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Posted - Nov 29 2016 : 8:34:35 PM
| God bless
One of the inspiring threads on AYP forum. How appropriate the you return around the Thanksgiving season
Posted - Nov 30 2016 : 01:18:32 AM
| Hi Anandatandava,
Very nice to read you again... it's been a long time since I last communicated with you.
One book recommendation that came to mind when reading your post was a book by Jack Kornfield called "After the Ecstasy The Laundry." I don't know if you will like it, or be able to find a copy you can easily get on your tablet, but if you can, it felt like it might be a good read for you.
Again, really nice to read your words again. I've thought of you often since we last talked.
Lots of Love,
Edited by - CarsonZi on Nov 30 2016 02:02:26 AM
Posted - Dec 19 2016 : 11:26:33 PM
| Web Page Creation:
I am asking for the creation of a freely-hosted "empty" Web page, with no special functionality, into which I can later copy/paste my poetry online. For details, please read on.
For therapy purposes, it has been a tremendous boon for me to host my writing online so I can on occasion check how many reads there have been since I last looked. In the past, I placed my writing in a yoga forum, the only place I could find that gave me the freedom to write whatever poems and essays made me feel free. In time, I racked up > 40,000 individual reads of my string (not much for some, but easily enough for me) and could never overemphasize the importance of that toward making me feel even partial acceptance into the human race.
I have now polished the old and accumulated a new body of material, and would like to resume my online activities. This time, to have an unlimited editing window, and otherwise stay out of people's way, I think it would be best if I had my own page of some type somewhere.
There are other inmate writing programs in existence, but for me there are always complications: MIT's blogging program (Between the Bars) is full; I'm too neurologically-impaired to take MPWW's night classes to gain a mentor; and PEN's inmate writing program is too wildly competitive. There are just too many inmates desperate to express themselves -- living proof of the importance that writing can take on when you spend most of your life locked in a box.
My poetry is now maintained offline as a publisher-ready Microsoft WORD file. It is not publishing I'm after, however: it's the "key clicks" that result from online readership, and I feel confident I can write in a fashion able to hold continued interest. But the first step has also proven the hardest to do: the creation of a simple empty page into which to later load my stuff, or reload when sufficient changes accumulate. I've been at this quest for years now, spending FAR more time at it than actual writing, and would like to reverse the equation.
Right now, I'm looking for the greatest simplicity of the page, but would also like to retain the option of adding the functionality of social media later, perhaps upon release. From what I read, poets commonly use a combination of wordpress and a fb fan page. I would be happy with either, or both, or something else, but GREATLY more simplified than how they are normally used. For example, as this page is to be used SOLELY as a box to hold my writing, it would be nice if all means of electronic communication with me thru it were turned off. Then I would simply post my JPay.com email and snail mail addresses in there, if people feel inclined to talk back. If, on the other hand, it's hard to turn things off, then don't do it. In fact, don't do ANYTHING that's hard to do: I'll work those details out later with others. The longest journey must start with the first step, and this is it.
Almost everyone here has a fb page, and most kept the ones they had when they came in. (The web didn't exist when I came in.) But it's proven impossible for inmates to help me, no matter what I offer, since they can barely get anything done for themselves on the streets, much less for a stranger. (So...what's YOUR hourly rate?)
Inmates tell me what I'm asking is trivial technologically and time-wise, so I hope I'm only asking for a few moments of effort. I already even have the email address created for this purpose and -- remember -- I'll worry about making things look "pretty" and more functional later. If, on the other hand, I'm naively asking for something bigger than what I think it is, I BEG of you to let me know so I can adjust my goals downward. And if you have concerns over the unknowns of dealing with an inmate, or of me in particular, please openly express them here or via JPay, snailmail, or other means. Please give me the chance to defend my current self and current situation. And please don't be shy: achieving the goal takes precedence over any hurt feelings I might incur in its pursuit.
Thank you for your kind consideration.
Posted - Dec 20 2016 : 12:08:51 AM
| Listed below are some of Anandatandava's poetry. This is from two sections of his draft poetry book:
From Ecstasy section:
I swear I can hear!
I swear I can see!
a Song within the perfect white
crying to be free, crying out to me
for words to wing its rhythmed flight!
And I cannot deny the unmarked parchment
lying as lovely as a glacial escarpment
as if purity recalls the pleasure of sin, and
wantonly calls to my co-conspiring pen!
So with this very mark
I begin to carve the light from the dark
as the sculptor births living muscle and bone
his fingers had foretold within deadweight stone.
And credit not the poet for disclosing the hid
he only obeys what higher voices have bid
to bring unseen legions to bright vivid life
by inscribing their silent signatures
in a shout of loudest black on white!
For courtly hoards of concentric rings to roll out with the glow
of unending bending rounds of flickering facet light
from flawless benthic gems of finest first water bright
the forest elfen people know
to set a chatoyant shore-lain stone
in just rightly and just so
- plink! –
and then like wrinkles in gift-box velvet vair
satin surface ripples carefully homeward bear
their folding founts of royal mountings full crown-jewel rare!
SING, O MY BLOOD-CHILDREN!
Please take this poem, just one of many
all my blood-children, each born uncanny
as my heart stirs a surf in its wet scarlet nest
spreads manta ray wings, then bursts from my chest!
My azurine evensong stained by dark ore
I wash in burnt ashes to wreathe in much more -
a caged bird who ventures to fling blue notes high
while clutching his small vault to wail, howl and cry!
Now all of the light (and sometimes the night)
and all of the bounty and of the blight
and all of the goodness and of the sin
is flung from my fingers, right out thru this pen!
So envy my drives, even those born of pain
as I strain not the chains of restraint full in vain
for tho my clay feet may be locked down in place
the tip of my wing brushes your soul-angel's face.
And breathless I watch as you then touch the spot
where in passing was planted my soft forget-me-not
and I savor the moment you know me firsthand
not by the labels with which I've been brand.
For you, absent angel, I'm a busy brood bee
extruding blood-children just like bright ruby seeds
all bursting to root in your deep fertile heart
and give simple friendship a good place to start.
Oh, some hugs would be nice for my wings to take rest
(and a pair of kind hands to help tidy this nest!)
but you may think it best to just heap me with scorn
for more plaintive love pleas conceived and then born.
For any weight used to squeeze ripe olives compressed
brings more glowing amphorae to then stand expressed
and a global gold standard that's proven only too right
is the world always standing just a little more light!#8195;
Friend of the friendless, servant of servants
embracing the untouchables, kissing the lepers
soft on the hardened, easy on the difficult
attending to the absent, waiting on the tardy
caring for the careless, looking after the wandering
rescuing the resistant, promoting the backward
ministering to the sinning, tending to the terrible
abiding the impatient, overlooking the obvious
crossing all boundaries, judging no man
all these things and more I happily do
for bearing a receptive transparent hue
I easily take on all others' colors too!
So I lay down among the most reviled
those upon whom the worst abuse is piled:
the Serpent-, Sun-, or non-worshipping converts
the proudly claimed or harshly blamed perverts
all hard-bitten harlots, both common and rare
people with dark secrets they find hard to share
or those feeling so disfigured they then hide away.
For I say Nay! to rejection, and share my love gladly
tho with greatest affection for the exuberant ranks
of ecstatics wrapt ‘round by tall shrouds of Fire
in whimper-winged light-flight thru sibilant blue
for when wildly consumed by such spiritual heat
all souls render equal, all souls then meet –
oh, they do! they do!!
Unconditional universal love –
to feel it once is to know it’s right and true.
(Besides, I look so darn good in blue!)#8195;
Deciduous dream, this year's last leaf left high and dry shivering;
forest dryad, pressed bare-breast against a cold hibernal sky,
have not all of your parti-colored classmates one by one long since
flown the nest with a grateful, long-drawn pinwheeling sigh?
Consummate connoisseur of beauty, still reluctant to rest
tho having already gathered and gleaned all of the very best
of tender vegetal delight: every blushing sunrise and rubied sunset
each darting flight of bright gorget, every rainbow's pennant crest!
Delicate dreamcatcher, you've worn yourself to the thinnest slip,
waving that ravishing palmate web of fine-spun variegated thread;
heaven's daintiest sky anemone, most gossomer of sheer filigree,
close-clinging, sloe-eyed doily doll, dressed in briefest negligee;
really, Autumn dear isn't it high time to hightail it all off for bed?
But still you continue to insist on twisting, twirling, oh so very nervy
in your come-hither quiver public pole dance, swirling topsy-turvey
yet too shy in all the roundly proud well-endowed, harvest;
taddle-tale, pick-of-the-crop, stop waggling your lonely semaphore
when homecoming fires await, and guess who's late for the love-fest!
All your sylvan-sapphic friends are there, scheming over your arrival:
each widely teeming, idly dreaming, (even wildly head-to-tail teaming!)
while lying squishy-squirmy in their fertile terra-firma composting bed
and toastily bundled beneath cozy patchwork plaid quilts of soft earth
so shake loose your honey-maker my last, long-lost soil-bank depositor
and make that tartan hoop-skirt rustle while sailing down on the hustle
to burrow back into Gaea's warm womb and the rootstock of rebirth!
