Kundalini Splendor

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sacred Vases and Holy Pools (poem by Kabir) 

(I will be leaving for Colorado (Boulder, my "spiritual home") tomorrow for two weeks and so will not be posting the blog until I return in early October. Blessings to all--stay well and enjoy the fall weather.)

Often, people will ask you to describe your kundalini experience. As you know, this is difficult if not impossible. Each experience is unique to the individual being--each has its own taste, its special signature. For one, it might be infinite bliss--for another, pain as he/she struggles to overcome persistent issues. For most of us, it is the roller coaster of life--ups and downs, forwards and back. To describe it would be like trying to tell someone how chocolate ice cream tastes, or the feeling aroused by a piece of favorite music. Subjective experience cannot be fully captured in words. We can talk around the subject, but we can never convey it exactly.

Yet, we try. One thing we can agree on--kundalini constantly changes in tone, texture, and intensity. For some of us (I am one) it becomes ever more refined, always more filled with subtle surprises. Here is a recent one:

I went to see an exhibit of the artwork of the Ming period with my friend, not really expecting to be especially moved, since Chinese art is not necessarily a favorite of mine. When I walked in, I turned to the right, and there, behind a glass case, were two large vases with dragons on them. Oh, yes, I thought, the usual dragons on the usual vases. And then something happened. I realized that energy was pouring out from these pieces--as I stood there, it become more and more powerful, though also pleasing, but more strong than sweet. I bowed my head and the energies flowed in, in a most intense way. What is this, I wondered? Almost in a daze, I wandered away.

A few minutes later, I realized I had not even taken the time to find out the history of these objects, so I returned and read the description. It seems that these were two special vases, created in the emperor's own special kiln, and the vases themselves were used in an important ceremony to mark the installation of a new emperor and the beginnings of a new era. Obviously, much energy had gone into their preparation. And--it was still there, pouring forth, strong, masculine, awing.

For me, it was yet another new experience, another unfolding, yet another demonstration of how kundalini constantly expands our awareness in unexpected ways. Whatever else we may say about our experience, it certainly is never dull.

I reflected on where I had felt such energies before when looking at art objects. I remembered the powerful waves which emanated from the Rothko painting I saw in Detroit, the lovely vibrations coming off one of the paintings in the Female Impressionists exhibit a few months ago here in San Francisco, the overall sense of beautiful and palpable field of sacred energy from an exhibit of the Arts and Crafts (William Morris period) exhibit two or three years back. Some of these items, which had been made so carefully and lovingly, still seemed to carry some of that original energy conveyed from artist to object. Otherwise, I recalled only the power (but it too was real and intense) of depictions of sacred beings--my Buddhist tongka, a depiction of a guru in an ashram, images such as these. Of course, if we extend the field to persons and sacred places, and indeed to poetry and the vibrations of music, there are many more examples. Yes, everything is energy, and when our own inner rhythms are in tune, we can feel what comes forth all around us, if we pause and pay attention.

The following poem by Kabir sums up my thoughts on the subject of spiritual growth and discovery. It is not in the texts or designated places that truth is validated, but in what some call the "self-validating experience," the wonder that constantly awaits in the unexpected encounter.

Holy Pools

There is nothing but water in the holy pools.
I know, I have been swimming in them.

All the gods sculpted of wood and ivory
can't say a word.
I know, I have been crying out to them.

The Sacred Books of the East are nothing but words.
I looked through their covers one day sideways.

What Kabir talks about is only what he has lived through.

If you have not lived through something,
It is not true.


(Image from Wikipedia of vase now in Louvre)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Everything Moving (poem) 

Everything Moving

Who am I to say
how this world
is put together,
how the seams and ridges
why the waters heave
and flow.

Only the architect
knows the full extent,
the weights and measures
the secret connections
in her palm.

Me, I have my corner
where I dance
to make the hours move,
rhythm to keep the sky alive,
hold earth and moon in place,
everything turning,
expanding sphere of light.

Dorothy Walters
September 14, 2008
(Image from NASA, ESA, P. Challis and R. Kirshner, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics--found on Hubble Site--Galaxy Collection)

Monday, September 15, 2008

To Become You (poem) 

To Become You

How can I talk to you
as if you were
another person,
a thing detached,
some sort of artifice or projection.

