caves or mountain huts. There they had spent most of their time in "boxes", where they never really slept at all, since they could not lie down or stretch out. They lived on meager rations of food and water.

Others practiced severe physical and mental disciplines, including feats such as rising rapidly and springing into the air from a cross legged position. They literally beat their bodies in some of these activities, and you could hear their joints snap as they seemed to bend quite out of normal shape.

There was much talk of compassion in this presentation. But frankly I failed to grasp the relationship of such physical endurance trials and the active practice of compassion.

The program gave much to wonder about. One of the yogis said that as a child he had visited the cave where one of the renowned early masters had lived for many years, and that, while he was there, his feet literally began to burn into the rocks, leaving a clear imprint. Another gentle elder, far advanced in years, had apparently intended to die in his eighties, but agreed to stay on to one hundred at the request of the Dalai Lama, who asked him to dedicate himself to the service of other devotees.

This tradition is now dying out, since it is no longer supported by a sustaining culture, nor do the younger Tibetans wish to commit themselves to such drastic practices.

Nothing at all was mentioned about such subjects as bliss, rapture, ecstasy, and the like. Apparently the purpose of the training was to bring the body and spirit into the most refined alignment possible, to develop strength and skill, discipline rather than devotion.

But in the "Yoga Spandakirika" of Daniel Odier, there are several passages which present a very different view of the yogis in seclusion. Here is what Odier has to say:

At times, we think it is impossible to live without physical contact. This is because we do not realize to what extent the ascetics experience unlimited exchange of love. Their whole body is engaged in this impulse, this sacred tremoring. There is never any end, any obstacle, any stop, any frustration. Nor is there any accumulation of sexual energy because the energy is assimilated all day long in this loving contact with the world. (note: this is the natural world of sky and trees and flowers.) This continual vibration rids the ascetics of the problem of abstinence because they have completely integrated their sexuality, by depriving it of object, direction, and form. It pours forth in a continuous motion of pleasure in reality. It is present night and day. Every sound that reaches a tantrika's ears is a loving relationship, every shimmer of light, every scent, every vibration is permanently in tune with totality. All day long there is this continued sacred tremor, which makes it possible to live the most intense, ascetic and loving life there is, in solitude.
(Daniel Odier)

Personally, I do not believe in extreme asceticism, nor enforced abstinence. However, I think that there are times when we can experience to some extent the states described here. When our kundalini activates, we often know the sweet, sensuous connection with things outside ourselves, such as sound,light, color, music, or those we encounter in our daily lives, who can suddenly look wondrously beautiful. And abstinence comes easily in the later years, when one's focus turns naturally to other things. And, indeed, many "solitary practitioners" do experience the full flow of loving energies such as Odier describes, bliss streams which come without any sexual trigger, and which end in no specific outcome beyond the experience itself.

So it is we can taste such experiences from time to time, even when we do not maintain them at every moment. I wonder how the yogis would fare in a modern mall, or a crowded city street. Perhaps they could maintain their composure, but could they sustain the inner bliss? I think that for this, all of us need some familiar place of solitude, some periods of quiet, to access fully the inner reality. We must live "in the world and out of it," in many ways a much harder task than dwelling in a cave apart from society and its swirling chaos.

Monday, August 21, 2006

More on the Death of the Ego 

Here are some further reflections on the death of the ego. (Again, I am indebted to Patricia Bralley for these striking descriptions.)

The first is from the Taoist B. K. Frantzis, who calls the terror aroused in this statae "ru ding." He says that all practitioners must go through this state again and again until finally you let go and the ego simply disappears.

The second selection is from Eckhardt Tolle.

I was in Hong Kong, beginning to learn the old Yang style of Tai Chi Chaun when ru ding first struck me… It was late at night, at a still and quiet terrace on the Peak, where few people came after midnight…the park was quiet, and the moon and the sky felt as though they were descending downward, putting enormous pressure on every square inch of my skin, as I tried to life my arms with the expansive energy of tai chi…I felt as if Chi from the moonlight, stars, and sky penetrated my body against my will. My body and mind became immensely still, as though they had dropped into a bottomless abyss, even though I was doing the rhythmic slow motion movements…At the depth of the stillness, an overwhelming, formless fear began to develop in my belly…. Then it happened: an all-consuming, paralyzing fear seemed all at once to invade every cell in my body… I knew if I kept practicing there would be nothing left of me in a few seconds… I stopped practicing… and ran down the hill praying hard that this terror would leave me….

The ego, goes into a mortal fear when the false reality of being separate from the universal life force is threatened by your consciousness having reached an awareness of connection to everything in existence. The ego spews forth all sorts of terrifying psychological and physiological reactions in the body and mind to make meditators petrified of leaving the state of separation. (from Frantzis)

One night I woke up in the middle of the night, as I had many times before, in a state of even more intense dread and fear… It became so unbearable that suddenly the thought occurred to me, "I cannot live with myself any longer." That thought was the trigger for a transformation. The thought kept repeating itself many times in my head and then suddenly there was a stepping back from the thought and a looking at the thought. I asked, "Who is the 'I' and who is the self that I cannot live with?"

… it's almost as if a [Zen] koan spontaneously appeared in my mind. A koan's purpose is to destroy conceptual thinking because it has no answer on a conceptual level... At that moment the whole structure of the "unhappy me" and its pain collapsed because the withdrawal of identification was so complete. What was left was simply beingness or presence. There was still a moment of fear. It felt like being drawn into a hole within myself, a vast whirlpool, and a realization arose in my chest, "Resist nothing." That was the key. Then resistance was relinquished and I don't know what happened after that.

All I do know is that the next morning I woke up… I opened my eyes and everything was alive and new and fresh as if I had never seen it before. And I walked around and picked up things and looked at them. I was amazed at everything. There was no understanding of it. I was not even trying to understand anything. It was just so beautiful. (from Tolle)

The kundalini process is indeed an exquisite dance between light and dark, times of ascension and times of falling into pits of despair, moments of ecstasy and periods of grief. It is an ever turning cycle, the wheel which takes us through all the revolutions of human experience.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

This beautiful and moving account of her awakening experience appeared on Patricia Bralley's blogsite recently (see http://patriciabralley.blogspot.com/). I am honored to offer it here, so that others may also reflect on this deep and intimate experience. It takes more than a little courage to present such personal material to public view. Yet those of us who have been touched in this way are greatly encouraged by hearing from others on a similar path. (Michael, of course, contends that we are all from Sirius--and frankly, I am beginning to wonder a bit myself.)

I have held the Light at bay for years. Avoided looking at the treetops, for that is where it resides waiting to descend. But, I didn't know that for some time. All I knew was that I could only glance up briefly. Such a cathedral, there in Nature, but lifting my eyes made me so dizzy, nauseated. I’d quickly look away.

Then one day, I decided to just see. What was this? Why couldn’t I just look? One day, I refused to look away.
What happened next had never crossed my mind as even possible.

Instantly a flood of Light streamed down from above into my head until I staggered back. I knew immediately the Light was, for lack of better appellage, “God.”

Jesus! And this is the park across from where I work? I’m on a noonday walk for God’s sake, not Saul on some road to Damascus or wherever.

For God’s sake...

...I will have to learn to breath more deeply. I will have to learn how to let that Light in and then right on out through the bottom of my feet.

But, that day I couldn’t pull it off.
Instead, I developed migraines.

Sometimes, I've felt like some human version of a ship’s mast buzzing with St. Elmo’s Fire. As if a bolt of Light had struck my head, and then just resonated there unable to drain off.
My cat took to sleeping on my head. At night I felt like Davie Crockett in his coonskin hat, but I hoped Eddie would suck some of the energy off.

This may be how ru ding began for me.
This may be the Yang (or Light) version of the black Yin abyss described by Frantzis and Tolle.

The abyss came later.
Exhausted from unconscious efforts, I still did not understand how much I held at bay. Then lying in bed one night I began wondering, “Why am I so tired? Day after day, I am so tired.”

Well, there it was.
Almost by accident I noticed a small dark gray circle. Right there in front of me, about eight inches from my face, four inches above my forehead.

"How strange... What is that?”

I could feel the energy, the constant effort I had been applying to that spot. It was almost like I had been straight-arming it day after day and never noticed. And, it was taking tremendous effort. So, I stopped.

And in that moment the Void leapt out and swallowed me.
Or, was it I who swallowed It? There was this inversion inwards. And I was falling, faster, faster. Rushing, I was letting go into Annihilation and I craved it.

"Take it!
"Take it all!
"It means nothing!"
And then I thought of her. And terror grabbed me. "If I die I lose her!" And I sat up in the bed, turned and clung to her.

Now, she’s long gone and I am in the bathtub coming to the obvious.
Life has led me to this point.
Along the way I have become both scientist and mystic.

A mystic: someone who's direct experience reveals a reality totally denied by science.

A molecular biologist: someone who naturally conceives of reality in terms of billiard ball cause and effect- the ultimate materialist.

It has taken years to be able to stand with one foot in each of these contradictory row boats and not get dumped into the water. Now, I am matured. Ready for the implications.

Then, suddenly there was that scream.
“I’m dying! and its killing Me!”
Every cell within me dying into nothingness.

Was it Rumi who said you can tell a mystic by the burn marks on their face?
Well, my face is reasonably intact, but my body’s taken quite a beating.
People say, “You’re losing weight!”
The migraines took off thirty pounds in three months. And the doctors still found nothing.

