2/27/2011

Meditation and Intention

 
"Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Luke 12:34

When we begin our meditation practice each morning or evening, our intention is as important as the technique we use. If the intention is health, wealth or intelligence, that is as far as meditation takes us. If the intention is to merge with the divine Radiance, that is where we go. God is not a by-product. God responds to intention.

Our intention is the most advanced technique. It costs nothing. We receive it from no guru.  We can wait years for divine love to happen. Or we can pray for it now, as our intention, when we begin each meditation session. Our prayer, our intention, gives a completely new trajectory to our practice.

Note, the suggestion says, when we begin meditation. We do not hold on to the intention or keep repeating it. This would ruin the innocent flowering of awareness. The most profound meditation is effortless. We simply start the practice, then surrender to Grace, as when the wind catches a sail. But as we begin, we can offer our intention.  Offer the intention, then let it go, dropping it like a seed in the ground of divine Presence.

Meditation is a sail for the soul. Grace is the wind. When the wind fills the sail, we can stop rowing.

But our rudder must be set to the tack of an intention at the beginning of the voyage, so that the wind can take us in the direction we have chosen.

Word of the Violet


No story has not been told,
no word has not been spoken
but word of this violet,
burgundy in its green cup
of velvet leaves, a drop
of gold at its center: I speak
of this particular violet
which, hardy as it was,
did not survive the terrible
late February snow.

Jai Guru Dev



Beloved Master, with every year and every day that goes by, I appreciate your graceful gift more. You are not gone: you pulsate as pure love in my heart.

They said your teaching was too light. Yes, it was the very lightness and effortlessness of Grace! When I received your gift of initiation, I received the light of all the galaxies in the universe and all the dark energy between them through a single syllable.

In past ages, such wisdom would only be given to a chosen few. But out of compassion for humanity, in the deep darkness of Kali Yuga, you were the master who gave the precious diamond of the Divine Word to all the world. Many who received it threw it away like a worthless pebble. Why? Because they believed outward rumor instead of the voice of the inner teacher.

Out of obstinacy and sheer good luck, I somehow survived, keeping up the simple daily practice you whispered in my ear so many years ago. And now I can truly say that this meditation has turned out to be absolutely everything you promised. It is the one unshakable foundation, the golden portal to the Kingdom of Heaven within, the opening lotus of Buddha's Pure Land, and the glimmer of Infinity in the silent core of the heart.

Therefor, like a little child I bow down before you and say these eternal words, "Jai Guru Dev."

2/26/2011

Sunrise


When I behold the course of human events, I get discouraged. Then I remember that we human beings are the creatures who invented ice cream.

We invented pasta, garlicky tomato sauce and red wine. No one commanded us to dance on grapes and drink the juice of our toes. We just did it.

We invented over a hundred asanas for making love.

We transformed One into Two for the sake of playing.

Now I feel the sun rise in my belly, and I laugh.

Twinkie Meditation


"Sin boldly." (Martin Luther)

The problem is not that Hostess Twinkies are bad for you. What isn't? The problem is that we feel guilty when we eat them.

To renounce Hostess Twinkies is the lower spiritual path. The higher path is to renounce guilt.

Once you master this mindfulness practice for eating Hostess Twinkies, you can apply it to chocolate ice cream, scrapple, and a host of other experiences that I don't even want to mention.

1. Take a deep breath in, then exhale, thinking: "I am here on earth to eat this Hostess Twinkie. What else could I possibly do in this present moment?"

2. Take a bite of the twinkie. Taste it mindfully. "Breathing in, I know that I am eating a Hostess Twinkie. Breathing out, I know that I feel guilty about it."

3. Now chew the twinkie very slowly, and repeat the following sutras.
"Breathing in, I know that the guilt is in my head, not in the twinkie.
"Breathing out, I know that the twinkie contains no guilt, just a lot of chemicals.
"Breathing in, I know that the twinkie tastes wonderful anyway.
"Breathing out, I see Hostess Twinkies growing on the Tree of Life."
4. Swallow your twinkie, quietly saying, "Mmmmmm."

5. With a smile on your face, repeat the following sutras.
"Breathing in, I don't give a flying fuck if some factory worker spit his chewing tobacco in the batter.
"Breathing out, I don't care if a thousand cock roaches were poisoned by toxins and dissolved in the icing."
6. Now end your meditation with a sutra of deep gratitude, mindfully breathing.
I survived my Hostess Twinkie. I am free of all guilt. Thank you.
By your grace, O Lord, I will digest it.
Om Shantih Shantih Shantih.

What's Happening



Recently I realized that what happens is happening, but what hasn't happened yet and what has happened already is not. This was a revelation.

