It Was the Right Place to Come

you came here asking for help
it was the right place to come.

now the pot is boiling and you want to get out
but there is no getting out because there is nothing that is not the pot.

you think there is a place to hide
but it is already over
it is already over.

you will see…

the Truth of who you are will stalk you into every night
it will follow you…

God takes all bets and wins.

so go ahead, do whatever you want.
It’s already over.

turning back from what?  turning back from where?

the Truth of who you are is stalking you.
the Truth of who you are will grab your sweet ass
throw you down
break you open
and smash your heart so wide that it bursts into a billion trillion stars

La illaha il Allah haqq

and then there will be only
joy
only
bliss
only beauty

and you and I, we will laugh together again, then, my friend.
we will laugh and play and sing together again.
like children.

—-

in Loving Kindness,

–Murshida VA

The Main Course

you think i want you for my lover?

that would be nice, don’t get me wrong, that would be… nice.

but really i would only be softening you up
for the main course
i would only be marinating you to be served at God’s table.

you see, i want your freedom
more than anything
more than your hands on my body
more than your breath inside me
more than your warm, deep kisses

you thought you could come to Kali’s house
and play with fire
without getting burned up
on the cremation grounds?

what were you thinking?

the Mother is dancing, naked, laughing,
bathed in ashes, grieving your death
while you are still here breathing.

She is celebrating your death,
while you are still clinging desperately
to all your ideas of who you are.

and you still think I want you for my lover.

Stupid! I want to mesmerize you with bliss
until you drop your guard for just a moment
until you slip for just a moment
into surrender

into surrender
for just a moment

and then I’ll pour what’s left of you
into God’s mouth
like the finest red wine
to wash down the meal

and you and God will be so happy then
like two lovers after hours and hours of love
punctuated by a perfect feast
prepared by the Chefs of Heaven
with warm tummys

resting entwined
engulfed devoured
happily exhausted

breathing together
like the waves
of the ocean

yes, you and God will be so happy then
that it will not matter what I did to get you there
you’ll forgive me,

laughing and crying all at once
for how I tricked you

you’ll forgive me for tricking you
into believing
i was just a woman who wanted you
for my lover

and you’ll know it’s true then–
i could never only want that
i could never only want that

because once you see
once you know
once you feel the bliss of God

you’ll know, that really,
all this human lovemaking is just…
well… it’s just for practice.

–Murshida VA


————————–

Notes:

It is partly correct to say Kali is a goddess of death but She brings the death of the ego as the illusory self-centered view of reality…  Of all the forms of Devi, She is the most compassionate because She provides liberation to Her children. She is the counterpart of Shiva the destroyer. They are the destroyers of unreality. The ego sees Mother Kali and trembles with fear because the ego sees in Her its own eventual demise. A person who is attached to his or her ego will not be receptive to Mother Kali and she will appear in a fearsome form. A mature soul who engages in spiritual practice to remove the illusion of the ego sees Mother Kali as very sweet, affectionate, and overflowing with incomprehensible love for Her children.   –from: http://www.goddess.ws/kali.html

God in the Heart

When I was a child, I felt God in my heart all the time.  My earliest memories are of this energy in my heart, this spinning, whirling love that “looked” to me like sparkling electric green-blue and white light.  I always knew this energy was God.  I never doubted or questioned it at all.

I can hardly even imagine what it would be like to be this sensitive young woman from yesterday’s blog entry, praying and praying but feeling nothing and then suddenly, at the age of 22, awakening with such force to the interconnectedness of everything.  What a shock to the system to suddenly feel alive, to suddenly feel connected to Life, to all of Life.

For me it was a shock to suddenly feel dead.  I remember being about nineteen when it happened.  There had been trauma, oh, lots of trauma, but what I did to myself was the last straw.  The cocaine was the last straw.  One day I woke up and that place in my heart was simply dead.  It was as if it was frozen, ice ice cold.

In an interview with a man named Peter Miller who is doing an extensive research project on the shamanic qualities of plants, I described this experience as having appropriated the power of the spirit of cocaine as my own because I felt so powerless, had lost so much of my own power to the relentlessly abusive and psychologically violent patterns of my family of origin.  The Cocaine Daemon, filled that empty place inside me and gave me the illusion that I was empowered.  But actually, it was sucking my Qi, my fundamental life force energy, right out of me.

I had attempted to appropriate it, and it was appropriating me right back.

