Inhale Poetry; Exhale Prayer

Inhale Poetry; Exhale Prayer

A tribute and dedication to the

Corrymeela Community

It is April! Celebrate poetry!

A poet whom I had not heard of before a month ago has entered into my awareness, and I write this post to honor the significance of my encounter with his work.

The poet’s name is Pádraig Ó Tuama.

In the beginning of March, I received an e mail from “Poem-a-Day,” an e mail list I subscribe to. I subscribe to so many lists that I quickly glance at message subject lines and am very selective about taking time to open a message. But on this day, the subject line “Makebelieve” intrigued me enough to click open the e mail message that contained Pádraig Ó Tuama’s poem, “Makebelieve.” One click is all…

One never knows where as small a gesture as clicking open an e mail message may lead, especially when that message contains a poem with these opening lines: “And on the first day / god made / something up.”

Now, receiving these words delighted me. Fun! To perceive the entire creation can be, quite possibly, one exuberant jazz improvisation! It is great fun to make something up. You go, god! It’s playful! In my own experience, playfulness is the closest I come to divinity. So, yes, I’m in, here we go, let’s play!

In the spirit of improvisation, I encounter this poem, wondering what I can make up here. Suppose this is a first day because, really, it must be a first day of something somewhere for someone. Today is Day One of “Makebelieve.”

Yogi Bhajan taught a meditation that repeats the mantra, “God and Me. Me and God are One.” Repetition of such words primes consciousness to realize Self, God and Creation are one great, shimmering, spinning thrum of spontaneity. With such awareness, the Self may encounter “Makebelieve” as inspiring a creation.

Hello to the flow of possibility!

“Makebelieve” enters my consciousness and begins its elfin dance in my world.

I inhale the entire poem deeply. Let open my cells, nerves, muscles, organs, glands. May I embrace the poem’s vibration within my body. Even the space between each word in the poem enters into my tissues, cells, and nerves. Let words of “Makebelieve” resonate throughout my 72,000 nadis and add to the gospel according to Ida, Pingala, and Sushmana!

And on the first day

god made

something up.

Then everything came along:

seconds, sex and

beasts and breaths and rabies;

hunger and healings,

lust and lust’s rejections;

swarming things that swarm

inside the dirt;

girth and grind

and grit and shit and all shit’s

functions;

rings inside the treetrunk

and branches broken by the snow;

pig’s hearts and stars,

mystery, suspense and stingrays;

insects, blood

and interests and death;

eventually, us,

with all our viruses, laments and

curiosities;

all our songs and made-up stories;

and our songs about the stories

we’ve forgotten;

and all that we’ve forgotten we’ve

forgotten;

and to hold it all together god made

time

and those rhyming seasons

that display decay.


Pádraig Ó Tuama

Read it again over long moments and visualize welcoming this poem into my pineal gland, and inviting the pineal gland to secrete its Nectar of Mystic Pleasure.

I read the poem over and over aloud and then in a whisper and then silently. I inhale and suspend the breath inside while I silently repeat the poem.

Then I exhale and suspend the breath out while I silently repeat the poem.

Filling and emptying myself with poem and with breath in this way I can amuse / observe myself for hours. I combine a simple, ancient yogic breathing pattern with deeply experiencing this one good contemporary poem. And guess what, Mister Pádraig Ó Tuama? I am meditating with your poem, and breathing consciously all while sitting in my yogi cave! And after regarding your work, sir, I do know how you feel about caves. Hello to the Cave between my eyebrows! Welcome in! You, sir, have nothing to fear in this yogi cave as you are welcomed here with great reverence. Friend, you are known in here as

The Lord of the Rings Inside Tree Trunks!

Not that you created the rings inside tree trunks, but you created my fresh-colored awareness of them. Before I read your poem, the rings inside tree trunks were brown. After reading your poem, for me, the rings inside tree trunks are brown tinged with gold.

