Consider the ancient, purified, seekers who conceived and composed these truths.They were meditators living in search of the source of the soul, casting their net of universal, unlimited awareness into unending creation. With patience and perseverance they waded into the water of intuition, waiting for deep insights from the ocean of existence to collect in their open minds.
 
Beyond this apparent life,
vaster than mind
is the ocean of creation.
From it’s creative pulse
feelings, mind and senses arise.
This is the origin
of emptiness and light
fire, air, water
and the earth that cradles
each one of us.                                 [8]
 
With the voice and vision of poets, the language and thinking of great visionaries, and hearts of fire that ignite passionate expression, these sages gathered inspiration then composed their eloquent verses in praise of the divine. Inspired artists, these mystics knew that through poetry, heart and mind can move together. The Upanishads are poetic, articulate, intelligent and eloquent - a call to feel the beauty of the eternal in this present moment. With inspired imagination, they urge us to realize, with our minds rooted in our hearts, the beauty of our eternal Self, poised in this passing moment.
 
Sense the sparks
as they stream
through tiny channels
woven into your body.
Follow them
like radiating spokes
to the center of the wheel,
where an unmoving
axis of awareness turns
this wonderful light
into limitless forms
and expressions of the heart.  
[9]     
                                           
The authors of the Upanishads realized that spirit can only be known through direct experience. They recognized that it is through the conscious union of soul with its’ source that we finally and completely satisfy our hearts’ yearning for uninterrupted oneness. Until we develop the refined awareness that enables us to recognize our deepest longings, and awaken the intelligence to respond directly to those felt needs, all our efforts to secure happiness through satisfying personal dreams and desires will only give temporary contentment - and will remain a source of anger, frustration and disappointment throughout our lives.
 
Now
concentrate within your self
meditation is upon you,
oh Atman.
Om
the original light within you and around you
is the heart star,
guiding you on your journey
from darkness
to what is beyond.
You will arrive
a spirit,
surprised to be home again in the body
you once left.

Repeated failure in our attempts at fulfillment can drop us into numbness, despair and hopelessness. We can loose faith in ever finding the unending happiness we long for. This suffering is further aggravated by the ongoing illusion that we are separate, isolated, self-centered entities.

For your light

to be free of your personal mind
go past your senses,
into the infinite, intimate chamber
of your human heart.
There the Atman, the golden Self
no bigger than your thumb,
shines indivisible, stainless and pure,
radiating light, fire and sparks
in all directions,
with creative abandon
and blissful
daring
consciousness.                          
[10]
 
 
Contrary to our common beliefs and repeated attempts, no matter how hard we strive to actualize our ideal dream of happiness, our joyful, universal Self is right here - invisibly woven into the molecules of our mind and body. Wholeness, happiness and joy is our true nature, a universal energy secretly vibrating in the core of our heart. According to the Upanishads, we are born to seek this bliss. Our inherent nature is oriented to search for the source of our existence, and it is our soul’s destiny to find it.


Yes
you will find it,
the light you are looking for
in fire, minerals, water, nature, earth
and all creation.   
An indivisible mystery of all beings, 
interconnected
by a tiny flame
well hidden in the secret luminous cave
of your heart,
is calling you.                                                                                       
 [11]
 

L

earning about source helps motivate us to explore the unseen, inner realms where the key to our fulfillment is to be found. Inspirational relationships can lift us out of our misery, give us temporary relief, and move us closer to our own spiritual core. The Upanishads maintain, however, that only the direct, immediate experience of oneness will ultimately release us from the bondage of suffering.
 
Om ........... Om .......... Om
is the sound that unites
all that has ever been, 
and anything now,
and all unborn dreams
with their undreamed of possibilities,
and even beyond that
into eternity 
Om is
and Brahman is 
and Atman is Brahman.                                                                     
 [12]                    
                    
The ancient seers called the universal process of creation Brahman. They considered this presence to be both the source and destiny of the soul, or Atman. They describe Brahman as impersonal, universal, beyond thought and words, without beginning or end. Yet, paradoxically it is immanent, intimate and accessible. By freeing the Atman from its imprisonment in the mental constructions of the mind, the unlimited Brahman is re-cognized as the true Self.
 
The Atman is sometimes described as an individual wave rising out of the ocean of existence - Brahman. They are the same, yet also distinct in their manifestation. In stillness - beyond the end of thinking, beyond the end of words - this awareness is approachable and attainable. The deep realization of the indivisible unity of Brahman and Atman is considered as the crown of creation, the root purpose and loftiest aspiration of the heart.
 
Atman,
the inner core of flame
has four faces: 
 
The first face is
this obvious waking life of outward attention,
with eyes open
focused on sensations
stirred by the elements. 
 
The second face,
asleep with eyes closed and rapidly moving,
is the inner viewer
that experiences dreams as reality,
and lives in that realm
alone,
projecting its own images of light and shadow,
and believing them.
 
The third face,
deep dreamless sleep,
with closed eyes focused upwards
is a silent life of empty awareness.
No desires or fears
sounds or sights
disturb the mind as it rests and heals,
floating in a vast consciousness,
a sea of undisturbed oneness.
 
The fourth face 
is the absolute truth itself.
Alone
before the first mask,
behind the five senses
beyond all the dreams
below the personal dramas
awake
to enjoy fully the bliss of oneness.                                                    
[13]

End Part Two
All verses here are my impressions, stimulated and inspired by reading and meditating on verses in the Upanishads. I do not present these as literal translations.

Inspired by the Mundaka Upanishad:
Part 2, Chapter 1: Poems [1], [2], [3], [4] & [5]
Part 2, Chapter 2: Poems [6], [9], [10], [11] & [12]
Part 3, Chapter 1: Poem [14]
Inspired by the Mandukya Upanishad: Poem [13]
Inspired by the Svetasvatara Upanishad:
Part 2: Poems [8], [16] & [17]
Part 3: Poems [7] & [15]

For my source material and literal translations I used Juan Mascaro (Penguin Books, ISBN 0 -14 -044163 -8) and Eknath Easwaran (Nilgiri Press, ISBN 0 -915132 -39 -7). I am greatly indebted to them for their passionate scholarship and highly recommend these editions for their inspired translation and commentary.

My heartfelt thanks and namaste to Karen Landrum, whose transcriptions of my original seminar and generous support of my heart and work made this possible, Joan Halpern (Phalini), whose insightful editing revealed my real possibilities and Amy Weintraub, whose articulate comments revealed the core.

2003 Christopher Baxter
For seminar information and other resources visit
www.InnerSkyYoga.com