Kundalini Splendor

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Monday, June 30, 2008

What Is a Mystic? 

Here is one of the best descriptions of the mystical experience I have found. Though by definition, all mystical states are ineffable, yet we must try as best we can to describe these states of divine union. The excerpt is included in the preface to Mirabai Starr's translation of St. John of the Cross' "Dark Night of the Soul." (Thank you, Marci, for sending this to me!)

So, you entered the wisdom of divine love?

I did.

What did it look like?

Look like? The wisdom of love came naked. It was not dressed in the clothes of any physical image. It bore no content. None. It bypassed my intellect, transcended my senses, overrode my will, and penetrated me directly. How could I possibly report on the color of its garment? It shed every scrap on my threshold and threw itself into my arms and entered me.

How can you be so sure the wisdom of divine love was inside you? It sounds so vague, like a cloud, like a dream, like an error.

I have never been more certain of anything in my life. There is nothing vague about it. Just because it was naked does not make it anything less than perfectly beautiful and perfectly clear. Its flavor lingers on my tongue, changing the way I taste everything. The language of love has no words.

Please try.

Listen. It would be as if you saw something no one had ever seen before. In fact, no one had ever seen anything remotely similar. It was the most marvelous thing you had ever encountered, a thing that changed you forever. And yet, even in the midst of fully experiencing it, utterly enjoying it, and completely understanding it, how could you ever begin to describe it? Mere metaphor does not come close. All you could do would be to stammer, like Moses: “Ah, ah, ah. . . .”

No words?

The wisdom of divine love silences the soul.
(Image of St. John from Wikipedia)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Dakini 

"In the spiritual journey of the meditator, . . . the dakini symbolizes levels of personal realization: the sacredness of the body, both female and male; the profound meeting point of body and mind in meditation; the visionary realm of ritual practice; and the empty, spacious qualities of mind itself." (Judith Simmer-Brown)
The Dakini

I was chosen
for this journey.

I did not know
where it would lead,
who would show the way.

Was it Dionysus, that
ancient reveler,
with his wines
and rowdy celebrations?

Was it Krishna
that pretty boy
with his flute
and maidens
who answered each day
to his summons of love?

The goddess herself,
holy mistress
offering her breasts?

I never saw it,
never found its name.

Finally I forgot my questions,
lost myself in no-space.

Each time it came
I was waiting.

Dorothy Walters
June 28, 2008

(Dakini Descending is a pastiche derived from an 18th century gilt bronze image [rupa] and Crepuscular Rays, an astronomy photo by H. Orlind. Image found on http://www.khandro.net/)

Friday, June 27, 2008



Now I am a god
stirring to life.

Now my neck
is stretching upward,
now my lips are growing thick.

Now Krishna is
playing his flute nearby.

Now I am a woman
wearing a veil,
bringing an offering
in her bowl.

Now I am the face
of a lion,

Now I am a giant
tossing bodies
over the cliff.

Now I am wearing jewels
for eyes.

Now Ganesha has come,
bringer of change.

Ganesha wants to dance.
My hands move in invisible
The gods become music.
My ears are filling with light.

Dorothy Walters
June 27, 2008

(Image from source)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A New Way to Appreciate Art 

What do you do when you stand in front of a painting ("Woman in White" by Marie Bracquemond) and feel its energies coming forth? This happened to me (again) today at the current exhibit of women impressionists at a San Francisco museum. And then I noticed that the energies seemed, in fact, to be running up my spine and across my shoulders, so I turned around and then slowly turned my body before the painting. And with each slight turn, the energies streamed up to a new place on my shoulders.
It occurred to me that the other viewers might think it odd for me to stand with my back turned to the painting, but then I realized that I was holding a little audio guide in my hand and thought, "Oh, well, they will just assume that I am listening to the guide." Meanwhile the sweet energies flowed.

Finally I moved to other pictures. Sometimes the energies awakened again, sometimes not. Certainly this somatic awareness offered a new way to appreciate painting, or so I thought.

When I described my experience later to my friend J.(the artist/poet/kundalini awakened one) she was not surprised and said that yes, she had felt the energies of art this way for many, many years. And then, on another subject, she told me that once on an airplane, she kept noticing energies being beamed in her direction from behind and up. When she looked around, she saw nothing unusual. Finally, she asked her husband where he had placed their carry on case, and he answered that it was in the rack above the seat behind theirs. In that case was her stuffed animal, one she carries with her on all travels, and a "being" she feels extremely close to. She has in fact felt and seen its own energies more than once. Apparently it too feels a strong connection.

And then she casually mentioned feeling a shock in her big toe recently, assuming that I too had also had such experiences. But I had to confess that, although this was fascinating, I was innocent of such encounters. Once again, J. surprised me with the rich variety of her kundalini experiences. She is one of the most "turned on" people I know, and we love to visit, for we can speak freely of these most secret and personal adventures, and we all need someone to hear our latest story.

Everyone on this journey follows a different and distinctive path. Everyone has a unique set of experiences. But they all come under the umbrella of "kundalini awakening," and the voyage is always fascinating, whatever its expression.
(Picture from WebMuseum, Paris)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Roadside Shrine (poem by Eric Ashford) 

A Roadside Shrine

Eric Ashford

Deep red chrysanthemums.
Of course we think of blood,
anyone would
but when we look at this place
where a drunken motorist
crushed a child to a tree
we see past the bouquet,
the green plastic pot
fluffy toys tied to the trunk.
We see months and years
of light planted here.

Someone keeps coming back
to sweep away the shadows,
because this is not a grave
but a life held up for our eyes.
Someone wants us to see
a meaning and a life still lit here
and the nodding red blooms
paint a vibrant memory
we should not wishto wash away.