Let’s just sit here the day long and breathe this poem. Let every word and thought be intimately entwined with breath awareness. Any poem worth reading demands The Slowed-Breath Reading. Elongate the moments of the poem; take it word by word with lots of pause and be aware of the eye’s movements: ask, over which words or spaces do my lids close then open, close then open? What unseen dust do my lashes flit off? What of the play of light the words toss inside these eyes? When I happen upon a word or groups of words I adore, am I open to regarding their effect inside my body as miraculous as, say, news of the birth of our world’s beloved Savior?

Can breathing and being with this one poem align me up for longed-for, deep-connection encounters with my fellow word-lovers who delight in the wordly realm of divine play?

I seek and find a travel companion in this complete stranger, this Gay Irish Catholic poet named Pádraig, who knows nothing whatsoever of my own queer existence. Now, a shadow of me may lurk in his subconscious mind somewhere as “the reader,” but the way his writing resonates with me, I would have to insist I know him too well. I want to proclaim I am his Brother.

Now, I know I can be perceived to be wearing a woman’s body. But the hug I imagine giving my Brother to thank him for his writings, the heart hug I imagine giving him, is a hug that I give him with a man’s arms, with a man’s heart, with a generous amount of gratitude and admiration transferred through all my man-muscles squeezing. And when we regularly squeeze tension into our muscles and then release, we learn how to let go of tension. Hug often. Squeeze often. Let go often.

But now back to “Poem-a-Day.” This daily e mail offers so much more in one e mail message than one poem per day.

Now I choose to create infinite amounts of time, leisure, open hours, quiet light that urges me to listen to the voice of my soul that says, yes, explore here! Though I have a list of “things to do,” I am choosing to listen to my soul and take a heartfelt dive into this here rich library of resources before me offered by Poetry.org. What truth does this tell about my relationship to my “to do” list?

This e mail message relays all sorts of things that relate to the poem, “Makebelieve.” Welcome all this now to relate to all of me. Let me dwell and draw out this moment when my first encounter with this poem, this poet, this stranger exudes its power. The power of this Stranger is that he piques my curiosity, invites me into a fresh realm of the contemplative journey, a new mystery, and fabulous play. Over the month of March, I have been submersing myself in his writing, and my encounter with this writer is guiding me on a lyrical pilgrimage.

He is returning me, after a long time exploring a variety of sacred texts and bowing to the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, his work is returning me to explore love for the The Holy Bible.

The “Makebelieve” poem comes with a list of titles by the author, plus any links to further resources. In the first encounter, I learned a bit of biographical information about Pádraig Ó Tuama. Here is his insight that instantly invited my joyful participation.

“When it comes to ‘Freedom of Religion’, much attention is given to the words freedom and religion. However, the of is also worthy of mention. Religion is free; it is free to query, to make meaning, to break things, to make things up. Religion is—or should be—free to change too, or to wrap itself around the delight and devastation of the human condition. Religion does not only provide a storypoem about the earth’s creation, it also provides a form by which we can create, and recreate, break and makebelieve. We are made of humus, the old texts tell us—we are also made of rot and time; danger and demand. In the beginning was a…what? You tell me.”


Pádraig Ó Tuama

In this beginning right now is longing for friendship. So, I continue to be here. I learn he wrote a book of poems called Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community. Reading a bit further, I learn that The Corrymeela Community is Ireland’s oldest reconciliation community. An easy click on the content below that leads me to the Corrymeela Community homepage.

In the “About Us” page, I read that the Corrymeela Community is a people of “prayers, conversation, curiosity, and questioning.” Instantly, I think, Yes, I adore these people! This is my kind of community. How I long to retreat to such a place where people are devoted to sitting fireside together, drinking cups of tea and engaging in deep, honest conversations about difficult subjects.

How I long to spend every Spring season reading poetry, meditating, practicing yoga kriya, and praying my radiant heart out. Then wouldn’t it be nice to sit down with any person, idea, or state of being that has hurt or helped me and engage in a good, long, difficult talk?

