a poem of monkeys

I shot this my first week in Rishikesh. I was attracted to the surviving fragility of this baby and mother and the basics of life in the middle of extraordinary circumstances... for a monkey family...

Many things were moving within me in Rishikesh... 
some things, emotional were shifting... some things came up through chakra two... some forgotten things unforgotten or still hurt... and so I wrote...

dear unborn, dear Soul, 

i write to you from India - we never talked about going to India, we never had the chance - i never gave you the chance. 

first, let me say hello again. 

i’ve said it before in our eternal dialogue; just as quickly, i say goodbye. 

you should see the pretty orange flowers here - they are as if floating with halo butterflies and moths; but they are not floating or defying gravity, they are held, supported. Green Tara, the almighty material. 

why the decision? the answer is uncertain. unforgivable? uncertain. it is i - can i forgive? 

i want you to know about India, from where i sit... although, i understand you sit here now with me - you do, eternal child of India, of boundary-less-ness, of timelessness, eternally without borders and hang-ups.

do i make this up? 

i bow. 

you never spoke but i felt your heartbeat. i never took you to kindergarten though i did, one million times. little heartbeat. you did meet me at the river in the form of a snake, on the ice in the form of hunger, you were everything to me even when my story was loveless and then you were gone.

one swift decision. 

speak to me, child. speak through me. Divinity flows through you. you were in me. you, i felt you. you, i knew you. you i said goodbye, too. just like that. and you were gone. mighty, mighty ego of sterilized metal and septic disconnect.

let me tell you about India, darling... 

i in India. the India I, the Great We… but yes, yes... you already know love

2016-9/13 Hṛṣīkeśa, India

Tomorrow I leave for Hṛṣīkeśa to travel to Anand Mehrotra's Sattva Yoga Center at the foothills of the Himalayas. I've never been to India. Twenty years have passed since I first "noticed" India. How was that again? 

Over the past seven years, my desire to go to India has increased intensely.

It will be nice to be in a country where vegetarianism is and always has been respected.

It will be nice to feel the earth there, the dirt.  

I have absolutely no expectations. I have a few fears but no expectations. The fears: How I will handle the poverty I might see on the street? Caffeine withdrawal. Getting sick. Not being able to run to a store to buy a charger, shampoo, pads... - the impulse-buy trait developed over my lifetime is a serious burden.

But, tomorrow I go. Imperfectly. 

I'll keep a daily "journal", I'll recite prayers daily, I'll sit by the river, I'll stare at the mountain...

In Bhagavad Gita, Kṛṣṇa is referred to as Hṛṣīkeśa because He is the owner of all senses. And Kṛṣṇa is situated in the hearts of all living entities and directs their [our] senses. Bhagavad Gita 11.36 states:

arjuna uvāca
sthāne hṛṣīkeśa tava prakīrtyā
jagat prahṛṣyaty anurajyate ca
rakṣāṁsi bhītāni diśo dravanti
sarve namasyanti ca siddha-saṅghāḥ

Arjuna said: O Hṛṣīkeśa, o master of the senses, the world becomes joyful upon hearing Your name, and thus everyone becomes attached to You. Although the perfected beings offer You their respectful homage, the demons are afraid, and they flee here and there. 

So I am going to a  place, named after the Controller of the Senses... That's simply perfect.

In preparing for my trip, I listened to a couple of talks given by Krsna Conscious devotees on the subject of, in general, farming and, in essence, God (or Krsna). These talks poured into me, soothing my blistered heart like aloe vera on burns. The idea of God is so deeply personal to me and also the source of so much trauma. These devotees - these preachers - talked about God in such a way I've never heard before. Their God is filled with Love and the practice of attempting to see this Love, is absolute Bliss. I want to know this God. But I want to see God here in this world, in every person. This is what I really want to do - to slay the ego that separates me from the Divine; I want to see God everywhere!

... and Fire and Time, said one preacher, Fire and Time. 




something a man named Prabhupada said...

The other day I was saying a man's father has died and he is crying, "My father has gone away. So my father..."
I told the man, "Your father is lying on the bed. The father which you have seen so long - long life, the body - that is on the bed. Why you are you saying your father is gone?"

The man has never seen the father - neither has the father ever seen the son. Everyone sees this body or that body but not the owner of the body. Another defect of modern education - the inability to understand that "I" am different from my body.

