Kundalini Splendor

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Saturday, February 02, 2019

Off line for a few days 

I will be offline for a few days.  I'll be in touch later.

Blessings to all.

Dorothy

Friday, February 01, 2019

A Time of Terror––poem by Dorothy 


Although I firmly believe we are in a state of vast spiritual transformation, I also know that other, less benevolent forces are at work in the outer world, where things appear to be falling apart.  No one can predict the ultimate outcome for planet earth.  My philosophy is always, "Acknowledge the shadow but embrace the light."

A Time of Terror

It was a time of terror.
Victims fled to the gates,
begged to come in,
but the authorities did not listen,
fastened the entries shut.

People died on the way,
and in the fields where the armies
slaughtered each other
and many of the people who lived on
the land.

Profits and things were
in the ascendent.
The media trained the populace
to crave more and more goods,
to accumulate possessions
ever more splendid,
to love only what
they had purchased
and owned.

Poetry and music,
time honored healers,
were mostly forgotten,
gave way to noise
and heated commentary.

From time to time
someone lost control,
killed at random,
in churches,
in schools,
in plazas and malls.

The society was ill,
had a sick ruler
who had lost touch
with the real,
lived in a fantasy world
and many believed.

What happened next
we are waiting to see,
the outcome is obscure,
no one can tell.

Some feel these are
the fires of transformation,
the birthing of a new era,
a time of an evolved creation,
a new dispensation
into a more meaningful
race, a re-formed species.

Others perceived
that we were the terrorists,
and were destroying all
that we had come to love
and be.

Two paths led forward,
which will it be?

Dorothy Walters
January 30, 2019



Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Transfiguration––poem by Dorothy 







The Transfiguration

"Turn me to gold."
                  Kabir

Even as the world around crumbles,
the gates of heaven
are opening.
Indeed angels
are flowing down
mingling among the crowds.

Their children are appearing
among us
with strange talents
we do not understand.

Something is carrying us
into another universe,
where colors deepen
and frequencies rise.

The old gods are wakening,
the times when the oracles spoke.

Some of us are traveling
to other realms in experiences
of seeming death, then returning
with gifts of love and wisdom,
others find they can heal
or feel wondrous energies
move within
gifts unbidden.
Many can see or hear
beings who are not there,
music that has no source.

No one can explain
what is happening.

We are now captives of rapture,
of seeing beyond the veils,
of knowing beyond our bounds.

We must surrender to vastness,
to love.

We must become more
than we are.

Dorothy Walters
January, 2019



Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Passageway––poem by Dorothy 

The Passageway

To know what I am talking about,
you must tear yourself open,
the way light penetrates a curtain,
turns it into a fountain of illumination.

Then you must lie down.
Become a sky burial,
limb parted from limb,
organs torn asunder.

What you have called yours
will no longer apply.
No shred of flesh,
no bone connections
will remain.
The animals will find you.

When, finally,
you have become nothing,
the moment will arrive,
you will burst into
a bundle of light,
find yourself in an infinite
field of love,
a new vibration,
shaped finally
into what you are.

Dorothy Walters
January 30, 2019

Note: This poem is an allegory of the surrender of selfness that must occur before the transformation of the inner spirit can occur.



Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Andrew Harvey––A pilgrimage to India and Sri Lanka 





The latest from author Andrew Harvey...

This is a rare opportunity to travel with an immensely gifted spiritual teacher.

Dear Friends,

I am overjoyed to invite you to join me on a pilgrimage of Northern India on a path to Divine Love: Sacred North India, February 13-27, 2020. Although I was born in south India, I spent most of my childhood in the north, in Delhi, and it was there that I first awoke to the magic of India and became saturated in, and permanently changed by, its sacred atmosphere. Each of the places we are going to visit has a profound personal resonance for me, one enriched and expanded by four decades of constant return. It will be an honour to share with you the many-coursed feast of artistic and spiritual beauty this trip so sumptuously lays out.

