3/29/2010

Full Moon

















Blessed Full Moon, cooling and quieting this restless mind with beams of transcendental light. 

Blessed Sophia, Mother of Wisdom, Holy Spirit and Bride of Christ, whose breath opens and sweeps my heart. 

Blessed Sarasvati, Goddess of Poetry, Music and Art: Om Aim Shrim Hrim Sarasvati Devyai Namaha!

3/26/2010

So Obvious











A few moments merely Being, without being any one or any thing, flood the day with the ocean of eternity. Then it becomes so obvious that all the hopes and plans of men and angels are but dim reflections of this apple blossom's yearning for the sun.

3/25/2010

Words Matter

Be a warrior of spells.
Store up healing words like arrows
in the quiver of your heart
and dip them in deep silence.
When you enter the mists
of fear and discouragement,
shoot your luminous blessing into a cloud
and awaken the Sun!
Words matter.

What To Remember When Writing A Vision Statement

















Visions that only taste of hopes and dreams
are sweet but unsustainable.
Visions that nourish are salty
with tears of loss,
spiced with a raw accounting
of our failures,
leavened with the honest embrace
of wounds and disabilities.
Refine your skills
not in blind confidence
but mindfulness of mutual frailty.
Honor mistakes:
they discover new paths.
The blossom whose perfection
takes your breath away
grows in stuff you wouldn't name.
What you refuse to put your arms around
returns to embrace you.
Kiss the dying.
Cradle the old and useless:
they give birth.
No hug is wasted.
Your mother's warmth is still here.
Never be afraid to say
with the reverence of a prayer,
'I don't know.'
Rooted in vulnerability,
you won't be felled by a sudden storm.
Have mercy on your genius:
restless, seasonal, bipolar,
it seldom dwells in equanimity.
Genius is native to cracks
and craggy places,
surging toward brilliance, then
falling back into the dark
like a wild blue aster in an alpine meadow.
The Spirit's mysterious hand
works not so well through angels' wings
as through these chance mutations in the mere
and daily unmiraculous task
of being human.

3/24/2010

The Point














The point is not to be right
but to be,
not to be enlightened
but to be,
not to be successful
but to be,
not to be I
but to be,
not to be for or against
left or right,

Eastern or Western,
Christian or Muslim,
guru or disciple,
advanced or beginner,
not even to be good
but to be.
Give up being
any one or any thing
and at this very moment
an inner sun
will flood your soul and body
with inconceivable light,
the golden radiance
of Being.

3/23/2010

Self or No-Self?

Some paths teach self-realization. Others teach self-denial. And some teach that the self is an illusion to begin with. Can we have a significant other without a significant self? And yet, can we love without losing the self?

"I Am the self in all." (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita)

“To study the Buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by the ten thousand things of the world.” (Zen founder Dogen)

"My field of research is my own self." (St. Augustine)

"Unless the Self is realized, the feeling of I am doing will never leave. But when one has realized the self, where is the need for recitation of mantras? Where is the need for meditation, or penance in forests? A self-realized person never asks for anything." (Ramana Maharshi) 

When thinking stops, Being remains. Then there is no difference between knowing the Self (Atma), being Selfless (Anatta), or affirming, "Not I who live but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20). Vedanta, Zen, and Christian mysticism are just vocabularies.Honor their different words. But honor their unity of meaning when words dissolve into silence.

3/22/2010

Evening Puja














Now that its Spring
I need no Lakshmi form.
I am the witness, she is everywhere!
Her dark green shawl, embroidered with pink,
a wilderness of rhododendrons;
her jyoti flame the sunset
on the alter of the sea,
every wave that laps the sand
an oblation.
Apple blossoms
smothering the pasture
I give as a pure white cloth.
The robin's fat belly,
containing a secret blue egg,
I offer as first fruit.
'Pushpanjalim,' a handful of flowers?
They're everywhere tonight,
spilling over the loam alter,
wild ones, unpicked poppies
along the wandering hemlock path
where the tanager's fading gong
ends my invocation: 'Avahanam.'
Incense? This breath, this
breath is enough,
offered back to the evening breeze.

3/20/2010

Awakening


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1) There cannot possibly be any alternative to What Is. 

2) The space of Now is absolute freedom, regardless of its content. 

3) No one is responsible for my experience of 'reality' but me. 