I am a ladybug on a blade of grass bending toward the abyss. I have no idea what bends to catch me, if anything.

Whatever happens I greet with reverence. And to what may happen, or already has, I just say, "WTF."

One Spiritual Family

Neem karoli Baba's disciples asked, "How should we meditate?" The guru replied, "Meditate the way Christ meditated: he lost himself in love." (Ram Dass)

Every Indian teacher I have ever known has demonstrated friendship with Jesus and intimate knowledge of his message. Muslims regard Jesus as a human model of love and service, filled with the Spirit of God. I long for the day when Christian leaders are on equally friendly terms with Krishna, Buddha, and Mohammad.

2/25/2011

Disability

Every one of us is abled. Every one of us is disabled. And when we embrace ourselves with unconditional love, we are gifted and abled by our disability.

St. Paul writes, "When I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12:11). Just fill in the blanks. My seeming disability to ____ was the very gift that enabled me to _____.

Fountain


"Whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; for the water I give becomes a fountain inside, welling up with eternal life." (John 4:14) 
O Master, my heart rests in You. Yet when I rest in You, I find this You in Me. Your touch, your word, your very breath awakens a fountain of Light in my thirsty heart. I burn because your flame has ignited me. Then I ask, is this divine fire-fountain Yourself or Myself?
So I listen, and this is what you teach me. Shakti, who is the Holy Spirit, bubbles up  from the silent core of my heart, stirred from eternal potentiality by the Master's kinetic touch. Yet as Shakti awakens, her Holy Spirit flows not from the Master, but from the Source who patiently waits in the heart of the seeker. The Master's role is no more, and no less, than to tap the wellspring of my own Inner Light. Then the Master turns the nurture and maintenance of that flow over to me.
The goal of every living religion is to transform Christ without into Christ within.
Deus intimeor intimo meo: "God is more interior to me than I am to myself." (St. Augustine)

2/22/2011

Edgeless

 
What is not attained cannot be lost.
Reality is edgeless, eternity is round.
'Ripple in still water when there's no pebble tossed.' *
Anahata - Heart Center - Unstruck Sound.
* line from the Grateful Dead, 'Ripples'

2/20/2011

Called to Incarnation


Some holy men insist, 'I am not this body.' But a whole man, a whole woman, shares bread with the hungry and says just the opposite: 'This is my body.' (Luke 22:19) We are not called to be angels. We are called to dwell on earth. We are called to incarnation. One photon of one electron of one atom of my body contains all the infinite radiance of God.

2/18/2011

Solution


It all begins with a mystery -
who am I?
Solved by a greater mystery -
the universe,
a glimmer of moonlight
reflected in a tear drop
just before sleep.
At dawn, this too is solved 
by the greatest mystery of all,
tiny and golden in its
chrysalis of frost -
the first crocus.

2/17/2011

Still Sad Music


The world's unhappiest people are those who never permit themselves to be blue. 

We can confess our woundedness. Sadness is not a taboo.

If our enlightenment cannot encompass the shadow, it is not the vastness of Bodhichitta, the embrace of Christ Consciousness, but just another bright mask. In the heart of the secret, in the secret of the heart, darkness is light.

Many of art's most sublime achievements were created from profound melancholy. Who could imagine Beethoven's final piano sonata, Mozart's Requiem, Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, or "Kind of Blue" without the bittersweet?

We would have no Keats, Dickenson, Basho or Rilke had they not permitted themselves to savor what Wordsworth called "the still sad music of humanity."

A genuine smile, a smile from the heart, has the courage to weep as well.

2/16/2011

Fundamentalism Is A Character Disorder


Fundamentalism is not a religion, but a character disorder deriving its energy from sexual repression.

Fundamentalism has nothing to do with the divine Spirit. We must distinguish mainstream religion from the fundamentalist aberration that uses religion as its disguise.

By fundamentalist I do not mean evangelical or conservative, but the absolutist authoritarian mentality that refuses dialog, rejects the other's right to alternative interpretations, and threatens retribution against any disagreement.

Whether the fundamentalist claims to be Christian, Muslim or Hindu, the abnormal psychology is the same. Obsessed with guilt and judgment, the fundamentalist cannot conceive of any God beyond an abusive parent who creates life as an either/or test: either unquestioning obedience or brutal punishment.

Under the constant threat of parental retribution, the fundamentalist achieves no individual self expression, relaxation, or relief of emotional and sexual tension in this life. The fundamentalist can only fantasize release in an afterlife, seeking liberation through a final act of violent self-immolation at the moment of death. The apocalyptic war that becomes the fundamentalist's self-fulfilling prophecy is a disguised sexual fantasy.

