2/28/2010

Lost

There's no straight and narrow
in the labyrinth of love.
So leave the path and drink
from the grail of this breath.
Be where you were before you were named
right now.
Get drunk, get lost
and wander.

So'Ham Mantra


Each exhalation is humanity offering the world to Shiva: Ham'sah. Each inhalation is Shiva's energy, filling our humanity with Shakti: So'Ham. Each breath contains the Holy Spirit as milk contains butter. Our inner work is this ceaseless churning.

Wars End

Have you noticed that 'anti-war' movements don't seem to end wars?

Wars end when they exhaust the fuel of stress and anger. Then, after a period of exhaustion, the next one starts. Being 'anti-war' is like being 'anti-night.' It doesn't hasten the dawn. And after the day, another night comes. War is part of our messy, mysterious, absurdly human condition. A Utopian demand for perfect peace makes us all the more frustrated and tense, because it imposes what Should be on what Is. Hence 'anti-war' movements are often full of anger, preaching to their own choir and rejecting friendly dialog with the very people whom they wish to change.

Jesus never says, 'End the war!' He says, 'Love you enemy,' which is profoundly different. Arising in the non-duality of pure Presence, in which there is no future Utopia, the kingdom of Jesus is always here and now. He even praises the centurion, a soldier of the Imperial occupation, because the centurion helps the local Jews build their synagogue. Jesus is not 'anti.' His love, agape, is radical Being without conflict in a world of conflict.

Must war end before there is peace? Must war end in order for love to be? Or might love unfold its healing wings in the midst of conflict? What if I enter the heart of war, the heart of the warrior, and merely love without a demand for Utopia, without a Should?

Enviromental Buddhism 101












When you take a walk in mindfulness,

your feet performing one miracle after another,

your eyes filled with clouds and flowers of emptiness,

you will discover in sudden Satori a milkweed

trellised in spokes of a broken bicycle,

the gentle sea-sound of Interstate car-waves

washing your mind clear,

a garden snail's Diet Pepsi home,

a lanky condom looped over blossoming heather,

a plastic nalgene bottle perfectly thrown

in suchness next to a tulip.

Filled with sorrow, please remember:

this too is nature.

And when you pick it up, this too

is meditation.

2/16/2010

That

Poets ask me why I never write

about cigarettes, booze and suicide,

"the real stuff," they rasp,

dragging on their butts.

I must apologize.

I write about the ancient banality of stars.

I write about the vastness in one atom of breath.

Whose breath?

It doesn't matter, that's the point.

All of us have breathed that atom.

I write about the rhythm of rain on old roofs,

a small dog's gaze wholly bending toward the Master,

A plum blossom sparkled with dew

thrusting its marvelous fat whiskered jowls

into February sunlight.

And don't forget the sound of the silent bell

still ringing in your empty mind.

Somebody has to write

about That!

Don't Wait

Don't wait for the world to say,
'There she is!'
Create the universe
by spreading your wings.
Start flying and stars will appear
like droplets shaken from your feathers.
Unfolding spaces will yearn you
into that ancient heart of blackness
whose attention has been captured
by your willingness to fall,
your refusal to be named,
your divine impatience.
I too by outstretched wings
am a Creator of stars,
space and longing.
When our wings touch,
we create each other.

2/12/2010

No Creatures Left














I am no smarter than my dog.
He just thinks differently.
My cat is no smarter than I.
I just think differently.
If schools and teachers knew this
they would not give grades.
They would give food.
They would rub bellies
and run their fingers
through fur.
No creature would be left
behind.

2/10/2010

Ripples












We grow in circles, not steps. Nature knows no Level 1 or Level 2, no higher plane or lower plane, no straight line, no narrow path. Only circle & curve, gathering & return. We expand, we vibrate, we ripple. As warm sun opens us up, roots go down & tangled branches spread in all directions. Let's not stand in line: let's dance! Let's not join a movement: just move!

* When the spiritual family becomes 'the movement'...

* When the circle becomes a hierarchy...

* When relationships of power replace friendships of care...

* When bubbling springs of truth are pasteurized & canned in dogma...

* When those who claim to know speak code, & words of the heart must be proven by science...

* When a bow replaces a smile, and you say 'Master' instead of 'Friend'...

* When the Companion who walked beside you becomes a glittering celebrity on a distant stage...

* When you can no longer enter the guru's presence without a title, or the sanction of lieutenants...

* When the natural breath of a simple practice becomes a ladder of initiations...

* When the living room wherever you happen to be is not enough, & you need a temple, a mansion, an institution...

* When increasing membership is more important than deepening community...

* When fund-raising replaces consciousness-raising...

* When it no longer feels like a home...

THEN DANCE!

2/07/2010

Many Eyes With One Heart












I don't know when this shift occurred. I know I used to think of my mind as separate. But after many years of meditation, the notion of separation just withered away. When did it happen? Was it a gradual thinning of veils, or did I wake up one morning, a wave of transparency in an ocean of Being, and didn't even notice?

Somewhere along the years I dropped the 'my' from awareness. Now, when 'I' become aware of awareness, it is no long 'mine.' Awareness is a sea where every human mind is a wave. At its peak, a wave is individualized; but at its base, every wave is every other wave. Every wave is the whole sea.

