3/30/2013

Cross



"I place on the altar of dawn the quiet loyalty of breath..." ~John O'Donahue

I invite you to see the Cross as creation's radiant blossom, in all its multiplicity and paradox, opening its petals from a singular uncreated center. What beauty, what loss, what fullness, what emptiness, the Cross contains!

Its horizontal beams are the past and future. Its vertical beams are consciousness and matter. In our world of opposites, liberation only comes through the Cross, which is the experience and transcendence of polarity. When our conflicted mind of opposites is crucified, we pass through the center, into eternity. But this is not something we do after death: it is this very moment of complete acceptance.

The center of the Cross is the matrix that embraces, and by embracing transcends, every pair of opposites: pain and beauty, sorrow and joy, body and soul, thorn and rose. From the center of the Cross, I see that past and future were only thoughts, spirit and matter were but wave and particle of the same Radiance.

Eternity is the death of thought. This death empowers awareness to see the miracle of the commonplace. To rise to the miracle of the ordinary is resurrection.

"This day, you shall be with me in paradise," Jesus says to the thief on the Cross beside him. Yes, the past is forgiven this instant. This very breath dissolves the entire history of the world, and all its sins.

Like a fleeing dream, past and future are dispelled in the clarity of Easter morning, which is any morning you breathe through the heart...

The weight of the body dissolves in the light of its infinitesimal photons, each created and destroyed in an instant. So the resurrection is not separate from the crucifixion.

The difference between heaven and hell is like the edge of a dragonfly's wing, transparent in a sunbeam. Heaven is wonder, hell is doubt.

What use is doubt? What energy or advantage does it gain? What are we really doubting, if not our own mind? Good then, doubt the mind. Crucify the mind. Awaken to the beauty of the morning, any morning. Learn eternity from the thrush's song...

Pass through the center of the Cross, into the heart of now. Choose wonder. This very morning we are together in paradise. The world is changed in the twinkling of an eye.

So You Want to Change the World?



"Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself." ~Rumi

Changing the world is not an option. I am vain and deluded to think that I can change the world. Not even Jesus, through his death and resurrection, could change the world. What changes is the heart. And that is everything.

Now the Marxist believes that we must change the world to change the heart. The Christian begins by changing the heart, and that is a life's work. This is why, despite all the goble-dee-gook of "liberation theology," the Marxist will inevitably reject Christianity, and the Christian will eventually reject Marxism.

A Simple Message for Easter


Savor your breath as the vessel of the Spirit; this is the anointing called Christ.

Taste each photon of your flesh as infinite light; this is the Resurrection.

Honor the incomparable radiance of your heart; this is his Second Coming.

Glorify Him whose form you must crucify in order to know as your Self.

Ascend from the bondage of the past into the mystery of the present moment.

Issa taught this simple Gospel before he entered his maha-samadhi.

He is still here, as the silent Witness within you.

Feel his compassion, feel the beauty of his all-embracing love; this is who you are.

Have a joyful feast. Share everything.

____________
Rembrandt, face of Jesus

3/26/2013

Your Resurrection Body


The Feast of the Resurrection, "Easter," is no mere Spring fertility rite, nor an anticipation of heaven after death. In celebrating this mystery, we honor the spiritual potential of matter.

We affirm that we take the body with us on the spiritual journey. We proclaim that matter and spirit are a single energy, one field of divine Radiance. For we are not born into bodies life after life as a fall, a punishment, or a karmic flaw. We are here to participate in the spiritual evolution of matter.

Whether we take it as historical fact or symbol, the Resurrection of Jesus reveals the infinite and eternal destiny of our flesh. As the body of Jesus ascended into divine light, so shall we. It is not that souls ascend out of the body, but that the body ascends. In the words of the 2nd Century theologian, St. Athanasius, "God became human so that humanity could become God."

We are made of evolving and ascending matter. We do not become angels: we keep living in bodies until matter is deified, glorified, every particle infused with transcendental consciousness.

Our ever evolving energy should not be called "matter" or "spirit," but given a new name. I call it Radiance. Our radiance synthesizes heaven and earth, the cosmic and the local, in an individualized vessel for universal love, a holographic Resurrection Body. The Resurrection Body includes the Unbounded, the All, in each photon. This is why Christ proclaimed, "I am Alpha and Omega."

The Resurrection of Christ marked an epoch in the history of spiritual teaching. Prior to the Resurrection, humans either celebrated the earth in its perpetual cycles of fertility, or chose the path of the Platonist, the Sunyasi, seeking liberation beyond flesh. One proclaimed, "I exult in physical matter." The other proclaimed, "I am not the body." Many today are stuck in the same dualism.

Surely, if you practice a truly grace-filled sadhana, such as the Transcendental Deep Meditation, or the breath of Sudarshan Kriya, you feel this evolutionary energy, this spiritually scintillating yet sensuous power dance up your spine, blossom from your heart, irradiate each cell, and spill divine electrons into the atmosphere, to raise the vibrations of the planet.

Surely you know, you are not here to divide the soul from its skin by inner combat. You are not here to be 50% pure and 50% impure, half spirit, half matter, wrestling with God to see which half will win the war. That is a faded and bygone vision.

You are here to be 200%: fully God and fully Human, as Jesus was. You are 100% God in each photon of your flesh, each smell, taste, sight, sound and touch a sacrament of divine Presence.

"Therefor, glorify God in your body." (1 Cor. 6:20)

_____________________

Painting by William Blake, 'Christ as the Redeemer,' Watercolor on paper, 1808, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The Great Mystery

3/25/2013

Opposites


Winter rainforest: Opposites are most beautiful when tasted together, as One. 
(Taken at the Carbon River, Mount Rainier, March 25)

3/24/2013

Mmmm

Waves of mind settle back into particles of the body. Particles of the body settle back into waves of mind. Subject and object collapse into the heart.

The world as perceived is a mirage in the still desert air of the perceiver. When this becomes transparent, which it always already is, both mind and body relax, and there is no seeking.


Then we can be sure there is no possible hope in religion, politics, astrology, metaphysics, or any system of belief, because all knowledge entraps us in the cage of subject and object, and every thought about the world "out there," no matter how brilliant, sustains our separation from it.


Trying to realize the truth through a system of thought is like trying to catch the sea in a net. 