HEAVENTIDES OF NIGHT
“Even a man in extremity can know
a little serenity.” - The author
Thru my lancet-narrow window slit
I watched falling shadows fold and knit
unguent fibers of puce and plum
sumptuous spectrum of a plunging sun
supped by vespers honey-tongued
with slanting draughts of dusk's decantings
and final thoughts of day's enchantings.
But then darkness fell groaning upon the land
and reached far out with long groping hands
to where I sat in my stone-cloistered home
seized my mind, struck me blind, an island
in a waveless sea, outcast and alone.
Time now held strained in a bitter spell
and nightmares only stirred the inky well
but then, in the wake of a ghostly abstract
opened a break thru the opaque carbon-black
that poured from hidden quarter a milk-lacquer tide
in café au lait portions that wakened wide-eyed
the drowsy-slouching trees then reveilled erect
like tinsel-tipped lances with dark shafts of jet
to prick Heaven’s breastplate to a sieve of starlight
and parry the shores of encroaching night!
My soul now gazed in serene devotion
at a scene sweet-glazed by a lactescent ocean
and candescent flux into which I tucked
where even haughty gloom had lost its pluck
but still the wonders were nowhere near done
for the best of all were yet to come!
For first shyly peeping, then boldly sweeping
a swollen globate moon of flaxen oblation
shrugged away Her veils of enshrouding clouds
then sailed in a rounding dhow of pearly white
up the impossible sill of a succulent world, its
bounding prow of sluicing light carving with hard
argent arcs the rose-tinted mists to snowy cygnets and
pale-bred calves, spread o’erhead in their Shepherd’s path.
Now a shining bowsprit split the frowning brow of night
like a long ivory tusk thrust gleaming thru the retreating
musth-laden dusk, seeming to my overeager eyes adoring
to shimmy thru my window-slit and hit the flagstone floor
with the clank of a solid silver foundry plank
then melt to a vastly expanding sterling pool
that illumed every somber corner of my room!
And therein, by means of a recurrent dream
again had arrived my burnished Lunar Queen
to tip from Her full and sultry lip
a celestial cinematic stream of posied cream
to which I dip, to ever sip
and hope to never wean - would you?
(*puff* *puff* mirabile dictu!)
From Agony section:
COMES A TIME
Have you ever
in trying to save a small, wounded bird
held it cupped within your palms, but felt
a troubled struggle, strain and flutter
against your well-meant restraint?
There comes a time, my dear
when body can no longer serve spirit
for nothing can be held forever
and broken hearts especially
have a crying need to fly.
So while snowflakes fall like soft blessings
from a beckoning frittilary sky
the simplest act is also the kindest
so unchamber those well-intentioned hands
and set me free, on my way back to purity.
Even after the passage
of an endless trance of years
the prison cot still tosses
under the press of your absent weight
and pitches me hapless to and fro
thru a flipbook of sad memories
like a bittersweet old novel
I find impossible
to put down.
How short was the span of time
we walked as one, blind
to the pitiless brevity of bliss
and the fact that I'd fall
captive along the path
and leave you to walk on
And now, lying orphaned
in infinite crib-bound misery
I find myself still writing of you
if strictly by this quivering script
of sorrow, as I drown in a flood
of brief readings, expressed
via a narrowed dialect of grief.
But the witness walls now watch
me scrawl far less frequent
than before, and to no one
important or particular
“Most of the best poems, the most personal,
are gathered crumbs from the lost cake…”
– Robert Lowell
This would not reach you, so will not be sent
but it must be expressed, nonetheless.
The last I had heard, you were an honor student
with dual majors in music and marine studies --
wooing wet visions from wood, lacquer and strings
like blue porpoise stirrings thru tea-tepid seas.
I saw the pictures. So pretty. So much promise.
And that bridesmaid sprinkle in your braid --
of baby's breath?
But now at eighteen, you appear as a woman
yet you act as mere chattel -- and a slave to deceit --
flying high on the dragon's wings
and lying in the arms of Morpheus:
the lover with the leper's claw.
How deep has your startled skin been marked?
Has the needle yet sucked out all of your glow?
And all the things you know?
And that perfect twinkle in your gaze --
of baby's breath?
What ever happened to your other dreams?
The real ones, I mean -- all burned up and gone? --
puffed thru pipes, ash and smoke in the wind
or stinging the flesh of your nose or your limbs?
Does your conscience ever sting you too? --
Tell me, please do, is there a way back for you?
Soft-blossom girl --
please pick freedom's sweet-scented flowers
not addiction's hot-venomed needles and stems --
I pray you tire of all this hollow sickness
in body and soul before hitting the fearful
wrinkle in your twilight ways --
then cessation of a most precious breath
and my dear baby's death!
(Whither Thou Goest, I Will Also Go)
Twin baby sister
finding myself once again at your threshold
but now possessing some command of language
I here reveal your eternal perfection
as it is oft’ the strange business of poets
to reflect upon death in service of life:
to resurrect, illuminate, and magnify a life
no matter how small, insignificant, even abridged
it may seem to worlds thru which it did not pass.
Twin baby sister
within every tangled, embrangled life
lying worthless as a snarled spool of fishing line
resides the key, a snagged loop in time
that if freed and reeled out to the light
unlocks the knot, and loosens the spool
for resumption of the life interrupted.
Twin baby sister
in likewise fashion, for me your end
was the start of a life cast to the wind:
the noose that caught me up and strung me out
unshakably hooked on the survivor’s guilt
upon which all else was so unstably built.
Accordingly, dear reader, I call now
upon the curative power of your simple presence
to soften and disentwine my stiff kink in time
in all its sore and silly simplicity, for the salving
and halving of a heartfelt sorrow often attends
even an uncaring response to its candid sharing:
Twin baby sister
ever wiser than me
in your as-yet-to-be-ness
what did you see in the world
to refuse passage?
Bella Donna eyes
(I could tell)
of dark-lacquered sky
eyes to die for
was that why? was that why?
was that why you stayed behind?
I recall the warm pulse
in the hand that held mine
as we tumbled and explored
our cradled uterine world
ourselves, and each other
not knowing one flesh from the next
and thus so utterly complete.
torn apart at our most tender
I found myself foreshortened
my wholeness a halfness, sheared away
for as much as I groped throughout the air
your hand, your eyes
were never, ever, again there!
And who was there to grieve
in the joy of a birth – a boy!
but me, who knew the woe
of a bow, without its viola d’amore
doomed to forever pursue
the skirts of elusive melody
without ever again embracing
in original inaugural form
the whole embodied song.
But still, eternally
bolder than me, you stand
at the frontier of dreams
in your immaculate non-birth
laughing, teasing, coaxing
in the language of play -
all you ever had to know.
They say twins exist
with a single heart and soul
and the only means of parting them
is to break them.
Thus I hope it is so
that wherever you now lay
that the earth has caressed you
as gently as you then caressed me
and that we might soon be rejoined
in the welcoming womb of the earth
to tumble together, forever, thru time
firstly returned to amnion-wrapped
soul-conjoined combined embryos
curled up snugly spooning, like two
closely cuddling question mark symbols
but steadily dissolving, and in the end resolving
all remaining quandaries, boundaries
Have you longed as I
so very, very long?
YOU MOVED ON
Gather, O my sorrows
back to the pattern
of my days.
Be silent, O so secret
masked by the patter
of lyric phrase.
For the dust that trials throughout the air
speaks soft of sights we shared
as it riddles around the empty cell
and unsettles in my ear.
So let these ancient walls come
press as harshly as they please
to express an aptly vintage tint
in their blue-black, brute art lees.
Then to this inkpot I'll further steep
some pigments of brilliantine
to pour a palette of some delight
right out from prison sheen.
Then bend I shall with swollen pen
with all it is I own, but try to write as
downy light as molting goldfinch down
to trace a trail of filigreed letters
so enchanted, slanted, tall and free
they may incline to top the walls
then gather their skirts and flee!
For as I frozen sit and twist
in this contrapposto sorrow
tho the pen outstrips the captive hand
and letters outrun the pen
I cannot help but know too well
that however bright and erudite
the bait I chance to throw
it bears no hope to stop or slow
or ever even apprehend
your heartless, heedless
Dreams from where I sit
are like endless rehearsals
for a personal pageant
that never begins
But residing at the sidelines of life
as troubadour of curb-bound spectators
I still offer what honorarium I can
thru a constant cursive sleight of hand
and laudatory salute of high-steppin’ diction
For at least my pencil is left free to parade
in private down endlessly stretching streets
and avenues of crumpled, strewn, and
stained sheets of narrow-laned paper
And I hope that even a minor poetling
might still be good for something
as he strikes his trail of frictional fires
from both ends of the fictional candle
Be that as it may, altho, riddle me this:
if a tree falls in the forest alone
does it still make a sound? –
its quite up to you to say
For at the cost of my forlorn
storm-tossed passions, many a pencil
has also, ever and anon, just
like me and that tree, fallen
THERE'S NO UNDOING
There's simply no undoing
No forgiving, no forgetting
no second chances
no waiting around to see --
who is the new me?
What has this new lucidity
but to feel my separation
with ever more pellucidity?
Edited by - anandatandava on Dec 23 2016 3:08:09 PM
Posted - Dec 20 2016 : 01:20:42 AM
| Nice to hear from you again Anandatandava. You have crossed my mind now and again since you disappeared, wondering what had happened to you.
