Wednesday, March 30, 2016
I have just reactivated my Facebook page, where I have not posted for many years. Above is the picture I put up––good likeness of how I look these days, at 88.
My new book will be appearing very soon. It called "Some Kiss We Want: Poems Selected and New". I'll keep you posted. Title is taken from Rumi. Poems are taken from my previous 4 volumes of verse.
Here is the opening poem:
There is some kiss we want with our whole lives,
the touch of Spirit on the body.
Yes, of course,
that is the thing we want, touch of Spirit
delight of soul enfleshed and opened,
trembling at last, how could we not remember
how it was before, when You were not there, when all we had
was this cloud of longing and did not even know what it was
we were looking for?
Love to all,
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
I recently listened to a talk by a renowned philosopher, someone who has been hailed as the greatest mind of out time. He does indeed have a remarkable intellect
––he has produced many acclaimed books, talks, and articles on a wide range of topics. He is profoundly honored by has multitude of followers. Indeed, he has made a major contribution in many fields.
The topic of this recent presentation was "Enlightenment" (in the Eastern sense of the term.) He spoke of the Great Chain of Being (from Western perspectives) and defined Enlightenment as "being one with all that is."
I do not disagree with the thrust of his definition, but when I read or listen to his ideas I find that something is missing. That something is in fact the infinite bliss of god/goddess union with self, the merger of human and divine that can come, not from faithful practice or hours of mental probing, but from, I think, grace alone. Rapture as such is, I believe, the ananda of Eastern thought, the wordless, silent condition that arises when the devotee becomes one with the ineffable Other (the reality that some term God).
God (a term we use in lieu of any other adequate descriptor), is vast, incomprehensible, beyond sight, smell, or accurate description. However we struggle to delineate and reveal this invisible "presence," we can never comprehend "it" fully. To make the attempt is as futile as a fish trying to understand the water in the bowl he swims in, or a bird striving to discover the composition of the air in which he flies.
Rum simply called this essence "the Friend." Others speak of the "Beloved Within."
We live in mystery, and must accept that we will never fully unravel its true nature. What we do grasp with our puny intellects is like capturing one drop in the ocean and proclaiming that we have discovered the secret truth of water. All of our books, all of our perceptions and proclamations, as impressive as they may be, are, ultimately, futile attempts to define and describe that which is beyond our comprehension.
As for Enlightenment, that comes (at times) when we enter into divine union, not through mental striving but through surrendering all thought, all conceptions, all efforts and allow our bodies (including our subtle energies) to be infused with the nectar of holy love. Although very few attain a permanent state of "Enlightenment," we are sometimes graced with temporary glimpses of what that condition might be for the embodied human.
Rapture is itself a reality that tells us that we and "It" are in fact one. It reveals, indeed, the beauty and oneness of all that is; it carries a convincing authority when it enters, as we then vibrate at a higher frequency than any we have previously known or imagined.
Some describe this state as bliss, some as ecstasy, some as rapture. Whatever term we use, it is the state of unconditional love bestowed upon us at unpredictable times by a vastly benevolent source. It is the infusion of boundless love described by many who undergo the near death experience.
However, to experience the state of rapture does not mean that we discard intellect. Rather, we use mind as a foundation, a tool to enable us to progress and ultimately transcend. Mind is not the end point, but rather a vehicle to help us move ahead toward an unseen goal.
But mind alone cannot take us there. Only surrender can awaken us to this incomprehensible reality.
Yeats said, "Man can embody truth but never know it."
Kundalini can often offer us a means to enter this transcendent state. Each moment of union is a confirmation of our heavenly source and allows us to realize, for a few moments, our true identity as the divine human.
It takes courage to go here. T. S. Eliot spoke of "The awful daring of a moment's surrender." Surrender is the key, the willingness to take the final step and plunge over the edge of the cliff into a new reality.
Monday, March 28, 2016
Dear Dorothy Walters,
Just as promised, we created a recording for you of Mirabai Starr’s powerful Q&A event and meditation this past Thursday.
You can access this complimentary audio, here.
I encourage you to take some time to listen to what Mirabai has to say, especially if you weren’t able to call in live — this hour with one of the world’s leading “interspiritual teachers” (as well as an esteemed author and translator of feminine mystical writings) will deepen your experience of the “wild love” that defines the feminine mystic’s union with the Divine…
If you’re inspired by Mirabai’s insights into the realizations of the great women mystics — whose lives offer clues for your cultivating an ecstatic, daily relationship with the Divine — I invite you to join her for the new 7-week course that begins next Tuesday, March 29.
Mirabai has a way of inviting us to surrender into our hearts, open to grace, and see the poetry in every moment. Despite many intense losses in her life, she’s a woman filled with devotion and love for the world. And she’s quite skilled at awakening that same devotion in others.
You can find all the details about the program here: The Way of the Feminine Mystic
The “way” of the feminine mystic is simultaneously tender — allowing our heartbreak to guide us into our service — while also untamed, embracing the juicy wildness of our bodies and nature.
The feminine mystic embraces the sweetness of caring for others and the fierce truth telling that sets us free.
More than anything, the feminine mystic is grounded in love… love for one’s self, love for the other, love for the world and love for the Divine.
We are truly blessed to have a teacher like Mirabai Starr to illuminate The Way of the Feminine Mystic… which offers profound medicine for our times.
PS – Here’s what other leading spiritual teachers say about Mirabai Starr:
Mirabai is an authentic mystic, a true teacher and a wonderful soul. Anyone who comes to her will find their cup will be filled. I recommend her as a person and as a teacher with great confidence and joy.