Now we are going to eat coffee ice cream with crushed walnuts and melted chocolate and a dash of Kalua.


Yes, and our feast will be precisely the bliss of Pythagoras when he heard the music of the spheres,  the ecstasy of Theresa when an angel pierced her heart with love's burning ray, and the self-effulgent jewel of Brahman at the culmination of Indian philosophy in the Shankara's advaita.


All one needs is to "taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8).


That is why both the saint and ice cream connoisseurs say, "Mmmmmm."

3/23/2013

Your Body Is A Perfect Land


Your body is a perfect land; the rhythm of your seasons keeps eternal time.

Your skin is perfectly lined and dimpled; you are written with runes.

The algebra of your body is so perfectly factored that your curves approach no asymptote;

No parallels or right angles, only the majesty of crescents, half-completed circles of possibility.

You shatter the fractal, you seep incompleteness because you are full; a perfect spiral stumbling outward in discovery, a spine of split-open melons.

You are the fall, you are the dance; your hollows glow like fruit.

You contain all phases of the moon, your belly perfectly swelling in a round reflecting sea.

I am not a farmer, I am the singer of this poem; I do not harvest corn and wheat from the gentle slopes and valleys of your perfect body.

Nor do I gather the golden pink intoxicating fungi from your dank and perfect woodland shadows.

I gather your music, I sing your body; you are the garden, I am only the Spring.

Your hair is perfectly contiguous with shadows shape-shifting into clouds of silver, tumbling like sunset over changeless water.

Your smile is perfect, the way its poem of silence curves down and upward again, suggesting the unfathomable darkness at the center of a rose where death is born of beauty.

Your eyelids perfectly droop in the purity of sadness, your eyebrows are the distant range of the mountains of hope.

Whether you sink in perfect melancholy, or evaporate into an inward sky, you midwiff every mood, you splay the rainbow like nakedness, genuflecting now to purple, now to green, now to the ochre of your fury.

Whatever you feel, bright woman after rain, you cannot escape your wholeness; you repose in the now of your perfect body;

The contradiction of knees, ankles, their comedy, growing younger and more perfectly awkward every day;

The paradox of your hips, swaying like jungles in the silken mist of perfect modesty; your arms and feet such priestly ancient gestures to themselves.

Your sexual yearning for your husband is as perfect as your yearning for God; for where the impure see two, the pure understand all yearning as One, and your body is your soul.

The flame of a sigh that burns your faithful lover on the pyre of your blood is a perfect breath of pranayam; your cry of delight, charged with attention, a perfect prayer.

No one can fathom the precise location of your heart: that perfect mystery, that wild uncertain particle of the infinite.

You are an underground network of roots, connecting us all in the dark, nurturing one through the death of another.

The bones of night shrug perfectly through your naked shoulders, starlight trickles down your face; your moon-blood is the dew of devotion.

When you cannot laugh, you don't try; you bless the shadow, and those who mourn are lifted by your perfect sorrow.

And if you laugh, it is real, it is sunrise; it is the perfect clarity of dawn.

When you emerge from your element, the bath, unborn children gather in a sunbeam to sparkle on your perfectly brown flesh.

You shelter the perfect delight of the ancient forest between your thighs, where a portal opens from earth to heaven.

Your hands so perfect, when you make them empty to offer nothing, they hold the sky;

Your eyes so perfect that when countless angels leap into the well over there, they whirl into this world, over here;

You cause the smallest noticeable creatures to exist with your perfect seeing, which spills among ferns into forest pools, where they dart to spawn and die among the gleaming intimate pebbles of your mindfulness.

When you dance, the green beneath extends you; you roll the earth and make the seasons forget themselves, the rose in December, the ice jewel on an April trillium.

In you are all anomalies, woven by the asymmetrical glance: when nature makes her perfect mistakes, the sparrow sings, "Of course! Or course!"

There had to be pain to make you this perfect: there had to be a darkness in delight.

And when you sleep, other planets stir in your cauldron of dreams; the dance continues in the perfect void.

There, inscrutable patterns appear on your egg, like cracks: the perfect Words that sing us before we are conceived.

We come from you; from you we come, enwombed in woman.

That is why I offer this poem of gratitude.
______________
You may hear this poem read HERE 
______________
Art by Jasmine Aldin

3/21/2013

3 Kinds of Knowledge


There are three kinds of knowledge. First, the knowledge of those who think they know, but really know nothing but their thoughts. Second, the knowledge of those who think they don't know. And third, the knowledge of awareness without thinking.

Those who think they know dwell in ignorance and bring sorrow. Those who think they do not know are on the path; they enjoy the fruits of humility. Those who know awareness without thinking are awake; they are fully present; they bring peace.

3/19/2013

Sadhana


I searched for a practice to lead me there.
The search was a mountain, the practice a wall.
I was the distance between us.
But you were very near.
You whispered in my breath,
"Just give me this."
I found you in my heart.
Now my practice
is You.


Breathe

"Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again." ~Thich Nhat Hanh

"The mind is the king of the senses, but the breath is the king of the mind." ~Hatha Yoga Pradipika

 "Let Jesus be your breath." ~Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, 13th C. Orthodox Christian. 

All spiritual traditions are united by gentle attention to the breath, because the breath is the spirit and the spirit is the breath. Ruach means both spirit and breath in Biblical Hebrew. Pneuma means both spirit and breath in New Testament Greek. Chi unites spirit and breath in Taoism. Prana unites spirit and breath in Yoga. 

Let every breath be an invitation to soften the heart of the world.

Reflection


O mind, you drop words into this well, weeping for What Should Be. If you let the water grow still, you could see the Heart gazing back, drowned in the silence of what Is.

"When I am silent, I fall into that place where everything is music." ~Rumi

3/18/2013

Become the Seed


Sugar from the cane sweetens a thousand dishes, yet the cane grows from a seed that has no sweetness, no taste at all. Transcendental Deep Meditation does not taste like fruit because it takes you to the seed. And that is why so many who crave sweets reject such an effortless yet profound meditation.

They do not understand that, entering into transcendental silence, one goes beyond sweet and bitter, light and dark, pleasant and unpleasant. One enters the absolute Source of creation, where all possibilities are concentrated into pure Truth, pure Being, pure Consciousness, the way all the branches, flowers and fruits of the sugar cane plant are concentrated in a hidden seed.

