Kundalini Splendor

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Stars Singing (poem) 

Stars Singing

Certain ancient tribes insist
that if you listen carefully,
you can hear the stars
singing at night.

I wonder what music
they hear?
Is it Mozart,
a little bit of Beethoven
thrown in for good measure?

But of course,
that is nonsense.
Their music comes from
the vast reaches
whose music
is unimaginable
unless you have stood there,
become very still,
and heard it
not so much
as melody,
as the first tone,
the unstruck sound
as when Helen
sang to me
that time,
the god-note filling the room
not coming from any
particular place,
but enveloping everything
in its reach,
stopping my heartbeat
as I forgot who I was
and fell into its deep well.

Dorothy Walters
October 31, 2009

(picture from Hubble website)

Friday, October 30, 2009

This Only ( poem) 

This Only

It is this, and this only,
what you hold in your hand
right now,
what you listen to
when you are alone
with yourself
in the night,
or in the light of day.

You may fancy
it is somewhere hence,
at another time,
a place you have
never been,
or have visited
and then forgotten.

But these are not
The only thing that is real
is this very moment,
this second of what
you lovingly
call your life,
and which loves you
in return.

Dorothy Walters
October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Let's Go Home" (poem by Rumi) 

Let's Go Home

Late and starting to rain, it's time to go home.
We've wandered long enough in empty buildings.
I know it's tempting to stay and meet those new people.
I know it's even more sensible
to spend the night here with them,
but I want to be home.

We've seen enough beautiful places with signs on them
saying "This Is God's House".
That's seeing the grain like the ants do,
without the work of harvesting.
Let's leave grazing to cows and go
where we know what everyone really intends,
where we can walk around without clothes on.

(Version by Coleman Barks)

(Note: Once when I was a child in Oklahoma, an ice storm came late in the spring. I was totally dazzled by the beauty of the elm trees encased in their lovely crystal coverings. I literally danced all the way to school,for I felt I had entered an ice-bedecked paradise. I have never forgotten that day of total magic, of oneness. As children we enter easily into communion with the natural world, and indeed, as Wordsworth said, "Heaven lies about us in our infancy." Children are, I think, natural mystics, and we are lucky if we can retain some of that gift into adulthood.

I think Kundalini does much to restore us to that earlier state, for it helps us to respond to things at a deeper level. Even the sight of a bird or tree can give us infinite delight.

And as for Rumi, the above poem is one of my all time favorites. It is very simple, yet it sums up what many of us feel often, the need to break away from social connections and go to the sanctuary of home, where we can be completely ourselves, and "walk around without clothes on."

Too much sophistication, too much complication and activity in our lives can keep us from connecting with our "original innocence," the source of our joy and the place of our beginnings.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Snow, Snow, and More Snow 

When you haven't seen snow in years, when you have been living in a city where it never, ever snows (or seemingly even changes seasons), then to see snow is a real gift. You look at it with "beginner's mind," the excitement of a child or a dog discovering something new and rare in your environment. You want to touch it, to taste it, smell it, to feel its cold essence on your face.

But of course, you are a sober adult--you know your will freeze your fingers if you venture out, you might get your feet wet (even with your new snow boots), the neighbors might think you were crazy if you started making angels in the snow outside their windows.

So, instead, you enjoy a feast for the eyes, as the snowflakes fall gently, lazily, on the boughs and branches and cars unlucky enough to be parked in the open.

But inside it is warm and cozy and safe. You look out on the Winter Wonderland taking shape outside. You count your blessings that your big front windows allow you to see far out all the way to the bottom of the mountains, though the Flatirons themselves are hidden behind mist and the descending white veil.

You don't go out. But you do step our on your balcony and take a few canera shots, in part to see if you can discover an arrangement of trees and fences to create something lovely, in part just to capture a lasting memory of this special day.

The day has indeed been a gift--even if the electricity did go out this morning in the middle of your load of clothes being washed across the hall, even if the neighbors downstairs have reported that your bathtub is leaking onto their apartment and plumbers will have to come in, even if your T. V. failed (the dish lost the signal) just as you were riveted to the weather report.

The electricity came back on soon, the wash finished in good time, the plumbers decided not to come today but maybe tomorrow, the T. V. found its signal in time for the evening weather report.

