Kundalini Splendor

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Boddhisattva Vow--Larry Robinson 

Boddhisattva Vow

"I want to come back
as the disabled child
of someone like Vladimir Putin
to awaken his heart of compassion.

"Then I'll be reborn
as a maybe extinct species -
like an ivory billed woodpecker;
I'll fly to Washington
or wherever I want
to bring the good news  of our return.

"Or maybe I'll just be
a breath of wind touching
the world with hope and healing."

This is what Sue said.
I say
she hears the cries of the world.
Om Tara tutare ture swaha!

- Larry Robinson

(image from internet)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Modern Science and Ancient Wisdom--continued 

Modern Science and Ancient Wisdom--continued

I won't pursue this too long, but I do want to add that when I mentioned the apparent similarities in recent discoveries in quantum physics and ancient Eastern wisdom literature, I was thinking more or less specifically of the text named the "Spanda Karikas" (with its commentary the "Spanda Nirnaya"--the English title is "The Yoga of Vibration and Divine Inspiration" in case anyone wants to locate it.)

My translation is the Jaideva Singh (from the State U. of N. Y. Press) with an intro by Paul E. Muller-Ortega. And I realize that much of my grasp (however limited) of this work is based on his (to me) most masterful introductory comments.

Here are some that stand out, and seem to me to be associated with several of the concepts presented in "The Field" by Lynn McTaggart (which, along with other books written for the lay audience, I must rely on for my scattered knowledge of what may be coming up in current concepts of field theory).

"Long before the discoveries of modern physics, the Shaivite concept of spanda intimates a view of reality as composed of a vibratory web of infinite complexity."

(Muller-Ortega continues going into the metaphysical implications....most physics hasn't reached this point yet):

"Moreover, the Shaivite tradition suggests to us a unifying continuity between our physical reality, the activities of sense perception, and all forms of interior awareness. All of these are seen as phenomenal manifestations of the ultimate consciousness, enmeshed in a complex vibratory matrix."

Muller once more summarizes the text:

"Employing a variety of metaphors, the tradition often glosses the spanda by the term sphurra, the scintillating pulse of the supreme light which continuously trembles with its own incandescence. In sonic terms the spanda is glossed as the nada, the subtle but powerful resonance that echoes through the supreme silence...."

(Now, more extension into metaphysics): "The supreme spanda releases a vibrating spectrum of energies that originate within the supreme (anuttara). As the infinitely fast vibration of the supreme systematically coalesces and condenses into progressively slower and thicker vibrations, tnagible perceptible forms emerge from the void and formlessness of the ultimate consciousness. These apparently solid appearances are called "cognitions" (puramasa) and they are complex and sustained interference patterns which arise in the intermerging cross-swirl of energies created by the interaction of the vibratory consciousness with itself."  (Is this the Buddhist "emptiness is form, form is emptiness?")

Admittedly, these are difficult concepts to grasp.  But we can glean what is more or less the gist of such profound and even abstruse comments:

l.  What some call God is here called "the supreme."

2. The supreme vibrates first in an "infinitely fast vibration" in a setting void of forms.

3. Gradually it slows and as it does so forms begin to emerge.

4. These become "apparently" solid entities.  They arise from "interference patterns" created by the interaction of vibratory consciousness with itself.

Some of these insights have come down to us through various channels and perhaps are not that strange to us.  Thus, it is often posited that matter is frozen energy.  That is to say, matter vibrates at a much slower rate than other "energies" such as subatomic particles, which are so fast in their vibratory action that we can barely detect them (if at all).

All of this seems to me to have a bearing on Kundalini, strange as that may seem.  I believe that when we go into altered states such that we can experience inner bliss, we are (literally) vibrating at a higher rate than our "norm."  When we return to familiar consciousness, we are moving back into our regular, lower rate of vibration.

The majority of people continue to vibrate at the slower level, and are not aware of the possibilities of "higher vibration consciousness."  Kundalini (and perhaps other varieties of altered consciousness) take us into a higher vibrational state--and this state of enhanced vibration is what the next stage of human evolution is all about.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Modern Science and Ancient Wisdom 

Note: The following is the draft of an essay I have contemplated for many years.  As far as I can determine, most contemporary scientists are unaware of the interesting parallels I present here.

Did ancient wise men know what present day science is just now discovering?

As I hear of the many exciting breakthroughs coming forth from the field of astrophysics today, I am struck by the many parallels with ancient cosmology, particularly as these are set forth by the ancient rishis (wise men of India) and Hindu philosophy.
Here are some of the similarities:

The Big Bang--Recent discoveries at the Hadron Collider appear to prove what before was merely a theory--that the universe began with a "Big Bang" and is constantly expanding.  Some scientists also posit (unprovable) that the universe will also reach an end point and at that moment shrink to its original minute size and so cease to exist.

The Rishis (ancient "channelers" of divine knowledge) affirmed much the same notion, but one expressed in metaphor.  They held that the many universes come into being and then are terminated when "Brahma opens his eye, then closes it again."  (Brahma was held to be the supreme god, the ultimate creator and destroyer of the cosmos.)

Just think, Vishnu sleeps in the cosmic ocean, and the lotus of the universe grows from his navel. On the lotus sits Brahma, the creator. Brahma opens his eyes, and a world comes into being, governed by an Indra. Brahma closes his eyes, and a world goes out of being. The life of a Brahma is 432,000 years. When he dies, the lotus goes back, and another lotus is formed, and another Brahma. Then think of the galaxies beyond galaxies in infinite space, each a lotus, with a Brahma sitting on it, opening his eyes, closing his eyes.

JOSEPH CAMPBELL, The Power of Myths

Vibration and Maya

Contemporary science tells us that nothing we perceive as material reality actually exists as we see it--all is vibration masquerading as things.  Vibration alone is real.  Most of what we think we see is in fact empty space,

Hindu philosophy likewise asserts that only Maya exists, not the items that appear to occupy our field of vision.  Maya is the "veil" that covers the universe, shielding things as they are from accurate perception and leading us to mistake "seeming" for "reality."

To understand this it is important to know that everything is energy. Science, through Quantum Physics, is showing us that everything in our universe is energy.

When we go down on a sub-atomic level we do not find matter, but pure energy. Some called this the unified field or the matrix. Others talk about pure potentiality - all being energy.

According to string theory, absolutely everything in the universe—all of the particles that make up matter and forces—is comprised of tiny vibrating fundamental strings. Moreover, every one of these strings is identical. The only difference between one string and another, whether it's a heavy particle that is part of an atom or a massless particle that carries light, is its resonant pattern, or how it vibrates.

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” 
― Nikola Tesla

Physicists now use a class of theories called quantum field theories, or QFTs, which were first postulated in the late 1920s and developed over the following decades. QFTs are intriguing, but they take some getting used to. To start, let’s think only about electrons. Everywhere in the universe there is a field called the electron field. A physical electron isn’t the field, but rather a localized vibration in the field. In fact, every electron in the universe is a similar localized vibration of that single field.

Electrons aren’t the only particles to consist of localized vibrations of a field; all particles do. There is a photon field, an up quark field, a gluon field, a muon field; indeed there is a field for every known particle. And, for all of them, the thing that we visualize as a particle is just a localized vibration of that field.

The Matter of Curved Space

Modern physics states that at some point a slight curvature of space occurred, allowing space/time as we are familiar with it to come into being.
Likewise, ancient Hindu thought posits a "bending" of the vibratory field, resulting in the
universe as we experience it.

Einstein's theory of general relativity describes space as curved, with the "curved space" being the four-dimensional space-time conceived of by Minowski. The curvature of space results in the effects of gravity.
The Franklin Institute

The Universe as Constant Motion

As we know, all contemporary theory posits a universe that is in constant motion--for all is composed of subatomic particles that constantly dance about in what we term space.  Likewise, in ancient Hindu theory, the same notion of a constantly changing, forever vibrating universe is expressed through the symbol of Shiva--the great creator/destroyer--who ever dances to keep the world alive.

First, it  [the representation of Shiva dancing] is seen as the image of his rhythmic play which is the source of all movement within the universe. This is represented by the circular or elliptical frame surrounding the Lord.  (Wikipedia)

(Image from Hubble Site)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Remembering the Big Bang--poem by Rebecca del Rio 

Remembering the Big Bang

Before everything flew apart, separated,
It all happened at once. Spring ice storms
And summer thunderheads. Dead of winter
Gray ground and mockingbirds high

In the redwoods telling everyone their song
Was wonderful, worth stealing. Time was
Compact, pressed tight so that birth and death
Overlapped and, at any moment, love happened over and over.

Inside there was no outside. The day
Your mother threw your brother down
The backstairs isn't separate
From the afternoon, there on a Welsh back road

You, your sister and mother
Laughed beyond reason, parked
beside an ivy-covered wall, turning
Blood red in the Fall.

Together then, those days in a sterile courtroom,
Bored under bright lights, the ice-fringed stream
The hoary mastodon crossed, pursued by ourselves,
Our ancestors, summer Sonoran nights, cicadas buzzing

Making sleep a dream.
Before the Big Bang, everything was
Holy and secular,
A story and a history

No different from one telling or another,
Spoken or sung.
No one,
No other.

- Rebecca del Rio

(image from internet)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Origins of the Universe--part 2 

Inflationary models predict that the rapid expansion that occurred directly after The Big Bang would have created certain noticeable patterns in the cosmos called “gravitational waves,” whose existence having been observed in 1993 resulted in that year’s Nobel prize. Plait explains:

We don’t see the waves themselves, but we can detect the effect they had on light coming from the early Universe. The waves would polarize the light, in a sense aligning the waves of light in certain ways. There are many different ways light can be polarized, but gravitational waves left over from inflation would do so in a very specific way (called B mode polarization, which twists and curls the direction of the polarization; see the image at the top of this post). Finding this kind of polarization in the light leftover from the fires of the Big Bang would be clear evidence of gravitational waves… and it was precisely this type of polarization that was finally detected by a telescope called BICEP2 (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization), located in Antarctica.

This video of BICEP2 project co-lead Professor Chao-Lin Kuo delivering the news to inflationary theory founder Professor Andrei Linde that his theory has just been proven is quite entertaining to watch:


This is kind of heady, inside-baseball stuff that physics PhDs are more qualified to discuss, but the BBC has several articles on the topic that help to unpack it in lay terms, such as this one:


From that article:

It’s an “add on” to BBT (Big Bang Theory). It proposes that about a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after our observable Universe got going, it went through a super-rapid expansion, taking an infinitesimally small patch of space to something about the size of a marble, before then continuing to coast outwards. (Note: space may open up faster than light, but nothing in it is moving faster than light). One of the pioneers of inflationary theory, the American Alan Guth, describes inflation “as sort of the bang in the Big Bang”. And it fixes some puzzling aspects in BBT. For example, it explains why the Universe looks so smooth on the largest scales. Inflation would have stretched away any unevenness. It also explains the structure we see in the Universe – all those galaxies and clusters of galaxies. The random quantum fluctuations that existed before inflation would have been amplified to provide the seeds for everything that came after.

While contemplating all of these questions, I find it impossible not to consider the question of what existed prior to The Big Bang. I’ve long thought it was just nothing, a pure void, what the French would call “nul,” but Einstein might have scoffed at me, saying it’s it’s a nonsensical question. One article I read compared it to asking, “What’s farther north than the North Pole?”

