Kundalini Splendor

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Cross Cultural Encounter 

I was there to have my income tax return filled out. She was the accountant assigned to my file. She was a motherly looking woman in her late forties or the early fifties. She was rather short and plump, had a slightly dark complexion, and abundant jet black hair that hung down around her shoulders. I studied her face with interest, and noted the gold bangles on her wrist. She spoke English with ease, but she had an unmistakable accent that at first I could not place.

Then it came to me. She was not Hispanic, as I had first assumed--she was Indian (from India) and in fact carried a profile similar to those often depicted in early Indian art.

So I asked her what her nationality was, and she confessed that she was in fact from Bangalore, one of the technological centers of this rapidly developing country. She had been fascinated by numbers since she was quite young, and had majored in accounting, ultimately taking a master's degree in an American university. She was here because her husband, also Indian, had been transferred to this pleasant mountain town, which also was a high tech center in its own right.

As we talked, and as she continued with her tax preparation, I thought how ironic it was that she, who came from the land of the ancient rishis and yogic saints, the repository of almost magical ancient lore and practices, now epitomized the new age, where the young were now trained early in the intricacies of the "new mysticism," high tech with its own hierarchy of priests and gurus, its skilled practitioners and its no nonsense views which had no room for the ancient gods and their myths and rites. And I suspected that, for her, the old divinities and their ceremonies and legends, the sounds of the sacred language of Sanskrit spoken or chanted, the subtle movements of hand or body to raise and circulate the inner energies--these were now dead forms, long since emptied of meaning or usefulness, relics of an obsolete era.

And here I sat opposite her, one who had never even traveled to that wondrous far off land, but who had again and again felt the power of Shiva and his feminine form as Shakti, who knew through intuition and seeming remembrance, how to evoke the ancient forms, who had felt the wonder of the energy known as Kundalini in her own body many times over.

It seemed the supreme irony, as if ancient and contemporary were changing places, and the world of the old had become the face of the new, and vice versa.

When I left, I thanked her, and mentioned that I had a niece who lived in Dallas, where she had lived before coming here. She smiled and answered politely, "Everyone has relatives who live in Dallas."

(Image of Shiva from internet source)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Kundalini Conference in May 

The meeting described below is (to my knowledge) the only national meeting on the topic of Kundalini in the United States. Though the description might lead you to think of it as a dry, unexciting conference directed primarily to scholars and researchers, that is not necessarily true. The group of presenters are people who have themselves all experienced deep spiritual transformation, so they are able to speak from a personal as well as an academic perspective.

Kundalini people are a lively bunch. Everyone has an interesting story to tell, and this, like all conferences, offers an opportunity for each of us to meet and share with others with whom we have much in common. Years ago, I met my friend Jeannine at one of the KRN conferences, and since then, we have become very close friends, even though we have actually only seen each other once since the initial meeting. She is my primary "spiritual buddy," the one to whom I can confide my most personal experiences in the Kundalini process and she also with me.

I will be presenting a paper on "Kundalini and the Elder" describing some of the differences in quality, tone, and frequency of Kundalini episodes in the lives of those who have lived with the phenomenon for many, many years. I will also include some examples of those who have experienced Kundalini awakening in their later years, even in their nineties.

When I went to my first KRN conference many years ago, one of my friends said to me, "Stay away from the researchers--look for those who are levitating." Sometimes these turned out to be the same person. Indeed, attending the conference is (for me) a rare opportunity to "come home," to be with "my own kind," folks who have been through the process and survived to tell the tale, and others who are novices and eager to learn more about this strange phenomenon that is transforming their lives.

P. S. This conference is cheaper than many. And the location is fairly accessible. If you can't drive there, you can fly into the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton airport in Pennsylvania (or airports in other cities), then go by cab or rental car to the ashram of the Himalayan Institute (near Honesdale, PA) for a truly inspirational and exciting weekend.

I hope many of you will take advantage of this rare offering.

Kundalini Research Network Presents

Perspectives on Kundalini:
Clinical, Research and Traditional Views

Spring Conference: May 14th-16th, 2010
Friday 7:30-9pm, Sat. 9am-5pm, Sun. 9am-noon

Registration Fee: $150
Register on or before March 15, 2010 for only $125!

To register for the Kundalini Research Network Conference
and for accommodations please contact the Himalayan Institute
by clicking on their name below or calling them directly. Directions to
the Himalayan Institute can be found on their website.

The Himalayan Institute
Honesdale, PA

Please check the website for updated information as program is subject to change without notice.

This conference will offer participants and presenters the rare opportunity to gather and discuss the powerful impact that yoga and meditation practices, spiritual emergence, transcendent experiences and the transformative power of Kundalini have on individuals. Through keynote presentations and panels of experts we will explore what the process of transformation and change looks like from clinical, research and traditional spiritual and yogic perspectives.

The conference will be held at the wonderful retreat setting of the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, PA. People attending the conference can also participate in the yoga classes, make use of the relaxing and healing services of their spa and stroll the hiking trails that cross their hundreds of acres of hills and forests. Delicious vegetarian meals are included in the modest accommodation fees for those staying at the Institute. There are also hotels nearby that people can stay at while attending the conference. Accommodations at the Institute and conference registration can be done directly with the Himalayan Institute.

Presenters' Biographies (alphabetical order, additional presenters will be added in the weeks ahead)

Teri Degler has been giving workshops for more than twenty years on Shakti—the divine feminine force sometimes called Kundalini—and what Tantra and Hatha yoga have to teach us about its role in creative inspiration. During this time, she has also been uncovering and researching the stories of the highly creative women mystics found in virtually every spiritual tradition. Perhaps even more importantly, she has been interviewing and collecting the stories of contemporary women who have experienced inspired creativity in their daily lives. In addition to her decades-long research on Shakti, she has spent four years in scholarly research on Sophia and Shekinah and the history of the divine feminine before writing The Divine Feminine Fire. She is the author of nine books including The Fiery Muse: Creativity and the Spiritual Quest (Random House of Canada). For more information please visit Teri Degler.