In all, a memorable day, unlike any you have known since you lived in Boulder all those decades ago.

And, of course, the natives all insist, "This weather is very unusual for this time of year." Have you ever heard this before?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"The Time Has Come" (poem by Rumi) 

The Time Has Come

the time has come
to break all my promises
tear apart all chains
and cast away all advice

disassemble the heavens
link by link
and break at once
all lovers' ties
with the sword of death

put cotton inside
both my ears
and close them to
all words of wisdom

crash the door and
enter the chamber
where all sweet
things are hidden

how long can i
beg and bargain
for the things of this world
while love is waiting

how long before
i can rise beyond
how i am and
what i am

- Jelalludin Rumi
Ghazal 1591
Translated by Nader Khalili

Friday, October 23, 2009

Poem by John O'Donohue 

For Presence

Awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to
follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek
no attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.

~ John O'Donohue ~

(To Bless the Space Between Us)

© John O’Donohue. All rights reserved


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sandhill Crane (pic by N. M. Rai) 

My friend N. M. Rai sent me this photo of a sandhill crane and I could not resist putting it up on the blog. When I asked her where she found this bird, she answered:

They live near my house. It's a sandhill crane. Sometimes they come right up to the windows and look in. Have you ever heard a crane? Most amazing sound. Attached is a recording I did of a couple calling right outside the window last year.

As you can tell by the pic, they're large birds standing almost 4 feet tall. I took this one's pic the night before last from about 6 feet away from him.

The link to the recording is found at A.mp3

So, what does this have to do with Kundalini? Only, again, that Kundalini is the great creative force that is in everything that is, including our companions from nature. We are all part of the same energetic field, one and the same, only we know it and they don't (at least as far as we are aware.)

It took me several tries to get it to play--don't know if this link will work, but good luck in trying!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Stages of the Journey 

Each stage of the spiritual journey has its own challenges and rewards. The first, which I think of as the time of "Exploration." is often quite delightful. All the information one encounters, all the wisdom dispensed by spiritual teachers, is fresh and exciting. On may discover an entire system that explains everything. Chances are that this system, or even its individual insights, are well known to others more advanced.

Aldous Huxley's book "The Perennial Philosophy" explains this phenomenon quite well. There are certain fundamental truths common to virtually all spiritual perspectives. Each presents them in its own way, with its own special vocabulary and its own categories of thought. In Zen Buddhism, this early stage--of search and discovery--leads to a new way of seeing the world, called "Beginner's Mind." In Christian tradition, the convert is said to be "Born Again" into a new vision of reality.

The beginner is excited and thrilled by these unfamiliar insights, and often even sight itself is affected as the brain balances right and left. Colors may appear brighter, odors more pungent--it is as if the world has been newly created for the benefit of the initiate/convert. It is an exciting time, but it can be demanding, as one begins to reconstruct the past way of seeing into a novel framework.

I think of the next stage as one of integration. During this period, one sifts through the many messages one has received from various sources. Perhaps reading has opened doors to understanding, or the words of a great master strike home in a special way. One sifts and selects, seeking a deeper understanding, sorting the "wheat" from the "chaff." All of this can lead, ultimately, to a coherent view, an integrated sense of underlying meanings of things that were, earlier, difficult to comprehend. (For those undergoing Kundalini awakening,this stage is supremely important, since one's world has literally be turned upside down in a sometimes disconcerting way.)

The final stage I call Reflection. All the events of the past life come up for review, to be seen in new perspectives, revealing the underlying patterns and themes that shaped the life. The inner journey is understood in a new light. Now most of the drama of the early times has passed, life has settled into a comfortable pattern of response to now familiar stimuli. This stage lacks the excitement and passion of the opening sequences, but it offers instead a gentle way of "being in the world." One of the problems is that by now, much of what is presented in workshops and new publications (ideas which excite and inspire others) falls into the category of "been there, done that." The basic concepts are already familiar, the experiences no longer novel.

Now, one become the mentor or guide for those moving at earlier stages of the path. One seeks ways to "give back," either through activity or a sharing of inner wisdom.