The shortest answers to the question of what existed before The Big Bang may either be that we simply don’t know, or else that the question cannot be meaningfully answered because our notion of time only started with The Big Bang. Prior to that event, there was simply an unmanifest singularity, a sort of void potentiality that had yet to spring into physical existence.

Sound familiar, that?

Another well-formed overview of this topic can be found in this 2013 piece on the BBC by physicist and science writer Matthew Francis:


First of all, the language we use to describe what we know and don’t know can sometimes be muddy. For instance, the Universe may be defined as all that exists in a physical sense, but we can only observe part of that. Nobody sensible thinks the observable Universe is all there is, though. Galaxies in every direction seem similar to each other; there’s no evident special direction in space, meaning that the Universe doesn’t have an edge (or a centre). In other words, if we were to instantaneously relocate to a galaxy far, far away, we’d see a cosmos very similar to the one we observe from Earth, and it would have an effective radius of 46 billion light-years. We can’t see beyond that radius, wherever we’re located.

To be honest, this is really a bit much for my primitive musician brain to grasp. Near the end of my research, I came across this interview with superstar astrophysicist Neil deGrasse-Tyson that cleared everything up for me. The video playback has been noticeably slowed down, which has created the fascinating and amusing effect of making him sound like he’s having a sort of nondual acid trip:


(image from Hubble site)

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Origins of the Universe 

For many years, scientists have posited the notion of a "big bang" as the beginning of the universe.  Now, apparently, with the use of the Large Hadron Collider, they have found actual evidence that what before was theory is in fact true.  Such discoveries impact all of us--and, to my way of thinking, have special significance for the Kundalini community.
Contemporary physics tells us that everything is energy.  Kundalini is, from one point of view, a name for this universal energy that flows through all things in the material universe, including our own bodies and brains.  I believe that when Kundalini "awakens" we simply become aware of this vast cosmic force, and, if we are in proper alignment, we can experience exquisite sensations of rapturous sensation--for "it" and we are now one.
Thus, anything that tells of more of the origins of the universe also tells us of our own origins, and adds to our knowledge of the mysterious Kundalini process.
Much of the knowledge being uncovered by science today was well known to the rishis of ancient India, though they had no technical instruments to prove their theories.  Thus, the "big bang" was described metaphorically as "Brahma opening his eye."  And--they added--that this"opening of the eye of Brahma" was part of a cycle which ended when "Brahma closed his eye."  Some scientists now posit that, just as the universe had a beginning, it will also--at some point--have an end.  
As for the rishis (ancient wise men), one wonders if they received their knowledge from extra terrestrial visitors who generously imparted knowledge to them in metaphors that the latter could grasp.
Here is the post I received today from Nonduality Highlights.  It contains much rich matter for reflection and assimilation.  I am breaking the  post into two parts, because of the length and complexity of the information.

(from) The Nonduality Highlights
#5192: Understanding the origins of our physical universe
Sunday, March 23, 2014 – Editor: Dustin LindenSmith

Physicist-turned-filmmaker Mark Levinson has made a documentary called Particle Fever which covers the story of the construction of the Large Hadron Collider and the subsequent discovery of the Higgs boson, a.k.a. The God Particle. Here’s the trailer:


“Whatever we learn is going to have a dramatic impact on the way humans think about the universe forever.”


Side note: The film was also edited by the legendary Oscar-winner Walter Murch(Apocalypse Now, The English Patient), and has a rare 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the website that aggregates critics’ and audience members’ ratings of a film:


The discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 (and its confirmation in 2013) is perhaps a precursor of sorts to a huge, albeit esoteric, science news story that emerged this week confirming the theory of Cosmic Inflation. Until now, Inflation has been sort of an inference based on what might be called circumstantial evidence we’ve collected while observing the shape of the visible universe as well its oldest visible light. It provides a theory for explaining how our physical universe expanded in a super-rapid fashion just after The Big Bang. Now, however, this theory has effectively been proven:


“This is spectacular,” commented Prof Marc Kamionkowski, from Johns Hopkins University. “I’ve seen the research; the arguments are persuasive, and the scientists involved are among the most careful and conservative people I know,” he told BBC News.

Astronomer Phil Plait also writes lucidly on this topic on Slate, providing several additional useful references and links to other resources:


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Kate Willens--poem 

What to do when the answers leave you

To begin with, be still.
For the first few
minutes, do not say
a word about what
you have lost.

Leave your bed and walk the house.
Nod silently to the chipped cups
and the darkened grout;
calmly acknowledge the rug where it frayed,
and the tea-stained,
should’ve-been-washed curtains.

Now carefully bring out
the torn eagerness
of love, laid
too soon at his feet,
and the dried iris at
your own.  See it still
infused with color.
Though you want to
sweep it up, cast it out,
don’t.  Instead, note its
beauty in death.

Feel the whole room
of your body,
the mind’s cutlery
entrapped in the skull,
its ache to receive news
of life on other planets.

Tell it the answers
proved unfaithful at last,
that you would rather
have real questions any day.
Act as if you believe this.

- Kate Willens

Friday, March 21, 2014

Beyond Awakening presents Bill Plotkin 

Beyond Awakening presents Bill Plotkin:

Beyond Apocalypse vs. Utopia: The Soul Opportunity of Our Time with Bill Plotkin

by Terry Patten

Join me on Sunday, March 23rd, at 10 AM PDT for a conversation with depth psychologist, wilderness guide, and author Bill Plotkin entitled, “Beyond Apocalypse vs. Utopia: The Soul Opportunity of Our Time”.