That is to be understood. That is real knowledge.


piano players

my mother is playing piano in new orleans tonight just as she has done for the past 20+ years. her heart aches for her friend who left as her fingers bleed on ebony and ivory. tonight. like all the nights for the past 20+ years. i'll never know what it's like to be a musician, night after night. paying dues forever. and keep paying dues. ill never know. but i met that good man once, the one that died last night, my mother's friend, and he was a gentle man, the most gentle of men. and he loved my mother, respected her. and she loved him. he and she piano players in bars and to entertain. they, like ceramic vases, cradling the pain of the masses, bending barriers through sound, in song, in time. playing away the heaviness of life the regrets and the trips never made or the passage of time spent at home - time that never came... piano players, they, with their rare language and their way of always playing themselves down so the crowd could feel up. they, with their knowledge of this extinct language called music, spoke to each other's hearts without moving their lips. he's gone now. and she plays piano in new orleans tonight like every night for the past 20+ years....


this to my friend Amandine filme lille
hate as cleansing process
diary = intimate conversation
/profound disturbances
/and truths(?)
birth = only possible bond between men and woman
abortion = only bond broken, ruptured
series of changes

death does not exist.
everything is birth
a woman's work = balancing act
woman as artist, philosopher
woman as man of the future! (Aragon)
rejection of the mainstream cultural values
/and pressures
/and dramas
struggle with the outside world
struggle with the inside world

strange fears
and voices

/whispers from walls, from light, from animals, from
children, from eyes

strange feelings

like dreams

absolute revolt against:

(the dividing line)
dreamer = believer of the impossible = ESCAPE IS NECESSARY

imagined society
imagined everything

humiliation for controlling

identity, reflection = oneself showing oneself
oppose hiding

thou shalt not surrender

outside of
the couple
the family
the church
the society

in the trains
on foot


summer sunshine


in no time

once upon a time
i thought i had to stay put
i felt bad for not being around
i didn't want to get to know anyone because i thought i'd be
lost without them when
i'd leave
i assumed it was due to my dysfunction
or self-destruction
that's what all the "helper people" said
anyway, none of that's true
my feet are to walk
on dirt
there's no need to connect the circuits
mortgage, water&gas, lights... the fan
circulating, air, it feels right around the corner
i'm not for boxes
never was i
to walk is to grow
and there's nothing wrong at all



something has happened over these last six magical years
living in and out of mystery
the body grows old and useless
and the bitterness fades
a friend has died, one is sick, another gave birth to a child
this is life
why would the option to opt-out seem appealing
denial of something innate and beautiful
everything seems beautiful
but something else is more beautiful
wordless and formless
because it cannot be contained in a word
and because its form is beginning- and end-less
settle down senses!
let the Soul move on

dear cartoonist

break into the paris office which houses a satirical newspaper
they kill twelve cartoonists
the #jesuischarlie trend spreads
my reaction is consistent with my past reactions to "trends" and "fads"
i am still, i observed
how sad i am to see this happen - senseless murders, how very sad
#jesuischarlie becomes bigger and bigger, more trendier
something about the trends doesn't sit well with me
i think of the twelve
when i was in 8th grade, in the middle of a suburb in the middle of America, 
a group of girls swooned over Bon Jovi
i was still, i observed
1985. iran-contra. plo. cancer. nuclear bombs. 
i decide "i'm a cowboy" just doesn't touch my Soul like the music of iranian tabla players
a child is washed ashore
the boat capsized
occupants of the boat: 
the child, his family, other syrians
fleeing the unrest in their homeland
then Riss...
a drawing of a small child, face down, washed ashore
the caption reads: welcome migrants! 
a McDonald's sign reads "PROMO: Two Kids Menus For The Price of One"
my response is deep sadness, another knock down
are we just "little boys, drawing?"
are we all "not jewish or muslim, just free, free, free?"
are we just "atheists" and "democrats"?
i wait for my answers
i am free - they say so
free to have restraint?
i wonder: would "Riss" lose his job if he were to not perform, provide the day's "satire"
so devoted as he is to his freedom to express.
...flesh for vultures...
my feet touch dirt, deep, i walk alone through my observations
just a tiny bit of restraint...
the fight festers.
in my diary in 5th grade, i wrote, "i hate my mom. i wish she would die."
this is not something i want to show my mother
it is to be guarded or perhaps burned
until now, it was intimate and private - between me and me
besides, it was not true.
the substance of this, my child musings, was part of an inner struggle to come to terms with pain
and perhaps some fact of my-self-centeredness...
today, do i define myself by my reaction?
do i identify with the "freedom" in the heart of a father who refuses to just sit in syria
as syria is
to his regret, perhaps
i do
death, the item exchanged for the feeling of freedom... or a group's idea of freedom...
do i identify with the "freedom" in the heart of an artist who refuses to censor himself
perhaps placing himself and others in danger
to his regret, perhaps
i've never totally surrendered to my inner pulls
perhaps because i've never had the support to do so
or perhaps i was driven too much by Consciousness
the artist studies in fine universities and lives in posh international cities
and meets friends in the evening to chew the chewed, to lament the world's problems and lack of freedom
to discuss "my freedoms"
to be heard
to hear my-self
i've been an artist
or have i
but i've never been a parent
or have i
i identify
but do i act?
immaturity teeters and topples over into inhumane
can a drawing do all this?
absolutely. that is why little boys draw.