However, even now, the practice continues to deepen and surprise. Subjective issues, once so pressing, are all but laid to rest. One discovers that there is no end to ways of "being with the divine." Kundalini ecstasy often reappears unexpectedly, like an old lover dropping by for a visit. The subtle body continues to move into higher and higher levels of vibration. One realizes that the the personal evolution of consciousness continues unabated. The rest of the time, one feels at peace with the soul, knowing that the journey is all but complete, the assignment fulfilled, the life redeemed through repeated commitment and dedication.

"We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity,
For a further union, a deeper communion.
T. S. Eliot

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Poem by Michael Black 

Here is a poem by Michael Black, long time friend and companion on the Kundalini journey:

Remember Thee

Sometimes on these cold, gray mornings
I gaze out of my window wondering, just wondering
What it looks like--just now!--outside your
Bedroom window?

Sometimes on these cold, gray mornings
I stare out my window tracking, tracking the
spiraling fall of solitary snowflakes; those same ones that
Reunite Heaven and Earth, wondering, just wondering,
Do ya, do ya remember me?

Sometimes on these cold, gray mornings,
As swirling coastal fogs hug the ground; Awash in
Formlessness, I strain to see solitary trees etched
Skyward, with nary a partner in sight. And do ya,
Do ya remember me??

Sometimes on these cold, gray mornings,
As winds scour chimneys, roofs and awnings,
I'm reminded that you've been here all along,
Each of our inner sunshines brilliant testimony

To our Cornucopia of Love. Do ya, do ya remember thee?

Michael Black

Monday, October 19, 2009

"The Divine Feminine Fire"--new book by Teri Degler 

Teri Degler, one of the most established writers on Kundalini, yoga, tantra, the Divine Feminine, and creativity, has just published an exciting new volume. It is titled "The Divine Feminine Fire: Creativity and Your Yearning to Express Your Self."

Teri has explored the mysteries of yoga, Kundalini, creativity and the Divine Feminine for many years. She brings to us the distillation of all the wisdom she has accumulated through her own long journey of investigation, experience, and yielding back. Even her chapter titles beckon us forward: "The Goddess Hidden in the Body,"; "My Lover, My Longing,"; "Tantra and the Transmutation of Desire,"; "Shiva, Shakti, and the Balance of Power,"; "The Precious Juice of Grace."

On the back cover we find this description: "This is a book about our yearning--our desire to know our true nature, to ease the suffering we see around us, to save Mother Earth, and especially, to express our true selves creatively. For, amazing as it may seem, our desire to be creatiave is fueled dby the same cosmic force that triggers our longing to do good in the world. Called Shakti in yoga, this divine feminine enegy is not just the creative force of the cosmos but also the creative force within each one of us.

In The Divine Femine Fire you'll delve into the myths and sacred stories that unveil Shakti's myterious workings, explore the stunning parallels to Shekinah and Sophia in Judaism and Christianity, and be passionataely inspired by both fiery women mystics and women just like you."

Teri, herself an experienced workshop presenter on creativity and spirituality,
offers valuable exercises we ourselves can use to enhance our own creativity.

I particularly like the statement she includes at the front of the book "...it is often in opening ourselves and becoming vulnerable that we are able truly to experience the power of the divine feminine fire that exists within each and every one of us...."

Anyone who has tasted or the "divine feminine fire" (or nectar) of Kundalini knows full well how true this statement is. We do not "make" Kundalini happen--any more than we can "make" a glorious poem to come forth or a painting to take perfect shape. Instead we open ourselves to the secret energy that abides within and that will come forth if we are willing to become vulnerable and open to it.

This is an important book and a timely book. I encourage you to read it. You will not be sorry, I promise.

Also, be sure to check out Teri's website at http://www.teridegler.com/
On this site you can read about Teri's other books, order this one, and check out her online newsletter "The Feminine Fire."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Indian Summer (poem) 

Indian Summer

Last week snow,
this week
temperatures soaring,
too hot to go down to
the creek
or stroll through
the old neighborhoods.

We welcome it,
this sweet
this false soothing,
soon the world will become
less cordial,
less friendly,
words like
and harsh
will come to mind,
this is the time
when miners
in their cabins,
and brides
turn down
icy sheets.