Posted - Dec 23 2016 : 3:12:45 PM
| Ananda asked me to include the FOREWARD for his draft poetry book below. Enjoy!
You hold a tragic book. You hold a triumphant book. Its author over and again locked in isolated punishment for the dubious "crime" of mental confusion, he too often lacked even the simplest writing tools necessary to cope with his very active internal world of words and emotions. As a result, many of the poems that appear here began as fingernail impressions pressed into scraps of desperately begged paper, or as a Morse code of blood dots on cloth.
Even on these grounds alone, the very existence of this book might be considered a miracle -- a powerful symbol of the human will to climb toward the light. But in addition to the physical constraints of his environment, the author also faced serious neurological issues, making this book, both by virtue of content and the conditions of its creation, one of the more unusual collections of poetry (art brute or not) you're likely to read this year.
In these pages, a resolute spirit shoulders away the weightiest of fate's shackles to fly -- sometimes flapping, sometimes soaring -- in migration to and from the regions of untaught and unthought meter and rhyme. Here, chased by the flames of rapture and anguish, are powerfully muscle-driven rhythms, gale-force lyrical speed, and a swiftly shifting tide of metaphor and dreamlike imagery, all the sudden efflorence of a long-term prison lifer, struck communicatively and socially disabled by childhood-onset hydrocephalus, epilepsy, and autism.
A pivotal turning point for our unlikely hero came in the midst of a suicide attempt, where a completely life-changing near-death vision occured that converted him from a silent and bitter atheist into an all-embracing spiritual ecstatic with very much to say indeed -- if yet almost solely through a quick succession of pencils, blurring and fraying in swift arpeggio as a lifetime of pent-up language pours out, in a volume and type that seem so autonomous that he cannot help but attribute it to an external muse, something transcendent and apart from himself, speaking words not his own, in a manner far above his capacity.
Subsequent testing revealed chronic seizure activity in what is popularly considered the brain's "God Spot": areas associated with intense spiritual experience. Though aware of his medical condition, Ananda Tandava (his penname is Sanscrit for "the Dance of Bliss") feels he has gone from being terribly cursed to terrifically blessed, "touched" by God in an ineffably wonderful way. So perhaps we should join him in considering less the probable neurological roots of his ecstasies, and look more to their transformative fruits, which have proven entirely wholesome.
Shy and retiring in person, Ananda becomes boldly uninhibited on paper, throwing a firebrand of poetic light on his most intimate experiences, thoughts, yearnings and failings. Critics may comment on his frequent use of end-strophe exclamations or heroic couplets (even the occasional inspired gibberish) but he writes as he genuinely feels: in a toute transportee' of disinhibited passion that rises and falls, builds and discharges, in the repeated rhythms of good music and love-making -- both of which could rightfully be used to describe his interaction with the paper. This should come as no surprise, for what but poetry can provide him with the essential elements of companionship and beauty, plus provide a firm (printed) line of continuity to memory, self-esteem, and even existence itself. Far more than most, this truly is a man who must write to live.
A lyricist with a natural ear for word-music, Ananda fearlessly "bends the strings" of language to suit his melody, so expect to encounter the frequent flaunting of poetic standards, neological creations, colloquialisms, and even the eschewal of most punctuation. Considering the latter a needless impediment to the inertial flow felt so viscerally in his work, he prefers to rely instead on inherent caesura, rhyme and verse length to maintain meaning and rhythm.
The volume at hand showcases colorful vignettes and mini-epics from across the spectrum of Ananda's poetical craftings: from playful nursery rhymes to somber narratives of prison tragedy; from self-deprecating humor to worshipful paeans directed to his muse and God; from pantheistic or anthropically personified dioramas of the natural world to tautly-strung incantatory hymns written direct from the heart and heat of spiritual rapture.
Ananda's topics may indeed range broadly, but as silence and longing are the mutual mothers of much poetry, his almost unbroken cell-bound solitude soon calls him back from other prosadic wanderings to his most self-sustaining theme -- that of love, in all its most exquisite or agonized forms: spiritual, romantic, erotic (both telluric and human), familial, universal, unrequited, and love in separation, lost, or never found.
This unique author does not write because he feels his work is at all profound, world-changing, or very often even acceptable by society at large. At its most basic, he writes because only then does he feel free. He also feels an obligation to be even the smallest representative voice for those he considers his direct brethren -- fellow lifers in prisons and mental institutions -- most of who remain even more voiceless, invisible, and forgotten than he. He may also be better understood by the lights of poets like Emily Dickinson and Christopher Smart, who wrote very much in and for themselves. Sharing their conditions of confinement -- Dickinson's elective, and Smart's coerced -- his poems are intensely personal (sometimes even inscrutable), profoundly connected to the divine, vivid in figuration, and adventuresome in language.
The man remaining in large part verbally mute, "Ananda" is less a penname than the pen's name -- a voice heard only in and through the writing. So secret yourself now in your own silent space to share in a most singular soundstage, for though there are countless poets singing many different tunes, there is most assuredly only one singing -- and dancing -- Ananda.
Posted - Jan 01 2017 : 5:01:46 PM
| Thanks for your kind comments and keyclicks, guys. Sorry for being such a dependent baby. By the way, I know my poetry is crap, but it's the one cell-bound passtime I have for times of complete isolation. Then, when able, I pop up to speak it, at least pretending there was some Significance in that empty cell with me. (Hey, it sure wasn't me!)
Carson, I found my notes to that Kornfield book you mentioned. Still possessing an addict's mentality at the time I read it, I couldn't then accept the title's implication, and that of other other sources: that once ecstasy had struck, or even become easy, that a person would stop reaching for it all the time and get on with other things (at least with little "checks" now and then, to verify it's still there). But Kornfield, drawing upon many centuries of traditional argument, proved to be right. Good stuff indeed, but I've always also needed another sort of knowledge for solid grounding, "tricks" to gain and strengthen the experience, and a clear landing strip to return to between "flights". Otherwise, being so miswired, how could I ever feel confident I knew where consensual reality lies?
The knowledge I'm speaking of concerns the neurogical and endocrinological foundations of spiritual ecstasy, especially that of the peer-reviewed kind. But I have come to accept that this little obsession of mine is as much a function of my autism as it is the ecstasies themselves, so I should be cautious of boring people with it. Still, every mind needs to feel a sense of community, so I beg your indulgence while sharing a new fount of information that bubbled up in the long process of getting a spigot drilled into my brain. Although it perfectly dovetails together my brain flaws and meditative intensity, it also applies to everyone on the ecstatic or even plain meditative path. This stuff works for some very solid reasons. (Thank God!)
Okay, since I tend to write too darn much at once, I'm going to dribble it out in bite-sized pieces in postings to come. Well, unless you tell me to curb this particular enthusiasm entirely, in which case I'm going focus in on posting my first attempt to describe the hair-on-fire near-death experience that put me on the spiritual path (specifically right-hand tantra) in the first place. (Don't groan -- this is therapeutic!)
Posted - Jan 01 2017 : 8:58:16 PM
| All ears (eyes!)
Posted - Jan 04 2017 : 7:25:40 PM
| Three more poems from Ananda:
The cell holds its cold breath
in detached anticipation … finally:
So – are there any further questions?
Lord, where on earth would I begin?
For even my normally loquacious papers look
up at me in apology, shrugging speechless –
None can offer even
the first word of explanation.
Prison holds no answers –
perhaps its time to stop looking
(First impressions last ... )
Night came victorious
the moon lying dead in its jaws
to gloat over a senseless life
best discerned by the tangential
light uncertain of a solitary seg
cell, vacant save for myself
and an inane, unused love
novel even the desperate
can't quite seem to lose
or find themselves in.
But I knew
that in that book
(or really any other)
lay a secret, a sanctum
that few others would know
or perhaps even need, hidden in
the unwritten pages, both front and back
and scattered by chapter in between:
a private cipher left penned unseen
in spycraft white on white, but willing
to rise like weal to poultice by the
mere laying on of self-healing hands.
Well, how could any starving art-brute imagist
resist this congenially cognitive dog-eared biscuit
as he sat in the dark and dank gray-mantled blank
while suffering under a pelting and pummelling
hard hail of thought that arrived so unsought
like something that floated around in the air
pointing out words over here and then there?
For even within all the loquacious riches
our tarnished protagonist still felt trapped
by the lack of even the simplest distraction:
a single wood pencil by which he just might
find curative focus--a tool in the fight to
capture and code to permanent abstraction
the cognitive flocks and deranging arrays
of sweaty metaphor and fevered simile that
swirled and twirled, thrummed and drummed
with the heated wingbeats of wee metric feet
inside untamed storms of off-slanted rhyme
that played and sang in forgetful strains behind
his painfully knit and tormented brow before
horrors!--flying straight out under the door!
With no other means to pin down in space
a place, a locus, of firm healing solace
in the unfocused fog of hot fleeting notions
was it really any wonder he was even
seen at times to lick whole stanzas
of spit lines into the skin-slicked
surface of his cell's dirty brick?--
anything at all to corral and collapse
the waveforms of abyssal time into
digestable human dimensions.
