Garland of Words

Garland of Words

This garland of words attempts to engage in an intimate reading of the bestselling novel Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens with the sensibility and sensitivity of a yogi.

Just for fun, I tried this breathing pattern: while reading Owens novel, I inhale slowly and deeply through the pursed lips as if drinking in Life, and exhale very slowly and completely through the nose.  Breathing and reading so slowly and deeply, I place my gaze and easygoing concentration on one word then the next. This makes the act of reading a very slow and sensual meditation.

In this way, let us awaken the wisdom of the ecstatic tremor here and now.

Try it, Beloved Friend. For now, breathe slowly and deeply through the pursed lips while we focus together closely on this one scene in the novel.

Tate is the young man who teaches Kya to read. Eventually their physical desire to touch each other reaches the climactic point where they must kiss.

In this moment, Tate asks Kya a loaded question, “Where is your Ma?” Kya reveals the heartbreak: her mother abandoned her. In his turn, Tate shares the loss of his mother and sister in a fatal car accident. United in the psychological scar of Losing Mother revs up to the moment when they smash lip to lip. Here goes:

“And just at that second, the wind picked up, and thousands upon thousands of yellow sycamore leaves broke from their life support and streamed across the sky. Autumn leaves don’t fall; they fly. They take their time and wander on this, their only chance to soar. Reflecting sunlight, they swirl and sail and flutter on the wind drafts.”

These leaves, flying, no, soaring into death, spark joy. In the spirit of feeling the freedom that is Death, Tate rises and invites Kya to play, to catch as many leaves as they can before the leaves touch the ground. In the height of fun, they bump and lock in their gaze.

“He took her shoulders, hesitated an instant, then kissed her lips as the leaves rained and danced around them as silently as snow.”

Where the Crawdads Sing, page 124

Owens writes the scene with the grace of a wildlife lover. Her expression gives a sense that the bliss these characters enjoy in this kiss is the bliss always in the trees, the leaves, the birds, the sky, the marsh, and the stars — all joined together in the Dance of Life. What’s more, Tate and Kya’s kiss brings awareness to the inner life of trees, leaves, birds, sky, and star as these beings eternally tremble with the same energy that humans tremble with when two humans kiss.

Tate and Kya’s moment of union creates bliss in the human physical body, the intense pleasure of two beings kissing. Often it takes kissing for humans to remember the bliss quiver of life that is always present in every piece of life. This is a state of being that we long to connect to with a human physical body; but what does it take to maintain the human body to be completely free of any pain or discomfort and to abandon all that we are to pure thrill and excitement? We long for this state of pleasure because in this state it is easiest to sense the Sacred Tremor that is always there, or what tantrikas* refer to as Spanda. (*Please note that tantrika is simply a spiritual adept who knows how to weave the energies of the sacred into every dimension of life: eating, shitting, fucking, fighting, the comic and the tragic — to a tantrika, it is all sacred). The question is this: how do we sustain this state of pleasure, freedom, and ease every moment?

In certain yogic breathing exercises, we purse the lips and breathe through the mouth. This way of breathing stimulates the tenth cranial nerve, the vagus nerve, the longest cranial nerve, which goes all the way from the head to the abdomen, stimulating heart, lungs, and digestion. The vagus nerve, when stimulated and refined, brings circulation, respiration, and digestion into synchronicity.

Kissing the lips of another being feels so satisfying because we engage in a moment in which one being’s vagus nerve syncs up with another being’s vagus nerve, creating a moment of physical union. The vagus nerves of two bodies spark simultaneously. Two hearts drum at once. Lungs lift and shift. Digestive dance within two bodies comes to a welcome pause. The link is so gratifying that one kiss can even unite two beings for years or even lifetimes. One kiss united Kya and Tate. And kept them tangled psychologically and spiritually long after their physical bodies endured years of separation.

Kundalini Yoga Master and Maha Tantric Yogi Bhajan once taught the Trikuti Kriya.  In this kriya, we chant the Wahe Guru mantra. When we chant, we focus the sound Wa at the belly, Hey at the heart, and Guru at the lips. On Guru, the lips purse out stimulating the vagus nerve. If the yogi maintains one-pointed focus on the lips while vibrating Guru very powerfully through the lips, then the exercise reveals itself not as a physical exercise but as a sensual and playful act of kissing the Wah Hey Guru mantra. 

