The Moon Reminded Me: Mystical Poetry and the Awakened Heart
Finalist for the 2016 Homebound Publications Poetry Prize
About the Book
Poetry says what the mind can only glimpse but the heart knows full well. It is the ancient language of the soul spoken by all mystic bards of Bhakti, the yoga of devotion calling us to awaken to divine Love. Through the ages, poetry persists as the soul insists on revealing itself again and again.
In her luminous poems, Ellen Grace O’Brian manages to braid contemporary moments of everyday life with ancient spiritual teachings—the sight of a hummingbird’s red throat, bread on the table, a couple’s quarrel, a mother’s advice—become doorways into the divine mystical heart. The Moon Reminded Me, subtly laced with Sanskrit, gives us an insight into a poet who bridges two worlds eloquently enough to take us along with her. Sandhya, the numinous time for stepping into the temple, suddenly becomes this moment, now.
The moon, shining in many of the poems, became the perfect reminder of the divine light reflected in our days and nights, hearts and minds. The arc of the work—from transformation to the realization of oneness—is the prayer of this work and the purview of its poetry. These poems are my humble attempt to put that into words, what I know or suspect but cannot say. I offer them at your lotus feet.
—Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian
From the Foreword
Take your time with these poetic jewels. Breathe them in; breathe them out. The poet engages lyrical language not only to evoke that which transcends all words, but also as a spiritual practice. If we approach the poems in a contemplative way, setting aside the ubiquitous to-do list and making ourselves fully available to the moment, they may become magical portals that allow us to glimpse the face of the Beloved for which our hearts yearn. And if we stay there, we may find ourselves blessed by a direct encounter.
Taos, New Mexico, February 2017
About the Author
Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian is a teacher, writer, and spiritual director of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment (CSE) - a Kriya Yoga Meditation Center in San Jose, California, USA. She was ordained to teach in 1982 by Roy Eugene Davis, a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda who brought Kriya Yoga from India to the West.
Yogacharya O'Brian has taught yoga philosophy and meditation practices for spiritually conscious living at retreats, spiritual centers, and conferences throughout the US and internationally for over three decades. She is the author of several books on spiritual practice published by CSE Press, including Living the Eternal Way: Spiritual Meaning and Practice in Daily Life; A Single Blade of Grass: Finding the Sacred in Everyday Life; and Living for the Sake of the Soul, as well as three volumes of poetry, One Heart Opening: Poems for the Journey of Awakening; The Sanctuary of Belonging; and The Moon Reminded Me published by Homebound Publications. She writes regularly for Truth Journal magazine, is the editor of Enlightenment Journal - a quarterly yoga magazine, and host of The Yoga Hour, a weekly radio program and podcast with Unity Online Radio.
Praise for The Moon Reminded Me
"In The Moon Reminded Me, Ellen Grace O’Brian shares a lifetime of deep wondering, weaving the presence of our inner life with the presence of life beyond our own. These bare, insightful poems are reminiscent of Basho, and more recently, Gary Snyder. She speaks of the storm from the eye of the storm in a way that affirms that life is worth living."
—Mark Nepo, author of The One Life We’re Given and The Way Under The Way
"From one poem to the next, O’Brian’s lens shrinks and widens without effort, to exhilarating, near vertiginous effect. Her images flit from the ordinary to the timeless, from the foam of a wave absorbed by sand, to the ancient longing of humans for the Eternal. Above all, she is aware, on every page, and beautifully, to the immovable presence of Love in the universe. Love unbridled and all-pervading, Love bursting with grace and beautiful madness, residing in us all, waiting only to unfurl. What a gift this collection is.”
—Khaled Hosseini, NYT #1 Bestselling Author of The Kite Runner
“Here is a book of beautiful spiritual poems of unusual quality.”
—Fr. Thomas Keating, author of Open Mind, Open Heart
"Ellen O'Brian invites us into her soul, the space where poetry is born. Here human individuality engages with a wider Self. In this contemplative space words point to the concrete realities that unveil another Reality. Accept this invitation--this is good company to be in."
—Kabir Helminski, translator of Rumi, author of Living Presence and The Knowing Heart
"These glimpses into the spacious love of the Divine are testaments to Ellen’s awakening and invitations to your own. Savor this book."
—Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of Accidental Grace
These poems illuminate the soul, delicately, lightly, with measured emotion. Ellen Grace O’Brian manages to express spiritual practice as life, beyond doctrine, and straight to the heart. “Be a jagged edge/falling in love/one salty kiss/at a time.”
—Norman Fischer, poet and Zen Buddhist priest, author of Magnolias All At Once and What Is Zen?: Plain Talk for a Beginner's Mind
"In The Moon Reminded Me, Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian presents a rare combination of deep yogic vision and intricate poetic skill, awakening us to our inner journey of Self-realization."
—Dr. David Frawley D.Litt., author of Vedic Yoga: The Path of the Rishi and Shiva: The Lord of Yoga
The water lily rests
upon the lake
The heart makes
the body radiant.
Radha lives only for Krishna.
And me? I am
because of you.
Can you imagine me
The Moon Reminded Me - poem read by the author Ellen Grace O'Brian
Upcoming Book Events
Poetry says what the mind can only glimpse but the heart knows full well. It is the ancient language of the soul spoken by all mystic bards of Bhakti, the yoga of devotion calling us to awaken to divine Love. Through the ages, poetry persists as the soul insists on revealing itself again and again. Ellen Grace O’Brian’s reading from her award-winning collection of poems, The Moon Reminded Me, invites the mind to sink into the heart of divine remembrance.