The Fountain of Dark Silence

‘Above the eternal tranquility’ – Isaac Levitan, 1894 – WikiArt

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There is a fountain inside you.
Don’t walk around
with an empty bucket
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~ Rumi

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Dorothy Walters is my newly invited guest on ‘The Dawn Within’. The ‘fountain’ refers here to this deep source at the core of our being, this “fountain of dark silence”, as Dorothy wrote in one of her poems. Dorothy experienced a profound Kundalini awakening in 1981, at the age of 53, which she described as “God moving through your body”, “the Beloved within“, “the goddess above all other goddesses”, or a “relentless agony of ascent”. This was her first expression of the ‘fountain inside’, a fountain of bliss in which she dipped again and again until, as she beautifully expresses in one poem:

“… nothing is left of us
but a fine ash
at the core
and then that, too, melting
to a nothingness,
a no place,
only a marker
where a somebody,
a something
once was.”
(Marrow of Flame)

Profoundly transformed by her experience, Dorothy began writing numerous spontaneous poems which are the direct expressions of the beauty and freshness of this inexhaustible source. They have been gathered in her website “Kundalini Splendor”, and in her numerous books.

Dorothy spent most of her youth as a lover of language and books. She took a PhD in English and American literature and taught both classical and contemporary literature at university. She had a life-long interest in some of the great poets and philosophers like W.B. Yeats, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, and later on Rumi, Hafiz, Mirabai and Kabir, which had a deep influence on her poetry. She also helped to found one of the earlier women’s studies programs in the U. S. and directed it for many years. She continues sharing and writing on the subject of Kundalini awakening to this day. After an extended residence in San Francisco, Dorothy now lives and writes in Colorado. I have selected here a few of her poems, which are like the “raw honey of God”. I hope you will enjoy…

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Turn me to gold.”
~ Kabir

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Preparing to Meet the Goddess

Do not think of her
unless you are prepared
to be driven to your limits,
to rush forth from yourself
like a ritual bowl overflowing
with sacramental wine.

Do not summon her image
unless you are ready to be blinded,
to stand in the flash
of a center exploding,
yourself shattering into the landscape,
wavering bits of bark and water.

Do not speak her name
until you have said good-bye
to all your familiar trinkets –
your mirrors, your bracelets,
your childhood adorations –
From now on you are nothing,
a ghost sighing at the window,
a voice singing under water.

(from ‘Unmasking the Rose’)

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Discover more of Dorothy Walter’s beautiful poems… (READ MORE…)

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The Guard and the Prison Breaker

‘The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog’ (part) – Caspar David Friedrich, 1818 – WikiArt

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Without freedom there is no self-knowing 
and without self-knowing there is no meditation
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~ J. Krishnamurti 

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Few sensations are as boisterously exhilarating as freedom is. Freedom is something that we all love to feel. To be freed! Freed from all weights and limitations. Freed from everything that bullies us and pins us down. But most of the time, this feeling is experienced from the vantage point of the little thought in our head that thinks it runs the show. This entity thinks that its freedom comes from being separate, and from its capacity to do what it wants. This is what being free means to most people. But is this really what freedom is, where freedom lies? In expressing all that comes from the lack and desperation of a limited, vindicative little self? If that is so, then this freedom takes us nowhere but in the already known boundaries of our self. How could that account for the power and magnitude of this feeling? Freedom cannot be so small and contrived. What is it then? Where is true freedom to be found? 

Freedom can never be fully felt within the conglomerate of our thoughts, feelings and perceptions, between the four walls of our prison cell. We may feel some occasional bursts of pleasure but this is not the real deal. If you search for freedom through that portion of yourself that is fleeting, fragile, untrue, you will by definition prevent the advent of any meaningful freedom. You will have limited freedom, something to be achieved, something to be added that becomes just another object, another aim in view. And don’t forget that this limited freedom can never be achieved anyway, for we in truth can never do what we want. And of what advantage would it be to follow the clumsy, limited, fanciful ideas of a mind that stands on false premises. Because of this impossible claim, we feel bitter, sad, violent, jealous, regretful. Let’s move away from such dangerous idea. 