— Andrew Harvey, spiritual teacher and author
It is with great pleasure and delight that I endorse the work of Mirabai Starr, who I find to be a soul companion as well as a professional colleague. In addition to being a gifted author, Mirabai is blessed with the capacity to inspire others with her wisdom and understanding of mystical theology. I referred to her translations of Teresa of Avila’s great masterpiece, The Interior Castle, while writing my own book, Entering the Castle, because of the excellence of her work. Mirabai is a rare jewel.
— Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit and Entering the Castle
Mirabai Starr is an extraordinary teacher not because she is so well versed in spiritual teaching — though she is. What makes her teaching so powerful is that her vast spiritual knowledge is rooted in the real experience of being human. Her genius lies in the profoundly humble way she opens her life as a guide to ours. In making this connection she shows us the deep and mysterious spiritual truths that hold all our lives together. A truly gifted teacher, she points us at once to and beyond ourselves. She does all of this with a spirit so light that all who share her presence are also lifted. Oh, did I say that she is also a lot of fun?
— Rev. Bob Thompson, Senior Pastor, Lake Street Church, Evanston, IL
And singer-songwriter Jenny Bird says:
Mirabai Starr possesses passionate eloquence when speaking about mysticism, making the ineffable tangible and real as eating delicious food that’s good for you.
Delicious food for your soul… that is what you’ll discover if you join Mirabai for this remarkable journey.
Enroll here: The Way of the Feminine Mystic
Sunday, March 27, 2016
That to have the eyes of an artist,
That can be enough,
The ear of a poet,
That can be enough.
The soul of a human
In the direction of the Divine,
That can be more than enough.
I tell you this to remind myself.
Every gesture is an act of creation.
Even empty spaces and silence
Can be the wings and voices of angels.
- Michael Linfante
Friday, March 25, 2016
a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring
down the mountain.
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring
I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:
how to love this world.
I think of her
like a black and leafy ledge
to sharpen her claws against
of the trees.
my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its cities,
it is also this dazzling darkness
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;
all day I think of her –
her white teeth,
her perfect love.
~ Mary Oliver ~
Al Gore has presented an amazing talk on the reality of climate change and all the changes we ourselves are making to overcome it through alternative sources of energy. Not to be missed if you want to get up to date on this issue. He is optimistic about the future!
See Al Gore on Ted Talks––2016––Filmed February, 2016
Thursday, March 24, 2016
For a Friend Lying in Intensive Care Waiting for Her White Blood Cells to Rejuvenate After a Bone Marrow Transplant
by Barbara Crooker
The jonquils. They come back. They split the earth with
their green swords, bearing cups of light.
The forsythia comes back, spraying its thin whips with
blossom, one loud yellow shout.
The robins. They come back. They pull the sun on the
silver thread of their song.
The irises come back. They dance in the soft air in silken
gowns of midnight blue.
The lilacs come back. They trail their perfume like a scarf
of violet chiffon.
And the leaves come back, on every tree and bush, millions
and millions of small green hands applauding your return.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
It happened at the grocery store. I was there shopping with my friend Helene, when we bumped into an old friend of hers. After they talked a bit, her friend turned to me and very soon asked me if I was a Buddhist. I confessed that, in a sense, I felt I was (Tibetan, old school), although I did not belong to any official organization. (In my experience, today's "Tibetan Buddhist" teachers seem to be more focused on personal psychological problems than spirituality as I understand it.)
Then she commented on my complexion and asked if I was Irish. Of course, I am--I was born on St. Patrick's day and have proudly proclaimed my heritage as "Scotch-Irish" all my life.
Then she wanted to know whether I had been an only child––she felt I was either an only child or part of a large family. I explained that although I had two very much older brothers, I was quite alone as I was growing up, very much as if I had been an only child.
This conversation only took a few minutes as the three of us were paused to talk with one another. I thought her comments were most perceptive. She explained that she had always been able to "read people." She certainly read me.
It is snowing today and the entire world looks like a picture postcard.
FREE TALK TOMORROW ON INTERNET BY MIRABAI STARR
The Shift Network
Dear Dorothy Walters,
Just a quick reminder to join us tomorrow for a LIVE Guided Meditation and Q&A with spiritual teacher Mirabai Starr.
She’ll be with us Thursday, March 24 at 5pm Pacific, 8pm Eastern — and here are your access details for this special session:
Connect to the webcast at Feminine Mystic Q&A
Or dial (425) 440-5100 and enter the PIN 862166#
If you have anything you’d like to explore around the feminine mystics, devotion, longing, grief, ecstasy, please bring your questions for Mirabai.
We look forward to having you all join us tomorrow!
The Shift Team
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
In the quiet spaces of my mind a thought lies still, but ready to spring.
It begs me to open the door so it can walk about.
The poets speak in obscure terms pointing madly at the unsayable.
The sages say nothing, but walk ahead patting their thigh calling for us to follow.
The monk sits pen in hand poised to explain the cloud of unknowing.
The seeker seeks, just around the corner from the truth.
If she stands still it will catch up with her.
Pause with us here a while.
Put your ear to the wall of your heart.
Listen for the whisper of knowing there.
Love will touch you if you are very still.
If I say the word God, people run away.
They’ve been frightened–sat on ’till the spirit cried “uncle.”
Now they play hide and seek with somebody they can’t name.
They know he’s out there looking for them, and they want to be found,
But there is all this stuff in the way.
I can’t talk about God and make any sense,
And I can’t not talk about God and make any sense.