If there can be such a thing, I was a fortunate addict.  ‘Rolling Stone Magazine’ published an article on Cocaine Addiction in 1983 and I checked off all the signs and symptoms of withdrawal.  A little switch went click in my head and I knew, just “saw” that my body was having a chemical reaction to the cocaine which was creating the addiction. I realized that if I continued putting cocaine into my body, that same series of chemical reactions would keep occurring.  So I stopped.  Right then and there.  I never did another line again.

Well, I did get my nose repaired a few years later and the standard anesthesiology for rhinoplasty is liquid pharmaceutical cocaine, but after the surgery, I breathed through the cravings.  I did not relapse.

There never was NA or AA for me.  Not that I was rebellious, just that I didn’t know the options existed and the shame was so terrible, at having hurt myself so deeply, that I confided in no one what I was going through.

Yes, I was really one of the lucky ones.

It took almost ten years before the craving stopped, and for another five years I would still periodically dream I was snorting lines and wake up terrified, shaking myself out of sleep into the deep relief of my clean life.  I did all the right things– I cut all my ties with anyone and everyone from that world; I turned to exercise, meditation and daily spiritual practice and developed a better diet; I tried to really process every single feeling I was feeling, leave no stone unturned and cry a lot, more than most modern, industrialized humans.  I really really cried a lot.  And as much as possible I did not criticize myself for crying, or for feeling anything.  Gradually, I even learned to set boundaries with my family and say “No.” to cruelty and meanness, not with a rising battle of well-I’ll-show you, but with a bow and a “No thank you, please.”  Gradually  I relearned that incredible gift I was born with– loving kindness– and in relearning it, I learned also to protect it this time, and never ever to take it for granted.

Yes, I am definitely one of the lucky ones.

By the time I heard about 12-Step groups, I had been clean so long it really seemed moot.  Instead, still struggling with family issues, I attended Al-Anon for several years. That was incredibly helpful.

Years later, I ran an addiction recovery program in the Lowell Prison.  It was my 12th Step work.  I was very very good at it.  The women in that program helped me to heal my shame, to forgive myself, finally, for everything I had done to myself. They helped me to see myself in each of them, in their terrible stories, in their loneliness and desperation and deep sense of powerlessness.  Together we survived all of our parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles, processed the collective ignorance, cruelty and selfishness of humanity, and helped one another to heal and to love.

I didn’t exactly follow the NA guidelines.  After all, I didn’t really know them.  But that wasn’t my job:  my job was to be helpful.  So I taught awareness.  And it helped.  It helped all of us.

And that feeling of God in my heart, of God being alive within my own heart, that eventually, after 17 years or so, came back home to me, and now, after almost 28 years clean, has continued to grow stronger and deeper.  There is not a single day that I do not feel grateful for simply being and for being able to love.

Sometimes people find me strange– I am so grateful, so appreciative, so deeply aware of how precious life is and how easily it can be taken from us.  Gone, gone in a moment, vanished.  Sometimes it makes people uncomfortable to be around me.

Sometimes they leave.  Sometimes they stay.  I go on loving them anyway.  Just as life goes on being precious– whether we dare to truly feel that or not.

in Loving Kindness,

Murshida VA

——

To participate in Peter Miller’s research project, take the online survey at: http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/era/PsychoPlants/

Earth Offerings

“It appears to me as if the omnipotent intelligence of planet Earth is recognizing the advancement in the level of evolution in human beings.”–Shahabuddin David Less.

The beautiful young woman on the phone was describing her experience in the forest, hearing the voice of the Earth speak to her of thousands of years of pain.  As a child, her parents and all the elders told her to pray. They told her that if she would pray, she would feel God in her heart, but although she prayed and prayed, she felt nothing.  And then this, this mystery, this miracle, this sitting on the Earth and hearing, simply hearing the voice of the Mother herself, telling the story of her pain.

And her heart broke wide open and she began to feel everything and hear everything– all of the feelings, all of the voices of the One Being.  At first the voices of pain were easier to hear and she felt her life slipping away into the Abyss, her soul tumbling into fear and desolation.  But as she fell, another voice reached out to her from beyond the Void, penetrating her heart, filling her soul with light and hope.

“Go back to the earth and make love, little one.” it said.  “Make love on the prairie, on the beach, on the forest floor.  So many people are raped on the Earth nowadays, but so few people lie down in love on her body.

