Friday, February 16, 2007

Mourning and Melancholia

There are times these days when it seems the whole world is in mourning, when it seems the bare tree branches are jail bars and the bright winter sky a lamp of pain. And then I find joy in the meekest thing--green leaves sprouting from a strawberry, this morning, that spoke to me of life everlasting and then, and thus, of death. The strawberry smile was fleeting but so real--was it real?..I hear a love song and hear hope, and then it's unbearable, an open grave.

But I have seen Her...have seen Her in the vision I had at 22 that shaped my whole life since...have seen Her in sparkling pollen of life renew'd...and in tantrick visions of all forms of the Goddess...have seen Her in my Guru, Who made me laugh, helpless, the first time we met, Who made me ecstatically say "Now I
know there's a God"...though I was 34 by then and thought I already knew ...have seen Her across a café table as the oblivious thumbnail moon waxed Shakti, in blue wisdom... She has spoken in cards, in dreams, in Angels, in songs, in stars, in hallucinations, in human voices, in the heart-shaped black stone She gave me on a beach...I have seen Her,

and yet still do not always believe...or maybe the thing is, I can't help believing now, and so must mourn all the more that these green fields of Her unfolding drip with death and sorrow. Every day I ask Kali to take me beyond dualities, to show me there is no difference between pleasure and pain, gain and loss, spirit and flesh, life and death...every day it seems to get harder to imagine that I'll ever get there, and given the histories of the great founders of my sect, Ramprasad Sen and Ramakrishna, I have no reason to believe I ever will. Ramprasad's embittered, accusatory, yet sweetly loving poems to Kali should probably be all I'm reading right now, and even Ramakrishna, universally acknowledged in his own lifetime to be God in human form, would cry at the misfortunes and sorrows of people he loved and those of strangers.

I guess I am still imbibing the western religious poisons of instant gratification and happiness: pray The Prayer, get saved, problem solved. Hindus invented evolution thousands of years ago and we envision a pretty steep spiritual hill for ourselves...but if I jump off now I'll just have to start over from the bottom. In a dream the other night a gigantic owl appeared to me, with deep and intelligent eyes...she perched on a ledge and I was still, so not to frighten her...had she gone over, she'd have soared, and Laura tells me that I, too, have wings...

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