New Moon & Solar Eclipse

New Moon & Solar Eclipse

You there, in the lotus of my heart,–

Shamans! Siddhas! Lucid Dreamers!

Plus-wise Women 39 weeks pregnant

and walking to the Old Well! —

please adorn yourselves with these

amulets carved by urban mystics.

They, and the heart of this poem,

will protect you.

A man deep in his own curse

blames women for his cowardice.

After 1,008 snake spells and vision quests,

Goddess consciousness simply enjoys

dance meditation in celebration of

Herself.

Dear one, now you are forever safe

from men without spines.

Twelve yogini’s scry this same message

within cauldrons full of nectar:

“Love is not what you make, give, or feel;

Love is all you are.”

Flowers bloom in the

blind harpy’s garden.

She can sense how wide they’ve opened

by their fragrances.

She inhales slowly and deeply

as the new moon eclipses

the sun in Sagittarius.

She can smell

all dead things

coming alive.

She can taste sunlight

kissing the moon.

She can feel all the Dark

the moon hides.

She can hear infants’

eyes opening and closing.

She exhales slowly

as the moon rolls away.

The tide goes out, and

the world is brand new.

Be Luminous; Be Empty

Be Luminous; Be Empty

Good news: I completed Embodied Philosophy’s online course called “Understanding the Tibetan Book of the Dead with Andrew Holecek.” In synchrony, while studying with this amazing teacher, my personal Sadhana happens to involve chanting 108 repetitions of the Maha Mrityunjai Mantra every day, three times a day, for the past 49 days. This mantra is from the Rig Veda and is known as the “death-conquering mantra.” After a couple weeks of practice of mantra repetition, an internal visualization arose from deep within me, spontaneously.

Now, every time I sit, the following visualization–an inner experience of time-stretching and elemental merging–easily accompanies the mantra repetition:

Energy moves up and down the chakras: when the energy pauses for decades at the root chakra, I am the peaks of the Himalayan mountains and mud and stone. When the energy pauses for centuries at the sacral chakra, I am fast-flowing rivers, rolling seas, and rainfalls. When the energy pauses for millennia at the navel chakra, I am every candle flame, every hearth fire, the Dhuni Baba built, Cerridwen’s cauldron fire, every sacred blaze, wildfire, and the burning sun. When the energy pauses for a kalpa at the heart chakra, I am wind blowing lovingly around the Himalayan peaks, blowing over oceans, over prairies, over marshlands, through windows, slamming into my beloved’s face. When the energy pauses at the throat chakra for a maha kalpa, I am blue sky, an ageless, expansive stretch of firmament witnessing the whirls of human, natural, and other worlds. When the energy pauses at the Third Eye for one day of Brahma, I am the white-hot, crystalline center of both the Star of Bethlehem and the Dhruva Tara. When the energy pauses at the crown chakra for a yuga of Brahma, I am the cosmic expanse that is infinite dark emptiness. I am the space that holds everything. I am all that; plus, I am the sound of the mantra vibrating through all that.

This inner experience is a kriya as defined by Patañjali because it involves tapas, Svādhyāya, and iśvara pranidhāna. This is an inner experience that initiates me into timeless and space-less wonder over my own formless nature. At first, I repeated this contemplation as a tapas (discipline) until the visualization and mantra flowed continuously with me. This whole experience has been thoroughly enjoyable, delicious soul food. To flow with this kriya while reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead raises the hair on my skin, as though my whole being knows it is drinking from a source, and my spiritual nature looks forward to whatever arises through any bardo experience, not just the one after I leave this body but through all liminal moments and spaces. I humbly pray: may the benefits of my life’s practices be received by all beings everywhere. Integrating the book of the dead into my practice is a Svādhyāya (self-study).

What’s more, I marvel and fill with awe to witness the fascinating treasure that this kriya brings into my life. Kriya creates the energy of the magnetism, and that is the iśvara pranidhāna (surrender to the divine).

So, where did my surrender lead me?