I shrug. What can I say? “No, I have not been on a diet.”

But, it is becoming clear.
There will be nothing left when I am done.
It will all be burnt away.

Not that it really matters.
Some days are solid, Immovable.
Some days there is such deep laughter; a secret laughter that doesn’t ever stir upon my face. That makes it all the more delicious: this deep, deep laughter that can only escape out through my eyes...

Or, by saying something like I have a radio broadcast that I do each morning from the bathtub. Silly... You’d get electrocuted.

copyright, Patricia Bralley

Saturday, August 19, 2006

More wisdom from the Spandakarika 

One of the things which happens during the awakening process--if it is deep and authentic--is a complete revision of virtually all one's prior assumptions and beliefs. You are now plunged into a realm whose existence you have been totally unaware of previously. You will ask yourself, How can this be? What is happening to me? I am not what I was, but--who am I now?

Some people, encountering this powerful force for the first time, go into a near panic state--fear and anxiety come to the fore as they are confronted with an unknown unlike anything in their prior experience.

Here is a another passage from the Yoga Spandakarika (tr. Daniel Odier), the book of Kashmiri Shaivite wisdom which I mentioned in the previous entry:

When this total tremoring is born (note: I call this kundalini rapture), it is as if we are introducing into our body a magic virus that is attacking all our mental constructions and relaxing them completely.

When this happens, the shock sometimes brings on intense pain, fear of the void, anxiety about something more powerful than anything we have ever known. We sense the immense power of deconstruction that the sacred tremor possesses, and this is very frightening. We sense that the system that we have forged for ourselves in order to survive is being completely upset, turned inside out, by an unknown force that is coming from the most inner part of ourselves. In these moments, a desire to retreat occurs, a wish to run away chokes us, because we feel this is irreversible. A tidal wave sweeps through our body. It is going to sweep away all our established automatisms, all our fabrications. As soon as what is fabricated starts to crumble, we truly reach the state of the sacred tremor being considered in this text. Everything that is rigid in our system is volitilized.

No everyone will react in this way. As it happens, I did not experience this kind of fear and panic. For me, it was as if something was coming forth from my own deepest being--and I told myself not to fear what was simply my own nature, a manifestation issuing from my own body. I think this attitude enabled me to bypass some of the psychological/emotional difficulties that others report. I did have challenges, but they were mostly on the physical level, having to do with personal rather than cosmic issues.

I also think that in my case, I was a confirmed lifelong skeptic, someone who had sought to build a firm mental foundation through reading and reflection on many teachers and their teachings (through their books and other forms of expression); I was opposed to all closed systems, and preferred an eclectic approach, rather than relying on a single belief system or authority.

However, as I reflect on the onset of my initial experience, I realize that I did undergo a very deep "ego death" at the beginning. The shock of losing a relationship which was at the center of my life was the trigger. Instead of clinging, or vowing to fight for the right of the ego to assert itself, I simply gave up. I surrendered all claims to continue a connection which was clearly now in jeopardy. I felt I could not block another person's life unfolding. And so I became a "nothing," a non-person, the one who did not count. In that void, the energies jumped, and my new life experience began. By surrendering what I most valued I received that which was most valuable. It was as though a script were being followed, and all of this had been planned long ago.

This "ego death" is the moment when the Big One happens. Transcendence seizes the moment, rushes in to fill the void, and we are its captives forever after.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Discovering An Ancient Text 

For many years, my "practice" has consisted mainly of standing quietly, then moving in gentle, slow, inner directed movements, allowing the energies to flow as they will. For me, this practice has often been one of blissful silence, a sense of communion with what I think of as "the divine within."

I have long wondered if this practice could be some form of subtle yoga, something far more delicate and soft than the usual asanas which students perform.

Recently, I discovered the following passage of commentary on an ancient text known as "Yoga Spandakarika" (Daniel Odier's recent translation and commentary.) The title (translated) is the "Song of the Sacred Tremor," one of the foundational texts (perhaps the first) of Kashmiri Shaivism. (Kashmiri Shaivism is a particular tradition linked to the worship of Shiva which began centuries ago in Kashmir, but which later was practiced primarily in Southern India.) Here is the passage (from Odier) which caught my attention:

In the third phase the yogi gets up and allows his whole body to express the dance of Shiva in space. These movements look like a completely free kind of t'ai chi in which no movement is codified. The sequential linking of these movements make up the whole Kashmiri yoga such as I received its transmission from my master....

This is an extremely subtle and difficult yoga that requires thousands of hours of practice. The advantage of this yoga is that it makes all other physical practice unnecessary This tradition--so simple, so subtle--has gradually fallen into oblivion and has been replaced by the more spectacular hath yoga.

So, naturally, I wonder if this tradition is connected with my favorite practice. As I have mentioned before, sometimes all that is necessary is to flex the fingers softly or perhaps to move the eyes a bit in order to send sweet energies throughout the body.

I, of course, did no prior practice to "learn" this technique, and I know of no one else who practices in this way. It evolved naturally and easily as something quite natural and even familiar. In fact, I am not certain that it can be "learned," unless one does indeed receive a "transmission" from a very advanced teacher. I know that I can neither teach it nor share it--although I would love to give this gift to others.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Evelyn Underhill and the Mystic Path 

Evelyn Underhill and the Mystic Path

Once deep Kundalini awakens, one is launched on a true mystic path. The mystic is one who discovers deep inner connection with a reality so profound it cannot in truth be described or shared. One is in many ways suddenly alone with that which convinces by its manifestation, but which is too vast to be accurately defined. Though Kundalini itself is usually connected with Eastern traditions, the stages of the journey are much the same in all spiritual traditions.

Perhaps the greatest writer on the stages of the Mystic Path is Evelyn Underhill, whose great work, entitled simply “Mysticism,” is (in my view) an outstanding guide for all serious seekers. Written some years ago, this classic text focuses on the western mystics,but its descriptions apply to mystics of all traditions.

This book is not an easy read. It is a very weighty, highly profound exploration of the mystic experience in all of its aspects. It is a volume to be read and reread, pondered and reflected on, until its message comes clear, or at least clearer.

This guidebook helped me immeasurably in my experience. True, the map is not the territory, but it can be immensely helpful.

If you wish to read it, remember to start with Part Two, The Mystic Way, rather than the first part, which is primarily analytical and philosophical. In Part Two she outlines immediately the stages of the journey, stressing that this is an overall pattern which will not apply in all of its aspects to any one individual’s experience. Everyone is on a unique path, one tailored to and reflective of his/her own temperament, personality, past experience, and various other influences. Sometimes the stages arise in the expected order, and sometimes they overlap, or perhaps hardly appear at all until there is some reversion at a later stage. There is no way to predict what will be “next” in the practitioner’s experience. Kundalini awakening is a life event which will involve every cell, every emotion, every feeling, every memory, every experience that one has ever had. It is the Big One, total transformation, the “real deal.” This trip is not for the faint hearted.

Underhill posits five states:

1. Awakening or Conversion

2. Self-knowledge or Purgation

3. Illumination

4. Surrender or the Dark Night

5. Union

I will not attempt to discuss these in any detail, since her presentation is extremely complex and challenging. However, here are a few highlights which have always caught my attention:

The mystic path is not one continuous excursion into ever deepening realms of bliss. It is (at least according to the accounts of those who have taken the journey to its goal, such as the saints of the Western tradition) a constant oscillation between states of pleasure and pain. In this regard, it certainly resembles life itself, with its hills and valleys, its peaks of joy and pits of despair.

Sometimes I have a different interpretation from hers (and so also you should feel free to accept or reject based on your own inner wisdom). When she discusses “Purgation,” she bases her discussion mainly on the mystics and saints, who sometimes drew on practices of mortification or self-denial, in order to bring the soul to perfection. These models talked of sins which needed to be expunged, and character flaws needed to be expelled.

I strongly believe that for most of us today, it is not sin but unresolved psychological issues (or perhaps societal or family strictures) which present the major stumbling block. Hence, it is important to keep working on these continuing concerns, even after one has been “awakened,” or lifted to some higher level of knowing. And, since most of us are imperfect, we must, every one, keep on struggling, seeking to gain more insight into what has shaped our lives and made us what we are.

One of the surprises of her discussion is that the famous “Dark Night of the Soul” is not merely the period of despair or lostness which may precede the initial plunge into the new stage of awareness, but rather it is the vast sense of loss which may come sometime after the initial experience. After one encounters joy or even rapture, a deep sense of connection with the divine, it can be totally devastating if that feeling diminishes or disappears. Often, pain, perhaps in the guise of old wounds or remembered losses, will come forward. The suffering is intensified by the fear that one is somehow “unworthy,” that one is, in fact, “doing it wrong.” No. This “awakening to old losses” is a common experience, one of the needful stages on the long progress up the mountain. The practitioner needs to deal with unfinished business, and Kundalini will see to it that such transactions occur. But, once these challenges are confronted and overcome, the pilgrim will be much stronger for the continuing climb.

This book is not for the casual dabbler, or the superficial spiritual seeker. It is strong stuff, but it will offer one ample rewards, if one gives it the attention it demands. For me, it was the guidebook, the “Bible” if you will, the place where I could turn and learn, always, more and more about what was happening. It is was source of encouragement and revelation, just knowing that others had trod this path and found their way forward toward the intended goal.