If humans think it feels nice to lip kiss each other, well contemplate all the possible pleasure of kissing the Wahe Guru Mantra! Kissing Wahe Guru gives the sensation of kissing infinity, and it continues as an Infinite Kiss. Embracing the Trikuti Kriya as a Sadhana while one reads Where the Crawdads Sing can possibly give exalted pleasures because the tremor in the words and the nerve tremor in the body can collaborate to give a perception that every moment is a divine smooch, a mystical merge with a marsh, and a grand, exalted, salty coupling of wildlife with humanity.

I guess this is what it means to read with the sensibility of a yogi. It means to perceive the story dissolved until it is no longer about Kya and Tate, but about polarities coming into union: reader and writer, wild and tame, boy and girl, past and future, up and down, spring and autumn, hot and cold, literate and illiterate, leaves and roots, modern pubescent physical desire and ancient yogic mystical wisdom, pleasure and pain, on and off, loneliness and companionship, life and death. The totality of polarities included. No polarity left behind…

All polarities unite that is a state of yoga. Pure and simple union.

May all beings realize the ways reading while breathing through the pursed lips creates unity with the Infinite. May all beings realize the deep pleasure of practicing Yogi Bhajan’s Trikuti Kriya every day as a way to experience Sacred Kiss. And may all beings continue to feel the ecstatic tremor within making out with G.O.D.

Sat Naam!

Cover of Where the Crawdads Sing designed by Meighan Cavanaugh

40 Days of Radiant Words

Day Five

What words do you use when you pray?  Prayerful words are radiant words.  Repeat prayers often; they are radiant communication.

Here is my radiant prayer for today:

May every word I speak, think, or write keep me close to the divine teacher within me.

Please join me:  11 minutes a day for 40 days will have a lasting impact.  Here’s instruction for the meditation:  Meditation to Develop the Radiant Body

Any questions, please e-mail me at


40 Days of Radiant Words

Day One

According to yogic numerology, 2017 is a year to relate to the Radiant Body.

Yogis know that we are much greater than the limits of the physical body; so, cultivating awareness of all ten light bodies of consciousness is a reward and challenge of a daily yoga practice.  These are the ten bodies:  1.  The Soul Body.  2.  The Negative Mind.  3.  The Positive Mind.  4.  The Meditative Mind. 5.  The Physical Body.  6.  The Arc Line.  7.  The Aura.  8.  The Pranic Boday.  9.  The Subtle Body.  10.  The Radiant Body.

The Radiant Body implores a yogi to nourish the realms of consciousness that inspire creativity and courage.

Each day, one might ask this:  How can my unique radiant light body of my own consciousness best express its best creativity and courage in this particular time and space?

There is a meditation to practice to strengthen the radiant body.  The mantra to chant is “Ajai Alai”.

I adore this description of the mantra in The Aquarian Teacher text book: the mantra “Ajai Alai,” also known as the Ik Acharee Chand mantra is so effective that “[o]nce you recite the mantra correctly, it will give you the power that whatever you say must happen.”

I am always seduced by the promised benefits of practicing meditation, but the further I journey on my spiritual path, meditation becomes less and less a matter of something that I do in order to achieve the benefits.  Meditation becomes a habit of mind and being.  Any particular meditation receives a chance to express its own sacredness through my unique being.  Meditation is less about achieving benefits and more about the pure pleasure, pain, anger, boredom, or sadness of experiencing my own consciousness in relationship to this particular practice.

End notes in the meditation manual instruct us to chant each sound of the mantra and “hear each word as a world.”  Each word is projected from the throat and vibrates the whole head.

Yes.  I appreciate this sense: Every word is a world.  This is the kind of rich experience of reality that I am always seeking.  I am sure that I long to speak, listen to, read, and write every word as if each is an entire world.  Let me write that again…  I long to listen to every word as if it is a world.  Every word, a world.  Imagining the dimensions of words offers me a sense of reclaiming words as deep, dimensional, and sacred.  To my meditative mind, talk is never cheap.  To my meditative mind, there is no such things as empty words.  When I can consciously treat each word as a world–not just when chanting but always– then I can know how to speak and walk carefully, lightly in this world and with reverence.

I continue to cultivate a relationship with my own words so that I know their power.  That’s why most of what I want to say, write, think, or speak I try to express in the form of a humble prayer.

May I continue to walk tall, reach out and touch others with great love and royal courage. May I continue to feel the pure joy of sitting, breathing, chanting, and being.  May I vibrate the Cosmos so that the Cosmos may clear the path.  May the benefits of this practice be received by all beings.

Sat Nam!

Please join me in practicing this meditation for 40 days: Meditation to Develop the Radiant Body





40 Days, 40 Years, 40 Prayers

Day Thirty Nine

Beloved Everywhere,  This is my conscious prayer.

