Oct 12 2018

Kamalakanta – O Kali, my Mother full of Bliss!

Published by under Poetry

O Kali, my Mother full of Bliss!
by Kamalakanta

O Kali, my Mother full of Bliss!
Enchantress of the almighty Shiva!
In Thy delirious joy Thou dancest,
clapping Thy hands together!
Eternal One! Thou great First Cause,
clothed in the form of the Void!
Thou wearest the moon upon Thy brow.
Where didst Thou find Thy garland of heads
before the universe was made?
Thou art the Mover of all that move,
and we are but Thy helpless toys;
We move alone as Thou movest us
and speak as through us Thou speakest.
But worthless Kamalakanta says,
fondly berating Thee:
Confoundress! With Thy flashing sword
Thoughtlessly Thou hast put to death
my virtue and my sin alike!

— from Kali: The Black Goddess of Dakshineswar, by Elizabeth U. Harding


/ Image by Chobist /

Many of my Hindu friends are celebrating Navratri right now, the nine nights of the Great Goddess. Some traditions divide Navratri into three sets of three nights: the first three dedicated to Durga or Kali, who clears out the old and out of balance to make way for more divine manifestations of life; the next three nights are dedicated to Lakshmi, who grants wealth, both spiritual and material; while the final three nights are dedicated to Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom.

I thought I’d select this poem for us today…

To appreciate this poem we need to know a few things about the traditional Hindu representations of the Goddess.

In Hindu tradition and metaphysics, the Goddess represents many aspects of the Divine. The iconography we find in Hinduism gives us a fascinating kaleidoscope of meaning. The Goddess can represent Mother, the Great Source, the Void/Womb from which all are born, Manifestation, Creation, Vibration, Speech, Song, the Arts, Beauty, Darkness, Mystery, all of the World (and all its Illusions). But with birth, also comes death, with manifestation, also comes dissolution; anything with a beginning also has an end. Only the eternal is eternal. So the Goddess, Mother and Manifestor, is also sometimes portrayed as Destroyer. She is Life and Death both. She is the Power that brings all into being, animates and enlivens the universe, and also draws it back into non-being. But even in Her fiercest aspect, the Mother Goddess is loving. For Her, death is merely the death of illusion and the return to Self.

Many Westerners at first find the iconography associated with the goddess Kali unsettling and can’t understand why so many beloved saints, like the gentle Ramakrishna, were so deeply devoted to her. Let’s spend a few moments contemplating this powerful representation of the Divine Feminine…

Kali is sometimes called the Dark Mother: beautiful, wild, and terrible. She is depicted dancing in ecstasy upon a battle field, slaying demons in her fierce bliss.

Her skin is black and she is naked, symbolic of the Eternal Void with which she clothes herself.

Thou wearest the moon upon Thy brow.

She wears the moon upon her brow (as does her husband, Shiva), symbolizing the open spiritual eye and spiritual illumination. The crescent moon has the additional metaphorical meaning of mastery over the feminine, cyclical aspect of manifest nature, the way it ebbs and flows, grows full and then diminishes.

Where didst Thou find Thy garland of heads
before the universe was made?

Kali wears a garland of severed heads, a startling image, but one of deep spiritual significance. These are the heads of slain demons, each a spiritual impediment that she has removed. Well, she hasn’t really removed them; in slaying the demons, she has freed them, so that now their heads rest in bliss upon her breast.

Further, each head, severed at the neck, represents a specific sound; collectively, the heads represent the sound of divine speech, the foundational vibration or Eternal Word, through which the universe is manifested.

Confoundress! With Thy flashing sword
Thoughtlessly Thou hast put to death
my virtue and my sin alike!

We often get teasing lines like this in sacred poetry. In the deep spaces of bliss, when the ego identity has disappeared and thought has ceased, the tensions we associated with doing “good” or “bad” also disappear. This does not mean that one cannot distinguish between right and wrong, quite the opposite; one sees clearly for the first time. But there is no projection of “should” or “shouldn’t.” Instead, there is a profound sense of what simply is, and what is potential. The feeling of being caught in a tug-of-war between opposites and social compulsions vanishes. To the thinking mind, the mind chained to the ego, this is indeed confounding.