I recommend it as a guide and reference book which will serve you in good stead.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Inspired Poet 

The Inspired Poet

Every morning he wakes,
ready to lie on that anvil,
prepared for sparks
and bits of flame
to fly out from his
hammered soul.

His is not easy work
His spirit, fired,
twists this way and that,
is shaped again and again
into a thousand configurations,
some of which
he does not know
or even recognize.

But each day,
he does it again—
hoping always that this is the time,
the ultimate trial
when he will be cast at last
into final form.

Dorothy Walters
August 13, 2006

Monday, August 14, 2006

Spending Grace (poem) 

Spending Grace

I think it fell on us unbidden.

As if the angels . . .

As if the star . . .

Distant planets beginning to sing in unison.

And as we listened,
there was something else,
some sound new and incomprehensible . . .

Was it more voices chiming in,
other universes entering,
or was it our own hearts,
breathing their own familiar carol,
heard at last.

Dorothy Walters
August 13, 2006

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Holy Fire 

Holy Fire

Some love like
packed volcanoes exploding,
ash and fire
spewing over mountains and shores
igniting everything
in their path,
as if all history,
stretched to the edge,
were returning
in a river
of hot remembrance,
a blaze
of flowing passion and grief,

Fields turn into
lakes of flame
devouring air, swallowing sky.
Earth surges in streams of
blood and clay,
and trees are sudden torches,
beacons signaling
distant heaven.

Other loves are like soft candles
that spread their glow
into the curtained corners of the house,
hands of light
soothing the darkness,
caressing the quiet

Who is to say
which is god?

Dorothy Walters
August 11, 2006

Friday, August 11, 2006

New poem by Eric Ashford 

Eric Ashford, the gifted poet who lives in Derbyshire, England, continues to pour forth incredible poems which capture in refined and polished language the full erotic quality of loving and being loved by "The Goddess." (The same one many of us think of as Kundalini, and who is also traditionally spoken of as "the Beloved Within.") This poem reveals the virtually inexpressible intimacy of such a relationship--and calls up the many myths of love making between human and divine (see Zeus-Semele, Mary-God, for starters. It is an ancient and recurring theme.)

storms of intimacy

For days
I find myself leafing through
a liquid instruction manual
wondering how to breathe air
and not drown.

She celebrates Her presence
with aftershocks of emotion
detonating tactile images of intimacy.
Blood is not just blood
but a book of prayer She sings from.
Flesh wants to wear Her lightly
just to be seen through.

I walk in and out of myself-
a romantic fiction
made real enough to be lived
knowing that I am being rewritten
as Her own love story.
An alchemy of echoes
leaves me as vulnerable
as honey on Her tongue.
Like the afterglow of a kiss
I am present as an undertone
of havoc and sweetness.

Everything changes direction;
visible hands become hidden inside
rainbows of exhilaration.
Perspectives collide into essence-
a way of seeing that predicts
a vision of Her upon the fluid curves
of my mind.
I hear the deep panting
of impossibly distant stars
just behind my closed eyes.

copyright, Eric Ashford

(for more, see his site at http://goddessthemes.blogspot.com/ )

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Sometimes it is important (on the spiritual journey) to take some time out--just to "breathe." One does not have to experience profound transcendence, or enter a realm of infinitely high vibrations every single day.

I myself don't like to push too hard. Frankly, I find that entering these unusual states of consciousness, and experiencing these notably "higher vibrations," can be a bit tiring.

So today, I didn't try for novel experience. (I did my usual hour in bed of reiki and mantra meditation and eye acupressure and eye exercises and such, however, even before I got up.) But this afternoon I went over to Golden Gate Park, and "smelled the daisies."

The area known as the "arboretum" does contain trees, but it also boasts many, many sections of flowers. The latter are not arranged in neat rectangular beds, but are allowed to flourish in a more natural way, resembling the way plants grow in nature.

So I went there and I simply rambled. I was hungry for trees, for green, for a bit of color. The ocean is vast and wonderful, but there are no trees on beaches, and trees have a special offering to us all, I think. Once or twice I seemed to feel a bit of energy coming from some plant or other, but I seem to be better at sensing the vibrations of books or made objects than growing things just now. But I realized that what I truly hungered for was a visual experience of things in the outer world, and a feeling of oneness with that natural beauty. I did feel the great hush and majesty within the small grove of redwoods which grow there. And I did pick up some sweet energy from a few of the green and growing things I encountered.

I got off the main paths, and followed the winding trails which wander through the area, and succeeded in getting lost more than once. (It's amazing how one can get lost in such a relatively small area). I had a great time.

Afterward, I stopped at my favorite restaurant and ate a fine dinner of fish, polenta, and salad.

I came home happy and refreshed, just as the fog was coming in, bringing with it air a bit too cool for my light jacket.

That was my adventure for today.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Another Esoteric Meditation 

I have often gone into a bookstore and felt gentle sacred energies circulating in the atmosphere. Sometimes these will flow from a particular volume, as if it wants to connect with us or even be selected and taken home.

Early in the afternoon today, I tried to do some Taoist movements, but then gave up when I felt too "heavy" to continue. But later, as I was searching for a particular book in my bookshelf of sacred texts, I began to feel sweet, soft energies emanating from the volumes in front of me. It occurred to me that I might be able to pick up even more of these delicate vibrations simply by sitting there with my palms lifted toward the shelves.

And indeed, that is precisely what happened. I sat there for several minutes, relishing these delicious energies, thinking, "My--what an easy way to meditate." The flow was especially noticeable in the arms, especially in the wrists and elbows.

I wonder if Michael is right, that earth is now getting more and more "energetic transmissions" from the higher planes, and hence we are able to experience ever more refined and esoteric vibrations.

I think this is the time for all of us to go forward, to continue to explore and discover. Something is urging us ahead, all the while holding us in love.

Blessings to all.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wondrous Odors and more on Esoteric Acupuncture 

Today, I went forth into the world to take a walk (that may not sound like too much for many of you, but for some reason I have been reluctant to travel much in the outside world lately.)

The days was perfect--mild and sunny. I found myself standing at a lookout point, just above the singing surf, enjoying the marvelous view, when--suddenly--I realized that I was smelling sweet perfume, as of flowers (jasmine?) I looked around. No flowers or shrubs or trees anywhere nearby--just sand and rock. And then I remembered the time a few months ago when I had smelled the lovely odors of the garden near an ashram--and how this lovely scent had followed me into town, no matter how far I walked from the original source.

And--today--I also had a second "deja vu" ("deja smell"?) experience, as I did the first time. A few days after I had visited the ashram garden, I went there again, and this time smelled--something goood to eat (I was hungry at the time.) So today, the scent of flowers was replaced (briefly) with the odor of a really tempting hamburger--I happened to be looking at a diner across the way, and I am sure the notion came into my subconsciousness from that sight--it filtered in as an actual "scent". But I didn't try to go over to the diner as a customer--this is high tourist season, and it was packed out. I wasn't willing to wait for an hour, even for a hamburger. (I might add that I eat a hamburger quite rarely--maybe once every two or three months.)


My friend Beth who is herself an acupuncturist tells me that she has often felt that for certain clients (those highly energy sensitive) it might not be necessary to use needles or even to touch them.

Here is her comment:

And your account of your experiments with Esoteric Acupuncture was both inspiring &
interesting ... resonates with questions that I too have had, about acupuncture in general,
and EA in particular. For many years, I've held the belief that needles really are not
necessary: that to the extent that a practitioner (or a client themselves) is able to generate
& be stable with a "needle-point" intention, that that is sufficient ... I would say that still I
believe that if ones mind is clear, and the channels of communication between the mental
body (which forms images of, say, geometric patterns) and the etheric & physical bodies,
are open ~ to this extent practices such as the ones you describe will indeed be effective.
But for those whose mental focus/clarity or stability are not that developed, the needles,
providing continuous stimulation (i.e. drawing the attention) to specific points, can be very
useful. Mikio Sankey also is of the belief that the needles themselves have a "qi" which ~
along with the qi of the practitioner ~ is a valuable ingredient to the alchemy of a
successful treatment. He also believes that acupressure works primarily on the physical,
as opposed to the etheric, body ... though your experience would seem to be contrary to
this conclusion. So ... I don't know!? It's all quite fascinating, though ....

And another friend, Patty, had this to say:

There is a book, Opening the Dragon Gate: the Making of a Taoist Wizard in translation by Thomas Cleary (I think that a fair recall of the title). It's a biography in which 3 Taoist Immortal (?)- at least masters, are training a little fellow who is now a Taoist Master, Master Wang Li Ping. One of the Immortals (an enlightened Taoist is called immortal or normal human being) was a master of "needle-less accupuncture." And they're not talking accupressure... it was subtler than that.

It's truly fascinating that with present communication techniques, one can hear from others about one's own "esoteric" experiences, and get them in clearer context.

(And if anyone else has comments on this, don't hesitate to write.)

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Cloth of Delicate Gold (poem) 

A Cloth of Delicate Gold

You may think
that first lit flame
was the ultimate blaze,
the holy fire
entered at last.

What do you know of furnaces?
This is a sun that returns
again and again, refining, igniting,
pouring your spirit
through a cloth of delicate gold
until all dross is taken
and you are sweet as
clarified butter
in god’s mouth.