Dorothy Walters
October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Anam Cara Newsletter 

Anam Cara Foundation
Perennial Wisdom For The Soul's Journey

Greetings and Namaste!

As human beings we are capable of boundless love and compassion. Great souls are recognized not by magical displays of power, not by fitting some artificial notion of perfection, but by their unwavering compassion and love, the greatness of their hearts.

What moves us to feel compassion for another person or another living being?
What moves you to feel deep compassion, to be truly present with the suffering, the plight, the struggles, and the challenges of others?
What opens the door to your heart, allowing you to be so lovingly, compassionately present?
What closes the door?
How do you open it again and keep it open?
How do we cultivate compassion?

(above by Lawrence Edwards)


Blessed are the man and the woman
who have grown beyond their greed
and have put an end to their hatred
and no longer nourish illusions.
But they delight in the way things are
and keep their hearts open day and night.
They are like trees planted near flowing rivers,
which bear fruit when ready.
Their leaves will not fall or wither.
Everything they do will succeed.

Psalm 1, The Book of Psalms
From The Enlightened Heart, Stephen Mitchell, ed.

"At the heart of Buddhist philosophy is the notion of compassion for others. It should be noted that the compassion encouraged by Mahayana Buddhism is not the usual love one has for friends or family. The love being advocated here is the kind one can have even for another who has done one harm. Developing a kind heart does not always involve any of the sentimental religiosity normally associated with it. It is not just for people who believe in religions; it is for everyone who considers himself or herself to be a member of the human family, and thus sees things in accordingly large terms."
His Holiness, The Dalai Lama

Raising Our Hearts

How do we elevate our loving heart above the limitations of our ordinary mind? Do the simple act of lowering your head below your heart, thus elevating your heart above your head. Watch what happens to your gaze. Bowing our head is really elevating our heart, the posture for approaching the Divine, the boundless Presence of Love and Compassion already there in our heart. With that inward-turned gaze we rediscover the greatness of the heart we have been given. Rest there in your heart for a while. Raising your head again, you can do so with your vision transformed by your heart, as though your mind had been dipped in the ocean of compassion present in your heart and came out cleared once again of the obstructions and afflictions that deluded it into seeing anything separate from itself. Dive into your heart, into the ocean of love and compassion, over and over until heart and mind no longer know the difference.

Kundalini Rising: Exploring the Energy of Awakening
A new book by Lawrence Edwards, et al

"Kundalini Rising: Exploring the Energy of Awakening is the contemporary voice to guide a new generation of seekers through the uncertainty of life's most intimate journey. This is the book that you'll hand to your children with pride while wishing someone had done the same for you years earlier to answer your questions of awakening."

Gregg Bradden, New York Times bestselling author of The Divine Matrix and Fractal Time.

Upcoming Programs
Anam Cara Foundation, Bedford, NY

Nov. 6-8, 2009, Friday Evening-Sunday Afternoon
Mysteries of the Divine Feminine and Kundalini Empowerment Retreat
Led by Lawrence Edwards, Ph.D.
The extraordinary power of Consciousness that allows us to directly know the Infinite is called Kundalini in the yogic tradition. In this retreat you will be guided through ancient practices that awaken and unfold the inner power of meditation and yoga, Kundalini.
Through this innate power of Consciousness we will explore the archetypal realms of transcendence, wisdom and grace. Through the power of mantra, chanting, breath work, and the profound tales of mystical traditions, including the Black Madonna, Inanna, Kali and Kundalini, we will further access the inner source of true knowledge and ultimate freedom. That source is the Divine within. Through this process you will be empowered to deepen and sustain your meditation practice at home. Many people take this retreat repeatedly in order to delve more and more deeply into the mysteries of true meditation and further unfold the power of Kundalini.
Sharings from others who have taken the retreat can be found through the program link below.
Pre-registration is required. Fee: $270, includes meals but not accommodations.

Wed. Nov. 11, 18, Dec. 2, 9; 7:15- 8:45pm
Buddhist Wisdom Treasures I for Non-Buddhists
This popular 4 week course gives you access to the compassionate teachings and meditative practices of the Buddha that have inspired people and clergy of all faiths and traditions. Pre-registration is required. Fee: $125

Sunday Dec. 13, 9am- 3:30pm
Abiding in Stillness - Gateway to the Sacred
This one day program will include meditation instruction, contemplations, chanting and a delicious vegetarian lunch. In this Holy season, give yourself time to step back from all the activities and come to rest in the Divine Presence, the source of lasting peace and good will toward all. Pre-registration required. Fee: $60, including lunch.