(C) Eric Ashford
Painting by N. M. Rai
(Eric Ashford and N. M. Rai continue their remarkable collaboration, combining poetry, painting, and reading. To hear the poem read aloud, go to http://metaphorsandwings.googlepages.com/aroadsideshrine

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sky Clad (poem) 

Sky Clad

When I was the Dalai Lama
they sang to me.
Their throaty voices,
their crying cymbals and gongs.

When the dancers turned
I left my throne and joined
for I too wished to know
such quivering
in the blood,
rapture of drum and horn.

In my peaked hat,
I held the rounded skull cup,
the gleaming wand of bone.

The conch shell
called the sky dwellers down,
mountain thunder
echoed across the peaks.
The gods heard and entered,
became who we were,
spirit forms lifted like feathered clouds
into the world above.

I led the way,
sky clad,
to that other realm.
What am I doing here
in this diminished form?

Dorothy Walters
June 24, 2008
(Image from U. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mountain Fire (poem) 

Mountain Fire

Now that I am
nothing to look at,
my inner body has become
strangely beautiful.

Shiva, Shiva,
Lord of the Rivers,
has stroked me

His kisses
are mountain fire,
of the moon.

Only the secret knowing
can tell you how.

Dorothy Walters
June 23, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Making Love on Sunday Morning 

Some keep the Sabbath going to church,

some keep it staying at home.

Emily Dickinson

Sunday is traditionally a day reserved for lovers and churchgoers. For years my practice (on Sunday as well as other days) has been to listen closely to certain music (preferably with headphones) and to feel the bliss energies stir as a consequence. As I have explained before, there is no touching involved. If I move at all, it is mainly my hands tracing circles over my body from a slight distance, to awaken the chakras or other energy centers here and there. Sometimes just rotating my eyeballs is enough.

Typically, I have a favorite recording or two which I listen to again and again, until my subtle body responds automatically to its blissful tones. Early on (perhaps ten years or more ago) I listened to things like Bach's B Minor Mass or Brahms' German Requiem. These are very powerful renditions of sacred music and served their purpose well. Later, I moved into other types of music plus some poetry and chanting. One year I focused on a tape of the Gayatri Mantra (the most common mantra in India) by Vyaas Houston, a celebrated teacher of Sanskrit and a gifted performer, and fell deeply under its spell. For awhile, it was a CD of the poetry of Hafiz, which included musical selections. Then I went to "The Chord of Love," which consisted of Ram Das reading ancient sacred verse along with pieces by Jai Uttal and other musicians and singers. Then there was Krishna Das plus other recordings by Jai Uttal, as well as the music of Jonathan Goldman, which is often quite powerful ("Trance Tara" is wildly exciting.)

Now I have two favorites: Tibetan chants alternating with Diana Rogers usually on different days. The Tibetan chants work best for rootedness, connection with the deep forces underlying our own systems and the universe itself. They are powerful, and seem to take us back to some primal era when mystery and actual magic were much a part of worship. They are even a bit frightening, but we like to be a bit frightened (in safe circumstances.) They stimulate the lower chakras and legs, connecting us to elemental source.

Diana Rogers' magical pieces awaken (primarily) the upper chakras--including the crown itself. If you do not know her work, I recommend it highly. Her two CD's are "Love Reigns" and "Unveiled," both based on traditional Hindu songs of devotion. For me, just hearing the sounds of sanskrit is sufficient to awaken the bliss. You can order from her website, http://www.dianarogers.com/ As I listen, I sometimes think, This is the music I would like to leave by.

Such is ecstasy, the state which carries us out of the small, restricted self into a place of forgetting, where we lose all sense of ordinary identity, how we are in the world, our problems and challenges, and we enter another realm where there is only exquisite, ineffable, divine feeling. God (the goddess) makes love to us in those moments, and we realize that this is our source, our beginning, our reality, and our home.

So today I did not go to church, but kept the Sabbath staying at home, making love with the inner divine as I listened and moved gently to "Love Reigns."

(Image is of Krishna and Rhada, famous lovers in Hindu mythology and emblematic of divine and human love. from Wikipedia.)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Thread of Love 

As we move along on our spiritual journey we encounter various spiritual systems and, as we do so, we realize that many have in common a certain relationship with Eastern thought. Emerson and Thoreau were heavily indebted to Eastern philosophy, Emerson's Oversoul strongly reminiscent of the Brahma-Atman connection. (Brahma, the Infinite, is also Atman, the limited being which is ourselves.) And, of course, Thoreau considered Walden Pond as sacred as the waters of the holy Ganges, as if it were fed by an underground stream from the other side of the world.

Mary Baker Eddy, who founded what we know as "Christian Science," was in turn strongly influenced by the thought of Emerson and other transcendentalists of the time, those who felt that the material world is illusion, and that reality can be found only in those realms which go beyond that of sense perception. She held that there was no truth in matter, for "all is infinite mind and its infinite manifestation." Christian Science is most known for its non-medical approaches to healing, but its thought system extends to many other areas of life and experience.

Madam Blavatsky in turn originated the school of Theosophy (knowledge of God) which went even deeper into the realms of the invisible. She was well known for her ability to commune with disembodied spirits. She spent much time in India, where she continued to meld the ideas of Theosophy with those of ancient Yogic tradition.

Rudolph Steiner went ahead to found Anthroposophy (knowledge of man), an extensive system which offered direction for virtually all activities of society, including education, healing, agriculture, and many others. Again, his perspective included many resonances with Eastern thought.

