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Welcome to Maya Shedd’s Temple: Literary Home of Linda Sue Grimes

Original Poems
Original Songs
Original Short Literary Fiction
Books
The Writing Life
Political and Social Issues
Commentaries on Paramahansa Yogananda’s Songs of the Soul
Poems with Commentaries
Life Sketches
Emily Dickinson
The Shakespeare Sonnets
Ron Grimes (Ron W. G.):  Paintings and Prose
Malcolm M. Sedam Poetry Memorial
Thomas Thornburg Poetry Memorial
Daniel L. Wright Memorial:  Shakespeare Authorship Studies

In my early life, I became enamored with writing, especially poetry, but also I have felt the nudge to engage in the art of the personal essay and other forms of expository and creative writing, including songs and veggie recipes.  Thus, I dedicate space for exploring issues that attach to The Writing Life

Because I began my college days minoring in history, I retain an interest in issues that have remained relevant historically through the years; thus, from time to time, I will explore those issues and include them in the room I dedicate to Political and Social Issues.   Other issues that I might tackle include controversies in science and medicine.

My commentaries on the spiritual poems of Paramahansa Yogananda featured in his collection, Songs of the Soul, reside at Commentaries on Paramahansa Yogananda’s Songs of the Soul.

The room labeled Poems with Commentaries holds my essays about poems.  Many of the works are classic poems studied in high school and college/university classes.  I offer my commentaries on these poems to assist students, beginning poetry readers, and others in reading and appreciating the art of poetry.”

The Life Sketches room holds brief biographical information primarily about the poets on whose poems I write commentaries. I will likely add other short bios of other artists, philosophers, spiritual leaders, and politicians, as they become necessary.

Emily Dickinson’s life resembled that of a monastic. She lived a quiet life of contemplation, and she filled her poems with flowers, birds, divinity, and immortality; thus, her example appeals greatly to my sensibilities. Thus, I dedicate a room to devote commentaries on her poems. 

In the room titled The Shakespeare Sonnets reside my commentaries on the sonnets comprising the Shakespeare 154-sonnet sequence.

Beautiful Souls

My temple literary home also offers dedicated rooms to beautiful souls who have graced my life.

One such room features the paintings and prose renderings of the beautiful soul, Ron Grimes (Ron W. G.):  Ron Grimes:  Paintings and Prose.  My sweet Ron has continued to bring out the poetry in my life for nearly half a century; our life together began on March 10, 1973.

I have also dedicated memorial rooms to three other beautiful souls who have remained influential in my literary life:  Malcolm M. Sedam Poetry Memorial, Thomas Thornburg Poetry Memorial, Daniel L. Wright Memorial:  Shakespeare Authorship Studies.  

Thank you for visiting my literary home!  Questions, comments, or suggestions are always welcome.

My Brief Bio

The following original poem captures the tranquility of my favorite meditation place in Los Angeles, California, the Windmill Chapel at Self-Realization Fellowship’s Lake Shrine.

The Windmill Chapel

In the temple of silence
By the lake, we sit
In stillness, meditating
In divine Bliss.

Returning to our daily minds,
We walk out into the sunshine,
And the flowers greet us.

Introduction:  The Literary Life

Born Linda Sue Richardson on January 7, 1946, to Bert and Helen Richardson in Richmond, Indiana, I grew up about eight miles south of Richmond in a rustic setting not too far from the Ohio border.  After graduating from Centerville Senior High School in Centerville, Indiana, in 1964, I completed my baccalaureate degree with a major in German at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, in 1967.  

I married Ronald Grimes on March 10, 1973.  I began studying the teachings and practicing the yoga techniques of Paramahansa Yogananda in 1978. As a creative writer and an expository essayist, I focus on poetry, short fiction, politics, spirituality, and vegan/vegetarian cooking, which results in my original veggie recipes.

Specialist in Literary Studies

I have engaged in studies as a literary specialist, since 1972 after completing the M.A. degree in German and English at Ball State University.

I have researched, studied, and written about the works of classic poets, novelists, dramatists, and essayists.  I have published three essays in the academic journal, The Explicator: Emerson’s ‘Days’ (Vol. 45, Nr. 1, Fall 1986); “Lawrence’s Women in Love” (Vol. 46, Nr. 2, Winter 1988), “Dickinson’s ‘There’s been a Death, in the Opposite House‘” (Vol. 50, Nr. 4, Summer 1992).