Kali can express a terrifying face of the Divine, but there is a reverse side to this. She may inspire terror, yes, but only in that which is out of harmony with the Eternal Will; seeing the Goddess, such energies know their end has come. If we ourselves cling to such disharmonious qualities, then we too may fear her. But when we let go of such clinging, approaching this great, formless Goddess with humility and courage, then terror is transformed into awe and overwhelming bliss.

You can say that this Dark Mother loves all her children so fiercely that she refuses to let any of us remain chained to comfortable but lethal delusions. Every soul needs such a loving, liberating mother, even when we don’t always appreciate her…

It’s a crisp autumn morning here. The snow from the last few days never quite stuck, the air is clear. The aspen leaves dance in green and gold, glistening in the light. Remember the beauty all around you!


Recommended Books: Kamalakanta

Singing to the Goddess: Poems to Kali and Uma from Bengal Kali: The Black Goddess of Dakshineswar


Kamalakanta

India (1769? – 1821?) Timeline
Yoga / Hindu : Shakta (Goddess-oriented)

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One response so far

Oct 12 2018

Accept others

Accept others
as they are
and you will remember
your own natural beauty.

No responses yet

Oct 10 2018

Izumi Shikibu – Although the wind

Published by under Poetry

Although the wind
by Izumi Shikibu

English version by Jane Hirshfield

Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house.

— from Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women, Edited by Jane Hirshfield


/ Image by Manwathiell /

I have several loved ones feeling particular frustration and rage at how they have been treated after finding the courage to speak out about private traumas, only to be ignored and treated with contempt by a system that would rather maintain its fading myths than its heart.

An excerpt of something I posted on Facebook a few days ago–

I try to remind myself that the greatest healers in the world are often themselves wounded in some way. The ways we find to survive trauma can open us to deep truths about ourselves and the world, unlocking hidden strength. We might, for the first time, find our authentic voice. Sometimes our job is just to cry out with such a great pure ache that the world has no choice but to stop and let its heart break open. Survivors carry the medicine the world needs, whether or not the world is smart enough to recognizes it.


Recommended Books: Izumi Shikibu

Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry


Izumi Shikibu

Japan (974? – 1034?) Timeline
Buddhist : Zen / Chan

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2 responses so far

Oct 10 2018

embody

We embody
each other.

One response so far

Oct 01 2018

Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi – Inner Wakefulness

Published by under Poetry

Inner Wakefulness
by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

English version by Coleman Barks

This place is a dream
only a sleeper considers it real
then death comes like dawn
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought
was your grief

A man goes to sleep in the town
where he has always lived
and he dreams
he’s living in another town
in the dream he doesn’t remember
the town he’s sleeping in his bed in
he believes the reality
of the dream town
the world is that kind of sleep

Humankind is being led
along an evolving course,
through this migration
of intelligences
and though we seem
to be sleeping
there is an inner wakefulness,
that directs the dream
and that will eventually
startle us back
to the truth of
who we are

— from The Essential Rumi, Translated by Coleman Barks


/ Image by psdlights /

Yesterday, September 30th, was Rumi’s 811th birthday. Happy birthday, Rumi!

Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi is a titanic, open-hearted figure in the world, and his influence throughout the world and down through the centuries is immense. The continuing ripple effects of his poetry and his spirit have much more impact on most lives today than mere kings or generals. That’s the sort of hero the world really needs.

There is something so gentle about this selection, an easy description of sleeping, dreaming, evolution, and waking up laughing. Yet it can startle us awake.

This place is a dream
only a sleeper considers it real

Dreams and waking up… The metaphor of being spiritually “awake” is used a lot but not always with deep reflection. It is an easy concept to grasp, though it’s not taken very seriously most of the time because, of course, the person thinking about the idea of waking up is already awake in the most literal sense, right? The surprising answer is, Not really.