May the human family learn to thrive and be happy under the increased levels of pressure that we are all experiencing.  May we train our minds and intuition to perceive inner dimensions while the senses navigate the outer world with dignity and grace.  May more and more souls chose to experience the sacred sound current as a way to elevate the frequencies of the mind’s thought waves.  May we all come to understand the significance of every word we speak and every word we think.  May we accept, take responsibility for, and acknowledge that our words create our world.  May we come to celebrate that by tuning in to our inner sounds, and by harmonizing those inner sounds with sacred sounds, we experience our inner wisdom and merge with the vast awareness of Divine Silence.  If only one being on this planet experiences Divine Silence, may that one experience elevate every being. May collective human consciousness know deep and perfect ease with All That Is.

Sat Nam!


40 Days, 40 Years, 40 Prayers

Day Thirteen

Perhaps prayer is not answered.  Prayer is effective.  Prayer is a dialogue with the Creator of All That Is; you yourself are one creator of All Creation who is conversing with All Creation’s Creator.  Worry not over prayer being received, heard, or answered.  Articulate the prayer with clarity, power, and grace.  Put all your energy into the prayer.  Attach the mind to prayer, and become a thirsty songbird who has found, at last, a drop of rain.  The unknown becomes known; the unheard, heard; the unseen, seen.

May this mind attach to prayer and this heart beat to the rhythm of wisdom, compassion, and miracles.

“Prayer is the ray of the soul.”  ~Yogi Bhajan

Sat Nam!


40 Days, 40 Years, 40 Prayers

Day 5

In my personal experience of practicing 40-day meditations, Day 5 is always my most challenging day.  It never fails that I start with total enthusiasm, and then on day 5 I find I sit in meditation but feel irritable and squirmy:  Why am I doing this?  Am I wasting my time?  Why is this practice so challenging?  Why do I feel like it may be easier to chew a mouthful of stones than attempt to refine human consciousness?  Who do I think I am? I’d better be getting something good out of this… 

If curious, dear reader, please find the meaning of the mantra for the Isht Sodhana Mantra Kriya on the site Spirit Voyage Mantrapedia.

Dharti Hai Akash Hai Guru Ram Das Hai means

The Earth is.  The ether is.  Guru Ram Das is. 

God is.  Woman is.  Man is.  Music is.  Yoga is.  The child is.  Grandfather is.  Grandmother is.  This stone is.  This gem is.  This inhale is.  This exhale is.  This challenge is.  This ecstasy is.  This slumber is.  This awakening is.

The Mind is!  The Mind is!  The Mind is!

Today’s prayer:  May my mind find it pleasant and satisfying to serve my soul.  May my devotion to these teachings carry me through these moments of unbearable itching sensation.  May these mantras continue to be chanted, contemplated, and deeply loved so that they may continue to uplift many, many souls.

Sat Nam!


40 Days, 40 Years, 40 Prayers

Day 4

“This meditation gives a person the power to penetrate through the entire cosmos,” says Yogi Bhajan about the Isht Sodhana Mantra Kriya.

Now that sounds appealing!

What does it mean to penetrate through the entire cosmos? How can penetrating through the entire cosmos help me serve my destiny to continually renew myself and others with God’s light? Answers here are less important than asking questions in order to dwell in the spirit of curiosity and wonder.

So far, on day four, this evening meditation is giving me a heightened sense of infinity and silence. So far, I have only been practicing it for eleven minutes. But the eleven minutes really prepare me for that final inhale.

To end the meditation, you’re supposed to inhale deeply and radiate pure white, “as if you dissolved yourself into Infinity, and Infinity has merged into you.” The last moment of this meditation is such a blissful moment that it’s hard to allow it to pass without regretting the need to exhale. But here, too, a yogi learns detachment.  A moment later, this yogi is challenged to bring the bliss back into the chaos of daily life.  The children row next to me. The dog drops a tennis ball in my lap.

So, how does this yogi bring Infinity into human experience?

Zentangle!  (See image attached to this post.)

Before two weeks ago, I regarded myself as someone who had no artistic abilities. I could barely draw stupid-looking stick figures. Images I created always looked childish, no different from my five-year-old daughter’s artwork. But then a dear friend introduced me to Zentangle, a simple form of drawing that involves repeating patterns and lines so that eventually this repetition creates something that looks visually appealing.

Tangling is a lot like meditating, so it makes sense to me. I mentally vibrate mantra while drawing lines. The finished product is never so much envisioned as it simply emerges. It’s as if I am allowing the spirit of the drawing to come through me.