Lawrence Edwards, Ph.D., LMHC, BCIAC EEG Fellow is the President of the Kundalini Research Network. He is on the faculty of New York Medical College and maintains a private practice in Bedford, NY providing biofeedback, psychotherapy, peak performance and meditation training (optimalmind.net). He did his doctoral research on Kundalini in the early 1980's at Temple University where he was honored as a University Scholar. He was the director of a private Jungian psychiatric treatment center in Connecticut. He prepared to become a monk under the guidance of Swami Muktananda and spent years teaching and studying Kundalini yoga in India as well as in the US. He has run ashrams, meditation centers, meditation programs and retreats internationally. He has served 5 terms as President of the Kundalini Research Network. His critically acclaimed book, The Soul's Journey: Guidance From The Divine Within, (www.thesoulsjourney.com) brings together his professional background and his extraordinary personal experiences of mystical states unfolded by Kundalini. It enables readers to grasp their potential for the direct experience of Divine in their own lives. He is also one of the authors in the new anthology published by Sounds True titled Kundalini Rising. This is a compilation of the writings of 24 leading authors in the field of Kundalini, several of whom are also part of the Kundalini Research Network. He also authored "Meditation as Medicine" in the May 2003 issue of the journal ADVANCE for Nurse Practitioners in which he discusses the many health benefits of meditation and his research on the practice of mantra and its effects on heart rate variability. He is the founder and director of The Anam Cara Foundation, a non-profit 501 (C) 3 educational organization dedicated to teaching meditative practices to all. He also serves currently as President of the Northeast Regional Biofeedback Society. Dr. Edwards helps people from around the world dealing with Kundalini processes and spiritual emergence. He created a support website: Kundalinisupport.org in addition to all the information and resources made available on Kundalini through his website thesoulsjourney.com.

Penny Kelly is a writer, teacher, consultant, speaker, publisher, and Naturopathic physician. She is the owner of Lily Hill Farm and Learning Center in southwest Michigan where she teaches courses in Developing the Gift of Intuition, Getting Well Again Naturally, and Organic Gardening. She has a small publishing company, Kelly Networks LLC, that publishes books on the subjects of spirituality and health, and she is one of the founding members of the Tipping Point Network. Penny holds a degree in Humanistic Studies from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. a degree in Naturopathic Medicine from Clayton College, Birmingham, AL, and is currently working toward her Ph.D. in nutrition from the American Holistic College of Nutrition. She is the mother of four children and has written several books including: The Evolving Human; Robes - A Book of Coming Changes and Consciousness and Energy, Vol 1, Multi-dimensionality and A Theory of Consciousness. She is a contributing author to Kundalini Rising, published by Sounds True. For more information please visit: www.pennykelly.com

Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Associate Neuroscientist, Division of Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital. Sat Bir S. Khalsa, Ph.D. has been involved in the practice of a yoga lifestyle for over 35 years and is a Kundalini Yoga instructor. He has conducted neuroscience research for over 25 years and is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and is also the Director of Research for the Kundalini Research Institute and the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. His current research is on the effectiveness of yoga and meditation practices and includes studies on yoga for insomnia, music performance anxiety and public schools among others. He has traveled internationally meeting and collaborating with yoga research scientists and assists in coordinating the research component of the annual Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. He is the author of a comprehensive review and analysis of yoga therapy research and he also teaches an elective course at Harvard Medical School in Mind Body Medicine. Dr. Khalsa is also a contributor to the new anthology, Kundalini Rising, published by Sounds True.

Russell Park, Ph.D. is a transpersonal clinical psychologist and neurotherapist in practice in California. He is deeply experienced in working with people going through Kundalini processes and works with his wife, Jyoti Prevatt, Ph.D., running a healing retreat center, Kayumari, in Columbia, California. Dr. Park is co-author of The Power of Humility: From Conflict to Peace (written with Charles Whitfield, Russell Park and Jyoti, HCI 2004). He has been on the faculty of the institute of Transpersonal Psychology for 18 years and integrates biofeedback and neurofeedback into his life-transforming work with people. He teaches internationally along with his wife Jyoti. He is on the board of directors of the Kundalini Research Network.

Dale Pond has been involved in Kundalini Research for more than 30 years and is the corresponding secretary of The Institute for Consciousness Research.

Paul Pond, Ph.D. is Director of Research for the Institute for Conscoiusness Research, has a doctorate in physics and has been involved in Kundalini experience and research for more than 30 years. He has written and spoken extensively on the subject. His focus has been on lifestyle issues and their impact on individual spiritual experience. Ever since he was first introduced to and experienced the concept of Kundalini, Paul was struck by the fact that there are laws of consciousness just as there are laws of physics. These “mental” laws operate on a much more subtle level than the physical laws of everyday experience and are contained in the basic tenets of traditional religious and esoteric thought. Kundalini is held to be responsible for mystical experience, genius and other exceptional states of mind.

Jyoti Jean Prevatt, Ph.D is an internationally renowned author, spiritual advisor and psychological consultant. She is one of the founders of the Kundalini Research Network. Her Ph.D. is in Transpersonal Psychology and her training includes two and half years of postgraduate study at the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland. She is a former director of the Spiritual Emergence Network and co-founder of Kayumari, a healing retreat center in Columbia, California. She experienced Kundalini awakening and subsequent transformative processes that continued for many years. She shares her experience in her book An Angel Called My Name. She and her husband, Russell Park, Ph.D., who is a clinical psychologist and author work with people going through Kundalini processes and spiritual transformation. For more information on Jyoti please visit her website: mothersgrace.com.

Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Ph.D. is the spiritual head of the Himalayan Institute. He has two doctoral degrees, one in Sanskrit from the prestigious University of Allahabad, India and the second from the University of Pennsylvania in oriental studies. He is the successor to Swami Rama and an accomplished yogi deeply learned in the practices and the yogic texts related to hatha yoga, pranayama, Kundalini, tantra, meditation and more. He is the author of numerous books on these subjects and is thoroughly committed to living the ideals and practices of yoga in the world through humanitarian projects, eco-friendly agriculture and renewable energy programs, Ayurvedic medicine and more.

Dorothy Walters, Ph.D., experienced a dramatic and totally unexpected Kundalini awakening in l981,at age 53, while serving as a professor of English literature and women’s studies at Wichita (Kansas) State University. She shared her ongoing experience with almost no one for some 15 years, but kept a journal of her process. This event totally transformed her life, and since then her focus has been on exploring the Kundalini process through her own and others’ experiences. In l988 she took early retirement and moved to San Francisco, where she remained for the following 21 years. While there, she published three books based on her own spiritual awakening: Unmasking the Rose, A Record of a Kundalini Initiation;Marrow of Flame, Poems of the Spiritual Journey and A Cloth of Fine Gold, Poems of the Inner Journey. Dr. Walters also contributed an essay to the anthology Kundalini Rising. She has her own blog, Kundalinisplendor, featuring poetry, writing, photography and creative expressions related to the power of Kundalini in all Her forms. She hears from many people who read this blog and are seeking advice and counsel as to how to proceed on their own Kundalini journey. She serves as unofficial advisor and mentor to many of these, who often have no one else to turn to or are located in remote areas where no qualified teachers or counselors are available. She collaborated with Dr. Edwards in creating the Kundalinisupport.org website.