So we talk about the weather, and we are talking about God.
I miss the old temples where you could hang out with God.
Still, we have pet pounds where you can feel love draped in warm fur,
And sense the whole tragedy of life and death.
You see there the consequences of carelessness,
And you feel there the yapping urgency of life that wants to be lived.
The only things lacking are the frankincense and myrrh.
We don’t build many temples anymore.
Maybe we learned that the sacred can’t be contained.
Or maybe it can’t be sustained inside a building.
It’s the spirit that lives on.
If you had a temple in the secret spaces of your heart,
What would you worship there?
What would you bring to sacrifice?
What would be behind the curtain in the holy of holies?
Go there now.
~ Tom Barrett ~
Monday, March 21, 2016
Participant: Indeed. My question originally when I pressed 1 minutes ago was to ask you about your perception of kundalini energy and whether that's on this energy quality you speak of, whether it's related to that and whether it's time for humanity to have a kundalini awakening, which seems to be happening to a lot of people in one form or another, and whether you could just say something about that.
Andrew: Well, I believe that the kundalini is the evolutionary love power, creative power of the mother herself and that it's installed as tradition tells us, and as I myself and so many others have experienced at the bottom of the spine, and when it rises either fast or slowly, what it does is unveil the burning, dancing cosmic reality of our universe. I feel that the tremendous explosion, if you like, of kundalini experiences all over the world, they’re a sign that this birth that I'm talking about is rising from the very depths of matter itself. It's being activated by her in the depths of matter to make available to us beyond religion and beyond the patriarchal, controlling, mystical systems a holy, astounding, new range of experience.
I've had my own kundalini awakening, but I've also had the privilege of working with a woman who is one of my greatest friends who wrote, I think, the most important book on the kundalini ever written, which is Unmasking the Rose. If you haven't read Unmasking the Rose by Dorothy Walters, please, please get it. It's an absolutely extraordinary account of a 40-year unfolding kundalini journey. Dorothy was a school nurse, no, she was a university teacher in Kansas. She was the other Dorothy of Kansas. At the age of 50, she had a kundalini experience without knowing anything really about kundalini. It completely owned her, shattered her, remade her, and she's worked with the kundalini since then. Her meditations on both what the kundalini is, how it works, its crisscross, zigzag ways, and also the importance of understanding the kundalini as this primordial, evolutionary force at the core of ourselves being activated now for the great revolution of evolution, I think these perceptions are priceless. . .
Near the end of Unmasking the Rose, Dorothy Walters writes, "Our world today is at once a theater of disaster and a stage for universal transfiguration." What an extraordinary statement, "a theater of disaster and a stage for universal transfiguration." "We are at once Christ hanging on the cross and the splendor of the reawakened self."
And then a few lines later, Dorothy writes, "I realized that mine was not merely a private experience, but part of a larger process of planetary awakening, of bringing the body and spirit into alignment with divine love unlike anything humanity had previously known. This, I sensed, was the moment in history that we had awaited so long. I felt deeply privileged to be a participant of this difficult, but immensely significant process of human transfiguration." Dorothy is one of the people who is birthing the new divine human and this is an extraordinary account of that birth, so please get it. . . .
Andrew: Well, can I ask you a question? Have you experienced directly the kundalini rising in you?
Participant: Yes, I have and I've been doing work with Sally Kempton for a couple of years, and with all the other teachers. It's been a very gentle process for me, but I know that for many people, it's been quite disturbing. There was so much ignorance around it and there's such confusion around what's difficult and what's energetic and so on. I've come across --
Andrew: There's no difference.
Participant: Yeah. Go on.
Andrew: Well, the body is condensed, crystallized light energy, so energies are physical and the body is energy.
Participant: Indeed, but some people can still have physical aches and pains and think that it's just physical and not energetic, and it might be coming from something they've eaten, food or something --
Andrew: Unlikely in the kundalini process because as Dorothy explains, the kundalini seems to work with -- it opens up wholly new realms and then it ruthlessly goes to those blockages of energy, which are results of karmic or traumatic experience, so there can be very deep, deep traumas hidden in the psychosomatic spiritual body, which then it works on and that of course can manifest as illness or deep suffering.
Participant: Which raises the question as to whether one should have a teacher when something is happening or can we trust our own personal connection with the Divine to actually work through these things, or should we rush off to someone like Sally or yourself? Because it's more about the --
Andrew: Well, I think there's an intermediary path. I don't think of myself as a guru. I hope I'm a friend and I don't believe in the guru system. I think what you need for the evolutionary path is a sincere, passionate, knowledgeable practitioner who is also humble, who is also aware of what he or she doesn't know, and who models how to learn. If you can find someone like that -- and you could go to Dorothy directly. Dorothy is available for consultation. This is what she's doing in her 89th year. She's talking to people. She's sharing, she's loving, but she's not doing so as Madame Kundalini. She's doing so as a loving, tender friend and I feel that that is the most wonderful kind of companion for the journey, a wise, practiced friend, mentor who never lauds it over you, but always is willing to share what they know and is deeply compassionate about your journey and holds that journey in deep reverence and respect.
Friday, March 18, 2016
This rather well known poem seemed appropriate, since yesterday I celebrated my 88th birthday.
When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other peoples' gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
~ Jenny Joseph ~
(Rose in the Afternoon)
(picture by Laura Brodie)
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Sharon Wesch now teaches parents and grandparents how to create a "radiant baby." The key is love, beginning with the infant in the womb.