Hello to the distance between us.

Hello to closing that distance with sharing contemplative writing.

Instantly, I ordered my own copy of Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community. When it arrived to my home in California several days later, I read it over and over. And to dive into the details of how my physical, mental, emotional, energetic, and etheric bodies encounter these quiet poems will take so much longer than this blog post. So now all that and all I wish to contemplate and write while slowly reading through his book In the Shelter is filling page after page of my quiet notebooks.

Hello to pure contentment.

Hello to my solitary cloister.

I like to contemplate the different ways we sit with the body when we are in prayer; more specifically, I wonder at the various ways we place the hands to pray. Friend, when you pray, do you fold your hands in what yogis refer to as a Venus lock, with the fingers interlaced and finger tips resting on the back of the hands; or do you press your palms together with the fingers aligned upright pointing each skyward, palm flat against palm, and pressing with a bit of pressure between the palms? Do you pray with the forehead kissing the Earth? What gesture do you use to express that your head serves your heart? What ways do you proclaim to the cosmos your sense of humility and awe in the presence of the divine? Perhaps you find comfort in returning to the curled position humans assume in the womb, all curled up, you pray? In what position do you pray? I wonder: How did Jesus hold his hands and his body, privately, while he was making his most private, inward, anguished prayer? What did Jesus feel within his spine? What word did he use to describe the sensations within his Brahmarandhra?

I love to imagine myself present while the Corrymeela Community prays. I image myself engaging in conversations, arguments, question and answer sessions with everyday people who have endured great suffering and conflict. Let me pour you a cup of tea. Let us bow our heads. Let us pray. Let us breathe. Though I am far away and a complete stranger, please feel me close to you. Feel a friend near, a yogi with a big, generous heart. Please welcome me as one who longs to hear your stories of all that troubles you and all that comforts you.

Here is what I admire about the Corrymeela Community: they sincerely work “to be engaged with the world at its points of fracture, faith and potential.” This resonates with me as a kundalini yogi because Kundalini is defined as “the creative potential within a being.” Potential is always beloved of yogis and this potential blooms from within.

Sadhguru says it like this:


If you know how to be equanimous and exuberant at the same time, there will be no fear. Whatever situation you may face, life will always be beautiful. Once there is exuberance and equanimity in you, your destiny will not be ruled by what happens around you, but only by what happens within you.

Sadhguru

I am full of exuberance about this poet I have met through the written word. In my mind and heart I behold his writing…slowly. Perhaps it seems that circumstances prohibit me from physically visiting the Corrymeela Community at this time, other than through my online journey. But as a yogi, I intend to project my subtle body, my intention, and my prayers, which know no bounds. I practice yogic art of subtle transmission to pay my visit to Corrymeela Community. Dear Friends, I am listening.

Here is how I intend to be present and celebrate and be with this community:

I dedicate my own 40 days of kundalini yoga practice of Creative Energy Kriya and the Meditation for Word Power to the Corrymeela Community in “[The] North[ern] [of] Ireland.” Throughout these 40 days, may whatever shifts I observe in my body, my thoughts, my energy, and my consciousness be a dedication to all beings who encounter fracture, faith, and potential. May we engage in these encounters with sensitivity, awareness, listening, and longing for peace. May this practice resonate loving solidarity with those who pray from a place of witness, from a place of humility, from a place of feeling the touch of God’s grace within the depths of human longing.

I repeat: one never knows where as small a gesture as clicking open an e mail may lead. Embracing this mystery compels me to wonder at and imagine the ripples, ramifications and consequences of my larger gestures, the great actions I embark upon throughout the day. What will my hands touch? Where will these feet take me? What words will this tongue speak and what impact will all of that movement have, if any? Would it be better or worse if I keep quiet and be still?