Barbara Harris Whitfield, RT, CMT is a researcher, therapist and author. She shares a private practice in Atlanta, with her husband Charles Whitfield, MD helping adults who were traumatized as children. She presents workshops on near-death experiences, thanatology (the study of death and dying), and spirituality. Barbara is the author of many articles and books including Full Circle: The Near-death Experience and Beyond (Simon and Schuster 1990), Spiritual Awakenings: Insights of the Near-Death Experience and other Doorways to Our Soul (Health Communications Inc 1995), Final Passage: Sharing the Journey as this Life Ends (HCI 1998), and The Power of Humility: From Conflict to Peace (written with Charles Whitfield, Russell Park and Jyoti, HCI 2004), and The Natural Soul (Muse House Press, January 2010). These books are the result of interviewing hundreds of people on the after effects of their near-death experiences and spiritual awakenings in general. Barbara is also one of the contributors to the new book Kundalini Rising (Sounds True 2009). Barbara has been interviewed on Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Unsolved Mysteries, Oprah, Donahue, CNN Medical News, etc. and appeared in many documentaries for Japan, Germany, France, Belgium, Canada and American Television. She is member of the Board of Directors of KRN and has sat on the executive board of the International Association for Near-Death Studies. She is a consulting editor and contributor for the Journal of Near-Death Studies. For more information please visit www.barbarawhitfield.com.

Charles L. Whitfield, MD, is a pioneer in trauma recovery, including the way we remember childhood and other trauma and abuse. A physician and front-line therapist who assists trauma survivors and spiritual seekers in their healing, he is the author of fifty published articles, and ten best-selling books on trauma psychology and recovery including Healing the Child Within and Alcoholism and Spirituality. He lives and practices addiction medicine, trauma psychology, and holistic psychiatry in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Whitfield is one of the authors in the compilation, Kundalini Rising, published by Sounds True. For more information go to www.cbwhit.com.

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(picture is from internet source)

Friday, March 26, 2010

"Secrets" (poem by Peggy Wrenn 


by Peggy Wrenn

From one woman’s fire to the next,
secrets were carried like hot coals
since time immemorial, passing from
one woman, one community, one tribe
to another, her hearth to her daughter’s
hearth and her daughter’s after that.

What happened to these secrets
when no daughter was born to
carry them, contained and safe
in her well-worn, holy vessel?
The lineage was broken, the coals,
still hot, had nowhere safe to nestle.

Young boys got hold of hot coals
and played with them like toys
creating a new kind of fire.
Ignorant of the sacred mysteries, they
burned forests, dug coal, invented
smokestacks, cars, trucks, guns, bombs.

Beneath mossy ground in rural southern France
6000 years ago, a goddess buried the sacred vessel
with its original fire held sacrosanct for centuries.
Now she’s back to unbury the sacred fires,
we can feel red-hot embers rekindling, women
everywhere feel this inside and remember.

(Image from internet source)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gifts (poem by Peggy Wrenn) 

By Peggy Wrenn
March 25, 2010

You give me
a poem about
women squatting
in a circle
giving birth
to a wriggling
new world

I give you
my solution
to eye strain
shoulder pain
a new computer
changed your
life completely
you can see

you give poems
like harmonies
without singers
lullaby’s faintly
Oklahoman soft
voice of a woman
who knows
what she knows

you don't
shout it out
you just offer
like a wildflower
in springtime
to be noticed
or not either way
you give gladly

(This wonderful poem was written by Peggy Wrenn, one of the amazing women in my women's writing circle that I cherish so much. Her work has appeared before on this blog--she is herself a great giver of gifts. Would that the world had more like her!)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More on "When Fear Falls Away" 

I continue to be fascinated by Jan Frazier's book called "When Fear Falls Away." It is, as they say, a "compelling read," one of finest accounts of inner transformation I have encountered.

One of the most striking features (for me) is her descriptions of her personal experiences that in fact are reflections of universal aspects of the journey. And I recognized in her account many similarities to my own transformation, expressions of the same dilemmas and delights, sometimes as virtually identical responses.

Jan, as a writer and teacher of writing, is determined to describe her experience fully and accurately, yet--and this is the great irony--what is happening to her--this intense inner experience of joy and freedom from fear--is by its own nature indescribable. How can you delineate those inner currents,those wondrous waves of feeling that have taken over your psyche and now sweep you along in a tumultuous rapture? By definition, these subjective states are ineffable. As well try to catch the wind in a butterfly net or look for god in a petri dish as capture these indefinable states in words.

She also enters what mystics call the experience of Oneness, the realization that all of our perceptions, based as they are are on the separation of one thing from another, one creature or item from all the rest, are false, for we are all--every person and sentient being and even the non-aware components of our world--part of a wholeness, a single unity. She uses the term"sponginess" to describe the porous and permeable quality of reality.

She includes as well an eloquent description of a glorious sexual experience with her husband. Often, when spirit awakens, flesh is filled with great joy that then expresses itself as sex on a new level, reaching what many would call ultimate Tantric experience. It often feels as if the gods and goddesses have come to earth and imbued oneself and the partner with divine attributes. Jan does not speak in such terms, but rather writes with grace and wonder of the event itself as transcendence beyond past pleasures.

And then there is the happiness, the constant euphoria, of her new found state. She not only is relieved of her past anxieties and fear, but realizes that she has found the strength and stability to face any challenge that may arise in her life. She is, in fact, now a new being, for she has literally been "reborn."

So far I have read only the first section of the book, but I am delighted to discover so many parallels with my own and others' experience as we move ahead on our personal journeys of transformation. Though universal in its overall scope, each voyage is at the same time new, each telling fresh, for each is a unique encounter with the mystery that takes us back to source.

(Here are some views from my window this morning. The snow has now stopped (at least for now) and the temperature is 37 degrees, so it should melt in a day or two. It is another "winter wonderland" outside. I am warm and cozy in my apartment looking out on the beauty outside, as if someone had dropped a lovely white silk shawl over the trees and landscape.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Is Kundalini "catching"? (and a website) 

Here is the web address for a wonderful series of Internet talks by outstanding spiritual teachers, on the topic of how to live a truly spiritual life. You can sign up to hear the talks live, or else go to the archives to hear pod casts of previous presentations.


Someone has asked whether or not Kundalini is "catching." And indeed it is. Partners often "catch" Kundalini from one another. You can "pick up vibes" from friends or strangers, and even from what you read on your computer (e-mail and entries on the internet) or in books. In part, I think much of this depends on how your own energies are functioning--it is especially easy to detect such vibrations from others at the beginning of your Kundalini process, when your own system may be virtually wide open. Even later, your sensitivity may vary from time to time--when you sense your energies strong within, you are more likely to be aware of emanations from outside sources.

The strength of your energies will likely vary from day to day, and there is no predicting when they will be intense, when less so. Earlier this month, I described exquisite energies flowing within, but a few days later, this intensity abated. Today my practice was essentially just simple stretching and movement.

I always begin meditation with no expectations. On some days, I am "surprised by joy," and on others it is more like plain exercise (though even then, I think of it as meditation through sacred movement.)