Many babies are in fact not wanted. They pick up even in utero on the rejection that they are facing. When they are surrounded by love, they become "radiant babies," and when they are born they have bright shining auras. They know that they are coming into a welcoming world, where they can freely love and be loved from the moment of their birth.
I think many of us were born to ambivalent mothers. We knew that we were not totally welcome, yet there was no way to avoid our fate. Even though we did not suffer overt abuse or rejection, we sensed that we were a burden, yet there was no escape from our fate. Imagine that you are dependent on someone who really does not want you in their lives. The result can be a lifetime of self rejection, a feeling that one is in someway inadequate.
I think the rapture of kundalini can do a lot to amend this sense of unworthiness. When we are infused with total love from the divine, when we experience the ecstasy of union with the Beloved Within, we can shuck off our feelings of failure and know that in fact we are perfect, for we are now wed to the Ultimate Lover--the unseen divine reality.
As for me, I was almost aborted when I was in the womb. At the last minute (the night before the appointment), my mother was ready to take some prescribed medication to prepare--but then a voice within said, "Don't take that," and she followed this advice. Otherwise, I would not be here writing this. I don't know where the voice came from nor what its purpose was, but it gave me a chance to find my destiny in this physical world and to discover what I was supposed to be and contribute in this lifetime.
Note: Today was my birthday. I am now 88 years old. I feel quite blessed in many, many ways, including my incredible friends who surround me with love. And, of course, I am amazed and grateful that Kundalini still visits.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Some Kiss We Want
There is some kiss we want
with our whole lives,
the touch of spirt on body.
When the body
is tuned to the spirit,
they both lie down together
and make naked love
for a thousand years,
in the night which passes
like a single inbreath
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
All I can say is,
I know who you are.
You have been here,
from the very first,
o, so long ago.
Now you are touching
my wrist again,
stroking my cheek
with you invisible hand
to tell me you have come.
Once again, in terror,
I enter your
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
All night long
we two made shameless love.
Kissing and embracing,
we unveiled each other’s
Now it is daylight
and you are still here.
Soon the mistress of the house
to sweep the threshold,
light the fires.
Someone is already
in the garden nearby.
# posted by Dorothy (again) 3/16/2016
(I ran across this earlier poem again recently and decided to post it anew.)
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
My friend Jeannine named her book of poems "Entelechy." This term is sometimes defined as "vital principle or soul." Do we each have a "guiding principle" within, which will guide us to our final expression?
Entelechy, (from Greek entelecheia), in philosophy, that which realizes or makes actual what is otherwise merely potential. The concept is intimately connected with Aristotle's distinction between matter and form, or the potential and the actual.
...the concept had occupied a central position in the metaphysics of Leibniz, and is closely related to his monadology in the sense that each sentient entity contains its own entire universe within it.
If each sentient being contains its own universe within, what about lesser “combinations” of being, such as human cells? Do each of these also contain a “universe within”? Modern biology asserts that cells “speak” to one another without the conscious mind’s awareness. Or flowers, trees, stars, sky, rain, and such? Earlier religions assumed that awareness or spirit was inherent in each of these. Does Kundalini contain a “universe within” connected to but yet distinct from the subject through whom it plays? Kundalini appears to have a consciousness of its own—one can speak to it, divert it, resonate with it—what is this consciousness and from whence does it come?
Again, the question arises---from whcnce does the creative product derive? How is it that Mozart conceived of entire symphonies in his mind before writing them down? How does a poem or work of art come into being instantaneously, as if it already existed in some similar form elsewhere and needed only the right conditions to take shape and form in “our” universe?
What is the “entelechy” of Kundalini? Is it not more than a few brief pleasurable flashes in the body? Does it not have a larger purpose and is that purpose the aim of evolution itself, transformation of the human species into the “next stage” of its existence?
Monday, March 14, 2016
A few days ago, I wrote about a knockout bliss session that seemed almost unreal, especially for someone my age.
Then, two days later, it was the downside of the journey. I made the mistake of eating the wrong combination of food in the evening and then during the night had a severe gastrointestinal upset.
So, as always, the journey (for me) is continuing 'ups and downs," often with physical symptoms.
I wanted to post this so readers would not assume that my life was always a "bed of roses," with constant bliss, bliss, bliss.
We all have a different pattern. Sometimes we have upsetting emotional swings. Sometimes we feel like we have fallen into a chasm and can never climb out. But always, balance returns, we are restored, we are happy once again.
Even the saints have times of despair, when they think that God has deserted them.
(See Evelyn Underhill's great work "Mysticism," an indispensable guide to spiritual transformation--start with Part Two.)
And, of course, once our kundalini is awakened, we are even more sensitive, with extremes often more intense than we have known before. Sometimes we feel like we are on a roller coaster, with constant swings up and down. I call it "The Roller Coaster of Love." (But these oscillations definitely smooth out with time.)
My lesson for myself now: watch what you eat!
(Picture found on internet)
Sunday, March 13, 2016
The Feminine Mystic Unveiled: Embracing the Divine as Your Beloved
“We are meant to be in union with the divine. Our souls are demanding that treasure.”
This is just one of the beautiful gems that mystic-scholar Mirabai Starr blessed us with during today’s virtual event, The Feminine Mystic Unveiled: Embracing the Divine as Your Beloved.
She described longing and desire not as something to overcome or brush off, but as necessary to our capacity to receive the priceless treasure of union.
If you weren't able to attend today’s event, I encourage you to attend the encore call this Tuesday.