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An inquiry into the question of freedom… (READ MORE…)

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The Song of God

‘Lord Krishna preaching Gita to Arjuna’ – Mahavir Prasad Mishra – Wikimedia

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भगवद् गीता

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अहं सर्वस्य प्रभवो 
मत्तः सर्वं प्रवर्तते ।
इति मत्वा भजन्ते मां 
बुधा भावसमन्विताः 

ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ

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I am the self, O Gudākesa! 
seated in the hearts of all beings.
I am the beginning and the middle
and the end also of all beings
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~ Lord Krishna (Bhagavad Gita)

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There is an old and long Sanskrit story that arose in India around the fourth century BC. So long that it has been described as “the longest poem ever written“. So encompassing that the poem mentions about itself: “That which occurs here occurs elsewhere. That which does not occur here occurs nowhere else.”(XVIII.5.38). A story that is as big and epic as life and which took centuries to write, up until the fourth century AD. This masterpiece of universal literature, which influenced the thought, customs, and festivals of a whole civilisation and beyond, is called the Mahābhārata. It is composed of fables, myths, and tales of every kind, that are recipients for multiple religious, philosophical and political considerations. The eminent British film and theatre director Peter Brook wrote: “I sincerely believe that, of all the subjects that exist — including the totality of Shakespeare’s work — the richest, densest and most complete myth is the Mahabharata.”

Among the infinite number of episodes in the poem is concealed a jewel. A short 700-verse scripture — out of the 100 000 contained in the Mahabharata — composed of 18 chapters, that stands as a monument of Hinduism and one of the most highly praised spiritual text in the world. Written around the second century BC by the legendary sage Vyasa — also the main author of the Mahabharata — it has been named nothing less than the ‘Song of God’. This text, called the ‘Bhagavad Gītā’, is a magistral teaching given to the Pandava prince Arjuna by Lord Krishna, who happened to be his charioteer. It is set in the middle of the worst battle between two branches of the same family, the Pandavas and the Kauravas, for the control of the kingdom — a war whose story is the subject of the Mahabharata. So here we are, at the dawn of a horrific battle: 

And then all at once, conchs,
and kettledrums, and tabors,
and trumpets were played upon; 
and there was a tumultuous din.” (I.13)

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A summary of the Bhagavad Gita, a monument of spiritual literature… (READ MORE…)

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There is a Land

There is a land in your sky
When you’re climbing high enough
Above all that is swirling round and round:
The thoughts of yourself, all that finally
Doesn’t stand any scrutiny, that is ready
To shrivel at the slightest disturbance.

There is a land in your sky,
A ground so hard as to secure
Everything in you that is hesitant
Unsure, fragile, lacking, misty; 
That life that you had thought was one 
But shows to be no place to land on.

There is a land in your sky,
A place covered up by your mist,
That needs a certain habituation
Of eyes and ears and mind,
But is the most solid ground of all,
The fairest land where stands all life.

There is a land in your sky,
Feel it in the ethereal air of your self;
Let all your weighty substance fall back
And mingle with its vaporous consistency.
It will show you its strengthy arms,
Will reveal itself as the ultimate ground.

There is a land in your sky,
And another sky above that land.
Your self has here the solidity
Of all that is infinite and calm,
And the world now shows to be
The heavenly harbour of your being.

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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Suggestion:
Voices from Silence (other poems from the blog)

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A Room with a View

‘A Room with a View’ – James Ivory, 1985

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A crystalline voice broke amidst the many murmurs of tourists, between the walls of Roskilde cathedral. A young woman had come to practice her singing here, accompanied by a pianist. I recognised the song immediately. It was Puccini‘s aria ‘O mio babbino caro’, and it sent a wave of delight through me. I recognised it because it is the opening piece and musical signature of the film ‘A Room with a View’, which I have just seen recently. A most curious movie really. A light British romance made in 1985 by the American director James Ivory, based on the 1908 novel of the same name by E. M. Forster. But the film is more than it seems. I encourage you to watch it, for I have a theory about it. The film — and therefore the novel — has been secretly made as an allegory for the seeking of truth.

