Kundalini Splendor

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Friday, March 31, 2006

Reflections on Moving and a poem 

You too Have Heard Them

You know these well.

You too have heard their voices.

How they proclaim

in various tongues

that they alone

have looked

Truth in the eye,

fastened the Word to a text.

For only they have glimpsed

the Holy Vessel,

recorded its echoes

in the chambers of the soul.

What should we make

of these insistent claims?

Others speak of

many truths, many paths,

all leading to the same destination,

the summit, final Vision.

Dorothy Walters
March 19, 2006

"Moving" involves a great deal more than transferring the self and one's belongings to a new location. The entire psyche is rearranged, the self is remade, everything inside one's consciousness is shuffled about, as if an earthquake had interrupted the normal contours of a familiar landscape. One must adjust to new terrain outside, the unfamiliar compartments (rooms) of the dwelling inside. There is a new way of doing things--from shopping for groceries to taking a different mode of transportation to one's destination.

But there are many rewards in such a move. There is a deep sense of renewal, rebirth even, as one discovers the new identity being shaped within. One's true friends come to the fore, with offers of help and support. One becomes an explorer, adventuring into new psychological and physical territory. What was close is now far away, but what was distant is within easy reach.

Kundalini, of course, is the greatest "mover" of all, well beyond most physical shifts. The experience is a major demarcation in the life--there is all that went before vs. what transpires thereafter. And only those who have undergone such dramatic transitions can understand its true impact on the life.

For this reason, those who share kundalini awakening can communicate in a special way. They understand each other without lengthy explanation, speak without the need for detailed description. To be with one or more of such kindred souls is, indeed, what I call a "visit to the home planet." It is as though we share a common origin, and come from similar beginnings, whether physical or spiritual. Whatever else may be true, we know who we are, that's for sure.

I had one such experience recently with two friends, one of whom I met for the first time. As always, I loved "hearing her story." When she was in her early twenties, she was "awakened" by a master in an unexpected shaktipat, something she was totally unprepared for. Since that time, she has dedicated her life to spiritual service. Her narrative gave me quite a lot to think about in terms of the usefulness of a "master" in the spiritual process. Generally, my attitude is that expressed in the poem above. But for her, "discipleship" obviously worked. Through her awakening process, she was "moved" from being a rather giddy young pleasure seeker to become a serious (though fun loving) pilgrim on the path. And, interestingly, she says that now she relies primarily on her inner guides, rather than outer authority, even though it was the guru who "jump started" her spiritual process.

As the movie title asked, "What the (blank) do we know?"

Monday, March 27, 2006

Where I Live 

My dear friend Michael wrote the following description of my new location (for another purpose) and I reprint it here because I think it sums up the major aspects of this new address. (Please ignor the odd spacing--I tried to correct it, but copy/paste excerpts from e-mail seem to come through in a most eccentric way, and are apparently impossible to correct on a blog.) He was a saint during this horrendous move process, helping me in every conceivable way. I also had much help from others--Jan and Stephanie between them packed all my books in short order. These, plus the other friends I mentioned last time, made this move bearable (or at least almost bearable.) My adice is--if you are thinking of moving, don't, unless you can arrange for someone else to do all the packing and unpacking for you.

Late this afternoon, I left Dorothy looking dazed but pleased in
amongst a plethora of book boxes. "Where did all of this stuff come
from?" she was overheard to have exclaimed!

Her one bedroom apartment is in SF's Middle Richmond District neighborhood, most of the way down Geary toward Ocean Beach. It is a predominantly Asian neighborhood that, like San Francisco itself, defies easy categorization. The Russian Orthodox cathedral is a few doors down, and a recent influx of Russian Jews also keep the

We enjoyed a fashionately late Vietnamese lunch together at about
3:00 PM. It was across the street from Gordo's taqueria, which was a
stone's throw from the India Clay Oven, that squared off against a new (to
me) Thai restaurant. It is Cosmopolitan without being pretentious,
nor does it sport the exposed breasts, for that matter.

I left her with with a functioning stero and a new, housewarming
CD of the Deli (hold the mayo) Lama chanting (each of you will receive
one, too) as he is being back up by the Mon-kettes. Her first-story apartment is light, airey, and quiet, as it faces away from Geary
Street and toward the Presidio to the north.