4) Therefor, my only duty is to rejoice with the midnight frogs.
_____________________________

(Painting by Elizabeth Fraser: 'Stars Over Sunset Pond,' Borestone Mountain)

3/19/2010

Om Purnamidah











"Om purnamadah purnamidam, purnaat purna-mudachyate,
purnasya purna-madaya, purna-meva vashishyate." 
(Isopanishad) Link to hear Pandit Jasraj chant

"That (empty space of consciousness) is full; this (manifest universe) is also full. When this fullness is formed out of that fullness, or when this fullness merges back into that fullness, all remains the same fullness."

"The vacuum carries within itself the possibilities of everything that can exist in the physical world. Once we attain true knowledge of the vacuum, we will have a comprehensive knowledge of everything, including the laws of nature. It is as in the thinking of the ancient philosophers. The knowledge of the void, the "nothing," is intimately connected with the knowledge of the "something." We take it as a matter of course that empty space is not really empty."

('Nothingness: The Science of Empty Space,' Henning Genz, professor of theoretical physics at University of Karlsruhe, Germany)

3/17/2010

Secret

Only lovers know
the difference between
contradiction
and paradox.
This is the secret
they keep:
God has no hidden
agenda,
God imparts
no esoteric knowledge,
wears no veil.
Empty your mind.
Open your eyes.
What you see is
what you get.

Half












Spend the first half of life
seeking the One
and the second half
celebrating
Two
so at the last
breath
you may wake in
eternity
and find someone
to dance with.

3/15/2010

Jesus Would Just Drop It

















I am happy this very instant because I see that the unhappiness I carry is not who I really am. It is utterly alien to the Self.

Yet at a more profound level, the unhappiness I've been carrying is precisely who "I" am. The reason it's so heavy is because "I" am heavy. Dropping my unhappiness means dropping "me", the sense of a doer or owner for all these thoughts, moods and anxieties that pass through on their way from nowhere to nowhere.

So-called "enlightenment" is not about acquiring something. It's about dropping what we never needed to carry. In ancient childhood, somebody convinced us to carry their suffering for them. But carrying somebody else's ancient pain does not relieve their burden. It doubles the burden. Now two of us are miserable.

Jesus never carried our suffering: he simply invited us to drop it. His invitation is exactly the same as the Buddha's invitation to "anatta" (no-self), Laotzu's invitation to "wei wu wei" (action with no doer), and the invitation of the Bhagavad Gita, "Yogaastah karukarmani" ("Established in the unwavering Oneness of yoga, perform action") .

Jesus says: "Come unto Me, you that are heavy-laden, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light... If you cling to your life you will lose it, but if you let it go you will find it..." The Kingdom of God is not a future attainment. It is liberation from the bondage of "I" right now. The Kingdom of God is all about laying down this burden, and awakening to the lightness that is already here.

But the Church turned Jesus' teaching of liberation from suffering into a cult that worships suffering. The Church's tragic misunderstanding developed in three stages.

1) First, Jesus simply invites his disciples to drop the "I."

2) But the disciples are raised in a culture of ritual sacrifice, where every sin must be expiated by blood or sorrow. They imagine that they can drop their suffering only by placing it on the back of a scapegoat, or "lamb of God." They believe that they are liberated from suffering only through his suffering. The Church invents a pre-Christian theology of vicarious atonement that was never taught by Jesus.

3) Finally, in the Middle Ages, a third Christian way appears: "the imitation of Christ." If Jesus takes the sorrows of the world upon his back, then good Christians should do likewise. The cult of suffering is complete. Christians actually pride themselves in carrying the world's pain, partaking in the sufferings of their Messiah.

Let's get clear about this psychology, which is the antithesis of Jesus' teaching. If I suffer with terminal cancer and you come to comfort me, I do not want you to get cancer. I want you to be free of suffering, so that you might envelope me with the healing power of love. To empathize with me, you do not need to be weakened by my wounds and diseases: you need to be liberated in Christ-Consciousness, the blessed power of peace. When I am sick, I don't want you to double my sickness. I want you to dissolve my sickness in the light!

The Church's confusion arose because theologians never adequately explained the meaning of the Cross. Why is the infinite radiance of "Am" crucified on the finite cross of "I"?

"Am" hangs on the cross of "I," not to suffer, but to allow non-localized Christ-Consciousness to locate itself in a unique individual. To experience this wonderful possibility, individuality must needs feel separate for awhile, crucified and alienated from its Source in God. "I" briefly imagine myself to be other than the divine "Am." It is a necessary fiction: a crucifixion. It is why Jesus cries the words of Psalm 50 on the cross, "Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?"

