A Love Song From God

A love song to God is, in Truth, a love song from God.

The next book in the Mystic Heart Series is the Bhagavad Gita translated by Stephen Mitchell, scheduled for July 9th at 11 am.

“Souls who love God, a Sufi sheikh said a thousand years ago, ‘know one another by smell, like horses. Though one be in the East and the other in the West, they still feel joy and comfort in each other’s talk, and one who lives in a later generation than the other is instructed and consoled by the words of his friend.’”

Theatre, A Portal to Wisdom


“It is no longer sufficient to view our time through political or economic lenses alone. We are obliged to look into the deeper designs of the soul, to track the truculent engines of our darker selves.  Artists, who live there, and depth psychologists, who venture there, are instructive guides to the places we must go if we are ever to heal ourselves or heal our age.” Hollis

Game of Thrones is an epic saga that holds the archetypal stories forgotten in the Hebrew Bible, re-imagined but true to our history and existential summons to engage the spiritual battle to wholeness, to love. As the cast reads the finale scenes for this epic saga, we see the divine spark that comes through their collective imagination and the Holy sorrow held in these stories, portrayed and renewed in spirit by these fine actors. Each one of us carries a spark of the Universal and is implored to engage the search of our personal myth that weaves us together, remembering what was, is, and always will be.

Rilke’s Message for a Young Poet

“Rilke wrote to a troubled young poet, ‘We are set down in life as in the element to which we best correspond, and over and above this we have through thousands of years of accommodation become so like this life…We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us…And if only we arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful.’

In these moment of recognition, and self-acceptance, we integrate some richer aspect of the Shadow and gain some small, further purchase on the immensity of the soul.” – Hollis

What Teens Want Their Parents to Understand

Shadow of Ideal

“What contaminates one’s spirit at Dachau is the knowledge that this immense engine for evil could not have been constructed and operated in the name of evil. Such energy could only come at the service of some ideal. How could this have happened, one asks? And the answer is, they believed.” James Hollis

A Secret Diary Chronicled the 'Satanic World' That Was Dachau - The New  York Times

What Is The Way of the Image?

A reading from a chapter in Ann & Barry Ulanov’s book, Primary Speech. Ann Belford Ulanov is an American academic and psychotherapist. She is the Christiane Brooks Johnson Memorial Professor of Psychiatry and Religion at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and a Jungian analyst in private practice. Baruch “Barry” Ulanov (April 10, 1918 – April 30, 2000) was an American writer, perhaps best known as a jazz critic.

“A major step …. is learning how to have our fantasies and stand aside from them simultaneously.

Fantasy fully accepted in prayer becomes a rhythmic movement in one’s life that may lead to a meeting with Being. Here music can offer guidance and direction to the praying person. The alterations of sound and silence that we meet in music, of dynamic variations ranging from fortissimo to pianissimo, of every kind of beat and pulse, can evoke and support the rhythms of primary speech. We burst full of images and desires, crowded with rich fragments of ourselves. We fall utterly silent, lost in the timeless moment, still as an emptied pot is still. We are seized by a fantasy, and then stripped of it. But the images return, sometimes new ones, sometimes the old ones in changed form. The spirit works us like bread dough, leavening the lump of our inertia with images that make us rise, expand, and grow light in weight. Then it punches us down and the fantasies escape from us like so much hot air.

What the Difference Between Bread Flour and All Purpose Flour? | MyRecipes

We are pummeled and molded to fit a shape that takes its origin outside ourselves – the image of the being in which we were created. We are made to conform to its dimensions, firmer and larger than any we could fashion by ourselves. Then we can rise again to our full height. Prayer is a growing process.

A major step in the world of primary speech is learning how to have our fantasies and stand aside from them simultaneously. This apparently contradictory stance is intrinsic in all subsequent movements of the spiritual life. In its simultaneous gathering in and giving up, it rehearses us for the paradoxes and antimonies of the life of the spirit, where affirmation comes in denial and withdrawal may be the only way to move ahead.

After The Rain: A Dancer's Perspective | The Australian Ballet
After the Rain Ballet

We are like a dancer who learns certain basic movements, repeats them, depends on them, builds on them in the most complicated and advanced executions of the body, and then can forget all about them, not losing them but dropping them from full consciousness when a new world of movement must be entered. In the same way, we receive and hold in awareness the most full bodied fantasies for the longest time, building on them, never pushing them away. And yet we are able, when the time comes1, to relinquish them, to let them disappear from consciousness altogether. The spirit finds us this way and firms us. We grow into a capacity for grateful flexibility and for the endless ups and downs of prayer, not only pliable in this life that bounds between extremes but also durable.

