'Woman Pouring Milk': George Thiaru, Kenya, d. 1962

The Mother pours her milk, which is the self-effulgent glow of silence, into the chalice of my heart, where it spills into every cell of my body, into my senses, and through them into the world. I offer the chalice back up to her. This never ending stream of offering is my breath.

Day and night, O my body, pay attention to the luminous circle of inhalation and exhalation! Be nourished at the divine breast. Receiving this unbroken white stream of living silence, I can never lack. From the aperture at the crown of my head, through the hollow stem of my spine, to the golden bowl of my heart, what am I but an emptiness to be filled by the Mother's radiance? And how can the Mother bless the earth without my breathing?

Breathe in silence, breathe out compassion. Breathe in light, breathe out healing. Breathe in joy, breathe out creation.

Some call it Shakti. Some call it Holy Spirit. And some call it Chi. I call it the milk of the great Mother. Let this glittering current of eternity bear me away: it is my own breath. The more I embrace, breathing in, the more the Mother pours into the world, breathing out. Let the uncreated silence at my core be so open, that I welcome the pain of all creatures, and drown in the sacramental flood of ordinary things. A bee lands on a tiny blue flower: a gesture of impish delight on God's perfect face. A patch of sunlight illuminates the fur of a lounging cat: I am in love.

Pausing in the grocery store, I see the eyes of the woman at the cash register. She works two shifts, serving me day and night with no complaint, yet I've never asked her name. Now I look into her eyes. Breathing her weariness in, I dissolve and adore. Breathing out, I anoint her body with gratitude.

I see mourners at a funeral. and my breath passes over with the shadow of the dead. I go with him awhile into darkness, a wickless flame on his path.

I see the homeless lady who lives in a cardboard box. People give her money, but she always returns to her cardboard home in the street. What more can be done? Breathe the Mother's grace upon her. Breathe for her the peace she will not breathe. Breathe her clenched fist into a palm. Breathe her heart open.

I see the salmon leap the ladder at the weir. The struggling chum's last quiver of hope suspended against the stream, he falls back and is not seen on the surface again. There is a silence where my breath goes, before the next breath. In this silence I receive the dying, I gather the unborn.

The world is sacred, but only in potential. An offering laid upon an alter, earth awaits the blessing of human breath, consecrated by awareness. This is no romance. I evoke what Is, the prayer of the world already spoken, the exquisite ordinary. With each breath, I de-romanticize ideal to real, affirming the miracle of the commonplace. Thank you, Mother, for the dirt on the bottom of this shoe, its dark sweet molecules of the dead and the living, suspended in the radiance of Seeing.

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