Wed. Jan. 13, 20, 27, Feb. 3, 2010; 7-15- 8:45pm
Buddhist Wisdom Treasures II
Many people have been asking for a continuation of the Buddhst Wisdom Treasures for Non-Buddhists initial course and here it is! Start the New Year off with your highest good at heart. You don't have to have taken the first course, though it will be helpful, and of course you don't have to become a Buddhist to enjoy and benefit from the insights and wisdom of this great tradition. Pre-registration required. Fee: $125

Sat. Oct. 31st- Nov. & Dec. dates to be announced 7:00pm
Monthly Kirtan Night!
With Satya, Ma and Kalidas. Join us in this ancient and ecstatic practice of chanting the names of the Divine. Everyone is welcome!

Meditation Group Every Tuesday Evening:
Starts promptly at 7:30pm at our center at the Anam Cara Foundation in Bedford, NY. All are welcome! Directions are on the Anam Cara website. If you wonder whether the group is being held on a particular Tuesday evening there will always be a message stating if it is cancelled on that night on 914-234-4800.

For more information please visit our Events page (click here)

Thank you all for your notes of appreciation for our newsletter.

Everyone has the heart to be a true friend of the soul, an Anam Cara. By embodying that ideal ourselves we may serve to help another to find love and compassion within themselves.

Our highest nature is always manifest in relationship - to all other beings, to the environment, in relation to our own body and mind. Becoming mindful of the quality of our relationships allows us to learn where the light shines and where it needs to shine more. The ideal of Anam Cara is to continuously endeaver to expand the depth and the inclusiveness of the loving kindness we bring into every relationship, every moment, every breath.

If you have any suggestions, comments or sharings, for our newsletter please don't hesitate to e-mail me and I'll do my best to respond.

The Anam Cara Foundation is a 501 (C) 3, non-profit educational organization dedicated to teaching meditative practices. Our non- denominational programs are open to all. There are free meditation instructions and downloadable audio files of guided meditations on our website.

Thank you for the many ways you have shown support for The Anam Cara Foundation. Because of your gifts we can offer free programs and instruction to thousands of people. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation please send it to address listed below.

I look forward to welcoming you in person to our programs.

With all my appreciation and love,
I thank you all.

May all beings realize complete freedom from suffering and may all our actions reflect only wisdom, compassion, patience and loving kindness.
Lawrence signature
Lawrence Edwards, Ph.D.
Founder and Director
The Anam Cara Foundation
Lawrence on the Isle of Iona, Scotland
All newsletter contents copyrighted 2009

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

The Anam Cara Foundation | P.O. Box 215 | Bedford Hills | NY | 10507

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Friday, October 16, 2009

The Riddle (poem) 

The Riddle

Too vast
for human to
think it.

Too small
for human to
see it.

It lives
in the saint's ecstasy,
the lion's paw,

invisible as scent,
ever arriving
where it has
always been.

Dorothy Walters
October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blessing the Roses 

Blessing the Roses

But it doesn't need to be
something so elegant,
so luscious,
even a small plant
with bristles on it
will do,
or the scruff
on the side
of a mountain trail.

a small cloud
drifted by
ornamenting the blue
space surrounding where it hung
and I saluted it,
gave it my blessing,
made it my
prayer shawl for the day.

Dorothy Walters
October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Awakening (for the Beloved Within) -- poem 

The Awakening
(for the Beloved Within)

You thought it was enough,
those nights when nothing
else seemed to exist,
only those moments
in one another’s arms,
the human enactment
straining toward myth.

And then there were
the times when
you walked over earth
as if it were
the first day.
Everything shone,
everything spoke
to you,
you went
where the bird cries
thrilled your spirit,
and trees allowed you
to enter their secret congregation,
the red clay trails
leading you always deeper
into what you thought of
as your private paradise.

And books
that comforted your soul,
fed you
hidden wisdoms,
and music that rose
in your throat
like the calls
of angels.