Somehow, I am now able to call up my blogger site without difficulty, and my friend N. M. Rai instructed me in a simple way to transfer images. So I am feeling much better about my blogging process--I am not a computer whiz, so all of this a bit difficult for me to learn. Indeed, as I have said, I am now using the computer without eyestrain, and that is indeed a blessing.

(Note: the photo shows how the creek looked a few days ago. The snow quickly melted, and then we had two days of glorious sunshine. And now it is raining. The weather is as changeable as Kundalini.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

When you ask 

I have been reading an engrossing book called "When Fear Falls Away," by Jan Frazier. This woman experienced a sudden "awakening" in 2003, when her fear, her dread, her anxiety simply dropped away, as if she had molted or shed a skin she no longer needed. Again and again, she wept tears of joy, sometimes mingling the wetness flowing from her eyes with the rain itself, as if the two were together the evidence of the ceaseless flow of the waters of creation.

She does not (at least in the portion I have read thus far) mention Kundalini but rather speaks of joy,happiness, delight in all that surrounds her. What brought about this sudden reversal in her life? She explains that for the first time she asked for help from "somewhere," not knowing who or what it was she was "praying" to. At that very moment,she felt a kind of"dancing"around her head, as if someone were whirling around her in circles, clapping hands, laughing.

This was, in Kathrine Anne Porter's words, the "moment that changes everything."

Fortunately, Jan was a teacher of creative writing, and thus was able to shape her experience into a beautifully written work of art. Her imagery is striking, and adds a special richness to her telling,the way hidden treasures (currents, nuts) yield delight to a fruit cake that is otherwise rather plain.

Recently, I have been having great trouble getting my blog to open in order to post, to recognize my sign in and password. I have tried to open it several times today, but all in vain. Just now I thought I would also try her technique,and asked for help. And--voila!--here I am.

Now I will see if I can add a photo--something I have not been able to do for some time.

And--believe it or not--I did! The picture is of the flowers that Patricia sent to me on my recent birthday. They have brought much joy into my life this past week.

So clearly, we all need to ask for help when it is needed.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Computer 

Can a new computer change your life? My answer is yes. I am totally immersed in learning this new technique, and am in fact rather dazzled by all this new device can do. For me it is a great boon to be able to enlarge the type (on most documents, but not on this draft of the post), to move easily up and down the page, and so forth. The computer also offers voice over (haven't tried it yet), a web cam (haven't tried this either), an incredible speaker system,and so forth. Now I realize that I was trying to drive a model T when everyone else was driving a Ferrari.

And, as I mulled over this (for me) dramatic transition, I realize that I had witnessed many such changes in technology in my life. I learned to type on an old fashioned Underwood typewriter, then came the electric typewriter, then IBM Selectric (with its magical correction key, which meant we no longer had to use carbon paper and white out for our student papers, including dissertations),then the early computers (the early Macs were small white boxes with tiny screens), and so forth.

I am always slow to catch on to the new technology,and typically learn about things long after everyone else has gone far ahead. But I do love this new machine--and if I could only discover how to transfer my photos onto the blog, I would be happy indeed.

I have always been a "word person" so this new addition to my life is very meaningful. In particular the new screens and the capacity to reverse the colors from black text on white background to the opposite of white text on black background make for much less eyestrain. For this reason alone I recommend this model for anyone with special vision problems. For the first time in many years,I am not going to bed with eyestrain.

This post is a departure from my usual practice, but I am so enthralled by my new acquisition that I am writing about it. After all,it has to do with this blog, which will be much easier to create and post in future.

Hope everyone is enjoying the beginnings of spring.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Revelation (poem) 

Spring Revelation

Somewhere something is stirring
that hasn’t moved for what now
seems like centuries, eons of
and silence.

Perhaps it is a bulb
or a seed
cradled deep within earth,
to become a tulip
or an oak tree,
even a row
of spinach
in someone’s
surprised garden.

The air also
is moving with
a new intention,
suffused with a fragrance
that we had all but forgotten
until now we are giddy
with its scent.

As for the sun,
it has overcome its winter
and is proclaiming
something like glory
covering our shifting universe
with radiance,
shining luminosity,
as if everything
had just been
ready for us
to discover it
once more.

Dorothy Walters
March 20, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

My body is flooded

By Kabir
(15th Century)

English version by Andrew Harvey

My body is flooded
With the flame of Love.
My soul lives in
A furnace of bliss.

Love's fragrance
Fills my mouth,
And fans through all things
With each outbreath.

-- from Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from the Sufi Wisdom, by Andrew Harvey / Eryk Hanut

I found the above poem on Ivan Granger's Poetry Chaikhana this morning, along with the following beautiful commentary from Ivan:

This brief, beautiful poem by Kabir feels like it should be repeated during meditation. At first it is a sort of affirmation; it becomes a map, then it becomes actual experience.

My body is flooded
With the flame of Love.

With deep opening, there is a sense of being flooded or even overwhelmed by waves of heat, like flames or a fever. This is felt both on physical and subtle levels. These are the "flames of Love" that flood the body. When you relax into this awareness, the experience is not painful but one of indescribably peaceful delight. This is Kabir's "furnace of bliss."

My soul lives in
A furnace of bliss.

And it is in this furnace, this divine alchemical fire, where the "soul lives." It takes deep stillness and clarity to recognize it, but the soul is always at home within this warm embrace. This is where the soul is seated in perpetual rest, in this sacred, transformative warmth -- whether or not we are too distracted to notice.

Love's fragrance
Fills my mouth

Often accompanying the awareness of blissful heat is a sense of a very subtle, wonderfully sweet flavor in the mouth, at the back of the throat. This taste is so subtle that it could be described as a "fragrance," something just barely tasted, yet imprinting itself indelibly upon the awareness.

And fans through all things
With each outbreath.

In this state, when the awareness is turned inward, it is in bliss; when turned outward, there is only the unifying awareness of love. This is what Kabir means when he says, "Love's fragrance... fans through all things / with each outbreath." When we breathe out, when we turn the unified awareness outward, then the perfume of that bliss is carried outward and seen to permeate everything one's perception touches. This leads to a sort of supreme Self-recognition in all things: There is bliss within and bliss without, there is only bliss flowing everywhere, through everything. You yourself are not separate from That. This recognition is the mystic's Love. It is the recognition of unity, the "fanning" of one's identity, the pouring of oneself, one's breath and presence, into all things, with an unhindered and equal flow in return.

Kabir is giving us a map, a grand path of Love that endlessly circles between the inner and outer:

Love (outer) -- flood, flame -- Bliss (inner) -- flavor, fan -- Love (outer)

See www.Poetry-Chaikhana.com for more sacred poems by poets of all ages.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hello from Dorothy 

I have a new computer am trying to learn how to use it. Back soon.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Books, Mudras, and Constant Discovery 

Have you ever entered a bookstore and felt a sudden wave of joy flash through your body? It is as if the books actually emanated a special vibration that your inner detector could receive even before you absorbed the contents.