During his class, Andrew mentioned a book by Francis V. Tiso called Rainbow Body and Resurrection: Spiritual Attainment, the Dissolution of the Material Body, and the Case of Khenpo A Chӧ. Immediately, when I heard mention of this book, every cell in my body lit up, excited. Those words together, “rainbow body and resurrection” ignited my intense curiosity. Andrew said the book is esoteric and scholarly–it’s for “deeper divers.” (Let me add that this book also does not resonate much woman-oriented spirit that I have been more drawn to lately, so my attraction to it is surprising to me; thus, I surrender). I do wish to express how delightful it is to dive with beautiful beings such as Francis Tiso, Andrew Holecek, and Khenpo A Chӧ. Aware that these sages know nothing of my existence, I privately imagine myself a kind of monk brother who is intimately connected to them nonetheless–it’s important for me to insist that I feel that reading this book is the way to access and enjoy their company. The way I encounter these spiritual masters is as a friend and nectar-lover, but if I ponder the ways I do not exist to them, why not let that be? I am empty.

I’m an ordinary yogi who is a deep diver. I read Tiso’s book slowly. I re-read many paragraphs. I like the kinds of fascinating questions he asks; the difficulty of the text is music to me; the investigation he is doing is fraught with noble flaws, complications, and challenges. It reveals cross-pollination of contemplative practice; it mentions a practice of embodying sunlight, which resonates with me; it discusses the enigma of researching, writing about, and describing the rainbow body as this is counter-intuitive to achieving the rainbow body; it suggests historical developments due to connections made on the Silk Road; it’s impossible, but because it is impossible that’s what makes it worth doing and reading about and being with. Tiso is attempting an inquiry that wants to honor dialogue between religions and belief systems, reveal how they impact one another. His book opens inquiry and contemplation on Jesus Christ’s glorious resurrection with inquiry and contemplation on the Tibetan Buddhist attainment of the rainbow body. I love it, especially if we can see that there is no inferior or superior ways but deep, equitible dialogue.

I am especially enthralled with his discussion of the Shroud of Tarin. I hadn’t seen nor really heard of this shroud until reading this book. When I saw the image of the shroud in the book, I fell madly in love!

A practice that I have started to do while I tuck into bed is to visualize that while I am covering my body with blankets to prepare to sleep at night, I imagine I am covering my body with the Shroud of Tarin. This visualization fills me with such a thrill that I swear I could just step out of my skin and join in blissful union with Divine Loving Kindness because it’s that simple.

On another note, I wonder if Francis Tiso is familiar with Tom Kenyon and Judi Sion’s The Magdalen Manuscript. If I were to guide a class, I would recommend reading Tiso’s book together alongside Kennyon’s book. It’s a wonder to imagine all the ideas and inquiries that would arise reading these two books and sitting together through a tea ceremony. The Magdalen Manuscript reveals some dimension of Mary Magdalen’s experience with Yeshua (Christ), and their practice together of refining and empowering his Ka Body (subtle body) so that Christ could accomplish his difficult resurrection. According to this version of the story, that Ka Body practice was a key ingredient in Christ’s attainment. Being sensitive to this dimension of things, it is intriguing to notice that Tiso mentions the nuns who worked with Khenpo A Chӧ, but he did not interview the nuns. He did not include his talk with the nuns about the Khenpo’s visit to them one month before he left his body. This makes me feel that while Tiso’s book is amazing scholarship, it is missing an enormous piece of the picture, i.e. the divine feminine dimension of attaining the Rainbow Body. After reading Tiso, a huge question remains: What role does a divine feminine initiate and woman play in spiritual attainment of these men dissolving into light bodies? What about women who dissolve into light bodies?

According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, after death, while traveling through the bardo, the Noble One will experience a moment when it is time to recognize the divine lovers, a divine mother and a divine father, the doorway to reincarnation; be conceived. On Tibetan tankas, there is the graphic image of the deities enjoying sexual union. There is something highly sacred and important about the sexual union aspect of attainment. How does it relate to the “Initiatory Act of the Four Serpents” as Mary described it? And this is not the way we currently fathom the sexual relationship between two physical bodies. It is more of a spiritual sexual energetic that involves sophisticated connection of intention, strict focus, contemplative intensity, and prayer.

Alas, I don’t teach a class. But there is an imaginary place I like to go to fathom there are people who are actually interested in these inquiries, and they meet with me in happy companionship. This place is called Murakami’s Jazz Bar, or sometimes it is called Mirabai’s Yoga Lounge. Wherever I dream up, I will continue to practice repetition of the Maha Mrityunjai Mantra plus that inner journey with the elementals and chakras. And for sure I am going to keep up with imagining that I am falling asleep at night covered in the Shroud of Tarin.