This alienated phase of our spiritual journey can last for an hour or a thousand lifetimes. It's up to us how long we decide to hang on our little melodrama, the story of "I."

Sooner or later, temporary crucifixions end in eternal resurrections. And just as the individual awakens from "I" to "Am," so does collective humanity. Perhaps this historic moment is Now! We live at the end of the aeon. A vast wave of souls awakens from Adam to Christ, from the First Man to the Last, from Good Friday to Easter. These are but Biblical terms for phase-transition: from duality to non-duality.

Let go of ancient suffering. Let go of ancient stories. In darkness or light, pain or pleasure, work or play, let the brilliance of "Am" shine through the window of "I", a beam unseparated from its Source.

Om Kyrie Eleison Namah Shivaya.

3/13/2010

To the Moon













"He who meditates upon the moon gains knowledge of the arangement of the heavenly spheres." (Patanjali, Yoga Sutras)

Cloud-gowned paramour of evening,
whose white and cradle-crescent arms embrace
the black void, suckling the morning stars
with milky splendor, soft and silent, fling
those beams of dumb delight down from thy face
and with thy borrowed brightness bless my secret prayers.

Dilated pupil of eternity,
dazzling the sands, numbing with thy balm
somnambulant waves on the spectral sea;
avatar of moths, vexing the drowsy
monk, who mutters through his midnight psalm,
with silver wings in a dark silver ecstasy;

Thou art more vigilant, pearl-throated nun:
thine iridescent meditation weeps
upon earth's darkened sepulchre sweet tears,
receiving mute communion from the sun
whose glittering substance, cooled in thy breast, keeps
calm proxy on the world and, though unseen, appears.

Pale widow of the star that briefly died,
through thy serene snow-veiled complexion plays
the tempered splendor of his memory,
that blinding others yet becomes his bride
and makes a dewy fire upon her face.
How find thy light in dark? In death, a dream of glory?

God's mirror witness to this truth must bear,
bearing other image, losing own:
thy womb untainted waxes full with sun.
So I resemble thee: both disappear
in purer light unselved till Self is known,
mine in forgetfulness, thine in reflection.

High priestess of the spheres, thy magnetism
as it pulls the ocean from its bed
unbodies me, a lithesome sleepless sylph,
to dance devotion's paroxysm
in the atmosphere, my soul to wed
a vaster negativity than night itself.

Unto thy cool hypnotic kiss attune
these quenchless lips of prayer, thine effluence
to taste, and rapt me out of consciousness
to mingle with transparency, immune
but for that fragile incandescence,
half my own desire, half thee O Moon,
that guilds my soul like an empty up-turned glass.

3/11/2010

 

Breezes
After love making, Shiva told Parvati about Krishna wooing Radha, and dancing with the Gopis in the garden of Vrindavan. While Shiva was telling it, the story seemed so real! But when the story was over, Shiva said, 'Darling, it was only a story representing my love for you, which is the union of the Self with its own luminescence.'

While this was happening, Krishna lay with Radha in the kunj under a fruit-swollen tree in Vrindavan, telling her the story of Shiva and Parvati, which seemed so very real! But when it was over, Krishna said, 'Darling, it was only a story representing your heart's longing for Beauty, and the shower of grace that responds.'

Which story shall we believe? Are not all lies about lovers true?

I know this only because I am the hollowness in Krishna's flute as it gently slips from his fingers when he falls asleep on Radha's breast. When breezes brush through the garden, a nameless sighing fills me, and I become the song of all the Gods.

3/09/2010

Shiva's Lie

















"One infinite NO creates a universe of finite yeses."
(Maharshi Mahesh Yogi)

Shiva, light of pure consciousness,
subject without object
pervading all objects,
watching all from within,
as soon as I speak your name
I lie.
And if I call you 'Nameless'
I lie.
As soon I say 'Thou'
I lie:
Shiva transcends duality.
As soon as I say 'One'
I lie:
Shiva transcends non-duality.
If I say 'Formless'
I lie,
'Tryam Bakam the Three in One'
I lie,
'Existence, Consciousness, Bliss'
I lie,
'Thou art'
I lie,
'Art not'
I lie.
Let my lies reveal
the tiny blue violet of your face
blossoming through the dark crack,
splitting open the stone.
Let my lies reveal
the warm brown hills and valleys of your power
in a woman's body.
Let my lies reveal the flash of your smile
in the good warrior's sword,
and the scent of your touch
in the breast-bundled softness of an infant's flesh.
Lord, let my eyes be the lies of Shiva too.
Shiva, Shiva, Shiva!
This world of lies:
The poem of Shiva!

