Kundalini Splendor

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Billy Collins--"I Love You"--poem 

"I Love You"

Early on, I noticed that you always say it
to each of your children
as you are getting off the phone with them
just as you never fail to say it
to me whenever we arrive at the end of a call.

It's all new to this only child.
I never heard my parents say it,
at least not on such a regular basis,
nor did it ever occur to me to miss it.
To say I love you pretty much every day

would have seemed strangely obvious,
like saying I'm looking at you
when you are standing there looking at someone.
If my parents had started saying it
a lot, I would have started to worry about them.

Of course, I always like hearing it from you.
That is never a cause for concern.
The problem is I now find myself saying it back
if only because just saying good-bye
then hanging up would make me seem discourteous.

But like Bartleby, I would prefer not to
say it so often, would prefer instead to save it
for special occasions, like shouting it out as I leaped
into the red mouth of a volcano
with you standing helplessly on the smoking rim,

or while we are desperately clasping hands
before our plane plunges into the Gulf of Mexico,
which are only two of the examples I had in mind,
but enough, as it turns out, to make me
want to say it to you right now,

and what better place than in the final couplet
of a poem where, as every student knows, it really counts.

—Billy Collins

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Denise Levertov--For the New Year, 1981 

For the New Year, 1981

I have a small grain of hope—
one small crystal that gleams
clear colors out of transparency.
I need more.
I break off a fragment
to send you.
Please take
this grain of a grain of hope
so that mine won’t shrink.
Please share your fragment
so that yours will grow.
Only so, by division,
will hope increase,
like a clump of irises, which will cease to flower
unless you distribute
the clustered roots, unlikely source—
clumsy and earth-covered—
of grace.

- Denise Levertov

Although this poem was published many years ago, I feel it is still most relevant today.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Ted Kooser--"A Rainy Morning"--poem 

A Rainy Morning

A young woman in a wheelchair,
wearing a black nylon poncho spattered with rain,
is pushing herself through the morning.
You have seen how pianists
sometimes bend forward to strike the keys,
then lift their hands, draw back to rest,
then lean again to strike just as the chord fades.
Such is the way this woman
strikes at the wheels, then lifts her long white fingers,
letting them float, then bends again to strike
just as the chair slows, as if into a silence.
So expertly she plays the chords
of this difficult music she has mastered,
her wet face beautiful in its concentration,
while the wind turns the pages of rain.

~ Ted Kooser ~

Friday, February 05, 2016

for Martin Luther King--a belated tribute 

A Tribute for Martin Luther King

Psalms 15

Lord, who can be trusted with power,
and who may act in your place?
Those with a passion for justice,
who speak the truth from their hearts;
who have let go of selfish interests
and grown beyond their own lives;
who see the wretched as their family
and the poor as their flesh and blood.
They alone are impartial
and worthy of the people's trust.
Their compassion lights up the whole earth,
and their kindness endures forever.

(Martin Luther King's birthday fell during the time my computer was down.  Thus I am posting this blog now, a bit late, but very heartfelt.  I received the contents through another internet site.)

(A Book of Psalms, translations by Stephen Mitchell)

Thursday, February 04, 2016

More on Heart Sutra and Mantra 

More on the Heart Sutra and the concluding mantra:

This morning I again repeated the mantra from the heart sutra (printed in yesterday's blog) and once more found it elicited sweet flows of energy, even as I dressed or did gentle stretching movements.  And indeed I did soft pelvic circles and moved my hands in front of my body, as I usually do while sounding these lovely syllables.

Then I looked again at the words of the heart sutra which I also posted yesterday.  I think I now understand more of what these seeming paradoxes mean:

For this reason, amidst emptiness there are no appearances,
nor are there any impressions, thoughts, associations and knowing,
There is no eye, ear, nose, tongue, touch, ideas.
There are no colors, sounds, smells,
tastes and touch dharmas.
There is no eye-element up to no imagining nor knowledge element.
Neither is any non-understanding,
nor is there any end to non-understanding up to no old-age and death.
Neither is there any end to old-age and death.
There is no suffering, cause, extinction or path.
There is no knowledge nor anything to find.

Because there isn’t anything to find. . .

Here is my own interpretation, which may or may not be correct:

When we enter the state of "vastness" (which many feel they attain in meditation), we no longer are aware of our outer surroundings (which we usually perceive through out senses) nor of our inner impressions or concepts.  We now are pure "cosmic consciousness" aware of nothing external nor internal.  We are not seeking something "to find" because in this transcendent state "there isn't anything to find."