So he--well, I--pounced in soul-hunger upon the diminutive
tome, which crackled in gratitude to the tone of my touch
(you think mere manifestation of my own imagination?)
as I stummed the barrel of a story-stalking thumb
along its innermost, withering, goose-pimpling spine:
determined to raise from the leavening entrails a
chill, a wale, a touch-talking Braille, into whose tales
divinations, auguries and portents I then pitched
to part and divaricate then chase with the stylus of
a harkening thumbnail pressed firmly in edge-wise
to flute and incise (until better means arise) the
paper's pristine surface sizing glaze, in order for
words to emerge from my purposeful urging
in a thumb-tongued hymnal of till now unsung
prosodical songs on the book's uninked flyleaves--
scarcely manifest as faintest shadow, like candle
flames dancing in sunny day air: invisible to all
except the iniitiated who know to see sidelong
and by that special tangential light uncertain.
Seemingly superficial these marks, but to me
immutable (is it not so for all who write?), so I
take care to share the shimmering corrugations--
the rifts thru which run my whole of creation
to leave in the bedrock some high-water marks:
sedimentary evidence that a soul here once stood
to plant in the strata something stolid and indelible:
fossils comely or ugly but ever irrepressible
and ready to be bundled, smuggled, and set
bold-face free--all in lieu of me--curious artifacts
of a lost sentient life, viewing the world vicarious.
Hence, here against your ear, please hold the shell
of a solitary man's Agony, Ecstasy, Heaven and Hell
all crying from the confines of a single quiet cell
(man's Faraday cage against the rays of love)
for the recurrent result pours sonically out
as the circadian song of a convict long-buried
who has learned to encode his well-muted calls
then tap them out thru thick cell-house walls
to turn the skeletal keyword of language in
the lock of his sole cerebral freedom's door
then leap into the versified sound
to ride the high thermals and soar!
Fallen leaves click their bright heels
across the stone path
racing each other to bed.
Finches tumbling in the breeze
mimic loose water
chirping down a rain-filled spout.
uncoil like smoke from the eaves
to smudge the clean snow.
Spring Tree Frog
Spring tree-frog singing
didn’t hear the hungry snake
in his last mistake.
A Hay(na) Ku Poem
was I thinking?!
Well of Remorce
I look away, the mirror
lets me go. I look back
I’m trapped in shame again
THE ENVIED DEAD
“Oh, let the poets sing / Raptures to the grave.”
— Frank Horne, 1899
An aptly crooked path
the living seldom tread
between a moving river
and a meadow of the dead
where in water shines a prison
and dewdrops mirror in round converse
the countless minute discount markers
on unclaimed pauper's graves.
Here, under an ironically unjudging sun
broken lines of stooped and bearded trees
point with trembling weary fingers
at long hoary lists of timeworn
crimes, primeval sins and rogueries
while tender memory surrenders
succumbs, withers and dies
just as surely as hung crucified
from overgrown Calvary vines.
Now turn in aught direction
and step on hollow ground:
you'd think to hear low moans
of sorrow, but taproots seem
to have swallowed the sound!
Or — or — is it just within reason's
requisite orbit that these once
boisterous souls have found a much
more composed way to move on? —
perhaps as should you as well
and leave them to crumble like
misnumbered puzzles in their small
humble houses of forgotten solitude.
So hasten straightaway thru the flat
sunken stones, the Flanders Field
flensed of all flesh and names, where
men long since tumbled from their final
tumbril rides, to slowly slough rough
raiment of ingrained guilt and shame
then lay milky-white, stainless as honed
tumbled bones, blameless as unborn babes
and more naked than if lain in the womb.
Then as the graveyard gate swings closed
'haps haunting your mind like taut coffin gauze
cling tight-woven webs of both hope and reproach
for tho your own internment also looms ever nigh
a belief's now been sown in a much brighter side:
maybe every skull's alive! — as an ivory astrolabe —
that actively scans vast starscape spans
of ethereal empyreal vision, thus revealing apiece
to deep-set eyes the clear and consummate sweep
of complete freedom and impenetrable rest
one should surely best expect of the tomb
that actively scans vast starscape spans
of ethereal empyreal vision, thus revealing apiece
to deep-set eyes the clear and consummate sweep
of complete freedom and unquestioned rest
one should surely best expect of the tomb.
Yes, even the worst of sinners reach paradise
thru or without any presumed truth-telling book —
so relax, mortal, as quite soon enough, you'll
have your own look, and dwell dishabille, tucked
snugly in bed with the rest of the envied dead!
Edited by - anandatandava on Jan 06 2017 6:12:23 PM
Posted - Jan 05 2017 : 11:40:45 AM
| HI anandatandava
Regarding your post "Web Page Creation", have you considered a blog? Yiu can customise its look - there are many templates and the colour scheme can be altered to suit your taste. Then you can add photos and images to your posts to personalize it further. Wordpress an Blogger are two well established platforms.
Let me know if you'd like more details about it. I'm not a web developer,so i can't help you with a website as such, but I have played around with blogs.
kumar ul islam
Posted - Jan 05 2017 : 3:40:12 PM
| ananda your words are just beyond words
Posted - Jan 06 2017 : 6:22:28 PM
| FIERY FLIGHTS OF AUTONOMIC DELIGHT
I have another release hearing in 7 months, so should really wait to see if and when I can get out to do my own online searches (and have an editor where I can see what I'm doing) but some long-awaited evidence has finally washed in over the transom concerning the amazing sensory aspects of spiritual ecstasy, and I just gotta share.
Most neuroscientists agree that spiritual ecstasy can be TRAINED into or elicited via electrical or chemical means, but given how fraught with professional dangers the boundary between science and religion is, they are reluctant to wave their arms and shout, "Hey, look over here!" Needless to say, I need have no such concerns, so here's my latest peek under the hood.
Some years ago, I read the book, "Why God Won't Go Away", by Andrew Newberg and Eugene D'Aquili, which laid the cause of the most intense spiritual ecstasy at the feet of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). This was in contrast to the normal list of suspects, like the temporal lobes or the brain's pleasure centers (although a little heightened activity and interaction there helps too). I believe D'Aquili was the main researcher, and I don't know if he was out over his skis a bit far for the times, but I took careful notes and then waited for more evidence to arrive. Little did I know it would take years, and the source would include pre-op tests done on my own brain.
My conclusion: I'm now a "believer" that science can explain what's going on in the brain for the entire physical range of mystical experience: from the initial intimations, tingles and heat to kundalini sky-rockets in flight. It can explain what's behind the training necessary to achieve them (you needn't really go further afield than AYP), and why some people seem to start out further along the path than others. It can even explain why so many people are already in trouble before discovering Yogani's teachings, then starting or adjusting their practice, and getting things smoothed out. What science CAN'T explain is why those mechanisms are in the brain to begin with. That's where science ends and the God of your choosing (and mine) begins. Happy?
It's accepted fact that brain function can be reshaped thru dedicated practice (like meditation) working thru the mechanism of neuroplasicity. In all meditative pursuits, we are unconsciously working to gain control over our ANS, which is made up of two branches: the arousal, or "sympathetic" nervous system (SNS), and the quiescent, or "parasympathetic" nervous system (PSN). They work in antagonism to each other (like a see-saw), with each side normally jumping in to suppress or dampen the other's activity when it senses the other's "overenthusiasm".
But meditative techniques can suppress this damping activity, and allow either SNS or PNS activity to drive up and up to such a degree that when a "breakthrough" from the other side does occur, the experience can run the gamut from tingles or heat right up to "whole-body, non-genital orgasm" (since normal orgasm also consists of SNS and PNS wrestling around in overdrive). Of course, it can just as rightly be called "spiritual ecstasy", for that's where even the most skeptical mind -- overwhelmed and desperate to understand the incredibly intense internal pleasure -- will go in the absence of any visible source. So you'll never convince me there's not a God Spot in the brain. (In fact, there seem to be multiple Spots -- apparently God wants us to find our way if we can just dig our way out from beneath the cellblock of intellect and ego.)
Further, as some of you have learned, once this ecstasy is trained into, the SNS and PNS act like two opposing handles, which, by pulling back and forth -- with and against the intensity -- can be used to "peak and valley" one's way into extended orgasm, where you can stay until exhaustion. Plus, the longer you extend the process, the richer things become, due to the continued massive suffusion of oxytocin (love hormone) into the brain's white matter. (It's a large molecule, so takes more time than adrenaline or endorphin.) Lucky you, you may have a partner to enhance your experience, but this same principal applies whether or you are making actual physical love or not. After all, I'm a hermit, and most of the anecdotal descriptions I've read came from the ascetic monastic world of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
So, what is my own ecstatic life like? My first taste came in a kundalini explosion like Gopi Krishna's: a fantastic pulsing geyser of divine sensation that began shooting up thru me over and over again like a Roman candle from root to crown as I walked in considerable anxiety to a parole board meeting. (This shows that ecstasy can be entered thru either the SNS or the PNS driven to extremes.) Past that point, nothing of the immediate realm mattered, and I sat in the meeting marveling over what had just happened.
The experience makes perfect sense to me now, for the PNS dilates blood vessels, and the SNS contracts them, causing a wave of hot blood to be repeatedly pushed up thru me as they see-sawed back and forth for control. This also explains what happens nowadays when my heartbeats cause delightful "sunbursts" of sensation, or when my inhalations carry a wash of "divine flame", for cardiac and diaphragm muscle are rich in PNS fibers, which then increases PNS tone, which then awakens the SNS, etc., etc.