Dorothy Walters
August 4, 2006

Esoteric Acupuncture 

Recently, a friend told me about a method called "Esoteric Acupuncture." This is a method developed by Mikio Sankey, whose books are available on Amazon. You can also look him up on the internet at www.esotericacupuncture.com/spirit In the section called "spirit path pattern," various diagrams and sacred geometric patterns are presented, which explain the approach in its inner intentions. The acupuncturist is instructed to follow these instructions in order to "install" certain esoteric frequencies for strengthening, say, the Heart Chakra, and other upper chakras. One suggestion (from my friend) is that, since you are working on the etheric body, not the physical body, the needling need not be deep. Apparently a brief stimulation is sufficient.

Now, of course, once I read of this I was eager to experience it. My friend (who is an acupuncturist) mentioned that she had done it on herself. But how could I do such a process on myself, since I knew little about acupuncture, and, besides, some of the points were on the back, where I could not reach.

Today was a day of sweet and subtle energy flows. I noticed especially the currents around the face, ears, and eyes. So I was in an especially sensitive state. I decided to sit on the floor and experiment with some of the acupressure techniques described in Tarthang Tulku's book "Kum Nye Relaxation, Part 1." This book is an excellent guide to self treatment of various kinds. I recommend it to anyone who wants to explore such areas.

Once I got settled and began to study the illustrations of the various key acupressure points, it occurred to me that perhaps one actually didn't need to press the material body at all. And, just then, a mental image of a geometric form, similar to that presented in Sakey's text, came into my consciousness. So I held the image (now located in my upper body), and did feel energies awaken at various key points, such as shoulders and neck. After a few minutes, I received another image, this time a geometric form which rested inside my head, again with key points noted. Once more, I meditated on this diagram, and felt sweet energies flow.

It then occurred to me that, since my eyes are my weakest points, I should ask for help with them. And I received another (smaller) diagram, more or less like a vertical diamond. This three-dimensional form rested in the center of each eye.

This is a fascinating technique. It draws you into a closer relationship with your inner guide, who will lead you always into deeper and deeper realms of exploration. As one of my friends noted (about the spiritual journey itself), "It's the only game in town."

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Taken (poem) 


First, you must let your heart
be broken open
in a way you have never
felt before,
cannot imagine.

You will
not know if what you are
is anguish or joy,
something predestined
or merely old wounds
flowing once more,
reminders of all that is
unfinished in your life.

Something will flood into
your chest
like air sweetened by
desert honeysuckle,
love that is too

You will stand there,
very still,
not seeing what this is.
Later, you will not remember
any of this
until the next time
when you will say,
yes, yes, I have known this before,
it has come again,

just as your eyes fold under
once more.

Dorothy Walters
August 4, 2006

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Light of a Different Frequency 

Light of a Different Frequency

They call it the ascending.
The soul divesting itself
of all the nonessentials
like a pilot desperately
throwing things overboard
trying to keep the plane aloft
in the storm,
a wagon trying to make it
over the next steep incline.

It is laborious work.
It takes years or lifetimes
of effort.
It comes little by little,
the tiny increments of joy,
the repetitious intervals
of pain.

Always there is a polishing,
a honing.
A smoothing away of the
the imperfections.

And something grows lighter
Shift to a higher register.
Light of a different frequency.
Pulsations flowing like light
or breath.
Heart crying its rapture,
silence like pain.
Who can find words
for this constantly moving
upward, this always being lifted
to a higher elevation,
where the blood grows thinner,
the atmosphere
ever more refined.

Dorothy Walters
August 4, 2006

Friday, August 04, 2006

Kundalini and Compassion 

What is this awesome mystery

By Symeon the New Theologian
(949 - 1032)

English version by John Anthony McGuckin

What is this awesome mystery
that is taking place within me?
I can find no words to express it;
my poor hand is unable to capture it
in describing the praise and glory that belong
to the One who is above all praise,
and who transcends every word...
My intellect sees what has happened,
but it cannot explain it.
It can see, and wishes to explain,
but can find no word that will suffice;
for what it sees is invisible and entirely formless,
simple, completely uncompounded,
unbounded in its awesome greatness.
What I have seen is the totality recapitulated as one,
received not in essence but by participation.
Just as if you lit a flame from a flame,
it is the whole flame you receive.

-- from The Book of Mystical Chapters: Meditations on the Soul's Ascent from the Desert Fathers and Other Early Christian Contemplatives, Translated by John Anthony McGuckin (found on Ivan Granger's www.poetry-chaikhana.com )

For many years, I have pondered the relationship of kundalini and compassion. For me, the "opening" was into a world of bliss--ecstasy undreamed or. And over time, that bliss has continued , though constantly changed into softer forms, and often intermingled with pain.

But the bliss journey focuses primarily on the inner personal process--the experience of feeling and accepting the boundless love of the universe for the self. It involves the adoration of the divine, often in the guise of the divine feminine, the Mother, Tara, or some other image of divinity. It is a splendid path.

In Hindu philosophy, this mode of practice is (as I understand it) called Bhakti--devotion which seeks nothing other than to offer one's love to "this," whatever it is. It asks nothing for self or others, other than to coninue in this state of grace and union.

There seems to be no mention (on this path) of compassion, concern for the fate of the world, even service (though that is another branch of yoga--karma yoga.)

Buddhism, on the other hand, speaks often of compassion, but says nothing of bliss. The aim seems to be to enter a certain state of consciousness which in turn leads to an awareness of compassionate concern for "all sentient beings." It is a noble path. But, for me, it (in this form) lacks the excitement of the kundalini path.

So I have been wondering how the two might be united, into an amalgam of compassionate bliss, blissful compassion.

I think I am finally beginning to discover the answer. Of late, I have continued to do my "moving meditation," focusing on the needs of a universe which is now in agony. What I am finding is that bliss comes through, as always, but in a different form. Now what I feel (and I do feel it deeply) is more what I might term "heart pulses" of love, extending from where my body stands out into the universe itself. These feelings are infinitely tender, soft, more like light or breath, yet incredibly real.

So there I am, standing before Buddha (my tongka), doing my familiar chi gong movements, feeling delicate bliss coupled with a deep sense of compassion for the world and all its inhabitants. It turned out to be simple. But it has taken a long time for me to get there.

I recommend it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Patricia is in the News--the Article itself 

Here is the article on Patricia and her work which has just been published. I decided to copy it and give it a special entry.
Patricia, you are wonderful! I always said you would be famous--and how right I was. (By the way, Patricia is very modest--she seeks to publicize her cause, not gain publicity for herself.)

Raging granny's White House protest nears end

Scripps Howard News Service

Roll over, Cindy Sheehan. There's a new protester camped out at the White House these days.

Despite her disability, budget or age, "raging granny" Patricia Lay-Dorsey advocates peace, rain or shine, from her electric wheelchair.

This 64-year-old Washington, D.C., native has traveled long distances for the past 17 years in the name of peace. Dorsey currently lives in Detroit, Mich., where she became a "raging granny."

Even though she does not have any children or grandchildren, Dorsey co-founded the Raging Grandmothers Without Borders of Detroit and Windsor (Ontario), a human rights organization of older women who wear "big, silly and flamboyant" hats and sing at protests.

Dorsey was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1988, and before long, the loss of balance and muscle weakness that the disease can cause led her to depend on a walker. As her condition worsened, she started using a motorized scooter.

Dorsey drove more than 500 miles from Detroit to Washington, D.C., on July 19 to protest the U.S. support of Israel as it bombed Lebanon. From then on, she sits alone for four to five hours a day in a heat wave either in front of the White House or on Capitol Hill and holds a sign that reads "Israel out of Lebanon!!!" on one side and "Who Suffers in War?" with a picture of a Lebanese family on the other.

Dorsey's 19-day protest concludes on Aug. 7. Her favorite spot is outside the White House fence because she meets people of different ethnicities and origins.

"It truly is a global corner," Dorsey said.

It was her instant connection with a Lebanese family who used to live in southeast Michigan that made her leave Detroit and start this vigil.

"I want to be part of awakening my fellow countrymen and -women," Dorsey said on Day 13 of her protest. "I want to give voice to the Lebanese, who I think are voiceless people."

It was earlier in her activism Dorsey met the Haddads, whom she calls her "family of the heart."

In December 2002, Dorsey received an e-mail from one of her activist groups that informed her that Immigration and Naturalization Service had detained Rabih Haddad, a Muslim advocate. In Michigan, Haddad had co-founded the Global Relief Foundation, which defines itself as an Islamic charity. Federal agents raided the charity's offices, froze its assets and claimed it was funding terrorists. However, Haddad was not charged with supporting terrorism. He and his family had overstayed their visas and did not have legal immigration status.

Dorsey e-mailed Michigan senators and her friends to ask that they be Haddad's advocates.

Later that week, she sat in the U.S. Immigration Court waiting room in Brewery Park in Detroit to hear the results of Haddad's bond hearing; and thanks to her scooter, she was able to stay for the hearing and left that room with a new family.

Dorsey recalls the day in that "tiny immigration room."

"During the immigration hearings, family members, witnesses and legal advisers were the ones privileged to stay in the room. The rest had to give up their chairs for relatives. But since I brought my own 'chair,' I was able to stay."

Haddad's wife Sulaima and four children were all in the small room.

(Since then, they've had one more son, now 2 years old.)