Our pilgrimage is dedicated to an exploration and celebration of the splendour and radical ecstatic creativity of Divine Love in all of its forms, and the mystical paths to love in Sufism and Hinduism. The Sufi and Hindu vision of Divine Love has had the deepest imaginable influence on my own and I will share my essence of what I have learned from the two traditions as well as three essential heart practices, two from the Sufis and one from the Vedic tradition that you can use for the rest of your life, whatever path you are on, to deepen your experience of the Divine.

In Delhi I will take you to the places I wandered in and adored as a child—especially the Red Fort, which awoke in me a passionate curiosity for the Mughal world that has lasted all my life. Then we are off to Udaipur. How to describe Udaipur? You’d have to be Shakespeare on opium to begin to convey its refined ecstatic beauty, the beauty of a whole civilization that cultivated the highest sacred aesthetic as a way of divinizing life. After relishing the lake palaces of Udaipur, we will visit the most resplendent of the Maharaja cities as my mother used to call them: Jaipur. I had the honour of going around the palaces of Jaipur with the old maharani of Jaipur, someone of the greatest inner and outer beauty, and I will share with you the vision I received from her of the inner world of this ancient city.

By now, our souls I pray, will be intoxicated enough to approach the greatest monument to both human and divine love, the Taj Mahal. I first saw the Taj when I was four years old; that ecstatic memory I am convinced led me to my passion for Rumi and to the treasures of the Sufi tradition. I have spent a lifetime contemplating and studying the Taj and will share with you the latest research that reveals the Taj as a Sufi mystical monument representing nothing less, in its white splendour, than the Throne of God himself.

In Agra I will lead you into one of the great mysteries, that of the story in life of Shah Jahan’s eldest son, Dara Shikoh. Dara Shikoh has been an obsession of mine for fifty years. He was a great artist, mystical poet, writer and visionary who would have been Emperor had he not been murdered by his younger brother, Aurangzeb, who also imprisoned his father, Shah Jihan, and seized the throne. I will share with you Dara Shikoh’s profound vision of a universal religion uniting Hinduism and Islam and grounded in Divine Love.

With the magnificence of Agra alive in ourselves, we will then go to Khajuraho, where I will give an essential overview of the Shaivite Tantric tradition that I myself have been trained in and aspire to follow. The great Shaivite mystic, Alain Danielou, said to me, “Khajuraho is the revelation of the divine body and its inherent tenderness, ecstasy and freedom.” The sculptures of the temples at Khajuraho show human love at its most passionate meeting Divine Love at its most exalted in an explosion of radical beauty that has permanently altered my own understanding of love and sexuality, and will yours.

Our pilgrimage ends in four glorious days in Varanasi, the old Banaras, my favourite place on earth. Varanasi is quite simply the essence of sacred India, a wild holy thrilling marriage of opposites, India’s holiest city, sacred for millennia to Shiva. As we revel in its ceremonies and meditate by the Ganges, our guide will be the greatest mystic Banaras and India ever produced – the 15th century weaver Kabir, who sang his astounding songs in Varanasi’s winding, crowded streets. I have just spent five years producing my new book, Turn Me to Gold – 108 Poems of Kabir, and long to introduce you to his incisive, fiery revolutionary voice and to the path of transfiguration through Divine Love that he pioneered for us. Kabir is with Rumi one of humanity’s two universal mystical poets and an essential guide to the birth of an embodied divine humanity.

As you can see, my heart is brimming over at the thought of our pilgrimage. I hope I have said enough to give you a rich taste of what inspiration and joy await you. Please join me on an unforgettable pilgrimage into the heart of Sufi and Hindu India and into the softly blazing heart of Divine Love itself.

Love,
Andrew

*Be sure to check out our journey. The Sacred Heart of Sri Lanka, March 1-12, 2020, to take advantage of a unique opportunity to visit both India and Sri Lanka with me!



Sunday, January 27, 2019

A Favor and an Amazing Healing Experience 


Dear Friends:

If you have read "The Kundalini Poems: Reflections of Radiance and Joy" and like them, I would appreciate your putting a comment on Amazon to that effect.

Thanks.