AYP principally takes the PNS path to ecstasy, focusing on vagal and cranial nerve stimulation to climb the Stairway to Heaven. I'm speaking here of nerves that enter the body straight from the cranium -- skipping the spinal cord -- for several sets of these generate afferent upflow to the PNS when stimulated, and every bandha and mudra you're taught here can be mapped directly to those nerves. (Map 'em out yourself if you don't believe me, and don't forget that the carotid sinuses are rich in PNS fibers, just waiting for you to massage them with dynamic jalandhara.)
And don't just mechanically DO the practices -- BE the practices! In fact, that's your first and most important practice: to strip off your cloak of ego and internal dialogue and power-dive in as mindlessly as a cormorant. I can't say how long it took me to keep from stupidly surfacing every time something new happened to comment to myself, but I quickly learned that I was bursting my own bubble! So perhaps the most important thing is to LISTEN INTENTLY, whether its to your body or an echo in meditation. Not only does it shut your mind up (you can't talk and listen at the same time), it also tenses a middle-ear muscle that powerfully strums your PNS. (Boy, Yogani didn't miss a stroke!) The more intently you listen the better, so really bear down on it. And if you start drooling in meditation, that means your PNS is going into overdrive -- congrats! (the Taoists noticed the connection between saliva and bliss too, but got cause and effect turned around -- so feel free to swallow or spit, as you see fit!)
But what I'd MOST like to know is YOU. Overall -- or all over -- how do you FEEL in the practices? The reason I ask is that is that my ANS control unit -- the hypothalamus -- is damaged, removing much of its damping effect. (This was was very important for me to learn, to help me keep things in perspective when overamped.) Anybody come close to "my-kind-of-crazy"? If so, what a burden -- what a blessing -- poor thing -- Gadzooks! What does whole-body mudra or orgasm FEEL to you? Is it a kundalini-like pulsing from root to crown, or being seized in a Shivalingum of solid roaring flame? Help me with my research here.
Of course, I also have mesial (deep) left-hemisphere temporal-lobe epilepsy (MTLE), also known to intensify meditative experience thru its potential effect on the ANS and involvement of the limbic system -- including the thalamus -- which mediates all sensory input. I'm thinking that this might explain the 'Fire of Love' written so extensively of by history's ecstatics and the rippling 'flame forms' that kick up in me during whole-body mudra (and that I clumsily started this string off with long ago). But more on my epilepsy later (unless you rip this tablet out of my hands).
The final clincher for the ANS perspective came as I lay in the hospital bed post-surgery, toying with my nervous system and then watching (and listening to) the reactions/alarms of all the monitors I was hooked into. There were also confirming reactions from the nurses when I would do things like use PNS overdrive to push my pulse below 30/min, or create the characteristic arrhythmia of a SNS 'sympathetic storm'. (Got a shot of lidocaine and cardiologist referral for my troubles there -- AYP training can be so strangely entertaining!) I now know that I had indeed been playing with fire early in my practice by see-sawing my ANS up and down too aggressively. (Nothing like what felt like a couple painful kicks in the chest to slow a fellow down!)
The bottom line is that I've long suspected the neurological factors behind my amplified Agonies and Ecstasies, and feel they've now been confirmed. I may be an extreme case, a "Perfect (or Imperfect) Storm" of sorts, but I know I'm not alone, and I think there's useful info here for everyone -- especially those who think they experience meditation to any degree more strongly than most, or would like to. (Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the whole point of AYP practices?) And since the ANS can become disinhibited thru seizure activity, damage to the hypothalamus, or certain types of meditative training, I know I got dealt an inside straight. But there was quite a cost to it before I learned how to play my hand. (So, how's YOUR game coming?)
(Stay tuned for the upcoming post on temporal lobe epilepsy. Some pretty embarrassing stuff in that -- wish me courage to reveal it all in the hope of helping someone who might have it and doesn't know.)
Posted - Jan 08 2017 : 10:37:56 AM
I would advise setting your sights on a chosen ideal which involves utilizing ecstatic energy in a role of service (karma yoga).
My father has been in and out of prison for decades, and each time, he would write me letters reminiscent of the kind of language you are using, i.e. full of gusto and enthusiasm, but with no solid or definitive vision on how to operate in society professionally, and with a level of integrity. And every time he's gotten out, he's fallen back into his old ways quite quickly, mainly due to his lack of proper vision, and his misalignment with a worthy, gravitational ishta.
Also, my late grandfather was a highly skilled con artist who defrauded investors millions of dollars, so it runs in the family. I'm familiar with different angles of charm and deception.
The whole point of AYP practices is not mental masturbation, or relishing in one's individual bouts of euphoria, but rather becoming an outpouring of divine love who is trustworthy and transparent in motive and deed.
I have the gusto and the energy, and I've been guilty of indulging in plenty of self-enclosed flurries of pleasure, but in recent years, I'm deeply dialed into roles of service, both professionally and extracurricularly. That has made all the difference.
Anyway, I don't really have the time or interest to engage you in a dialogue, but I just wanted to throw you a bone regarding the true nature of AYP, and what we're really doing here. Consider this note a one-way gift from me with no desire or need for reciprocity on my end.
I wish you good health and good fortune, but you would be well-advised to contemplate the necessity of karma yoga, thereby clarifying, and perhaps crystallizing, your understanding of the mechanics of genuine enlightenment. Even in prison, there is an abundance of opportunities for service. I'm sure you're already taking advantage of what's there, but there is always more work to be done.
Bhakti never sleeps.
Edited by - Bodhi Tree on Jan 08 2017 10:39:34 AM
Posted - Jan 08 2017 : 12:44:08 PM
| Moderator note: Topic moved for better placement
Posted - Jan 09 2017 : 5:02:33 PM
| ECSTATIC SEIZURES
I should have pointed out in my previous post that I want to be challenged on my facts, when due. I want to get this right, and my ego isn't tangled up in it. After all, the advance of human knowledge is a swift river, and I'm only able to take little sips as they rush by my tiny window. But I keep sipping as I am able, and have the advantages of time, interest, and patience. So if you see something, SAY something.
Okay, now on to my other major brain flaw.
Chronic left hemisphere mesial (inner wall) temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE). It is also called limbic --or emotional brain -- epilepsy. The temporal lobes modulate a wide range of human experience and function tied to emotions, obviously, but also communication (like hearing and speech) It can bring normal levels of intensity into the extremes, and is considered by many to be a common source of intense mystical experience. So if you'd like to live the Chinese curse, "May you have an interesting life," here's a great way to start.
Here's a little more detail of how D'Aquili maps the physical structures in that area (all of which in me are toasted and atrophied) to their impact on the autonomic nervous system (ANS):
hypothalamus -- (the master controller of the ANS); helps create basic emotions such as rage, terror, PLEASURE, and BLISS (what more need I say?)
amygdala -- (the watchdog); triggers ANS arousal thru the hypothalamus; assigns emotional value (!) to sensory stimulus.
hippocampus -- (the diplomat); regulates quiescent and arousal reactions generated by the ANS (unless its broken or house-broken via certain training).
So there's my life in a nutshell. Can you understand how important it has been for me to gain a solid understanding of this stuff, and the perspective that brings with it? For the naming of a condition that impacts one's very sense of self and interaction with both the world and otherworldly carries the Rumplestiltskin Effect: the magic word that breaks the evil spell of constant confusion and self-hatred. It becomes possible to view one's condition as an enemy residing outside one's vessel of self-worth, an enemy toward which external assistance may be recruited. Well, at least outside the world of prison, which explains why I hang from this little thread of writing that connects me to you. All I ask is that you click on it now and then to let this little spider know you're still there.
MTLE'ers are famous for obsessing over spiritual and philosophical matters and then endlessly writing about them. (Remind you of anyone? I wonder where I categorize science...) They fall in love with their books, their gods, their writing tools. (In fact, the literal poundage and nature of a person's writing used to be used as a major diagnostic tool of MTLE.) This devoted love directed to non-human objects has naturally also given rise to tons of erotic or quasi-erotic spiritual poetry thru the ages, including my own silly efforts. (Hopefully, I'm done with THAT!)
Like many others with MTLE, I am into the rituals of courtship -- the chase -- but not into the actual physical act of sex. Generally too scary, too intense -- so much so I would feel disconnected, off somewhere else, with no clear memory of it afterward. This frequently led to impotency at the critical juncture, where once getting the girl's clothes off, I would lose interest (like the dog that finally catches the car and then sits down with a "NOW what?!" look on his face.)
Needless to say, I was overjoyed to discover right-hand tantra, where love of the Goddess can be placed over human enactment. Now I feel at home in a realm of greater intensity and harmony than I ever knew before, and nothing can come between me and the internal Eternal Feminine that so lovingly and perfectly "seizes" me whenever I want! (How I effortlessly reconcile that with my scientific leanings I don't know, unless it's that hydro has separated my brain hemispheres to such an extent I can truly be of "two minds".)