Dorsey scooted over to the Haddads and started talking and offered the children some grapefruit juice. She recalls the children's being very grateful, although she later found out that they hate grapefruit juice.

"As soon as Sulaima's eyes met with mine, I knew she was family," Dorsey said.

After that, Dorsey wrote letters to Haddad while he was held in detention for 19 months. Later he and his family were deported back to Lebanon. They kept in touch with Dorsey through e-mail and phone.

"Rabih would call me 'sister' in his letters and now I'm Auntie Pat to the children," Dorsey said.

On July 12, Dorsey read about the attack on Lebanon and immediately called Sulaima in Beirut. Haddad was in Istanbul on business. Sulaima and the children took a bus to Syria to escape the bombings.

"It was a hellish week. I could only think about them," said Dorsey. "I knew I had to do something so I got into my van and decided to come to D.C."

Her need for a wheelchair-accessible room and shower prevents her from staying at a private home, so her hotel bills will tally more than $2,000 for this vigil. Dorsey began to ask for donations from friends and acquaintances on Day 10 of her protest.

However, being a peace activist 24/7 creates friction with family and friends. So Dorsey posted an announcement on her online journal.

"The more you are true to yourself, the more people stop liking you," Dorsey said.

But one person stands by her side at all times. Dorsey says her husband of 40 years, Edward, doesn't judge her beliefs.

"The only thing my husband has asked me is: 'Please, do not get arrested,' " Dorsey said.

She never has because she doesn't believe in attracting attention through violence. Dorsey feels protesting alone is more effective than mass rallies.

"Dialogue is everything. That is how a person can make a change _ a difference," Dorsey said.

In order to make a change, Dorsey believes she needs to be a strong "presence of peace" by being "authentic" and nonjudgmental as she talks with people who disagree with her.

She said some people have threatened her during her D.C. protest. However, she said that White House security is around, making sure she is safe.

"Since I'm old and disabled, they (security guards) take care of me. I feel very safe," Dorsey says.

On Day 6, an onlooker suggested that Dorsey should have a sign reading "Hezbollah out of Lebanon" in all fairness. Dorsey sparked a conversation by asking the onlooker if he knew the history of Israel and Lebanon and if he ever saw peace result from war. The onlooker replied that there is a need to end terrorism and Lebanon needs to stop aiding terrorists. She asked the onlooker to join her with his own sign. He walked away.

It's not all criticism. Some take her picture and give her two thumbs up. She also gets support from those nearby protesting the Iraq War. Tyler Westbrook, 37, from Vermont is part of the Code Pink/Hunger Strikers in Lafayette Park and says he is impressed with Dorsey.

"I respect her greatly," Westbrook said. "I think she is an absolutely wonderful and strong lady _ a person of conscience."

Dorsey did not allow her disability to stop her from being active. But instead, she says she is grateful for her disability. She began her activism a year after her diagnosis and if it weren't for her scooter, she would not have the mobility needed to stage protests.

There are times she still uses her walker, but with style. She decided to paint it and put wind chimes on it. The name windchimewalker later became her Web site address.

Despite her disability, Dorsey has managed not to rely on medication for her pain. Instead, she swims twice a week and spends time with a trainer in the gym twice as week as well. She celebrated her 64th birthday by getting a tattoo of the world on her left bicep, symbolizing her belief that everyone is a "global family." She says she picked her bicep as a canvas because she is proud she doesn't have "the typical old-lady arms."

For things she cannot do herself, she depends on people wherever she goes.

"I am not afraid of people," Dorsey says. "People are so kind to me and it's easy for me because I have a visible disability. People open doors for me. If I need help, I ask for it."

On the net: www.windchimewalker.blogspot.com

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.shns.com)

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Patricia Hits the News! and some Sacred Poetry 

This post is from Patricia's Journal for today:

Thursday, August 03, 2006
in the news...
After a long hot day in front of the White House--100 degrees for much of my 6 hours there--I returned to my trusty laptop in my lovely air-conditioned hotel room to find that the Scripps Howard News Service had published Cristina Ramirez's profile of me yesterday and a newspaper in Texas had already run with it. It remains to be seen if other papers will pick it up too.

Cristina's article is called "Raging granny's White House protest nears end" and starts with the words:

"Roll over, Cindy Sheehan. There's a new protester camped out at the White House these days."

You can check it out by going to http://www.shns.com/shns/g_index2.cfm?action=detail&pk=RAGINGGRANNY-08-02-06

Gee whiz!

// posted by Patricia @ 8/03/2006 06:09:00 PM
Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The following is from Dorothy (who is thrilled by Patricia's news. Your may have to go to her original post to get to the Scripps Howard story--www.windchimewalker.blogspot.com)

And here are some poems which capture the spirit of Patricia's own dedication.
These two poems, the first by a Sufi, the second by an Iranian Muslim, sum up beautifully the notion that we are "all one person," and that each is a part of the totality of the overarching divine presence. Both are from Ivan Grangers poetry site.

All Adam's race are members of one frame;

By Sadi
(1207? - 1291)

English version by Edward B. Eastwick

All Adam's race are members of one frame;
Since all, at first, from the same essence came.
When by hard fortune one limb is oppressed,
The other members lose their wonted rest:
If thou feel'st not for others' misery,
A son of Adam is no name for thee.

-- from The Gulistan of Sadi: The Rose Garden, Translated by Edward B. Eastwick

Find It in You

By Baba Afzal Kashani
(13th Century)

English version by David and Sabrineh Fideler

The Divine Book's imprint
is nothing but you.

The mirror of the King's Beauty
is nothing but you.

Not a thing in this world
is outside of you.

Whatever you're seeking --
you'll find it in you.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Workshops from Lawrence Edwards 

for more information about him). He is one of the leading authorities on kundalini and on meditation techniques. His work is sorely needed at times like these. (Note: this "copy and paste" of his e-mail doesn't do justice to the actual newsletter,which is extremely attractive. The address at the end of this message indicates how you too can sign up for this free e-mail newsletter.)

June 2006
Anam Cara Newsletter
Taking Refuge in Silence

Take Refuge in Silence
Abiding in Silence


The Mysteries of the Divine Feminine Retreat that we held early in June plunged everyone into profound stillness in the depths of meditation. Kundalini Empowerment through diksha - initiation - was given and people shared how they felt humbled and graced by the power of the Divine that was so palpably present.

The Great Goddess Kali was invoked and present in all Her glory and mystery! Part of what is symbolized by Her radiant blackness is the Silence, the Stillness, the dark womb of creation out of which everything comes into existence, and into which it all disappears - the great Void, absorbing and stilling the mind. However the Void is both empty and full. People spoke of experiencing the all- encompassing love, grace and compassion which fill that infinite, spaciousness of Awareness while leaving it undisturbed - It's Silence and Stillness forever unbroken. There the mind finds its true refuge and settles into sublime peace.

The next retreat, August 19-20, 2006 will be a silent meditation retreat providing those who attend the sacred space in which to experience what happens as all thoughts are absorbed in Absolute Stillness.

The next Mysteries of the Divine Feminine and Kundalini Empowerment retreat will be Nov. 11-13, 2006.

Take Refuge in Silence

All sound arises out of Silence
and dissolves into Silence.
All thought arises out of Silence
and dissolves into Silence.
The universe arises out of Silence
and dissolves into Silence.
Suffering arises out of Silence
and dissolves into Silence.
The unbounded spaciousness of Silence,
filled with the clear light of Awareness,
dissolves the roots of pain and sorrow.
Take refuge in Silence and know
unshakeable joy.

June 2006

Abiding in Silence
Silent Meditation Retreat August 19-20, 2006

The Abiding in Silence retreat creates the opportunity for people to allow their mind and body to settle more and more deeply into the profound states of stillness and silence that envelop one in meditation. Take this retreat and leave the ordinary world farther behind than you will on a mere vacation! And return more established in your own source of steadiness, ease and peace. The retreat will run Saturday 2-10pm, Sunday from 6am-3:30pm.

For information and registration..... (See below)

Anam Cara, Inc. is a 501 (C) 3 non-profit educational organization founded by Lawrence Edwards to teach meditative practices and make them available to everyone. All donations are tax deductible and very gratefully received. Thank you for your ongoing support and interest! Please share this newsletter with others.


Lawrence Edwards, Ph.D., LMHC, BCIAC
Anam Cara, Inc


email: le@anamcara-ny.org
phone: 914-234-4800
web: http://www.anamcara-ny.org

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Urgent Message--a Must Read for All 

I received this message yesterday from my friend Jan Coleman, whom I trust and highly respect. I agree with Jan that this is MUST READ alert. It is so disturbing that I hesitated even to put it up. In some respects, it is even more alarming than the rest of the world news coming forth at this time. Her message is directed at the residents of the Bay area, but also it involves other sites around the country--such as Maryland and Boston, where the government is preparing to install secret labs to develop chemical/biological agents through the use of animal experiments. If leaks should occur (don't they always?) then the lives of hundreds or even thousands may be at risk. The claim is that these are for "defensive purposes" only, but we all know how little credibility such claims have in the light of past events.


Though this information is extremely disturbing, I think we must be strong enough to face the truth of what is happening right now, and do what we can to stop it. We should also take care to keep ourselves in the best shape to deal with such issues. I suggest the following:

Keep as healthy as you can. Don't become part of the problem (of keeping the world safe). Good health makes it easier to deal with depresssing issues.