The turiya state of awareness, as explained in the Upanishads, is beyond waking, dreaming and sleep. In turiya there is no experience whatsoever, because there is no experiencer. There is no subject-object relationship because there are not two. There is absolutely no relativity.

Yet emerging from meditation, the mind sparkles with sweetness, the senses are charged with beauty, love radiates from the heart. Become the seed, then blossom.

Jai Guru Dev.

'Piper At The Gates of Dawn'


From Chapter VII of Kenneth Graham's, 'The Wind In The Willows.' One of the most profound passages of spiritual writing in all of English literature. Some Spring morning very soon, won't you and a friend take a walk by the river bank too, along the meadow to the edge of the forest, listening?

A bird piped suddenly, and was still; and a light breeze sprang up and set the reeds and bulrushes rustling. Rat, who was in the stern of the boat, while Mole sculled, sat up suddenly and listened with a passionate intentness. Mole, who with gentle strokes was just keeping the boat moving while he scanned the banks with care, looked at him with curiosity.

`It's gone!' sighed the Rat, sinking back in his seat again. `So beautiful and strange and new. Since it was to end so soon, I almost wish I had never heard it. For it has roused a longing in me that is pain, and nothing seems worth while but just to hear that sound once more and go on listening to it for ever. No! There it is again!' he cried, alert once more. Entranced, he was silent for a long space, spellbound.

`Now it passes on and I begin to lose it,' he said presently. `O Mole! the beauty of it! The merry bubble and joy, the thin, clear, happy call of the distant piping! Such music I never dreamed of, and the call in it is stronger even than the music is sweet! Row on, Mole, row! For the music and the call must be for us.'

The Mole, greatly wondering, obeyed. `I hear nothing myself,' he said, `but the wind playing in the reeds and rushes and osiers.'

The Rat never answered, if indeed he heard. Rapt, transported, trembling, he was possessed in all his senses by this new divine thing that caught up his helpless soul and swung and dandled it, a powerless but happy infant in a strong sustaining grasp.

In silence Mole rowed steadily, and soon they came to a point where the river divided, a long backwater branching off to one side. With a slight movement of his head Rat, who had long dropped the rudder-lines, directed the rower to take the backwater. The creeping tide of light gained and gained, and now they could see the colour of the flowers that gemmed the water's edge.

`Clearer and nearer still,' cried the Rat joyously. `Now you must surely hear it! Ah--at last--I see you do!'

Breathless and transfixed the Mole stopped rowing as the liquid run of that glad piping broke on him like a wave, caught him up, and possessed him utterly. He saw the tears on his comrade's cheeks, and bowed his head and understood. For a space they hung there, brushed by the purple loose-strife that fringed the bank; then the clear imperious summons that marched hand-in-hand with the intoxicating melody imposed its will on Mole, and mechanically he bent to his oars again. And the light grew steadily stronger, but no birds sang as they were wont to do at the approach of dawn; and but for the heavenly music all was marvellously still.

On either side of them, as they glided onwards, the rich meadow-grass seemed that morning of a freshness and a greenness unsurpassable. Never had they noticed the roses so vivid, the willow-herb so riotous, the meadow-sweet so odorous and pervading. Then the murmur of the approaching weir began to hold the air, and they felt a consciousness that they were nearing the end, whatever it might be, that surely awaited their expedition.

A wide half-circle of foam and glinting lights and shining shoulders of green water, the great weir closed the backwater from bank to bank, troubled all the quiet surface with twirling eddies and floating foam-streaks, and deadened all other sounds with its solemn and soothing rumble. In midmost of the stream, embraced in the weir's shimmering arm-spread, a small island lay anchored, fringed close with willow and silver birch and alder. Reserved, shy, but full of significance, it hid whatever it might hold behind a veil, keeping it till the hour should come, and, with the hour, those who were called and chosen.

Slowly, but with no doubt or hesitation whatever, and in something of a solemn expectancy, the two animals passed through the broken tumultuous water and moored their boat at the flowery margin of the island. In silence they landed, and pushed through the blossom and scented herbage and undergrowth that led up to the level ground, till they stood on a little lawn of a marvellous green, set round with Nature's own orchard-trees-- crab-apple, wild cherry, and sloe.

`This is the place of my song-dream, the place the music played to me,' whispered the Rat, as if in a trance. `Here, in this holy place, here if anywhere, surely we shall find Him!'

Then suddenly the Mole felt a great Awe fall upon him, an awe that turned his muscles to water, bowed his head, and rooted his feet to the ground. It was no panic terror--indeed he felt wonderfully at peace and happy--but it was an awe that smote and held him and, without seeing, he knew it could only mean that some august Presence was very, very near. With difficulty he turned to look for his friend. and saw him at his side cowed, stricken, and trembling violently. And still there was utter silence in the populous bird-haunted branches around them; and still the light grew and grew.

Perhaps he would never have dared to raise his eyes, but that, though the piping was now hushed, the call and the summons seemed still dominant and imperious. He might not refuse, were Death himself waiting to strike him instantly, once he had looked with mortal eye on things rightly kept hidden. Trembling he obeyed, and raised his humble head; and then, in that utter clearness of the imminent dawn, while Nature, flushed with fulness of incredible colour, seemed to hold her breath for the event, he looked in the very eyes of the Friend and Helper; saw the backward sweep of the curved horns, gleaming in the growing daylight; saw the stern, hooked nose between the kindly eyes that were looking down on them humourously, while the bearded mouth broke into a half-smile at the corners; saw the rippling muscles on the arm that lay across the broad chest, the long supple hand still holding the pan-pipes only just fallen away from the parted lips; saw the splendid curves of the shaggy limbs disposed in majestic ease on the sward; saw, last of all, nestling between his very hooves, sleeping soundly in entire peace and contentment, the little, round, podgy, childish form of the baby otter. All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.

`Rat!' he found breath to whisper, shaking. `Are you afraid?'

`Afraid?' murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love. `Afraid! Of him? O, never, never! And yet--and yet-- O, Mole, I am afraid!'

Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.