Infinite pranams to all beings who read this essay and feel a sense of connection, and if you felt a sense of discomfort reading this, even better. Either way, may we enjoy cheerful companionship in the subtle realm. I am with you!     

On Voting and Sanskrit Study

On Voting and Sanskrit Study

I read Lofty Promises: An Election Eve Tribute to the American Essay. In that essay, Joey Franklin mentions that in 1961, James Baldwin wrote “The time has come, God knows, for us to examine ourselves but we can only do this if we are willing to free ourselves of the myth of America and find out what is really happening here.” Franklin’s gorgeous essay pays tribute to the literary form of the American essay as it has been a great tool for helping us to examine ourselves, to articulate what is really happening, and to free ourselves from ignorant myths.

I like to wonder, are there other tools–in addition to the essay–that can help us to free ourselves of the myth of America and examine what is going on here?

One way that I have found to free myself is to study Sanskrit language. In high school, I studied French. That freed me to explore avant-guarde aesthetics. In college and grad school, I studied Chinese. That freed me to become more concise in my writing. In yoga teaching programs, I have studied, read, wrote, and recited Gurmukhi. This freed me to explore the spiritual warrior within me.

But now I am thrilled to be focusing on Sanskrit.

From my previous experiences, I know that language study has proved a great way to free my mind from psychological conditioning, useless internal monologue in my native English, and tired cultural restraints. When I learn a new language and start to use that language, I feel that I grow a whole new personality, a fresh psychology, and a more expansive expressive range.

What’s great about Sanskrit is that, while speaking in other languages can deplete energy (just consider how you feel if you have been lecturing in English all day long), speaking, repeating, and chanting Sanskrit is a life-giving force. The more you repeat Sanskrit, the more energy you have.

Sanskrit scholar, Dr. Katy Jane says,

When you speak, your life force gets expelled with each exhalation you speak. With every word, your life force gets diminished. Talking is truly akin to death.

With Sanskrit–the language of yoga–the opposite happens. As you pronounce each syllable, your prana (life force) gets redirected back into your body, replenishing your energy. It gives you life.

This election season, I have had the blessing and privilege to study Sanskrit. This has made me feel energized and happy.

How has this study freed me from the myth of America? A current myth of America is that the leadership in Washington is contributing to our well-being. It is not. We need to take well-being into our own hands. I study Sanskrit, and I am not getting my energy depleted by engaging in unnecessary complaining. I am devoting energy to volunteer projects with local schools, reforestation projects, and literary arts and education. I am utterly clean and pure as far as feeling influenced in my mind and energy by any social media or misinformation; my internal well-being remains totally in tact and even joyful. I also know exactly what words to say aloud that will serve to refuel me and those with whom I am speaking. Sanskrit helps me know how to never waste breath and never waste words. Both breath and words are precious resources for maintaining good physical, mental, energetic, and spiritual well-being.

With humility and enthusiasm, I start with meditation on the Sanskrit alphabet in the human body. This encourages freedom from the myth of America. This is also a good meditation for helping to know what exactly is going on here. The experience of freeing oneself from the myth of America is different for everyone. The experience of knowing exactly what is going on here is different for everyone. Each experience is unique, necessary, and part of the divine matrix. So, it is impossible to put into a blog post, or even in an American essay, what these liberations and revelations look like for each unique being. But I can sense that, for me personally, studying Sanskrit, being a humble and eager student, and meditating on the Sanskrit alphabet, is a great start to feeling absolutely sovereign within myself and my community. I do plan to vote, but my act of voting is beautifully complicated by the fact that the American myth that I have released is the myth that I am governed or that I am governable. I am not either of those.

I am conscious.

Flying with Sadhguru

Flying with Sadhguru

Sadhguru is on a motorcycle tour of the North America to explore the mystical energy that dwells on this land. He’s visiting Native American lands and reservations. Today marks the third day of his exploration, and during his Sunday morning Darshan he shared that he has covered 1,872 miles so far from Isha Institute in Tennessee to Cahokia lands of Missouri. The location of his Darshan was a prairie and corn field. Here is a link to more images of Cahokia lands.