In earlier times, books were considered sacred, for they carried the power of the gods passed down to humanity. The Shaiva Sutras, for example, connect us to ancient wisdom coming down from supernal forces, for parts of this book are thought to be the product of divine inspiration. In the Christian world, monks labored for years to provide though their illuminated manuscripts an appropriate home for the sacred texts of the Bible. Probably these early volumes carried discernible vibrations of their makers as well as their contents. Long before printing, books were carefully inscribed on papyrus or vellum or other materials to preserve such knowledge received from above.

And--strangely enough--even the books of today, including the paperbacks, if they are on sacred topics, radiate a special energy, which we may sense if we attend closely.

This morning, I felt no special energies moving as I started my practice, and decided that I would simply go through my chi gong exercises as a form of stretching and exercise. But at some point, I was moved to walk over to my bookcase and stand before a shelf of Kundalini texts. And at that point, I felt what Vyaas Houston calls a "brightening" of various chakras, almost as if the books were speaking to me, saying,"Yes, we hold sacred knowledge and this wisdom spreads outward in energetic waves to those who approach with a right attitude."

At that point, one book suddenly stood out. It was entitled "Mudras," an area I have not given much attention to recently. I opened it and formed one of the simplest of all, thumb against first two fingers, and as I did so I felt the energies move in subtle delight.

Always, there is new experience, a different mode to explore.The Kundalini trail is never dull.

(picture from Wikipedia)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Nothing" (poem by Linda Hogan) 


Nothing sings in our bodies
like breath in a flute.
It dwells in the drum.
I hear it now
that slow beat
like when a voice said to the dark,
let there be light,
let there be ocean
and blue fish
born of nothing
and they were there.
I turn back to bed.
The man there is breathing.
I touch him
with hands already owned by another world
Look, they are desert,
they are rust. They have washed the dead.
They have washed the just born.
They are open.
They offer nothing.
Take it.
Take nothing from me.
There is still a little life
left inside this body,
a little wildness here
and mercy
and it is the emptiness
we love, touch, enter in one another
and try to fill.

Linda Hogan

(Modern American Poetry, ed. by J. Coulson, P. Temes, and J. Baldwin)

This lovely poem by Linda Hogan has many Biblical as well as Buddhist echoes. The voice that speaks to the dark, saying
let there be light,
let there be ocean
and blue fish
born of nothing
and they were there

repeats in the first line God's words in the famous Biblical passage. And the references to the palpable realities of ocean and fish "born of nothing" are strongly suggestive of the Buddhist notion of emptiness and form: "emptiness is form, form is emptiness." That is to say, everything that exists comes out of nothing, to which it ultimately returns.

When she says of her hands that they "already belong to another world," she is recognizing that she is approaching death, for no one of us possesses a guarantee of immortality. She is part of what the Buddhists call Samsara, the world of appearance and shifting forms, a world ever in transition. Her hands, so useful in this life, will soon be transformed into desert or rust through the physical body's decay.

At the end of the poem she reminds us of the human need to find comfort in one another, to fill the emptiness within through love and communion. This ending causes us to reflect that often we yearn for love on the human level, as well as divine connection.

(picture from Wikipedia)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Alone with Kundalini 

This morning, I found an e-mail addressed to me that had been sent by mistake to my spam folder. I quickly read the letter, and then attempted to transfer it to my in box, but (seemingly) lost the letter in the attempt. I wrote her this response to be posted today, and then subsequently the letter itself turned up (to my relief).

Here is what I wrote:

Going through Kundalini alone is one of the greatest of life's challenges. One longs for an "expert," someone who can answer our questions, give us advice and guidance, and in general serve as a sympathetic ear for us in this most momentous experience.

Unfortunately, many lack such support, even today, when Kundalini is becoming more and more common around the world. There are, of course, some internet support sites (some are listed in the sidebar on the right). But there is no list of groups meeting locally or regionally, no list of available therapists or listeners. The Kundalini Research Network meets from time to time, and this year will it hold such a gathering in May--see their website as well as earlier entries on this blog).

My advice, always, is to try to find at least one person who is willing to become your "spiritual buddy," with whom you can share your intimate experiences. The listener does not have to be undergoing Kundalini themselves, but they should at least be serious spiritual seekers, and they should be able to share freely with you their own adventures on the path. If you can find (and afford) a transpersonal therapist, these can be quite helpful. And (again if you can afford it) methods such as massage or even acupuncture can also help alleviate symptoms (for some).

One thing you can do is to keep a journal. This will be quite helpful in terms of maintaining your own sense of advancement, and will serve you well in future when you can go back to review your progress.

Another possibility is workshops or attendance at presentations of spiritual teachers. Often it is reassuring simply to be in the presence of like-minded souls, and these sessions also offer the possibilities of meeting others whose experience is similar in some way to your own.

And, I think it is helpful to follow some simple spiritual practice, either quiet or moving, that will give you a sense of continuity and help to settle the inner unrest. You may also take comfort in reading some of the basic texts of Kundalini, such as Bonnie Greenwell's "Energies of Transformation," or "Kundalini Rising" (the recent anthology from SoundsTrue) or other books you may find just by going to the bookstore or checking out Amazon or the internet. And--don't forget the site http://www.kundalinisupport.org/ one of the most helpful of the various websites.

Overall, time is the best healer, generally bringing relief to unpleasant states and a sense of grounding and balance into your life.

Blessings to all.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

"The Lady" by Barbara Dash 

One of the most significant things that has happened to me after moving to Colorado is being invited to join a small women's writing circle. Barbara Dash, one of the members of this circle wrote the following piece--the content and the writing will give you a taste of the caliber of this group, truly a remarkable assemblage of women. I think that all of us, both male and female, have a guiding spirit within similar to what Barbara describes. When Kundalini awakens, we know her (the Divine Feminine) in her truest form.

The Lady
by Barbara Dash

At dawn, iridescent clouds of fine mist rose like a soft breath over the turquoise lake. The Lady watched as streams of crimson light covered the horizon and the hazy mountains behind her faded in layers of mauve and indigo until they became a pastel cloth of shimmering silk.

All was silent. A slight breeze fluttered ever so gently on the water’s glass surface; a ghostly silhouette of images began to move in unison with the gentle winds. Like a regal swan gliding upon the lake, The Lady swam, naked and uninhibited. Much was on her mind that morning, for great decisions had to be made. On the planet of human existence, the primary celestial threshold for women had become obstructed by false concepts. For millennia, she watched as mortal beings developed an arrogance concerning the laws of the universe, convincing themselves, out of fear, that they could defy heavenly rhythms. They could not see beyond literal death; could not cherish the natural maturation process of awareness that teaches the futility of believing in a separate-self. The demise of values rooted in individuality seemed to them as a death, not the essential step in transformation.