After completing the PhD degree in British, American, and World literature with a cognate in rhetoric/composition at Ball State University in 1987, I taught English composition, honors humanities, and poetry writing in the English department at BSU as a contractual assistant professor from 1987 until 1999.

I also continue to express my love for music by writing my own original songs, which I record, accompanying myself on guitar or keyboard.  I shares my musical compositions at SOUNDCLOUD.

Additional Publishing History

I have published my original poems in a handful of literary journals, including Sonoma Mandala, Rattle, and The Bellingham Review.  I have published four books of poems:  Singing in Soul Silence, Command Performance, and Turtle Woman & Other Poems, and At the End of the Road, and a book of fables titled Jiggery-Jee’s Eden Valley Stories.

I published my first cookbook in the spring of 2013, titled The Rustic Veggie-Table:  100 Vegan Recipes.  I am working on a second cookbook and her fifth book of poems.

My Spiritual Journey

I have been a devotee of Paramahansa Yogananda and a member of his organization, Self-Realization Fellowship, since 1978.  A Kriyaban since 1979, I have completed the four Kriya Initiations, and I continue to study the teachings and practice the yoga techniques as taught by the great spiritual leader, who is considered to be the “Father of Yoga in the West.”

I practice the chants taught by the great guru accompanying myself on the harmonium and serve at the local SRF Meditation Group as one of the chant leaders.

Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi

“By ignoble whips of pain, man is driven at last into the Infinite Presence, whose beauty alone should lure him.” –a wandering sadhu, quoted in Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

Salvation Is a Personal Responsibility

Since 1979, I have remained a Self-Realization Yogi because the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, who in 1920 founded Self-Realization Fellowship, changed my life in both explainable and ineffable ways.  

Paramahansa Yogananda teaches that we are immortal souls, already connected to the Divine Reality (God), but we have to “realize” that divine connection.  Knowing the Great Spirit (God) is not dependent upon merely claiming to believe in a divine personage, or even merely following the precepts of a religion such as the Ten Commandments.  

Knowing the Creator is dependent upon “realizing” that the soul is united with that Creator.  To achieve that realization we have to develop our physical, mental, and spiritual bodies through exercise, scientific techniques, and meditation.  There are many good theorists who can help us understand why proper behavior is important for our lives and society. 

But Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings offer definite, scientific techniques that we practice in order to realize our oneness with the Divine Power or God.  Ever since Guruji taught me the concept, it has always remained clear to me that my salvation should be primarily my own responsibility.  

No Religious Tradition

I did not grow up with a religious tradition.  My mother was a Baptist, who claimed that at one time she felt she was saved, but then she backslid.  I learned some hymns from my mother.  But she never connected behavior with religion.  

My father was forced to attend church when he was young, and he complained that his church clothes were uncomfortable as was sitting on the hard pews.  

My father disbelieved in the miracles of Jesus, and he poked fun at people who claimed to have seen Jesus “in the bean rows.”  My mother would not have doubted that a person might see Jesus, because she saw her father after he had died.  My mother characterized my father as agnostic, and she lived like an agnostic, but deep down I think she was a believer after the Baptist faith.

Here’s a little story that demonstrates how ignorant about religion I was as a child:  When I was in first or second grade, I had a friend who one day at recess at the swings said she wanted to confide something to me, and she wanted me to keep it secret.  

She said I probably wouldn’t believe it, but she still wanted to tell me.  I encouraged her to tell me; it seemed exciting to be getting some kind of secret information.  So she whispered in my ear, “I am a Quaker.”  

I had no idea what that was.  I thought she was saying she was magic like a fairy or an elf or something.  So I said, “Well, do something to prove it.”  It was my friend’s turn to be confused then.  She just looked very solemn.  So I asked her to do something else to prove it.  I can’t remember the rest of this, but the point is that I was so ignorant about religion.

The Void in My Life and My First Trauma

Looking back on my life as a child, teenager, young adult, and adult up to the age of 32, I realize that the lack of a religious tradition left a great void in my life.  Although my father was on the fence regarding religion, he would listen to Billy Graham preach on TV.  

I hated it whenever Billy Graham was preaching on TV.  His message scared me.  Something like the way I felt when my father’s mother would come and visit us, and when my father would let out a “Goddam” or other such swear word, Granny would say he was going to hell for talking that way.  

I was afraid for my father.  And Billy Graham made me afraid for myself and all of us because we did not attend church.  I never believed that things like swearing and masturbation could send a soul to hell.   But then back then I had no concept of “soul” or “hell.”  I believed it was wrong to kill, steal, and to lie.  But I’m not sure how these proscripts were taught to me.  