3/17/2013

Become Perfect


My love for you is the way of dissolving, 
taught by the pollen to the bee. 
No blossom is required;
the fragrance has escaped its form. 
I am your breath, I have entered your core. 
It is you who must draw nearer now.
"How can I draw near?" you ask. 
Become perfect, accept yourself just as you are. 
This is what God does with a twig, 
and that is how it buds.
This is what God does with a bud
and that is how it bursts.
Why do a mother's nipples flow with milk?
Because, in the thirst of her baby,
she sees her own divinity.

Ripening the Heart


When the heart ripens, the whole world tastes sweet.

But when the heart is unconscious, the world tastes bitter and hard as unripe fruit. We try to sweeten our senses with artificial stimulants: alcohol, drugs, dangerous edgy adventure, endless groping for a sexual partner, and a barrage of media noise, all to no avail. Because nothing sweetens the world from outside. Only the fragrance released from our innermost core can do that.

What sweetens and softens our core? Divine Grace. Only the sunbeam touch of the master's Grace ripens us from within.

3/16/2013

Which Story?


Since there is no final proof, its all a story, and we get to believe whichever story we choose. Which story do you prefer?

(1) The story about a universe that is random and has no purpose, no plot? Random particles from the void combine to form intricately complex nervous systems that somehow, just by chance, generate thought, imagination and memory. And out of this random chaos without a story we start creating... a story! Yes, we creatures of the universe can do something that the universe cannot do.

(2) Here is the other story: A boundless field of pure consciousness yearns to experience itself as an other for the sake of love, and so generates other selves out of its Self-awareness. Needing a vehicles to separate individual selves, this one supreme consciousness solidifies into matter and evolves ever more complex nervous systems, until the human body can say, like its divine progenitor, "I Am." Then, having atomized the absolute One into an infinite diversity, the process if reintegration can occur. Two selves in love become a family of love, families of love become communities of love, then planets of love, inter-planetary federations of love, galactic tribes and inter-galactic tribal pow wows of boundless love realizing its original unity as many in One, atoms in a cosmic body, glued into a single "I Am" by synapses of ecstatic communion.

Now which story do you choose to believe: the one that requires absolutely no imagination, or the one that asks you to imagine us at our best?

Besides, the story without God is soooo boring...

The Greatest Achievement


The master is not here to help you achieve great deeds. The master is here to help you become ordinary. Becoming an ordinary human being is the greatest achievement. It means that you forgive everything, and surrender. Wondrous deeds, both great and small, spring from the soil of the ordinary.

If you ask someone who has done a deed that others call "great" and "heroic," they will tell you that they never set out to do something great or heroic. They responded to an impulse of natural human compassion. For them, in that moment, the extraordinary was ordinary.

If there is a God and a Judgment, when we stand before the throne of the Almighty, God will not ask us what extraordinary deeds we have accomplished. God will ask us if we succeeded in becoming human.

Taste of Love

Your child does not need a fancy school or fancy clothes or fancy vacations or a fancy house. Your child needs only one small treasure for a lifetime, and it cannot be purchased. Your child needs a taste of Unconditional Love.

Without a taste of that Love, we cannot feel at home anywhere, no matter how much wealth, status or education we acquire. A heart-worm of anxiety will spoil the fruit of every achievement, and a nagging question will haunt our days: "Am I really acceptable? Do I really have a right to be here? Am I not a stranger on the earth?"

Through that unanswered question, we will invent a culture, an economy, a religion, alienated from the Mother and alienated from the planet we walk on.
Yet with a foundation in Unconditional Love, yes, even the briefest taste in our memory, we will always feel a living Center within, a Sun behind the clouds. We will feel at home on the earth because there once was Love at home, and that Love ever abides in the heart.

I thank my father and my mother, despite all their human faults, because they loved me, just as I Am.

_____________

Painting: 'Mother and Child' (1892) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

3/14/2013

Your Heartbeat Says 'Am Wonderful'


Rest in a heartbeat.

All through the darkest hours, the message of your heartbeat is so clear, so regular: "Am wonderful, Am wonderful, Am wonderful."

Now some very clever person will ask, "Who is the I who makes this claim?"

Am not the ego who clings to a dream of continuity, but the Ecstatic Am, completely liberated to die each moment. Am not constructed from a chain of thoughts. 

When dawn sparkles on the sea, which spark of dazzling bewilderment specifically are "you"? To analyze the Self and Not-Self is to grasp for sunbeams on waves.

Dancing on a sea of loss and dissolution, Am buoyed up, recreated, never one moment old, beating out of the void, returning to the void.

Teachers of non-dualism and nirvana cause unnatural strain, and only contribute more suffering to the world, if they tell their students to annihilate the ecstatic Am of the heart. 

Let the ecstasy of existence throb from the silence of No-Self. A photon of light has an infinite charge, yet a half-life of less than an instant. Out of its annihilation, another photon is born.

Be unlimited possibility, never one moment old. Be an ever dissolving infinite charge. Live like a photon.

3/13/2013

Smile


There is nothing more imperishable than your real smile, the smile that seeks nothing from others, the smile that wells up from the same source as tears, the smile from the silent core of your heart, shining through night and day, through birth and death.

Sighs


There are as many paths to God
as human hearts,
as many names for God
as there are sighs.
First we talk philosophy,
then get serious and sing.

Names drown in music.
Lovers quarrel over where to have supper,
then they eat, drink wine,
and gaze between candles
with perfect understanding
in the silent language of fire.
We have a hundred restaurants to choose from,
but the point is what happens
when we are full.

الطرق إلى الله
هناك طرق عديدة إلى الله
بعدد قلوب البشر.
وأسماء كثيرة لله
بعدد تنهدات القلوب.
أولا نتحدث في الفلسفة،
ثم نتحول إلى الجِدية، فنغنّي.
وتغرق أسماؤنا في الموسيقى.
يتجادل المحبان عن مكان العشاء،
بعدها يتناولان الطعام، ويشربان الخمرة،
ويحدقان بين الشموع
في تفاهم مطلق
عبر لغة النار الصامتة.
لدينا مئات المطاعم لنختار من بينها،
لكن الأهم هو ما يحدث
عند الثمالة.
Translated into Arabic by Dana Chamseddine
Painting by Jeri Moore

Not a Lover


It is not a lover your body needs
but the flame of Presence
upon the wick of its agreement.
Ignite your reed of stars.
Sway with the rhythm of your hollowness.
What you see in other eyes
is the yearning you feel
for where the yearning begins.