Here’s how you join Mirabai:
FREE Encore Event
5:30pm Pacific 8:30pm Eastern
Tuesday, March 15
The Feminine Mystic Unveiled: Embracing the Divine as Your Beloved
With Mirabai Starr
Scholar-Mystic, Author & Interspiritual Teacher
Here’s how you call in for this free event:
Connect to the webcast at Feminine Mystic Unveiled encore
Or dial (425) 440-5100 and enter the PIN 862166#
Mirabai shared another profound truth today: “We are all mystics.”
A mystic is simply someone who has a direct, personal connection with the Divine, or the Beloved.
History’s feminine mystics embodied this profound, even ecstatic union born of deep longing and devotion to the Beloved.
The new 7-week virtual training that Mirabai touched on, The Way of the Feminine Mystic, is an opportunity for you to delve into 7 women mystics and feminine archetypes and create your own ecstatic union with the Divine. Their remarkable lives and revelations offer essential clues and wisdom for your own path:
The fiery and brilliant St. Teresa of Avila who could charm the staunchest leaders of the patriarchal Christian Church; Julian of Norwich, who had a vision of Christ as a woman; Hildegard of Bingen, an herbalist and healer who revered the sacred in nature; and the Sufi ecstatic, Rabia al Basri, among others.
Mirabai is an interspiritual teacher and a mystic in her own right. She practices vipassana, observes Shabbat, and often experiences the loving presence of Teresa, Hildegard and other feminine mystics who walked before her.
So Mirabai is an ideal guide for these 7 “mini” initiations, which span figures and teachings from Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. She is warm, brilliant and refreshingly honest.
Here’s another gem from today: “I’m in love with a God I’m not sure I believe in!” What a beautiful illustration of the feminine path — devoted, ecstatic and expansive.
Should you choose to join Mirabai for the 7-week program that begins March 29, you’ll embark on a path of holy communion with your Self and the Divine. And you’ll help bring into balance both the feminine and masculine aspects of God, which is SO essential to healing our world…
But you’ll want to hear from Mirabai herself how you can cultivate a deeper direct connection with the Divine, through the stories, poetry, and timeless wisdom of the great feminine mystics.
So do join us for the encore this Tuesday!
PS - Here’s a snapshot of the wisdom and blessings you can receive over the 7 weeks with Mirabai Starr:
The Gift of Quietude: Teresa of Avila
Radical Forgiveness: Julian of Norwich
Ecstatic Devotion: Mira Bai, North Indian Devotional Poet
Mercy and Compassion: Kuan Yin
Reverance and Respect for Earth: Hildegard de Bingen
Fierce Truthtelling: Sufi Saint Rabia al-Adawiyya
Unconditional Love: Mother Mary
You’ll find details on this powerful virtual program with one of THE voices of the emerging spiritual, here: The Way of the Feminine Mystic
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Rick Steves in Germany·
I’ve been thinking about a poignant memorial at the Reichstag in Berlin dedicated to the 96 members of the German congress who spoke out against Hitler, but failed to stop him as he thundered into power in 1933. These were the last people who could have stopped the fascist dictator…so they became his first victims. Each slate slab remembers one politician, with his name, political party, and the date and location of his death (generally in a concentration camp). They are honored in front of the building — Germany’s capitol — where they worked to defend democracy in their country.
Question: Who can stop our own country's alarming move toward fascism? Do people see the resemblance between Hitler, first mocked as a clown, later reviled as a despot who was cheered on by tens of thousands deluded followers––and those who would lead us down the same path today?
Is this in fact the "end of Western Civilization," a catastrophe so long foretold?
Will people wake up in time to avert disaster? What will it take?
We are poised on a precipice. Which way will we go?
Friday, March 11, 2016
Often, when I go days (or sometimes weeks) without feeling the bliss, it returns unexpectedly in surprising moments. Such was what happened again today.
I could tell even as I moved about the kitchen this morning, that the sweet energies were stirring. I have learned that one must "catch joy as it flies" because to delay means losing a chance for divine connection. So I started my familiar (current) practice--one I have difficulty explaining and which I cannot readily teach to others.
What I do is extremely simple. While standing, I circle my hips slightly, while letting my arms and hands rotate gently at my sides. As I continue to move in this way, my hands swing out in larger and larger circles, often as far as I can reach. Exquisite energies are now flowing within.
Next, I begin to circle my hands in front of my body, beginning with the lower chakras and working my way up. I never touch the physical body, but keep my hands several inches away, depending on how strong the energies are that day. (I have mentioned earlier that there is a "Touchless Carwash" in San Francisco. I joke that my practice involves 'Touchless Rapture.")
Sometimes the bliss comes, sometimes not. Today it returned in full force throughout my system. At times I wondered how long I could sustain such ecstasy. My session lasted about 30-45 minutes. I did not want to stop. I thought to myself that I was like anyone practicing an art or skill––such as a musician who refines her technique through many hours and years of practice, or an athlete who repeats her moves many, many times. My nervous system is now sensitized to respond at a very high frequency (during these sessions of an "altered" state of consciousness.
The sensations are indeed ineffable, but I am certain that all of us will experience such rapture either in this life or the afterlife.
Next week, I will celebrate my 88th birthday. Though I am generally in good health, I do bear certain evidence of the aging process I am stooped like many my age. I can no longer read books as such. Hair, eyes, ears, teeth, stability––all show the wear and tear of many years.
Yet the bliss returns again and again in extreme rapture. How is this possible?
Apparently the Divine does not care how old you are nor what you look like. Once established, the bond is––seemingly––unbreakable. Indeed, Kundalini is "God moving through you body," in the ultimate mystery.