The other thing that tangling has taught me is that the slow, steady care with one line at a time is essential to creating the beautiful whole. Similarly, over time, with meditation, each breath, each repetition of a mantra eventually adds up; a soul blossoms into a deeply refined consciousness. This makes me wonder: it’s not the ultimate effects of the meditation that really matter anyway; it’s the accumulation of meditative moments that make a life align with all the divine beauty the universe offers.

I also like to think that when I chant while creating these Zentangles, the final images become a visual manifestation of the Sacred Sound Current, sound waves made visible.

No doubt practicing meditation has inspired me to create visual art that I never would have dreamed I could create. I am deeply grateful to my dear friend for casually mentioning that I would enjoy Zentangle.

I am ever grateful for the teachings of Kundalini Yoga and the awesome, quick transformations that they inspire. I hadn’t known I was capable of drawing anything. I surprised myself. Here is a perfect example of the relationship between my known and my unknown in which the unknown turned out to be a lovely gift.

So, if prayer is communication between the known and unknown parts of one’s consciousness, this particular lesson taught me that there is absolutely nothing to fear about the unknown. The unknown offers all surprises; and with a little awareness, these surprises can be shaped into great opportunities for creativity.

Today’s Prayer: May every creation in every moment reveal its gift so that we may all dwell in trust of the Infinite. May every being on this planet be liberated from fear of the unknown! May we embrace the unknown—come what may—with full and open hearts. May we embrace the unknown with fully awakened consciousness in order to transform tragedy into opportunity.  Yes!  We can do this!  Sat Nam!

Yogi Bhajan said, “Those who do the prayer and give their time in prayer; they are never preyed upon by evil and doubt.”


40 Days, 40 Years, 40 Prayers

Day #2

I recall a prayer I learned to recite during my Lutheran upbringing: “Our Father who Art in Heaven, hollowed by thy name…” The Lord’s Prayer was a ritual, some words I had to memorize. I enjoy the rhythm of the words as much now as I did back when I was learning it. I enjoy my memories of an entire congregation reciting the words together. Oh, our synchronicity! Oh, our collective appeal to the Almighty to “give us this day our daily bread!” We’re in this together. All in need of bread! I recall beautiful, elevating moments attending church services on Sunday.

I also recall my young mind trying to fit some kind of image to those words. “Our Father,” was an enormous grandfather who wore a long robe and had a white beard as shiny as the moon. “Heaven” was a place inhabited by disembodied choir voices and winged angels who played flying harps. “Hollowed be thy Name” meant nothing much to me, except for maybe some level of awareness that it is not polite to say, “God Dammit!” or “Jesus Christ!” when you stub your toe.

As a child, I never would have dreamt that prayer would have anything to do with the muscle plexus just beneath my belly button, called my navel point. Surely my tongue moved around in my mouth when I recited the Lord’s Prayer, but I thought absolutely nothing of it. So, how would I ever conceive that in order for my prayer to be powerful and effective, I should synchronize the movements of my navel point pumping and the tip of my tongue hitting the roof of my mouth?

I am grateful I know the experience of reciting the Lord’s Prayer in a congregation of hundreds as well as I know the experience of deeply meditating on the sensations of my navel point snapping back toward my spine at the same time tip of my tongue hits the roof of my mouth.  They are experiences I can add to the record of experiences that make up the genetic code of my existence.  They are experiences that qualify as dharma, all expressions of my devotion to the divine.  Wonder how many of these I can accumulate today–if you are reading this, may one thousand blessings shower upon you, oh Beloved!

After practicing Day One of the Meditation for Word Power, every time I said or thought the name “Albert,” my husband called.  (Albert happens to be his name.)  Also, this is subtle and may only be my fantasy, but I think I noticed my children were slightly more attentive when I spoke to them.  But…I do not want to promote an effect of a meditation that is simply my wishful projection and not a real effect.  If my children really were more attentive, it’s too soon to celebrate that for fear of jinxing it.  But wouldn’t that be every parent’s prayer answered–imagine if there were a meditation that could work to help a mother’s words penetrate her children’s ears!  Oh, what bliss!

Prayer for today, August 26 (Yogi Bhajan’s birthday):

May all children grow so deeply attentive and alert that they hang on their wise mother’s every word. May they obey, obey, obey in order to one day, in their turn, be able to gracefully command, command, command! May a mother, if she so pleases, be attentive to her navel point and her tongue. May She ever increase her word power!

“Those who do not learn to obey shall never command.”  Yogi Bhajan

Sat Nam!