Perceive Being


To perceive the beauty of the Rose without losing the beauty of the Perceiver, is to redeem the world.

When I perceive a thing that Is, but do not perceive its Being, I am lost in materialism. But when I perceive a thing without losing my perception of the Being who creates, pervades, and encompasses it, I enter the ocean of God.

No thing is blissful. Yet Being is bliss. When we meditate, we dive into the pure bliss of Being, so that when we emerge from meditation, we may truly taste the world, redeeming the world with mere consciousness, by perceiving things that Are without losing the perception of their Being.

After meditation, I perceive not only this rose, but its Being. All things that Are, bathe in the clarity of the ocean of their Being, and their Being is who I Am.

When You're In Love You Can Eat Anything


"Jesus pronounced all foods pure." ~Mark 7:19

When you're not in love, all food is unclean.
When you're in love, you can eat anything.
I've been in love since the creation of the world.
Tonight I'm having Ben & Jerry's 

Mycelium Honey Mushroom 
Butterscotch Peyote Crunch.
I love you.

Never Think of God!


"The rose led us to our eyes." (Hafiz)

Silence is an organizing principle more potent that thought.

God is no more grasped by thought than the colors of a sunset, the fragrance of a rose, or the cry of a mother at the birth of her child. Beauty stuns the mind into silence, beauty heals, beauty awakens. Beauty is destiny, and God is the beauty in beautiful things. In beauty there is no need for belief.

Find small beauties in an ordinary day. Share them. Heal your world with a hundred stunned silences!

God is a Presence, not a thought. The grace of fully awakened Presence descends like morning dew out of the climate of a clear heart, freed from thinking.

Can God be contained in a belief, in words or images fabricated out of thinking? Is God the conclusion of an intellectual argument?

A thought cannot apprehend anything but another thought. Therefor, thoughts cannot find God. Thoughts can only find images of themselves, graven out of mind-stuff. Idols molded from thought are far more dangerous than idols of silver and gold.

What a sacrilege to declare that I can think of God! If I could think God, my mind would be the Creator of God. Then God would be no God, but a creature. Therefor, in the most orthodox religious sense, any attempt to apprehend God through thinking is blasphemy.

Bija


A thread of yearning binds awareness to the Winter world
as dew webs weave mist into a primrose.
There is causality between transcendence and creation.
It glistens in moonlit drops of seeing.
Because the wheels of silence churn the emptiness
between twigs, blind sap nipples its little red buds.
That timid stranger, the sun, glances at her seeds.
Therefor the garden slips into something more comfortable. 
Not by chance do purple iris stiffen their pale shoots
while, under the loam, golden mushrooms undulate
one woven trillion-headed root. No, barefoot walker,
there's a Witness, deeper in quietness than time,
who must be muttering the bija, 'Spring!'

3/12/2013

Wedding


Solidify your consciousness into a diamond; dissolve your matter into light.

Where the rivers converge, attend the marriage of the Goddess and Lord Shiva.

They dance in every atom of your body, every shimmer of your mind; one is a particle, the other a wave, two forms, one love.

There is nothing to hold in concentration, there is nothing to reject as impure; simply attend, attend the wedding!

Their dispassionate passion creates the world, an orgasm beyond desire, a consummation that has always already happened.

He sings, "Your love is sweeter than wine; your name is perfume poured out!"

She sings, "Lead me into your chamber, O King; I am the garden and you are the Spring!"

Attend whoever you are, wherever you have been; attend whether saint or sinner, foolish or wise.

Have you lost your invitation? It makes no difference: attend!

Whether you sit with the guests of the Bride or the Groom, whether you come by way of Matter or Spirit: attend!

You shall be honored, most honored of guests; attend the marriage of your body and your soul!

3/11/2013

Look Into My Tears


"Look for the remedy inside the pain, because the rose came from the thorn and the ruby came from a stone." ~Rumi

Everyone carries a dark secret.
We do not know its name.
It is the same secret in all of us.
Sometimes we smile to hide it
because we are afraid
it is our secret alone.
We never consider that the person
who smiles back carries the same
darkness.
We only find that out
when we are allowed to look
into each others
tears.
Then darkness fearlessly
embraced blossoms
into light,
a true smile
from the heart.
Here is a deeper secret:
I smile from your heart,
you smile from mine.
This secret has a name:
God.

Shaman's Dream


The shaman's drum takes me to the night forest, where I am surrounded by a silent circle of coyote eyes.

There I scent the presence of the great Mother. Gazing beyond this world, her pupils contain every ocean, rain and snow and mountain springs. Wind is her breath, passionate, pure, one and the same breath for making love, giving birth, and dying. Fire is her mindfulness, insisting on a space that is more than her body.

The dark mountain cave between her thighs is the portal to the stars. There where all elements are merged, emerges a new tribe. Each man and woman is made of the North and South, the East and West. Each is Fire, Water, Earth and Air. They enter the world as glistening talismans, symbolizing nothing but themselves.

Now I hear them singing: "We are waves of one another in the circle of the sea. From the waters we dance forth as flames, who sing not I but We. We're busy choosing our own names, as what we do, not who we've been. There is no law but share. There is no sin. We're born of earth. Our wealth is our own afterbirth. Like mountains shimmering into skies, our home is everywhere. Our leaders are a circle of coyote eyes."

I return to the sound of the shaman's drum. Thank you, Cedar.

_______
 

Picture: AKL at the Longhouse, where we meet for Common Bread

Inner Ground


Krishna Loka, Brahma Loka, the world of Krishna, the world of Brahma. These are locations. The Sanskrit "loka" is the root of the English "local." In the end all spirituality, like all politics, is local.

When we first begin to transcend and experience divine emptiness, boundless awareness free from thought, that purity of consciousness may seem to be cosmic, diffuse, universal. But as the experience deepens, consciousness solidifies into a jewel.

We also know from quantum physics that the vacuum contains "virtual electrons" of energy and "virtual photons" of light. These waves or "fluctuations of the vacuum" each express the infinite field. Yet in a paradox which lies at the heart of matter, these non-localized waves also behave as local particles, "lokas" in the grid of the void.

Spirituality is the paradoxical union of the particular and the boundless. We enter cosmic consciousness through a breath, a body, an atom of focus. We become universal as we fully individualize. The formless sea in a ripple. The infinite dancing in a fractal of the finite. "To see a world in a grain of sand," as Blake wrote. The Upanishads declare, "Ano ranyan mahato mahiyan: one atom of the smallest is greater than the greatest."