She is having a DSL line installed, but until that happens, she
can't get on line. Her phone is now working, but she can't call out long distance. That means that you can call her, but, as of today and probably tomorrow, she couldn't call you. Or me, for that matter.

The above was written the day of the move itself (March 14). Since then, I have managed to get connected electronically with the outside world once again. And I have begun to appreciate some of the other advantages of this location. Just across the street is a 24-hour chain grocery. Outside my door is one of the major bus routes of the city. It takes me to the cultural center of the city in 20-30 minutes. To the west is the Pacific Ocean ten minutes away. And to the north is one of the most magical areas in the city, where one can literally feel the lovely energies of that particular area near the bay.

And I have begun to enjoy the many delights of San Francisco once more. I have twice attended the symphony. Last week I heard Shostakovich played by the S. F. Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the great cellist/conductor Rostropovich. At the age of eighty he is amazingly vital and energetic. I was honored to be present at this performance, given his world stature. I had heard him play the cello in concert once many long years ago, but he retains all his youthful vigor and spirit.

And, needless to say, I have begun to explore the many outstanding ethnic restaurants in my neighborhood. San Francisco is one of the great culinary centers of the country, and anyone who lives here is very lucky, for the competition is so fierce that prices are quite affordable.

So I feel lucky to be settling in, in such an interesting and accessible location. I also have friends in this area, and tonight Joyce and I will meet for dinner at the Indian restaurant which Michael mentioned above.

As of now, I am desperately trying to catch up on e-mail which accumulated during the time my computer was off line. It is a great joy to reconnect with my friends around the country, for I think of them as a sustaining network.

And I am still trying to find time to type up the poems I have written recently. It is a busy and fulfilling time. The new chapter is off to a good start.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

A Poem, a Synchronicity 

During this recent time of transition, I have written very little poetry. However, the other night, several poems "appeared" unexpectedly. Here is one:

Snug in Their Nests

The "Post Moderns,"

snug in their nests

of assured denial,

know for certain

that nothing is real,

nor holds together the way

we have so long


Mental Buddhists,

they swear

that all which seems to be

is merely fabrication

of the mind,

a mirage of intellect

which convinces

until we tear off

the outer veil

to uncover

our own reflected


held within.

The dancing yogis,

on the other hand,

dispense with questioning.

They tell us there is something

very, very real,

whose qualities cannot be

weighed or measured

nor captured

by words and constructs,

nor is it just an image

which flickers from

the fire.

To find it,

we must first

drop all this knowing,

let all our mental


fall away,

until we ourselves

go falling

into that well

which some call nirvana,

others bliss of union.

For them,

body alone

can offer proof--

not the outer shell,

but the delicate, subtle inner web

threaded by god,

which sustains us,

makes us who we are.

This pulsing net confirms,

through its own

shimmering currents of joy,

how the god/goddess

infuses everything

and so claims us

as Her own.

It is not required

to postulate

nor circumscribe,

to poke

and turn things

inside out...

All you must do

is let it happen

all within,

give way to

final discovery,

come into the bliss

of the real.

Then, this morning, I happened to open a copy of the "Ten Principal Upanishads" (Yeats and Shree Purohit Swami), and found this passage (I have modified the pronouns to make the selection more inclusive):

The Self is not known through discourse, splitting of hairs, learning however great; She comes to the one She loves; takes that one's body for Her own.

And this morning, I wrote this poem, about the one who yearns to be so taken:

Snowfall on a Sleeping Forest

Speak to me
of desire.

Tell me how it is
to want
to be wanted

until your guts
turn inside out,
your heart freezes
in something like pain,
something akin
to snowfall
on a sleeping forest.

for endless nights
of waiting,
waking up, trembling,
like a half-frightened,
half-expectant lover
calling, "Who is there?"

These are, of course, universal thoughts--that reality is known not by thinking but by the recognition of the inner self, and that the sacred, when it comes, takes possession of who we are, so that we and it become one being.