Bill is the author of three books, Soulcraft, Nature and the Human Soul, and Wild Mind. He is a powerful and inspiring voice for the soul of natural places and creatures and for the parts of the human soul that are interwoven with the soul of the natural world. He has deep experience in guiding people through the underworld descent into the soul, as a process that flowers into a life of meaningful service and fulfillment, or a deepening for those already on the journey.

As you may be aware, I have long been an activist and an advocate for spiritual activism, and I have recently been deeply exploring soul work, and envisioning an integral expression of soul work. I’m excited to talk with Bill in the context of a deep appreciation of the centrality of soul to our current cultural and spiritual evolution.

And in this conversation, we have decided to focus on the big questions faced by spiritual activists contemplating the current state of the planet. We plan to explore questions such as:

—What is emerging today at the leading edge of human transformation?

—Is our current, planetary crisis leading only to disaster?

—Has humanity gone terribly wrong?

—Or might this be a late phase of an evolutionary opportunity whose outcome is as yet entirely uncertain?

—Is our current crisis precisely the sort to be expected on any planet on which a species evolves into conscious self-awareness?

—If we are faced now with a definitive evolutionary opportunity, how might we fully meet this opportunity?

I invite you to join us!

About Bill Plotkin

 Bill Plotkin is the author of Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche (an experiential guidebook), Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World (a nature-based stage model of human development through the entire lifespan), and Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche (an ecocentric map of the psyche — for healing, growing whole, and cultural transformation).

He has a doctorate in psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, after which he had a career as a research psychologist (studying non-ordinary states of consciousness), a professor of psychology, and a psychotherapist. In 1979, on a solo winter ascent of an Adirondack peak, Bill experienced a call to adventure, leading him to abandon academia in search of his true calling. Since then, after founding western Colorado’s Animas Valley Institute in 1981, he has guided thousands of women and men through nature-based initiatory passages, including a contemporary, Western adaptation of the pan-cultural vision quest.


Sunday, March 23rd at 10:00am Pacific; 11:00am Mountain; 12:00pm Central; 1:00pm Eastern

*Find Your Local Time

Please Note: There will be a limited number of lines available on the live conference call, so we encourage you to listen online if possible. To make sure you can get through by phone, we encourage you to dial in early.


To listen live by phone, dial:  206-402-0100  (alternate #: 501-707-0312)
Then, enter Access Code: 272072#
To listen live online go to:  http://instantteleseminar.com/?eventID=51927906
To download the audio after the teleseminar is complete go to the Beyond Awakening Audio Page

Thursday, March 20, 2014

from Yeats--"Radical Innocence" 

Considering that, all hatred driven hence,
The soul recovers radical innocence
And learns at last that it is self-delighting,
Self-appeasing, self-affrighting,
And that its own sweet will is heaven's will,
She can, though every face should scowl
And every windy quarter howl
Or every bellows burst, be happy still.

W. B. Yeats, Prayer for my Daughter

(picture found on internet)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Stop Here--poem by Rumi 

Stop Here

You have arrived at the dungeons of the heart; stop here.
You have seen the moon and lived; stop here.
You have dragged your rags everywhere; stop here.
You have heard so much talk, so much; stop here.
Gaze at this beauty now, it is His Vision
That makes you visible or invisible; stop here.
The milk running in your breast
Is the milk you drank in from His; stop here.

- Jalal-ud-Din Rumi
(Translated by Andrew Harvey from A Year of Rumi)

(image of Rumi found on internet)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Vibrational Imprints--Madisyn Taylor 

Vibrational Imprints
Psychometry (from DailyOm, September 5, 2013)

by Madisyn Taylor

Like you, the objects you encounter have stories to tell as the previous owners have left their vibrational imprint.

Because our bodies exude energy, we leave behind a vibrational imprint each time we touch or live in close proximity to an object. These imprints, which may be positive or negative memories, emotions, or impressions, can become part of the history of an item. Like you, the objects you encounter have stories to tell. Psychometry is the natural art of reading an object‚s history in regard to the people and events it has encountered. The objects we associate with are by no means silent bystanders. A house in which a tragedy has occurred may feel cold or silent, while handling a much loved toy may make you feel good. It is widely believed that all human beings possess psychometric abilities. All objects vibrate at specific frequencies, and psychometry asks only that one tune in to those frequencies.

It is common to learn the art of psychometry by using items such as jewelry or a watch, because these objects spend much of their time in close physical proximity to its owners. Information sensed using psychometry usually has to do with an object‚s owner and may be related to a location, a feeling, or an event. Emotions tend to be easier to sense, though it can take time and diligence to perfect your psychometric talents.   To exercise your psychometric skills, relax and sit in a quiet place with your palms facing upward. Have a friend place one of their treasured possessions in your nondominant hand. Let your mind wander until you receive any impressions. Finally, relate what you have seen, heard, or felt.

By simply by holding an object in your hand or putting it to your forehead, you can sense an object‚s past and vicariously experience the emotions, sounds, tastes, scents, or images that have transpired around it thus far. While psychometry is most often performed on small objects intimately connected to its owners, it is possible for humans to leave an imprint on a large object like a home or automobile and to receive impressions from these objects. Once you know an object‚s story, you can release it of its memories or marvel at the wealth of information cradled within.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Marianne Williamson (March 18)--12PST 

As many of you know, Marianne Williamson, one of our most illustrious spiritual teachers, is now running for Congress in southern California.  This is, I believe, a very brave step for her and a momentous occasion for the spiritual community.  Unless some sense of right and wrong, justice and peace, morality and love are inserted into the  political process--we will continue to have the mess which currently dominates the scene in Washington.  I strongly recommend that everyone who can should watch this talk--it's the least we can do!

Here is the announcement I just received:

Live Video Event with Marianne Williamson
Conscious Politics: Awakening Our Collective Potential
"We can't be 'selectively conscious', conscious about our food, our health, our relationships, everything but politics...and still call ourselves conscious."