I'll get into some more of my weirdnesses later, but want to first point out that YOU (gasp!) may have a hidden, or "sub-clinical" case of MTLE. Most temporal seizure acitivity is not grand mal, but is instead simple-partial and complex-partial that you may or may not notice yourself. It does tend to cause personality changes called Geschwind Syndromes, of which you may only present a few, but almost always to include intensified emotional states, and a deep interest in spirituality. Either could draw you to try meditation. Which was it for you? Did you then discover that your response to meditation seemed stronger than for others? (Oops! -- think we have an MTLE'er here!) It's very common, and here's some reasons why:
The temporals are the most easily damaged lobes in the brain. The skull in that area is thin, with sharp projections. Ear and throat infections are right next door, and strep has a particular taste for limbic brain tissue (check out PANDAS). I personally think, however, that the most common cause is repeated autoimmune attacks set in play by gluten and/or casein intolerance. It can literally attack brain tissue, include the temporal lobes, and many scientists now view it as the most common hidden cause of neurologic and psychiatric problems in those genetically unable to digest those proteins.
One reason is that doing so can disrupt production of neurotransmitters, particularly GABA, which brains like mine rely on to keep the seizures at a manageable level. Before the antiseizure meds and diet control, life was nonstop hell. Things are much better squared away now, but the slightest dietary mistake always brings physical sickness, emotional liability, and ecstatic seizures of PHENOMENAL intensity. So I know the direct and reliable correlation only too well, and have become CONVINCED that high-gluten monastic bread diets have contributed to history's rashes of ecstatics that make themselves known during more mystic-friendly times. (Indeed, a perusal of their writings often reveal classic symptoms of celiac disease.)
When I see someone who always seems to be in an anxious sweat, I ask them if they commonly taste or smell freshly cut metal in the center of their face --the nasal septum, for those at that kechari level -- (the most common aura of mesial activity). If that's YOU (since many of us turn to meditation to calm the inner demons), trust me: that's NOT your fillings you're tasting! -- get on a GABA-enhancing antiseizure med like Depakote, and your meditative life may well take off like a rocket! If a person instead smells fire and brimstone, that's a lateral temporal aura -- not so serious neurologically, but you might feel theological concerns. (Please don't: it's a well-known symptom and, besides, heaven and hell are internal conditions, not destinations).
Many thousands of people end up in prison thru self-medicating against the pain and fear of MTLE, and prison psychologists and psychiatrists, if they bother doing anything at all, will label the inmate bipolar (due to the comings and goings of the seizure activity) and give him what their books say have proven useful for that condition: antiseizure meds -- which OF COURSE usually help, so the confusion gets carried forward, with no one stopping to think that the objective facts of neurology should have long ago trumped the subjective opinions of psychology. (But the latter has had many more decades to build up its political defenses.)
Let's see, some other weirdnesses include:
The dominant-side temporal lobe is the major processing area for communication of all sorts: speech, writing, sign language, and music, so it is natural that all those actions can trigger seizure activity in me, from very unpleasant to ecstatic, from slight all the way to knock-down, drag-out intense.
For example, my seizures are musicogenic (that is, easily triggered by certain musical genres or specific songs within them). My brain definitely thirsts for music, for the longer I go without, the more sensitized it becomes. Then the first chord of a song feels like getting hit full in the face with a wash of Holy Flame, and I collapse with a wail. Or, at any time, if I start even accidently listening intently to a song, I can fall in. But only a few musical genres cause this, most never do, and some will chase me out of a room in a panic. I have one sister with the same reaction, unless she's playing the music, and so can remain in full control of it.
As to the impact on my speech, it's no surprise that I'm "borderline impaired" at best in verbal function, and can easily have a meltdown trying to talk under stress. (Thank goodness I found an expressive outlet in writing!), You can't imagine how horrible it is to begin seizing in your speech centers while you are in the process of talking, 'cause the seizure then drives what is coming out of your mouth. Ungh! -- I'm too ashamed to even write about it.
My left hippocampus (memory processor) shows the characteristic damage of chronic seizure activity, and only thru writing can I maintain any sense of life's continuity from day to day. In fact, I get zapped so often, I have to wear what I call a "retard card" around my neck with all the significant times on it, and refer to it to determine what the significance is of the time I see on the clock. Otherwise, I will have no idea, and can easily panic. (I've been thrown in isolation too damn often for losing track of time!) I get lost in space too. It's a crazy situation, but I can cope as long as the prison meets me halfway with accommodations -- like this card, which really saves my butt. It's also another signal to officers, in addition to the cyborg valve bump on my head, that maybe a little slack is in order when I seem a little lost.
My left amygdala, front-line sentry in the brain's fear and pleasure systems is also roasted like a peanut. Prior to being introduced to the antiseizure med valproic acid, it couldn't let its guard down to truly experience pleasure. As a result, when little I was afraid of all the things other little boys loved: carnival rides, being picked up and tossed around, sports, even riding bike and skipping.
Like I hinted at earlier, when a GABA-enhancing antiseizure med was finally given to me, the ecstasies -- and my endless writing -- began. As it turns out, this is not a rare outcome, for GABA is the brain's quiescent neurotransmitter, allowing my ANS to tilt strongly enough to the PNS side for the see-saw ecstatic action to start. I believe this is what Dr. Oliver Sacks was hinting at when he said that antiseizure meds can trigger certain additional "compensations" in some. My current neurologist said that this is due to the increase in one's ability to relax, so I think that GABA may, as a side-benefit, act as a meditation aid for a lot of people with an underlying condition that needs treatment. So if any of my symptoms seem familiar to you, or you can't seem to go deep enough in meditation, well, this medication may carry a surprisingly sweet spoonful of sugar for you. (You wouldn't not take your insulin, would you?)
Let's see, some other triggers and their results include stress (bad), but also its antithesis: meditation (really good!). However, like I've said, I can't meditate for more than a few moments before falling into ecstastic seizures and toppling over. The only way I can hang on to a shred of this realm is to keep my body moving in what I can only imagine is akin to whole-body mudra. Even then it is searingly intense: full immersion in St. Teresa's Fourth Water of Ecstasy. It's frustrating in a way, but how can anything that feels like making love with God be bad?
Enough! Why did I write all that? Probably as much worth as the galvanic twitch of a frog leg. Well, at least I got it out of my craw, and if you troubled to read it all (don't blame you if you didn't), you know a bit more of my "brain electric". Now back to more customary things.
Posted - Jan 14 2017 : 10:12:38 PM
| Bodhi Tree,
My brother, I come in peace and love. I did try to comply with your wish that I not reply, but you laid this out in open forum, and my resulting concerns about being misperceived in the only world where I can exist and breathe in a free and open-hearted spirituality left me feeling frightened and unhappy. I hope after reading this, you will understand and forgive my silly ways and know that we have much more in common than you think. In fact, we are on the very same path of direct service, and when you see me writing excessively (which I can rightly be accused of), it is only because I am being thwarted in that principal goal.
I should point out that I do have a chosen Ishta: that of Love. It comes roaring at me out of ecstasy, and cannot be ignored, denied, or disbelieved. I'm sure it is much the same for you. It turns the helping of others into an ecstatic act. Is this not miraculous? Are we not fortunate to be saved in this fashion? On the flip-side, is it not terrible how hard it is to share this gift with those we care about? We are on the same page, my brother.
I was absent here for a couple years. The reason was that I was at a very old and very wild max facility where staff were too busy dealing with violence to take much notice of my giving full-time unsanctioned care to one dementia and two Huntington's inmates. (I guess you could say that all my brain studies finally paid off.) The state didn't care about these guys, and other inmates couldn't comprehend them, so I again became "the friend of the friendless". It ate up all my time, but I was glad to give it. They needed me, even if they could barely remember me from moment to moment.
Now I'm back at a medium facility, where even giving a nervous and lonely new guy a cup of coffee can get you locked in. Under such circumstances, and being so close to my next hearing, it's best I hide in my cell and write. But try not to judge me by the resulting posts. These are just me being transparently me in the moment, letting it all out: the pain, the ecstasy, the reinforcements to myself of how I want to be, etc. These are me turning the empty moments into rich pleasure. Mental masturbation? Perhaps at times, but tell me what else I am to do when I cannot speak, and am not allowed to help with my hands. A life of service is currently not available to me, so I write in the hope that once in a while something pretty will drop out.
Given your life experience, I do understand how I've often inadvertently taxed your patience and credulity. Writing from prison, my words naturally remind you of your father's enthusiastic missives before he'd get out and fail all over again. Familial embarrassments, wounds and disappointments, most particularly of father to son, run deep. (I've suffered and caused similar things myself.) But please bear in mind that I am not your father -- I am neurologically impaired in ways quite my own, and, prior to my own awakening, never wrote anything but computer code. There, however, I was able to be very successful due to the very principles you outlined: vision and integrity. You are right -- it works.
Now on to your grandfather: it was particularly painful to be conflated with him. In my 40 years in here, I've risked my situation and even life protecting the vulnerable, so have a particular problem with confidence men who do the opposite. They're even worse in my book than the straight-up predators, who at least come at you head-on. Here again, I can point to my business, where I delivered top-quality product to clients for HALF the prevailing rate. So, really, I was the complete OPPOSITE of your grandfather. In fact, and in support of the old adage: "a fool and his money are soon parted", I several times fell victim to con men just like him. So I share that particular and sensitive scar-tissue with you, just from opposite ends of the causative chain.