Dorothy

An amazing healing experience:

On Friday night, I was suddenly seized with an intense stomach ache, so severe I thought I might have to go to Emergency.  Instead, I stayed home and it subsided after 3-4 hours.  I speculated that it was from stress.  Next morning it was better, but I still felt quite ill and had some stomach pain.  I went to a presentation by the man we call Swamiji, who is not a guru but rathe a very gifted lecturer.  Somehow being with this group put me into an altered state and everyone looked quite beautiful.  However, I still was not quite right.

A woman I barely knew gave me a ride home.  She told me that she was an energy healer and medium.  She offered to do a healing for me and I accepted.

Her energy healing was very gentle and soft.  I could feel small "releases" happening here and there as she worked.  By the end my stomach pain was gone and I felt like my old self.  She had definitely healed whatever was wrong with me.  As I had suspected, my essential problem was stress and she had relaxed my body so it no longer hurt.

Another mystery.






Friday, January 25, 2019

Two Films 

Two Films

Here are two amazing films from Amazon.  The Passion of Joan of Arc has been called the best movie ever made.  Colette is an intriguing presentation of the early years of this gifted and scandalous French writer.  Good movies are hard to find.  I recommend both––the saint and the sinner.


The Passion of Joan of Arc (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray~ Renée Falconetti

Price: $23.60

 = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
 Colette
Colette
DVD~ Keira Knightley

List Price: $29.98
Price: $14.99
You Save: $14.99(50%)


Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Hidden Poet––poem by Dorothy 






The Hidden Poet

Later someone, anyone, may wonder
who she was,
what her thoughts were,
where she lived
and why, alone or
mated.

Some lonely student
may rummage archives,
seek interviews,
old letters and photos
and find in any of these
little trace of the hand
that wrote,
the lost image
in the mirror.

In death
as in life
she was mostly
hidden from the world.
She wrote from
the inner compulsion,
the inescapable urgency
to translate the ineffable
into words,
to tell the unseeing world
how it was
to have been struck
by the lightning of
the unknown,
to have been the bride
of uncommon necessity,
one for whom
the unseen lover
and the verbal capture
were the only visible
constants,
the one thing
that mattered.

Dorothy Walters
January 23, 2019

(image from internet)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Her Legacy––poem by Dorothy 





Her Legacy
(for Mary Oliver)

Her legacy was her poems
and her words were written in gold.

She reminded us of
what we knew
and often had forgotten.

The woods were her
sanctuary, the ponds her sacred fount.
She worshiped there
like any true believer,
and blessed all its denizens
including  frogs and spiders,
bears and foxes,
the airy creatures from the sky.

Her votive candles were the flaming trees at sunset,
her sacred perfume the scent of pines and oaks.

She told us in immaculate language
what we needed to know
about the wilderness without,
the wildness within,
the warn animal of our body
we call soul.

Dorothy Walters
January 21, 2019

Monday, January 21, 2019

Among Trees––Poem by Dorothy 





Among Trees

When I go among trees,
I think I have come home
to myself.

They more or less
smile at me
as I pass,
and rustle their leaves
as if they are sending messages
or else gossiping
with each other.

"See her.  She seems
rather nice.  We should send vibes,
make her feel welcome."

I smile back
and bask in their love.
Their energies surround me
and lift me forward.
I am happy once again.

When I was young
I used to climb the great cottonwoods
with their floating gauze
past the bodark huddled below
and look out at the world spread all around.

I peered in all directions,
and felt myself at the center
of all that was,
like the omphalos at Delphi
or the peak of Mt. Meru
where the many realms converge
and everywhere
was where I was.

Now it is different.
I am again a child of earth.
But the sweetness flows in the forest.
The life stream circles through.
This shining, this shadow,
these are who I am.

Dorothy Walters
January21, 2019

(picture from internet. "Bodark" is a common term for scrub oak, derived from "bois d'arc" that the French explorers coined when they passed this way in another century.)