I guess by example.   It seems that I had no real need for God and spirituality until I was around thirty years old.  

My life went fairly smoothly except for two major traumas before age thirty.  The first trauma was experiencing a broken heart at age eighteen and then undergoing a failed marriage, after which I thought I would never find a mate to love me.  But I did meet a wonderful soulmate when I was 27.

Heretofore I had thought finding the proper marriage partner would solve all my problems, but I learned that my difficulties were very personal and at the level where we are all totally alone, despite any outward relationships.

The Second Trauma

A second trauma that added to my confusion was being fired twice from the same job at ages 22 and 27.  By age 27 things started to make no sense.  And it started to bother me intensely that things made no sense.  

I had always been a good student in grade school and high school, and I was fairly good in college, graduating from Miami University with a 3.0 average.  That grade point average bothered me because I thought I was better than that, but I guess I was wrong.  

But then not being able to keep my teaching job and not being able to find another one after I had lost it very much confused me.  It seemed that I had lost touch with the world.  School had been my world, and my teachers and professors had expected great things from me.  But there I was at age 27 and couldn’t get connected to school again.

Feminism and Zen

I began reading feminist literature starting with Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique, continuing with Ms. Magazine, and many others.  The result of taking in the feminist creed led me to believe that I had someone to blame for my failure—men; men had caused the world to be arranged so that women cannot succeed outside the home.  

I began writing again, an endeavor I have sporadically engaged in most of my life from about age sixteen.  I decided to apply for a graduate assistantship in English at Ball State University, feeling that I was ready to get out in the man’s world and show it what a woman could do.  I felt confident that I could succeed now that I knew what the problem was.  

But that didn’t work out either.  I finished the year without a master’s degree in English, and then there I was, confused again, and still searching for something that made sense. 

I had heard about the Eastern philosophy known as “Zen” at Ball State, and I started reading a lot about that philosophy.  Zen helped me realize that men were not the problem, attitude was.  

I kept on writing, accumulating many poems, some of which I still admire.  And I kept reading Zen, especially Alan Watts, but after a while the same ideas just kept reappearing with no real resolution, that is, even though the Zen philosophy did help me understand the world better, it was not really enough.  

I got the sense that only I could control my life, but just how to control it was still pretty much a mystery.

The Influence of Autobiography of a Yogi

Then in late 1977 on one of our book shopping trips, I spied a book, Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, and I recommended it to my husband because he liked biographies.  We purchased poetry books, and we also purchased the autobiography for him.  

He did not get around to reading it right away, but I did, and I was totally amazed at what I read.  It all made sense to me; it was such a scholarly book, clear and compelling. There was not one claim made in the entire 500 plus pages that made me scratch me hand and say “what?” or even feel any uncertainty that this writer knew exactly whereof he spoke.  

Paramahansa Yogananda was speaking directly to me, at my level, where I was in my life, and he was connecting with my mind in a way that no writer had ever done. For example, the book offers copious notes, references, and scientific evidence that academics will recognize as thorough research. 

This period of time was before I had written a PhD dissertation, but all of my years of schooling had taught me that making claims and backing them up with explanation, analysis, evidence, and authoritative sources were necessary for competent, persuasive, and legitimate exposition.

Paramahansa Yogananda’s autobiography contained all that could appeal to an academic and much more because of the topic he was addressing. As the great spiritual leader recounted his own journey to self-realization, he was able to elucidate the meanings of ancient texts whose ideas have remained misunderstood for many decades and even centuries.

The book contained a postcard that invited the reader to send for lessons that teach the techniques for becoming self-realized.  I sent for them, studied them, and I have been practicing them since 1978.  They do, indeed, hold the answer to every human problem.

I know it is difficult for most educated people to believe that all human problems can be solved, but that’s because they get stuck in the thought that they cannot.  If you believe that you can never really know something, then you can’t, because if you believe that you can never really know something, you won’t try to know it. 

Paramahansa Yogananda gives a map with directions to reaching God, and realizing that one’s soul is united with God brings about the end of all sorrow and the beginning of all joy.  Just knowing the precepts intellectually does not cause this realization, but it goes a long way toward eliminating much suffering.  

The faith that we can overcome all suffering is a great comfort, even if we are not there yet.   I realize that Original Creator (God) is knowable, but most important is that I know I am the only one who can connect my soul to That Reality—and that is the spiritual journey I am on.

🕉

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