So, to close, I shall bow–forehead smooching dirt–to that singular moment when I clicked open that “Poem-a-Day” message. I bow again to the flow that carried me with my own curiosity through the caves within the land of “Makebelieve.” And I bow to every small gesture that guided the poet,
Pádraig Ó Tuama, to complete and share his poem “Makebelieve.” I bow to everyone who reads the poem and encounters it with their full consciousness. As this will keep me bowing for quite some time, I surrender some part of my Self to dwell in an inward repetition of Infinite Pranams.

Here is a prayer: May this forty-day Sadhana be a journey into deeper awareness of how creative energy works and what we do now, and can do, with creative energy. May there be realization of heart-to-heart connection. And though each personal “here and now” may seem distant, different, dissonant, or distinct from one another, may we perceive at the heart a brotherhood of glory and a brotherhood of grace. May we come to appreciate the ways in which we are co-creators of peace, conscious repeaters of hurts and reconciliations, and quiet strugglers with internal conflict in a universe of ever-shifting bounds and seasons. May I feel the courage to ask: Is there room enough at your table, you who explore the “Spirituality of Conflict,” to be open to a dialogue with one who wants to learn more about you as she also studies the very-softly-whispering gospels according to Ida, Pingala and Shushmana (the three subtle energy channels that run on the left, right and middle of the human spine that are most important to ancient yogis)?

May every inhale gift a poem; may every exhale give a prayer.

Sat Nam!



In the Shelter Talk with dear Pádraig

40 Days of Radiant Words

Day One

According to yogic numerology, 2017 is a year to relate to the Radiant Body.

Yogis know that we are much greater than the limits of the physical body; so, cultivating awareness of all ten light bodies of consciousness is a reward and challenge of a daily yoga practice.  These are the ten bodies:  1.  The Soul Body.  2.  The Negative Mind.  3.  The Positive Mind.  4.  The Meditative Mind. 5.  The Physical Body.  6.  The Arc Line.  7.  The Aura.  8.  The Pranic Boday.  9.  The Subtle Body.  10.  The Radiant Body.

The Radiant Body implores a yogi to nourish the realms of consciousness that inspire creativity and courage.

Each day, one might ask this:  How can my unique radiant light body of my own consciousness best express its best creativity and courage in this particular time and space?

There is a meditation to practice to strengthen the radiant body.  The mantra to chant is “Ajai Alai”.

I adore this description of the mantra in The Aquarian Teacher text book: the mantra “Ajai Alai,” also known as the Ik Acharee Chand mantra is so effective that “[o]nce you recite the mantra correctly, it will give you the power that whatever you say must happen.”

I am always seduced by the promised benefits of practicing meditation, but the further I journey on my spiritual path, meditation becomes less and less a matter of something that I do in order to achieve the benefits.  Meditation becomes a habit of mind and being.  Any particular meditation receives a chance to express its own sacredness through my unique being.  Meditation is less about achieving benefits and more about the pure pleasure, pain, anger, boredom, or sadness of experiencing my own consciousness in relationship to this particular practice.

End notes in the meditation manual instruct us to chant each sound of the mantra and “hear each word as a world.”  Each word is projected from the throat and vibrates the whole head.

Yes.  I appreciate this sense: Every word is a world.  This is the kind of rich experience of reality that I am always seeking.  I am sure that I long to speak, listen to, read, and write every word as if each is an entire world.  Let me write that again…  I long to listen to every word as if it is a world.  Every word, a world.  Imagining the dimensions of words offers me a sense of reclaiming words as deep, dimensional, and sacred.  To my meditative mind, talk is never cheap.  To my meditative mind, there is no such things as empty words.  When I can consciously treat each word as a world–not just when chanting but always– then I can know how to speak and walk carefully, lightly in this world and with reverence.

I continue to cultivate a relationship with my own words so that I know their power.  That’s why most of what I want to say, write, think, or speak I try to express in the form of a humble prayer.