3/08/2010

God Does Less Than Nothing









God has nothing to do with creation, because God has nothing to do. It is we who have 'to do' lists. God simply gazes at worlds arising and dissolving in divine amazement. How can we know this? We are amazed. And when we are amazed, we are in God.

Spend a few moments of your day just being amazed. Find some tiny creature like a blade of grass, a ladybug on a leaf tip, a pebble in the sand, and remember that you know absolutely nothing about the galaxies and worlds that spin through its atoms. You have no idea how this creature came to Be, or what force propels it through time. Take a moment to know nothing and be amazed.

For that moment, you will dwell in eternity and dance with God. You will be totally refreshed for the rest of your day!

The Fix

Seeing duality in this world is ignorance.  Claiming to see non-duality in such a world is arrogance. We're in a fix. What to do? Give up. Fall down into the heart. Laugh, sing, dance and meditate!

Who 'Makes' Peace?

Who is the one who 'makes' peace? Who is the one who 'works' at it? Peace arises spontaneously, right in the midst of conflict, when this do-er dissolves.

"I have come into the world to see this: the sword drop from men's hands even at the height of their arc of rage, because we have finally realized there is just one flesh we can wound." (Hafiz)

When I see the do-er in your body and the do-er in my body disappear into one dance, I no longer speak of war and peace.

3/07/2010

If They Arrest You For Dancing









If they arrest you for dancing

If they bind your hands and feet
and throw you in a prison cell
where your only possession
is silence
and they hold your face under water
in your last moment
what Name
will you sing?

When you grow very old
propped up to gaze from your darkening window
for the last time at the apple tree
the hyacinth the moving cloud the sea
with falling heart and failing breath
and strength for only a single word
what Name
will you sing?

The one who has been near youfrom the beginning
partner lover friend
each step of the path beside you
always beside you
even when you were hardly there
now your lips move unable
to speak at journey's end at this
moment of parting
what Name
will you sing?

But you can dance
you are not too old to swim
in the cold dangerous lovely waves
of this day
the Friend still beside you
so present that the seasons change
with every heartbeat now
awake and be grateful sing
her Name.

3/05/2010

Walmart Vedanta













Please,

no more Walmart Vedanta!

All these thousand-petaled lotuses

floating around without roots

doing Bipolar Yoga:

non-dualism in the forehead,

Tantra in the groin.

A quote from Mira Bai

and you long for the Lord of moonlight,

but one verse from the Avadhut

and all is empty space, that is,

until you smell the pizza.

Friend, these aren't glimmers of moksha:

they're just states of mind.

What comes and goes can't be Truth.

Your guru costs you money

but the cost of wisdom is death

to shopping around.

Sex has many disguises: touching your brow

to the master's naked feet

is one of them.

And nobody's more stuck

that a horny non-dualist.

So if your thousand petaled lotus

needs fertilizer

don't sprinkle a withered flower.

Get real, get down

to the root.

3/02/2010

'I See You': Film Review of Avatar


'I see you.' (Na'vi blessing on Pandora )

Avatar is not just a film, but a new mythos. Avatar is an initiation into the mysteries of the Great Mother. Avatar is an invitation to hear ancestral voices, reconnect your cortex with a lost synapse to tribal awareness, root down in the mystical nexus of soul and matter that is the Earth.

Avatar must be experienced in Imax 3D to appreciate the full force of its eco-spirituality and scathing critique of the economics that destroy our planet.

Political Avatar
Avatar grinds out political overtones so blatant some might call them clunky. After a decade of Neoconservative propaganda, maybe Americans need a three-dimensional girder in the face to wake us up. Surprised more people aren't talking about the politics of Avatar, I'd predict an angry right-wing reaction to this film on Fox. Avatar explicitly indicts Bush foreign policy and his doctrine of preemptive war. Above all, Avatar is a judgment against corporate exploitation of our ecosystem.

