Birthday Bliss 2014

Reflections on Gurumayi Chidvilasananda

Offering Seva with Easefulness

I stand in the Arizona desert,
beneath deep blackness
and stars
and far-off light.
The sky is beginning to lighten,
framing a bright curve of moon,
two trees,
and the far-off cliffside.
My mind, always curious, wonders
about the definition of dawn.
Is it when the slightest light splits blackness from itself
and turns sky the barest deep blue?
Is it when the first fraction of the sun’s bright eye
peers over the edge of the earth?
Or when the sun turns fully above the horizon and
hides the night?
My mind asks more: what about my dawn?
My own turning toward light?
When will I know that night is over?
Certainly I can see more than darkness–even now I feel
a vast blueness within,
full of breath and silence and space.
Does it matter if the day has not fully dawned?
I hear Gurumayi’s words,
      Have the awareness
           I am light.
                I am Consciousness.
                     Beneath all the fluctuations of the mind,
                             the divine light constantly shimmers.
I am in love, it seems, with the in-between,
the fluctuating dance
of darkness and dawning light.
But my heart tugs towards the light, only the light–
“Now,” it insists.
I hear Gurumayi’s words,
           When you watch the sunrise,
                   the beautiful shimmering sun,
                             you can breathe in the sun
                                      and breathe out the sun.
I stand in the early dawn in Arizona,
the sun now visible and bright, warming the day.
I breathe in the sun–
I breathe out the sun. For a long time, I breathe,
and feel myself become
Who is breathing, I wonder, and who is watching
the breathing
and the breather?
Who illumines this breathing,
and the one
who watches it?
Discover the splendor of your heart.
       It is shimmering with divine light,
               Gurumayi whispers to me.
These words move within my awareness.
They are a mirror
holding the reflection of my heart:
       your heart...
               is shimmering with divine light.
Something inside me smiles, slides open,
breathes easily. Awareness dawns–
the light of my own heart–
       is shimmering with divine light.
I feel it–quiet,
like sunlight–
       I am light.
               I am Consciousness.
My heart illumines all this.
My heart cherishes all this.
It is all within me.
My breath feels it.
My heart feels it.
       I am light.
               I am Consciousness.
I watch the sun continue to rise
and the darkness dissolve.
I want to go
Let the sun permeate
       your entire being,
               Gurumayi continues.
                      Let your whole being melt
                             into the light of the sun.
Her word soars into me.
I let it in­­–and
already everything
is dissolving and
I’m only breath now, and quiet
               and soft burning
I listen.
The barrier of the body dissolves
       Gurumayi says,
               and becomes one with divine light.
Day is dawning,
         and dawning,
               and dawning.


The italicized lines are Gurumayi’s teachings from her book Courage and Contentment (South Fallsburg, NY: SYDA Foundation, 1999), pp. 119-120.
About the Author

Paul Hawkwood began his Siddha Yoga practice in 1987 in Eugene, Oregon. He offers seva in the SYDA Foundation as an educational developer and a Siddha Yoga meditation teacher for Sadhana Retreats. Paul also serves on the Steering Committee and Board of Directors at the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center in Eugene. He lives in Eugene with his wife, Achala Woollacott, and works as an English professor at Linn-Benton Community College. Paul holds a BA from Whitworth College and an MA in composition and rhetoric from Eastern Washington University. 


Click here to share
Thanks, Paul Hawkwood, for your beautiful poem. It touches my heart deeply. My heart too yearns for only the light, now.

Yes, with the Guru's divine love and grace, the light is dawning.

a Siddha Yogi from Florida, USA

Thank you, Paul Hawkwood, for your most beautiful and exquisite experience of the dawn. I could feel you becoming one with the light of the dawn.

As I read your words, I inwardly zoomed into my first experience of the sunrise over Dakshin Kashi in Gurudev Siddha Peeth. I stood there in awe, drenched in the Guru's light as the orange crescent emerged behind the clouds.

a Siddha Yogi from Nairobi, Kenya

Thank you, Paul Hawkwood, for this poem igniting remembrance of the inner dawn.

It reminds me of something Shri Vivek Godbole said last year after he had chanted Vedic mantras, and performed the Maha Abhishek and other pujas at Shree Muktananda Ashram. Shri Vivek said that his father had taught him that each sacred syllable sung was a chance to touch God. Through reading the Siddha Yoga website shares, I feel it is as if those who write the shares are singing like that—each word a connection with the Lord, and with our beloved Guru.