And--this interpretation also describes the pure bliss (ecstasy) states of Kundalini, when we lose awareness of all those elements listed above and know only the rapture that enters us and becomes who we are.  There is nothing to find, because we already have entered the ultimate state--what could be beyond the rapture which unites us with the Beloved? (Some refer to the Beloved as God.)

This morning, I looked up Guru Mayi (Muktananda's successor) just to see if she had yet come out of hiding (she seems to have disappeared from the public eye).  There, in a quotation from her recent Satsang for beginning the new year, I found these words:

"Move with steadfastness

Toward becoming  anchored

In Supreme Joy”

From Siddhayoga.org

(Gurumayi’s Message for the year  from A Sweet Surprise Satsang)

Is this not simply a translation of the mantra which concludes the Heart Sutra (but no attribution is given.)

I also looked up Muktananda (the founder of the Siddha lineage) on Google, and read of his chronic sexual misbehavior in his ashrams (constant seduction of girls, some as young as 13.)  He conveyed a powerful message in his public role and wrote many useful books, but obviously got swept away by his exalted position as a guru and abused his power.

Here is another example of a guru gone bad.  His is yet another account that convinces me it is best not to follow any self-styled "gurus" but to heed the promptings of one's own heart, which will, if we but listen, carry us safely through the challenges of the spiritual journey.  Andrew Harvey, my own beloved mentor, insists that he is a teacher, not a guru, and I strongly approve.  The distinction is extremely important.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Larry Robinson--"Passenger Pigeon"--poem and the uses of mantra 

Passenger Pigeon

I never met Martha nor any of her kin.
She died alone a century ago,
outliving parents, brothers and sisters,
cousins, uncles and aunts.

Once she and her tribe numbered
in the tens of hundreds of millions
and darkened the sky
in their passing.

All too soon they flew to that further shore,
singly and in pairs,
in dozens and thousands.
She was the last to join them.

We are all passing that way, of course
sooner rather than later,
drivers and passengers alike,
hurrying to some imagined better place.

But if we could slow down enough
we might look a little more kindly
on all that we are passing
and all that is passing us.

I take refuge in our shared awakening.
I take refuge in that which is.
I take refuge in the community of all beings.
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha!

- Larry Robinson

In recent years, I have seldom followed mantra meditation, preferring subtle movements while standing.  However, I was drawn to this one, which is, in fact, one of the most famous and repeated of all.  It is taken from the Heart Sutra, a central Buddhist text.  When I said it aloud, I felt sweet, soft energies flow within, and realized that this repetition could, indeed, keep us in touch with the Beloved Within, in a most gentle way.  As I repeated it, my arms lifted spontaneously into various positions, like body mudras.

Here are two translations of the text:

'Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha' 

"Going, going, 

going on beyond, 

always going on beyond, 

always becoming Buddha." (from the Heart of the Prajna Paramita Sutra)

And another translation:

Gone, Gone, Gone beyond Gone utterly beyond

Gone, Gone, Gone beyond Gone utterly beyond

Gone, Gone, Gone beyond Gone utterly beyond

Oh what an Awakening (sometimes rendered as "Hail, Enlightenment!)

(Here is some further explanation from the Heart Sutra:)

For this reason, amidst emptiness there are no appearances,
nor are there any impressions, thoughts, associations and knowing,
There is no eye, ear, nose, tongue, touch, ideas.
There are no colors, sounds, smells,
tastes and touch dharmas.
There is no eye-element up to no imagining nor knowledge element.
Neither is any non-understanding,
nor is there any end to non-understanding up to no old-age and death.
Neither is there any end to old-age and death.
There is no suffering, cause, extinction or path.
There is no knowledge nor anything to find.

Because there isn’t anything to find. . .

(Personally, I do not think you must fully understand this series of seeming contradictions to respond to the vibrations themselves, for these operate with or without a literal understanding of the words.  For me, they seem to reflect the state of consciousness we enter when we are in touch with the Beloved, who indeed is nameless, formless, etc., and comes to us as pure bliss.)

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Rumi--O, Pilgrim--(Version by Larry Robinson) 

O, Pilgrim!

O pilgrim, where have you been?
Where are you now?

While you have been searching the world
the Beloved has been here all along
waiting for you.