Tuesday, March 18th, 12pm PST
Add to Calendar    Find your time zone
Many of us engaged in personal awakening have avoided politics, yet how will this system be more conscious if we don't participate? While activism is spreading around the world, it is time to step forward to engage with and transform the very systems that stand in the way of a thriving, just, and sustainable world.

To register, go to http://www.pachamama.org/marianne-williamson

from Nipun Mehta at Service Space 

See Nipun Mehta

Where do we find Gandhi today?

"What rises up like a fountain, will return in the form of many distributed drops," Vinoba used to say.  That's what we're seeing today.  We call it "Gandhi 3.0", where Gandhi stands for the age-old principle of leading with inner transformation and 3.0 represents the many-to-many networks that are popularized by the modern-day Internet.  It's a bridge from the Internet to the Inner-Net.​

On Gandhi's death anniversary, we held a gathering of sixty inspired "ladders" who responded to the call: "You will not find these heroes on TV. They don't seek glory, nor do they wear any uniforms. Sometimes they do normal jobs but they are often doing the real work in subtle and invisible ways. They refuse any kind of payment for that priceless labor of love. These volunteers arrive in a thousand different shapes and sizes. Most work silently.  Slowly they are building a new world, leading with the heart, but also engaging hands and head. They move to a different beat, with the common understanding that being the change, changes the being. This is the transformative force that can move worlds. The work is slow and meticulous, like the formation of mountains. That's a good thing, because while we build the road, the road builds us."

The retreat was profoundly moving.  In one of the circles, Prasad shared: "I came in here and one of the volunteers said, ‘Welcome Home.’  I thought, ‘Oh, that’s a nice thought.’  Except I didn’t bring my towel and someone found out and a towel appeared on my bed with a Smile Card.  I had Western shoes that were inconvenient to take off outside each hall (as it is the local culture here), and someone left me flip-flops in my room.  I don’t eat onion or garlic and at every meal, volunteers would offer me a special meal.”  With tears in his eyes, he concluded: “I’m not sure I’d be treated like this even at my own home.  Few days ago, I came here as an expert, and I’m leaving here feeling like a beginner."

Harsh gave away his shawl, with a letter that made many of us tear up.  An anonymous person from Texas was so moved by the caliber of the guests, that he unloaded his bank balance as a "no strings attached" donation to the circle -- without ever having met any of the participants, volunteers or organizers.  Lots of insights.  As we closed with 3-steps-and-a-bow, Ellie rocked us with a surprise video of various moments from our few days together.  Since the event, already hundreds of ripples have emerged, as grassroots groups and corporations and education institutions and even some government groups have started to innovate around the "Gandhi 3.0" idea.

- See more at: http://www.servicespace.org/blog/view.php?id=14446#sthash.jB9dUzL5.dpuf

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mirabai Starr on how we are all prophets 

The more I hear and read from Mirabai Starr, the more impressed I am with the depth of her perception and the authenticity of her devotion.  She is one who has (in my view) seen the "truth," not a a maxim or an ideology, but rather as a clear, heartfelt wisdom that is crying to be heard.

If you can access "the Shift Network" you can capture some of her insights--there is even a sample of the first session of her live training exercise (see The Shift Network website)

Here is the posting from "The Shift Network" from March 8, 2014

The Way of the Feminine Mystic began this week, and what a beautiful first session with Mirabai Starr guiding so many mystics- and prophets-in-training from around the world!

To be a prophet is to be “a mouthpiece for the Divine,” and, as Mirabai shares we are all mystics and prophets.

The prophets of biblical times were individuals on fire with the love of God, determined to bring justice, love and peace to the downtrodden and suffering.

But today, Mirabai illumines that we must respond collectively to heal the brokenness in the world. Each of us is being called to sacred service, not as individual prophets on lone missions to help others, but rather as a collective force for good and love. We are the proverbial Second Coming.

We may be reluctant to answer the call, but our reluctance is actually part of the journey, as the prophets throughout millennia would attest…

Here’s a clip from “Answering the Prophetic Call” (the first session in module 1) that our team thought you’d find valuable: (see March 8 post)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Clare, founder of the "Poor Clares"  

What you hold, may you always hold

By Clare of Assisi
(1193? - 1254)

English version by Regis J. Armstrong, OFM CAP & Ignatius C. Brady, OFM

What you hold, may you always hold.
What you do, may you do and never abandon.
But with swift pace, light step,
          unswerving feet,
          so that even your steps stir no dust,
go forward
          securely, joyfully, and swiftly,
on the path of prudent happiness,
          believing nothing
          agreeing with nothing
          which would dissuade you from this resolution
          or which would place a stumbling block for you on the way,
so that you may offer your vows to the Most High
in the pursuit of that perfection
to which the Spirit of the Lord has called you.

-- from Francis and Clare: The Complete Works: The Classics of Western Spirituality, Translated by Regis J. Armstrong, OFM CAP / Translated by Ignatius C. Brady, OFM


Although we often hear references to the "Poor Clares" and to Francis of Assisi, we frequently know few actual details of their lives.  Here is a description by Ivan Granger (of the Poetrychaikhana) of Clare's life.  I think we have much to learn from such dedicated  persons of the past.

Ivan Granger's summary of Clare's life:

The story of St. Clare is closely linked with St. Francis of Assisi. Clare was twelve years younger than Francis and, like him, was raised in Assisi in a wealthy family. Clare was the third of five children. Because of age differences and coming from different ends of town, Clare probably did not know the young, profligate Francis before his conversion. Doubtless, though, she heard of the spectacle of how Francis renounced his family and wealth and his subsequent wanderings through the countryside helping the sick and the poor.

