Starting February 1, 2018,
Nonduality.com will operated by James Traverse.
James Traverse has over 40 years
of experience in the art and science of yoga. He is
a yoga educator and writer who communicates the
direct approach to understanding your true nature.
This experiential means, which is founded on a
switchover from conceiving to purely perceiving,
flowered principally out of Jamesí studies with his
teacher, Jean Klein, who initiated him in the ways
of Advaita Vedanta and Kashmiri Shaivism. His other
influences include the works of J. Krishnamurti,
David Bohm, Rumi, Adi Shankaracharya, Ramana
Maharshi, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, Atmananda
Krishnamenon and the yoga of B K S Iyengar, whose
method he studied intensely for the first 15 years
of his yoga journey.
For this issue, I am simply forwarding Ivan Granger's
wonderful email, though I tremble to think what Yahoo will do to
the formatting. Ivan writes about how he came to poetry
itself and then went on to create The Poetry
Chaikhana website. And I must say I am thrilled to
learn of the connection David Whyte has to Ivan's story.
Poetry Chaikhana contains an immense collection of sacred
poetry, organised by themes, authors, countries and
dates. And while I have been reading Ivan's Poetry
Chaikhana for more years than I can remember, this is the
first time Ivan has shared his personal story in such depth.
What you don't get from reading just the poems on his site, are
the interpretations which Ivan adds to his email offerings. And
these are often as profound as the poem itself. Many is the time
I may have missed some vital aspect of the poem's meaning
without Ivan's depth of insight. So if you haven't subscribed
yet, now would be a good time. And if you have been reading them
already, now would be a good time to show
your appreciation with a donation. Ivan once described
elsewhere how much time he devotes to selecting
and meditating on the meaning of the daily poem and
the many additional hours devoted to maintaining the
website. This is a tremendous resource he has offered freely to
the world. Ivan's own poems may be sampled on his website and
his first book, "Thirst"would
make a lovely gift. I have personally known Ivan to be a humble
and caring person who generously responds to his reader's emails
and comments with thoughtfulness and kindness.
[Poetry Chaikhana] My Introduction to Sacred Poetry
I am often asked how I came to the world of sacred poetry. What
set me on this path? Was there a particular poet who opened the
doorway or a line that hooked me? What was my inspiration for
starting the Poetry Chaikhana?
My father, Steven Granger, was a poet, so I heard poetry from a
young age. Like many young people, I wrote a bit of poetry as I
grew up, but I didn't take it too seriously. Most of the poetry
I was exposed to was, well, boring to me. I thought of poetry as
belonging my father's world. To me it was mostly an intellectual
game of words.
In the year 2000, I moved with my wife Michele to Maui. A friend
from the mainland sent me a series of talks by the poetDavid Whyteon cassette tapes.
I went for long drives along Maui's country roads, through the
tall sugar cane fields, among the rows of spiky pineapple
plants, listening to David Whyte's molasses accent, as he told
stories and recited poetry by poets I hadn't heard of before:Antonio Machado,Anna Akhmatova.
Maui's natural beauty and quiet rhythms of land and sea and sky
inspired me to go deeper into my spiritual practices. I was
meditating deeply, praying, fasting, going for long walks in the
eucalyptus forests that grew along the slopes of Haleakala
Volcano. It was idyllic, yet I was going through a personal
I had just broken with a spiritual group I had been practicing
with for nearly ten years. So, while I was engaged in intensive
spiritual practice, it had lost its context. Should I still be
following the same form of prayer, the same focus in meditation?
I was flailing about.
Christmas came, and the sense of crisis deepened. The holidays
just seemed to emphasize my disorientation. I was in my early
30s by that point and had no career to speak of. I was just
doing work to get by. I was largely cut off from friends and
family, cut off even from the American mainland. My one driving
goal was spiritual growth. That was my only identity. And it was
I came to a profound personal confrontation. For the first time
I really saw myself. And that was a terrifying thing. I dropped
all pretense and projection, all the fantasies of who I thought
I was or who I might become. I just looked at myself plainly, as
I was. What I saw wasn't terribly impressive. I felt I was a
mostly good-hearted person, but largely ineffectual. I had the
ironic recognition that I was basically a likable flake. What
truly surprised me, though, was the thought that followed, which
was that it was okay.
New Years came and went, while I hovered in that limbo state.
The combination began to ferment in my mind the poetry and the
In early January it all converged and then POW! I was
catapaulted into an ecstatic stillness. Everything about me and
my world came to a complete stop. The person I thought of as
"Ivan" seemed to disappear. It was as if some undefined,
wide-open awareness was quietly witnessing the world through my
eyes. My heart bloomed and was flooded with love. An
indescribable joy bubbled up inside me. The entire world was an
intangible outline sketched upon a golden-white radiance, and I
was a gossamer thin ghost happily disappearing in that light.
I spent days hardly speaking, a crooked grin plastered across my
I didn't want to unsettle my wife, so I made a game of it. I
pretended to be "Ivan." I resumed my work schedule. I walked the
dogs. I cleaned the house. But the world still shone.
I started to fill pages in my journal, describing what I was
witnessing. How the world was changed, how I was changed. But I
found that what really wanted to come out was poetry!
As I wrote more poetry, I found a certain metaphoric language
naturally emerging in what I was writing: water and honey and
wine, sleep and death and new life, moon and sun and light
It was then that I came across books of sacred poetry, by mystics
likeSt. John of the Cross,Rumi,Hafez,Abu-Said Abil-Kheir, andRamprasad. Their words sent thrills
through my body. They whispered to me as intimate companions. And
I noticed also that they spoke a similar language of wine and
moonlight. They told me how many before me had walked the same
path in awe.
I realized there was a rich world heritage of sacred poetry,
hundreds of poets, thousands of poets, singing songs of the divine
and I had heard of almost none of them before. Most commentaries
accompanying their poetry were dry, academic literary analysis,
which has its value, but, in my opinion, lacks deep insight. It
was frustrating to find poetry of such profound wisdom and
ecstatic joy, and have it thought to be merely beautiful.
I spent about a year building a database that would allow me to
gather a wide selection of sacred poetry, organize it, link it
together by theme and tradition and century, and be able to
generate a website I could maintain by myself in my spare time. In
2004, my wife and I returned to the mainland, moving to Colorado,
and soon after I officially launched the Poetry Chaikhana as a
place for people to discover new poets, sample different
translations, explore the inner meanings of esoteric poetry
without a lot of arcane jargon and, hopefully, come to recognize
what mystics the world over affirm, that the heart of religion and
spirit is one, regardless of differences in tradition and culture.
So, please, explore thePoetry
Chaikhana. Perhaps these sacred poets will whisper in your
Friday Only: If you
want to receive only one poem email each week, reply to this
email and change the Subject to "Friday Only".
Unsubscribe: If you wish to stop receiving these poem emails,
reply to this email and change the Subject to "Cancel".