The Lady lifted herself out of the turquoise lake and in the warm air placed the translucent sacred veil over her body. In focused deliberation, she took a step up the moist green banks and reflected upon this dilemma. Not bound by physical measures, she perceived the spiritual superstructure of the cosmos and the necessary gateway required for the female species on earth.

Time before time, the responsibility was given to her to weave a powerful fabric of energies that would bind human womanhood to the divine plan. After great deliberation, The Lady established procreative instincts for the younger embodied females. She experimented boldly to endow them with unique modes of expression; open hearts combined with a wildness of spirit, a sense of invincibility and the joy to celebrate their form in all its beauty and vitality. As designed, this divine fabric had to transmute later in life so women would understand the depth of the Blood Mysteries, a force that opened one’s visionary abilities, heightened insight and illumination of human behavior. It would be a time to establish greater internal equilibrium in order to experience new complexities, to look inward for errors and omissions in one’s life, with increasing need for resolution. Only then could woman stand at the threshold of becoming a Priestess and shift her worldly focus to more universal concerns.

Recently, The Lady felt within her own body a particular distortion of energies that tied her to these human women... erratic cycles of extreme emotional confusion accompanied by physical hormone surges. She felt many females sensing a kind of madness, oscillating between divine creativity and ruthless destruction.

Now, walking upon the lush banks surrounding the lake, she recalled this peculiar sensation. Cognizant that these unusual feelings signified the need to focus upon the earthlings she headed to her temple. It was built on a verdant lawn of tender grasses speckled with dazzling scarlet and violet wildflowers. A simple yet elegant circle of white marble pillars, approximately ten feet tall and over two feet in width stood at its zenith. Each pillar resonated a barely discernable tone to the human ear; a rapturous melody of music that fed the land beyond its borders. The Lady stopped at the entrance, closed her large amber colored eyes and bent her head in prayer. The oscillating vibrations entered her soul to realign each cell and ignite her Vision. Enclosed within this ring, a finely crafted throne sat in the center, made of precious moon-silver, decorated with elegant carvings of stars embedded with sapphires and rubies. Layers of sheer white gauze draped over its shoulders in a sensuous pattern of swirls and folds. With each step, she began to prepare herself for the Journey.


It was 1978, in a small village near Tel Aviv named Hod Hasharon. Sheri sat on an old brown sofa in my apartment. She looked around the room in silence as I watched her, waiting till she felt comfortable enough to speak. It was always interesting to observe how long it took for someone to rest in my energy. After several minutes, she sighed deeply and her muscles softened, sinking into the fluffy velvet pillows. Her large blue eyes focused on mine; letting me know some level of trust was building between us.

Sheri was around forty-seven years old, originally from New Jersey. She had married an Israeli while in her early twenties and had three teenage children.

“I’ve started to enter menopause,” she told me. “It’s been several months of no periods and I can’t seem to think straight. There are too many times where I feel emotionally overloaded and want to cry from frustration. Living in a war zone doesn’t help.”

Words moved at a rapid pace, with Sheri telling me stories of her past. She had a difficult childhood and memories of that time seemed to invade her peace. I listened to her carefully, absorbing not just the tales but feeling the experiences in my own body. I had several clients entering menopause and it fascinated me. I felt that society had done very little to prepare women for this major change, therefore, they came to this time depleted, disenchanted and without any realistic information or guidance.

As the session continued, I had Sheri close her eyes and tell me what she felt in her body, sensation by sensation. Descriptions became more sensual, breathing slowed and soon we dropped into a world of vibration. It felt as if we were immersed in thought form and emotional energy, sinking into an eternal surround of exquisite resonance. As a young woman of twenty-seven, it was a profound privilege for me to enter such a sacred realm. I was humbled, in awe at the power of this transition, exposed to the sanctity of mature womanhood. I knew that it was a gift to be allowed to glimpse the universal rhythms of the divine. It felt as if I was ordained to assist these women in bringing forth their inner feelings, to guide them through unfinished aspects of their lives, to be healed, transformed and given strength and purpose, transmuting raw ore to gold.

When we entered this intense vibrational world, I often felt hesitant that I didn’t have the expertise to navigate through with precision, aware that we were between the conscious world and the unconscious one, uncertain that I would be able to surface. When that occurred, I would take a deep breath and allow my intuition to float. I always sensed a presence come to me, guiding me, telling me to trust myself. In some indescribable way, I knew I was held in a profound feminine embrace. I knew I wasn’t alone, wasn’t abandoned. Who she was remained a mystery, but I did feel Her. It was as though She spoke through me, to reassure women of this age that the illusions of human consciousness shrouded true purpose. I sensed Her concern that it was time for this veil to be rent. Evolution of consciousness depended upon it.

Years later, while navigating through my own journey in menopause, I began to recognize the The Lady. Her energy felt familiar, and her purpose became clearer as I explored my own inner spaces. When painful emotions arise, I close my eyes and search for her, comforted by the understanding that I am in the midst of being reborn, regaining the awareness of who I am beyond traditionally defined human roles. The awe that I held for such a transition while being a young woman has now changed into inspiration to forge ahead no matter how difficult the journey seems to be. The Lady has shown me that it is my birth rite to have wisdom gained by experience, to be of the earth with recognition of the Divine. I am honored to be made in Her image.

(Note from Dorothy: Those of you who may have been following my resent entries on Kundalini bliss experiences may wish to know that "She" (the Lady, the Goddess, the essence of Kundalini ecstasy) returned in full splendor this morning. And she even led me to something new. Usually I listen silently to the music or singing. Today I chanted the mantra along with the singer (Krisna Das) and was delighted to find that the resonance in my chest was itself a rapturous experience.)

(Image is from Wikipedia)

Monday, March 08, 2010

How Not to Meditate 

Normandie Ellis, in her marvelous book "Awakening Osiris," has a memorable sentence: "Some days it is easier to commune with the gods than others."

Today was such a day for me. Usually I do my practice the first thing after I get up, but this morning I needed to check with the apartment manager on something and went downstairs to confer with him. While I was there, I met and talked with other residents of the complex. Then, when I went back to my apartment and started my practice, there was loud talk and the sounds of doors slamming in the hallway (usually extremely quiet).

The result was that I wasn't able to concentrate very well--the energies were barely discernible. I kept trying other music to see if that would help, but nothing seemed to change.

In addition, today is overcast, with high atmospheric pressure, a condition that often creates (for me) sinus pressure, making it even more difficult to see, especially at the computer.

i thought I would report these events lest others imagine that every single day in my life is filled with ecstasy and delight. Actually, I feel fine, but just wanted to add (for the record) that this is "one of those days" when nothing seems to carry you to the heights you have so recently experienced.

Kundalini is mysterious and unpredictable. It must be treasured and nourished carefully to attain the best results.

But of course, we must enter each meditation with "no expectations," and be grateful for the gifts that are granted. With this, as with all other human experiences, it "can't be Christmas every day," (at least for most of us.)

