Around the Conflict

Around every conflict is a stillness, a silence, a space that contains more energy than the conflict. Instead of entering the problem, enfold it. Take a breath, expand a little, become the solution.

Photo by Kristy Thompson


If I call this whirlpool
of stars in my heart
"the soul"
it becomes a shadow
searching for echos.
If I call this ocean of sweetness
"my flesh"
it sinks like a stone
into the dark gravity
of otherness.
And if I call it "love,"
this sky
where our bodies dissolve
like mist into each other,
we are jolted in two
and rules fall out of silence
like cinders.
The only truth is warmth
without words.
Use your scriptures for kindling
and toast the commandments
in the fire of your chest.
No more gold-leafed seeds,
each containing a "should."
Have the courage to cut off
"thou shalt not"
right at the throat 
with a single stroke of the 
blazing sword of emptiness.
Then your actions will arise
as the fragrance distilled
from roses in the marrow
of your bones.


Photo: Manjushri Buddha


Wild Portals Of Unknowing

"God leads every soul by a separate path." ~John of the Cross

I cannot possibly know what is most important: that which will transform me. If I already know what it is I will never be free, because I have packaged "liberation" as knowledge, in the tight wrapper of a concept. This means that spiritual transformation can never become a program, a technique, or a course that I take.

The moments that liberate me are wild portals of unknowing, when the blue sky of wonder outshines any cloud it contains; vast emptiness shifts into the foreground; techniques, traditions, concepts cultivated in the past, dissolve. Thus the sage Ashtavakra taught the first and last spiritual practice : "Layam vraja - dissolve now."

The best meditation evaporates into amazement. The best mantra melts into silence. The best guru dances in mist at the edge of the meadow, and disappears into your longing heart, where true path has no beginning.*

No, I cannot possibly tell what is most important - how a blue moth disguises herself in a petal of lupine, why cascade lilies frolic in a rainy mountain meadow, what the hermit thrush means to silence. I cannot know when the golden sun will burst my chest wide open, turning the small dark chamber of self-doubt into a boundless empyrean.

*Not a metaphor. I actually saw this happen one Guru Purnima, my Guru dancing, disappearing and reappearing in a meadow lit with fireflies as we chanted and drummed. In this playful lila, he did something quite profound, though we didn't realize it at the time: he was erasing the difference between bija and nirbija, form and formlessness. It was the moment when my outer Guru gracefully became Guru-tattva, the Guru within. This is a true Guru's only goal.

Took this photo on a hike during Guru Purnima, the full moon of the Guru.