May I continue to walk tall, reach out and touch others with great love and royal courage. May I continue to feel the pure joy of sitting, breathing, chanting, and being.  May I vibrate the Cosmos so that the Cosmos may clear the path.  May the benefits of this practice be received by all beings.

Sat Nam!

Please join me in practicing this meditation for 40 days: Meditation to Develop the Radiant Body

 

radiance-seven

 

 

May You Prosper #10

The more space we can hold between each breath, the more prosperous we become.

There is a beautiful Lakota Prayer that I just adore.  It goes like this:

Great Mystery!  Teach us how to trust our hearts, our minds, our intuitions, our inner knowing, our senses of our bodies, the blessings of our spirits; teach us to trust these things so that we may enter our sacred spaces and love beyond our fears and thus Walk in Balance with the passing of each glorious Sun.

In the Lakota tradition, “Sacred Spaces” refers to the space between each inhale and each exhale.  When we begin to take time to breathe more slowly, a whole universe opens up, and we start to sense more fully the Creative Consciousness that we share and with which we play.

May we trust the infinite within us.  May we trust our infinite creative potential that it shall carry us through every experience in peace, balance, and harmony.

Sat Nam!

Boardwalk through the mangrove forest
Boardwalk through the mangrove forest

 

 

May You Prosper #9

Prosperity means you are YOU, you are real, and you are fully engaged in all of life with your most expansive awareness and biggest heart.  Prosperity means that your mind obeys your soul.  When you feel prosperous and acknowledge your prosperity, you feel so much gratitude that every breath of life and every beat of the heart is simply a repetition of thank you  thank you  thank you  thank you.  Doesn’t matter what comes your way:  thank you  thank you  thank you!

Sat Nam!

earth.sacred.geometry

 

May You Prosper #8

Hafiz once wrote, “Now that all your worry has proven such an unlucrative business, why not find a new job.”

Inhale for 7 seconds:  1,  2,   3,  4,  5,  6,  7.

Suspend the breath for 7 seconds:  1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  7.

Release the breath for 6 seconds:  1,  2  3,  4,  5,  6.

Continue this breath pattern for as long as you like, or as long as you live, or as long as you love.

Now drop your problems.  Just drop them all.

May you enjoy longevity, tranquility, self balance, and intuition.  And may this breathing business prove more and more lucrative with every breath.

Please join the global meditation to Activate Prosperity.

Sat Nam!

photo (8)

May You Prosper #7

“Your consciousness must have mastery over you.  Not your reason, not your logic, not your needs, not your projection and not your life.  When your consciousness states it is not worthwhile, then even if your life may be at stake, let it go.  When you touch that height, God comes to you.”  ~Yogi Bhajan

And there is also a line that is repeated over and over in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib that strongly encourages one to live life as if one is dead while still alive.

What this means to me–at this moment–is that each day I allow experience to move through me, roll around me, flow this way and that.  I engage this life with full enthusiasm, yet some facet of Me is lying in corpse pose, in a state of eternal, peaceful repose.

Yeah.  Who needs to cling to this one human life with ferocious, possessive energy anyway?  Instead, may I cling to the vibration of I am the light of my soul.  I am beautiful.  I am bountiful.  I am bliss. 

Consciousness exists beyond this one lifetime.  So, if this expression exists in a sacred text–this expression that regards life subordinate to  consciousness–what kind of implications does this present for us in times of mass violence?

One implication may be that my mind and my soul can now engage in life with more energy and attention focused on my personal present moment, which is really all I ever have.  I can focus my energy to serve and uplift myself and those around me, rather than being consumed by the loud clamor of mass media, a mass clamor whose reporting repeatedly reminds me that I am supposed to be fearful, on guard, and feeling separated from my fellow human beings.

May we grow more and more fully conscious, aware of our personal power and our bliss, our beauty, and our bounty.  May we grow less enamored with The Times and become more aware of how to bow to the inner wisdom that is timeless.

Please join Spirit Voyage’s Global Meditation to Activate Prosperity.

Sat Nam!

sunset