Here are some lines from Kabir that seem to mirror my state (though I am not as disturbed as he seems to be in the poem):

My heart cries aloud for the house of my lover...
My heart finds no joy in anything:
My mind and my body are distraught.
His palace has a thousand gates
but there is a vast ocean between it and me....

Kabir says: "Listen to me! My heart
is eager to meet my lover.
I lie sleepless upon my bed.
Remember me early in the morning!"

(I thought the last line was especially apt. To meditate well, we need to go to the "Lover" early in the morning, before the interruptions of the day intervene and disrupt the deep concentration such experiences require. At least, this is true for me.)

By the way, "Awakening Osiris" is a an amazing and wonderful book. It is based on the "Egyptian Book of the Dead" and is cast in a most poetic and moving version, very different from other versions.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Tantric Buddhism 

Morning Thoughts

Fine silk rather than rough wool.

Birdsong at dawn,
not the trumpet sounding
before the approaching army.

Delicate as raindrops
falling softly on the branches
of the mountain pine,
not the deluge descending in tumult
to swallow the city.

Light playing,
over cheek and brow,
against shoulder and breast.
Illumination within
and without.

Who am I now?

Dorothy Walters
March 7, 2010

Tantra is one of the most misunderstood spiritual practices of all. Many assume that it refers exclusively to sexual experience, as a technique used to heighten one's responses during love play. Many workshops purport to teach students how to achieve greater sexual satisfaction through "tantric" exercises. Often these techniques are presented removed from their traditional sacred context.

Now, of course, tantra was sometimes associated with sexual rituals in ancient India and nearby areas (and is sometimes so used today) but Tantra itself has much broader implications.

I think of tantra as anything that enhances and awakens the sacred inner energies, often manifesting as a sweet soft flow of feeling, rather than an intense rush of sensation.

I consider myself a Tantric, in the manner I have often described. I go into my practice without expectation, and frankly, this morning, I did not anticipate anything special, assuming that the "full moon energies" had all played out. But once again, I was surprised with the sweet delicate energy flowing throughout the entire system. even as I bowed before Buddha as I began. Sometimes I moved my hands in small, virtually invisible gestures. Sometimes I seemed to "stroke my aura," by running my hands over my body some 6 or 7 inches away. Each moment carried me into a feeling as of exquisite light illumining the body in a sensuous but extremely subtle way.

Currently, I am especially interested in Kundalini as it plays out over the many years, and how it changes in texture and tone over time. I find it surprising (but gratifying) that it continues, returning again and again even as we advance in age, though in transformed and ever more refined fashion, as the subtle body moves into higher and higher levels of vibration. I do not expect to levitate in this lifetime, but I am gaining an understanding of how this might happen as the light body evolves into its higher stages.

Now there is (for me) less and less reliance on outer symbols, systems of thought, and learned practices. One simply "shows up" and the inner guide does the rest.

And, of course, the practice concludes with prayers for those in need, and with the hope that the beneficent energies that have been aroused will flow outward to the planet, the universe, and to all sentient beings

I think a mind too filled with theory is like a house too full of furniture. We need to strip clean, throw out the excess, and live in extreme simplicity if we want to "know God" (the divine) in her naked form.

(Of course, I am not an established scholar in this area--what I know and what I say comes almost exclusively from my own experience, which I have witnessed and lived through over many years.)

Friday, March 05, 2010

And yet more of the Vision (and a visit to the Bay Area) 

In this morning's meditation I received a few brief glimpses of the lifetime that had emerged two days ago. First, I had the sense of buckets being carried filled with -- what? flowers? fruit? No, neither of these. Finally, it came. It was yak dung, used for fuel in the monastery. It had been my job to carry buckets and buckets of these up the steep incline to the temple. Then there was a flash to another time, another "me," now much more mature and evolved, someone who had a position of responsibility in the sangha. I wondered how many times he had bowed or made obeisance to the Buddha in the main hall.

My energies, so pronounced early on, had now diminished, and were now like delicate streams of light playing here and there over the body. Once more, the initial surge after the full moon was the strongest, but these diminished day by day after the onset. We'll see what happens in the future.

Recently I spent two weeks in the Bay Area. I had a wonderful time,visiting with close friends, traveling up to Big Sur on a perfect sunny day, and going to the incredible Monterey acquarium, one of the most outstanding in the country. But later I reflected that my good time had not included any "mystical moments," but rather included the best of "ordinary consciousness." And, delightful as these were, none compared with the exquisite quality of the experience I encountered on my return. Perhaps I might say that the Beloved was waiting in my living room and our reunion was sweet.

What would it be like to live perpetually in a Buddha field, such as that created in an ancient monastery, when human consciousness of the higher reality was constatly reinforced by reminders of the transcendent? We can study history, gaze on early day paintings and relics, and listen to CD's, but we, as products of a different culture and time, can never fully enter into the state of awareness and feeling that marked each moment of their lives. They were, I think, shaped in a different mold, and our attempts to recapture those lost states of being can offer only minuscule tastes of such existence.

(Note: the pictures were taken on my visit. They include a stellar jay (in Big Sur),the Monterey Aquarium, my hostess (Maude Gonne), and a sea gull in flight near Monterey.)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Buddha Within 

The Buddha Within

The Buddha who is you
is kissing you inside.
The Buddha who is you
is filling your body with light.

Open always to the light.
Let your body,
each filament and cell,
shine with the Luminous One,
the immaculate being
who is who you are.

Dorothy Walters
March 4, 2010

After writing the above this morning, I opened my volume of Kabir and found these words:

My heart must cleave to my Lover;
I must withdraw my veil, and
meet Him with all my body.

my friend (in Texas) and I both are having "bliss-outs" these past few days. We think it is related to the recent full moon (same thing happened last month too.)

(Image from unknown source)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Vision Continued 

Yesterday, I virtually vibrated all day, from the effects of the morning's experience. Today I expected merely to do a few stretches and continue with other activities, but then I decided to play yesterday's CD to see what might arise in consciousness. But almost immediately, my inner spirit began to protest: "I don't want to die that death again," So I moved silently, and the energies were clear--another experience like light moving over and through the body with very subtle movement. And at that point I seemed to remember more of yesterday's tale, although this time it was not as obvious as to whether this was an actual memory or my own imagination supplying the details. This is what came up:

I had arrived at the monastery before dawn--the monks were performing their morning rituals, so I was kept waiting in the ante room. Then, since I had walked a long distance and was wearing mud-caked clothes, I was sent to sleep in a separate area, lest I had brought along some unwelcome travelers (fleas or lice) with me. Later I was allowed to take a bath and given a fresh robe to wear. My head was shaved and my old clothes were burned. I was fed and then allowed to rest again (I was exhausted). For three days I was permitted to witness the chanting ceremonies but of course could not participate in the rituals.