And--an even more recent formulation is found the the famous "Course in Miracles," where, as some have noted, Christian terminology is used to present notions closely connected with certain Eastern systems. The Eastern traditions taught that all was "maya," mere illusion, a veil for the reality beyond, and this idea is also fundamental to the "Course." And there are many other similarities.

And--there are other parallels as well between Eastern and Western thought. The Mother Goddess was worshiped both East and West, and is even now for some the central image of core yoga teachings as the source of all life . Dionysos in the ancient West (the god of ecstasy) has much in common with Krishna, the god who makes love with many maids at once (a god is not bounded, but can enter as holy spirit into many devotees at the same time, and so lead them to states of bliss.) Interestingly, both Dionysos and Krishna are androgynous gods, combining both male and female attributes in their nature, and thus illustrate the notion that opposites must unite for initiation to take place.

All of these perspectives seem to tap into a fundamental human belief--that there is a reality beyond the seen, that who we are is not defined by name or category, that we are all seeking return to our original home, which is limitless Love, no matter what name we call it or how we approach the throne.

As for me, I am drawn to the fundamentals of the ancient yogic tantric traditions, especially Kashmiri Shaivism. I do not delve into them as a scholar wishing to accumulate knowledge, but rather as one who literally resonates in their presence. For me, the sound of sanskrit, the names and pictures of the Hindu gods, the simple kirtans or sacred poems out of the early eras are enough to awaken deep response, often as flowing bliss within.
Kundalini is the goddess, the goddess is Kundalini, bringer of infinite bliss.
(image of the goddess Paravati from source)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gay Marriage Rights in San Francisco 

(This picture of Phllis Lyon and Del Martin, longtime activists for the cause of gay rights, is from the NOW website.)

Last week was definitely an historic occasion for San Francisco and for the country and the world. Gay and lesbian couples were finally allowed to marry legally in California (Massachsetts is the only other state to grant this right). Many had waited years or even decades for this event, and there was a spirit of celebration in the city. The lead couple were Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin (Del, 87 and now confined to a wheelchair) who long dedicated their lives and talents to the case of gay rights (beginning in 1953, when they moved in together.) 1953 was the year I started graduate school (in English lit). I had discovered I was a lesbian only a short time before (and suffered my first heartbreak). But, of course, at that time, it was impossible to discuss such things as same sex relationships or abandonment by another of your own sex with anyone, including therapists. Homosexuality was looked upon as an aberration of the worst sort, and homosexuals were labeled "perverts" in the psychology books (sometimes they used the word "inverts.") It was quite literally "the love that dare not speak its name." These were the times when lesbian mothers had to fight to retain their own children (since they were considered moral failures). I remember being in a library science class where the teacher explained that books on homosexuality were to be placed under the counter for limited circulation, after which she made a face and added, "But there are such people." Another professor explained to us that one of the students who had committed suicide was a homosexual, and "they often kill themselves."

As for Del and Phyllis, they founded the first lesbian organization (called "Daughters of Bilitis" after a French novel) and published a magazine called "The Ladder" which was sent to subscribers in plain brown wrapper.

When I experienced what I now would call clinical depression, I did not know any other lesbian to tell my story to. I was afraid to go to therapy because I knew that you could be sent to a mental institution or even prison if the truth were known about you. I did not want to humiliate my family. So I suffered in silence, through a long night of desperate depression, so intense that I was barely functional. It was not a good time to be gay.

For me, going to graduate school was a very healing experience. I found a group of friends who loved literature and the life of the mind, and we had an exciting and challenging time together. I also formed a new relationship which lasted many, many years. But, although there were other same sex couples among us, no one ever alluded to the topic or openly recognized their own relationship. The subject was still quite taboo.

Now I live in San Francisco, where being gay is as common as being a Democrat or loving Thai cuisine. It is indeed a relief to be in a community where one's sexual preference is not a matter of concern, but something easily accepted, whatever it may be. Now, I must also confess that most of my friends here are heterosexual, since I tend to choose friends more on the basis of other (spiritual) interests rather than sexual preference, though it is nice if they happen to coincide. I view with pleasure the freedom of choice to marry now available to others in relationship ( I live alone and am content). But sometimes I think what a difficult road this was to travel, and am grateful that I did not accede to the demands of a coercive society but held on to an essential part of who I was.
I think it was this persistent protection of my inner identity that helped me when I entered the kundalini process, since this topic too was hidden, unknown, and viewed with suspicion at the time (l981).

Here is a letter I received via an e-mail list about the events of the past week:

June 20, 2008
Dear Dorothy,
It was an incredibly moving week for me. Couples in California who have been denied equality for so long began to get married -- in weddings recognized by the largest state in the nation. It's one of those rare moments when we can actually recognize history as it's being made -- both for the country and for the couples and families celebrating this week.
As a long-time admirer of feminist and equal-rights pioneers Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, I love that so many people have signed our guestbook with heartfelt wishes for the two of them. They have been together for 55 years and were the first couple to be married on Monday evening. If you haven't done so, here's your last chance before we deliver our best wishes to them.
This week's images were so positive, so reflective of what's best in our lives and communities, that it is jarring to be reminded that some people will stop at nothing to pull the rug out from under these couples. If you saw what comes across my desk every day, you'd understand that this is Armageddon for the Far Right.
It's not just ridiculous end-of-civilization rhetoric. The Right knows how high the stakes are on this, and they fear the public is moving away from them on this issue. They know that if their ballot initiative to roll back equality fails, they will lose their ability to dismiss progress as the actions of a few rogue judges overriding the will of the people. So they are pulling out every lie in their heavy handbook. And they are pouring millions of dollars into their campaign to reverse the tide of history.
Polls show that we can win in California -- but it's going to be close and hard-fought. I'm proud and excited that People For is working shoulder to shoulder with so many allies to win this battle for people's hearts and minds. We're putting together a campaign in California that's going to make a real difference -- something you'll be hearing a lot more about in the weeks and months to come.
Making change is fun! Let's keep it up.
All the best,
Kathryn Kolbert, President, People for the American Way

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Goldfinch (poem and painting) 

(Painting by N. M. Rai)


A Goldfinch

flies fast

into my glancing world.