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Mary Oliver––When I Am Among Trees 






WHEN I AM AMONG TREES (Mary Oliver)
               

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”

The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,”
they say, “and you, too, have come
into the world to do this, to go easy,
to be filled with light, and to shine.”


photo credit: Margaret Zimmerman

Saturday, January 19, 2019

When it's Over––Poem by Dorothy 







When it's Over

When it's over, I want to say: all my lifewas a bride married to amazement.
Mary Oliver

And I in turn want to sayI was married
to something called mystery.
She never explained herself
or showed her naked face,
but kept her veils securely
fastened over her countenance
as if she came from a country
whose laws demanded such modesty.

Yet often I felt
her bodiless body
mingle with mine,
her kisses
arrive in unexplained places.

Often I wondered
who she was,
where she came from
what her purpose.

At times I almost glimpsed
her secret origins.
Finally I no longer questioned
who she was, 
why we were wedded as one,
but held her close
and silently exulted
in our secret love play.

Dorothy Walters
January 17, 2019








Thursday, January 17, 2019

Poems for Mary Oliver (from "The Kundalini Poems: Reflections of Radiance and Grace") 











Poems for Mary Oliver

I was deeply saddened this morning when I learned of the death of Mary Oliver.  She held a special place in my heart, and of course was beloved and admired by many thousands of reader.s  For me, she was a pillar and a portal, someone we knew and depended on to maintain our own sense of the world as a place of hope and beauty.  To lose her is like losing an old friend or dear one.

I was fortunate to see her onstage a few times when I was living in San Francisco.  She was sly and clever, and reminded me of what she was, a retired professor with a wry sense of humor.  She was politically astute, though she did not write about politics.  He appearances were attended by throngs of admirers and the lines for her book signings very long.

I loved her stories.  She never used a computer but preferred an ancient typewrite.  When it "acted up" she put it under her desk until it behaved.

A Tribute for Mary Oliver

She came among us
like a wild creature
fresh from the forest,
wearing a tunic of green,
wreath of flowers in her hair.

Orpheus returned, 
she sang to us of mysteries
long lost,
secrets of the animals
and trees,
how these were
our ancestors,
beloved precursors
of our souls.

Bears, rabbits, garden snakes,
small bodies of water,
even spiders––
all received her blessing,
all part of the oneness that is.

We listened in awe
 to her sacred melodies,
in trance and yearning
for what we had forgotten,
our lost songs of spirit,
ceremonies of connection,
the place where we began.


Kissing the Hem of Mary Oliver: "Devotions"

Here she is, I am holding her
in my hands.
A new and weighty book,
the record of her life,
each beauty (a leaf, a star)
tumbling forth
one after another,
her memorial,
her memory book,
her journey of 
so many years.

She loved, was one with
nature itself,
the birds, the ponds,
the bears in the trees.
Even the insects
and snakes,
nothing was excluded,
she was the original
nature mystic
from ages past,
a goddess or queen
from some other world,
returned to ours
to give us
new eyes to see,
new ways to connect
with what so many had
forgotten
amidst the concrete
and clatter
of this wherever we have made,
glimpses of the place
where our 
Mother lived,
the realm from which we came.

********

Mary Oliver's Face

Gaze on this portrait 
and what you will see
is someone who has
grown old and wise,
who sees with ineluctable
clarity the inner truth of things
and knows who she is.

She carries her age well,
allowing each wrinkle
and shadow
to define her essence:
knowing, resolute,
yet with a wry pixie smile
 that says
she is taking the world
and her life
with a grain of salt,
knows that not this
nor any poem
can be the final answer,
now waiting with poise
and grace to receive 
the next unfolding.



Wednesday, January 16, 2019

"Turn Me to Gold"––Andrew Harvey 











from Andrew Harvey

My dear friends,

I cannot thank you enough for your generosity in celebrating so beautifully and precisely my Turn Me to Gold: 108 Translations of Kabir. What this has meant is that this sacred book goes out now to the world accompanied by your celebration of its profound message for our world. As you know the book was published in early November and through a series of confusions the first edition sold out almost immediately and in a way that meant that missed Thanksgiving and Christmas markets. Fortunately the reprint of Turn Me to Gold is now available.