All those who have tasted kundalini know these truths quite well.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Dorothy Is Back 

Hi, everyone,
At last I am back online. A few years ago, dear Patricia gave me this blog for my birthday. However, since she lives many hundreds of miles away in Michigan, she was not able to help me get my computer up and running after my recent mind boggling move (boxes abound in my apartment as we speak). But my dear friend Kit Kennedy came to the rescue, and today completed the task of getting me back on line, and added printing capability as well. And, moreover, my dear friend Michael earlier set up my stereo set (which plays beautifully here).

So--again I marvel at the miracle of friends--those who love you and give you presents of unimaginable worth. Without these devoted companions, I would still be sitting here with only a sea of boxes to keep me company.

Did you see the great picture Patricia posted earlier today? Obviously she continues to expand her talents. I now recommend that people scroll through the blog just to see her stunning art photos.

So--thank you Patricia, thank you Kit, thank you Michael. You are indeed invaluable.

I plan to enter the age of electronic technology at some point, but probably not in this lifetime. Maybe by the time of my next incarnation, such capabilities will be embedded in the genes, and we won't have to learn such strange new talents on our own. We'll just plug ourselves in and be totally wired for electronic efficacy.

Love to all. More later (tomorrow, that is.)


Dear friends and readers of Dorothy's blog

Just a note to let you know that all is well with our friend Dorothy. As soon as her computer gets hooked up, she'll be here to tell you all about it herself. The move went fine and now she's busy with all those necessary tasks anyone who has moved remembers well. Please send her good nesting energy!

from her #1 fan

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Ivan's Lovely Poem 

I couldn't resist posting this moving poem from Ivan Granger. So I am back, briefly, even though my computer went out last night during a tremendous lightning and thunder storm. I don't know when I can get it fixed, but until then, here is Ivan's thoughtful verse:


The parched know --

real thirst
draws rainwater
from an empty sky.

- Ivan M. Granger

Friday, March 10, 2006

A Contemporary Mystic Speaks 

Note: Since I am preparing to move, I will probably not be posting for a few days. I'll be back when I am established in my new home!

A request for prayers and sustaining thoughts: My good friend Patricia Lay-Dorsey is currently facing what may be a very challenging health problem. She is currently undergoing tests for further diagnosis. Please hold her in your heart and thoughts. She is the founder of this blog, and one of my most precious friends. She is the person I consider to be most enlightened through her personal dedication to human kind and her unending compassionate service. Read her blog for more.

Update 3/14: Patricia offers gratitude to all who held her in healing energy. Thanks to her getting a second opinion, she has now been pronounced fit as a fiddle!

Yesterday, I posted Hallaj who wrote of mystical exaltation. Here is something from a contemporary mystic, who happens to be a good friend of mine. She is describing in intimate terms her own ongoing experience of awakening through the force of kundalini activation.

She is highly articulate, indeed, a gifted poet (as well as artist). But she is, in her own words, "computer challenged." I have left her account as she wrote it, typos and all, to preserve the informal tone of her description.

I have
been pondering the questions you have set forth in your last letter.
Have gone back to several books to see what has been said and have
returned atlast to my own experience. Now I am here again at the
maddening magic machine faced with using words which I must say are
becoming more elusive as the years pass and now are slipping into
oblivium faster than I dare admit even to myself. When I think about
the'" Silence within the silence knowing" I believe it has always been
with me.. a kind of knowing of that Something from which I came and
would return to. Certainly since the big K
the intensity of longing and truly an obsession with that essence has
been greatly enhanced. However though I feel the Presence so
profoundly, the longing so intensely I have no more definition of how
that might be manifested. The energy that enter my body through the
soles of my feet on Dec 19, 1991 moves me to speculate that indeed that
Something might be Loving Energy. I feel it night and day running
through my body since that day, sometimes slowing almost to a stop and
other times wildly running until I cannot sit still or think but only
feeling the wonder of it. Then of course there is my favorite when for
as yet unexplained reasons it hits a balance of vibration and I am
transported with unbelievable physical, psyhic,emotional and everyother
kind of pleasure and joy I can think of. My eyes see beyond the veil of
maya, my nose experiences as yet undefined fragrances, my mind rests in
the peace that passes all understanding. I know myself as a part of a
great whole, all conflict collapses into oneness.