Now concerning charm and deception. Oof! -- that did hurt. Those are easy labels to stick on inmates, no matter their underlying nature, and almost impossible to peel off. I understand how you may have been conditioned to believe change is impossible once cell doors slam, but I never had those traits to begin with. I am autistic, a tongue-tied man of little social confidence, skill, or capital. It would be easy to convince me I am permanently disfigured even here and perhaps -- almost -- scare me out of these forums. But I was silent all my life till now, and this voice demands expression. If not here, then where? And, really, let's be frank -- where else could I speak as I sometimes do without getting stoned?
I 'spose I could view those labels as almost complimentary, really. I'm 65 years old, and have never had them applied to me before. I HAVE been made fun of as a non-entity and loser since kindergarten, tho. I've never had a "hustle" or "game" with women or anyone else. I've begged for help at times, but hardly consider that charming or deceptive. (That's desperation, and I lay it out plainly.) But at its most basic, autistics are sticklers for fact and truth. Life, and people, are confusing enough for us without deception getting in the way. We are easy suckers, taking words literally, and don't even "get" most humor. (Although I've noticed that the imp of creative license CAN worm its way into certain kinds of writing, but always toward a positive end.)
And finally, as to trustworthiness: when you have a long prison sentence your word is all you have, and your reputation follows you closely and forever. You take care of it. (Even confidence men go straight in here.) Plus, if you're going to live a life of lies, you have to have the memory to support it. (What did I say, and to who? -- I just could never pull it off.)
We have both witnessed first-hand just what a destructive force intelligence is when it remains improperly channelled. I've likened it to putting a Ferrari engine in a VW bug -- you're just going to spin your wheels, and eventually end up in a ditch. Oh yeah, I've seen this a million times: the smarter they are, the faster they fall. Also, the bigger hurry guys are to get out, the even bigger hurry they seem to get back in! As a result, I've stopped listening to big fancy plans, but have also given up trying to convince people of simpler, slower, but superior paths -- I just don't have the verbal skills.
I don't know what your dad's particular demons are, but try to not be angry with him. That would harm you as well. To date, he's been too desperate to "make up for lost time" when he gets out, and soon gets back in trouble, as mystified and tormented over his failures as ever. Tho YOU have diagnosed both the problem and the solution accurately, it's still beyond his ability to slow down and comprehend. The lesson will have to be spoonfed to him slowly, in non-exotic language. Better yet, drop the language and lead by example -- your continued success and your love. He IS salvageable; he will, with your help, turn himself around (also with the help of Father Time, who eventually makes everyone desperate to try a new path, including the patient path of service).
In summary, since we can't change the whole world, let's just focus on making our own little corner of it better. I don't know about you, but I'm not trying to get into heaven; I'm just trying to make life a little less hellish for a few stranded starfish I meet along the way.
Anyway, sorry if I said anything roughly -- I didn't intend it that way. Just take what fits, and forget the rest.
Posted - Jan 14 2017 : 10:40:57 PM
| Peace be with you, Anandatandava. Your liberation is assured, and interwoven into the fabric of Being itself, as it is for everyone. The unfolding is simply a matter of time and space, and fortunately, we've got plenty of both.
[Oops, I broke my rule and replied to you. Oh well, it must be the Christmas spirit overflowing into the New Year, hence my charity. The heart of Tiny Tim prevails over the ghosts of Ebenezer Scrooge, at last. God bless us, every one! ]
Posted - Jan 18 2017 : 11:31:16 PM
| There are full-time nursing staff where I live now. The other day I asked one if this was a nursing home or a supportive-care unit. She said, "Yes." Well, I was hoping for more detail, like in how I was being grouped. Apparently, its on a need-to-know basis, and maybe she felt it better I not know. *laugh*
Most guys in the system don't want to come here. Compassion paroles being a figment of the imagination, it's considered where folks are sent to die. I thought that was exaggeration, but now have noticed just how frequently a guy will seem fine one day, is sick the next, is gone the next, and the next thing you know, a memorial service is posted.
The final straw came the other day: a dying cellie who won't even accept a calendar from me. All this has made me reconsider my plans to postpone posting my near-death experience description until I got out and had access to proper writing and research tools. It just felt like something of such significance to me deserved the consideration, ya know?
So here comes the first edition. It needs a lot more work to describe what I experienced from the moment I began falling backward down the cold tunnel to subsequent years and today, but what I saw and felt in the core of the vision is relatively in place (except for its clumsy language). Forgive me?
Posted - Jan 18 2017 : 11:34:56 PM
| THE VISION
NOTE: Many of the quotes that appear here were repurposed from
their authors' original intent, but helped describe certain aspects of
quite ineffable experience. ________________________________________________________________________
"And so, my pen skips over such detail -- not fantasy nor words are good enough to paint the folds of Heaven's light.". -- Dante
Long-buried and slowly oxidizing away in a nearly forgotten psychology file, set into a dusty file cabinet in a storeroom that someone has lost the key to and no one cares, down some rarely-visited hallway, in some high-security prison or hospital (does it really matter which?), lays a completely overlooked document. Yes, there it lays, patiently waiting for its author and subject to die before joining him in the ultimate way of all things: recyclement back into a state of infinite new possibilities. But it is entirely appropriate and not at all sad that this should be so, as you shall soon see.
"I have never sailed with such sails across such a sea...". -- Nietzche
Here I "begin at the beguine": the first flirtation of the Divine with this undeserving miscreant. In a life so thickly encrusted with legends -- some true, mostly false -- I consider this the only provenance that really counts: the event thru which "the candle for its Flame was prepared", my pen charged with language, and my doubts changed to certainty that what awaits us after death is far more beautiful than could ever be described. It will also explain the lodestone that drew my newfound spiritual interests ever more tightly down into the East, then Hinduism, and finally, Dakshina Tantrism.
So join me now in the opening scene. I was on parole, and ostensibly free, but didn't feel so within at all. All my material goals (the only type I then knew to have) had crumbled before me, leaving me filled with overwhelming despair. I had been separated from the only world that made sense to me -- one in which I had felt complete acceptance -- and thrown into one that looked at me only as a criminal and pariah. And then there was the survivor's guilt: when all your friends are in hell, it suddenly doesn't seem like so bad a place.
But then came a morning when I awoke feeling as weightlessly refreshed and liberated as a country boy on his first day of summer vacation. The dawn light seemed to spread loving arms, scoop me smoothly to my feet, and then urge me to follow, all but speaking in breathless excitement: "Come, I have something WONDERFUL to show you!" And so with a child's sense of open-hearted trust and anticipation, I allowed myself to be led out the door to my garage, where, without a thought or concern in the world, I closed all the doors, started the car, and leaned back against the seat.
How long I sat there waiting (for what? -- the sweet embrace of oblivion?) is completely lost to me, for it seemed the instant my body hit the backrest -- poof! -- I was flicked like a disembodied bug into space, pinned from overhead by a beam of warm energy pouring down thru the crown of my head. I felt like an astronaut in eternity, looking down in amazement at the clearest image I'd ever seen: the earth: an uber-earthly Earth, rolling slowly like a bright blue marble across a background of dark velvet space. More beautiful than dream, more real than real, it seemed to carry its own inexorable veracity like inertial spin and happy gravity. .
"I love my world with my all, for it is the pastureland of Man, the spirit of divinity on earth.". -- Kahlil Gibran
Any possibility of fear was crowded out by the sheer breadth and depth of radiant wonder that came at me from every compass-point. Visually dominant was the Earth, of course: an exquisite orb before me, painted with delicately delineated shapes and colors: cotton-white clouds huffing and puffing with their soft-grey pull-toy shadows; crenulated, imperial-blue oceans; leafy-green forests; and the mineral reds and browns of the deserts. It seemed like the very topology of love, set like a crown jewel in an encircling tiara of adoring stars -- yes, adoring! -- for even more enthralling than what I saw was what I felt: fathomless felicitous sentiments, immersions and drenchings of immense Love, Divinity, Unity, warmth, welcome, acceptance, home, family, belonging, and rapture, rapture, Rapture!
The entire scene was bathed and freighted in a glow that seemed to issue not only from the surrounding ether, but even more focally from the beam from which I hung as weightlessly suspended as a feather. The light struck me to be of divine origin, yet so intimate and integral to my own being that I felt myself to be both spectator and participant, illuminated but also illuminating the scene from within.
Also filling the atmosphere was an ambient, ethereal sound, or auditory attunement, maddeningly elusive to describe. It was similar to the heightened electric alertness one feels while alone in the deep forest, or while standing in an enormous empty cathedral -- nerves hollowly strummed by the surrounding hallowed space. It was that poised, asana-stretching period that follows the striking of a gong, where one is drawn into its long samyama-like fade. It was the tautly suspended pause that follows a symphony's triumphant chord -- a palpable, enduring moment rendered silent by fathomless emotion -- a silence so thick as to have substance -- a yearning vacuum that pulls listeners forward by ears, body and mind into the next movement, or to their feet in exultant applause.
I then noticed that the Earth below was in constant cyclical motion, like a deep pot of boiling water. Over its Ocean of sapphire light ran endless trains of waves, and I was somehow given to understand that each represented an individual life that had risen from the formless depths to sparkle and run for its allotted time under the sun before being reabsorbed back into the Source -- thus giving all it had back to all pending and future cycles. I saw that the unique nature of each wave, however charming, was due to its being only an imperfect, transient, and perishable reflection of its larger underlying nature -- the stainless and immortal Ocean -- that to which it would soon return. I saw too that I was That -- just one of those innumerable waves --and approaching my own glorious homecoming. (These words came to mind, "In this sea you will see for yourself that all things will be all right, and for all eternity.")