In truth, I cannot tell

if it is a bee

a shower of sparks

from the slanting sun

or a wing

lifting a flap of sky.

A bright and nameless

bolt of gold

emerges from an instant

dressed as a small bird.

A textbook perfect

painting of the wind.

(C) Eric Ashford

Eric Ashford and N. M. Rai are both quite gifted, he as a poet and she as both poet and painter/photographer. They are creating a rare collaboration in which Naga Moon presents her paintings and Eric supplies the verse. Some of these presentations even include Eric reading his poems in his distinguished English accent. These are true multi-media presentations, combining visual and spoken art to a most effective end.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Holy Flame: Poem and Picture by Veronika W. 


Life of God in me
Energy divine
Life of my life
I greet Thee
And welcome Thee.

You are sacred -The sacred flame
Within me, around me
Above me and
Beyond me.

You are God
You are Goddess
You are Presence
You are All.


Veronica W. (who also painted the picture above.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Synchronicity 

Synchronicity: the coincidental occurence of events that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality.

This morning, before I got up, I was thinking about some things of recent interest. I reflected on how I tended to write only about ecstatic experience, and ignore the pain (the agony and the ecstasy). I thought that I should mention some of my perpetual ailments and obstacles, such as diminishing eyesight, chronic shoulder pain, none too happy knees, and something happening to almost everything in between, so that people would realize that my life contained its share of challenges, as well as "bliss-outs." But, of course, I am in basically good health, and so truly have little reason to complain.

Then I thought of certain things missing in my life, adventures I would like to pursue, such as the longed for return trip to Greece that will likely not come about in this lifetime, excursions to nearby beaches and fascinating towns for which one needs a car or a compatible friend who drives in order to visit. And I remarked to myself that I hadn't seen the sun for days.

When I opened my computer, I found this excerpt from Annie Dillard, forwarded to me by Naga Moon Rai, a dear e-mail friend of mine who lives a rich and fascinating life elsewhere as an artist/photographer/poet.

There are many things to see, unwrapped gifts and free surprises. The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside by a generous hand. But- and this is the point- who gets excited by a mere penny? If you follow one arrow, if you crouch motionless on a bank to watch a tremulous ripple thrill on the water and are rewarded by the sight of a muskrat paddling from its den, will you count that sight a chip of copper only, and go on your rueful way" It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won't stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. What you see is what you get.

Annie Dillard
from "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek."

A short time later, I went downstairs to do laundry in my apartment house basement. There, on the clothes washer, placed so that it could not be missed, was a bright, shining penny.

The message? Accept with gratitude the gifts that are given.

And--when I went back upstairs, I saw that the sun had come out--it was going to be a glorious day. I headed for the park.

(The lovely mandala above was painted by Veronika W. from Australia. Its title is "Divine Doorway." This clearly feminine image may be viewed as the source of feminine energy, the divine doorway of the goddess Kundalini. Check out her website at

http://www.trueimage.name/?Welcome_to_The_Healing_Circle_of_Light )

Monday, June 16, 2008

Morning Meditation (poem) 

Morning Meditation

I give up.
I don’t know
what this is,
where it comes from,
or why.

I only know that
when it happens,
it tells me
who I am,
who I have been,
will be always.

Think of it this way.
Say you are walking
listening to the birds
celebrating in the trees,
perhaps a bit of sweet
caressing the sand--
when celestial music
swells in your ear.
Would you stop
and look around
to find the source?
(Perhaps another stroller
with electronics in his hand,
or else musicians down
on the shore.)

Wouldn't you just
hold your breath and listen?
Wouldn't you reach out
to touch any angels
that were near?

Dorothy Walters

June l6, 2008

Like so many meditations recently, this morning's seemed "special." I was listening to Tibetan chanting, the kind that drives many people crazy, but which for me acts as a trigger for awakening the deep energies. Once more, I followed inner guidance, moving my hands in circles over my aura, this time starting from the lower chakras, then moving upward to the higher.

The CD is one of my favorites: "Tibetan Buddhism, The Ritual Orchestra and Chants" from the Nonesuch Explorer Series (recorded by David Lewiston.) It is available from Amazon, but must be ordered from Germany, so it takes quite a while for it to arrive. I recommend it highly to anyone enamored of Tibetan chanting complete with cymbals and horns.

The first part of the ceremony is an invocation to Padma Sambhava (the great teacher who brought Buddhism to Tibet centuries ago) and the effect is quite powerful. One feels as if a deity is in fact present, a being beyond ordinary experience. The ceremony then includes prayers and offerings, pleas for protection, and "sharing of merits accumulated by the performance."

I find this last component of special interest, since I also offer up prayers for others (those known to me as well as all sentient beings) as part of my practice. It is my belief that one should not resist ecstasy (because it might be deemed merely a personal indulgence) but rather should welcome it as a form of prayer, a way of bringing oneself and humanity into alignment with higher realms, and a means of healing for the world.
(image from source)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Karate and Kundalini 

They came trooping onto the bus by the dozens. They were little kids, mostly from about 4-8, all giggling and squirming as little kids do. One of them plopped himself beside me on my seat (I was seated parallel to the side of the bus) and his teacher stood in front of me to keep an eye on this rambunctious little boy, who kept wanting to stand up and pull the "stop requested" strap.