The film opens up with Lucy arriving at the Pensione Pertolini in Florence, with her cousin and stiff chaperone Charlotte. This is a place where many British citizens come to spend their holidays. We are at the beginning of 1900s, with upper-middle-class characters steeped in the repressive culture and morals of Edwardian England. They come here to have a taste of the more wild and unconventional atmosphere of Italy, along with the beauty of its culture and landscapes. Of course, this film is not specifically about a spiritual search. It is a love story. But not frankly so. It lingers on the edge, giving us some food for thought. Behind the conventional clothing of a delightful romantic romp, it leaves a whole collection of little pebbles in its trail that points to a reflection on life that is both profound and open to interpretations.

[…]

A playful journey into James Ivory’s movie ‘A Room with a View’… (READ MORE…)

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The Virtues of Shopping

Shopping is not an activity that I‘m particularly fond of. Quite frankly, I only get on with it. One of these things that I just have to do. Sometimes, it comes with some extra difficulties. Today it is pouring rain. That just came suddenly to annoy me as I’m walking back home with my bag of groceries. Well, I’ll clench my teeth and show some bravery. But my inner world is screaming out loud. A whole company of thoughts that march in my mind, and on it. For they numb me, make me blind and deaf to the world. In short, I’m complaining about all sorts of things: my stiff body and this cumbersome umbrella; a walk far too long from the shop. Now I long to be home and hurry my steps. I fiddle for my keys. Three storeys to climb. No room for a view…

Well, that’s one version of it. The other is to be simply present. But that’s easier said than done. Unfortunately I don’t master it yet. I get lost. Forget myself. Maybe I’m trying too hard. For this quality of presence often comes unexpectedly as a gift when you really let go of yourself; of that little babbling, pestering mind. In those precious moments, you come to know precisely what you are doing. It is such a gift, to know what you are a part of. Life then comes with its own explanatory notes. It unfolds; shows its brightness and dumbfounding simplicity. I know with a childlike clarity that I am now — actually — coming back from shopping. Not in a vague and lazy way but clearly. I am fully participating. There is a slowing down. I become interested. Present.

There is a body walking here in the street. And I’m grateful for it. It’s even a thrill to feel it. To be alive. To have this pain in the shoulder. Nothing much. The little price to pay for carrying the shopping bag. There are not many thoughts around, so the world does not appear somewhat darkened, in two dimensions, as a flat and dull projection of a mountain of resistance. There is some relief, profundity. It is three-dimensional. The rain has stopped and the houses around appear with their various pastel colours, as it is commonly seen in this region. This is really beautiful. Many bicycles are negligently resting against the wall by my side. Some are standing under the trees with elegance, and a certain artistic composure. I feel truly happy. 

I don’t feel constrained by my shopping. On the contrary. It comes with a gentle and subtle sense of pride. To bring back home the necessary food that will substantiate us. It has purpose. What a lovely thing to know what is exactly going on, and not what we project and finally invent. To have a clear view. To see meaning. All these things that come easily when we do not impose unnecessary barriers on our living experience. Countless drops of water are now falling leisurely from the trees onto the pavement. It is a soothing thing to see and hear. It is music. A few high green plants grow around a nearby trunk, stand erect, dance even, stretching towards the rain, blessed. Even plants can show some eagerness of living, some gratefulness, and finally this strange sense of happiness that pervades the world when it is seen for what it exactly and truly is. It is my turn, today, to feel just that!…

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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Suggestion:
– Other ‘Reveries’ from the blog…

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An Unnoticed Pathology

In our relationship to truth, we often find ourselves in the position of somebody who, on waking up, tries to remember his dream. Any searching, any effort to remember, the slightest doing towards that goal, is pushing the dream away, dislocating it irremediably.

The problem is that we want something. This is our state. Our unnoticed pathology. One that we have inherited from society, and that we have integrated to the point of being it — this wanting, craving, searching. We mind what happens and want to control it. Fair enough. But we should do it from a position of truth, of relaxation, of not minding. We should let the story go, the one that tells us that we are incomplete, not enough, needy of a thousand things, and that prevents us from seeing clearly this presence that we are now and of all eternity. 

We cannot even say that we will let go of all seeking and just sit down doing nothing, for our ‘not doing anything’ is already a cathedral of doing that we have patiently and methodically put together over the years. As the French philosopher Blaise Pascal once noticed, “all of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” 

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Some thoughts on our unfortunate propensity for seeking… (READ MORE…)

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