Sometimes after such exquisite sessions, I wonder if indeed I am sort sort of alien or even a specimen of a new species. I can share these experiences with very few people, but I think it is possible that we such explorers do in fact represent the "Future Human," for the human race is indeed being modified in this "next" stage of our evolution on this or some other planet. To undergo such transformation is not easy, but I believe that this is why we came.
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Tosha Silver––Outrageous Openness--Letting the Divine Take the Lead (with an intro by Christine Northrup
Many years ago, I knew Tosha (somewhat) as a friend. I always liked and admired her. I knew she was an astrologer, and now I know that she has since then become famous, having given thousands of readings to people over the world. As she explains in this book, she realized that people needed more than readings of astrological charts. They needed spiritual guidance to find answers to their urgent needs and questions.
This book is indeed one that gives spiritual guidance, but it is unlike any other I have found. Tosha writes with cleverness and skill, and "Outrageous Openness" is in fact a fun read. Clever, spicy, even a bit racy at times, Tosha tells us like it really is when you let go of the need to control and let the divine provide the direction for your life.
Here is the book's description from Amazon. On this site you can 'look inside' to read a generous selection of the text itself and thus sample this witty, sometimes outrageous but always arresting presentation.
A collection of spiritual lessons, anecdotes, and thoughts on the Divine’s intervention in our lives, this brilliantly written and wonderfully entertaining book teaches us how to live purposefully and in line with the Force of Love.
“What if the Divine is constantly igniting roadside flares to get our attention? What if there actually is a Supreme Organizing Principle with an unbridled sense of humor? And what if we each have this ardent inner suitor who’s writing us love letters every day that often go unopened?”
Whether we know it or not, we all experience the touch of the Divine in our lives every single day. After twenty-five years spent consulting and advising tens of thousands of people from all over the world, Tosha Silver realized that almost all of us have similar concerns: “How do I stop worrying? How can I feel safe? Why do I feel so alone?” And often, “Who am I really?” For the passionately spiritual and the bemusedly skeptical alike, she created Outrageous Openness. This delightful book, filled with wisdom and fresh perspectives, helps create a relaxed, trusting openness in the reader to discover answers to life’s big questions as they spontaneously arise.
At its heart, Outrageous Openness opens the door to a profound truth: By allowing the Divine to lead the way, we can finally put down the heavy load of hopes, fears, and opinions about how things should be. We learn how to be guided to take the right actions at the right time, and to enjoy the spectacular show that is our life.
Wednesday, March 09, 2016
Recently I wrote about my friend Jeannine Keenan, who died a few weeks ago. Jeannine was, among other things, a gifted poet. Here is one of her poems:
I do not know whether it matters whether the gods under the sea
are blue or whether the triune God is one or three. Only this:
here in this wilderness I sense a presence in the soft green
haze of trees, the air heavy with the scent of jasmine––
although it is yet too early in spring for blooming.
The long shadow of the moon bleeds into light.
And in this new day there will be nothing here that was not here
yesterday, only the spring a little riper and perhaps
a thrush in a tamarack tree calling
for a mate that will not hear or come.
Fallen seeds carried in the bellies of birds to a fallow
or fertile ground, and fireflies drifting on currents of wind,
their small lights invisible in the glare of sun.
Caterpillars woven in sack-like layers of leaves.
But after this long night of wandering I move into a silence
that becomes sound. From inside my body the awful whirling
of wings, the chattering of beaks, and I am opened,
at last yield myself to light, and the birds
nestled so long in my head take flight.
(from her book Entelechy)
(picture found on internet)
Tuesday, March 08, 2016
As If to Demonstrate an Eclipse
I pick an orange from a wicker basket
and place it on the table
to represent the sun.
Then down at the other end
a blue and white marble
becomes the earth
and nearby I lay the little moon of an aspirin.
I get a glass from the cabinet,
open a bottle of wine,
then I sit in a ladder-back chair,
a benevolent god presiding
over a miniature creation myth,
and I begin to sing
a homemade canticle of thanks
for this perfect little arrangement,
for not making the earth too hot or cold
not making it spin too fast or slow
so that the grove of orange trees
and the owl become possible,
not to mention the rolling wave,
the play of clouds, geese in flight,
and the Z of lightning on a dark lake.
Then I fill my glass again
and give thanks for the trout,
the oak, and the yellow feather,
singing the room full of shadows,
as sun and earth and moon
circle one another in their impeccable orbits
and I get more and more cockeyed with gratitude.
Nine Horses (2002
(picture courtesy Jay and Barbara Volusek)
Monday, March 07, 2016
After the conference, we kept in touch via telephone and occasional e-mail in a friendship that lasted many, many years. We only saw each other once after the initial meeting, but our connection was extremely deep.
She was someone I could share my deepest thoughts and experiences with. We often talked about our "strange" experiences related to our respective Kundalini awakenings. These were things one does not ordinarily share with others, only with those we trust and who will understand. She told me that once all the clocks in her house had stopped at the same time. Another time she had awakened during the night and had seen the "map of the universe" on her husband's back. And when the cat walked by, she perceived an egg shaped aura around its body.
I told her about my experiences of ecstasy and pain. We were spiritual buddies, going through a challenging transformation together.
She was a poet (quite good) and an artist, a painter and a creator of a high order. When the land that she and her husband then lived on caught fire, she subsequently decorated the blackened trees with necklaces of glass beads strung from their scorched limbs––she had crushed the glass and made these strings herself, thus creating an art installation on her own property.