Keep in touch with your friends. You will find comfort and support from others who are also willing to know the truth, however disturbing.

Act in the best way for you. If you are willing, contact your representatives in congress and your fellow citizens. These issues concern us all, on many counts. Do the things that Jan suggests above.

Do things to keep your spirits up--give yourself permission to enjoy whatever give you a "lift."

Don't turn away in denial.

If you can and want to contribute money to this cause (now carried by a handful of folks), here is how:

Contributions can be made online at www.trivalleycares.org or by mail to Tri-Valley CAREs, 2582 Old First Street, Livermore, CA 94551. It is a 501c3

Here is her message:

From: "Jan Coleman" View Contact Details Add Mobile Alert
Yahoo! DomainKeys has confirmed that this message was sent by mindspring.com. Learn more
To: "Jan Coleman"
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2006 00:43:09 -0700

Friends in the Bay Area:

This may be the most important email message I have ever sent to you—so please take time to read the following:

The Defense Dept and Homeland Security for “national security purposes” have designated Livermore Labs in the East Bay for a secret bio-defense lab, a facility in which they will test (on animals) forms of biological and chemical agents that could be used by terrorists. The agents will be aerosolized and, should they become airborne outside the facility, “they could kill hundreds to thousands of Bay Area residents within a 50-mile radius of the lab (including San Francisco and San Jose)”, say the experts. The structure is on a fault line—and would be a possible target for anyone who would like to do harm to the US.

The required public safety and environmental studies were not done and the matter is in the 13th District Court—but the decision for them to proceed could go either way. I am alarmed that I have not been able to find others in the area that know about this. I made contact with the lawyer handling the case and learned that BECAUSE THERE HAS BEEN NO PUBLIC OUTCRY, Tracy, CA, is on a short list for a large acreage to be turned into a testing site for large animals—another “PLUM ISLAND” IN OUR BACKYARD!!

Timing is crucial now! We must speak out and get all politicians, mayors and city councils, environmental groups, animal rights organizations, local and national organizations to stand and be counted—we must create a PUBLIC OUTCRY! The small office in Livermore that is trying to fight the issue needs our help—they have only a couple staff people and are grossly underfunded for such an effort.

I am writing to ask your support in whatever way you can give it. I don’t know how I can take on one more thing right now, but realize I have been having sleepless nights and must SPEAK OUT! I will be happy to play contact point as we begin but am asking you to step forward and help create a team of leaders around this issue. Here are some ways to assist:

Put the word out wherever you can—to your local officials, media, organizations to which you belong locally and nationally.
Let me know what you are willing to do so I can pass on the info to leaders as they emerge.
Put email “chains” in place so when material is sent to you, you can pass it down the chain.
Learn the facts of the issue—I have attached a “fact sheet” from the Livermore office and the link to an informed article in yesterday’s Washington Post which tells about another secret lab being constructed in Maryland and shows a brief video with more info:

I was told that these bio-defense labs are being sited in several places in the US, including a low-income neighborhood in Boston!

If you don’t live in the Bay Area, you may wish to find out if a secret bio-defense lab is scheduled for your area. And please reach out to anyone you may know in the Bay Area—or organizations/individuals may be of help to us.
A question has been raised as to the suitability of the staff at Livermore for handling this type of testing as they are nuclear scientists, not geneticists.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I wish it were better news. Many have asked how they can “do something” to change many of the decisions being made on our behalf in this country. Here is one way—start right in our own neighborhood!




Jan Coleman



"If the success or failure of this planet, of human beings,

depended on how I am and what I do,

How would I be? What would I do?"

-- R. Buckminster Fuller

Attachments Attachment scanning provided by:


Livermore_Bio_Defense_Lab_Bio_FactSheet.doc (42k) [Preview] Scan and Save to Computer - Save to Yahoo! Briefcase
Livermore_Bio_Defense_Lab___McKinzieDeclaration.pdf_2.pdf (468k) Scan and Save to Computer - Save to Yahoo! Briefcase

Now here are the fact sheets which she attached to her original message:

Basic Facts about Livermore Lab’s Bio-warfare Agent Facility

The Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has ordered a 1500 square foot prefabricated building that will house a high-level Bio-Warfare Agent Laboratory inside LLNL. Up to 100 Liters of bio-agents will be used there at any one time. Researchers will aerosolize and genetically modify agents such as plague, anthrax, botulism and rabbit fever. This is a historic decision because these types of high-level agent experiments have never before been located inside a nuclear weapons research laboratory.

Where will it be located? It will be located in the heart of Livermore Laboratory – a 1.3 square mile facility with nearly 10,000 on-site workers, and residential housing developments built right up to the fence line of the Livermore Lab. The Department of Energy considers a 50 miles radius around the lab as the “affected environment” for releases and impacts. This area encompasses the cities of San Jose and San Francisco.

What Agents will the lab experiment on? The lab is a Bio-safety Level 3 (BSL-3) lab, housing a level three select agents lab (level 4 is the highest and is reserved for Bio-Agents with no preventative treatment or known cure). Agents in a BSL-3 are known to cause serious or potentially lethal disease as a result of inhalation. This lab can use any select agents – select agents are organisms that “have historically been associated with weaponizing efforts”.

What Types of Experiments are planned? Experiments will genetically modify these agents and aerosolize them (spray them) onto testing animals inside of special cabinets. The risks posed by genetically modified pathogens have never undergone a broad independent assessment. The lab will infect a maximum of 100 animals at a time, consisting of mainly mice with some rats and guinea pigs. Scientists and policy makers are concerned that genetic modifications could accidentally or intentionally create super-strains that have no known treatment or cure ultimately resulting in bio-weapons of the future. The environmental study conducted by the lab did not include any information about the nature of the genetic modification that DOE plans to conduct or how the lab will manage the hazards inherent in this work.

· Hazards of Genetic Modification: In Sept, 2003 UC Berkeley researchers admitted that they had accidentally created a super-strain of tuberculosis (TB) through genetic modification of ordinary TB that multiplied faster and was more lethal. US government studies have also led to the creation of extremely deadly forms of mousepox, rabbitpox and cowpox. The mousepox is impervious to anti-viral drugs and vaccines.

· Hazards of Aerosolization: Aerosolization of select agents is potentially a form of weaponizing them. A gaseous suspension of fine particles resulting from aerosolization makes these agents far more dangerous due to accidental occupational exposure and, in the case of failure of containment, exposure of civilians outside of the facility.

· Civilian Science: Livermore Lab heralds its “bio-defense” work as key to US defenses against a biological attack. Tri-Valley CAREs does not oppose experiments needed to create bio-detectors or legitimate bio-defense work. Tri-Valley CAREs opposes having this work located inside a super-secret classified nuclear weapons laboratory.

· Lack of Independent Oversight: No independent regulatory agency is responsible for safety at LLNL on a continuing basis. Safety is a matter of self-regulation. This type of management hasn’t worked at other federal labs where the anthrax used in the letters to the media and government officials was most likely derived.

· Dual-Use Nature of this Research: The bio-warfare agent research at Livermore Lab is inherently dual-use. Although DOE states that this lab is purely defensive – there always remains a chance that they could be used for offensive weapons research. The “defensive research” at LLNL will be virtually indistinguishable from “offensive research”. With the secrecy of the program, the US aversion to inspection or verification protocols at the Biological Weapons Convention, the opaque nature of the Institutional Biosafety Committee, and with the lack of independent transparent oversight, no one will know for sure what type of research will be conducted there.

Bad Public Process: The Department of Energy approved this new BSL-3 lab without any public hearings or a thorough environmental review. Many community members appealed to the lab and to the Livermore City Council for public hearings without result. Many unstudied environmental hazards would have been analyzed in a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement. Further, labs like this one are opening all over the country as congress passed billions for bio-defense without any coordinated plan. Thousands of new employees will be trained to work in these labs making it difficult to prevent theft of information and bio-agents.

· Tri-Valley CAREs filed suit to challenge the legality of the Energy Department’s decision not to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement. Although the court agreed that many of our arguments were persuasive, the court ruled in favor of the government citing the significant discretion given to government agencies in the law. We are appealing this decision.

Environmental Dangers? LLNL is currently on the EPA’s list of most contaminated sites in the U.S.

· HEPA air filters: The Lab will rely upon HEPA filters to prevent environmental release of deadly bio-agents. LLNL retired physicist Marion Fulk argues that HEPA filters become ineffective when wet or torn and routinely allow some particles to escape.

· Seismic Concerns: The lab sits within one kilometer of the Las Positas and Greenville faults. An earthquake in 1980 injured 44 people and cost the lab many millions in structural damages. Today, 108 buildings have potential seismic problems, 22 have unacceptable risks and 41 wait for detailed evaluation, including buildings where genetic modification will be conducted.

· History of Accidents / Spills: Although LLNL boasts its perfect record of no recorded infections by lab workers, our investigations found that they had several mishaps in the past with their lower level, less-infectious agents where employees poked themselves with needles and possibly threw anthrax contaminated waste out with the general trash.

o CDC does not formally track lab-acquired infections and all infections are voluntarily reported. As a result, we have no accurate information about infections, releases and accidents. Infections often go under-reported because lab directors fear reprisal and because journals only publish infections that are new, rare or unusual.

