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A WOMAN'S ASHRAM

I’d give up this sumptuous life
to join an Ashram
sleep on nails or cold as, floors
under darkened skies, with dead-stopped clocks
behind broken locks of discarded rooms
filled with their eternal silence,
deafening out the droning,
dumbing down the knowing,
flagellating this tempestuous longing -
just to be within reach of
You.

be abstemious
like a medieval monk or
bind my feet, first
breaking bones to shorten my trunk,
shave my hair
to burn - a “Joan of Arc”
on a raging fire
as would I, a traitor -
profligate my soul
to meet my maker…
You

there’s nothing left to give
save silent sacrifice -
the pungent perfume
of innocent incense
wafting, ever spiralling upward
to an imaginery heaven -
a simulacrum of sanity must suffice
to fight
a foreboding fallacy -
this forever fantasy of
You…..

BjR

Style / type: 
Free verse
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Last few words: 
This is an old piece posted previously - just want to see what response I get this time! ;) Thanks
Editing stage: 

Comments

I do remember this one, as you have stated previously posted. I think it does no harm to re-post old poems as we can sometimes give them a fresh eye. I really like the imagery in this piece... very rich. My favorite lines are:

under darkened skies, with dead-stopped clocks
behind broken locks of discarded rooms
filled with their eternal silence,
deafening out the droning,
dumbing down the knowing,

I have no suggestions, only appreciation for the work.

love, Cat

"The Book of Styx" can be ordered and purchased on line at:
http://eddystyx.mythramuse.com/

Background to 'a Woman's Ashram'
by Bonniebelle on November 8th, 2010, 9:23 pm

The ashram asks of those who enter to supplicate, to prostrate yourself physically, emotionally and mentally at the feet of a master. It asks of you to give over of yourself in order to gain insight and maturity, to strip away illusion and delusion, to awaken. If you have a partner who has a basic grasp of the foundational elements of powerful relating (self awareness, communication, honesty, vulnerability and integrity), and you have a partner you can trust, your partner (or partners) becomes teacher, sensei and master - as well as and student.
Man and woman relationships are generally considered to be directly opposed to the spiritual path. Traditionally, by choosing to get into a man-woman relationship, you'd also be choosing the path of a house-holder and hence entangle yourself in the matters of the body, including relationships, sex and shared domestic life. Or you could choose instead the path of a spiritual seeker, attempting to transcend the body and matters of daily life, foregoing things like intimate relationships, sex and the matters of life partnership.

Now, however, the boundaries are not so cut and dry. We ask the question, can man-woman relationships (and of course same-sex relationships) actually be in and of themselves a true spiritual path? Gurus have been asked similar questions:
Relationship as Spiritual Path: Can a relationship actually do what an ashram does; can a relationship actually do what a teacher-student relationship does? In what ways can relationship do what lineage, community, etc, does? In what ways do we use spiritual communities or teachers to "avoid" deeper engagement and relationship with our partners?

There's no One Right Way. This is a unique concept in a world that functions as though there is very much One Right Way. Our world loves the "either/or," "black/white," "good/bad" paradigm; our cultures raise arms around who are the chosen people, who's getting into God's kingdom, which diet is the right diet, is a homosexual marriage still a marriage?

Relationships can absolutely do what the ashram does. It just tends to do it in a sort of Technicolor thriller, comedies noir, 3-D "drama-tique" way. In the section, Sexuality AS Spirituality, I speak more to how (and why) we can use our sex, intimacy and relationships as a spiritual path, rather than a divergence from spiritual path.
The ashram offers you a physical and spiritual container, within which to examine who you are: Who are you in the glorious, open times as well as during the tough times? Come rain or shine, the ashram demands of you to do your practices. It's one thing to be a good communicator and a loving open being when the sun is shining in our relationship, but can we keep our hearts open and vulnerable in the midst of a painful, confronting storm when the shit hits the fan and it gets tough and scary? The cultivation of discipline, whether done in the ashram or in the relationship, is useful because of what it trains us for.

My rather irreverent assertion that relationship can be a vessel for growth, discovery and communion with the Divine, as the ashram can also be, comes from my experience with Vedic Tantra. Vedic Tantrism offers that there is nothing to transcend; the Divine is not out there or over there, separate from you; you are the Divine. The Divine is having a human experience through you. There is no where you could go, nothing you could do to escape the Divine. Being human is not a fallen condition. There's not a place of perfection we fell from and can claw, pray or self-flagellate our way back to. Vedic Tantra is inclusive, offering a way to see our shadows not as deviance from the Divine, but for further means of integration and experience of the full spectrum of the Divine. There is no experience that doesn't offer you, bundled inside of it, the chance to open to God. Relationship, when done with the intention and heart of a spiritual seeker, is an honorable spiritual path.

Lineages, like pilgrimages to ashrams, offer the beautiful structure of well-trodden spiritual paths, but don't necessarily have built in to them the elasticity to account for human and cultural development. Often in trying to transcend our humanity - our visceral, earth-bound bodies with their plethora of racing thoughts, storms of emotions and abounding sexual energies - is an excuse to push away life like a mirage, and can drive us even further from a union with the Divine. We have been taught, whether through Eastern, Judeo-Christian or through Puritanical traditions, to deny the body, kill the ego, cut out parts of ourselves and ascend above our messy humanity in order to commune with the Divine. But those same sought-after spiritual experiences are equally as accessible through the body, thoughts, emotions and ego; through an integration and understanding of our humanity. Rather than pretending our shadows aren't there or can be exorcised, we can embrace, include and integrate them.

When you choose life (and relationship) as spiritual path and choose to know and engage (rather than deny) every part of your being, the conversation with the Divine then happens right here, right now, not limited to churches, synagogues and ashrams. There is no spot where God is not, no place that is not holy; every moment becomes one where union is available. If you choose relationships, you choose to engage. Relationship is the highest-stakes, highest-reward spiritual game I know.

Bonitaj

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For your support and comments!
Boni

Bonitaj

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