But it was not enough.
Then You came,
and after that nothing
else mattered,
only this being together,
this constant flow,
this terrible knowing
of who You are,
who I am,
how we were
before time.

Dorothy Walters
October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Important kundalini website 


I have recently located a kundalini website that offers much valuable information. The bibliography is especially useful. It includes contemporary authors as well as many of the classics of the past, such as Gopi Krishna's works and the ancient Shaiva Sutras as well as The Serpent Power, the latter titles being quite esoteric, yet foundational works for the serious student of kundalini who wants to understand the early philosophy behind it as a tradition.

It is refreshing to keep discovering such material on the internet. what is now available for the modern student is many times over what might have available for the earlier devotee, who, in many cases, had to rely completely on his "guru" or teacher for any guidance he might get as the traveled this difficult path. I suspect that this is why the "guru" model was considered a necessity in earlier days, since it was the single source of information.

The site I am referring to is http://www.spiritualcrisis.org/uk/kundalini.htm

For aome reason, this page is difficult to open with copy and paste. I suggest you go to google and paste in the site there. This seems to work best.

The snow has at least vanished here in this location, and today is bright and sunny. The newscasters kept commenting that this weather was more like January than October, but it was lovely to view it from a snug apartment high enough to see what was happening.

(The picture above is one I took before the snow fell. I don't know what has changed since then.)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

First Snow (poem) 

First Snow

Unannounced, unexpected,
coming in softly
like an intruder,
or more like
a secret lover
stealing through
the house at night,
there it was,
as if it had only
been away for awhile
for a visit
to a distant aunt
or another planet.

And the trees,
larch and pine,
lifting their arms
like Moses in prayer,
this gift
from elsewhere,
welcoming this old friend,
this other part
of who they were,
all of us
one with the whole,
everyone carried along
in this private magic.

Dorothy Walters
October 10, 2009

It began last night. Gentle flakes falling over roofs and mountains, everything covered in white silken damask. For me, it was a most special event, since I have not seen snow in many years, for it never snows in San Francisco. The weather now is brisk, but certainly not unbearable. From my window I can survey the entire majestic scene, all the way to the mountains in the distance.

The snow reminds us that we too are part of the cycles of the seasons, that we also are an integral part of nature itself, something we may lose sight of amidst the city dwellings and their sidewalks and concrete streets, especially in a location where there is essentially a single weather pattern of fog and/or rain, with occasional intervals of sun.

Friday, October 09, 2009

About Mantra 

This morning, I opened one of my all time favorite spiritual books at random to see what came forth. The book is an ancient Kashmir Shaivite text called "Spanda Karikas" or "the Yoga of Vibration and Divine Pulsation." This fascinating volume describes the beginning--and continuation--of the universe as "spanda"--or gentle vibration of the Ultimate Source (reminiscent of modern physics which finds that all matter is in fact vibration, and that our universe began when space moved or rippled just a bit.) "Spanda" refers to this underlying vibration and "karikas" simply means verses.

The section I turned to (in Jaideva Singh's translation, Introduction to the lst and 2nd verse of Part II) had to do with mantra. Most of us know of mantra as a repeated series of words, sometimes the name of a god or goddess, sometimes more extensive. What this passage revealed was that the power of mantra derives from the god or goddess who inhabits it for the time that it is spoken. In fact, mantra itself is a god, and the divine shakti (energy) infuses the human speaker as long as the repetition continues. When the mantra is finished, the god as well as the mind of the devotee gets dissolved back into the "Spanda principle."

I like this notion very much. But we must remember that not just any "mantra" will suffice. When I attempted to do the practice of a mantra that was assigned to me by an instructor of a certain group, I had no luck whatsoever. In fact, I actively disliked the word given to me. Later, after I gave up that practice, I heard an "inner mantra" that I loved, though I did not comprehend the meaning of the words.

The translation was quite simple as it turned out. In fact, it was one of the commonest mantras in India, but the syllables sang to me. I still like to repeat it and often find that it stirs the inner energies and allows me to feel connected to the divine source of all.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

This Unfolding (poem) 

This Unfolding

I am thinking how it
will all go down with
All the agonies, griefs,
the tears you fed
your sorrows,
the nights of love
that lasted
until morning,
the prize you almost
held in your hand
that went to someone else,
the guilt you
never told,
the moments on
the mountain tops
where the brightness
the trees,
the cold brush
of the river
against your
that fall
when you took
the dare.

will accompany
where you are going,
until it dissolves
like fog
the heaving shore,
like dew
morning sun.