The experience of sudden spiritual opening reported by most mystics is surprisingly one of actually waking up. It’s as if we have been drifting through life in a dream state and just not known it. Nothing around us has changed, but we finally, truly see things as they are. The dream-like trance-mind of assumptions and projections that has stifled our perception for so long falls away like a heavy blanket. We blink, look around, and are surprised to realize we have been in a sort of half-seeing fog all of our life… and now we are awake for the first time.

and you wake up laughing
at what you thought
was your grief

Perhaps just as surprising — and much more confusing to the intellect — is the simultaneous recognition that while we were in that dream state, there was still some part of our awareness that was always fully awake, patiently watching in the background. It’s just that now that inner wakefulness has come to the forefront.

and though we seem
to be sleeping
there is an inner wakefulness

…A reminder to us that we don’t really need to “wake up;” instead, we just need to get out of the way of that part of ourselves that is already awake.

From a purely poetic point of view, I really like the lines–

Humankind is being led
along an evolving course,
through this migration
of intelligences

To me this suggests that each experience, each “dream,” each person’s life is part of a grand migration of the human spirit, a journey of deepening remembrance and renewal.


Recommended Books: Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) Poetry for the Spirit: Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Hebrew Poems Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom Open Secret: Versions of Rumi
More Books >>


Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi, Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi poetry, Muslim / Sufi poetry Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

Afghanistan & Turkey (1207 – 1273) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

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4 responses so far

Oct 01 2018

blossoms

somehow the battered heart
blossoms with such beauty,
no hint of past hurts

One response so far

Sep 28 2018

Ivan M. Granger – Medusa

Published by under Poetry

Medusa
by Ivan M. Granger

Medusa says –

I was wisdom
once,
black as night.

Now they call me:
      monster,
      gorgon,
      hideous-faced.

So I hide
behind this hissing curtain
of hair.

Lost
little ones,
breathe easy;
you are free
to not see.

But
what is a lonely
old lady to do?

I still wait
for some daughter,
      some son,
so wounded by the world,
to seize these snakes
and part my locks wide.

I still wait
for some bold, tired
      wild child of mine,
determined to die
seeing what’s reflected
in my unblinking eye.

— from Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey, by Ivan M. Granger
Or order through Wordery and have it shipped anywhere in the world for free!


/ Image by Emanuello Brigant /

Something to honor the Divine Goddess today–

I don’t do it as often these days, but every now and then I awake early, before the sun. Observing the nighttime before dawn, its embodiment of mystery, the unknown, vastness. Night brings both peace and fear. It does not distract us from ourselves. Whatever we bring with us into the night we must confront…

I read a lot of Greek mythology in my childhood. I loved the fantastical adventures, the heroes, the monsters, the convoluted relationships of the gods. I was fascinated that so many common words and phrases have their origins in the names and stories of Greek myths. It connected me with the Greek ancestry I have through my father.

And I also had the vague, semi-formed idea that there was something deeper being said in these myth stories.

I discovered something several years back that struck me: Medusa, the quintessential monster of Greek mythology, was originally a much loved Goddess. Her name comes from the Greek word “metis” (related to the Sanskrit “medha”) meaning “wisdom.” Her worship is thought to have originated in North Africa and been imported into early Greek culture. She was black-skinned, wore wild, matted hair (with, of course, snakes), stood naked, wide-eyed, and embodied the mystery of woman, the wisdom of the night, the truths too profound or terrible to face in the daylight.

Medusa is, in effect, a Mediterranean version of the Bengali Goddess Kali.

Medusa was eventually subsumed into the safer, patriarchal worship of Athena, who carries Medusa’s head upon her shield.

This discovery inspired me to look at the figure of Medusa more deeply, more reverently. What is the wisdom that terrifies? Why the snakes? Why the petrifying open-eyed stare? And how does such a bringer of terrible wisdom feel about being rejected by her children as a “monster”?

So I hide
Behind this hissing curtain
Of hair.

One way to understand the snakes about Medusa’s head is as the awakened Kundalini energy, having risen from the base of the spine to the skull — something well-understood in the Mediterranean mystery schools of the ancient world. This vital, snake-like energy is the Goddess energy. Medusa, the Goddess, is the Snake Mother.