He opened his darshan the same way he has been these past six months with talking about the virus. “We ourselves have been like a virus on this planet.” He reminded us that from 1970 to 2016, the birds, amphibian, fish, and mammal populations have declined to near extinction. At this rate, in 50 years time, 70 percent of significant life on this planet will be gone for no other reason than certain reckless human behaviors, values, and ways of being. We need biodiversity for human survival. Recklessly killing off biodiversity is killing human beings.

He suggested that the best thing for us to do now is to please become aware of this and see where we stand. This is not something to correct overnight. Make long-term plans to achieve behaviors, values, and ways of being that are more in alignment with preserving biodiversity. Plan over the next 25, 50, and 100 years, and see to it that we meet these plans.

Why are elected officials not doing what needs to be done for the people? Sadhguru says it’s because people have not made it clear what people want. People are too busy being consumed by competitions and one-up-man-ship. This is so true. Also, I would add that I have personally experienced that the political process these days has amounted to candidates and movements and institutions asking me for money. But collecting money from me is not a real political process, it’s a business exchange. The way I see it, a real political process that is needed right now is for us to go outside together and plant trees and see to it that those trees grow to maturity and maintain enough sap inside them so that wildfires will not burn them down like they are matchsticks. With enough sap inside them, trees can fend off wildfire. If need be, worship those trees. Worship tree sap. Plant and love trees!

Looks like instead of making more human babies, it’s time now for humans to aspire to grow forests. Give birth to trees. Forget about your family tree; make families of trees.

The way Sadhguru says it is that “One of the simplest ways to change, given present conditions, is to put back 45% of the land under tree cover. We need biodiversity to flourish and keep the microorganisms going if we want human existence to continue.” Sadhguru said that the planet is not in peril. The planet can continue without human beings. It is human beings that are in peril. I would add that the fate of trees is the fate of human beings. We are so deeply related to trees. Look at the design of our respiratory system and look at trees respiratory system. They’re linked. When trees die, we die and vice versa. It’s a conscious connection, the way E.T. and Elliot connected. Whatever one felt, so felt the other.

Also, please critically view this photo below to see how the message to promote ecological sustainability might be refined in order to show how urgent that we pay attention to tree life:

The message might be more effective if we say, Forests are the Lungs of human beings, too. Save Trees, Save Humans. Can’t we understand yet how irrevocably linked our existence is to the existence of trees, birds, bees, or frogs? Please, it’s urgent. Environmentalists may have been posing as the benevolent protectors of the planet. Sure, but don’t we all need to better understand have to be less human-centric? We’ve been patronizing this planet even when we try to help. We need to humbly serve and touch and tread softly, softly rather than parade around with human-centric ways of seeing.

“Either we come out of this consciously, or a disaster will bring us back to our senses, it is up to us.” Sadhguru reminds us that we have a choice.

Humans have wielded an immense amount of suffering on so many species. We need tree cover. Human population needs to be reduced. Reduce human consumption. Reduce human aspirations. It is important that we understand that this does not mean we plan a genocide. “Postpone birth” is the phrase Sadhguru used. I say, “give birth to trees.” Make trees your new babies. Sadhguru criticized those who might worry about a depleted workforce or consumer force. He says, “You have become a marketplace in your head. Don’t be concerned about where are the consumers and workers. This is not the way to look at life.” Sure, I also wish Sadhguru would have said, Go out and instead of throwing a mother-to-be a baby shower, you have a tree-planting party (without all the plastic decorations, of course).

Regarding this motorcycle ride across the U.S. Sadhguru pointed out that he is accused of being an adventure addict. But he argued that addiction is repetitiveness. He shared a new poem he wrote called, “Adventure.” One of the lines of the poem said, “Adventure is not a conquest, but something that has no return on investment.” He added, “When life has come to you as a gift, what return do need on your investments?” We can see life as a gift that keeps giving and share our gift of life. Be exuberant!

He took a question from Abimanu who wondered if he could ride with Sadhguru because it looks exciting to be on an adventure rather than being forced to stay home and not even able to go to school. Looks like Sadhguru is having an adventure while a second grade boy needs to be stuck bored at home. Sadhguru said that adventure is not about exciting activity; adventure is about make every little activity you do exciting. How? When you exceed your expectations, perceptions, when you go beyond your limits of mind, body, emotions, perception, that is adventure and that is something you can do without moving from your seat or by taking a simple walk around the block or doing some good yoga stretch or meditative process.

Exceed perception by paying attention. Make paying attention into a big adventure. This is what yoga means. Adventure is about doing all the tiny things we do in an exciting manner. Stretch your emotional limitations. For example, whoever is around you, try to look at all of them with the same fondness as you look upon your mother.

Just using your faculties of mind, body, and sense perception, you can go beyond where you are. “You will cross rivers beyond bridges. You will cross oceans beyond ships. You will form friendships beyond relationships.” He said, and see how to stretch your physical, mental, emotional, and perceptive limitations.

He gave the second grade boy a practice, told him to go to the nearby Isha center, learn a certain practice or learn and work up to 54 Surya Namaskars each day for four months; plus, walk around and to whomever you meet on the street, look at everyone you see with the same love you look upon your own mother. Then Sadhguru will give him a motorcycle ride. He warned that the boy’s arms had better be strong because as fast as Sadhguru goes, the boy will be flying.

Sadhguru is painfully aware that the land where Tennessee’s Isha Institute stands was Cherokee Nation at one time. Then there was the Trail of Tears and Indian Removal Act, which has left pain and misery. Burial mounds exist across this nation; it’s important to reflect on those mounds that may be up to 5000 years old. Native nations practiced elaborate spiritual processes and rituals and nourished economic systems and towns of their own. It’s wonderful and refreshing to travel with Sadhguru and be amongst the Cahokiya burial mounds of Missouri.

Keep in mind, I am here at home in San Diego, California, watching Sadhguru on YouTube (thanks to Isha volunteers). But my own personal adventure involves a self-study of yoga and Celtic Magical tradition. So, when I saw Sadguru sitting amongst corn stalks, I imagined turning into an ear of corn. Why? In the Celtic Magical tradition there is a story of the poet Taliesan. Before he was a radiant poet, he was TK who served Cerridwen but Gwion Boch accidently imbibed the potent potion that was meant for Cerridwen’s son. In one part of the story, to escape her, Gwion Boch turned himself into an ear of corn. So, I playfully imagined myself as an ear of corn in that field, experiencing Sadhguru’s darshan as an ear of corn, listening to Sadhguru and beholding his presence as if I am that ear of corn sitting right by him. Blissful! Like this, I couldn’t care less if Cerridwen came to eat me; let me be born again as a radiant poet, like Taliesin, who can sing of the beauty of worshiping land, waters, sky, the elements, and the four directions.

The way I am exceeding my limits is to mix yoga and witchcraft. I would love for Sadhguru to touch on other fringe spiritual movements like Wicca, Voodoo, and the spiritual songs of the slaves of the American South. The American spiritual traditions are so vast and fascinating. I’ll continue to follow Sadhguru’s progress on his journey. Next, I’ll transform into the feathers of a hawk. Because if we want to try to keep up with speedy Sadhguru, we had better have wings to fly.

Infinite blessings on Sadguru’s motorcycle journey across spiritual America.

May God bless America!

Namaskaram!

My Belly, a Cauldron

My Belly, a Cauldron

I enjoyed a beautiful seminar with Judith Blackstone yesterday. She guided us through a subtle meditative process that allowed us to take time to be each part of our bodies AND engage the unified field of consciousness.

I’ve been meditating for years, and I have always heard the guidance, for example, to “be aware of your feet.” But Judith guided us to “go inside your feet.” So, with my entire consciousness, I occupied my feet. Then she guided us up the entire body, part by part, inviting us to go within each part of the body and BE inside that part of the body.

This was a nuanced way to focus for me.

Because someone at the seminar asked Judith, “what is the difference?” I would like to try to describe my sense of the difference between being aware of a certain part of the body and actually going inside that part of the body.

In the process of being aware of my feet, my mind sees my feet and my sensitivity feels my feet. But in the process of going inside my feet, I do not just see and feel my feet; I AM my feet. This made me subtly engage with my feet, investing my whole state of being inside my feet.

I wept during the process because it was as if my feet were sweetly singing to me, oh, thank you for being here, finally.

Being inside various parts of my body and actually dwelling inside those parts was a way for me to access total embodiment. I liked it.

Then Judith guided us to merge the content of our whole being with the infinite space surrounding us and within us. We connected deeply within before and while connecting to the unified field of consciousness.

According to Judith, and I agree with her, if we do not engage our entire body and bodily experience in its entire here and now existence–with all the garbage and all the bliss–but we just try to go straight to meditating on and connecting to the unified field of consciousness, that is when we experience spiritual bypassing.

Recently I walked away from practicing Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bhajan because Yogi Bhajan is a known sex offender. Many people who are hurting in that community are calling out the elders, the legacy teachers, and the KRI / 3HO establishment and pointing out the ways they are spiritual bypassing.

Because the term is being thrown around a lot, it has became a term that needs defining, analysis, critical inquiry, and play. Where KYATBYB is concerned, many people who stake their livelihood on teaching Kundalini Yoga are now scrambling to disassociate with Yogi Bhajan. They’re working to separate the teacher from the teachings. They are attempting to rebrand. They are removing the old “master teacher’s” image from their books and altars and t-shirts and mugs and whatever swag shit they sold to make money. They are doing this without telling the story honestly about how and why they are doing this. They are doing this without clearly coming clean about their intentions for doing this.

So it feels like we need to be careful out there, anything that is being sold as “kundalini yoga” should probably most accurately be branded as “kundalini yoga that was once taught by yogi bhajan who abused women and children.” But I guess that is too long of a brand name to fit on Instagram posts. Maybe a better brand would be “kundalini yoga as taught with a heavy dose of organizational spiritual bypassing.” Because just as it is dangerous to go straight to unified consciousness without going through the body, it is also impossible to apply, share, and spread teachings without attempting to know and engage with that practice’s history and thus its teacher.

What I have found most helpful in moving away from kundalini yoga is embracing Celtic Magic. I am reading The Book of Celtic Magic by Kristoffer Hughes. At the same time, I am also enrolled in Embodied Philosophy’s year-long Yoga Philosophy certificate program. I don’t need another certificate; I just adore the community and the critical inquiry that I have found here. Feels like home.

My morning Sadhana includes practice of Surya Namaskar, Chandra Namaskar, Shiva Namaskar, Nadi Shodhana, fluttering the breath, and watching the breath. It’s simple. Not rocket science. I chant to the Dark Goddess of Celtic lore, and I chant the Tantoktam Devi Suktam. It’s a powerful practice that calls my power back to me and fills me with joy. I don’t need whatever program so many folks are trying to sell to me.

That said, I do like this yoga philosophy certificate program that I have enrolled in for this year. This year, I will complete a self-study project that engages me with both Yoga tradition and the Celtic Magical tradition. I will not do this as an objective study but as a quirky scholar / practitioner of both traditions. I’ve found a community of like minds who value critical inquiry. This is the best way I have found to move forward and to heal from the seven years during which I now feel like I was being duped by institutions that claimed to teach yoga (the Kundalini Research Institute, Happy, Healthy, Holy Organization, Sikh Dharma International, and Making of a Yogi). To me personally, I see these organizations are flawed at the core.

Ultimately, I don’t even like institutions. I like a small group, intimate experience, that welcomes creative thinking, integrity, transparency, zero tolerance for abuse, and is genuine and playful.

If you like that too, please join me this Saturday (12:30 – 1:30 PM) for Meditate and Write Flash. This class benefits the Writers Ink community so this community arts center can stay open (online) during these times.

As I am growing in my love for the Cauldron and all that it symbolizes (the womb). I have become more and more excited about inhabiting my belly during my meditation. The gut is a wonderous place to dwell. All the conjuring and brewing and digesting that happens there! Wow! Besides, I need a heavy pot to melt the huge mix of contemplative practices I have engaged (plus, all the bull shit I have been forced to digest) over the years. Though I may be accused of spiritual window-shopping, I don’t care. I am a creative writer. I shall humbly study the Celtic Magical tradition and the yogic tradition as a way to move through life with clarity, balance, and exuberance. If you have read this far, thank you for being with me. May this expression of longing be my way of bowing to your consciousness. I bow to the cauldron within you. Peace!

Be Dark, Soft Earth

Be Dark, Soft Earth

Yogi Ma

The poet Frank Watson has given humanity a gift, a collection of poems entitled In the Dark, Soft Earth: Poetry of Love, Nature, Spirituality, and Dreams.

weeping woods

Book One is called “Within the Weeping Woods.” Each poem, very short, conjures the spirit of the nature haiku. Here, we are offered a chance to forest bathe the mind. Reading these poems is a wilderness adventure that tangles up desire, and I feel myself hearing my heart beat inside the forest and beneath its soil. This inner forest is dense with secret glades in which a reader can hide within forest Silence. There is intimacy but also distance that soothes. Though many scenes revealed here are absolutely terrifying, the language is so stunning that terror is totally erased by beauty. We become like the fool who, “entranced / by the beauty of a rose / he falls off a cliff…

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Writing ~ Sacred Geometry

Writing ~ Sacred Geometry

On Saturdays, I facilitate a contemplative experience that is called “Meditations for Writers.” We are an intimate group of writers from here and there. We breathe, we practice a meditation, and we write from a prompt.

This time we will play with this prompt: Draw a sacred shape, any shape, a sacred geometry. Write names, rhymes, stories, and phrases on the lines and in the spaces of your shape. Behold your creation!

We will also breathe deeply, and in our mind’s eyes we will visualize drawing sacred geometry around people we love, homes, buildings, houses of worship , playgrounds, shopping malls, schools, theaters, insects, trees, flowers, etc. Any person, place, or thing that we hold sacred, we shall slowly surround with an imaginary sacred shape. We draw sacred geometry around Mother Earth. We draw sacred geometry in the cosmic infinity. Our imagination gets an excellent workout. We remain in this meditative internal visualization for as long as comfortable. It’s fun!

We give ourselves play time, stillness, space, and permission to behold every creation.

© Rebecca Jane / Yogi Ma, 2020

Lingam Meditation

Lingam Meditation

This is a simple meditation that anyone can do.

Go to YouTube and search for “Nadha Aradhana Live”

from Isha Yoga Center

While you sit, keep your eyes open

lovingly gaze upon Dyana Linga.

Remain silent.

Remain Still.

For ever and Beyond

Remember, essentially you are still.

Feel your gaze bathed in rosewater and milk.

Sense your whole being gives the fragrance of jasmine flowers.

Enjoy your secret experience within you, and let it stay with you

unto eternity.

Grave Meditation

Grave Meditation

This is an easy meditation for anyone to enjoy, quietly.

Go outside to a secluded space.

Put your bare feet into dirt.

Close your eyes and speak lovingly to yourself

with your voice within:

“Beloved One,

Keep light in your heart. Feel the heart light.

Feel relief — you don’t even need to Breathe.

You don’t even need to

Be.

Done with all,

Visualize

your toes

slowly catching fire — one by one.

Slowly burning.

The flame, slowly rising.

Gradually consuming

toes and bones and body.

See yourself as a pile of Ash that

Blows and scatters in the next slight wind.

Sssssssssaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh

hhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuu

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

As you blow about and settle on Light and Breeze,

you dust the world. You dance with the light of dawn,

A ring, a ring of roses.

Ashes. Ashes.

We All Fall Down.

Now, Inhale Deeply.

Wiggle your toes. Spread your toes. Laugh at your funny feet.

Behold the connection feet kissing Earth here now.

Feel grateful for these toes and for this breath,

and every breath.

Bow to the Breath and bow to the Death within you.

Be Dark, Soft Earth

Be Dark, Soft Earth

The poet Frank Watson has given humanity a gift, a collection of poems entitled In the Dark, Soft Earth: Poetry of Love, Nature, Spirituality, and Dreams.

weeping woods

Book One is called “Within the Weeping Woods.” Each poem, very short, conjures the spirit of the nature haiku. Here, we are offered a chance to forest bathe the mind. Reading these poems is a wilderness adventure that tangles up desire, and I feel myself hearing my heart beat inside the forest and beneath its soil. This inner forest is dense with secret glades in which a reader can hide within forest Silence. There is intimacy but also distance that soothes. Though many scenes revealed here are absolutely terrifying, the language is so stunning that terror is totally erased by beauty. We become like the fool who, “entranced / by the beauty of a rose / he falls off a cliff / blown only by the gentle breeze.” Here, terrifying things are delivered gently. Also, it’s remarkable the way each stanza feels natural and not crafted, as if words simply blew in through the poet’s heart on the breeze. Effortless poetry! Ah!

dust

The poems in this collection can also create a sense of being a speck of dust, traveling free upon the wind and upon the wind’s whims; can I be so quiet, content, and unnoticed, even as I am thrust upon violent storms, even as I am settled home, longing we meet in a crowded jazz club? I read the collection while sitting under this tree in my front yard. I hear jazz music through the kitchen’s open window. Crows laugh. Dogs bark. Insects crawl nearby, and the wind is moving the trees. I notice nature with nuanced perception while I am reading Watson’s poems. This is reason enough to give this book a read and to read it again. I love the mood each poem evokes in me, like I am making love to the Mystery. It reminds me also of time I have spent sitting in dark temples, and one distant memory of practicing “Grave Meditation” with yogis in the Himalayas.