Let the caravan carry you home
to your deepest heart’s desire.
The treasure you sought was buried in your own garden.

Come home, o wanderer, and behold the face in the mirror.
Look behind the eyes and see the One
who has been searching for you.

You are seen;
you are known
and you are beloved.

If your seeking has brought you here at last,
you know that there is nowhere else to go
and nothing more to say.

- Jellaludin Rumi
 (version by Larry Robinson)

Monday, February 01, 2016

The Accidental Tantric 


I have written my story elsewhere many times.  How I, a (closeted) lesbian feminist English professor in a Midwestern university, was reading one morning in a text that mentioned Kundalini––how it was an “energy” that rose up the spine and into the head, where the crown became a lotus where a “thousand petals opened” as the effulgent forces of the universe flowed in as ineffable bliss.  And how then I decided on impulse that I could do this––bring the energies up and feel them as divine bliss entering my body from invisible regions, from unknown sources, and I and “it” would then be united always as one being.

And such, of course, is essentially what happened.  How the energies rose up like a rocket ascending, a flag ripped up on a flagpole, a heron taking sudden flight.  Thus it was that I attained, in an instant, what untold numbers before me had striven years to achieve, had sometimes starved and mutilated their bodies, had left society and lived for countless years in caves, in forest retreats, in monasteries locked away in cells, courting the divine favor, seeking the embrace of the unseen Beloved Within, the source of all that is.

So after years of silence, I finally came forth and told my tale.  At least a certain part of it.

And people wondered and asked how I achieved this sudden success where so many had striven for years to accomplish and had failed.  What was my secret? they asked.  How was it possible? they queried.

Yes, I had told the skeleton narration of what had taken place.

But there was part of the story I did not tell.  I mentioned that I was in a personal emotional crisis, for I feared I was about to lose my relationship.  ButI did not reveal what had happened immediately before the Event, what was, I later realized, clearly the essential preparation, the lead up, the necessary preliminary.  I am telling the story now because I realize that it is now time to tell my experience, lest my account be like a piece of music that is disappearing into the distance, perhaps never even heard.

That morning my lover and I had indeed made love.  We were well matched, and the typical outcome was that we both reached climax and thus were left happy and fulfilled.  But that day, such a release had not happened for me––contrary to my usual experience.  However I was not particularly upset by this outcome.  I knew that many such ecstatic experiences had occurred in the past and others were sure to happen in future.  I was not deeply concerned when I left my lover sleeping in bed while I went into the living room and began reading in a certain book the passage that was to change my life forever.

The book mentioned Kundalini, said it must rise up the  spine into the crown, and there the aforementioned thousand petaled flower would open as if by a hidden spring, a silent command from an invisible source.  I knew virtually nothing of this mysterious force called "Kundalini," but I was fascinated by what it might involve.

This book also contained illustrations.   One was the famous Tibetan representation of the divine couple in union, sometimes called Shiva/Shakti, sometimes described as Vajrasattva (a major guru in Hindu spirituality) embracing his consort, and sometimes said to reflect the marriage of various other, less sensuous opposites.

Another was a photograph of Bernini’s we known depiction of Saint Teresa of Avila in full ecstasy, with the angel hovering near with his lance aimed at her heart.  (Only much later was I told that the opening of the heart chakra is the most ecstatic of all, and indeed I have found this to be true.)

I had read somewhere that tantrics sometimes did not work with partners but simply meditated on an image to arouse their energies, and so I began to contemplate Shiva and Shakti embracing.  I had for some time (as a teacher of feminist topics) contemplated the essential nature of male and female, sometimes described as “aggressive” vs. “receptive” aspects of the human make up.

So I easily “threw” my energies into the male, then into the female, finally into both locked together in their intimate embrace.  And, because of where I was in my own process at that moment (sexual energies aroused but not released), I quickly felt the sensuous flow within, mainly in the lower chakras. Then, when I focused on bringing these energies up (through breath and attention), they literally shot into my cranium, which became a “sexualized brain” as the thousand petals opened in pulsation after pulsation of indescribable bliss.

Without prior intention or instruction, I had intuitively followed an ancient tantric ritual, one practiced for years in certain parts of the world, in which males deliberately employed their female partners to arouse them sexually until they could through intention and design bring the energies up and enjoy the exquisite sensations of the opening of the head, the “thousand lotus petals unfolding” in sensuous delight as they experienced ultimate “union with the gods.”

This was indeed an “awakening experience.”  The results have echoed through my life in one form or another for all the years thereafter.  What I learned from the experience was, mainly, that we as separate entities do not exist, that we are infinitesimal particles in the vastness of this divine flow, and that when we are in correct alignment with this cosmic flood, we can experience some of its ineffable delight, as it “enters us and claims us” for its own.

Yeats said, “Man can embody truth but never know it.”  Likewise, we can never untangle the full mystery of the universe, though we can on occasion taste or glimpse it as our own bodies participate in its infinite splendor.

And as for me, I also learned that anything can happen to anyone anywhere at any time, if the conditions are right and the cosmic overseers feel that this is the right time for us to be “opened.”

In my most recent post I discussed the contribution of bliss energies to the overall "love field" of the world.  That post was written as I approach my 88th birthday.  I am amazed that the bliss still "visits," albeit in a much subtler and more delicate form.

However, this more recent post describes my original awakening experience, at the age of 53.  It was indeed a surprise, not scripted or intended by me in the way it happened but it changed my life forever, for it revealed to me "who I really was."

P. S.  I never repeated my experiment.  I did not need to, for the bliss energies were now fully awakened, and I experienced rapture/bliss many times through simple practices--meditation on Shiva (too strong); then Krishna; basic yoga (while I was able); movement;
music--such as Krishna Das, Jonathan Goldman, Brahms' "German Requiem"; crystals (just once, but powerful); essence of frankincense/amber;  trees and flowers; receiving the vibrations from my sacred Buddha thongka; and now mantra repetition. I have lived alone for many years and am happy in that state.  The energies still flow in subtle ways even now.  For me, the inner bliss energies are the sign of the true Tantric.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Off Line 

Dear Friends,

I am still having trouble getting onto the blog.  I hope to be back on soon,


Friday, January 15, 2016

Why Bliss Matters 

Some teachers warn us not to pay any attention to bliss states, but to move ahead to the next experience, forgetting all bliss that may have come our way previously.

I believe indeed that there are many ways of going up the mountain--some are quiet states of well being and connection to the vastness of the universe.  But rapture (bliss) is (I believe) a very important way in itself for those of us fortunate enough to experience it.

Earlier I wrote about how disconnected from the Beloved I felt when bliss waves seemed to vanish from my practice.  Then it seemed to return yesterday and also today.  I do not see bliss (rapture) as a narcissistic indulgence, but rather as an affirmation of our connection with the cosmic love force of the universe (Kundalini).  When rapture enters your consciousness it contributes to the long process of rewiring your nervous system, and that is one of the primary goals of Kundalini itself.  To refuse it would be like turning your back on God.

And when it appears (it chooses its own time to manifest) it becomes (I think) your own precious contribution to the love field of the universe.  I think that is what we are together striving for, for in that way (among others) we help to create the "divine human" that many have talked about.

The divine human will not be a being who thinks his/her way to salvation.  The divine human will indeed have advanced intellectual insights, but that evolved state of consciousness will be felt in every iota of the subtle body and we will all sway together in that indescribable field of love.  Each moment of bliss we experience here in the physical/subtle body helps to move all of us forward to that supreme state.

If it can happen to a few, why not to all?

Rapture is simply another name for love, and now lover and Beloved are one.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

When Rapture Falls Away 

When Rapture Falls Away

As many of you know, rapture often accompanies Kundalini awakening, sometimes alternating with pain.  I have experienced many years of rapture (along with intermittent pain), which was quite strong in the beginning years, and which then began to taper off in intensity and frequency through the following years (since l981).  For many of the past several months, I have felt nothing at all in the way of bliss or even the "neutral" flow of the energies within, and feared this loss was a sign of being disconnected from the Beloved.  This thought was depressing, even though I knew that such "dry spells" often were part of the process.

So I talked with my friend Andrew Harvey about my concern (he is, in my view, the wisest man on the planet), and he told me not to worry about this apparent loss, for I was now entering a kind of "post rapture" state, in which the primary aspect was quiet contentment and a feeling of being in harmony with the world.  I was quite relieved to learn this, and so was quickly reconciled to this new state of awareness.