I sent you a request to send out to your groups your feeling for and support of Kabir’s great message. If you wouldn’t mind sharing it again and as soon as convenient I would be forever grateful. I have included the information below for use. May I suggest you use the endorsement you so graciously gave me, or attached is the cover, 3 posts for fb or twitter and press release. Here is the link to purchase on amazon: https://amzn.to/2OcqtYk . I am so grateful to have your support.

The initial response to the book has been overwhelming and I know from you reactions that you know that Kabir’s voice is essential for the transformation into embodied divine consciousness that is the key to transforming the growing horror of our time.  Please in the spirit do whatever you feel you can to support Kabir renaissance that I hope and pray will equal an intensity the renaissance of Rumi that has in so many marvelous ways nourished, ennobled an radically inspired us all. To end, I have also attached a wonderful piece from Unity Magazine to share with you to read at your leisure.

With love and hope and gratitude, your friend in God,
Andrew

1.       When you enter into a Kabir poem, you enter into the Kabir field- its electric, incisive, clean and clear. If the sword of truth could sing, it would sing like Kabir.


2.       Kabir is far more than a poet; he is an universal initiatory field, as expansive as Rumi, and, as embodied, radical and ferocious as Jesus. He is the voice of the evolutionary truth and its piercing love and we have never needed to hear him more or be more ready to hear him.


3.       May Turn Me to Gold be far more than a book to you, as it has been far more than a book to me. Let Kabir guide you, take his hand, let him lead you into the abyss of unknowing where you will find yourself, despite yourself, being turned to gold. All awe and gratitude to Kabir and to you, lovers of truth, who will also find him.

Press Release

– After authoring more than 30 books, Andrew Harvey, Rumi scholar, mystic and founder of Sacred Activism, is releasing what may be his consummate work, Turn Me to Gold: 108 Poems of Kabir. Born in India and deeply influenced by its mystic traditions, Andrew became enraptured not only with the exquisite spiritual illumination he discovered in Kabir, but also in the poet’s grounding relevance to our troubled times. “Unlike Rumi,” writes Harvey, “Kabir is the tough, no-nonsense peasant who makes things real and fierce and right without any adornment. He is the master of laser-like clarity, simplicity, directness, passion and strength, and this laser-like purity and refusal to buy into any kind of illusion is exactly what spiritual seekers need amid our devastating global crisis.”


Written in the form of a symphony of four movements, Turn Me to Gold is both beautiful and blazing. The origin of the title Turn Me to Gold is a statement by Kabir that one drop of divine love can turn you to gold. What Andrew and Kabir mean by “gold” is someone who is fully embodied—not just inspired in the mind but who experiences God in the body, in the cells. The birth that is trying to take place on our planet, Harvey insists, is not only through people becoming conscious of the Divine but from those who have integrated and embodied the Divine. Kabir, then, is the supreme guide for allowing ourselves to be “turned to gold.”

Embellished by extraordinary, edgy photographs by Brett Hurd, illustrating the divinity of ordinary life, this book reveals our capacity to be turned to gold if we are willing to reject the madness of all fundamentalisms and engage in the arduous work of transformation. It compels us to move beyond mere mystical ecstasy into the death and rebirth that joyously await us on the journey.


Turn Me to Gold: 108 Poems of Kabir is published by Unity Books. Photographs by Brett Hurd. The softcover book is 198 pages, with a cover price of $24.95. ISBN: 978-0-87159-381-8. It is available through Unity Books, Amazon.com and distributors DeVorss, New Leaf
Cover for Turn Me to Gold .jpg

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Elegy in a Time of Darkness (poem by Dorothy) 

Elegy in a Time of Darkness

Does the light fail?
Our leaders betray us,
corruption abounds,
even the faithful are bewildered
and do not know what to do.

We wander restlessly,
seeking for answers.
Forces are unleashed
that we do not comprehend.
We struggle, but wonder
if our efforts are in vain.

Yet, there is even now
a turning,
as when winter gives way
to spring,
as when the fever breaks
and the patient  stirs and speaks aloud.