Thank you, dearest Gurumayi, for this continuing satsang in our sacred and always accessible Universal Hall. Thank you so much for the practice of connecting through speaking and writing from the heart. Thank you and Happy Birthday Bliss!

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

As I read Paul Hawkwood's deeply-felt poem about his experience of the desert dawn, I remembered that through the ages, the dawn has been worshiped as a goddess, and that the first appearance of light is considered an auspicious time to offer spiritual practices. Gurumayi says on the first page of her book Sadhana of the Heart: "The dawn awakens the yearning for worship." Thank you, Paul, for your poetic expression of this yearning. 
Thank you, Gurumayi and Baba, for giving us Shri Guru Gita to welcome each dawn so sacredly.

a Siddha Yoga meditation teacher

The experience of Gurumayi's teachings arising in quiet moments in nature is so subtle, so pure. Although words often seem elusive vehicles to express the depth of these precious instances, Paul's Hawkwood's Reflection evoked powerful feelings in me. I was immersed in the experience of being with the breath, with Gurumayi's teachings, and with nature.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for giving me the eyes to see God's light in this glorious world! And thank you, Paul, for this beautiful Reflection.

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

Reading this Reflection, I felt as if I were taking part in a yajna, a sacred fire ritual. One line after the other continued to cleanse my being until the definitive moment arrived, when I could finally behold the expanse of luminosity that shimmers within at all times. It made me acknowledge the vastness of my being and took me to a space where I was breathing in and breathing out light.
Thank you to my Sadguru for such powerful words that go straight to the heart. Thank you, Gurumayi, for being my rising sun of love and compassion. Thank you, Paul Hawkwood, for sharing your journey towards the dawn. 

a Siddha Yogi from Mumbai, India

The image of the disciple standing in the desert night, waiting for the sun to rise feels ancient to me. The disciple is praying to know the light. Then as the light emerges, the words of the Master guide him step by step to know that this divine light is shimmering in his own heart.

I remember all the times in my life when I have stood in darkness waiting for the dawn. So many times I have waited, stretching toward the moment when my own silence is met by supreme stillness. In this moment I see everything living and non-living offering pranams to the emerging sun. This is the moment when I know the flawless quietude out of which the life-giving movement of the soundless sound arises and into which it subsides.

Thank you, Paul, for articulating this awareness so beautifully, and for reminding me that, with the Guru's guidance, this dawn is available in every instant. I need only let myself become aware of it.

a Siddha Yogi from Melbourne, Australia

I find this sweet, profound Reflection on Gurumayi inspiring to read, and such a clear demonstration of Siddha Yoga studentship. Paul Hawkwood’s sustained contemplation of Gurumayi's teachings demonstrates his deep reverence for them. I am moved by the way he turns Gurumayi’s words over and over in his awareness, explores the many levels of meaning they hold, and seeks to understand how they relate to his present, moment-by-moment experience of life. His actions convey his recognition that every word of a knower of the Truth is precious, of inestimable value to one who seeks to know that Truth.

Thank you, Paul Hawkwood. Your poem also speaks volumes about the power of the Guru’s grace and intention, inherent in her words, to grant us Self-recognition. And it delights me to imagine that such studentship must delight the heart of the Guru.

a Siddha Yoga meditation teacher

Paul Hawkwood’s stunning poetic Reflection on Gurumayi brought me directly back to my experience of shaktipat.

In May of 1997, I took my first Siddha Yoga Shaktipat Intensive. The next morning I rose before dawn, as I always had, and engaged in my routine to prepare for the day, all the while wondering, "What happened to me this weekend?" I left home for work and began walking up my street. A shimmering ray of light slid between the buildings and fell upon my eyes. I felt the warmth of this ray penetrating my heart. I recognized that the light I was seeing with my eyes was dancing with the very same light that I felt streaming out of me in that moment. I began to hear the refrain of Jyota Se Jyota Jagao inside and then the song started pouring out of me. I was singing to the sun, over and over again, "Jyota Se Jyota Jagao!"

My heart was shimmering with divine light. I felt totally new. And the truth dawned in me as clear as anything I had ever felt or known: "I met my Guru, I met the sun, I received shaktipat diksha."

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA