Grateful Abundance at the River

After morning meditations, I head down to the river on a very resplendent fall morning. The air is crisp, and the sun shines brightly, a total gift, after nearly 24 hours of steady and much needed rain...

It has been a while since I visited this river, which is swollen right now, and greatly abundant. There was a time, not so long ago, I visited it every day, offering prayers, lovingkindness meditations, and numerous spiritual practices, that I now realize, were not so much meant for the others they were intended for, but to release much more in me than I could ever have envisioned or thought possible.

I stand at the launching area, and survey the ondulations of waves, breaking up at the banks of the river, scattering and dissipating, merely a footprint away from my toes...

In some ways, the topography of the river resembles the covers of a few of my manuscripts, but in other ways, this river is very different. The river and I - are the same - and yet, we are not...

I try to remember the routine that I had then, what meditations and prayers I said - and in what order, but I find that my memory eludes me.

I look down at the river bank below me, as I perch on the cliff I stood on so often in every season - and notice how the shoreline has changed - how huge trunks were carried down in one of the many floods in the last year or so, and I observe how they now obscure the very rocks I once sat on, before the river bade me to come inside and commune with it. Even the lone bench I sat on at the very beginning of my sojourn here, has been replace by two of them, but facing another direction, in addition to a patio of sorts has been constructed. Everything feels different - and yet there is something that still feels so very familiar.

I stand in the gentle wind and give thanks once again, for where I have been led - for what I have been given - for everything that has happened - and I am grateful for the clarity and insight that embraces me in this moment. Everything is understood - and it is also accepted...

So many turns have been taken and such a myriad of experiences have colored my life the last few years, but it has brought me to a place that is saturated with endless joy and Divine Light! How appropriate that Hindus are now celebrating Diwali - "The Festival of Lights", signifying the triumph of good over evil!

I think of Mother Meera, who came into the world to show us the way to Divine Light - and of the meditation path and practices that I embrace that also have shown me the way to this Light!

My heart is filled to the brim and swimming in an ocean of gratitude for all that is and was - and it engulfs even this very river, which has been a metaphor for my life and a great teacher and companion as well. There is so much I have to be grateful for - and I am! There is so much love in my heart!

Yesterday, I received this poem titled "Layers," by Stanley Kunitz, and it so exemplifies my journey, that I wish to end my entry by sharing excerpts from it:

Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
thought some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
form the abandoned camp-sites...

Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
"Live in the layers,
not on the litter."
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

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