Everywhere on earth
there are reports of an awakening,
stories of such things
that we have never imagined,
happenings hard to believe.

Some hear celestial music,
others see images of deity
arise before them.
Some speak in reverent tones
with their loved ones
who have gone.
Bliss abounds in a field of light
that grows, spreads ever wider.

No one can explain,
account for such mysteries.
We know that it is happening,
orchestrated elsewhere,
destined to occur.

We are grateful,
believe without knowing,
trust the turning,
the unknown source
that leads us to the next level of
we know not where.

Dorothy Walters
January 14, 2019







Sunday, January 13, 2019

"Sonoma County Winter"––poem by Karl Frederick 

Sonoma County Winter

Onward through this wonderfully dreary day
Gray clouds, low and wind-driven
speak of things I cannot name.

Rain drips through bare limbs
into the greening earth, and
I am amazed to be cold, wet, and
so vibrantly alive.

Let December know
its cold reach has fallen short.
Inside, inside . . .  spring!

- Karl Frederick
_______________________________________________

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Penny Hackett-Evans––"Idled" (poem) 





(This picture is from the first day I met Penny, some 10 years ago).


Idled by Penny Hackett-Evans

 The Muse is on strike.


The factory has shut down.

The paychecks bounce.

Parts of poems lie on the floor

gathering dust and rust.

I peer through the dirty windows…

What am I to do?

I imagine trying to shape

a handmade, one-of-a-kind, artisanal poem

one made of fine exotic wood,

hand rubbed, like the ones

you see in the New Yorker.

But, I know

that’s not going to work.

And anyway, I am sort of jealous

of the Muses sitting across the way

at the bar, eating nachos,

drinking beer

in the middle of the afternoon,

laughing, telling stories of the hapless

poets they work for.

I’ve half a mind to join them.

Penny and I have been friends for some 10 years or so, but we have only met two or three times.  When I first knew her, she was just beginning to write poetry, but since then her work has become ever more refined and polished.  She sends out a weekly poem to 50 or more subscribers and I always enjoy her offerings.  She and her husband stopped in Boulder recently on their way to California from Michigan and we had a delightful reunion.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Ivan Granger––from the Poetry Chaikhana––Yunus Emre 

Here's your Daily Poem from the Poetry Chaikhana www.Poetry-Chaikhana.com --

Those who became complete

By Yunus Emre
(1238 - 1320)

English version by Kabir Helminski & Refik Algan

Those who became complete
didn't live this life in hypocrisy,
didn't learn the meaning of things
by reading commentaries.

Reality is an ocean; the Law is a ship.
Many have never left the ship,
never jumped into the sea.

They might have come to Worship
but they stopped at rituals.
They never knew or entered the Inside.

Those who think the Four Books
were meant to be talked about,
who have only read explanations
and never entered meaning,
are really in sin.

Yunus means "true friend"
for one whose journey has begun.
Until we transform our Names,
we haven't found the Way.

Marrow of Flame
Poems of the Spiritual Journey
by Dorothy Walters
Introduction by Andrew Harvey

"These poems make me gasp. Dorothy Walters--part buddha, part elf--weaves mythic literacy with subversive compassion." -Mirabai Starr

 This Dance of Bliss, A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology, Ivan M. Granger
This Dance of Bliss
Ecstatic Poetry From Around the World
A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

Edited with Commentary
by Ivan M. Granger

"This book is a treasure, a feast, an oasis." -Mirabai Starr

Hi Dorothy-

The Poetry Chaikhana is back! I hope you had a magical, renewing holiday and new year.

Let's start the year off with something feisty--

Those who became complete
didn't live this life in hypocrisy,
didn't learn the meaning of things
by reading commentaries.

I love these cantankerous mystic poets. They come in all shades of religious sentiment, but they do tend to congregate outside the halls of orthodoxy. Most are profoundly devout and fiercely focused in their spirituality. But for the mystic to truly open to the Divine, one must clearly see the nature of reality and the nature of one's very self -- without blinders or pretense.

Reality is an ocean; the Law is a ship.
Many have never left the ship,
never jumped into the sea.