Fascism is the political ideology most appealing to the fundamentalist, because fascism uses religious symbols to glorify repressive autocracy and military violence. Hitler, for example, loved religious symbolism.

Fundamentalism is America’s most insidious political threat. It comes not only from terrorists in foreign nations, but from our own home-grown extremists. In 1935, Sinclair Lewis warned, "When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and wearing a cross."

2/15/2011

The Body You Need


 "And the LORD God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife." - Genesis 3:21

Return to the fur.
Grow wings like a dragonfly.
Grow fangs.
Grow talons.
Grow padded feet with retractable claws
for soft silent stalking.
Grow a howl again for moons.
Grow oblong pupils gleaming with dark sight.
Sprout gamy fuzz for sleep entwined
on forest weeds with another pungent beast.
Crush thyme with dew and flies
into a musk of your own.
Flare nostrils for knowing
what things are without names.
Out-spiral a ram's horn or Panic goat prong
for butting and dazing your soul.
Grow bugle songs for rutting season.
Learn to quiver again: that was your dance.
Grow rippling pelt for shedding mosquitoes and rain.
Grow feathers for preening when you rest midway
on your infinite migration.
Grow the body you need to be war.
Grow the body you need to be wild again.
Wear it like a jeweled and scented cape
inherited from some ancient sow,
birth mother of your royal species,
still guiding your herds and flocks
with her ageless odor.
This time, do not wash off the smell.
Do not remove your skin.
Wear your animal with knowledge,
with thanksgiving,
until the Sacrifice.

2/11/2011

Grades

 
If you get an A, ask, "A what?" If you get a B, ask, "B who?" If you get a C, ask, "Can I C more clearly now?" The grade, at best, is just an opening to a deeper evaluation, a deeper question. In itself, a grade is a meaningless idol. Grades have all but ruined our schools, and turned them into factories for the corporate testing industry.

God Is

God IS...
not American
not Christian
not Muslim
not Pagan
not Conservative
not Liberal
not Light
not Darkness
not I
not Thou
not One
not Three
not Nothing
not All
but simply
IS.

Have you ever quietly said, I Am? Not I am American, I am Christian, I am Liberal, I am male, I am female, or I am anything at all, but just Am, refusing to put any noun or predicate nominative after the verb? Courage is staying in this pure simple Am. Courage is refusing to become a thing. 

Rest in Am. Feel it hum through every atom of your being, out into the universe. This is returning to Amma, the divine mother, hum of the boundless at creation's source. Om Amma Jai!

2/10/2011

For the People in Tahrir Square (Feb 1, 2011)


'I didn't know there was so much left in our hearts to be broken.' - A Freedom Marcher in Cairo, Feb 3.

Even when you disappear, we do not stop looking at you!
When you are beaten by the empire's secret police,
we do not stop listening to the sound of the bruise.
You whose heart pounds from its fiery egg
with the sound of broken steel;
you whose night is still in your eyes,
though the day is singing from your lips;
you who carry your child on your head to see
the figure of the leader above the crowd,
the leader whose name is still unknown.
Is she still not seen? Nevertheless, move on,
walk forward, blessed with uncertainty,
you whose yearning is the music of burning wires,
you who place the rose stem-first in the rifle
of the dazed young soldier;
you, soldier, who tear off your helmet
to join your cousin in the oceanic crowd;
you who can taste the bread just baked
from your own glowing breast,
leavened with the old tears we once tasted, sweet
as manna, daily bread that we no longer taste as you,
because in you, the desert is fresh;
you whose streets are shining with droplets of fear
as on a spring morning the dew shines on desert flowers:
move on nevertheless, do not be overcome,
for death is the ointment of birth, and surely
this morning there will be a breath and a cry,
and a name given by the pregnant mother to her child;
you, mother-to-be in your black ankle-length skirt,
murmuring possible names, the names of ancient heroes while the surging tide of marchers uplifts you,
carries you and your sisters in one veiled wave
of dignity to Freedom, blessed be the Name;
you who purchase friendship with blood and grow rich,
you who sing the old Koranic Suras filled with new melody
to the muffled rhythm of your own marching feet;
you who sing new songs filled with ancestral echos;
You, Liberty, veiled in your purple gown
which is no mirage at evening over the Nile,
but the true and intimate hijab;
You we recognize as a million women in Tahrir Square;
You, Liberty, who ran breathless home
calling the warriors to Thermopoli,
to the rude bridge at Concord,
who shouted to the waking prisoners, "Come forth!"
on the walls of the Bastille;
who leaned into the harbor breeze steaming
toward Ellis Island;
who lifted a torch over the battlements
at Antietam and Bull Run, searching for the bodies
of white and black sons:
sing now, Liberty, a new song, lifting that lantern!
Sing of light's return from Exodus down to Egypt again,
where God's first name was spoken in flames
from a trembling stone on the mountain of that old
and even fiercer freedom, where the fire fell terrible and sweet as dew!
Is it not the bread of morning,
given to all who wander in search of a home?
Is it not your bread also, Egypt?
The land of freedom has no name,
neither Israel nor Athens, neither Mecca nor America:
that land is named for the people, wherever they are,
who march in the streets with joy.
That land has your name now,
You who tread the grapes of yearning
from dawn till sunset, East to West, and back again,
ever returning to the mountain top
at the center of your soul -
uncertain, yes, and unsure, hungry, yes, and tired,
feeding one other with your own marrow,
shouting encouragement from rooftops, alleys, cell phones,
clambering onto tanks to embrace the warrior
who weeps the salt that tastes like yours;
You whose currents wind riverless toward the sea;
You whose ways wend leaderless toward the leader
whispering from within;
You who mysteriously follow your own footsteps
on the sacred path of Self-Revelation
which is the only eternal political flame:
Do not go back! Did I say, "Don't be afraid"?
I did not. For fear is part of the way,
but it passes like a birth pang.
Move on, afraid or not afraid,
for the mother is bearing her child this day.
This day the juice of the first Spring flowers
is waking from Winter's sleep,
the strong small hearty ones that muscle up
through cracks in asphalt and stone
and mouths of defiance;
O remember this day that the land of freedom
has your name now, the name of the people.
Did I say that you would be afraid? I lied!
You will not be afraid, for fear was the dream.
This waking is joy!_______________