It would be like
talking to
whispering secrets
in the dark
with a lover
who has become
your own flesh,
your mirror

I do not mean to commit
It is just that breath
which enters
becomes part of you
like this.
Or water which
infuses your veins.
Perhaps the sacrifice
is ourselves.
We surrender
what we are
in order to become

Dorothy Walters
September 11, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What the Angel Said (poem) 

What the Angel Said

At first it was relief.
At no longer having
that encumbrance of flesh,
the heavy weight pulling me down
into a kind of half-being.

How it was then,
I could not move
without such effort,
could not leave
the curved surface
of which I was a part.

Oh, I tried, but it was useless.
A few feet of elevation at best,
always the necessary slow progression
to a new location.

Sometimes I wept at my immobility.
Or strained to leave,
useless gesture.

Now, finally, I am free,
flitting from place to place
like a bee among roses,
an eagle soaring.
To think about a destination
is to arrive there,
to desire a shape
is to find oneself

A flowing pulsation of gold veined light,
I wander among the remnants,
barely making out
the world I left behind.
I am glad I abandoned
all that uneasy furor,
that chaos of misdirected aims.
Yet sometimes I watch
and wonder
which is the better portion,
they with
their learning school
of grief and ambitions,
me with my smooth excess of love.

Dorothy Walters
September 11, 2008
(Image from Wikipedia of work by Gustave Dore)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

In My House of Flesh 

In My House of Flesh

When you first arrived,
I did not recognize you.
You gave me a name
but I did not know
what it meant.

Gradually, we came
to know one another.
Your constant presence
brought me into
another light,
a different spectrum
of being.

Now I am easy
living with you in my house
of flesh,
finding you in daylight
playing over the
flowers outside
my window,
or coming in
with the evening breeze.

At night your perfume
surrounds me like
a lover come home.
Over and over
you whisper the syllables
of who you are
in my ear.
I still cannot hear it clearly.
I no longer care

Dorothy Walters
September 11, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Before We Came (poem) 

Before We Came

It is true
that when we first started out
everything was fiery.
Great lava flows
pouring down mountains,
cliffs breaking asunder
like pieces of flying chalk
hurled from a child's hand.

Then things got a bit
level plains,
soft meadows,
now and then a flower
or a flowing stream.

Now we travel
mostly by starlight
as if in a dream.
Sometimes we are not certain
if we are still plodding forward,
determined pilgrims moving ahead,
or resting somewhere
beside a quiet fire,
nestled in leaves.

What we know is that
this course
is the one we have chosen,
the map we drafted
before we even knew
about the treasure,
the vow we took
long before we came.

Dorothy Walters
September 11, 2008
(Image from Wikipedia)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What the Messenger Said (poem) 

What the Messenger Said

What I have to tell you
is serious and profound,
the way a baby
gazes into your eyes,
or an owl perches outside
your window
calling you
to another realm.

When you hear this
you can learn it by heart,
or paste it on a tree
or hide it in your sleeve.

The important thing is
never to forget,
to keep telling yourself
who you are,
why you have come,
what it is you are supposed
to be doing
on this earth,
this special place..

All of this I learned
from the old women
gathered by the fire,
the blaze beneath
the stars,
the breath of

Dorothy Walters
September 11, 2008
Picture from Hubblesite.com Credit: NASA, ESA, M.J. Jee and H. Ford (Johns Hopkins University)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Fugitive (poem) 

The Fugitive

As your body goes through
its stages,
remember your inner beauty.

Your inner beauty
is who you truly are.
The wave's crest
before it rises,
a star which hides
in morning light,

burning, luminous, fugitive,
it is always there.

Dorothy Walters
September 10, 2008

(Image from Wikipedia)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Kundalini and the Arts (Hillary Hahn) 

One of the most interesting questions about kundalini is whether it somehow underlies much of the creativity found in the arts (as well as other areas.) When we think of a Mozart or a Beethoven, we are astonished at both the quality and amount of what they created. Such people seem to work from an endless fountain of energy and inspiration, while the the rest of us can only observe as awe struck witnesses.

Where do such seemingly superhuman capacities come from? Some have postulated that such geniuses are fueled by kundalini itself, a force which gives them the drive and stamina and imagination to achieve far beyond the norms.