At the age of 15, arrangements were made for Clare to marry, but she refused. When she was 18, Clare heard Francis give a series of sermons during the Lent season. On Palm Sunday, late at night, Clare snuck out of her family house and, outside the walls of Assisi, met with Francis and his followers. She put on a simple habit and Francis personally cut off her hair as a symbol of her renunciation.

Francis arranged for Clare to stay at a local Benedictine convent, since it would not have seemed proper for her to stay with Francis and his fellow monks. A few days later, Clare's family discovered where she was staying and tried to drag her from the convent. Only when she revealed her cropped hair did they relent and give up claim on her.

In this story of escapes and secret meetings, there are elements of a chaste and spiritual love affair, much like the ideals of courtly love found in Francis's beloved Troubadour songs.

Clare founded a women's community at San Damiano embodying the Franciscan ideal of radical poverty. Other women soon joined, including Clare's sister and, eventually, Clare's own mother. But, whereas Francis encouraged the Franciscan brothers to move through the world, witnessing and engaging in the lives of the sick and the laboring class, Clare's community of women led lives of enclosure, contemplation, and mutual support.

Church authorities had already begun to oppose Francis's insistence on absolute poverty for his followers. Those in his favor saw this approach as impractical, while the wealthier prelates resented the implied criticism of their excesses, a criticism which paralleled some of the other mystical poverty movements of the time that had been judged to be heretical. But for a group of enclosed women to follow vows of strict poverty was almost unthinkable. Clare spent much of her life defending the right of the "Poor Ladies" (now called the Poor Clares) to maintain their obedience to poverty.

Francis often turned to Clare for advice and inspiration. When Francis was torn between a life of prayer and one of preaching, it was Clare who advised him to speak, saying, "God did not call you for yourself alone." The Canticle of Brother Sun, Francis's masterpiece of poetry, was composed while he was encamped outside of Clare's convent of San Damiano. When Francis was afflicted with the stigmata, Clare made him slippers to protect his bleeding feet.

Clare lived twenty-seven years beyond the death of Francis. During most of those remaining years she was apparently ill with a mysterious sickness that kept her bedridden, though she remained a strong-minded and determined woman throughout that period.

Despite her position as abbess, she was true to the humble Franciscan ideal by serving the sick, waiting table, and washing the feet of the begging nuns. She came from prayer, it was said, with her face so shining it dazzled those about her. In spite of her ongoing struggles with Church authorities -- or perhaps because of them -- popes, cardinals and bishops often came to consult her.

Clare was declared a saint sixty years after her death.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Poem by Penny Hackett-Evans 


by Penny Hackett-Evans

In the store front

on Main Street

with a man

who looks like

Jesus, we intone

Om, breathe,

bow, begin

our practice.

Body as doorway.

Body as container.

Salute the sun,

pose like dogs,

pigeons, crows,

warriors.  Alone


we unfold.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Angels Among Us-- Lorna Byrne 

All of us have a deep desire to see an angel.  Lorna Byrne says she has seen angels all of her life, beginning even before she could talk.  She says she often sees a  human form enclosed in a surrounding light.  Sometimes they have wings, sometimes not.  And she asserts that there are many, many kinds of angels, including great numbers of healing angels.  Her books have been translated into 27 languages and have sold many, many copies over the world.

The following appearances in San Francisco are listed on her website:

San Francisco – Participation in a “Cosmic Mass of the Angels” celebrated by Rev Matthew Fox
   April 6, 2014 6:30 pm –

San Francisco – Lorna Byrne in conversation with Rev Matthew Fox at Grace Cathedral
   April 7, 2014 7:00 pm –

Her website is: www.lornabyrne.com

The following is from her website:

Everyone has a Guardian Angel
Every single person has a guardian angel regardless of their religion, nationality or the colour of their skin, even if they have no faith and don’t believe in anything. Your guardian angel is trying to help you. It is a gift from God and it never leaves you for one moment, from before your birth to after your death.
I see guardian angels as a light about three steps behind each person. Sometimes, a guardian angel will open this light up for me and will show me a very beautiful, perfect human appearance. Although angels are neither male nor female, they will sometimes take on the appearance of a man or a woman. Sometimes, the guardian angels I am shown have wings, sometimes they don’t.
Your guardian angel loves you and you are precious to them – you are the most important person in the world to them and, they have to do everything they can for you.

What I have been shown

Just before my daughter, Ruth, had her baby, I was with her in the hospital. We were in the canteen when a heavily pregnant woman walked in wearing a dressing gown and slippers. Her guardian angel opened up. It was as if her guardian angel was all around her, rather than behind her, which is how I would normally see them. I could see her guardian angel’s wings so clearly – they seemed to be snow white, with a touch of silver that glittered in the light.  The wings were open and wrapped around her and seemed to intertwine in front of her heavily pregnant belly as if protecting both mother and baby. I watched her as she walked around the canteen – I think she was just having a walk to stretch her legs. I found it hard to take my eyes off her because I was so moved by the gentleness, care and love that the guardian angel was showing for her. I could still see her guardian angel moving as one with her as she walked out of the canteen.
If only you could see what I see.  If for only one moment you could see the unconditional love that your guardian angel has for you (regardless of whether you are being good or not) you would be full of joy and much happier in life. Try and suspend any doubts you might have about having a guardian angel. Try and believe in the unconditional love

your guardian angel has for you

(Picture found on Friends of Creation Spirituality website) 


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Communicating with the Dead 

Recently, a friend of mine whose relative had been killed in the 911 disaster set up a telephone session with a psychic.  She had intended this session to focus on her own concerns, but--unexpectedly--the psychic began to receive communications from the "spirit" of the deceased relative.  He mentioned the names of various family members and friends, referred to events that no "outsider" could have known, and ended with the suggestion that some type of "code word" be agreed on to ensure that his was a valid communication from "the other side".  He suggested that the code be the name of a common bird.

My friend was hesitant even to tell the bereaved relative about the incident, so she began by asking her if this bird had any special significance for her.  The widow answered that curiously enough she had dreamt about this bird two nights previous.  My friend went on to tell her about the entire episode, and the survivor was deeply comforted by this information.

Does this account "prove" that human consciousness survives physical death?  It seems to offer strong evidence and makes one wonder "what if"???

And--one wonders how much comfort this story might bring to others who lost family and loved ones in the massive disaster of 911, as well as many others of those who also have loved ones on "the other side."  It tells us, once again, that as someone said, "The world is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine."

Monday, March 10, 2014

What If--Poem by Ganga White 

What if our religion was each other
If our practice was our life
If prayer, our words.
What if the temple was the earth
If forests were our church
If holy water - the rivers, lakes, and oceans
What if meditation was our relationships
If the Teacher was life
If wisdom was self-knowledge
If love was the center of our being.

~ Ganga White

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Dorothy Poems on YouTube 

My friend, the gifted  composer and conductor Craig Hella Johnson, set four of my poems to music a few months ago: these were originally commissioned by a girl's school in Atlanta, Georgia.  Since then, certain ones of the poems have been sung by various choruses around the country, including Dallas (for the International Women's Festival of 2014), the Radcliffe women's chorus (sung at Harvard University, February, 2014), the South Dakota Senior Honor Choir of 2013, and the Minnesota Valley Chorale (late 2013).  The Radcliffe concert, which included all four poems, was not recorded and is not available.  The following are two selections available from youtube--both include the following poem ("Until Even the Angels") and offer a taste of the beautiful music Craig created for these poems:


What the heart wants
is to follow its true passion,
to lie down with it
near the reeds beside
the river,
to devour it in the caves
between the desert dunes,
to sing its notes
into the morning sky
until even the angels
wake up
and take notice
and look around
for their beloved.
(from "A Cloth of Fine Gold")



(In case these will not open for you, you can discover them on YouTube under:
Craig Hella Johnson Dorothy Poems)

Friday, March 07, 2014

Female Mystics from Mirabai Starr 

Mirabai Starr, named for the ancient poet of India, is giving an amazing 9 month workshop on women mystics.   See The Shift Network for more information.

(from The Shift Network)
by Mirabai Starr
Dear Broken-Open beings,

When I was thirteen, I was cast in the lead role of a musical play about the life of the 15th Century East Indian mystic, Mirabai and the name stuck.

Like my namesake, who was on fire with love for Krishna, I have walked a path of longing and ecstasy. Life's most shattering moments have broken me open, and love has made the most ordinary experiences unutterably beautiful.

I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again: We are all mystics.

This doesn't necessarily mean we are all inclined toward ecstatic states, passionate poetry, and devotional singing. What it means is that union with the One is our birthright and we are each capable of having a direct and transformational encounter with the Sacred.

The mystics of all traditions are not simply wisdom figures to be elevated and admired. Rather, they have left footprints in the sand, and we are invited to follow them--to walk where they have walked and love as they have loved--and be changed by our journey, into something clearer, more peaceful, more alive to the holiness of every moment, and thereby energized to help alleviate suffering in this world.

The poet-saint Mirabai was born into wealth and privilege, and tossed it all away to run after the God of Love. Her life was dedicated to singing and dancing for her Beloved, and juicy mystical poetry flowed spontaneously from her lips whenever she entered into a state of deep prayer and praise.

Mirabai embraced a life of radical simplicity, not to make a political statement but because all her needs were met in the union with God that unfolded in her heart. She was forced into an arranged marriage at a young age, and her husband's family so strongly objected to her devotional activities that they tried to have her killed, but every weapon dissolved in their hands. Unconditional love was her only defense.

Mirabai is one of the many wisdom figures whose lives, teachings, and poetry we will explore in The Way of Feminine Mystic. Focusing on specific themes--such as creativity, stewardship of the earth, contemplative life, and the connection between grief and spiritual longing--we will draw on the legacy of women mystics from the Christian, Jewish, Sufi, Hindu, Buddhist and Indigenous traditions.

Immersing ourselves in their sacred field, we will absorb their grace, learn practical tools from their struggles and their triumphs, and allow our own lives to be uplifted and transfigured so that we may serve from a place of abundance.

This course has so thoroughly seeped into my heart and psyche that I have begun to dream about it early every morning. I can't wait to share the fruits of the dreaming with you.

We begin this journey into the arms of our most Beloved, tomorrow (has begun, but you can still register at Shift Network--you can get recordings of any you have missed).

You can register to join us, here: The Way of the Feminine Mystic

Until then, I'll leave you with this poem by my namesake, written in 1498:

My Beloved has come home with the rains,
And the fire of longing is doused.
Now is the time for singing, the time of union.

Deep peace,

Mirabai Starr

(picture found on internet)

Thursday, March 06, 2014

(A Reflection on Fasting)--Christine Valters Paintner 

See http://AbbeyoftheArts.com

Here is another beautiful prose poem by Christine Paintner.  Her Abbey of the Arts rewards serious investigation--it is an internet site devoted to both contemplation and creative endeavors.  She herself is a gifted photographer as well as a poet/spiritual counselor, lover of and in the world.
And she lives in Galway, in my favorite country (Ireland).

Reflection on Fasting--Christine Valters Paintner

The kind of fast drawing me this season isn't leaving behind of treats like chocolate or other pleasures. This season I am being invited to fast from things like "ego-grasping" and noticing when I so desperately want to be in control, and then yielding myself to a greater wisdom than my own.

I am called to fast from being strong and always trying to hold it all together, and instead embrace the profound grace that comes through my vulnerability and tenderness, to allow a great softening this season.