And you too will
into whatever is
a nothingness
that doesn’t remember
what it was
that brought it
so much joy,
so much pain.

Yet sometimes you will catch
faint glimpses
of that which
used to be
and stare
in wonder
at so much felicity
from so little,
so much suffering
from almost nothing
at all.

And you will ponder
the meaning
of this lost unfolding
even as you prepare
to descend
once more.

Dorothy Walters
October 6, 2009

(Photo of pampas grass by N. M. Rai)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

First Light (poem) 

First Light

That light
entering the bedroom window
this morning,
so softly,
pianissimo spreading,
creating each thing
as if on the first day:
first the ancient dresser,
with my mother and father’s pictures,
she with the ballooning skirt
(already pregnant
in that first year)
he in his high collar
and serious look,

and behind them
the wood garnished mirror
I have carried with me
on so many
about this world,
hanging now on the wall
of this still unfamiliar place,
as if to record each
minute reaction,
each tiny response
to strangeness.

And then the curtain itself,
swelling with vitality,
the prescience of the day
come round again
with its turns
and unexpected happenings,
grace filling the room
rose petals
made of light.

Dorothy Walters
October 5, 2009

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Trees in Autumn (poem) 

Trees in Autumn

Who are they,
so long demure
and unassuming
in their familiar greens,
tokens of strength
and stability
in an assured universe,
now flaming torches
held against
a waiting sky?

Dazzlement of
ochre, bronze, and mauve,
defiant proclamation,
passion released at last.

Sometimes an old friend
will surprise you,
as if a voice whispered,
and there they were,
all dullness shed,
robes and vestments
to reveal
the unclothed self
dancing like David
before the ark,
all splendor
and naked bliss.

They say at death
the body fills with joy,
ecstasy of return,
spirit rising in its own sweet flame
to join the choirs above.

Dorothy Walters
October 6,2009

Monday, October 05, 2009

Beach Roses, poem by Mark Doty 

Beach Roses

Mark Doty

What are they,the white roses,
when they are almost nothing,
only a little denser than the fog,

shadow-centered petals blurring,
toward the edges, into everything?

This morning one broken cloud
built an archipelago,
fourteen gleaming islands

hurrying across a blank plain of sheen:
nothing, or next to nothing

--pure scattering, light on light,
And now, a heap of roses
beside the sea, white rugosa
beside the foaming hem of shore:

waxen candles...

And we talk
as if death were a line to be crossed.
Look at them, the white roses.
Tell me where they end.

Somehow, this poem reminds me a bit of Kundalini (doesn't everything?) When we are caught up in the waves of high bliss, or experience the deep silence of the transcendent moment, it is sometimes difficult to tell where our bodies leave off and the shimmering vibrations of divine favor begin. We are at one and the same time flesh and spirit, material substance and ethereal reality. As Mark tells us, some things arrive not as a line to be crossed, but as a blurring of identities, one merging into the other, human and sublime.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

On the Need to be Informed 

Today I have just returned from seeing a documentary movie which touched me deeply. It is Michael Moore's latest film, "Capitalism: A Love Story."

Although this is not a political blog, I am going to say a bit about this film, for I feel it is extremely important to all of us to be aware of what is going on right now in our country, as capitalism has been equated with democracy.

What Moore points out is that in the last ten years, there has been a "takeover" of our democratic institutions and governing bodies by giant corporate and global interests. The Congress, once a free and independent body dedicated to promote and protect the welfare of all, has been "bought out" by these huge institutions, whose greed now has become a de facto religion for many and increasing the bottom line is the new pathway to heaven. He recounts in excruciating detail the suffering and loss that have been inflicted on so many of the "dispossessed" as the new philosophy of "wealth equals worth" has taken over and the middle class is squeezed out of existence.

Today, the top 1% of the country controls more wealth than the lower 95% combined. We are rated the richest country in the world, yet millions lack health care, a decent job, or adequate housing. In America, a house is foreclosed every 7 seconds.