Then, today, quite unexpectedly, I found myself feeling sweet energies flowing when I did my simple body movements.  As always, I was instinctively circling my hands a few inches from the body and the very soft, very gentle energy flows seemed to come from touching the auric (subtle) body.  Last night on his webinar Andrew quoted from the Gospel of Thomas: "The inside shall be as the outside, and the outside shall be as the inside."  For me, this is a perfect description of feeling the energies through the subtle body.  In that state, we seem to feel on both levels--physical and spiritual.  It is the perfect combination of "inner" and "outer" and is, I believe, an essential part of our progress toward becoming a "divinized" human.

(image from internet)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

St. Patrick--"The Cry of the Deer"--poem 

The Cry of the Deer
(Faedh Fiada)

At Tara today in this fateful hour
I place all Heaven with its power,
And the sun with its brightness,
And the snow with its whiteness,
And fire with all the strength it hath,
And lightning with its rapid wrath,
And the winds with their swiftness along their path,
And the sea with its deepness,
And the rocks with their steepness,
And the earth with its starkness
All these I place,
By God's almighty help and grace,
Between myself and the powers of darkness.

- St. Patrick
(Version by Madeline L'Engle)

I have always felt a special connection to Ireland, partly because I am of "Scotch-Irish" ancestry and also because I was born on St.Patrick's Day and that fact pointed me in the direction of Ireland early in my life.  This poem has a special appeal since it is about nature, and also because it is set at Tara, one of the great mystical centers of Ireland, a place sacred to the Great Mother before it was taken over by the patriarchy and used as the place where the ancient kings were crowned.  When I visited the site of Tara, I could distinctly feel the sweet earth energies streaming from the ground.  Thus it is a center where Kundalini flows freely from below, and reminds us that Kundalini is the cosmic force that propels the universe itself.  When we are in sync, we can experience these energies as states of ecstatic consciousness.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Kabir--"To Be a Slave of that Intensity"--poem 

To Be a Slave of Intensity

Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think. . .and think. . .while you are alive.
What you call “salvation’ belongs to the time before death.

If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
do you think
ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
just because  the body is rotten--
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of
If you make love with the divine now, in the next life you
will have the face of satisfied desire.

So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
Believe in the Great Sound!

Kabir says this:  When the Guest is being searched for,
it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that
does all the work.
Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.

- Kabir
(version by Robert Bly)

I dearly love this poem by Kabir.  It expresses fully and persuasively the need to desire, long for, the Beloved to enter our lives, even though that longing will make of us a slave of our own passions.  To long for divine connection is much like longing for a special love relationship.  At some stages, we can only hope that our desire for union will be fulfilled.  But--if we ignore our inner needs, we will never fulfill our dreams.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Penny Hackett Evans--History (poem) 


It’s nearly time

to place the year

in its envelope,

get out the sealing wax

label it the past.

Birthdays, deaths,

weddings, tulips,

passions ignited,

thoughts outgrown.

Pack them away.

Snowstorms, news

that wasn’t new,

morphed friendships,

ideas that glistened

crackled with newness.

The ups and downs

of your impatient heart.

Your mind’s door

pried open and shut

a thousand times.

All of that wanting.

Close the door.

Seal 2015 safely

into the sacred



Wednesday, January 06, 2016

John O'Donohue--Beannacht: A Blessing for the New Year 

Dear Friends:  I have been off line for many days with computer problems.  I am working to correct the problem.

Happy New Year to all.

Beannacht: A Blessing for the New Year

by John O'Donohue,
On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.

And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets in to you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green,
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Larry Robinson--A New Year's Blessing--poem 

A New Year’s Blessing

Unhurried mornings, greeted with gratitude;
good work for the hand, the heart and the mind;
the smile of a friend, the laughter of children;
kind words from a neighbor, a home dry and warm.

Food on the table, with a place for the stranger;
a glimpse of the mystery behind every breath;
some time of ease in the arms of your lover;
then sleep with a prayer of thanks on your lips;

May all this and more be yours this year
and every year after to the end of your days.

- Larry Robinson
PoetryLovers mailing list

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Celebrating the New Year--dropping the ball of light 

Several years ago I happened to be in New York City on New Year's Eve and witnessed the dropping of the giant ball of light in Times Square.  I thought this was an odd tradition but had no idea where it originated or what its history was.  Now, all these years later, I finally found the answer and thought I would share the information with others who also might be puzzled by this unusual practice.

I suppose that if we wanted to read this practice as metaphor, we might interpret it as representing the  awakening spiritual light of the coming year, which descends from above and is shattered to cover the entire earth.

