The black bee of my mind is drawn in sheer delightby Kamalakanta
Original Language Bengali
The black bee of my mind is drawn in sheer delight
To the blue lotus flower of Mother Shyama's feet,
The blue flower of the feet of Kali, Shiva's Consort;
Tasteless, to the bee, are the blossoms of desire.
My Mother's feet are black, and black, too, is the bee;
Black is made one with black! This much of the mystery
My mortal eyes behold, then hastily retreat.
But Kamalakanta's hopes are answered in the end;
He swims in the Sea of Bliss, unmoved by joy or pain.
|-- from Kali: The Black Goddess of Dakshineswar, by Elizabeth U. Harding|
/ Image by Meanest Indian /
In the imagery associated with the goddess Kali (Shyama), black is the divine color, for it is the color of mystery, of the night, that which is beyond knowing, the color that swallows all other colors.
My Mother's feet are black, and black, too, is the bee...
With devotion, the busy bee of the mind becomes quiet and "black" like the vast, still mystery of God (or, rather, Goddess). Drawn to the center of awareness, it loses itself in the blissful nectar's sweetness, until...
Black is made one with black!
(Kali isn't normally depicted as such an old woman, but the eyes of the woman in this photograph, so quiet and keen within that beautifully weathered face, just made me think, "Those are the eyes of the mother goddess peering into our hearts...")
Many of you have expressed serious concerns and fears to me about the state of the world in recent weeks. Worldly problems need to be confronted and addressed on the practical level at which they exist, but if they are addressed only at that level, the underlying problems are never resolved or even fully recognized. I personally believe that the ideal is an integrated approach in which we cultivate deep quiet, and then combine that with vigorous action. What that looks like in each individual life is different, unique to our own strengths and circumstances.
This approach creates a dilemma, no doubt about it. It is very difficult to spend the day dealing with the intense, constant specificity of a busy life engaged with the challenges of the world, sometimes even having to navigate the psychic extremes of conflict and confrontation, yet returning again and again to meditation and prayerful quiet. What is the solution? Practice. Dedication. Acceptance of the difficulties that arise in a life lived with heart and compassion. But also, we can draw strength from recognizing how the active and the inner feed each other. When we tap into those moments of deep peace, we can discover in ourselves a clarity and purpose which strengthen our actions, while daily action and service in the world reinforce the deepest values of the heart. Whatever we do in the world becomes a ritual of sorts, an embodied affirmation through interaction, validating what we have learned, highlighting where we yet need strengthening and refinement.
I encourage each of us, each in our own unique way, to reach out and work for a better, kinder, safer, more just world. What we do can be small or it can be grand. It doesn't have to be what other people expect or recognize or recognize as "service." It just has to satisfy the heart's instinct to help. And then support that with whatever creative or quiet pursuits feed the spirit -- meditation, prayer, poetry, play.
Me, personally, I'm pretty good at the internal life, but fiery and erratic with the outer stuff, especially when I witness cruelty. That's the balance I work at, learning steadiness and patience in my worldly activity, while not letting that draw too much energy away from my internal, creative life. Add ME/chronic fatigue syndrome to the mix and I have a rich practice that keeps me challenged and engaged. What is the particular balance you work at?
Sending love to everyone.
Gathering Silence Reminder Pre-Order by Dec. 5
There are just a few days left to pre-order your copy of Gathering Silence at the discounted price. Pre-orders must be received by Dec. 5. The new book will also be available in a couple of weeks through Amazon, but if you want to receive your order in time for the holidays, pre-ordering is the safest option.
with a fierce eye
and a gentle heart.
And don't forget about Rashani RŽa's wonderful collages! In the Introduction, I say of her artwork, "With their rich colors, organic forms, and fluid lines, her collages feel as if they have been grown in a secret magical garden." The book's color makes it a wonderful gift for family, friends, and fellow seekers.
You can read more about Gathering Silence here. To pre-order your copy, click here.
|Singing to the Goddess: Poems to Kali and Uma from Bengal||Kali: The Black Goddess of Dakshineswar|