I asked her where they were going, and she told me they were headed to a karate school, where, apparently, they were all students. (Karate at age 4? When I was little, we learned to tap dance or play the piano at this age.) She was an attractive young woman, clearly in good shape. I asked if she could do karate, and she explained that she was in fact a karate teacher. So--after a brief inner reflection--I decided to find our if she knew anything about kundalini.

I first asked her if she felt the energies when she practiced, and, if so, how they felt. She said that they made her feel stronger. I then asked if they might be described as hot, or cold, or even blissful. She answered that she sometimes felt some heat. And so I went ahead and told her--that I could often feel the energies as bliss, and sometimes could even move them internally by rotating my eyeballs. She looked at me questioningly, as if I were perhaps just another weirdo of the kind who frequent the streets of any large city. So I quickly asked whether or not she believed me, and, when she hesitated, I said, never mind, I probably wouldn't believe it myself if this had not been my experience. She seemed quite relieved at that.

Once again, I found a seeming lack of awareness of what some of us experience, even by those who are experts in the general field of martial arts, which depend in large part on summoning and using inner energies as defense. Yet another time, I feel I belong to a very exclusive club, where only other initiates understand what I describe.

But today, I did it (rapture) again, just by listening to Diana Rogers, a magical singer of kirtan. Mostly I stood quite still, moving my body only a fraction of an inch one way or another at times. I also did some ecstatic mudras (sacred hand positions), as always following the inner guide. And each simple hand position brought up the bliss (I did things like pressing thumb and forefinger together, then adding other fingers one by one--how simple can you get?) And I thought of those who attempt to do mudra practice out of a book, trying imitate the illustrations (many of which I could never repeat). Once at an ashram workshop on mudras, I questioned the teacher, asking if different hand positions aroused bliss in different parts of the body. She look quite confused and had no answer. My advice, as always, "Listen to your inner guide. She (he, whoever) will show you the way if you just hold still and ask."

But I did think of a new way to explain how one can feel one's energies, even without touching the body. Since we can feel heat without putting our hand in the fire, we can feel the electromagnetic sheathe of the body without touching our skin. And just as we can move our hands back and forth near the flame, we can move them over (and through) our energy field. It just takes practice (think 25 years or so.) Actually, we can do this from the first, if our awakening is sufficiently intense.

Whatever else may be said about kundalini, it is indeed a subject of continuing fascination. I am ready for the predicted exponential increase in awakening and humanity reaching critical mass, when we will all go into bliss together and become the new human. Why not?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Frank Talk by a Young woman 

This is an arresting video by an amazing twelve year old girl. She speaks frankly and knowingly to all of us today. We should all listen carefully to her message.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Jack Kornfield, Spiritual Teacher 

Last night I went with friends to hear Jack Kornfield, well known spiritual teacher and therapist, for a talk and book signing. He is a special man. Once a Buddhist monk in Thailand, he subsequently founded a Buddhist center called Spirit Rock just north of San Francisco. This center offers retreats, workshops, meditation instruction, and other things of that nature.

When Jack began to speak, I realized that I was in the presence of an authentic being, someone who indeed devotes himself to his work and whose qualities shine through. He has, among other things, given counsel as a therapist to many a seeker, often to those struggling with severe internal problems of various kinds. In addition, he has written books and traveled widely to serve in various causes. Recently he journeyed to Israel and Palestine, and reports that many small groups dedicated to peace and mutual understanding have sprung up in those parts of the world. It seems that there (just as here) people are taking up the work of world salvation into their own hands, not waiting for governments to discover solutions.

Jack emphasizes compassion and service in his message, and he has indeed walked his talk. He also has a great sense of humor. He told the story of a teacher who decided to make sandwiches to give to the homeless. More and more came ready to receive her gift. Word of her good work spread, and soon she began to receive money to aid her in her cause. But, she returned all the funds that were sent to her, with a brief note: "Make your own damn sandwiches."

Jack talked about the many qualities available to us as humans, not only those of the shadow side but those of the light--and among the latter, he did include rapture in his list. He was reminding the audience that we need not cling to our suffering, but that we can find our "inner nobility" (our true identity) if we allow it to emerge.

However, as always, I noted that he did not speak of ecstasy as a significant state of being, and of course there was no mention of kundalini as such. As one who feels that kundalini is in fact "God moving through your body," I was--again--disappointed that spiritual teachers do not at least point the way to this potential within us all, one which in many ways carries us to new levels of inner realization. And then I realized that he was delivering a message for a general audience on the exoteric level, and that kundalini still remains, for many, a very esoteric topic and practice.

Kundalini is still little known and is still viewed with suspicion by many. In this regard, it is (in my view) akin to homosexuality, which until recently was forced to remain a hidden realm. The homosexual was silenced by society at large, and lived largely in the shadows, invisible to all but a few intimate friends. The whole subject was (like kundalini) surrounded by myth and misinformation. One could not easily discuss one's experience with family or friends. Hence one was indeed marginalized, pushed to the outer bounds of "conformist" society. Thus homosexuality, too, was truly an esoteric experience, even when it arose from the most common of human needs, the wish to love and be loved, perhaps to make a lifelong commitment to a congenial partner.