The Times Square celebration dates back to 1904, when The New York Times opened its headquarters on Longacre Square. The newspaper convinced the city to rename the area "Times Square," and they hosted a big party, complete with fireworks, on New Year's Eve. Some 200,000 people attended, but the paper's owner, Adolph Ochs, wanted the next celebration to be even splashier. In 1907, the paper's head electrician constructed a giant lighted ball that was lowered from the building's flagpole. The first Times Square Ball was made of wood and iron, weighed 700 pounds, and was lit by a hundred 25-watt bulbs. Now, it's made of Waterford crystal, weighs almost six tons, and is lit by more than 32,000 LED lights. The party in Times Square is attended by up to a million people every year.

Other cities have developed their own ball-dropping traditions. Atlanta, Georgia, drops a giant peach. Eastport, Maine, drops a sardine. Ocean City, Maryland, drops a beach ball, and Mobile, Alabama, drops a 600-pound electric Moon Pie. In Tempe, Arizona, a giant tortilla chip descends into a massive bowl of salsa. Brasstown, North Carolina, drops a Plexiglas pyramid containing a live possum; and Key West, Florida, drops an enormous ruby slipper with a drag queen inside it.

(from The Writer's Almanac)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Clarissa Pinkola Estes--We Were Made for These Times 

We Were Made For These Times
Clarissa Pinkola Estes

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.

Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.

We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn't you say you were a believer? Didn't you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn't you ask for grace? Don't you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these - to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

By Clarissa Pinkola Estes
American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

One person's Kundalini experience 

I received the following from a correspondent recently.  It is yet another example of the possible effects of Kundalini arousal.  The writer is obviously not a native English speaker, so please overlook any grammatical errors.

Hello Dorothy

My experience was the most frightening and exciting at the same time. I was 30 years old . I thought I was losing my mind and I felt a feminine presence near but I couldn't see nobody. I felt at this moment that I was more than flesh and bones. We're all made of that powerful and divine energy. I wish it could've last forever but that mysterious event was there to teach me something. Almost 10 years after the awakening I still don't have all the answers but I changed for the better. I became more spiritual and a bit psychic.
Sensitive to energies and people around me, like I can read them easily. I became more positive . Close friends told me that they can feel my energy as if my frequency is vibrating higher than normal. I was told also that my presence my voice or my laughter can heal people in a certain way... Every day I learn a bit more about this event and about myself...

Thanks Dorothy

Monday, December 28, 2015

Sally Kempton plus interview with Andrew Harvey 

(Andrew Harvey speaks today on BATGAP (Buddha at the Gas Pump): 4:30 Pacific Time.    


And here is an excerpt from Sally Kempton's newsletter:)

Sally Kempton is one of my all time favorite spiritual teachers.  Here are some thoughts she is offering for the New Year:

And I'm finding that my main practice right now—and I'm offer it to you as a perfect practice for this or any time—is to stop every half hour or so to attend to the felt sense of the present moment. In  Leonard Cohen's song "Anthem", he sings that haunting line, "There is a crack in everything/That's how the light gets in." I like to think that the crack he's talking about is just this: the natural opening into presence and light that can emerge from moments of pausing. In the Freedom, Ecstasy, and Awakening class we just completed, we spoke a lot about the Gap, the openness that arises when we focus on the "place" where one movement or breath or thought ends, and before the next one begins. One of the simplest acts of true meditation is to return again and again to that pause, that gap. Attending to the space between things, we invite Shakti to give us a glimpse of her face as the heart of reality.

To invite that space to arise is what the "Stop" practice is all about.  In this busy season, this time of recapitulation and karmic wrap-up and celebration, you can use "Stop" as a kind of mantric command to the mind, an inner dharma bell that can be rung at any moment.

A moment is enough. In the middle of a computer task, during a conversation, wrapping presents, eating, dancing, washing the dishes, buckling your seat belt, offering prayers for the beings touched by the painful and tragic events in the world, coloring a picture with a child—in the middle of whatever you're doing, you can remind yourself, "Stop" and notice the space that arises.

The sages of Kashmir Shaivism called it the madhya—a Sanskrit word that just means "middle" or "center"—the doorway into Reality that they remind us to look for by focusing inside the natural pauses in the flow of life—between one breath or another, between one thought or another, or between one moment and another. In Thich Nhat Han's ashram, they ring a bell every hour to remind people to just stop. And even though we normally don't pay a lot of attention to those moments, they really can irradiate our days.