Recently I watched a program on Ovation TV about Hillary Hahn, who is now recognized as one of the master violinists of our time. Now, Hillary Hahn, who is clearly a brilliant performance artist, is a young woman still in her twenties (though she looks almost like a teenager.) She follows a challenging schedule, traveling from city to city, country to country, as she plays as featured artist with symphonies over the world. To many of us, such a schedule would be grueling, but she seems to thrive on it. Clearly, she loves what she does, and seems to be able to renew her energies easily--she can sleep a few hours on an overnight flight to Europe, then be ready for rehearsal and performance in a major hall the next day.

And she does something else that struck me as quite original--on her website she posts her own journal, giving us an insider's view of what it is truly like to be a "wandering musician." Her journal is crisp, well written, and filled with interesting detailsof her daily life. And, since she is so young, she tells her story from a youthful point of view. Thus, when she gets soaked when she is caught by surprise in a heavy rain, she is not daunted. Rather, she tells us that she loves the rain and enjoyed the entire adventure.

Check out Hillary Hahn at her website http://www.hilaryhahn.com/

I find her site totally delightful--it includes everything from where to shop for fresh food when you are on the road to advice on how to look at an orchestra while it is playing. She has a great sense of humor and fun. Here is one example:

Brass players' eyebrows:These musicians' eyebrows are a virtual map to their phrasing structures and tone production. They go through all manners of contortion, depending on the instrument, the expressiveness of a certain phrase, the amount of effort it takes to produce the tone, and the mood of the passage they're playing. Also, watch for oboists' and clarinettists' facial color and muscle tone --when they have to play long sections without taking a breath, their skin turns from red to purple, their veins and eyes start to pop out, and their facial muscles look very strained. I think I'd pass out if I had to perform such a feat.

And the webpage even includes art from fans, some obviously quite young, as well as information on such things as what kind of violin she plays, what kind of bow she uses, and even the kind of rosin she applies to the bow (many violinists would be curious as to such details.)

If you get a chance to hear her play, either on CD or in person, do so. She is a kind of miracle in our time, perhaps one of the "new children" we keep hearing so much about.
(Photo from Hillary Hahn's website)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Articles of Faith (Larry Robinson) 

ARTICLES OF FAITH by Larry Robinson

Faith is a priceless treasure which some would invest in money and power, seeking private gain. Others of us invest in a vision of a world which may yet come to be: a world of justice, peace and beauty. We place our faith in life itself.

We Believe

Life is infinitely creative, resourceful, reliable and ultimately good.
Human beings are an expression of that life force and, as such, are creative, resourceful, reliable and fundamentally good.
All life is inextricably connected - what happens to any of us happens to all of us.
Evil exists as a potential in all human beings and it derives from the illusion that we are separate from each other and from the fountain of life.
Evil cannot be vanquished by force of arms or by fear. It can only be conquered by love.
In the power of love and direct non-violent action to
transform institutions, social systems and the human heart.
The arc of human history moves toward democracy, justice and an appreciation for our wondrous multiplicity of expression.
It is the right of all people to enjoy life, liberty and the security of person; to be treated equally under the law; to enjoy freedom of thought, conscience and religion; to free expression and association; to have free access to clean water and air.
It is possible for all human beings to be free from economic want and poverty and to live with dignity.
Peace among and within nations is only possible when these rights are assured to everyone.
The most fundamental responsibility of government is to ensure the health and well-being of the land and of all its inhabitants.
Individual rights must be balanced with responsibility for the well-being of the community.
The success and survival of our civilization and, possibly, that of the human race are in increasing jeopardy because of our commitment to an unsustainable pattern of resource consumption, particularly our dependence upon fossil fuels.
While our planet's physical resources are finite, the resources of love and imagination are without end.
It is indeed possible to create a society which lives sustainably and harmoniously within the parameters of our planetary life support systems.
We have a responsibility to live in such a way that we do not diminish the opportunity for future generations to enjoy the same quality of life which we enjoy.
A human birth is a precious gift that is accompanied by a responsibility to act with generosity, sensitivity and compassion for all living beings.
In doing our best to leave a better world for our children.
All people, individually and collectively, are capable of learning from their mistakes.
Life inherently includes suffering, but we have a responsibility as members of the human family to do what we can to ease that suffering and to structure our social institutions in such a way as to minimize unnecessary suffering due to poverty, disease, war, injustice and environmental degradation.
Joy is also an inherent feature of life and it is possible to participate joyfully in the suffering of the world.
Each and every life has inherent value and is worthy of respect.
In poetry, art, music, dancing and the spirit of play.
In the power of truth.
At the heart of all things is an ineffable mystery worthy of awe and wonder.
It is this faith which informs, guides and sustains our work in the world.