(The more monstrous aspect of Medusa can also be understood as a rageful expression of the Kundalini, the Divine Feminine energy, when it is repressed in society. A society that does not respect the strength and mystery of Woman, that does not allow the feminine energy to move freely, that society is lost in a state of calcifying fear. Too many societies see only the terrible Gorgon when looking at the Divine Mother.)

In my poem, Medusa has formed of this feminine life-energy a curtain, a veil that hides Her Face from a world not ready to bear witness to Her. This curtain is the veil of illusion that creates an artificial sense of separation between the world and the Divine.

And the curtain does indeed hiss. When you are quiet and your thoughts settle, we begin to hear a soft sound seeming to issue from the base of the skull. Initially, it sounds like a creaking or crackling noise, a white noise, a sort of a hissing. The deeper we go into silence, the more the sound resolves itself. Eventually, we recognize it permeating our whole body and all things.

We must pass through this hissing curtain in order to meet the deep truth waiting for us on the other side.

I still wait
For some bold, tired
      Wild child of mine,
Determined to die
Seeing what’s reflected
In my unblinking eye.

Medusa’s eye does not blink. This is partly what is so terrifying about her gaze. She stares boldly out and sees Reality as it is. She sees it plainly, fearlessly, and without interruption. There is no pause for interpretation or “filtering.” Medusa’s truth is raw. She is the Divine Mother who sees all of Her Creation in every living instant.

Looking in Medusa’s eye, what is it that we see reflected? Our own self, of course. And this truly is shattering, for we see the truth about ourselves. We see the unreality of the little self, the social self, the ego self we imagine ourselves to be. That little self is a phantom, a mental creation only.

Medusa, in her shattering wisdom, does not protect us from this realization. Her love will not allow us to struggle on with such a false notion holding us back from our true nature.

Seeing this truth, we die. The little self dies.

But, in dying to the little self, our true nature suddenly shines forth. The real Self, which is one with the Divine, emerges. Every aspect of ourselves that felt broken and that we labored so long to fix, is suddenly made whole. In fact, we realize that nothing was ever broken in the first place. That sense of incompleteness was the result of denying the vastness we already are while clinging to the illusion of the little self.

This is Medusa’s gift to Her children. This is Her terrible wisdom. It is the truth that blesses us through death, and then gives you greater life than we had previously imagined possible.


Recommended Books: Ivan M. Granger

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics Diamond Cutters: Visionary Poets in America, Britain & Oceania Poems of Awakening: An International Anthology of Spiritual Poetry
More Books >>


Ivan M. Granger, Ivan M. Granger poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Ivan M. Granger

US (1969 – )
Secular or Eclectic
Yoga / Hindu : Advaita / Non-Dualist

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7 responses so far

Sep 28 2018

When awareness rests

When awareness rests,
it recognizes itself.

No responses yet

Sep 26 2018

Wendell Berry – Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Published by under Poetry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
by Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

— from The Mad Farmer Poems, by Wendell Berry


/ Image by legends2k /

A manifesto from the fields and the topsoil to mark the change of seasons. A reminder of what’s real. A reminder to regularly push that mental reset button. A reminder to remain a healthy, cantankerous human standing amidst wonders…

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it.

Practice resurrection.

Have a beautiful day!


Recommended Books: Wendell Berry

The Collected Poems of Wendell Berry, 1957-1982 Given: Poems Selected Poems of Wendell Berry A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997 The Mad Farmer Poems
More Books >>


Wendell Berry, Wendell Berry poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Wendell Berry

US (1934 – )
Secular or Eclectic

More poetry by Wendell Berry

3 responses so far

Sep 26 2018

Each step

Each step is a step into
the unknown.

One response so far

Sep 26 2018

Request for Online Book Reviews

If you have a copy of This Dance of Bliss and it’s sparking some thoughts (or some silence) — or if it makes you want to dance — consider posting an online review on your preferred book site, like Good Reads, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Online browsers can’t pick a book off the shelf, hold it in their hands, and leaf through its pages. Reviews by other readers is the main way people decide to buy books online. Simply seeing that a number of people cared enough about the book to post a review is often the deciding factor to read more details about it.