Guess what ... I prefer this state above all others that I have ever
experienced. How could I not. If given the choice I don't know if I
would decide to miss all the others...conflict pain, loving one person
above all others the surprise and bliss of an individual sunflower, the
weeping of grieve and joy, the grass between my toes, the delight of
hearing D's voice on the phone last night after too long not
hearing and worrying if she was managing, seeing my daughter
get off the plane tomorrow morning after over a year even wondering if
she will feel distress at how much R. and I have aged this year (trying
to do energy work on my face today so it won't be too much of a shock.
In short the loveliness and conflict of the human journey through life.
I can not envision what it would be like to be in neutral. I have not
spent much of my life in that state unless it was out of exhaustion. Am
I awakened, I do not know, probably a little more than I was earlier.
Do I know anyone that is. I don,t think so. I stand with Wendall Berry
in awe "I bow to mystery and take my place among the trees and the
grass. Have I had a kundalini awakening? I say unequivably YES. I
don,t know any other of these things called words to use for this
most profound experience.. perhaps if I could use my body to express in
dance.. to fold myself in prayer,
To double over in gratitude, to slither along the floor in
adoration, to weep tears of longing, to spoon with my husband of 47
years, feel his energy running along my back..see how now I can see the
tiny lights that are his back.. the disappearing outline of my own arm
Merging with his... I just can't make very much sense with words. Love
to all J.(for right now)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Kundalini, Enlightenment, a Cold Wind 

Today it is extremely cold and windy in San Francisco. I poked my head outside briefly, and decided I would not attempt to travel by bus to my new apartment many blocks away, but would stay inside, finish my interminable packing, and ponder certain questions that have been posed recently by various friends.

Once more, the question has been asked, "What is the relationship of kundalini and enlightenment? Can one be enlightened without experiencing kundalini awakening? Is kundalini awakening in and of itself an indicator of enlightenment?"

I say, "once more," because this is a perennial question, one which has been discussed and debated in many circles over the years. Here is my (current) answer:

To begin with, I think we err when we think of only the two states, "enlightened" and "unenlightened." I believe there are degrees of each. One can sometimes, in peak moments, experience a taste or glimpse of the enlightened condition (though even that brief exposure may be incomplete.) And much the same holds true for kundalini. Some experience brief or incomplete kundalini awakenings, and these occasionally mistake these "samples" for the larger experience.

So--my conclusion (in brief) is that it is indeed possible to undergo some forms of kundalini awakening without entering into major or highly developed "enlightenment" states. True, one would know more than one did before about the possibilities of the human nervous system to experience the universal creative energies as blis (or perhaps pain.) But without a firm and well developed foundation, the experience might remain at a more superficial level (sensation, rather than comprehension.)Thus, an immature candidate might experience shaktipat at the hands of a "master," and yet fall far short of the spiritual transformation essential to the enlightened vision. By the same token, one might be fully developed as a compassionate and wise being, dedicated in service to the betterment of humanity, and yet remain oblivious to kundalini energies.

I suspect that comlete enlightenment requires a fusion of both modes--compassionate service and activated energies. But--and here is the rub--only those who have achieved such an exalted state can describe it accurately. And--in my view--such an advanced being would never claim "enlightenment" for her/him self. To do so would undermine the claim.

Here is a recent poem from Ivan Granger's poetry-chaikhana, from the incredible early mystic Hallaj. Like all great mystics, Hallaz experienced spiritual union with God He was not only denounced for his beliefs (which were interpreted literally, as if he thought of himself in his human capacity as God), he was executed for blasphemy. His words reveal the depth and intensity of feeling which can come with such "inner knowing." He is not trying to explain God, but rather to describe the experience of the divine union.

If They Only Knew

By Hallaj
(9th Century)

English version by Michael A. Sells

What earth is this
so in want of you
they rise up on high
to seek you in heaven?

Look at them staring
at you
right before their eyes,
unseeing, unseeing, blind.
. . .

I was patient,
but can the heart
be patient of
its heart?

My spirit and yours
blend together
whether we are near one another
or far away.

I am you,
my being,
end of my desire.

The most intimate of secret thoughts
and fixed along the horizon
in folds of light.

How? The "how" is known
along the outside,
while the interior of beyond
to and for the heart of being.

Creatures perish
in the darkened
blind of quest,
knowing intimations.

Guessing and dreaming
they pursue the real,
faces turned toward the sky
whispering secrets to the heavens.