As usual, his is an "in your face" presentation, delivered with the savage wit of a Jonathan Swift. Like Socrates, Moore is a gadfly who speaks truth that many would prefer not to hear. His aim is not to woo favor with the elite, but to speak for the "common citizen," who is rapidly falling from his/her place as an equal among equals to "peasant" status as a result of the economic coup d'tat that has occurred in this country. This massive transfer of wealth from the many to the few is due primarily to the lifting of government regulations that kept corporate greed in check for so long. Without regulation or accountability, free enterprise has run amuck.

The cry that is raised against our current president is that he is taking us into "socialism", a system that is concerned with the welfare of all citizens, rather than that of the wealthiest classes. However, those who equate "free enterprise" with democracy are concealing the fact that we are, in fact, no longer a democracy, but rather a plutocracy, a country ruled by and for the interests of the extremely affluent. These victimize those who, ironically, often are the strongest supporters of those who exploit them.

I was many times brought to tears as I watched families being evicted from their homes, workers fired from their lifelong jobs on short notice. And I watched in amazement at the CEO's and government officials who had set in motion the events that have led us to this crisis, for which they accepted no responsibility and showed no remorse.

If we are to exercise compassionate understanding of what is in fact going on right now in our country, we must have the strength and heart to look squarely at the evidence before us and not be blinded by the slogans so cleverly employed to keep us in ignorance. Too many have suffered for the enrichment of the few. All of us know others who have been seriously wounded by this turn of events; perhaps we ourselves are among the victims.

I think we are coming into a period of national awakening, out of the trance of the last few decades into a more realistic view of what is happening. I think Woody Guthrie is going to be popular again, and that we will see more people getting together to discuss how to respond to this real threat in order to protect the true values of what we call democracy.

Even as we go ever more deeply into our spiritual practice, even as we commit more fully to our common charge to assist in the current transformation of consciousness occurring through kundalini and other spiritual approaches, we cannot afford to ignore the issues in the "other" world of practical affairs. We must each use our gifts as best we can to make this world a better place for the human values of caring and compassion.

Throughout history, it has often been the spiritual practitioners, the caregivers, and the artists (the painters, musicians, poets and others) who have kept alive essential humanistic values, even when the world around them was aswirl with chaos and violence. The saints continued to commune with God and offer spiritual nurture even as the cities were going up in flames. The poets chanted their magic lines even as those in power fought to control even more of the world's goods.

I often think of the teacher in the local college who influenced me profoundly when I was in my early teens. Her salary was, I am sure, extremely modest. She lived in a tiny two room apartment, drove an ancient coupe, and lived a simple life style. She had never traveled to Europe, nor even to the major cultural centers of the country. Yet she was able to transmit her love of Wordsworth and Emerson to her students in unforgettable ways. She was a true transcendentalist, one who saw that there was indeed a current of the divine that ran through all, and that each of us was connected to that current. She called it Divine Love. I think of it as Kundalini.

(Recently, I met the above squirrel on my afternoon walk. He eyed me from his branch, unafraid of the "human" eying him from the ground below. He reminded me once again that we are all connected, persons and persons, humans and their animal friends.)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Guest House--Rumi 

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Jelalludin Rumi

This poem by Rumi carries a very important message. Some folks think it is wrong to admit certain feelings into consciousness--they wish to turn every bleak thought into a positive one, to repress every twinge of pain and pretend nothing is wrong. Rumi reminds us that all of our feelings are important, and should be welcomed into our own personal "guest house." Once they enter, we name them and then release them rather than holding on to them permanently. As humans, we feel various emotions, from anger to frustration to despair, and we also feel the emotions of joy, happiness, and bliss. All are part of our own repertoire of possible feelings.

The goal, I think, is not to repress, but to allow each to emerge in turn and give it its due, then bid it farewell. After all, ours is a "guest house," not a permanent residence.

This counsel is of especial importance to those undergoing Kundalini awakening, where the emotional swings can resemble a roller coaster of constantly shifting feelings. Often pain and ecstasy occur in bewildering alternations. But each is part of the process, and each should be acknowledged and released in turn.

(Image from unknown source)

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