I think that in our lives we meet (if we are lucky) a handful of people who become our true friends. We may have many acquaintances, but this select circle are our trusted companions on the daunting journey we are each making.
I will never discover another being with whom I can share so very much. She left suddenly, and I hope she is happy wherever she is now.
(An inner voice says "I am right here––I never left." Could this be true?)
"What is a life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset."
-Last words of Chief Crowfoot
Friday, March 04, 2016
Robin Baring is the husband of Ann Baring, one of the outstanding writers, Jungian analysts, and wisdom teachers of our time. The following is a tribute to her husband, printed on her website, written by one of Robin's admirers. I am reprinting this entire article here because it so completely captures my own feelings on this subject––the role of the "hidden artist" in our society, not one who creates to impress the mainstream nor in expectation of fame or wealth, but because he/she is devoted to her own inner vision, which she offers to the world as a gift, not as a commercial product to enhance her "career."
MAGES FOR THE SOUL
A tribute to the artist Robin Baring
By JOHN LANE
At all times there have been the contemplatives; the Desert Fathers, the Celtic saints; in Japan, Ryokan; in America, Thomas Merton; in India, Bede Griffiths and countless others in all ages and countries, anonymous and devoted. Today, that devotion can still be found not only amongst nuns and monks but amongst a few artists - poets, painters and writers of all kinds. Naturally, the noisiest, the circus performers - the Picassos and Warhols - succeed in attracting the most attention, but there are others, the forgotten ones, the ones who dedicate their lives in pursuit of a visionary quest, who offer us the greatest inspiration.
Of these I'd like to celebrate but one: Robin Baring. This painter is in fact barely known, largely on account of his indifference to the business of exhibiting and, I should add, his disregard of any interest in positioning himself for the purposes of career in the very decadent court of "Modern Art". As a man he could never be described as a natural marketeer nor one, like Mr. Saatchi, with a genius for public relations. In contemporary terms he is virtually invisible. Nonetheless, there is nothing quiet about his "stand-off": in fact, there is great activism about Robin Baring, dedicated as he is to a commitment that "his" kind of imagery and its underlying philosophy might one day contribute its own healing to the aridities of our mechanistic culture.
ROBIN BARING was born in 1931 and painted from the earliest age. He trained first as a farmer, then served in the Royal Navy, then worked for Christie's the auctioneers, before deciding at the age of twenty-five that what he really wanted to do was to paint. He therefore took the next necessary step by enrolling at the Central School of Art in London where he studied for three years under the now well-known painters Keith Vaughan, Mervyn Peake, Merlyn Evans and Cecil Collins. The latter soon became and remains a powerful influence, "From the start I felt I was on a similar wavelength with Cecil, a wavelength about the inner world, the world of transcendent realities."
Here we touch on a major heresy: in our culture the artist of consequence must be an innovator, must be at the cutting edge, must be breaking new ground, must be original. To paint in another's style is, quite simply, unacceptable. Baring feels that the idea of novelty in relation to the arts needs to be re-examined. New flavours, however tasty, are not necessarily a sign of excellence and may even be a substitute for real vision.
In justification he points to the duration of cave painting (a mere 20,000 years), the duration of Russian icon painting (not as long but undeniably lengthy) and the carving of the sculpture of the Hindu gods and goddesses (still being carved today after many centuries). "One thinks of the thousands of times that Christ was painted by generations of artists, yet none of them was told that this was invalid because it had already been done." He also points to the timeless nature of traditional images in which the concept of progress has no validity. No, the symbols and archetypes of the inner world, the world of visionary insight, are by their nature both permanent and timeless. They can and should be re-expressed in a contemporary idiom but must never be distorted or trivialized by the twin distractions of fashion and ego. "Although interesting work is currently being created, especially perhaps among the younger sculptors, an undue proportion of contemporary art is obsessed with psycho-pathology and much more with superficialities. In this sense much of what we see is another form of pollution, this time of the mind."
To put it that way can make Baring sound a trifle doctrinaire and preachy. Yet he is a well-mannered and deeply courteous man. Many of his paintings are closer to magic. They are poetry and illumination in one. His is a vision of the numinous inner world that lies at the heart of both art and religion.
For some thirty years he has been exploring that world through the mysterious, poetic and richly suggestive vocabulary of symbols out of which his work has been composed; he has been painting mountain caps, flaming suns, horses in flight, angels, chalices and landscapes that are as old as Eden and even older. These are slowly meditated works (he produces only three or four canvasses a year), icons of contemplation that are both strangely healing and at the same time never comfortable. Yes, they are often closely related to the images that Cecil Collins used. "I don't believe that Archetypal imagery can ever be owned by an individual since the Archetype belongs to all, the Collective," says Baring, but at the same time they possess their own naked energy; they come from deep places, in the psyche. "As a whole," he confessed, "I do not analyse the images from the point of view of iconography. I let them come. I let them open like flowers. I like to see them as possessing their own life: mysterious and evocative images that work on the soul of the viewer."
If this is so, one can understand Robin Baring's extraordinary claim that it could be artists like Rembrandt, van Gogh, Duccio or even the Symbolists of the late nineteenth century who kept alive images of the Dream in a time of increasing rationalism, that could help to "save" our endangered culture. In other words, those artists in whom the faculty of oracular consciousness has penetrated the numinous forces beyond the personal self, could act as pathfinders and guardians of the soul of our society. It is they who have retained the divinity at the root of life and sung, in a beautiful phrase of Federico Garcia Lorca, "the deep song". For as the sick animal searches out the healing herb, we too may one day have the wisdom to search out the healing energies necessary for our survival.