What does this mean in practice? It means we take our fantasies seriously. It means we offer them to God. We have them and we don’t have them. We are rich and poor, hungry and satisfied, full and empty simultaneously. Our most fearsome fantasies remain with us – we are murderer and victim, sick unto death and healer of the dying, victor and defeated. We extend across worlds into every condition of men and women and are connected with them, as ourselves, in our living persons. We become bigger, more stretched out, more transparent, less densely compacted around our tight little identity. Our fantasies become lenses through which we see God’s spirit working at us, on us, and in us. We see through our fantasies and are less apt now to be duped by them.

we become more vivid and secure….

An element of play enters….

a sense of humor….

We laugh.

God must long for a funny story, we think, instead of still another lugubrious hymn or turgid meditation, still another solemn promise, still another tortured, pompous confession in which even our sins are matters of pride.”

-Ann & Barry Ulanov

  1. I apprehend the appointed time Ps 75

Intensely Gazing Into Mystery

Salvadaor de Madariaga (1886-1978) introduces Miguel de Unamuno (1964-1936), “the man of letters who is no mere man of letters, but also a man… who despite this multiplicity and this dispersion, the dominant impression which his personality leaves behind is that of a vigorous unity, an unswerving concentration both of mind and purpose”….

For all this vitality and ever-moving activity of mind is shot through by the absolute immobility of two owlish eyes piercing the darkness of spiritual night. And this intense gaze into the mystery is the steel axis round which his spirit revolves and revolves in desperation; the unity under his multiplicity; the one fire under his passions and the inspiration of his whole work and life...whose eyes never turn away from nature, however unwelcome the sight, is strengthened by that passion for life which burns…

Yet a passionate man—or, as he would perhaps prefer to say, therefore a passionate man. But in a major, not in a minor key; of strong, not of weak passions.

The difference between the two lies perhaps in that the man with strong passions lives them, while the man with weak passions is lived by them, so that while weak passions paralyze the will, strong passions urge man to action. It is such an urge towards life, such a vitality ever awake, which inspires Unamuno’s multifarious activities in the realm of the mind.

Salvador de Madariaga, Tragic Sense of Life

Give-Away Song by Gwen Westerman

go to where you can listen to the poet reading her poem.

This is my give-away—
            not because I don’t want
                  it anymore,
            not because it’s out of
                  style or
                broken or
                useless since it lost
                its lid or one of its buttons,
            not because I don’t understand
                the “value” of things.
This is my give-away—
            because I have enough
                  to share with you
            because I have been given
                  so much
                    health love happiness
                    pain sorrow fear
            to share from the heart
            in a world where words can be
            meaningless when they come
            only from the head.
This is my give-way—
            to touch what is good in you
            with words your heart can hear
            like ripples from a pebble
            dropped in water
            moving outward growing
            wider touching others.
            You are strong.
            You are kind.
            You are beautiful.
This is my give-away.
     Wopida ye.   
          Wopida ye.
                Wopida ye.

About This Poem

“‘Give-Away Song’ honors our Dakota value of generosity and sharing whatever we have with those around us. This poem is also a response to the missionaries and Indian agents who often reported that our ancestors did not know the value of things that the government provided them—blankets, flour, meat, food, tools, other supplies—and that when those goods were distributed, the people would immediately share with others who did not have as much as they did. But I think our ancestors did know exactly the value of things and that value only comes when you can share.”
Gwen Westerman

“The Fury of Overshoes”

Childhood vaccination rate continues to decline in Arizona - AZPM

They sit in a row
outside the kindergarten,
black, red, brown, all
with those brass buckles.
Remember when you couldn’t
buckle your own
or tie your own
or tie your own shoe
or cut your own meat
and the tears
running down like mud
because you fell off your
Remember, big fish,
when you couldn’t swim
and simply slipped under
like a stone frog?
The world wasn’t
It belonged to
the big people.
Under your bed
sat the wolf
and he made a shadow
when cars passed by
at night.
They made you give up
your nightlight
and your teddy
and your thumb.
Oh overshoes,
don’t you
remember me,
pushing you up and down
in the winter snow?
Oh thumb,
I want a drink,
it is dark,
where are the big people,
when will I get there,
taking giant steps
all day,
each day
and thinking
nothing of it?