Posting your own review online helps the Poetry Chaikhana and it also helps other readers to discover a new favorite book.

No responses yet

Sep 19 2018

Niyazi Misri – Now No Trace Remains

Published by under Poetry

Now No Trace Remains
by Niyazi Misri

English version by Jennifer Ferraro & Latif Bolat

I thought that in this whole world
      no beloved for me remained.

Then I left myself.
      Now no stranger in the world remains.

I used to see in every object a thorn
      but never a rose–

the universe became a rose garden.
      Not a single thorn remains.

Day and night my heart
      was moaning “Ahhh!”

I don’t know how it happened–
      now no “Ahhh” remains.

Duality went, Unity came.
      I met with the Friend in private;

The multitude left, the One came.
      Only the One remains.

Religion, piety, custom, reputation–
      these used to matter greatly to me.

O Niyazi — what has happened to you?
      No trace of religion now remains.

— from Quarreling with God: Mystic Rebel Poems of the Dervishes of Turkey, Translated by Jennifer Ferraro / Translated by Latif Bolat


/ Image by Broken-Beloved /

I thought that in this whole world
      no beloved for me remained.

There is much that is beautiful and attractive in the world: people, possessions, experiences. But do we love them or only love how they bolster our own self-image? They evolve, change, come and go, and so do we. They may give us a glimpse of the Divine Beloved beneath the surface, but until we learn to really look, that beautiful glimpse is fleeting. And they don’t do a great job in the long run of sustaining our fragile egos. Natural evolution, ours and that of the world around us, can feel like a betrayal. When we cling to surfaces and our own needy egos, it can feel like we have been abandoned by the Beloved.

So long as we cling to the little self, everyone and everything else is separate and vaguely threatening. The ego asserts itself by continuously keeping itself in psychic opposition to everything it has defined as being outside itself. To the ego, everything is either a possession or an enemy.

The ego pretends it is the center of reality while separating itself from the holistic vision of reality. In doing so, the ego makes itself both the prisoner and the prison guard.

In that shattered vision of a reality of separated fragments, we become blind to the true nature of reality — and the beloved is not seen. Even those soul-healing glimpses are hard to come by, rarely acknowledged even when seen.

Then I left myself.
      Now no stranger in the world remains.

But when when we finally step outside the artificial boundaries of the little self, the mesmerizing but ever incomplete world of duality fades, to be replaced by the vision of beauty and unity, in which there is no other and everything reflects the Beloved.

Duality went, Unity came.
      I met with the Friend in private;

The multitude left, the One came.
      Only the One remains.

We finally see how we flow into each other, how we are interwoven into a single, unified fabric of Reality. No one and nothing is outside of ourselves. That is when we can truly proclaim with Niyazi Misri that “Now now stranger in the world remains.”

I used to see in every object a thorn
      but never a rose–

the universe became a rose garden.
      Not a single thorn remains.

The rose unfolds in a gentle circling that invites one to yield inward. The rose is a symbol of lovers and of union. The rose resonates strongly with the gently awakened heart.

The rose, with its wine-like scent and deep red color, is sometimes thought of as a more tangible embodiment of wine — the drink of communion.

Religion, piety, custom, reputation–
      these used to matter greatly to me.

I love this Sufi iconoclasm. When deep realization comes, mystics have the troubling tendency to drop the forms of their religion. When the Eternal is finally recognized as here, now, alive in every way and in every form, the prescribed and proscribed ways of holiness lose their meaning.

O Niyazi — what has happened to you?
      No trace of religion now remains.

This is not to say that one should immediately reject the recommended practices of one’s tradition. It is simply a reminder for us that the path, whichever one we follow, leads us to a Goal. Having reached the destination, the path has then served its purpose. At that point, clinging to the old practices is more about wanting to be seen by others to be devout. Is that important? If one’s role is to act as a beacon to draw others to a similar path, then perhaps it is. For other realized individuals, however, it might suggest a vanity that has been left behind. To the person of attainment, there are no “others” anyway, so who is the pious show for?