The events on the planet Pandora, though fantastically magnified, reflect what happens in the rain forests of Africa and South America, where petroleum or mining corporations brutalize the Earth for profit. It's the story of our own national history, exploiting tribal lands for gold and oil. Avatar is happening today in Appalachia, where mountain-blasting union-busting coal companies exploit powerless white rural Americans.

The film focuses on private militias employed by corporations to conquer forest tribes. Again, this is hardly fiction. After re-locating the native populations, these corporate pirates clear-cut the trees to make room for oil rigs, lumber processing plants, and beef farms supplying cheap meat for MacDonald's. I have friends who have witnessed American special forces, with local government troops, attacking villagers in the rain forests of Equador for a multinational oil company. Avatar should also remind us of villages in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Avatar makes direct reference to our "carrot and stick" foreign policy. If Third World people cooperate with our corporate empire, allowing us to exploit natural resources and control native lands for regional hegemony, we pay them off handsomely. Thus we bribe the Suni Sheiks in Anbar Province, Iraq, and Pashtoon warlords in Afghanistan. But when tribal people resist us, we brutally crush them under our patriarchal boots of Earth-leveling technology, using mercenary armies like Blackwater Associates. Avatar recounts the story of such "civilian contractors" who conduct corporate genocide against native people on the forest planet Pandora, half a century from now. In the film, these brutal storm troopers serve the CEO of a mining corporation.

Spiritual Avatar
Yet deeper than Avatar's political allegory is its earth-centered spirituality. Planet Pandora represents the Earth's lost tribal consciousness. In Avatar, the tribe is the collective, planet-healing soul that we must regain. Western civilization needs to humble itself before tribal people, as students before teachers, rather than crushing them under our corporate machinery.

The Na'vi are the inhabitants of Pandora. The name has Biblical undertones. Navi means prophets in Hebrew. In Avatar, name of the Great Mother Eywa also has Biblical resonance. This mantric sound reverses the sound of Yahweh, male God of ancient Israel. The priestly scribes who wrote the Bible condemned agricultural, Earth-centered Goddesses of the ancient Near East, portraying them as whores and demons. The Bible's demonization of mother Goddesses justified the genocide that Hebrew armies carried out against the tribes of Canaan, or present day Palestine. These same scriptures proved useful to our own colonial settlers in justifying the extermination of native American tribes. In Deuteronomy chapter 20, Yahweh as military commander orders Joshua's army to invade Canaan and "slaughter everything that has breath."

Breath is the life-force of the Na'vi and their planet. Breathing is a spiritual sacrament in Na'vi culture, as indeed it is in the healing arts of most ancient tribes on Earth. In Avatar's most religious moments, the Na'vi gather cross-legged on the ground to practice collective breathing, which we would call pranayama, or kriya yoga. As the tribe breathes together, their collective consciousness roots down in the forest through bio-energetic cords of kundalini, accessing the wisdom of the ancestors and the cosmic life of nature. Their individual breaths are now synchronized in the Spirit-breath of the Great Mother, which they channel toward healing a wounded sister, initiating a neophyte into clan membership, or defeating the invaders. In many ancient cultures, incidentally, breath and Spirit are one and the same. Even in the Bible, the word for breath, "ruach," is the word for Spirit.

The American's who descend on Padora to rape its forests for profit are called "the sky people." Avatar dramatizes the ancient conflict between matriarchal cultures, who worship the Earth-Goddess, and patriarchies who serve the Sky God. In the coming age, we will synthesize the two into one, the dichotomy will become a marriage. Thus the promise of Avatar's hero, who begins as a wounded U.S. marine and ends as a tribal warrior of the Na'vi.

Avatar is more than entertainment. It is an awakening to biogenic spirituality, a spirit that takes responsibility for saving our planet while there is still time. Avatar chooses to inspire rather than to proselytize. It is a work of art, not a power-point lecture in green politics. We peel off those 3-D glasses and stumble out of the theater with a prayer on our lips, like St. Paul receiving the vision of Christ-Consciousness and then removing the scales from his eyes. But in Avatar, the Christ-Consciousness is feminine. The prayer on our lips undoes the damage of patriarchy.

Eywa, Great Mother, I see you. I see your bio-spiritual nerve roots glistening through reptilian stems of flowering cortex in Pandora's ancestral dream time. Do not take sides, All-Mother, but balance, balance our violent lives with beauty. Through the calling of your tender name, Eywa, make gentle the power of Yahweh, and heal our planet.