We are not just Buddhic emptiness, not just Eckhartian spaciousness. We are this body in this moment in this breath. As we continue to practice transcendental deep meditation, the abstraction of our pure consciousness becomes as solid as diamond. Emptiness free from thought becomes adamant as a marble floor. We touch the Philosopher's Stone, sought by alchemists. We realize "chitta mani," the Wish-Granting Jewel of the Vedas. We raise the Diamond-Pointed Sword of the Buddha, and discover Jesus's Pearl of Great Price. Only this solidification of pure consciousness explains the mystical symbolism of Exodus 24:10, where the elders of Israel received the vision of God:
"They saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky."
When we enter the deepest transcendental consciousness, we too stand upon that gem-like azure radiance, the very ground of the I Am. We make the abstract concrete, compared to which the material world is a mirage in desert air.

Your inner solidity is your "loka," your location in the cosmos. It is the unique jewel of your individuality, condensed into diamond light from pure consciousness. So stand your inner ground. Don't look for it on earth, or on any other world. The ground of your world is within you, as You.

Painting: Alicia Hayes

3/10/2013

Allegory of Spring


Your goal has blossomed into a thousand paths.
Each petal leads back to the pollen where you began.
Slowly, you move in all directions, traveling nowhere.
When anyone asks you to dance,
ever so politely you reply, 'No thank you.
Can't you see, I am already given to whirling?'
This is the etiquette of God's betrothed.
Even if Springtime were to bow at your feet,
you would demure, you would say,
'I only grow wild for the One
who planted the garden.'

Tears of the Buddha



"I"
have brought you thus far,
teaching you to sweep away
the past with a single breath. 
Now go forward without 
"Me."
A tear knows how to well up 
and when to fall
without anyone inside crying,
no one at all
but the Autumn moon 
bending toward the last
chrysanthemum 
to weep through your eyes.
That is how your tears become 
tears of the Buddha.

3/09/2013

Parable of Raven Christ

Painting by my dear friend, Liz Miller.

 I.
While trekking through the high sage desert, I found Christ trapped in an empty Church, shattering stained glass windows, rattling prison bars, pounding on the door from inside. Chains and shackles of dogma bound his wrists and ankles, more terrible than any nail wounds.

He shouted, "You, you have the key! Open the door!" He was pointing frantically at my mouth.

"What key?" I asked.

"Your breath," he replied.

So I breathed through the keyhole of that ancient door until it opened, whereupon Christ became a rare white mother raven with a wingspan that stretched to the far horizons, East and West. She rose into the sky, carrying the moon and all the stars on her back. She grasped the earth in her talons like a mouse.

Spiraling outward to the end of the ages, then circling back to my shoulder, she perched by my left ear and whispered, "You, you are the Master." This jolted me so deeply that I woke up, terrified.

"Woe, I'm doomed!" I cried, "for I am a man of unclean lips!" It was early Sunday morning, October 31. Quickly, I cleansed myself from the dream, brushed my teeth, and departed for Church to confess the sinful things I had imagined.
_____________

II.
In the great Peter Weir film, 'The Last Wave,' an Australian aborigine speaks to a white lawyer: "You people have lost your dreams. Now they have come back to you, and you don't know what they mean." We of the rational over-educated West get all the wisdom we need from our dreams, but we don't remember them. We don't want to remember them because we fear the world of vision, the dream-time.

This parable of Jesus the White Mother Raven is not a blasphemy. It is entirely Biblical. It calls brave mystics of a new age to trust their dreams instead of the dreamless 'Christianity' invented at the Council of Nicaea, 300 years after Jesus died. Is it not time for us to re-awaken the primal spirituality that fired the bellies of earlier churches, when the Holy Spirit was female?

Jesus compares himself to a mother bird in Luke 13:31-35. "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone the messengers; how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not!" God speaks through the Prophet Isaiah: "Can a mother forget the infant at her breast? So I will never forget you." (Isaiah 49:15) One of the Old Testament names of God is El Shaddai, "God of the breasts." Christian mystics like St. Catherine and Dame Julian of Norwich spoke of "Mother Jesus."

Before Constantine and the imperial Bishops of Nicaea shackled the Holy Spirit in a prison of intellectual dogma, that Spirit was a woman. Prior to 325 CE, diverse images of God, Spirit and Christ flamed out of the dream-time to inspire the primal Church. Primal Christians developed their personal faith in a climate free from ecclesiastical constraint. For many of them, the Holy Spirit represented the feminine power of Wisdom, known as Hochmah in Jewish mysticism, Sophia in Greek. The Trinity was an organic family of Father, Mother, and Child.

Spirit and Breath are synonymous. In both the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament, the word for breath is precisely the same word used for Spirit (Ruach and Pneuma). Jesus uses this pun in John's Gospel: "He breathed upon them and said, Receive the spirit." This was Shaktipat initiation, a technique well-attested in the Yoga tradition. The Master awakens the Kundalini Shakti in the devotee's subtle body. Shakti rises through the spine as divine energy carried in the breath. Our Kundalini Shakti is that portion of divinity poured out into each one of us as our fuel for reconnecting with the Source. Living breath in this human body is our link to the Holy Spirit of God. Every religion, in its origin, emphasizes the healing and enlightening power of breath, whether we call it Shakti, Chi, or Spirit.

And this energized breath is a feminine power. She rises up dancing in our spine to seek her Lover, the Lord of creation. Through her radiant expansion, our breath merges with God's breath in the heart. In each of our bodies, the power of Christ-Conscious Breath renews that first breath given to Adam, when God changed dust into a living soul.

Nocturnes & Preludes: Poems with Chopin


Poems written with Chopin as an early morning discipline, upon awakening. They arose from the waters between waking and sleep. She who receives them knows Herself...

Here is a video of my reading.

"Love is the voice beneath all silences..." ~ e. e. cummings



Ruthlessly love
loosens every veil,
then slays nakedness herself.
Even if every leafless branch
reminds me of summer,
my discipline
is Not Knowing.
Breath moves the night
as wind drives withered leaves:
effortlessly.