“Make love on her.  Make wild love on her.  Make crazy love on her.  Let her feel your ecstasy.  Let her feel your joy.  Let her know how grateful you are for your life.  Let her know how grateful you are for your life.  Thank her for the gift of your life with your whole body and everything you feel– what prayer could be more beautiful than this?  What prayer could be  more beautiful than this?

“Tell her, tell her you will do whatever is within your power to do to help to heal this world and ask her to heal you, ask her, humbly and openly, to heal you, to heal you completely, so that you may serve the healing of this world.

“Then put all your attention to your healing.  And when it is done, when it is done, when the healing is completed, live your vow– give all you are able to give to the healing of this world.  You will see miracles.

“You will see miracles.  And you will be Magic.”

Let her feel your joy.

That was my voice.  I am her Teacher, her Guide. And these things I learned from my Teacher, my Guide, but when the world was cracking open for me and rushing into  my heart with all it’s pain and joy and horror and beauty, and the tears did not stop for more than four years, I did not have a Guide.

I am lucky to be here in this world.  So fortunate not to have been consumed by desolation and darkness.  When I first met Shahabuddin, he pointed me out from a group of about 75 people and said, “You almost didn’t make it.”  And I knew it was true.

So I am here, now for the young people of our community, holding the light as they traverse the darkness, throw themselves headlong into the abyss, penetrate the Void, all in the name of finding that Truth which Awakens within us as Embodied Divine Love.  Hopefully, their journeys will be easier than mine because I am here.  Hopefully, I will save them some time.  My mother always said, “A good teacher will save you time.”  One never knows, though.  One just does the best that one can do every moment and the rest is up to the brilliant Universe.

We rarely talk about ourselves as individual “I’s” in the Dervish tradition, but my life is all I have to offer to the world.  It is the most precious gift God has given me, and it is the most precious gift I can give.  So I talk about my life.  I write about my life.  I love my life.  I live my life.  And I strive to inspire others to live their lives in this way- with complete fullness, with uncompromised vitality.

Amidst all this pain and suffering, there is so much beauty here, and as we learn to love through and beyond it all, as we learn to transform the darkness within and around us, not by denial but by embracing, we become, one by one, part of the healing.

The Message which came through for this beautiful, sensitive young woman opening into her enlightenment, is a Message for All of us–  if we can call up the courage to heal ourselves, we can heal the world.  We can heal this world.  Together.  All we have to do is heal ourselves and it will begin.

In Loving Kindness,

Murshida VA

On Our Work and Human Evolution in the 21st Century

This came today from Shahabuddin, the man who has been my teacher, my guide in a human body, who trained me, and who is now my strong ally and enduring friend.

The resonance in his letter today is so deep, with the work of our community and especially with the theme of protection which has recently arisen through this blog and in our lives here, that I felt powerfully called to share his words with all of you.

We are all doing this work and it is working.  And it is crucial to courageously and lovingly confront the limitation, the fear, the anything-within-ourselves-or-one-another-which-would-degrade-the-exquisite-beauty-of-the-human-spirit or attempt to prevent the heart rising to it’s most ascended condition of freedom.  It is crucial to stand up for the best in ourselves and in one another.

Only the old habits of the mind can prevent us from claiming the glorious reality of our birth right, of who and what we truly are and were born to be.

One of my students called me the Destroyer a few days ago– she said I destroyed fear.  But she let me in.  She let me be that.

It is true:  I can often see where we need to go, but there is no power I have that you do not give me. For those of you who are willing to live with courage, I thank you, with all my heart.

In Loving Kindness,

Murshida VA


Here is the Message from Shahabuddin:


Shahabuddin David Less

Greetings everyone,

It is my belief that the 21st century will be a time of a great shift of consciousness in our planetary soul.

This era can be a moment for humanity and our planet to take a great step forward.

It appears to me as if the omnipotent intelligence of planet Earth is recognizing the advancement in the level of evolution in human beings. Prior to this point, because of the lack of respect for human beings by human beings, the planet was less of a player, in a sense, in changes that occurred in human history.

As we read history, although it is spiced with natural disasters, it is a story of human cruelty and greed, with brief moments of hope and illumination.

In this century, hope and illumination will predominate, and the forces of human cruelty and limitation will begin to diminish. There are many who refuse to let the old model go and are firmly entrenched in the idea that egocentricity and limitation are part of the human being and cannot be expunged.