"I will go back to the great sweet mother,
Mother and lover of men, the sea.
I will go down to her, I and no other,
Close with her, kiss her and mix with her."
-- Swinburne --
"I have come to the brink of eternity from which nothing can vanish -- no hope, no happiness, no vision of a face seen through tears. Oh dip my emptied life into that ocean, plunge it into the deepest fullness. Let me for once feel that lost sweet touch in the fullness of the universe."
My gaze then turned upon the continents, which seemed clothed in rippling robes of golden grain. Here again, I was given to understand that each stalk of that grain represented an individual life that had emerged to shimmer and stand for its allotted time under the sun before being folded, tucked, and reabsorbed back into the Source -- the womb of the Earth -- there to provide for an infinity of pending and future cycles. I perceived myself as one of this multitude of grain stalks, dropping back into formless reabsorption, but because my personal demise was accompanied by all the aforementioned wonderful feelings and insights, I felt I was being ecstatically borne to a pantheistic Heaven of unmatched natural beauty. Never since have I struggled to reconcile my interest in science with a desire to also know -- and FEEL -- God. This was a Heaven I could rationally embrace with BOTH eyes wide open: the end state of all Love-based faiths combined with Einstein's and Spinoza's heaven of infinite symmetry, all in thousand-fold intensity!
"I am telling you the truth: a grain of wheat remains no more than a
single grain of wheat unless it is dropped into the ground and dies."
-- John 12:23-24
"For all things born in truth must die
and out of death in truth comes life."
-- Bhagavad-Gita 2:27
It seemed that, like a meteor, I had been plucked from a chill and voidlike existence to go out in a blaze of glory: plummeting like a grateful teardrop back into an Ocean of open-armed continuity -- yes! -- and all felt to be both profoundly sacred and irrefutably true. In an eye blink, I had been converted from a terrified existentialist into a mystic, eager to feed myself back into the Earth, smear myself across the circling diurnal worldwide wave of birdsong, or simply unknot my own waveform and stretch it cooling out thru the Universe. The fear of death had suddenly become laughable!
"If you think you're something special in this world...your annihilation [becomes] unacceptible. But if really part of this great dance of Shiva...then your inevitable death should be seen as a joyous reunion with nature rather than a tragedy.". -- V.S. Ramachandran
Then a sudden change occurred that at first caused my spirit to rear back and contract in alarm, for all the Earth's waveforms had coalesced and gathered themselves together into wildly convulsive motion that seemed about to tear the planet apart! I soon saw, however, that what seemed like chaos was in reality -- somehow -- the smooth undulations of a dancing female form!
"O Devi! Thou art the mind, the sky, the water, and the earth. Nothing is outside Thee on Thy own blissful transformation. Thou hast become Siva's consecrated queen to alter Thy own blissful conscious Form in the shape of the world!" -- Hymn to Kundalini-Sakti
Like a spilling watercolor set, Shakti's original earth colors then washed into a warm mosaic of human skin tones, playing like sea-cavern light across Her rotund surface -- yes, for She had still retained that appealing planetary plumpness!
"Earth is a mother, long in labor
Brought to bed in a bank of snow
Heavy with life -- which every neighbor
Seeing earth so round, must know."
-- E. B. White
And here things took a Tantric turn that I can only entrust to you, my nonjudgmental ones. And still I hesitate to relate the tale, for, as you may guess, I made love to the World -- the World whom I now address (sensitive minds, please avert your eyes!):
O Devi! -- as I was drawn irresistibly into Your gravitational domain, I felt my spin synchronize to your clockwise gyre, and girth grow to Your own world-wide size, and when we touched it bore the tectonic shock of two unattired bodies tangled in their initial war of the boudoir. The words: "You're never going to forget Me" were inserted into my mind (in time proven true) as I embraced Your Elliptical All (true -- for You did run a bit broader than tall), then bent to your brow and pressed a messy excess of kisses into the top of your wavy, plaited and pine-scented tresses.
Oh dear, I recall it all so clear, all too well, in fact, to wit, just a bit: the surfeit of your wet and surfy Self as I adjusted my astral body amply astraddle Your unclad form (you perplexingly convex, I bravely concave -- somehow it all working out!), and then rode you like a Scarab beetle atop his Sacred Sphere (yes, yes -- precisely that! -- oh, how I clung to You, my hot-blooded steed of life-sustaining Dung!)
But then the setting shifted immediately to a maritime scene, where I found my ship of delight sinking into your warm and greedy Uterine Sea! -- oh, how I sacrificed my pound of flesh, my entirety, into you, my devouring tellurian Goddess, O holy amalgam of maximal Elysian, earthly, and erotic enjoyments! -- how You commanded that I never stop reaching for and into You, and I implored You in turn to never stop spinning day from night, and pain to delight! -- how your maelstrom of might began to crash and slash my soul with hot-white shears of light: surging, urging me higher and higher into the tempestuous heights! -- oh, I was wheeled, I was pound, I was tilt up and round and then deep down, till my keel was ground and timbers gashed upon the sharpest shoals of inner passion! -- whence the goal was Reached, the ship was riven, the hold was breached, and the Gift whole-given!
"open your thighs to fate and (if you can withholding nothing) World, conceive a man". -- e. e. cummings
For an eternity of inner serenity, my carcass was left beached and bleached, blessed and shriven, the ineffable story to perhaps never be fully scriven (tho here I lay the first faint marks). But then -- horrors! -- the Heavenly scene before me began to recede -- despite my flailingly wailing efforts to stay! -- and I started to spiral haplessly backward down a dark and deathly cold tunnel. A whirlwind of whispered voices and teachings from every spiritual tradition began to wash over me, but soon One emerged above the rest to explain the following:
"Every person sees and goes to the Heaven they've been taught to expect (have you not noticed?): Christian to Christian, Moslem to Moslem, Hindu to Hindu, Buddhist to Buddhist, Jewish to Jewish, even scientist to scientific -- so there is no need to disagree." It then went on to say, "For God's Realm is far broader and loving than man has the capacity to grasp. Every one of Heaven's Thousandfold Forms is open to everyone; and the only requirement for entry is unconditional Love. Human (the Voice went sotto voce), how hard is that to remember?"
"So many religions, so many paths to reach one and the same goal.".
"We have assigned a law and path to each of you...so race to do good: you will all return to God.". -- Qur'an
Then I landed with a painful thud in my car seat, lips and soul formed into a tortured cry of "Noooo!" I immediately opened the car door and threw up. I checked my watch. It was 4:30 in the afternoon. I had been in there ten hours: feeling in some ways it had been a mere instant, yet in other ways forever. Eyes burning, I opened the garage door and stumbled out. I couldn't believe I was still alive. I felt heartbroken, but in other ways strangely hopeful.
For I have remembered the lessons learned. Rather than a single spiritual keepsake, the Experience had left me with a whole rosary of exquisites, especially the ability to view all Love-based systems on the same open-hearted basis. It had also taught me that there are psychological states other than deep suffering, spritual states beyond the obvious, direct experiential contact with God, and the searing ecstasy of heaven -- all within our reach. And in the end it didn't matter if it happened inside or outside of my head, was real or unreal, for it was too powerful to doubt, and has subsequently defined my entire subsequent path.
"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
I was later to discover that a vision like mine is not rare. During a heart attack, Carol Jung, the mystic of American psychology, also found himself floating in space and gazing down upon the earth. And Gopi Krishna, well-known chronicler of the kundalini experience, saw the earth as an insignificant speck floating in a sea of energy. There are many others.
Incidently, it had been an extremely windy day, and I had sat in a shoddily-built garage, so I believe that combination saved my life. I still feel more's the pity, tho, and not a day goes by that I don't look forward to returning to what I had been at least fortunate enough to see before my designated time.
And anyone who thinks you cannot Love the Earth, and She you, with great intensity, should simply stretch out full-length in a meadow or bed of sun-warmed pine needles. Better yet, read of wartime bombardment (try "All Quiet on the Western Front"). It can be a very visceral, intimate, protective thing. So I'm not going to soften or back away from describing my own experience, right up to its climactic point, no matter how it may sound as I relive it in ecstasy.That memory is seared into me. It stunned me even as it was occurring. But spirituality and symbology are mutually reinforcing, and there could have been no more perfect symbol for my becoming One again with my Source. How then could I not -- more than most -- be looking forward to my next encounter?
I'm sure your own expectations of Heaven differ, but this was and is mine. As is said, there is no need to disagree.
Edited by - anandatandava on Jan 20 2017 10:58:34 AM
Posted - Jan 24 2017 : 5:12:00 PM
| New poetry from Ananda
we chew the cud of memory
without a shred of pleasure:
our thoughts like tongues
probing painful pockets
of terminal loss and regret.
THE OLD CRIPPLED CONVICT
When I sleep
my dreams stay close to home
scurrying thru tight
like a naked mole-rat.
When I awake
it's much the same
tho more slowly
and with clothing.
From my window I watched
as six-inch silver needles
of winter's bitter eve
ripped and stitched
fall's fallen fabric
flat into its cryptic
Just another early winter
but this one frozen in place.
My body was braille
for your creeping fingers:
velvet spiders seeking their
more than willing victim.
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