i wrote this on 7.27.06

"there are two kinds of people - them and us. them's got some kinda motor, makes them love themselves most. us? we got something else, something from one of the other dimensions - some kinda something like saturn's rings, like jupiter's spinning. let the moon dance! let her be happy! for today will be a day of a haze of ideas and thoughts and feelings. i'll try thinking less about the things inside my head and i'll just focus on my feet, dancing. one two one two one two three five nine. one two one two one two three five nine. i used to walk the seine during times like these and i'd stare into the water. the wind would breeze down and light on my shoulder, try to get me to feel away from what i was thinking - too much thinking. there's no seine anymore where i am. just cold stones burning stored up rage. but paris broke my heart, broke my little girl bubble full of little girl dreams and it's no wonder she finally threw me to this city - new york city. stone everywhere. and hearts pulsating right through. i've felt freedom. and i feel free spirits floating above the line of people. i've felt those spirits engaged in something like space."

on 9.15.2015, i write:

every Soul caught in the cycle of birth and death - which no one can deny: our bodies take birth, our bodies die - calls and responds to three modes of nature: passion, ignorance or goodness. this is a truer source from which to start.

once, i was in a library in new york city. a disheveled man was also there, he was speaking about female anatomy aloud in a confrontation style and loudly to be heard by the women sitting nearby. i was one of the women. the others were wearing headdresses. long story short, he spit on me. today, i know he was simply a slave to the mode of ignorance and that his entire life was wasted on battling in that mode. we can change our modes, this i know to be true. but, it takes great acts of faith, courage and curiosity (above all else).

in response to the rest of what i wrote, it's great poetic experience. the journey through the storm of breaking free of conditioning and being in a state of loss and bewilderment - filled with questions i insisted on answering for myself, with my own faulty reasoning. a state of arrogance.

had i, in the past, made any success out of my lamentations, self-destruction, confrontational "style", i would, today, regret it. 

the essence of an exploring nature (which rises above the previously mentioned three modes of nature) is true self-realization. it is faring forward with a willingness to say "I don't know" and then wait... understanding that everything constructed in this material world (our retirement plans and 501k, as well as our sadness, complexities, diagnoses, theories...) covers - buries - the Absolute Truth found within, and the true self has nothing to do with this material world - absolutely nothing!

if only we could teach this to children in kindergarten!   


Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.1

om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
janmady asya yato ’nvayad itaratas carthesv abhijñah svarat
tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye muhyanti yat surayah
tejo-vari-mrdam yatha vinimayo yatra tri-sargo ’mrsa
dhamna svena sada nirasta-kuhakam satyam param dhimah

Vedic wisdom is of the heart
Brahmaji shared; 
the first, most original
and the trickster
bewildered - reactions
causes of the three modes of nature: passion, ignorance, goodness
GOAL to get out of illusion
STRUGGLE deciding whether to love the illusion
or not
seems easy enough...
The Absolute Truth
spiritual master guides spiritual master
to begin where they've ended...
dissatisfied with work
spiritual master notices... unlike so many others, 
others who held not just their own time and attention
what is the origin of creation? 
to acquire brahminical qualities...
to be situated in service
this material world is full of relative truths
hard to exist
when the Absolute Truth is within
whether in touch
or not
the imperfect senses and their friends, the desires
are dying for attention, to be stroked, 
for the orgasm
whatever happens to the body, dies - it is embodied
to meditate upon the Supreme Lord
in order to create
is hungered for
human is creative energies
set in motion
for more wonderful creations. 



shooting stars are thoughts
answers to deep philosophical questions
unknowable and lost
then gone
or gone into the cellular body
mind to body
from where?
the question surfaces (or the answer, which indicates the question)
surfaces like any old scientific experiment
the search for a cave takes place
for tapping out the tale must be
why? what will this effort bring?
sanskrit calls
the dirt to wash the dirt away
like the cicada's song
annoying but necessary


with the eternal Soul inside
one never knows what's going to happen
today here with computer at fingertips
friend owns fancy whips
another goes on vacation
once upon a time a desire to be all of it existed
where has that gone?
the 22-year-old is either presumptuous or know-it-all
one turns into rock-n-roll the other turns into a 10th grade social studies teacher and part-time coach
and no one knows which will be which
so to sit in silence and wait is the magnificence of age
while the eternal Soul shrieks with drive to hula hoop with ruby circles
but quickly distracted
by the goal of finding a place to be alone
with clean sand between toes
to sit naked in the sun

today in the news

A single-mother and nurse with Crohn's disease cannot use cannabis, which may be an effective cure for the disease, because the government will strip her of her nursing license (and her family's livelihood). 

A journalist kicks and trips a refugee male carrying a child as he flees with others from the armed forces trying to imprison them in internment camps. 

A privileged man decides to run for president of the U.S. and starts screaming about putting up a wall to keep "them" out.

The Pirate Party of Iceland is being heard.

Communication is getting harder. But I know I need to sit naked in the sun.


there was white powder
and the smell of a classroom through a child's nose -
information, stored from before, enters consciousness
yet is still unknown

there was construction paper blue
and an angel. tiny fingers awkwardly adjusted the future
when this project was complete, it was hung with all the others
and mesmerizing

then it was done
and buried below artifacts of nothingness
and bills and lists of things to do before death
all the while, the angel danced

the angel's toes are forever more beautiful than the angel
her skirt, with twirl, drops stardust in its wake
every happy memory ever creates the hem
like saturn's ring....

Rachael LeValley ©2015