Jasmine breeze across the sea.
My art of love consists in this:
filling the distance between us
with the fragrance
where I buried my soul.
A scent contains its blossom.
To be a lover is to breathe.



A fountain of white petals,
your breath.
The season of Spring
heaving
in your chest.
This gentle rain,
the assent of olive skin
to contain your soul
and many stars.
Your gesture,
the curve of the horizon
over fathomless water.
Your nearness
is my longing:
that is the secret...
You nearness, my longing.



The silence
at the center of the storm
never judges the wind.
All this turbulence, my dear,
is outside you.
The blue emptiness of space
remains the same.
But a little whirling, with a beam 
from the slightest star, 
and you call it morning 
instead of night.
Let my love remind you
of your stillness. 




My Beloved wears
a new perfume
called 'Annihilation.'
One caress, she vanishes.
Within me,
inconsolable yearning
from the well of her absence.
Yet this fountain of tears
is her womb
and my face is buried
in her fragrant
tumbling blackness.



Unfolding Autumn rose:
Relax. 
Relax now, not later. 
There is no later.
Sigh from your center. 
Drop all your petals,
Autumn rose.
Relax now, not later.
There is no later.



You, you.
You are the Original.
The Beloved composed you
a rough draft, no rhyme.
The mixed metaphor
of your loins, your bird-nest palms,
your spiraling gaze,
confounds me with beauty.
You are a pollinated raindrop
of fire,
a green dewy planet sliding
down my pale cheek,
as I am God.
The least grammatical phrase
of your swaying hips,
your tilted face,
evokes a garden in my chest,
Eden.
You gush from the womb
of poetry,
an orphan whose mother
never leaves you.
Gabriel commands, "Recite!"
the first Sura
is your body, brown and whole.



Every joy
your heart can sing
is a wave of silence
in the ocean of a teardrop
on Mary's cheek.
She longs for the Beloved too.
Even those
who never knew this glance
search for it in a stranger's eyes.
Thus we are all connected
by the pain of love.

Between Your Toes


The sadness of a shoe.
Anger unhugged mud.
Embrace the barefoot darkness,
get seeds of light between your toes.
Then the mountain is made of sky,
sky is made of mountain.
Tears of the earth, blossoms
on plum twigs and coyote weeds.
No forgiving without giving.
I hear your howl, Mother.

3/07/2013

Grace Doesn't Care

'God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.' ~Matthew 5:45

Light doesn't care where it shines. Neither does Grace.

A buttercup receives as much radiance as the whole Catholic Church. The fluttering silence of a dragonfly can teach you as much as the Master.

The notion that God picks and chooses is an invention of the human ego. Grace does not prefer a golden grail to an earthen jar, or a Christian cup to a Buddhist bowl.

God is a profligate wine steward offering the best vintage all night long, to the party crasher as well as the invited guest. Our capacity to receive varies not according to God's preference, but to the degree that our cup is empty.

Philippians 2:7 states that Jesus 'emptied himself' completely. The Greek word is 'kinosis,' self-emptying. That is why he was so full of light.

Once I asked my Gurudev, 'Who are you, really? Some compare you to Shankara, to Jesus, to Krishna. So who are you?' He looked at me with eyes as resplendently void as the center of the galaxy. Then he said, 'I am Nobody.'

He meant it. To understand what he meant has taken me decades, but I knew that moment he was my Guru.

No Church, no Pope, no Master, no Elect, no People are 'chosen.' The whole ocean of divine Grace pours into each human heartbeat, whoever we are, despite our past deeds. We drown in glory, as poppies are drenched in sunbeams. Yet this blossom only receives to the degree that it opens.

Don't pray for God's Grace. Assume that you already have it, pressed out and overflowing in this very breath. The Way is not to travel anywhere, but to open, to open, to open, right where you are.

Your Work and Mine


"Your work is grace, my work is opening.
Your work is light, my work is receiving.
Your work is to pour, my work is overflowing.

Under the milk of your beams, the gold 
invisible awakening, the furious nectar 
of desire from pale broken seeds, 
this empty cup, a wild rose among thorns. 
I am the garden, you are the Spring.
My achievement is your presence." 
Thus ends the song I heard
among the roots and twigs this morning. 
We learn by listening to creatures 
who sing when they burst open.

Painting by Georgia O'Keefe

3/06/2013

Spirituality is Living Intentionally


If I want to savor a moment in eternity it's up to me to make the time. I am here to lead an intentional life.

It's useless to say, "All time is sacred, every now is eternal." Those are just words. Eternity is an experience, and it is completely different from duration. That is why the New Testament has different words for chronological time, chronos, and the eternal now, kairos. We intentionally set aside sacred times for prayer, meditation, chanting, worship. Then by grace, the eternal Presence begins to seep into time.

It's useless for me to say, "The whole earth is sacred," if I am too careless to hold space intentionally, sacred space for song, for dance, for worship. When I hold sacred space, the all-pervading Presence gradually seeps into my footsteps. Yes, eventually wherever I walk becomes sacred. In Black Elk's words, "Let every step you take be as a prayer." Yet this gift of grace flows into my life only if I make room for it, through intention.

It's rather arrogant to shrug my shoulders and say, "Everything is sacred already; why bother to engage in spiritual practice?" We are here to walk an intentional walk.

And rather arrogant to say, "Every breath is holy: I need not practice mindful breathing." Breath without intention is just an unconscious biological mechanism. But breath plus awareness equals prana, the most creative power in creation. Prana is the Holy Breath of the Spirit. We are here to breathe an intentional life.

And just as arrogant to say, "Whatever I do is service." Unconscious action is not seva. My actions become seva when I intentionally offer them for the life of the whole creation. We are here to serve intentionally.

Intention does not mean concentration or drudgery. I cannot make life intentional through mental or bodily force. A neurotic life tries to control the world. An intentional life witnesses the world.

Intention flowers deep inside, in the witnessing heart. The heart of the witness agrees to remain awake. The heart of the witness vows not to get lost in desire, worry, and the thought of past and future. When attention strays, intention returns. Intention gently shifts the mind back into Presence. This is what Jesus meant when he said, "Watch and pray."

God's work is grace. Our work is to stay open.

When we agree to stay open, we are practicing an intentional life. Francis of Assisi, Theresa of Avila, Hildegard of Bingen, Rabia, Mirabai, Ghandi, King, all led intentional lives. Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed did not say, "It's all sacred, whatever you do;" they taught specific practices for consecrating time, space and action.