Often those experiencing kundalini awakening are disturbed to discover that they are now much alone in their process, that there is no one to guide them or even offer a sympathetic ear. Frequently, they are deeply disturbed to find that they are now "outsiders," persons whose life experience simply does not "fit in" to the dominant paradigm. Perhaps those of us who were more accustomed to exclusion through our "sexual preference" (think "emotional preference") could adjust more easily to the isolation of the new state. And--for me at least--both states were invaluable parts of the journey, ways of leading the self to its true identity.
(Note: the image at the top is of a plaque on a bench in Golden Gate Park, near Stow Lake. I did not know Doreen, but I always pause as I pass to say hello and pay my respects. This "artist/activist/lesbian/therapist" was obviously much beloved by her friends. And I am grateful to live in an area where her full nature is openly acknowledged.
There are, of course, many ways of being marginalized, to be seen as "the other," by society. But being a lesbian is the one which I drew as my life card, and thus it is the one which I know the most about.)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

For Those Longing to be Awakened 

Often, when I tell people about my kundalini awakening, they express their longing to experience this incredible phenomenon. Alas, it is not in my power to give this delight to them, and, even if I could, I would not. The reason for hesitation is that awakening the inner energies is always a gamble--there are big winners and big losers, and both states are challenging. Only those who are perfectly balanced in mind, body, and spirit sail through without difficulty, and few of us measure up in this way. Most of us--even at the moment of awakening--still carry heavy baggage of unresolved psychological or physical issues, most are still trying to cope with the residue of life in our society.

The result is that--for some--awakening may be a most painful process. Whatever has caused us grief or pain in the past will now bring us to a state of near unbearable awareness of those lingering problems. Some may have to withdraw totally from society, be unable to hold jobs or carry on life in the usual pattern. Some may find that their physical challenges are now so intense that they will in fact suffer at a new level.

There is no way to predict what is going to happen. Each person brings in a personal equation, a unique pattern of being, and thus each one experiences a different syndrome--of pain or or its opposite.

Most of us undergo a mixture of both extremes. We may vacillate from one state to the other, sometimes for years, until balance is achieved. The pleasure may be intense. The pain can be excruciating. It is as if one has been chosen to climb the Himalayas with no guidebook or guide, no special set of tools, no knowledge of who planned the trip or its purpose. Yet, something within tells us that this is what we are supposed to do, that somewhere, unseen, others are also making a similar journey, that together we will bring to the world a new definition of itself. And so we labor on, sometimes making measurable progress, sometimes sliding back to a lower level.

However, we all have in common at least one aspect of awakening: our sensitivity to outer stimuli is raised to an unbelievable pitch. I knew one person whose hearing became so acute that she was thrown into trauma by the sound of a neighbor smashing tin cans out in the alley. She was made frantic by the noise of cabinets being slammed shut in the apartment next door. Voices can grate. Going out in the world, eating in a restaurant, riding a bus--these can become excruciating experiences.

However, the reverse is also true. I recall once watching two chi gong teachers "hand dance" before the group. Each move of finger or wrist awakened sweet bliss within. At that time (the beginning months of my process), when I did acupressure around my eyes, the sweetness of the energies was astonishing. Again, during the same period, I remember having a massage at the YWCA from a young practitioner. When she was literally grinding her fist into my instep, I was feeling thrills of ecstasy. At that time, I did not allow myself to practice to music--the bliss became near overwhelming. Lifting arm or leg in yoga aroused intense streams of bliss. Everything looked beautiful. I had entered paradise (at least temporarily).

Now of course I am more stable--for the most part, I do not experience such extremes. But I still tend to live a "guarded" life. I live alone in a very quiet apartment, and for the most part mine is a solitary existence. I like to go out with friends, but I also love to be alone.

I tend to write about the "peak" experiences and ignore the depths and depressions in my journey. For those longing to undergo this wondrous event, my advice is: think carefully what you ask for. The price may be higher than you imagine. This gift may cost you everything--but worth it if you are truly dedicated. So--if you ask for awakening, be sure to add, "If I am ready."

However, perhaps more important than kundalini awakening is the inner journey of spiritual purification and progress. Compassionate service is perhaps the highest form of devotion. Living a life dedicated to deep spiritual principal is essential. Kundalini without inner commitment is worthless and even dangerous, since, like all energies, those of kundalini may be used for lower as well as higher purposes (consider the "corrupt gurus" we have seen in our time.) And, what is best, I believe, is to continue to work on inner improvement--to deal honestly and squarely with our psychological issues, to be of use to society, to improve and maintain health in every way we can. And, of course, we should seek spiritual help wherever it may be found--through reading, authentic teachers, helpful workshops, friends, whatever. We can make great progress on the path if we follow our inner guidance and thus make the world a better place for all.

And--this morning, I had another "peak experience," this time quite unexpected. Yesterday my practice was nice but not spectacular. So--today, I assumed my time of intense energy had passed, and was thinking that I might even skip practice, when--voila!--as I was just starting to get dressed, it came again.

I could tell just by my bodily movement that bliss was stirring. And I knew that the Beloved had come once more. It was a great surprise--like suddenly discovering your lover beside you in bed (this is a metaphor from my past, not my present).

And so I began--I stood just where I was, at the foot of my bed, stark naked as they say. I followed intuition--stroking my aura gently, beginning at the top and working my way down. At one point I opened my eyes enough to see how close my hand was to my body--I would guess about six inches--when I tested I could still feel the energy some twelve inches out, though not as strong. When I got down to my feet, I bent over as far as I could and just pointed my fingers--and still felt something, though not as strong. When I finished, a voice inside said, "Good morning, Dorothy."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Poem by Larry Robinson 

He Said/ She Said

He said,
The road ahead is dark.
Will you walk with me?
She said,
Whither thou goest, my love.

He said,
May the ancestral waters run down
to cleanse our spirits.
She said,
The ancestral waters flow in my veins.