While the lord remains among them
in every turn of time
abiding in their every condition
every instant.

Never without him, they,
not for the blink of an eye --
if only they knew!
nor he for a moment without them.

-- from Early Islamic Mysticism: Sufi, Quran, Miraj, Poetic and Theological Writings (Classics of Western Spirituality), by Michael A. Sells

And here is Ivan's penetrating interpretation of the poem:

This is a great poem by the Sufi mystic and martyr, al-Hallaj.

A reminder to us all that, wherever we look, we are always staring at the face of God, "right before [our] eyes." Everyone, knowingly or unknowingly, is always searching for the Eternal, but too easily we become lost in our search. The idea of a search is already to be lost -- "a blind quest." We imagine that the Goal will be found elsewhere, somewhere that we are not, and so we rush about looking, looking. "Guessing and dreaming," looking for God in heaven instead of beneath our feet and between the span of our arms, we blindly have our "faces turned toward the sky." But doing that, we never recognize that "the lord remains among [us]" in our "every condition / every instant." We are never without the Divine Presence, "not for the blink of an eye!"

Hallaj says it very simply, speaking to God as the Beloved who is everywhere and, at the same time, the heart of the heart:

My spirit and yours
blend together
whether we are near one another
or far away.

I am you,
my being,
end of my desire.

- Ivan

www.Poetry-Chaikhana.com sign on this site for the incredible daily poem e-mailed free of charge.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Ivan Granger Describes the "Celestial Drink" 

I have often quoted the poems which Ivan Granger prints on his site (www.poetry-chaikhana.com). This site is dedicated to sacred poetry, as is Ivan himself, both as compiler and poet.

In the following moving account, he describes his deep initiation into sacred consciousness, a state which included tasting what is sometimes called "amrita," the nectar-like substance which flows in the throat of many dedicated mystics. Thank you, Ivan, for sharing with us this intimate and most profound experience.

As I was considering how to begin our exploration of the Celestial Drink, it occurred to me that I needed to find a way to convey that this is not merely some poetic metaphor. It is real, and available to you.

As long as the discussion remains safely in the intellect, the taste of wine never touches our lips -- and who wants somber sobriety when the wine pours so freely?

Academics and literary critics are better equipped than I to give you a standard history of how wine and drink images are used in the great writings of the world. Instead, let's you and I speak in shared whispers, as mystics, passing the cup quietly between us. Let us share the true taste and not simply the description...


You know, my Friends, how long since in my House
For a new Marriage I did make Carouse:
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed,
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.

For "Is" and "Is-not" though with Rule and Line,
And "Up-and-down" without, I could define,
I yet in all I only cared to know,
Was never deep in anything but -- Wine.

And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
Came stealing through the Dusk an Angel Shape
Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder; and
He bid me taste of it; and 'twas -- the Grape!

The Grape that can with Logic absolute
The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
The subtle Alchemist that in a Trice
Life's leaden Metal into Gold transmute.

- Omar Khayyam (1048 - 1131)
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, translated by Edward FitzGerald


The language of a sacred drink, a secret drink that imparts wisdom and bliss appears in the writings and songs of initiates throughout the world -- wine, amrita, ambrosia, dew, tea, elixir, virgin's milk. But what do all of these mean?

To help us know what we're really talking about before we dive more deeply into the poetry, I thought I would start today be sharing some of my first encounter with this heavenly drink.

The above quatrains by Omar Khayyam opened up a world of beauty to me in mystical poetry that I hadn't recognized before. But my appreciation and understanding was confined to the intellect -- old barren Reason. At that point it was beautiful and inspiring poetry to me, but that was all... and it wasn't really enough.

A deeper understanding didn't come to me until several years later when I first started slipping into bliss, and I found that the "wine" of the mystics was real!

Several years ago I was going through a quiet crisis. I had just left the spiritual path I had been following intensely for more than a decade. At that time I was living on Maui, meditating and praying, eating a very pure (maybe overly pure) diet, fasting a lot -- and suddenly I had no framework for all of these practices. I had lost my spiritual orientation. Christmas came in the midst of this psychic collapse, followed quickly by New Years. A few days later, in early January -- POW -- I was catapaulted into an ecstatic stillness. Perhaps what surprised me the most was that I realized I had been in that state always, I just hadn't noticed it. I saw that everyone is always in that state, they just have to settle into themselves enough to recognize it.