Of course, the louder one proclaims this truth, the more friends one loses among the keepers of the faith. Those troublesome mystics…


Recommended Books: Niyazi Misri

Quarreling with God: Mystic Rebel Poems of the Dervishes of Turkey


Niyazi Misri

Turkey (1616 – 1694) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

Continue Reading »

7 responses so far

Sep 19 2018

pragmatic

A mystic must be supremely pragmatic:
Use what works,
whatever opens the heart
and fires the spirit.

No responses yet

Sep 19 2018

Alternatives to Amazon

As a follow-up to my note raising concerns about Amazon’s business practices, several of you contacted me with some promising sites worth exploring. Two sites in particular caught my attention: Wordery and Better World Books. Both are online booksellers and both offer free shipping *worldwide*. Both also contribute a certain amount of their profits and book stock to charities and literacy programs.

They seem to take a little while to add new books to their online catalogs, however. This Dance of Bliss is not yet listed with their sites, but other Poetry Chaikhana publications are listed. I am in contact with them to see if I can facilitate the process of adding the new anthology.

If all continues to look promising, I may soon change the Poetry Chaikhana book links to favor one of these sites (though Poetry Chaikhana books will still remain available through Amazon and other online book sources).

In the meantime, I encourage you to explore these sites yourself. And if you have any feedback about them, please let me know:

Wordery
www.wordery.com

Better World Books
www.betterworldbooks.com

* Also, I should mention that someone sent me information about how, in response to the rising criticism, Amazon’s CEO just donated a very large sum of money to help with homelessness. While the action with most integrity would be to improve his company’s business practices and wage policies, a donation like that is not insignificant. How does that affect your perception of the company?

No responses yet

Sep 12 2018

This Dance of Bliss Now Available Everywhere!

THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT:

It’s here! This Dance of Bliss is now publicly available to everyone online through sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

For readers outside the US, This Dance of Bliss is now available through international online book sites.

You can also purchase This Dance of Bliss by requesting it through your local independent bookstore.

This Dance of Bliss, Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World, A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology, Ivan M. Granger
This Dance of Bliss

Ecstatic Poetry From Around the World

A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

Edited with Commentary by Ivan M. Granger


$16.95
PURCHASE

Barnes & Noble and Amazon
This Dance of Bliss US
 This Dance of Bliss UK This Dance of Bliss CAN This Dance of Bliss IND
or ask at your local independent book store
This Dance of Bliss is an inspiring collection of poems and wisdom stories from the world’s great sacred traditions. Rumi, St. John of the Cross, Lalla, Goethe, Hildegard von Bingen, Dogen, Khayyam, and many others gather together within these pages to sing their ecstatic songs.

Ivan M. Granger accompanies each poem with his own reflections and meditative commentaries, inviting us to explore the insights and private raptures of these mystics, seers, and saints-until we too are swept up in this dance of bliss!

This book is a treasure, a feast, an oasis. Ivan M. Granger’s profound gift for selecting the kind of poetry that lights up the cave of the heart and melts the boundaries between the soul and the Divine is fully met by his lucid reflections on the soul-transfiguring power of each piece in this magnificent collection.

MIRABAI STARR
author of God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity & Islam


Read More:
Table of Contents + Introduction + Sample + About the Author

No responses yet

Sep 12 2018

Statement about Amazon

Amazon has been in the news lately and rightly criticized for the absurd sums of money claimed by the CEO while many of its employees earn poverty wages and lack basic job security. Amazon is just one of the more notable companies among far too many that have come to embody a brutal and predatory corporate mindset.

But given how ubiquitous Amazon is in the world of online book sales, I have not yet come up with an entirely satisfying alternative that will work for everyone.

I regularly point out that Poetry Chaikhana books are available through other online sources, like Barnes & Noble, but they don’t cater to as many countries around the globe, and the Poetry Chaikhana is a global community.