Then I was sent for an interview with the Abbott of the monastery. He was a serious but not unkind man in his fifties. Again, I was quite tense during the interview. He asked me such questions as what was my name, how old was I,where had I come from, did I know my numbers, could I read or write, and why had I come. I told him that I could recognize only a few Sanskrit letters but knew my numbers up to 40 or 50. He asked what kind of work I did before, and I explained that I had served a master who had me help with caring for the horses, milking the goats, and other such tasks. I said that I had come because an inner voice had urged me to find this monastery and live there.

Then he asked if there had been some kind of trouble at home, and I had to confess that there had been. My first master had been kind to me--he gave me food to eat, clothes to wear, and a place to sleep. But he had died and his cousin, who took over, was quite harsh. He did not beat me, but he did others in his service, and I was very troubled by this. A traveling lama had once come through and perfomed puja and described the monastery as a wonderful place, so I had decided to seek it out and become a monk

The abbott seemed satisfied and sent me to the kitchen so I could be assigned my duties. I think my original assignment was emptying and cleaning the slop buckets from the various rooms. I was grateful to have this job and determined to do it as best I could.

This morning, after these musings, I played part of the second CD, which contained chanting to a background of horns, drums, and cymbals. I think I never became such a musician in this "former life," but had in fact learned to be a dancer, and at this point I even performed a few heavy turns on my own rug. Somehow I can't resist movement, once those wild horns begin to sound along with that strange but fascinating clang and bang of cymbal and drums.

NASA reported that the massive Chilean earthquake had thrown the earth slightly off its axis (but by an amount too small to measure). Someone suggested that this event may have in fact done something to "shake up" our own energetic force field, so that some of us have been opened to unusual experience. This is how it feels--as if the portals have swung open ever so slightly, giving us glimpses of other realms.

One wonders what will come next as we go forward into this time of radical change on all levels. I think we will have to surrender many of our assumptions and expectations as to what is possible, how our universe operates, and who we are as we are being thrust up to new levels of awareness. Part of the challenge will be to stay open to the unfamiliar inner shifts while maintaining as much balance as possible--it is indeed as if we are walking a tightrope over a chasm, but fortunately we have guidance to protect and lead us as we ascend (metaphorically) together. Indeed, this is the time we have waited for, the moment of all moments in human history.

See thou everything
as thine own dwelling place:
the mist of pleasure and pain
can never spread there.
There Brahma is revealed
day and night: there light
is His garment,
light is His seat,
light rests on thine head.
Kabir says, "The Master,
who is true,
He is all light."

from "Songs of Kabir" (tr. Tagore)

(Image found on Wikipedia)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Suddenly Revealed: A Vision 

I have just returned from a two week visit to the Bay area. I will likely write more about it later this week, but for now I want to tell you about a vision I experienced today in my morning meditation.

In San Francisco, I had picked up two very inexpensive CD's from a Tibet shop that was going out of business. One of these was entitled "Tibet's Garden" from Nature Harmonics. I thought I would play the other one, but instead found this disc in my hands as I opened my CD player (an inexpensive model from a drugstore, with headphones.) I got the impression from the jacket that this would be a recording of nature sounds in Tibet, and frankly, I was a little bit disappointed, since I was longing for music.

Sure enough the first sound was that of roaring wind, with a soft undertone of horns beneath it. My first reaction was that this was not a very good recording--the sound was abrasive and the musical notes too faint to hear clearly.

As I listened, the sound of the wind unleashed made me think of how such sounds must have been common around the monasteries poised on the edge of steep cliffs, and I almost shivered to think of how cold these temples must have been.

And then, I seemed to perceive a small procession coming from the monastery, with monks bearing a corpse on a litter. I assumed it was being taken away for a "sky burial," the practice in which ancient Tibetans carried the corpse to a remote spot where designated monks dismembered it and left the remains for the vultures to dispose of. I did not know for sure the identity of the corpse, but I guessed that it was me (but I was not disturbed at all by this surmise--after death the body has no more purpose in this world and should be destroyed in any way that is appropriate.)

And then another image came up. This time I knew it was me--I was a young boy, about fourteen years old, who had just arrived at the monastery to be trained as a monk. He (I) was very frightened, for he likely had never been anywhere at all before, outside his home and family or group. He was overwhelmed by the thought of what lay ahead, and most of all, afraid he would not be able to do things in the proper way. Above all, he wanted to please, to follow correct procedures, and for now he was extremely anxious about his new life among these august elders.

It was as if I had indeed entered his body, taken on his emotions, and in fact, I realized that this emotional and energetic body was my own. It felt totally familiar because we were one and the same and his was the subtle body I had carried with me into this life, including an innate shyness and a profound desire to please.

It was an extremely powerful experience and, although I am not a crier, I began to sob with the enormity of the revelation. It was as though a veil had been lifted and I, at last, was permitted to know (experience) who I was in a former life.

I might add that I immediately loved him, and realized he was most tender and sweet in his own right. I felt toward him the way any one of us might feel about ourselves (in this life) when we were young and vulnerable.

Actually, I have had somewhat similar glimpses of myself as a monk a few times before. Once when I was getting a massage, I "drifted off" and seemed to be a monk who was drifting in and out of consciousness as he lay dying. All the while, he was surrounded by other monks chanting over him. This was in no way frightening, but just the opposite--it was a very easy and supported death.

Another time I got a glimpse of "myself" as the Abbott of a monastery (again, in Tibet). I took one look at this rather good looking and extremely poised person and thought, "This fellow is no ascetic, that's for sure."

And at another time, I saw myself as a rather pudgy fellow who helped in the kitchen. He was a little bit disheveled and needed to comb his hair, but he was happy in his humble life.

These latter images were merely glimpses, but the vision of this morning was a full fledged and totally convincing recovery of a buried memory. I felt it was a blessing that had been granted, and knew that this moment of entry into a new life led directly to where (and who) I am now.

Later, I went over to a nearby restaurant for breakfast, and carried with me a volume of poems by Kabir (translated by Tagore) because I wanted to maintain the special state of deep consciousness I was in. At the restaurant, I opened to a previously bookmarked (but forgotten) page and read these lines:

I became suddenly revealed in Benares,
and Ramananda illumined me;
I brought with me the thirst for the Infinite
and I have come for the meeting with Him.
In simplicity I will unite with the Simple One;
my love will surge up.

(The "Simple One" here does not mean a simpleton. It means one who is pure and unmixed in his essence. Yeats puts it "when naked to naked goes.")

It may seem strange that I would share such an intimate revelation so soon with a public audience, but I feel that time is short for us all, and, although I held back for many years before revealing my earlier experiences in print ("Unmasking the Rose")I now wish to share immediately, in the hopes that others may resonate with and benefit from this bit of my story. Indeed, many of us know the "thirst for the Infinite" as a major force that shapes our lives. As we in time discover our "past selves," the source of our longing may be revealed.

Namaste and blessings to all,
March 2, 2010

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