And -- accompanying this bliss was a sense of a subtle liquid-like substance descending through the head and down the back of the throat. It felt like I was drinking something, something utterly pure and nourishing, satisfying a soul hunger I didn't even know was there until it began to be properly fed. This drink has an ethereal sweetness on the tongue that can't easily be described. Drinking it, my heart grew warm and expanded until it felt to me as if the entire Universe was held in my heart. Everthing and everyone was alive inside my heart.

My body was so overwhelmed by this experience that it began to tremble at points, not like a seizure, but like the surging of a powerful wave that can't be resisted. And who would want to resist it. The joy was all-consuming! My eyes were closed and I have no doubt that a silly grin was plastered crookedly across my face. Anyone watching me would have thought I was drunk!

The intensity of that initial "taste" subsided slightly as a resumed my normal activities, but the flavor has remained with me...

(I want to give a quick disclaimer: By sharing this, I don't want to suggest that I think I am "advanced" or "perfect" or anything like that. My wife can all too easily attest to my humanness and imperfections. Like you, I am on a journey. I share this special part of my journey in the hopes that it can open a doorway for you too, one that leads to the Tavern.)


Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky
I heard a voice within the Tavern cry,
"Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
Before Life's Liquor in its Cup be dry."

- Omar Khayyam (1048 - 1131)

copyright, Ivan Granger

Friday, March 03, 2006

More from Daniel Jacob on What is Happening 

Daniel Jacob continues to be one of the most arresting prophets among us at this time. I am always intrigued by what he has to say. The following communication (from "Reconnections" ) is particularly striking as a description of what is going on for many of us at present.

Hello Friends,
It is upon us. NOW is the time. I call it THE BURN.

This is how I describe these energy surges that many are feeling these days: Anxiety, exhaustion, sleepiness during the day.......insomnia at night. And, of course.......RESTLESS, MONKEY MIND.....as our Ego Search Engine ferociously scans our "system," to discern the "cause" of this mess.

The BURN is a product of clashes that are occurring, between extremely polarized energies that now dwell together within our Human Personality Self. They're like train wrecks of the mind, or "chicken races" in the soul.

Opposing Ideas race at each other, head-on.... each one counting on the other to "pull out" of the race for dominance. Are we going to be THIS or are going to be THAT? Is our true love HERE or is it THERE? In truth, we are ALL OF IT. But in practice, there is still a struggle for one "side" of us to win out over the other.

It's an irresistable force that meets an immovable object, head-on! If both hold steady, A MERGE will take place. If either is compromised, to any degree, THE BURN occurs........where extraneous and insincere beliefs, focuses, and soul essences are separated from the INTEGRATED SELF we are now becoming.

It's a form of ALCHEMY, really..........a final mixing and blending of elements, until each level of us has been compacted and abbreviated down to a CORE SELF.......as required within this rapidly expanding reality context........so we can begin our "work" as members of a Oneself Planetary Community. Unity in Diversity.

Because we have committed ourselves to this Merge....we have set in motion a program of balancing and re-balancing divergent energies until we get everything JUST RIGHT..........all the way to ZERO-POINT.....the perfect essence of Divine Neutrality. This doesn't mean that we won't care about things. It merely means that we'll be OPEN to whatever is there.......primarily because we have come to recognize that it is ALL US.


This "Chicken Race" is our way of finding out who we really are and what we're truly made of! ONE NEVER REALLY KNOWS WHAT TO LIVE FOR UNTIL HE REALIZES WHAT IT IS THAT HE WILL DIE FOR.

True Individuality can never be lost in this process. But affectations and facades will all crumble into dust, in this Refiner's Fire. Each "paring down" of Core Essence will seem like a DEATH...........except, when the smoke clears, you'll STILL BE HERE.

The symptoms of which we speak: Spaciness, Weakness, Sleepiness, Free-Floating Anxiety........all stem from a sense of internal NAKEDNESS which is felt, as our soul is slowly stripped of its pretense, its external defenses.

What feels like WEAKNESS is really a new kind of SOFTNESS.........the exact energy needed to deal tenderly with a Newborn World.......a world of gentleness, respect, nuance, and grace.