This habit of thinking is the product of eons of souls leaving the earth with this impression and passing it on to the next generation or generations. But at the beginning of the 20th century there was a wave of positive thought, albeit small, that began to produce seeds in the heavens of a different and more positive perspective of what life could be like on Planet Earth.

Those seeds have grown into plants, and those plants are beginning to flower.

We saw pockets of this in the 60’s, and see it appearing once again now, 50 years later. From my perspective, this is an evolutionary pinnacle, but instead of descending from this point, we will jump to a whole other level of compassionate energy.

The work of Rising Tide and other spiritual communities and groups of awakened people is to act as protection for these flowers, and also to fertilize the future, by teaching people how to live and die with awareness so that the lessons will not be lost, the beauty will not be wasted, and the future will be assured.

There is a cooperative consciousness that is emerging as a reality, but it is still in a delicate condition.  Our dharma is to make sure that this consciousness is protected and shared.

It’s quite a challenge, and it requires all of our experience and courage. It is critical to remember that we are not alone, but are held lovingly in the arms of each other.

Deep Love and Blessings,
Shahabuddin David Less

(For more on Shahabuddin, see:  http://risingtideinternational.org/shahab.htm

On Compassionate Truth and the Dissolution of Friendships

Last night I wrote a very difficult letter to a friend.  I love this friend.  Really with my entire being, but there are times when we see something in someone’s actions and we just have to call it out.  This, for me, was one of those times.  I found myself like a wolf baying at the moon, calling for all the truth to come out of the shadows, to light the darkness of the soul.  And how this light penetrated my friend, I may never know– his response was to remove me from his facebook friends and cut all communication.

It was not a cruel or angry letter.  It was just honest, clear, penetrating, and ruthlessly compassionate, but these energies are not always something people are willing to take in.

And so, my friend may have shut me out permanently.  And, the thing is, no matter how much the head says, “Well, that is just how it has to be”  the heart still grieves.  And my heart is grieving.

When I was younger perhaps I would have grieved for days over this, but now it just isn’t possible for me to feel that kind of despair.  I have seen too much of life to feel utterly devastated by the loss of even the most beautiful and promising love or friendship.   Somehow, along the way, my bones got the message that nothing which is truly mine in this world can ever be taken from me.  And I certainly have known for many years that, “There are some truths far better than belonging.”

If I compromise the integrity of my Self to keep a friend, both the friend and I will have less than nothing.

One of my students said today that the thing about our community is that all your shit can come up, it can go right out on the table and you will be loved even more for that as long “…as you’re willing to work with it.  We don’t care what the shit is,” he said.  “We love you more for being human.”

Growth happens at these times.  Real growth.  Real change.  Real transformation.  It also requires real courage and cultivates fearlessness to go to and through these places.  It’s not for everybody.

“We are deep divers here,” he said.  “If that’s not for you, go to the kiddie pool.”

He has a way with words.

And he is very loyal.

Deep diving is not for everyone.  It does not make a person immature or less if they prefer not to dive.  We are all made differently.  Some of us are better swimmers than others. Some of us have better lung capacity and so do not fear the deep water.  For those who look on the expanse of the ocean and all they see is the terror of drowning, God has made the shallows, hot springs, cold springs, rivers, waterfalls… there are many beautiful choices.

Deep diving is only one.   And, yes, all rivers do eventually lead to the ocean, but one doesn’t have to begin on the back of a blue whale in the middle of the Pacific.

Many people still live lives where the deepest secrets they keep about themselves are from themselves and if anything shines a light into that darkness it is profoundly threatening.  Often, we will kill (some parts of ourselves, the spirit of others, or even literally kill) to protect our ‘horrible secrets’ when the most life-giving thing that could happen to us is that the secrets be dragged out of the Shadow and into the light of conscious awareness in a safe space.

When we actually have the courage to see what is underneath the ‘horrible’ things we have done or are doing, or sometimes even just thinking and feeling, then we begin to make progress in Self-Love.   Almost invariably, what is beneath these choices is some real need begging to be fulfilled.  In recognizing and honoring the need underneath the darkness, we can begin to find beautiful and powerful ways to fulfill ourselves, truly.

Carl Jung said that the Shadow, our disowned and often denied, repressed and even consciously suppressed parts of ourselves, contained some of our finest qualities.  The key to transforming the Shadow world lies in having the courage to face who and what we are, as individuals and as a humanity.

As Jesus of Nazareth said, “When we bring forth what is within us, what we bring forth will save us.  When we deny what is within us, what we deny will destroy us.”