John Lane is a painter and the Art Editor of Resurgence.
Resurgence No. 205 March/April 2001
Thursday, March 03, 2016
Mirabai Starr is one of the wisest and moved beloved wisdom teachers among us. She is an authentic mystic, and her topic is one that speaks to all of us, especially those of us experiencing a divine connection through Kundalini (the source of rapture). I strongly urge you to sign up for this free presentation, which you can listen to at the time or receive as a recording to play at a later time.
The Feminine Mystic Unveiled: Embracing the Divine as Your Beloved
A Free Virtual Event
Discover a distinctly feminine path of ecstatic devotion to open your heart, bring joy to your days, and surrender into the arms of grace
Saturday, March 12, 201610am Pacific / 1pm Eastern
(click here to find your local time)
Register to tune in or receive the recording
Dear friends and Family,
So often we spend our lives chasing an experience of being loved in the outer world and forget that a sublime and sustainable relationship with the True Beloved is available within us.
Embracing the Divine as our ultimate Beloved is a time-honored spiritual path that history’s female mystics across the traditions have walked with wild grace.
What can you learn from these remarkable women about how you can have a tender, devotional and even erotic relationship with the Beloved at the core of your spiritual life?
Please join me and thousands of seekers of an ecstatic relationship with the Divine, on Saturday, March 12, when I present The Feminine Mystic Unveiled: Embracing the Divine as Your Beloved.
You can reserve your FREE spot here: https://shiftnetwork.isrefer.com/go/fmuMS/Mirabaistarr/
I will share stories and teachings of devotion from the heart of the lives of many of the great female mystics like St. Teresa of Avila and my namesake, the poet-saint Mirabai, and how you, too, can unite with the Beloved and live in an exalted state while still engaging in grounded action and service in the world….
During our hour together we will explore:
How to say “yes” to longing at the core of your pathway to the Divine
The power and beauty born of spiritual desire and devotion
Devotional practices that help unite you with the Beloved and see the Divine in the eyes of others
How to be more available to moments of awe in your daily life
So join me for this powerful reclamation of the feminine path that is enlivening, ecstatic and soul-nourishing.
It’s FREE to attend, but you’ll need to register here: https://shiftnetwork.isrefer.com/go/fmuMS/Mirabaistarr/
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Author, translator of the mystics, and leading voice in the emerging Inter-Spiritual Movement, Mirabai Starr uses fresh, lyrical language to help make timeless wisdom accessible to a contemporary circle of seekers. She has received critical acclaim for her revolutionary new translations of Dark Night of the Soul by sixteenth century Spanish mystic, St. John of the Cross, The Interior Castle and The Book of My Life, by St. Teresa of Avila, and The Showings of Julian of Norwich. She is author of the 6-volume Sounds True series, Contemplations, Prayers, and Living Wisdom. Her poetry collection, Mother of God Similar to Fire, is a collaboration with iconographer, William Hart McNichols. GOD OF LOVE: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam – winner of the Nautilus Gold Award and the New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Religion and named one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2012 by Spirituality & Practice – positions Mirabai at the forefront of the emerging Inter-Spiritual Movement.
Mirabai taught Philosophy and Religious Studies for twenty years at the University of New Mexico-Taos, and now speaks and teaches nationally and internationally on the teachings of the mystics, contemplative practice, and grief as a spiritual path. Her talks and retreats incorporate silent meditation, interspiritual chanting, sacred poetry, and deep dialog. She blogs for the Huffington Post.
Connect with me:
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Mirabai Starr · 158 Maestas Rd. · Taos, NM 87571 · USA
Wednesday, March 02, 2016
Play Life More Beautifully––by Andrew Harvey and Seymour Bernstein
Seymour Bernstein is a wise and beloved piano teacher, now in his eighties, who has offered instruction on the piano to over a generation of grateful students. Seymour is indeed unique, an elder who abandoned his promising career as a gifted concert pianist to offer his guidance and direction to others who shared his love of the piano and of the arts.
The recent film "Seymour" was indeed a fascinating portrait of this unique being. Seymour has lived in the same New York City apartment for over forty years. His accumulated wisdom and charm are indeed a rarity in today's world of commercialism and hype. He is an elder to be treasure and heard. Now Andrew Harvey (who participated in the making of the film) has published a much needed biography of Seymour, so that others may make the acquaintance of this special person and so that his legacy may be preserved.
Seymour has much to say, about following your own passion, about never giving up on your own creative gifts, about performing in public after many years of absence on stage.
Here is the Amazon description of this book:
It started with a dinner party. When 86-year-old pianist and teacher Seymour Bernstein met Ethan Hawke, international film star, the two quickly discovered they shared a common malady: stage fright. Based on his familiarity with nervousness prior to concerts, Seymour was able to provide Ethan with invaluable insight and advice. That was the beginning of a deep friendship.
Renowned spiritual scholar and activist Andrew Harvey was a fellow dinner guest that auspicious night and contributed to the decision to create a documentary about Seymour exploring his unique combination of accomplished musician, teacher, and seasoned elder. The film, Seymour: An Introduction, directed by Ethan Hawke, has received enthusiastic critical acclaim and is an inspiration to all who see it.
Seymour and Andrew’s friendship has continued to thrive with a shared curiosity and appreciation for the intersection of life and art. The trusting conversations captured in this book between these two dear friends reveal key truths about passion and creativity through an exploration of music, difficult childhoods, the friendship of animals, and journeys of the spirit.