There is also the more direct approach: I can take orders and ship the books myself, as I have been doing with the recent pre-orders for This Dance of Bliss. That is something I have generally done only for limited periods of time, when I want to offer personally inscribed books. My hesitation to do that on a more regular basis is primarily because I do my Poetry Chaikhana work in my spare time. Poetry Chaikhana publications provide some welcome income, but it is not yet enough to allow me to lessen my commitments to my day job. As many of you are aware, I need to be especially careful with my time and energy because of the chronic fatigue patterns I deal with, so I can’t casually add to my weekly workload. Even so, I am giving this option some serious thought.

One of the most positive ways to purchase Poetry Chaikhana books, in my opinion, is to request them through your local independent bookstore. I receive less of a sales royalty that way, but when you purchase through a neighborhood brick-and-mortar bookstore, you are supporting a local business, you get to chat with interesting people who love books, and it’s an excuse to browse their shelves for other hidden treasures. Bookstores build communities.

If you have other good recommendations, please share them with me. I welcome your suggestions.

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Sep 10 2018

Wislawa Szymborska – Miracle Fair

Published by under Poetry

Miracle Fair
by Wislawa Szymborska

English version by Joanna Trzeciak

Commonplace miracle:
that so many commonplace miracles happen.

An ordinary miracle:
in the dead of night
the barking of invisible dogs.

One miracle out of many:
a small, airy cloud
yet it can block a large and heavy moon.

Several miracles in one:
an alder tree reflected in the water,
and that it’s backwards left to right
and that it grows there, crown down
and never reaches the bottom,
even though the water is shallow.

An everyday miracle:
winds weak to moderate
turning gusty in storms.

First among equal miracles:
cows are cows.

Second to none:
just this orchard
from just that seed.

A miracle without a cape and top hat:
scattering white doves.

A miracle, for what else could you call it:
today the sun rose at three-fourteen
and will set at eight-o-one.

A miracle, less surprising than it should be:
even though the hand has fewer than six fingers,
it still has more than four.

A miracle, just take a look around:
the world is everywhere.

An additional miracle, as everything is additional:
the unthinkable
is thinkable.

— from Miracle Fair: Selected Poems of Wislawa Szymborska, by Wislawa Szymborska / Translated by Joanna Trzeciak


/ Image by Paul Devoto /

There are so many things I like about this poem!

Commonplace miracle:
that so many commonplace miracles happen.

That realization, when it stops being simply a nice idea and truly takes hold of the awareness, when that happens, the world finally comes alive to us. Or perhaps we come alive to it.

A miracle, for what else could you call it:
today the sun rose at three-fourteen
and will set at eight-o-one.

Miracles do not have to be relegated to the supernatural and the superhuman. We don’t need to have lived in remote times or exotic places to experience miracles. We don’t need to have spent weary decades in extreme spiritual practices to experience miracles. We don’t need a different life or a different world.

Second to none:
just this orchard
from just that seed.

We just need to look around. We just need to see.

First among equal miracles:
cows are cows.

What is a miracle, really? It isn’t so much an event or an experience as a moment. It is a moment of recognition, when our awareness catches a glimpse of the wider reality, when what we witness washes us away.

The world is pregnant with miracles. All it takes is for us to approach with quiet awareness and awe, and the most mundane things open themselves into infinities.

Several miracles in one:
an alder tree reflected in the water,
and that it’s backwards left to right
and that it grows there, crown down
and never reaches the bottom,
even though the water is shallow.

But to really look, with a steady gaze and still mind — so hard to do. The reflex is to squirm, to turn away, to let the mind grasp at a thousand things. That’s the hard work right there: learning to relax out of that reflex and not lurch away from really seeing. Only then do we glimpse the miracle spread out all around us and beneath our feet.

A miracle, just take a look around:
the world is everywhere.

Allow yourself to enjoy a moment with the unthinkable today!


Recommended Books: Wislawa Szymborska

Poems New and Collected Miracle Fair: Selected Poems of Wislawa Szymborska View with a Grain of Sand: Selected Poems Nothing Twice: Selected Poems Dancing with Joy: 99 Poems
More Books >>


Wislawa Szymborska, Wislawa Szymborska poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Wislawa Szymborska

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Secular or Eclectic

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