He said,
A tree stands its ground by sinking roots.
She said,
The wheel turns in time.

He said,
Protect what you love.
She said,
Love itself is the protection of life.

He said,
I need you to love.. and more.
She said,
Come back to bed, my love.

- Larry Robinson

Monday, June 09, 2008

Unexpected Ecstasy 

It began unexpectedly. After some weeks of "nothing," the down swing of the cycle, I decided to return to my practice (which I tend to avoid when I am in a low mood). So I put on Diana Rogers (a CD of kirtans and chants called "Love Reigns.") And, almost immediately, in the spell of her truly magical voice, the energies began to flow. At first, it was like soft light playing around my face and head, so delicate it was difficult to sustain. But I held on, and soon the energies shifted to soft, sweet bliss (sometimes drifting into pure rapture), these flowing in my arms and upper body.

If anyone had been watching (and thank the goddess no one was), they would have seen nothing that would account for my inner feelings. I stood quietly in my "meditation corner," feet firmly fixed, moving only my fingers or wrists in barely detectable movements. The onlooker would never have suspected the amazing experience unfolding within.

I still don't know where this joy comes from, what, exactly causes it to happen. It has to do, clearly, with a shift of consciousness into some "altered" state. It is nothing I could teach or transmit to another. It is simply letting kundalini have its way with me, allowing my arms and body to follow the inner flow.

I suspect that it is connected, in some way, with the workshop I described above, that being in the presence of such a high teacher and her loving followers, infused me with energies which came forth today as bliss.

Again, I practiced with only little clothing on, since this is the way to "let the body breathe." And that is what it felt like, as the inner spirit opened and the healing vibrations streamed through.

Why do I write about this, share this most intimate experience with--whoever reads this account? Partly because I like to keep a record of my own journey, but also because I think that many of us are participating in this major experiment, leading us all into a different state of being. I think that what I experienced this morning is the condition all of us will know when we " shuck off" this physical form and become pure spirit.

And, also, part of my role in the experiment is to note and record how the goddess (kundalini) unfolds within over such a long period of time. I have just celebrated the twenty-sixth anniversary of my original awakening. I have also just celebrated my own eightieth birthday. Who could have believed that the bliss would still arrive after such a long time? Who would have thought that, no matter what the physical age , such bliss is still possible?

For me, once the bliss meditation is over, I typically fall into a different "normal" state of consciousness. (I once wrote that these two kinds of awareness are like two roommates who live in the same apartment but seldom see one another, and communicate with notes pasted to the refrigerator door.) I have found that after such an intense practice, it is good to get outdoors and take a long walk. So today I headed out for Golden Gate Park, and there, in the golden sun of this special day, I had several lovely experiences, none in the way of mystical transcendence but still quite wonderful in their way.

Today's experience reminded me of a poem I wrote some ten or so years ago:

Almost Against My Will

Once more I was
not prepared.
Once more it came on me
like an ice storm in June,
a flood crashing over
the parched desert floor
at summer’s end.

And there I was,
captive once again
of these feelings insubstantial
as thoughts
as images

familiar music of silence
echoing through
my body's deepening canyons.

(from Marrow of Flame)

(Note: The first two images above are from yesterday's walk out on the cliff above the entrance to San Francisco Bay. The pictures of the duck on the log and the park ranger on her horse are from my walk today in Golden Gate Park.)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A Workshop and Seeing Auras 

Yesterday, I attended a workshop given by Tamara Diaghilev, a spiritual teacher well known in our city. For many years, Tamara has given classes in personal development and has as well assisted literally hundreds of people to create better lives for themselves. This particular workshop was Tamara's farewell--she is retiring from the workshop part of her career, and will, instead, offer some personal counseling for a few clients. Many of those who were in attendance had been her students for twenty or more years, so it was a deeply moving experience for all of us to see the concluding chapter in this illustrious career.

A primary concern of this final workshop was the need for forgiveness on all our parts if we are to complete our transformational journeys. When Tamara speaks to the group, she enters a light trance state, and lets the words simply pour forth from spirit. As I listened, I realized that I was seeing beautiful light outlining her face and throat, and sometimes other parts of her body, including one which resembled a belt across the pelvic girdle. Tamara is indeed a "wise woman," someone who has given liberally of her life and talents to help others.

Although I have often seen lights move around others (always some shade of violet or purplish/blue), these were a bit different in appearance. In an earlier workshop with Tamara, I had not seen lights, but rather had observed her features seeming to change into different faces--including several Middle Eastern males and at least one Middle Eastern female. This time it was the lights themselves which caught my attention, and, as always, I found this phenomenon both surprising and delightful. It is as though a spiritual portal is opened, and one is allowed a brief peek into the wonders of other dimensional perception.

The overall theme of the workshop was "Making a Blessing of Your Life," and Tamara honored me by asking me to share a "blessings poem" with the group. I read the following:


Do you think such things

are not possible?

Have you looked in a mirror

lately, seen the face you have become,

this sun marked visage,

this god shine parable

named you?

Think about who you are.

Think of all that was rolled

into your skin

even before you were born.

What will you do with these gifts,

these sacraments waiting for you

to claim them?

When you are in love

you do not say

you are near love

or beside love,or seeking to know

love's truth.

You say you are in love.

Never mind how you got here.

This is your ocean.

Drown in it.
Dorothy Walters
(So--blessings to all as we continue on our own journeys of transformation!)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Feminine Fire (new online e-mail newsletter) 

Teri Degler (a professional writer in Canada who has written on kundalini) has recently begun an online magazine called "The Feminine Fire, the Divine Creative Force You Hold Within", and the recent issue includes a writeup of me. I am posting it here rather than simply giving you the site, since you have to be on the e-mail list to read the issue itself. (To sign up, write her at teridegler@sympatico.ca and ask to be included on her e-mail list.)