Photos: The Passion of Egypt (LINK)

2/09/2011

Waiting for Dex



I miss the un-digital, the pre-electric
Miles between notes, cool, acoustic,
low-tech vinyl groove. I miss the zen
of black and white, the intimate first-take
single-track time when daisies split
East village asphalt. Trench coat Monk
and Trane's supreme love, Dexter's breath,
the blow of the heart through a mouthpiece of gold.
Un-Fendered gut, the strung out modal solo,
Scotch, no rocks, Cafe Montmartre,
flatted ninth, ex-patriot bruise,
Jazz Messengers, 1958.
Blue, kind of, Williamsburg Bridge
where Sonny practiced lonely tunes
all night to the windy moon,
and the not so special effects of
Harlem River sunrise muted through raindrops
on a Yellow Cab at 5 AM
still waiting outside Birdland.

2/08/2011

Achieve Presence: the Rest is Grace

The greatest human achievement is to rest our awareness in the never-ending expansion of this moment. All else is Grace.

Think of your accomplishments. When you achieved what was truly original, creative and fresh, it happened. It was a gift. The gift was given when you were most deeply surrendered to the now, effortlessly centered in working at what you loved to do.

This is not a practice of contemplation, but skill in action. Work hard, but offer your work 100% in the present moment, without any concern for the future outcome. Here is the secret of success, as taught by Jesus: "My grace is sufficient." In Judaism, it is the humble offering of each mundane act as a Mitvah. This open secret is the essence of the Bhagavad Gita (2:47) and the Tao Te Ching (wei wu wei): action without a doer.

Presence turns work into Grace.

2/07/2011

Way

Thoughts are created by the body. The body is created by the Spirit-Void, every particle a ripple of the boundless empty quantum vacuum. Therefor, the direct way back to the Creator is not through thinking but through the body.

2/06/2011

Valley

On the mountain top where nothing grows, there is only one vision. In the valley of countless flowers, roots mingle. Wars begin on mountaintops. Peace comes from the spirit of the valley.

2/01/2011

See Only Miracles

 
To create its effect, every cause must pass through the realm of the miraculous. The miraculous realm is the space between two thoughts.

That a galaxy or a single seed both sprout from this space is a miracle. That breath or dawn or Spring arise from this space, is a miracle. Feel your heart beat. It beats from this space.

Quantum discontinuity evaporates the gossamer threads of necessity that bind action to reaction, melting the karmic mirage into waveless waking transparency. The dew of causation dissolves, revealing the radiance of the ordinary in exquisite particulars. Matter arises from nothing as the leisure of pure mathematical intelligence at play, instantaneous fractals effervescing in the space of the Self. Holy, Holy, Holy, miracle of chaos, the motionless explosion of a rose!

No more proof of God is required than to behold the snowflake disappearing on my hand, the dust mote passing through a sunbeam, the indelicate smudge of any fleeting singularity. The finite perception awakens the infinite perceiver. We are God's feelers, fingers, nostrils, antennae: not fallen creatures but sacred events, occasions for divine awareness to awaken, again and again.

To see this creation as a miracle is the secret of our own creativity. And to see our seeing is the miracle from which all others spring.