“Anne Sexton remembers what it was like to be a tiny person, how she necessarily deflected authority onto the big people around her and tried to adapt and adjust as life required, but how, even now, she looks for that guidance from without and wonders how to be a grown-up: … where are the big people,when will I get there? Where are the big people who are required to discern what really matters; where are the big people to assume responsibility; when will we get there?”

James Hollis, Jungian psychoanalyst and author, wrote Why Good People Do Bad Things: Understanding Our Darker Selves. On Saturday, May 14th, at 11:00 a.m. we will be soaking in the demands and questions engaged in reading this rich text that offers trail markers through the dark night of our soul.

Questions Examining Shadow Consciousness

All too Human : Thirteen quotes on the Shadow by Carl Jung

James Hollis lays out the “tough shadow laden questions” to help us decipher our summons to wholeness. It requires the ego strength of a hungry student desirous to know what lies beyond her repetitive patterns and engage the teacher within. He writes,

“These questions require examining our Shadow and being willing to deal with whatever comes onto the screen of consciousness. Hearing the other’s experience of us in the face of these specific questions is often a good place to start, if we can bear that. The Other whom we most wish to blame for the shortcomings of the relationship is also the person who knows us the most, or at least knows us from a refracted angle from which we are often unable to see ourselves.”

The “whatever comes” is typically met with ego demands that throw out the baby with the bath water. Growth is aborted. The “whatever comes” will challenge one to experience and tolerate feelings of disturbance, confusion, loss of control, and anger without dissociating. Dissociation is where free will is annihilated, immobilized. How many women know this difference? Coming out of dissociating, which can take hours to years, one must be able to experience, without identifying with, all the elements of chaos, a natural part of interior reorganizing necessary for supporting growth, supporting authentic, non-destructive power. How many women get caught in the gap between these growth summons and the myriad mechanisms that have tampered them down for generations? How many women are caught in destructive power cycles?

On Saturday, May 14th, at 11:00 a.m. we will be soaking in the questions outlined in Why Good People Do Bad Things: Understanding Our Darker Selves. Let us examine the questions as trail markers guiding us away from dissociation, toward encounter with the turning over the soil of our soul to receive the sun, water, air, and nutrients for growth. Let us dissociate from identification and become open to experience of “whatever comes.”

Stay Awake! Wake UP! What Of These Demands and The Questions That Keep Recurring?

The Old Crone quietly whispers to the young one, “Stay Awake” as the fractal energies of creative flux endlessly spiral, demanding increasingly more attention and space, just as our friend and teacher, the chambered nautilus, practices.

Inevitably, the Crone will shout the refrain to the young one within, “Wake Up!” when the young one is high on the indulgence of any of the many adventures and bliss of her innocence, the powers of desire, the dreamy landscape of sleep, and the hubris of our human condition. Hearing the alternating demands on the spiral of Life, the self emptying art and pulse of staying awake and waking up, staying awake and waking up, staying awake and waking up… expanding into larger and larger spaciousness, is a highly evolved yet most simple dance that requires much practice in humility, gratitude, witnessing support, sage teachings, and a sense of humor!

James Hollis, Jungian psychoanalyst and author, wrote Why Good People Do Bad Things: Understanding Our Darker Selves. On Saturday, May 14th, at 11:00 a.m. we will be soaking in the demands and questions engaged in reading this rich text that offers trail markers through the dark night of our soul.

142,493 Question Mark Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

“What is the question arriving….now…” as you soak in any particular text, action, speech, or situation? This is the question repeatedly asked at Kairos Center for Change to invite active contemplative engagement (concentration) with silence and listen for the questions, the images, or the one word responses to wisdom texts, images, art, stories, ideologies, or dream material. There are no right or wrong answers! Only energized questions, images, or words that lead us to take notice as they lead us toward or away from Truth. “What are they energized by?” you may ask. Silence… from the Still point of Source.

Observing reverent silence in the presence of wisdom text and art is an ancient practice fostering our capacity to release from the collective grabs and fads, the projections we throw out and absorb. In the silence we draw near to and converse privately with the One Mystery that knows, that lies beyond the noise and shackles of our myriad vaporous attachments, distractions, projections, addictions, habits, opinions, routines, infatuations, wounds, delusions, and reveries — each of these vying to be idolized and worshipped for itself, into their tiny containers, serving infinite forms of blind avoidance, blind subservience, and/or blind control…Shadow.