The feelings you are having will be THE NEW NORMAL, except they will seem FAMILIAR, rather than strange and fearsome.

Your physical body spasms and aches because it is deathly afraid that, without those facades and ego defenses, it will cease to exist! In truth, nothing that cannot survive the Refiner's Fire ever existed in the first place. It was all paper mache.

For further information, workshops, etc., see


copyright, Daniel Jacob

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Male, Female, Krishna, the Gopis 

This recent essay by my friend, the poet and spiritual explorer Elizabeth Reninger, offers a valuable summing up of how male/female energies are viewed in the various traditions. Historically, the balancing of the opposites, including the male/female aspects of the self, is an essential step in the entire process of spiritual initiation. (This essay is from Elizabeth's own blog site, but unfortunately I do not have that address at hand. I'll post it later when I locate it.)

Krishna & The Gopis: Gender & Spiritual Practice

Krishna saw his own self ­ as the Infinite ­
In the throng of lovely gopis.
They experienced in Krishna, O wonder,
Their own self ­ but as the Absolute.
And when, in play, he stole their veils,
He wished to see himself in Truth's naked ray.

Atma and Maya: light and mirror.
God is Love and He loves His image.

This poem by Frithjof Schuon (translated from the German) tells the
story both of the historical Krishna ~ a man & teacher of great
spiritual power ~ in his relationship with the gopis ~ women who were
his devotees; and also (at the level of an extended metaphor) of the
relationship between God/the Infinite/Atma and living beings/the

The poem itself is lovely, and ~ like all poems ~ is its own answer
to the question: what does it mean? So I won't pretend to have
anything to "add" to it … But will share some of what the poem evokes
for me, on this February morning, warmish & windy in the Rocky
Mountains near Red Feather Lakes, Colorado … particularly in relation
to how sex, gender & sexuality interact with spiritual practice …

My favorite part of this poem is: And when, in play, he stole their
veils, / He wished to see himself in Truth's naked ray. How God (our
own Higher Self, the "masculine" Krishna) "plays" with those parts of
us (the "feminine" gopis) still trapped in duality by "stealing their
veils" i.e. dissolving what prevents those aspects from realizing
themselves as God. And why does he do this? There is a desire, a
wish, perhaps even a need, that God has to "see himself in Truth's
naked ray," to see himself reflected in the
awakened/naked/transparent play of Maya.

Now many volumes have been written by those exploring ~ from
psychological, sociological, philosophical & many other points of
view ~ sex (the biological aspects of what makes us "men"
or "women"), gender (how this biology interacts with social
constructs), and sexuality (how sex & gender play out in our intimate
relationships, in how we define ourselves in relation to sexual
desire & practice). Exploring these literatures can be a great way of
becoming more conscious of our social conditioning around these
issues and ~ if we're on a spiritual path ~ beginning to unwind some
of these patterns (these "veils of Maya").

There was a time in my life when I was quite passionate about
explorations such as these. Recently my passion has been more along
the lines of yoga & qigong & meditation: techniques for transcending
all levels of conditioning (including those woven of sex, gender &
sexuality). Yet frequently the two paths overlap: My exploration of
Egyptian Yoga, for instance, revealed that certain Egyptian cultures
had eight different categories of "sexual identification," of
variations on the theme of considering oneself to be "heterosexual"
or "homosexual." So the view & enactment of desire was much more
fluid than it is in our culture.

And Taoist philosophy & practice (the foundation for qigong) is built
upon a sophisticated understanding of the interactions between yin &
yang: how the "feminine" and "masculine" principles are in constant
flux, one becoming the other, continuously; how this movement depends
upon the essence of yang always already existing within yin, and the
essence of yin always already existing within yang; how they depend
upon each other (like Krishna depending upon the unveiled gopis, and
vice versa).

And how the process of yoga asana (as a Hindu path) involves drawing
the energies that ~ when we're still caught in duality ~ flow in the
Ida & Pingala (feminine & masculine) channels, into the Shushumna
Nadi (the central channel of the yogic body, representing Unity
Consciousness, the "marriage" of the masculine & feminine). And how
that energy of nonduality (or an awakened Kundalini) can then flow
out again into the appearances, the play of Maya, representing this
blissfully unified masculine & feminine energy.