Grateful to Frank Watson and Plum White Press for the ARC
from In the Dark, Soft Earth by Frank Watson

eons

This particular poem welcomes the reader to witness a moment where the she of the poem confronts a secret she has been keeping from herself. She realizes an ugly truth, an inner truth that she had tried to ignore or suppress; yet, she had also stored it away in her treasure box. What a provocative juxtaposition! Then, an image arises in a simple phrase that hints at mischief, but it’s the sound of the words that is more important than their meaning: “sunlight broken / into a thousand little sins.” Then, the best part of the poem, is that the speaker, the I, the narrator of the poem, is but an invisible speck, some kind of micro-organism, somehow bewitched and floating “between the eons of her eyelashes.” This is an incredible shift in perspective. As a reader proceeding through a few short phrases, I have even forgotten to wonder what is the secret in the treasure box because I am now enraptured by the wonder about myself as dwelling between the eons of her eyelashes, contemplating myself as a floating micro-organism. Whoever “she” is in this poem, she is of goddess dimensions, and I am filled with awe.

This is just one poem from this collection. Every poem takes the reader on vast journeys through perception. Yet, the poems are immaculately short, distilled moments that trigger ancient contemplation. Spiritual awakening gets slammed together with lots of kissing of the Earth, kissing of moonlit waters, even kissing of the dead. The whole experience satisfies Spirit and sense perception all at once. And the Spirit world and the sensual world can be one, and this is absolutely OKAY, dear yogi! Plus, for viewing pleasure, the book contains artwork by a variety of masters, ranging from Keido Fukushima to Wassily Kandinsky, alongside the poems these works inspired in Watson.

butterfly

The collection is divided into ten “Books.” Each book has its own title, such as “Between Time and Space,” “The Percussion Mind,” and “Stories Before I Sleep.” The ideas and moods that these titles provoke invite me into contemplative space. I sit quietly, and I am content. That’s it!

While there are weeping woods, there is also jazz. And these haiku-like poems create a sense that the primal cries before humanity, with Earth always expressing herself in infinite variety, are not separate from the contemporary moans of urban music. We enter a consciousness where desire is a dream state, and I find myself longing to reunite with my Lover and give him the world’s last drop of rain, or the raven moon, or a road he may travel that will never end. I imagine the I of the poem to be my happy lover telling me that he lives his life in a butterfly’s dream. He reminds me of the Taoist adept, Zhuangze: keep life weightless. I wish I could say this to someone: if I am in your butterfly dream, may I be perceived as the nectar?

kiss

Finally, with this book, I find myself retreating again to the yogi cave within me and welcoming a gang of midnight philosophers to help me light the One Heart Fire at the hour when all across the globe, each has agreed to light his own lamp. If we build up enough nerve, we’ll all whisper: “We know how to guide the stranded souls. Look, over here! See how there is so very little distinction between what is a human form and what is Earth form? Be guided by the rhyme in twilight! See poems pouring tea for the Haiku that breaks the rules. Understand that which feels familiar is a bridge to mischief! Let’s cross together!”

In the poem “apparition,” there is a broken violin and some shapeless wonder that is rolling from one end of the world to another. Is it the poet that kisses Earth and moonlit waters and sunflowers? Or is it that the poet has become the foot or the lightbeam or the raindrop that touches the forest floor, the lake’s surface, or the flower’s petal? I have got to remember to be grateful for these poems that give me a fleeting chance to release my attachment to this human body. Be a drop of rain. Be a moon beam. Be a bear paw. And once I become these things, what does it feel like to touch flowers, lakes, and dirt?

who am I?

Who is the poet? He is “neither man / nor phantom / between the worlds.” Who am I? I ask again as I re-emerge from the dream of reading this collection. I stand up from sitting beneath this tree, and standing up after having read this book is the realization that this was not a dream. This deep peace within me is the real deal.

Frank Watson’s In the Dark, Soft Earth is a beautiful book. I hope you will read it, and allow it to guide you to enjoy your Self, thoroughly.