Observing reverent silence in the presence of wisdom text and art opens the door for re-discovering and re-claiming our own free will, our song, our dance, our light…Beauty and rest. Once remembered, we are less susceptible to the “moral engineering of others” (Dostoevsky) and magic tricks that eat at our souls, rendering our humanness “mechanical” and trite.

In Reel Life: Giant Mechanical Man – KTSW 89.9
Image from the movie Giant Mechanical Man

Rather, we are able to watch, play with, and enjoy the grand symphony of EVERYTHING, including our attachments, distractions, addictions, habits, opinions, routines, infatuations, wounds, delusions, and reveries as manifestations of light, of Source…. not Source itself. It is in our human witnessing that transformation happens from the will of Source in service of wholeness and free-will.

The Giant Mechanical Man Movie Still - #86542

Image from the movie Giant Mechanical Man

While it seems easy enough from the grandstands, practiced meditators know all too well that our minds may swiftly drift, at any given time, to armies of energized war machines, thoughts maintaining our ever so vulnerable hold on equanimity, where we are enrolled as actors in the never ending primordial play, exhausting precious resources as we defend the status quo (our personal broken record or myth), indiscriminately crowding out and dismissing new fractal invasions summoning growth, new possibilities, new potential, new insight….and, most importantly, crowding out intimacy with other and Other. A new equanimity awaits our arrival.

When we meet communally our courage and concentration for engagement can be strengthened by a critical mass of humility and wonder, a mutual desire to hear what newly arrives out of silence, the language and narrative of Mystery…. now. Attentively approaching the question, the image, and/or word response with beginner’s mind (Holy Maybe open to inquiry and ambiguity), as a potential doorway either to something familiar or to something altogether unknown, is the essence of Shadow work. It involves subtle, slow, and surprisingly intimate encounters with the Invisible that transforms the heart.

There are at least three experiences worthy of mentioning that we universally find aversive in Shadow work or the work of engaging an intimate relationship with the unknowable Eternal, Reality, Truth that lives beyond form, beyond gender, beyond name, beyond our imagination, and certainly beyond control or possession!…and lives not only in the majesty of gardens, oceans, and mountains but also in deserts, swamps, toilets, open wounds, messiness, illness, dis-ease, conflict, loss. First, the unknown challenges outgrown or irrelevant certainties held as identity, truth, self-validation, self-entitlement, or righteousness as it invites awareness of our real nakedness and vulnerability. Poverty of Spirit. Empty Mind. Humility. Then there is the discomfort of futility and disillusionment that arises when we mistake the door to the familiar to be the door to the exciting and new unfamiliar healing path. There we acquaint ourselves with “The Fall” out of a sense of arrival or security, into the mysteries of the “repetition compulsion” captured in the Sisyphean Myth. And finally, the discomfort of disorienting shock when we mistake the unfamiliar door as the door to the familiar only to receive undeniable burdens of our human responsibility turn our world upside down! The Ascension.

As the pains of our human condition are experienced from a lived life, one gradually becomes acquainted with the gifts of Real humility, Joy, Gratitude, Generosity, and Sorrow that burns away noise, allowing us to spread seeds on fertile ground for future generations.

99 Doorways to New Worlds ideas | beautiful doors, unique doors, cool doors

Discerning which doorway the question takes us through always begins with silence, concentration built from practice and countless grace-filled failures, and a reverential attitude keenly aware that both doors often look quite the same… until the eyes of our hearts have sufficiently adjusted to light.

Hollis points to how easily we are enrolled in the part of “noise” in the grand play of life because we do not know what we do not know but think we know what others need to know only to bring them our personal room of mirrors. You know? He quotes Thomas Huxley:

. . . a man has no reason to be ashamed of having an ape for his grandfather. If there were an ancestor whom I should feel ashamed in recalling it would rather be a man . . . who, not content with an equivocal success in his own sphere of activity, plunges into scientific questions with which he has no real acquaintance, only to obscure them by an aimless rhetoric, and distract the attention of his hearers from the real point at issue by eloquent digressions and skilled appeals to religious prejudice.

Cited by Roger Shattuck, Forbidden Knowledge: from Prometheus to Pornography

I close with Ecclesiastes 3:

There is a time for EVERYTHING,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Yod Hei Vav Hei, The name of God – Breathing in and Breathing out meditation – 444HZ on Youtube

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