That's why mystics don't write poems in praise of rules, hierarchies, or secondhand knowledge. They want the wide ocean, not the creaking ship.

For this very reason, I often find myself more in alignment with the viewpoints of atheists than with religionists. I share the atheist ideal of questioning, critical thinking, testing and examination, a basic distrust of institutions, and an awareness of the danger of "true believers." Whether we call ourselves theists or atheists, we must never settle into unquestioning belief.

There is a superficial way of being religious, joining the right group, following the right rules, reading the right sacred texts and commentaries, performing the right rituals and prayers. Don't get me wrong, those practices can be important, but if our spiritually goes no deeper, then it becomes increasingly brittle and slips into pretense. That's what happens with fundamentalism.

They might have come to Worship
but they stopped at rituals.
They never knew or entered the Inside.

The problem is that there is an increasing assumption that that is what religion is. Both religious-types and their atheist critics tend to define religion by that depthless definition. In that cultural debate, I have to side with the critics of religion. Superficial, rule-following religion lacks integrity and it tends to be sectarian in ways that can be goaded into violence.

But there has always been a deeper form of religion in every culture, an engaged spirituality that transforms the awareness in ways that awaken clarity and compassion. This is not a religion of blind faith or adherence to formulaic creeds; it is about direct experience of a wider reality, profound personal transformation... and bubbling joy.

This is where the common atheist critique of religion falls apart, especially the more strident voices of the so-called New Atheists. They tend to acknowledge only the most superficial and, frankly, idiotic expressions of modern religion. There is a willful blindness to the full spectrum of religious life and experience.

The argument I hear put forward by the New Atheists is that all religion is founded on a mythological fantasy at odds with firm reality, which results in a schizophrenic mindset which, in turn, leads to dysfunctional society. If only people would drop their attachment "made up men in the sky," we could then start building a sane and rational world. That sounds like a pretty good argument, doesn't it? If that was truly all that religion was, I might agree with their argument. But because they are so convinced that religion is nothing beyond fantasy and social control, they don't feel the need to actually try to understand actual religious belief or history or what it means to people, let alone genuine mystical experience. There is no knowledge about religion in their argument, only disdain. And there is an underlying threat of force, as well: The religious delusion must be crushed in order to give us the sane world we deserve. It's no coincidence that many prominent New Atheists have been vocal advocates for the recent wars in the Middle East, as they see Muslim Jihadist sects as the embodiment of their worst religious nightmares. The New Atheists have become, in effect, an increasingly violent fundamentalist sect of atheism.

There are certainly serious problems in religion, ranging from mere superficiality to violent extremism (in all religions). But those problems are not religious problems, they are human social problems. They are not problems that occur because of religion itself; they are manifesting because of complex social, political, economic, and even environment stresses, where very few authoritative institutions are addressing them honestly or coherently. Under those unrelenting stresses, people turn to religion, but not for religious reasons. Religion then becomes more extreme because other, more healthy responses are not available in society. We see the same toxic patterns in non-religious institutions, as well. It's not a religious problem, but the resulting religious extremism grabs the headlines.

We don't need enforced religion or non-religion. Instead, we need engaged hearts. We need minds that explore and question. We need a willingness to seek truth above approval. Whether we belong to a church, a mosque, a synagogue, a temple, an atheist discussion group, or stand alone beneath the night sky -- it's not a question of belief or faith, but of what is, who we truly are, and the kindness we show in the world.

Yunus means "true friend"
for one whose journey has begun.

Have a beautiful day!

Ivan

(from Dorothy:  I fully agree with Ivan.  Certain would be critics of "religion" attack a "straw man" rather than the reality of what "religion" (or spirituality) may contain.  There are many shades and gradations, levels and representations that may be called "religious."  These critics choose to focus on the most superficial or objectionable aspects of religion and proceed to demolish them with their "logical" arguments. The folks have never experienced true awakening nor felt the bliss of the Beloved Within.  They speak of that which they know not.
And indeed, deep spirituality lives apart from rules and commandments.  The Voice of the Beloved delivers messages of love and the true mystic listens and translates these messages into visions of hope and ways of connection with the mystery.
When we are young, we may rebel against the indoctrination and restrictions of our 'birth religion."  To complete the trajectory, we must outgrow these earlier misgivings and see through to the other side, where real spiritual awakening can occur.)