Truth has an immutable, an unchanging quality.  It endures when all else passes away.  Perhaps this is why I prefer relationships built on this foundation– I find they persevere gracefully even in the face of Life’s most challenging passages.   So for those of us who prefer the shallows, the springs, hot and cold, the waterfalls, our time will come eventually, those waters will eventually flow into the ocean.

And in the meantime, I am working through my grief.  And it may take a while, but it is better to know now, rather than later, at a crucial time of tension or stress, who and what will have the strength to persevere.

in Loving Kindness,

Murshida VA


Notes:

Lama Tsultrim Allione has a truly magnificent CD, entitled, “Cutting through Fear” which walks the seeker directly through the process of facing and transforming these dark or hidden inner forces.  Ultimately this process becomes a way of life and is deepest when practiced within the container of a conscious community (Holy Company).  However, for anyone who is curious and wants to experiment on their own, dip in a toe or a finger, Allione’s CD a great place to start.   “Cutting Through Fear” is available through Amazon.

A Note on Appropriations

Some of you may be wondering, “What is a skinny, white-skinned, American woman doing writing a blog about Kali Ma?”  Although others of you may not have actually noticed that the author is a ‘skinny, white-skinned American woman’, the cat is now thoroughly out of the bag, and frankly, the cat is happier out than in because it is very a good question.

Kali with Shiva

In the West in general, and in the United States in particular, the majority of our Indigenous traditions have been destroyed.  The result is that most of us no longer know the songs and stories, the myths and archetypes, the magical and healing traditions of our own people.  Consequently, people experience a certain loss of ground.  The tendency, then, is for Westerners in general, and North Americans in particular, to attach ourselves rather aggressively and insensitively to the spiritual traditions of other cultures in an attempt to regain a sense of grounded belonging.  While there is nothing wrong with learning from those who have come before us– quite to the contrary, the ancestors  lead;  we follow in their footsteps– there is a real problem with appropriating the cultures and traditions of other people’s ancestors rather than seeking to reconnect with, or gain deeper knowledge of, our own.

From the point of view of the most cutting-edge thinkers in the recovery of Indigenous Mind movement, this appropriation, far from being innocuous, is actually an insidious form of colonialism and imperialism.  Taking what is not ours to take, is a deep and difficult habit to overcome for those of us who have been raised with the imprints of entitlement.  When the imprints of entitlement are cultural, the entire process is normalized and becomes even more challenging to recognize and overcome.

The author, therefore, treads carefully here, and with great respect, for Kali is what we have left of the Complete Mother in this world.  Not just in the West, but nearly everywhere, the traditions of the Great Mother have been decimated to the extent that a complete, intact archetype of the Divine Mother is virtually inaccessible.  All across human civilization, the Mother and the Lover are rent, the Mother and the Warrior are rent, and the Mother of Life has become a separate archetype from the Mother of Death.  Kali Ma is whole.  Born from Durga’s third eye, fully armed to defeat a legion of demons, Kali is the eternal consort and passionate  lover of Shiva.  She makes love to him, eviscerates and devours him, and then fucks him back to life again.  And Shiva remains in total devotion and complete surrender.  He knows that She, like Nature itself, is as tender as She is fierce, and he never forgets  Her heart, the wellspring of Infinite Compassion.

Amazing to have Her, still, in this world, to learn from Her, and to contemplate that at one time all of our ancestors knew and celebrated some form of this integrated and complete Divine Feminine force.

And possibly, in this contemplation, we can reconnect, through Kali Ma, to the Mother of our own ancestors.  Find our way back… to the beginning.  And as She opens Her secrets to us, as the heart opens and all Life awakens within us, we can listen, back to the beginning, to the songs and stories which have been lost from ordinary time forever but which live eternally in the realms of the heart.

It is all One Mother, All One Being, All awaiting our Remembrance..

For further study:

For more on Indigenous Mind and modern spiritual practice, see Murshida VA’s interview with Roth Conrad of AmericanSafari.org:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xf3Yc15-38&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Famericansafari-talks.blogspot.com%2F2009%2F08%2Fmurshida-va.html&feature=player_embedded

And these articles:

https://www.wisdomuniversity.org/indig.html
http://tranceshamanismbodyandsoul.blogspot.com/2009/06/cultural-appropriation-of-indigenous.html
http://newconnexion.net/articles/index.cfm/1999/07/coloniza.html