I am called to fast from anxiety and the endless torrent of thoughts which rise up in my mind to paralyze me with fear of the future, and enter into the radical trust in the abundance at the heart of things, rather than scarcity.

I am called to fast from speed and rushing through my life, causing me to miss thegrace shimmering right here in this holy pause.

I am called to fast from multitasking and the destructive energy of inattentiveness to any one thing, so that I get many things done, but none of them well, and none of them nourishing to me. Instead my practice will become a beholding of each thing, each person, each moment.

I am called to fast from endless list-making and too many deadlines, and enter into the quiet and listen for what is ripening and unfolding, what is ready to be born.

I am called to fast from certainty and trust in the great mystery of things.

And then perhaps, I will arrive at Easter and realize those things from which I have fasted I no longer need to take back on again. I will experience a different kind of rising.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Poem from Walt Whitman 

This is what you should do:
Love the earth and sun and animals,
despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
stand up for the stupid and crazy,
devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants,
argue not concerning God,
have patience and indulgence toward the people...
reexamine all you have been told in school or church or in any book,
dismiss what insults your very soul,
and your flesh shall become a great poem.

~ Walt Whitman ~

(picture from internet)

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Poem by Allison Luterman 

Pig at the Mexican Orphanage

Either it's all okay or none of it is,
like the lonely black-and-white sow with the bristly face,

her sty filled with rotting corn cobs
and the deep irremediable odor of pigshit

halfway up the hill behind the orphanage.
Past the yard where kids congregate

by swings and slides. Past pens
of bleating goats and the busy hen-house,

I stopped to talk.
Pig you stink and I have no children,

I said. She snorted in acknowledgment
and came close, her wet snout

with its damp, snuffly nostrils like two black tunnels.
Perhaps if I had a grass wand

I could turn her back into a princess
and avert her fate of becoming carnitas or jambon.

Perhaps if I dared to scratch behind her ears.
There are those whose pens

are definite and wooden, and others
whose only cage is the leaden sky

of their own mind.
Look here, in the exact center of my
divided heart where the blood
is always busy, rushing and returning,

where old questions lie
like quartered rotten potatoes

flung on the compost heap
to spring back new again and whole.

Tell me: when they weigh my heart
against the feather of truth

will it crash the scales like a hammer
to the back of a pig's skull

or float straight up to Heaven
like the shrieks of these children

which reach me, faintly, no matter
how high I climb? Bright sparks

from the welder's arc, they know the language
of foot and soccer ball, frijoles y tortillas, just as I know

abandoned may mean alone, desolate, bereft-
or finally free to feel everything.

- Allison Luterman

Monday, March 03, 2014

Marianne Williamson in California 

I today received this message from Craig Hamilton, founder of Integral Enlightenment.  Even if you cannot attend this event, it is important to know about it.  Marianne Williamson is breaking new ground in her campaign for Congress in California.  One of our leading spiritual teachers, she hope to insert certain basic values (such as love, hope, spiritual dedication) into our  political process.  And--if you can afford it--you can purchase a live stream of the program.  And if that is too much, you can check out her website and find out how to contribute a lesser amount.

Dear Dorothy,

For those of us on a spiritual path, an interest in politics may seem incongruent, especially these days when there is so much bipartisanship, negativity and vitriol in the conversation.

But when New York Times #1 bestselling author Marianne Williamson was recently asked why she’s running for Congress, she replied:

“There’s no place where spirituality stops and anything else in life begins, because spirituality is simply the journey of the heart—the journey from fear to love, from limitation to limitlessness, from living in the past to living in the present. So why wouldn’t someone with a prime focus on spirituality, with a skill set having to do with developing more loving and compassionate viewpoints and behavioral patterns, go into politics? Can you think of a place where such things are needed more?”

Understanding this connection between spirituality and politics is just one of the reasons I’m excited to support Marianne’s campaign.

I’m also excited to announce that Marianne has asked me to speak at a day-long fundraising event she’s holding in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 16th. Enlightenment, Love and Politics will feature a series of talks by my good friends and colleagues Neale Donald Walsch, Katherine Woodward Thomas, Claire Zammit, Mary Morrissey, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette, and, of course Marianne herself.

100% of all the proceeds will go to Marianne’s campaign, as she’ll need every penny to go up against  her very-well-funded competition!

And while you may well not be able to come to Los Angeles for the live event, find out how to contribute and join us online via the Livestream right here:

Watch the Livestream of this important event and help Marianne change the face of politics in Washington!          


Support Marianne and get access to the Livestream!

Marianne’s ground-breaking bid for a Congressional seat in the 33rd District in California is one of the most exciting things to happen to American politics in a long time.

As the woman who launched a whole new spiritual conversation in America with her mega bestseller, A Return to Love, Marianne is now poised to work her magic on the political conversation as well.

She’s intent on profoundly changing the game in Washington with her vision of a world that works for everyone—where love and the needs of regular people, rather than corporate profits, are the bottom line.

In addition to being a frequent faculty member in our Evolving Wisdom programs, Marianne is a New York Times #1 bestselling author, and world-renowned teacher, as well as being a prominent social activist and public speaker dedicated to making positive changes throughout the world.

But if she’s going to be a game-changer in Washington, she’s going to need our full support, and your contribution and attendance at this event, live or online, will help her to do it!

Space is limited for this important event, so be sure to order your tickets soon if you plan to attend live.

Otherwise, go here to find out how to contribute and attend online via the Livestream:

Join Evolving Wisdom and Me for this Livestream Event and Help Support Marianne’s Run For Congress!

To bringing more love into the world (and into politics),

Craig Hamilton
Founder, Integral Enlightenment
  This email was sent by: Integral Enlightenment
369-B Third Street, Suite 302 San Rafael, CA, 94901

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