· Transportation Dangers: Shipments will travel by FedEx or other commercial courier service. LLNL estimates 60 shipments (in and out) per month.

o Incidents Elsewhere: On October 6, 2004 – a package containing 5 tubes of TB was stolen in Barcelona, Spain. In June of 2004, Oakland Children’s Hospital called in the FBI after they found purportedly attenuated anthrax shipments to be live and dangerous.

Proliferation Threats: Over the last decade or more, the US has demonstrated that it values the secrecy of its commercial and military facilities more highly than the transparency that is needed for effective international monitoring of compliance with the requirements of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). Collocation of nuclear and biological warfare agent research at Livermore Lab could lead other countries to follow-suit causing nearly insurmountable verification problems. Identifying whether a bio-lab is conducting offensive research is generally a matter of intent of the researcher since many of the experiments are the same whether they be for peaceful purposes or for developing a biological weapons program.

· Tri-Valley CAREs believes that bio-warfare agent research should be conducted under the auspices of civilian science centers and not inside classified nuclear weapons laboratories with strengthened oversight and reporting requirements. Tri-Valley CAREs attended the BWC meeting in December of 2004.

Institutional Biosafety Committees: Keepers of the BWC ? LLNL claims that its IBC will review all projects involving high-level bio-agents to ensure that experiments comply with international prohibitions against development of bio-weapons and with all other health and safety laws.
o The National Institute of Health requires IBC’s to make minutes available to the public and recommends that they hold open meetings. LLNL’s IBC has refused to release redacted minutes for at least seven months after the meeting is held. Numerous requests by Tri-Valley CAREs to attend IBC meetings or even be alerted when they are held have been plainly denied.

o Community Members: The lab claims to include “community members” on the IBC, however, such members’ names and background information were redacted. According to a study of IBCs, Livemore Lab stands alone in redacting this info.

Take Action!
o Send money – we need to raise $15,000 to support our appeal.
o Write letters to editor
o Speak out at City Council meetings – local club meetings
o Demand that the IBC meetings be open to the public and transparent and have a seat for a true member of the public.
o Read Tri-Valley CAREs newsletter for updates and contact our office to get involved.

(Here is the "McKinzie Brief," the case now being presented in court that Jan refers to above. The blank spaces are where diagrams and drawings appear in the original document. If you are interested, e-mail me and I will send you the attachments which contain these images. My address is dorothywalters2@sbcglobal.net)