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Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Mirabai Starr––Transformational Workshops 







Mirabai Starr––Transformational Writing Workshops

Beloved Friends and Family,

Even as the light is slowly returning to the Northern Hemisphere, I am starting to poke my head out of the cave (and then slip right back in again) to make some preparations for the birth of my forthcoming book baby, WILD MERCY: Living the Fierce & Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics.

Starting in the spring, we will be having all kinds of Wild Mercy gatherings – readings, book signings, workshops and retreats – throughout 2019. I’ll be in the Pacific Northwest in late March and early April and the Northeast (with a short spell in the Southeast) in late April and early May.  In between there will be a bunch of book signings in the Southwest, with a special launch event here in my hometown of Taos on April 14, followed by Boulder, Santa Fe and Albuquerque.  Opportunities to gather around the sacred feminine continue through the summer and into the fall, with workshops and retreats on both coasts and in the Midwest.

Stand by for specifics on all this coming very soon.

In the meantime, if you have been considering attending a “Writing Your Story of Loss & Transformation” workshop, which I hold twice a year at Ghost Ranch in magical Abiquiu, New Mexico, I thought you might appreciate a summary of the difference between the spring and fall versions.

In the spring (well, this year, because of the book launch, it happens in late February), I offer direct teaching, specific writing prompts and guided exercises.  If you have been smoldering with a story to share about a loss that transfigured the ground of your life yet unsure how to begin, this is the gathering for you.  You don’t have to be a beginning writer, but this may serve as the catalyst for beginning a longer, finished piece.  Writing practice is interwoven with meditation and hiking in the desert.

The first workshop is from February 25-March 2 (more info HERE)

If you are already working on a longer piece of writing about a transformational loss and feel like you need a supportive space and time to really drop in and either finish or make significant progress, in a caring community of other writers working with similar themes, then this is your gathering.  I hold space for you to write and edit on your own and in small self-selected groups, but, aside from morning warm-up practices, talks about craft and a private interview, I’m much less hands-on.  For this “deepening” retreat, I’d prefer to have people who have worked with me before, but it’s not mandatory.  We can have a conversation about that.  This one also includes meditation and hiking too, because, well, it’s the most spectacular landscape on the planet.

The deepening retreat is from September 16-21.

Due to the size of Casa del Sol, the restored adobe hacienda on the remote outskirts of the Ghost Ranch property where we hold these retreats, our gatherings are small and intimate, with room for a maximum of 20 writers.  These events fill quickly, so let Jaime know if you’re interested: onesharedheart@gmail.com.

Enjoy the deep quiet of winter,

with my love,

Mirabai



Monday, January 07, 2019

Ted Murray––Bringing More Light In 







Ted Murray

Daily inspirational message from the heart.


Dear Dorothy,

How do you envision bringing more light into the world? Many people call themselves lightworkers, so what does that really mean?  Does light represent love, so the words are almost synonymous? Does light actually stand for enlightenment of the individual, lighting up the energetic body so it resonates at a much higher frequency from the cellular level? Perhaps it simply means shining your light to help dispel the darkness that currently permeates much of our planet.

Some people can really relate to the concept of there being a great central sun that is the source of all light and love. Whether you envision this as being our sun, a physical object at the center of our galaxy or simply as the original source of all, the essence of love from which everything emanates, it doesn’t make much difference. Just envisioning the existence of a great central sun can help enhance your ability to bring more light into the world by connecting to its essence. With this vision you can be like a transparent connector streaming this essential love light through your body, connecting to the earth itself, and then sharing it widely through your heart after it amplifies it. When enough people actually connect with the great central sun with a pure intent to serve the world and its inhabitants then the planet will indeed become so immersed in the light that love will be the only thing capable of thriving in our bodies and in our world.

Love and Light,
Ted

I

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