The present moment, as so many great teachers tell us, is the only moment we can actually practice. The present moment—the place we enter when we pay attention to the pause—is also the only state from which we can make meaningful change. I know you've heard this before. But if you're anything like me, you might need to remind yourself again and again that the time to do your inner work is right now, in this moment—no matter how inconvenient it seems and no matter how much else you have going on!

People often ask me whether one technique is better than another. Is mantra better than focusing on breath? Is self-inquiry better than mantra? Which mantra is the best one? Truly, the best technique for each of us is the one that we can follow into the space between past and future, into the Awareness/Presence/Love that soaks us when we fall into the present moment. It's true that some techniques are more direct, more cut-to-the-chase than others. But what matters is that you let whatever practice you do dissolve your distractions long enough to taste the spacious grace that is always lurking in the gap between past and future, where what you always truly are is waiting to be felt, and realized, and lived.

May the New Year bring you awakenings, love, and innumerable gifts and blessings!

Here's what's happening in the next few months:

January 13-February 24, 2016
Teleclass: Kundalini, The Inner Goddess; The Transformation of Your Consciousness

Our next teleclass, will be a 7 week immersion in Kundalini Shakti, the inner force that is the true power behind both awakening and spiritual progress. Kundalini is the so-called 'coiled power', the form of life energy that when activated, transforms our karmic pattern and impels our practice, our creativity, and our ability to break through obstacles. Some people believe that an awakened or partially awakened Kundalini is the secret behind the work of great artists and thinkers. Its certainly the secret of yogic awakenings. In my experience, the shifts that change our life are nearly always impelled by this inner power.

Kundalini changed my life, literally "rebirthed" me. And Kundalini is widely misunderstood in todays yoga world. That's why I give this course, which I believe cannot only give you important information about how this power works, but can also kindle and deepen your experience of the inner power.

Each of the seven classes includes deep, experienceable transmissions, meditations, knowledge from the tantric sages about the relationship of each chakra to your awakening, myth-busting teachings, and life-transforming understandings and opportunities to explore for yourself how the awakened Shakti unfolds in your personal an individual.

Click here to register and for more information.

April 3-8, 2016
Spring Retreat at Mt Madonna
Meditation and the Eye of Shiva/Shakti: Living as Your Divine Human Self

This year's Mt Madonna Retreat is a full immersion in deep meditation in the tradition of the tantric sages. We'll explore key practices from the Shiva Sutras and the Vijnana Bhairava as they apply to contemporary practitioners. We'll delve deeply into self-inquiry. We'll find out what it means to each one of us, personally, to surrender to the divine. We'll explore the tastes of the Self both in stillness and in action. We'll look at what it means to free ourselves from karma. We'll explore consciousness as a focal point of meditation, and deepen our immersion into mantra as it unfolds in the inner body. The retreat will culminate with a celebration of the first two days of Navaratri, sacred to Kali, the Goddess of Transformation.

You'll learn:

meditations for self-recognition, for healing, and for empowerment
the true secret of deepening your practice
how to integrate direct self-inquiry with devotional mantra practice
exploring the inner body as a sacred abode
using a sacred text as a doorway into meditation
meditations that connect your awareness to the great Awareness
finding the inner breath
the true meaning of honoring yourself and others
overcoming misunderstandings and blocks to true self-love
Elizabeth Rossa will guide us in our sessions of yoga, offering her signature practices for both meditative and active asana. We'll have nightly chanting. The retreat, held among the redwoods overlooking the Pacific, is supported and enhanced by the atmosphere of this powerful retreat center, with it's beautiful temples to Hanuman and Ganesha. We'll enjoy delicious vegetarian food, japa walks through the redwood forest, deep satsang, temple ceremonies, and the opportunity to spend time with a community of people on a transformative path!

Sally Kempton teaches at the cutting edge of ancient and contemporary wisdom, unfolding the energetic practices of the tantrikas in an atmosphere that creates space for real inner change. A former swami in a Vedic tradition, she has been teaching for nearly 40 years and is known for her powerful transmissions of meditative states. Sally is the author of the recently released Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga and the best-selling book Meditation for the Love of It. Her audio program of meditations on the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, Doorways to the Infinite, was recently released by Sounds True. She offers regular retreats and workshops as well as teleconferences.

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