436 14th Street, Suite 1300
Oakland, California 94612
Telephone: 510/496-0600
Facsimile: 510/496-1366
618 Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
Telephone: 505/983-8936
Facsimile: 505/983-0036
Attorneys for Plaintiffs
Civ. No. C-03-3926 SBA
I, MATTHEW G. MCKINZIE, declare as follows:
1. I am a scientist for the Nuclear Program of the Natural Resources Defense Council
(NRDC). I have been in this position since 1997. I received my doctorate in physics in 1995
from the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in experimental nuclear physics, and
subsequently held an appointment as a Postdoctoral Associate at the Mario Einaudi Center for
International Studies at Cornell University. I have worked professionally on the topic of
Weapons of Mass Destruction as a scientist and analyst at Cornell and the NRDC for eight
years. My research has been published in NRDC and Cornell research reports and a peerreviewed
technical journal, and I have lectured widely in University and U.S. government
settings. I have been interviewed on numerous occasions as an expert on Weapons of Mass
Destruction on national television and in the print media. My research has included the use of
computer models, satellite imagery and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to simulate the
consequences of the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction. A copy of my curriculum vitae is
attached hereto as Exhibit 1.
2. In the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks there has been an increased use within
the U.S. Government of computer models designed to calculate the dispersal of chemical,
biological or radiological agents. One computer model that currently has widespread use in the
U.S. military and emergency first-responder communities is HPAC, which stands for Hazard
Prediction and Assessment Capability. HPAC was developed to accurately predict the effects of
hazardous material releases into the atmosphere and calculate the corresponding impacts on
civilian and military populations. The HPAC software is distributed by the Defense Threat
Reduction Agency (DTRA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense. The NRDC is a
licensed user of HPAC.
3. The HPAC software includes a computer model that calculates the mass of biological
agent expelled from a damaged biological weapons storage or production facility: the Biological
FACilities (BFAC) source term model. This damage is presumed to involve an explosion in the
interior of the facility that may be caused by, for example, an accident, an attack, or an external
event such as an earthquake (which is a predictable concern for the Livermore, California area).
If there is limited knowledge about the interior of the biological weapons facility, the BFAC
model contains a Facility Category Damage Sub-model in which only the biological agent type,
total mass of agent and a level of damage to the facility (light, moderate, severe or total) needs
to be specified as input to the computer program. According to the HPAC documentation
(HPAC Version 3.2.1), this sub-model then yields conservative estimates of material released
based on the understandings of experts in the associated technical fields. No viability
degradation of the biological agent is assumed in this type of calculation. It should be noted that
at least one of the agents that will be stored and handled at the Biological Safety Level 3 (BSL-
3) facility proposed to be located at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL, or the
Lab ), Coxiella burnetii (Q fever), has a strong capability of surviving in the open environment
(LLNL BSL-3 Environmental Assessment, p. 51). Historical wind data provided in associated
HPAC databases may be used to calculate the transport of released biological agent away from
the damaged facility. Alternatively, fixed wind parameters including wind speed and direction
may be directly inputted into HPAC for the calculation.
4. The LLNL is located at 37o 41 North and 121o 42 West in Alameda County
approximately 40 miles east of San Francisco. According to the 2000 U.S. census data analyzed
by census blocks in the vicinity of the Lab, approximately 2,100 people live within one mile of
LLNL, 69,000 people within 5 miles, 123,000 people within 10 miles and 7.2 million people
live within 50 miles of the Lab. Just how far a biological agent would be dispersed in a
hypothetical incident at LLNL would depend on the severity of damage to the facility (and thus
the amount of viable biological agent released) and the speed and direction of the prevailing
winds. The number of initial infections would depend on the type of agent, how widely the
agent was dispersed at varying concentrations and the precise number of exposed persons. The
total number of infections caused by such an incident could be greater than the number of
initially infected persons, however, when potential infections from subsequent contagion are
also factored in.
5. In this declaration, I illustrate several calculations of the release of Anthrax from
postulated incidents at LLNL using the HPAC computer model. Anthrax is one of several
biological weapons agents that may be present at LLNL s BSL-3 Facility in quantities up to one
liter as described in the Environmental Assessment (Appendix A, p. A-24). In the first set of
HPAC calculations, the release of Anthrax from LLNL is made under the following
• 5 grams of Anthrax (about two teaspoons of dry spores) are initially present at the LLNL
biological weapons research facility;
• LLNL s BSL-3 facility is lightly damaged;
• prevailing winds at the time of the incident were modeled using historical weather data
provided with the HPAC computer code; and
• the incident occurs at mid-day.
6. The quantity of Anthrax chosen for this scenario is hypothetical. Approximately two
grams of Anthrax were present in the letter opened by one of Senator Daschle s staff on October
15, 2001, resulting in the 96-day closure of the Hart Senate Office Building and the presumed
infection of approximately 50 persons. Inhalation of 0.01 to 0.08 millionths of a gram of
Anthrax spores can produce pulmonary anthrax that is fatal within about four days. Two grams
of Anthrax, therefore, represents up to 25 million times the inhaled lethal dose.
7. For these scenarios, the HPAC computer model calculates Anthrax dosage for areas
downwind of LLNL. Dosage is a measure of cumulative exposure to biological agent, or the
concentration of biological warfare agent to which a person is exposed summed over the time of
exposure. The units of dosage are milligram-minutes per cubic meter (mg-min/m3) milligrams
of agent per cubic meter of air (concentration) multiplied by the time of exposure. The database
of biological weapons agents included with HPAC contains the expected fatality rate for
exposure to a given dosage of Anthrax. According to this database, a person exposed to Anthrax
at a dosage of 0.036 mg-min/m3 would have a 90% chance of dying from the disease (without
antibiotic treatment). A dosage for which 90% of individuals would die from the exposure is
referred to as LCt90. This dosage would approximately correspond to a person inhaling half a
millionth of a gram of Anthrax (assuming a breathing rate of 17 liters per minute). At lower
dosages exposed persons have a correspondingly lower chance of dying from Anthrax. A person
exposed to Anthrax at a dosage of 0.00000063 mg-min/m3 (or inhaling less than a billionth of a
gram of Anthrax) is assumed to have a 2% chance of dying from the disease. A dosage for
which 2% of individuals would die from the exposure is referred to as LCt2.
8. For the first set of calculations the release of Anthrax was modeled using historical
weather data. HPAC calculated that a plume of Anthrax spores corresponding to a dosage of
LCt2 would spread out from LLNL to a distance of between 20 and 40 miles. From April
through September the Anthrax would be carried in a southeasterly direction over sparsely
populated areas, where from 300 to 1,100 people would be exposed to a dosage of LCt2. Thus,
without antibiotic treatment, HPAC would predict 6 to 22 fatalities. In other months the Anthrax
would be carried westerly by the prevailing winds, exposing tens of thousands of individuals to
a dosage of LCt2. The maximum exposure was calculated for the month of February, in which
128,000 people were calculated to be exposed to a dosage of LCt2, corresponding to 2,500 fatal
infections without antibiotic treatment. Figures 1 and 2, below, show the calculated Anthrax
plume corresponding to a dosage of LCt2 for the months of February and September.
Figure 1: An HPAC calculation of the release of Anthrax following light damage at the LLNL BSL-3 facility with
winds typical for the month of September. The Anthrax plume shown in orange extends in a southeasterly
direction from the Lab over sparsely populated areas, where HPAC calculates from 300 to 1,100 people would be
exposed to a dosage of LCt2. For this calculation it was assumed that 5 grams of Anthrax was initially present at
Figure 2: An HPAC calculation of the release of Anthrax following light damage at the LLNL BSL-3 facility with
winds typical for the month of February. The Anthrax plume shown in orange extends in a southwesterly
direction from the Lab over densely populated areas, where HPAC calculates 128,000 people were calculated to be
exposed to a dosage of LCt2. For this calculation it was assumed that 5 grams of Anthrax was initially present at
9. In my second set of calculations the winds were fixed to blow towards downtown San
Francisco at a speed of 9 miles per hour (i.e., a gentle breeze). Under these prevailing winds, the
HPAC code calculates that 373,000 people would be exposed to a dosage of LCt2,
corresponding to 7,500 fatal infections without antibiotic treatment. HPAC predicts that even in
a lightly-damaged facility containing a small quantity of Anthrax here two teaspoons of dry
spores the release of the agent can, with certain prevailing winds, cause mass casualties. In the
specific case of an incident at LLNL the prevailing winds for half of the year, based on
historical weather patterns, would blow the agent toward densely-populated areas. The figure
below shows the Anthrax plume corresponding to a dosage of LCt2 for winds specified to be a
light breeze blowing from LLNL towards downtown San Francisco.
10. For my third set of calculations I inputted the damage to the LLNL BSL-3 facility as
severe, corresponding to three times as much biological weapons agent released as in the first
two sets of calculations. Using historical weather data, from 4,000 to 7,000 people would be
exposed to a dosage of LCt2 from the months of April through September when the prevailing
winds are in the south-easterly direction, and upwards of 240,000 people would be exposed to a
dosage of LCt2 during the other months, corresponding to about 4,800 fatalities. When the
winds were fixed to blow towards downtown San Francisco at a speed of 9 miles per hour (i.e.,
a gentle breeze), over one-half million people were calculated to be exposed to a dosage of
LCt2, corresponding to more than 10,000 fatal Anthrax infections without antibiotic treatment.
This calculation is illustrated in Figure 3, below.
Figure 3: An HPAC calculation of the release of Anthrax following severe damage at the LLNL BSL-3 facility
with winds specified to be a light breeze blowing from LLNL towards downtown San Francisco. HPAC calculates
over one-half million people would be exposed to a dosage of LCt2. For this calculation it was assumed that 5
grams of Anthrax was initially present at facility.
11. There are large uncertainties associated with these calculations due to the uncertainties
in quantity of agent, the degree of contamination, the nature of the postulated accident, and the
variability of the weather. Nevertheless, these calculations demonstrate the potential for
significant fatalities in the event of an accident at the proposed BSL-3 facility.
12. HPAC can be used to model the release of other biological agents under varying weather
conditions and other incident parameters. A thorough exploration of the risk posed by the
presence of a biological agent near a densely-populated area can be made by such a parametric
analysis, and must be a key aspect of the environmental assessment of LLNL s BSL-3 facility
so that public health and safety can be better assured. In my opinion, it is a glaring and obvious
omission that the LLNL BSL-3 Environmental Assessment has failed to do so, particularly
given the expertise in biological weapons and plume modeling which can be found at the U.S.
National Laboratories.
I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my
information and belief. Executed on February 11, 2004 in Washington, D.C.
Staff Scientist
Natural Resources Defense Council
Exhibit 1
Matthew Gordon McKinzie Curriculum Vitae
Natural Resources Defense Council
1200 New York Ave., NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005
e-mail: mmckinzie@nrdc.org
Personal Information:
Date of Birth: August 20, 1966
Citizenship: United States
August 1995 Ph.D., Nuclear Physics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Dissertation: Inelastic Scattering and Single and Double Charge Exchange
Reactions within the A=27 Isobaric Multiplet
Dissertation Advisor: Professor H. Terry Fortune, Department of Physics,
University of Pennsylvania
June 1988 B.A., Physics, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York
Summer Terms at Harvard University (1985) and the Center for Medieval and
Renaissance Studies, Keeble College, Oxford University (1986)
John Bard Scholar, 1988
Professional Employment:
June 1997 - present: Staff Scientist, Nuclear Program, Natural Resources Defense Council,
Washington, DC
September 1995 - June 1997: Postdoctoral Associate, Mario Einaudi Center for International
Studies, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
1988 - 1995: Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Physics, University of
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
1990 - 1992: Summer Graduate Research Assistant, Los Alamos National Laboratory,
Los Alamos, NM
Summer 1987: National Science Foundation Undergraduate Fellow, Laser-Molecular
Beam Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, Columbia University, New York, NY
Summer 1984: Quabbin Wire and Cable, Ware, MA
Software consultant, programmer, graphics design
Summer 1983: University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Summer research student, Alaskan Environment Expedition
The U.S. Nuclear War Plan: A Time for Change, with Thomas B. Cochran, Robert S. Norris
and William M. Arkin, Natural Resources Defense Council, June, 2001.
Toward True Security: A US Nuclear Posture for the Next Decade, with Bruce G. Blair,
Thomas B. Cochran, Tom Z. Collina, Jonathan Dean, Steve Fetter, Richard L. Garwin, Kurt
Gottfried, Lisbeth Gronlund, Henry Kelly, Robert S. Norris, Adam Segal, Robert Sherman,
Frank N. von Hippel, David Wright and Stephen Young (Federation of American Scientists,
Natural Resources Defense Council and the Union of Concerned Scientists), June 2001.
Declassified and Never Classified: A Focus on Proliferation in Secrecy Versus Openness:
Finding a Balance at the Department of Energy, Proceedings of a Workshop held on November
29, 1999 at John F. Kennedy School of Government, Belfer Center for Science and
International Affairs, Harvard University
The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: Issues and Answers (editor), Cornell University Peace
Studies Program Occasional Paper #21, June 1997.
Energy dependence of cross sections for double charge exchange on 60,62,64 Ni, with H. T.
Fortune, D. R. Benton, J. M. Odonnell, R. Crittenden, E. Insko, K. Griffioen, N. Claytor, and D.
L. Watson. Physical Review C (1997)
Gamow-Teller strength in 60,62,64Ni(n,p) reactions at 198 MeV, with A. L. Williams, W. P.
Alford, E. Brash, B. A. Brown, S. Burzynski, H. T. Fortune, O. Hausser, R. Helmer, R.
Henderson, P. P. Hui, K. P. Jackson, B. Larson, D. A. Smith, A. Trudel and M. Vetterli.
Physical Review C 51, 1144 (1995).
Interference effects in nonanalog pion double charge exchange, with H. T. Fortune, P. Hui, R.
Ivie, C. Laymon, X. Li, S. Loe, D. A. Smith, A. L. Williams, J. M O Donnell, S. Blanchard, G.
R. Burleson, and B. Lail, Physical Review C, 49, 2054 (1994).
Pion double charge exchange on nickel isotopes and generalized seniority, with D. R. Benton,
H. T. Fortune, J. M. O Donnell, R. Crittenden, E. Insko, R. Ivie, D. Smith, and J. D. Silk,
Physical Review C 47, 140 (1993).
Professional Presentations:
Exploring the Dimensions of Nuclear Conflict in South Asia, National Advisory Council on
South Asian Affairs Symposium: Is South Asia the Most Dangerous Place on Earth?, April 6,
2002, Wyndham Hotel, City Center, Washington, DC
Simulating Global Thermonuclear War, Plenary Panel at the 2001 Carnegie International
Non-Proliferation Conference (moderator Scott D. Sagan, Stanford University; fellow-panelists
Thomas Cochran and Robert S. Norris), June 19, Ronald Reagan Building and International
Trade Center, Washinton, DC.
Issues Surrounding U.S. Congressional Ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
(conference organizer and participant) held at the Peace Studies Program, Cornell University,
Ithaca, NY, October 11-13, 1996.
Fissile Material Stocks and National Security: an Examination of Current and Potential Future
Policies of the United States, presented at the Eighth Annual Summer Symposium on Science
and World Affairs, Beijing, China (23-21 July, 1996).
Discussant (Climate Models), Simulating Knowledge: Cultural Analysis of Computer Modeling
in the Life Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (19-21 April, 1996)
Security Aspects of the Future of Global Energy Resources, given at the Seventh
International Summer Symposium on Science and World Affairs, Kiev, Ukraine (September 16-
25, 1995).
Cross sections for transitions of the _L>0 in the reactions 27Al, 13C(n,p) at Tn=198 MeV,
Bulletin of the American Physical Society 39, 1008 (1994).
The (n,p) Reaction on 27Al and 13C at 198 MeV, Bull. Am. Phys. Soc. 38, 1830 (1993).
Interference Effects in Non-Analog Pion DCX, Bull. Am. Phys. Soc. 38, 1816 (1993).
Inelastic pion scattering from 27Al, 28Si, Bull. Am. Phys. Soc. 37, 1303 (1992).

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