- Larry Robinson

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Amazing Photos 

This remarkable set of pictures was sent to me by a friend.

Friday, September 05, 2008

There Is No One But Us (Annie Dillard) 

There Is No One But Us

There is no one but us.

There is no one to send,

nor a clean hand nor a pure heart

on the face of the earth,

but only us,

a generation comforting ourselves

with the notion that we have come at an awkward time,

that our innocent fathers are all dead-

as if innocence had ever been -

and our children busy and troubled,

and we ourselves unfit,

not yet ready,

having each of us chosen wrongly,

made a false start, failed,

yielded to impulse and the tangled comfort of pleasures,

and grown exhausted,

unable to seek the thread, weak, and involved.

But there is no one but us.

There never has been. -

Annie Dillad

This poem by Annie Dillard expresses what many of us have felt from time to time, especially when we are in "down periods" or feeling depressed about things in general. But some of us believe in fact that there is something besides us, for this something has spoken to us through the mystery we call divine connection, especially when that sense of relatedness occurs through the kundalini process. In kundalini bliss, we cease to question the uncertainty of things occurring in the world about us and know, simply and irrefutably, that there is a link between the human and the sublime, and that we ourselves are the nexus in which this fusion occurs.

(Photo by Renee Drake)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Beatrice in Rapture (poem) 

Beatrice in Rapture

Always it was alone.
Always it was silence,
the inner radiance.
What was it I was waiting for?

At times it came,
spreading across my shadow
like sunlight over an autumn floor,
entering where
there was no real way.
Sometimes there was only a
suspension of nothingness,
emptiness palpable as dust.

But still I waited.
Patience was the key.
Lost in a wilderness of hope,
the uncounted stations
of desire.

Dorothy Walters
September 2, 2002
Beatrice was the beloved of Dante Alighieri, who first immortalized her in La Vita Nuova (The New Life) and later cast her as the guide of Dante through the later stages of La Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy).
(The image is of the painting entitled "Beatrice in Rapture" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, which now hangs in the Tate Gallery.)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Transition (poem) 

The Transition

I have traveled.
through swamps and forests,
past fens and deserts
and whirlpools of fire.

Finally I am ready,
here at the edge
of the sublimely unbounded,
this light that strikes
like a bolt of love.

Now I shall shed this familiar garment,
this frail cover
against the impending all.

What will I do
when this blaze
sweeps through me,
and I become merely
a breath of pale flame?

Dorothy Walters
September 2, 2008

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Rapture (MaryOliver) 

The Rapture

All summer
I wandered the fields
that were thickening
every morning,

every rainfall,
with weeds and blossoms,
with the long loops
of the shimmering, and the extravagant-

pale as flames they rose
and fell back,
replete and beautiful-
that was all there was-

and I too
once or twice, at least,
felt myself rising,
my boots

touching suddenly the tops of the weeds,
the blue and silky air-
passion did it,

called me forth,
addled me,
stripped me clean
then covered me with the cloth of happiness-

I think there is no other prize,
only rapture the gleaming,
rapture the illogical the weightless-

whether it be for the perfect shapeliness
of something you love-
like an old German song-
or of someone-

or the dark floss of the earth itself,
heavy and electric.
At the edge of sweet sanity open
such wild, blind wings.

Mary Oliver

Monday, September 01, 2008

I Am a Madman (Du Fu) 

I Am a Madman

My thatched cottage stands
just west of Thousand Mile Bridge

this Hundred Flower Stream
would please a hermit fisherman

bamboo sways in the wind
graceful as any court beauty

rain makes the lotus flower
even more red and fragrant

but I no longer hear from friends
who live on princely salaries

my children are always hungry
with pale and famished faces

does a madman grow more happy
before he dies in the gutter?

I laugh at myself -- a madman
growing older, growing madder.

Du Fu (712 - 770)

(picture from Wikipedia)

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