It is a truly fascinating journal, with many articles relevant to creativity and the Divine Feminine in both men and women. One of her special interests is Hildegard, whose inner inspiration she connects with both Sophia and the Holy Spirit.

I felt truly honored to be included in this wonderful new journal.

Women Inspiring. . .
Dorothy Walters
Dorothy Walters is an extraordinarily gifted San Francisco poet who recently celebrated her 80th birthday. Her life has been filled with acts of quiet courage that make her a truly inspiring woman. She began by taking a Ph.D. in English at a time when women were not encouraged to enter higher education. As a university professor in the 1970s she helped to found one of the first women's studies programs in the United States and co-edited one of the first anthologies of poetry written by women. Dorothy also took it upon herself to mentor women whose education had been interrupted --often by starting families-- and who wanted to return to university. Today women's studies programs are so common, women’s literature so widely praised, and mothers in classrooms so much the norm that it is hard for us to realize how revolutionary Dorothy's actions were at the time and how much opposition there was to them.
But Dorothy has never let a little opposition stop her. Realizing early on that she was a Lesbian, she had the courage to embrace this lifestyle long before it had gained any kind of acceptance. And then in 1981 (as if she hadn't dealt with enough challenges!) she experienced a major spontaneous awakening of kundalini-shakti. During the many years of transformation and spiritual unfolding that have followed, Dorothy has been led by the promptings of her inner guru rather than any external guide or teacher. She has written about this spiritual journey with exceptional candor and moving honesty in her remarkable books, Unmasking the Rose, A Record of a Kundalini Initiation (Hampton Roads) and Marrow of Flame: Poems of the Spiritual Journey (Hohm Press). Dorothy now devotes much of her time to helping others undergoing spiritual transformation, with special attention to those experiencing awakening kundalini.
For Dorothy, the act of writing is itself a spiritual exercise. She says, "In my view, we are now undergoing planetary evolution of consciousness, a shift of indescribable importance which brings great hope into these most difficult times. Poetry can help achieve this remarkable transition."

Increasing the Creative Inspiration in Your Life

Dorothy gets inspiration from her inner spiritual experiences, from nature and music, and from reading the work of poets such as Rumi and Mary Oliver and the ancient spiritual texts, especially those of the Kashmiri Shaivite tradition. If you want to increase the creative inspiration in your life, she says, zzz'Do whatever works best for you to awaken your creative impulse: meditation, movement, reflection, reading, going into nature, dancing, being with friends, whatever makes your feel alive, joyous, filled with energy. Or, if you are working with the shadow side, then honor your feelings of pain and grief fully in what you write. Capture the spirit of the moment in what you create, whether you are touching on your deepest levels or describing something smaller, closer to home. Write or create what your inner self needs to express at that time, whether of joy or pain or humor or reflection. . . .Don't worry about recognition and rewards. Take risks. Be true to yourself and maintain your connection to source. Above all else, be authentic.

A Cloth of Fine Gold

You may think that first lit flame
was the ultimate blaze,
the holy fire revealed.
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.

Order Dorothy’s books and find more of her wisdom and poetry at: www.

(Note: If you go to the actual site of The Feminine Fire, there are some additional poems as well as some beautifuly paintings which accompany them. Be sure to "pass your mouse" over the stars in the margins to bring up these extras.)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Wonder (poem) by Ibn Arabi 

Wonder - Ibn Arabi


A garden among the flames!
My heart can take on any form:

A meadow for gazelles,

A cloister for monks,

For the idols, sacred ground,

Ka'ba for the circling pilgrim,

The tables of the Torah,

The scrolls of the Quran.

My creed is Love;

Wherever its caravan turns along the way,

That is my belief,

My faith.
Ibn Arabi

In researching Ibn Arabi, I came across the internet site of a certain Sufi sheik, which contained the following description of the experiences of some of the highly advanced practitioners of his (Sufi) tradition. In many respects these resemble the reports of some who undergo kundalini awakening:

"Many . . .have experienced the seeing of lights of different shapes and colours. It is quite common among these mureeds to see pin points of different coloured lights at various times of the day and night. These lights appear in flashes and disappear. Some also see waves of gold or silver light appearing in front of them. These lights can be compared to a heavy mist and they always move about in waves. Even in utter darkness these mureds are able to see all around them.

A common experience of many mureeds is the sudden inhalation of a whiff of incense or attar (perfume). The type of perfume in almost all cases is one that is not being worn by the mureed and is easily recognized due to its unexpected presence.

During the repetition of Dhikr some mureeds have experienced a sweet taste on their tongues which lingers sometimes from between a day to three or four days on end. Mureeds have been given various types of liquids such as water and milk etc to drink by Prophets. . .These liquids represent secret knowledge .

Some mureeds have also experienced the sense of touch when they have been totally devoid of other company. This experience is common to mureeds who are nodding off to sleep while reciting Quran or while praying or while in Dhikr. Such an experience usually has the effect of awakening the mureed and helping him to concentrate."
(Picture from Wikipedia)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Ivan Granger Interviewed 

Recently, Ivan Granger (of the Poetry Chaikhana) was interviewed by the Ecstatic Art and Theater Project, an online site. Here are the links to the site, and also to Ivan's audio interview:

Ecstatic Art & Theater Project
Online Newsletter
Audio Interview
(The link to the Poetry Chaikhana is listed on the right side bar.)
(Picture of Ivan comes from the Poetry Chaikhana)

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