And how Yidam practice of the Buddhist vajrayana path utilizes the
imagery of sexual union between male & female deities as a skillful
means for accessing aspects of awakened mind. Though at the level of
actual consort practice (with or without a physical partner), the
yogi or yogini is able to manifest either a masculine or a feminine
form (since this is all unfolding at the level of the subtle body,
which is not bound or defined by biological sex) … so not only are
women are able to act as consorts/supports for men (the "traditional"
arrangement), but men also are able to act as consorts/supports for
women; as well as women and men acting as consorts/supports for
practitioners of their own sex.

And how the path of Buddhist or Hindu Tantra (as well as Taoist Inner
Alchemy) involves the skillful transformation of the energies of
desire (that yearning of the finite for the infinite) into the nectar
of spiritual awakening … and the subsequent infusion of all aspects
of life with this awakened energy.

And how all these thoughts/verbal expressions are nothing more than
the play of conceptual mind, until one actually finds oneself in the
Presence of an Enlightened Master: a Being (a woman or a man) already
flowing with the energy of Krishna. At which point one becomes (men &
women alike) ~ for better or for worse ~ a gopi, in love with ones
own Self as reflected in that Being. At which point ones spiritual
practice becomes the practice of surrendering, of allowing ones
conceptual veils to be "stolen," and generating devotion ~ endless
devotion ~ to that which is being reflected back: the nakedness of
our own Divinity. Sobeit.

Copyright, Elizabeth Reninger

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Two Poems by Kalidas 

In the first of these moving poems,Kalidas (Lawrence Edwards) reminds us that compassion is the other face of bliss, and loving kindness the essential companion of joy. In the second, he describes the path of total immersion in love for the Divine.

I heard the cries of my Beloved outside my door this morning,
Throwing open the door there She stood, a little girl
Dripping the blood of violence, suffering and pain.
She entered our home to be embraced, washed clean with love and tears

I heard the cries of my Beloved outside my door this morning,
Throwing open the door there She stood, a young woman,
Starving, deprived, tortured, battered, bruised, with pleading eyes.
She entered our home to be fed, nurtured, listened to and looked at with loving tenderness.

I heard the cries of my Beloved outside my door this morning,
Throwing open the door there She was, an old woman,
Crumpled, abandoned, homeless, covered with the filth of human neglect.
She entered our home to be drawn out, to be held close and warmed, her life re-kindled, her gifts of wisdom to be appreciated.

Listen, listen, please listen for the cries of our Beloved.
We've been deaf for far too long.
If we listen and act we can restore Her gifts, Her Creation.

<< Om Kali Ma >>

What mind can possibly approach you,
Much less grasp you, my beloved Kali!
This ordinary mind longs for you to be simple,
Predictable, easily appreciated, a sweet divinity,
A demure goddess, lovely to look at, engendering kindness.
Instead you parade forth in gruesome reality,
Unabashed, you unleash your limitless creative power,
Thrilling the mind and body with overwhelming sensual delights,
Propelling the spirit into awe-inspiring transcendent domains and
Crushing us all in your jaws of time, decay and suffering.
You gave birth to ignorance and her offspring,
lacking this and wanting that, populate the universe.
Is there nothing you don't delight in creating?
How is this poor mind ever going to truly worship you?
I set out to circumambulate your divine form, to do puja to you,
But lifetimes of effort have left me gasping,
seeing your infinitude spread out in all directions,
my mind and heart quiver with
fear and adoration, longing for annihilation in you, my beloved.
You demand full and total sacrifice,
Not flower garlands and coins tossed at a statue,
Not merely lighting candles and prostrating piously,
Not sitting still as a corpse lost in the illusion of inside and outside,
No, you delight in swallowing all sense of separation,
Offer me your individuality you say,
Offer up your ego mind,
Offer up the waking, dream and deep sleep states!
This yoga is only for the insane
drunk on the nectar of Divine Love.
If you drink from the Holy Grail
You will drown in the end.

Copyright, Kalidas (Lawrence Edwards)

(to learn more about Lawrence Edwards, read his remarkable spiritual autobiography, The Soul's Journey: Guidance from the Divine Within and visit his website, www.thesoulsjourney.com )

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