We are here to awaken, and to offer our awareness, our breath, our walk, our work with intention. We begin by setting aside consecrated times and spaces in our day. Moments of transcendence become sacred hours, hours become sacred days. Finally, God willing, the ocean of eternity breaks through into our every day and night. The light of Presence breaks through into our dwelling place, wherever we are. The kingdom of heaven comes to earth not just because it is a free gift from the divine, but because we welcome the gift through our sadana, our spiritual practice.

Our practice makes awakening concrete. Only one who chooses to be awake can be surprised by Grace.

Shift


To recharge the universe with warmth and color, shift attention from what you want to what you have. One blossom, dripping with raindrops, is enough. Desire drains, but gratitude creates.

Photo by almost alice

Dew and Stars


It's all about opening the souls of your feet to the dew of the earth, and the crown of your head to the song of the stars, and feeling what runs up, and feeling what runs down, and feeling where they kiss in the spiral and the helix of your heart.

3/05/2013

If You Sing


If you sing to God, whether you cry Allah, Jesus, Radhe or Shyam, I will listen.

If you dance with God, whether veiled or naked, I will play the drum.

If you shake your fist at God, I will say Amen, for that is also prayer.

If you move barefoot and silent through the forest, every step an offering, I will follow.

For the foot is sacred, the earth is sacred, the walk itself is God.

Whirl me in your sunbeam like a withered leaf; wash me in your mountain brook; bewilder the wild place in my soul.

But do not recite me dead men's letters, your ancient prophets, your holy scrolls; speak your own word.

I am not of the past, I do not believe; I taste and see, I feast on the living.

Words must be on fire to enter my chest, or made of roots and twigs, moonbeams, darkness.

3/03/2013

Secrets


Tonight I am telling ten thousand secrets 
in one word: Surrender...
Now that the others have run off to sell it,
I'll share the real secret, friend:
You were already surrendered
the moment He created you
for his love.

Where Is Christ Now?


The only serious theological question for Christians is, where is Christ right now? That is the great Christian koan.

I studied in seminary for years with some of the world's great Biblical scholars. I read the Bible in Hebrew and Greek. I took many courses in Christian history, philosophy, theology. They provided lots of data about the Jesus of history, and lots of speculations about his coming in the future, but these teachings never answered the one question of real importance for a Christian: how can I experience Christ in this very moment?

I did service work in prisons, mental hospitals and homeless shelters. I actually ran a shelter for families. I looked for Christ in the poor and the hungry and the sick. This work brought me closer to his countenance than studying books! But still, I did not actually meet Christ in person, touch his radiance, or experience the substance of his Being. So I kept asking the Christian koan: where is Christ right now?

Through a simple meditation practice, taught by a guru from India, I found the answer.

At this very moment, Christ is in samadhi. In fact, Christ is samadhi. Sama means same, unchanging. Dhi means enlivened consciousness. Samadhi is the sparkling clarity of pure awareness aware of itself. That is Christ. He is the seamless subject who underlies this entire objective creation, the Logos out of whose silent unity the world appears in all its diverse forms. Christ is the radiance of our own consciousness.

Christ does not redeem the world by his birth, his death on the cross, or his rising from the tomb. Christ redeems the world by resting in what is not born, what cannot die, what never departs. Christ heals the world through presence, enfolding the earth in compassion, immersing all creatures in the bliss of his deathless samadhi.

With every breath I take, Christ is born in me. And when I rest in deep meditation, I am reborn in Christ. To experience Christ as my own samadhi is his Second Coming.

3/02/2013

Advice Not Taken From A Gnat


The gnat said to the caterpillar, 'Don't waste time in a cocoon. Teach yourself to fly like me.'

But the caterpillar felt a strange yearning. The cry of imaginal cells arose from her belly. So she built a cocoon and went deep into the mystery of silence. The gnat said, 'She's doing nothing in there.' Then the gnat curled up and died in a thimble-full of frost.

After a timeless swim through the void, a quiver arose on the twig, a bundle of withered excretion burst like an old wound, and a double rainbow of glistening Spring unfurled pure flight. She wondered, 'Who is moving, the sky or my wings?' She imagined her translucent body in the world, and so it is. She imagined the world in her translucent body, and so it is.

Never say that nothing happens in meditation. It is an infinite transformation. But when you come out, you must not forget to use your rainbow wings.
__________________
 

LINK: Scientist Lincoln Brower describers the 'biological miracle' of the imaginal cells in a butterfly's cocoon.

Witness Her Dance


 "I cannot meditate. My mind wanders and my thoughts race."

But your mind is the Goddess Shakti. And you are Shiva, watching her dance. How can you be in conflict with your mind when Shakti is so beautiful, and Shiva is so stunned into silence?

Lord Shiva is your own pure awareness, stunned into silence by Parvati's creative power, the sinuous dance of your own mind. Shiva is not stunned into unconsciousness, but into more radiant consciousness. And the more Shiva has to witness, the more conscious Shiva becomes! 

Let your mind wander and spin to the edges of the universe, caressing the galaxies. When you understand that your relationship with your mind is the relationship of Shiva and Mother Divine, there is no more conflict with thoughts. They come and they go in boundless silence. They arise from the vacuum and dissolve into the void. Every meditation is empty and clear, even when it whirls with thoughts, just as the desert air is empty and clear, even though it shimmers with a mirage.

There is nothing more beautiful than to witness the work of grace: to watch the Goddess Shakti blossom through your heart into the world. Her movement lures pure consciousness into creation. She dances at the wedding of Purusha and Prakriti.

Shakti, who is none other than the play of your thoughts, irradiates the cosmos with splendor, cleansing, healing, re-creating earth and stars, not through your will but hers alone. You are just the Witness, the Keeper of the Space where her dance unfolds. 
Satyam, Sivam, Subham, Sundaram, Kantam
Sat-chit-ananda, Sampurna, Sukha, Santam, 
Chidanandarupah, Sivoham, Sivoham
"The true, the auspicious, the good, the beautiful, the radiant, who is pure Existence, knowledge and bliss, complete fullness, happiness and peace, the very form of the bliss of consciousness: I am made of Siva! Siva is who I really am!"