This is true both in wave physics and metaphysics. Founder of quantum mechanics, Sir Arthur Eddington, said: 'When the electron vibrates, the whole universe shakes.' St. Paul wrote, 'We all have the mind of Christ.' (1 Cor. 2:16) We are both individual and All in the same moment. If an electron can do it, we can.

The notion of a separation between 'your' awareness and 'mine' seems false to me now. Certainly we each have our own thoughts. And we each have separate egos constructed out of our most cherished thoughts. But underlying our thought-waves is one oceanic Self. This is not my 'belief,' for that would be a thought. This is the experience of my core silence.

We're all thinking ourselves into separate islands of brain. But if we gather together in meditation, in sat-sang, or in Quaker meeting for worship, and our 'minds' become silent together even for an instant, are there many silences? How can there be more than one silence?

When I was in seminary, I was impressed by the Islamic philosopher, Averroes, in Moorish Spain. He debated St. Thomas Aquinas over the nature of the intellect. Thomas argued that we all have separate intellectual souls. He defined the soul as 'the form of the body.' For Averroes, on the other hand, beneath our separate 'active intellects' we share a single 'passive intellect': the ever silent boundless witness, whose pure unmoving awareness watches all the fury and folly of thought.

St. Thomas went home to Paris and founded a university based on the Islamic model. His followers assumed (I guess because they were white European Christians) that they had won the debate with Averroes. From then on, Western culture was saddled with the notion of a separate soul bound to the form of its body. Thomas' view derived from Aristotle, while Averroes was a Platonist. If we had followed Plato and Averroes, rather than Aristotle and Thomas, how different the trajectory of Western culture would look! We would become the Na'vi of Pandora instead of military technocrats who invade oil-rich Third World nations. Each citizen would feel like 'we the people' instead of 'me the owner.'

The Chinese character for virtue is 'teh', as in the Tao Teh Ching. 'Teh' consists of several pictograms: 'many people,' 'ten eyes' and 'one,' all resting on 'heart.' A sublime picture of Virtue, isn't it? Many of us, with our collective visions, all at rest in a single heart.

Let America be many eyes with one heart. This was the vision of Lakota chief Crazy Horse, which he shared four days before U.S. soldiers murdered him: 'I salute the light within your eyes where the whole universe dwells. For when you are at that center in you and I am in that place in me, we shall be as one.'

Can Americans stop arguing about beliefs, ideologies and religions? Can we begin every project, great or small, by meditating together? Can we begin each day with the wondrous rediscovery that there is only one silence, the silence of the heart? Then truth will set us free: ideas may conflict with ideas, and egos with egos, but awareness is never in conflict with itself.

2/06/2010

Be At Home












Just be at home with your self. When you're utterly at Om, others are healed by your presence. The radiant hospitality of your centered heart draws them to their own inner light. Love is an attracting power. That is love's secret, Krishna's secret. The Sanskrit root of 'Krishna' means 'all-attracting.'

2/03/2010

Truth

Truth took off her robe and showed me the scars. 

Truth took off her smile and showed me the tears. 

Truth dropped her words into the bottomless well of silence

and they became pure shining.

Truth removed the I, and there was only Seeing.

2/02/2010

Another Secret

No messiah, pope, priest, rabbi, imam or guru has any religious authority over you whatsoever, until you project your inward Light on them to create a surrogate parent. The only religious authority is the Light within you. To reclaim your Light is the true revolution, the real freedom.

Dearest friend, do not conceal yourself in false humility, making an external idol of your luminous inner birthright. There is no hiding from the fierce radiance of God, who fashioned your heart as an opening, a door, to divine splendor. Why should you be separate from That to which you are merely the doorway?

Prayer Flag


'Only the holder the flag fits into, and wind. No flag.' (Rumi)

On a sky-blue prayer flag
the color of one who watches
dreamless sleep,
I write this name.
At evening I plant the flag in stones.
Wind rises.
At the first watch of night
the name is gone.
Wind.
At second watch
the flag is gone.
Toward dawn, the flagpole,
the stone, the ground itself,
gone in wind.
The world in free fall,
lovely without hope,
blown through groundless silence
falling and from everywhere
this nameless cry,
"Shiva, Shiva!"

2/01/2010

Self-Discipline

Self-Discipline? Who can discipline the Self? Can 'I' change 'Am'?

In the vast graceful space of Presence, without any 'I' at all, change blossoms spontaneously, according to Nature's invisible hand, whose design is never foreseen by logic or language.

Therefor, the only discipline is Awareness.

The artist knows this. Luciano Pavarotti said, "People think I am disciplined. It is not discipline. It is devotion. There is a great difference." Picasso wrote, "You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea." He knew how to enter the still space of Presence, and allow the hand of God to dance.

But Then, Who?

You gazed back at me
before I started looking.

You were inside me
before I thought of You.

When I looked my looking
was your gesture toward me.

When I thought of You your name
was a finger pressed against these lips.

Candle, wick, and flame, all You
burning Me away.

Branches, trunk, and root, all You
implicit in seeds.

But then, whose longing causes Spring?
Who bleeds from twig tips of forsythia,

plum branches and first thistles?
You or I, yearning new roots?

Pressing through whatever royal smallness,
green and pungent,

quivers up from darkness
and bursts from loam?