4/30/2011

Spell


Lovers of God can't spell.
God's name wanders through every sound
from Alpha to Omega, from Ah to Hum,
containing all vowels and consonants
in the music of our mistakes -
the sound of frogs rehearsing for dawn,
the sound of chrysanthemum buds
gurgling rain into their seed bellies,
the sound of lovers turning over in the dark,
making love before they wake,
and this sound - listen! - the blood
tumbling down from a mountain of silence
through the whispering forest of memory
into the sparkling pool of your heart.
Good luck spelling that name of God!
A sigh, however it comes out, is true.
What breath is not a revelation?
The frogs pause, then start over again.
They'll get it right.
The peonies burst open, do you hear their cry?
What morning is not the morning of the world?
When your longing is sincere, whatever sound it makes
is God's sweetest name.
Remember what you said when you discovered a newborn fawn
gazing out of the long grass with the eyes of your mother?
The sound of your amazement was the Lord's most secret name.
Make up your own language, spelling doesn't matter.
Leave the classroom and tear off your shoes!
Run through luscious stinging dewy pathless green.
From your belly to the soft spot
where foolishness becomes the sky,
sing the silliest holiest name of all.
What sound is your breath making now?
Look, even the weeds are blossoming,
each tiny petal scribbled with a syllable of prayer!

4/28/2011

Grieving

The pain of loss is where we taste Reality. Nothing is more real than this pain. In this very contact, we awaken and become more alive. Grief deepens the heart, but it hurts so much. I cannot say, "Be happy" or "Offer your pain to God." What would that mean? Those words would be an insult to your reality. I can only say, "Be completely true to your pain, awake to how it feels this very moment. Don't try to get rid of it. Go 100% into your pain and see what happens. See how you become alive!"

4/25/2011

Three Misunderstandings

1.
Truth is never in the object, only in the subject. Truth is not an external power that compels us to believe, but an inner light that empowers us to choose the reality we love.

2.
Love is the nectar of Unity. The most profound spiritual practice is not relationship, but the dissolving of of two into one. From the one, waves of love spontaneously arise, without an object of desire. Unity is not attained through devotion. Devotion arises from Unity.

3.
Yoga is not the science of restraining thought-waves in the mind. Yoga chitta-vritti nirodhah (Patanjali).Yoga is the art of watching thought-waves play, however wildly, in the shoreless ocean of  awareness, until we see that they are only waves of silence.

4/23/2011

"Your old life was a frantic running from silence." (Rumi) Every religion is a vocabulary that expresses the Silence between the words. There are many words, but only one Silence. Please don't get stuck in the word. Let the word take you back to the Silence.

4/21/2011

From the Guru Without to the Guru Within

On the pathless path to being here, there is a transition that is not often discussed. Perhaps it is a secret, but it can be confusing. I speak of the transition from the Guru without to the Guru within.

A seeker finds a Guru and takes initiation on the Guru's path. So far, so good. But at some point, if the Guru is a real Guru and not just a robe and a pair of sandals, the Guru without awakens the Guru within.

When the inward Guru awakens, seeking falls away. I no longer feel a compulsion to go to the ashram, take more initiations, or follow around the master's physical form. I no longer hunger for the master's glance, for I bathe in the golden glance of the Guru within, who irradiates the world from the sun in my heart.

Is the inner Guru me  or Thee? They are two in freedom, yet one in gratefulness: the beginning and end of a single, constantly pouring stream of gratitude.

The inner Guru is infused with the fragrance and emblazoned with the face of the Guru who awakened him. Thus every Master remains devoted to his or her Master, though they may no longer appear together in the outer work.

Bathe in the gaze of your Guru, until that gaze overflows your eyes, your heart. Then you won't need to get it. You can give it.

Jai Guru Dev

4/20/2011

To A Child With 'ADD'














Dear one, perhaps
it is a medical
condition, then again
perhaps your head is crowned
with Presence,
your heart is graced with rays
of pure Being
and you sip the nectar
of Amazement.
Honor
your blessing,
find others
who honor it too.
This world
is just a reflection,
this world is just
you and it
sparkles
with Friendship.

4/19/2011

No Problem

Why do we go to 'self-improvement' seminars? We can't begin self-improvement until we know the 'self' we wish to improve. Yet when we discover the nature of the self, there is nothing to improve: quite literally.

The self is no-thing. The self is pure capacity, empty space totally alive yet boundless, welcoming absolutely everything just as it is. Who is improving?

The solution to our problem is not another guru, meditation retreat, or non-duality seminar. The solution to our problem is seeing that there is no problem.

4/13/2011

Be a Weed

Potting soil is for orchids. Be a weed. Grow anywhere. Root down in stuff that people throw away. Let wind take your seed to the edge of the field where loam is black and generous. Even in a path of stones, find the crack and grow. God loves weeds. God takes care of us.

4/12/2011

Hallowed Ground

 
     Gettysburg Battlefield
Whatever the trouble, whatever the battle, it happens in a stillness. You are not the battle. You are the stillness.
We get a glimpse of this stillness when, for a little while, the guns stop firing. Have you ever visited the hallowed ground of Normandy or Gettysburg? There is such peace, such sacred stillness where the battle once raged. It's why we come to visit. We feel the stillness and say, "Ah, this is what we must have been fighting for."
But is the stillness created by bloodshed and pain? Or is it a stillness that was always there, and can now be briefly sensed in the cessation of struggle?
Peace is not won by fighting, but by surrender: surrender to the Presence that is always already here. Our world's survival depends on whether all of us, on both sides of the battle, learn to find the stillness of our true nature, without killing for it.
Perhaps we imagine we must leave the field of conflict to find peace, go somewhere quiet to taste the stillness. Wouldn't life be sweeter on a mountain top? In the Bhagavad Gita, this is how Arjuna feels. But Krishna imparts a secret: peace is not for the recluse. Peace is for the spiritual warrior right in the midst of conflict.
At the base of every stormy wave is the silent depth of the sea. Even when the sky is filled with clouds, driven by monsoon winds, space is motionless and clear. A mirror seems crowded and busy with reflections, yet is actually empty and still. Sub-atomic particles furiously spin from nothing. We call their dance the universe, but they are just vibrations of an all-pervading vacuum.
According to scripture, God is the Being "in which we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). How many of us really taste this Being of whom we are made, embrace this Presence in whom we move, breathe the One who breathes us? 
Our first duty is not to save others, but to awaken this Being in our being, the I within our i, the breath of our breath. As warriors of peace, our first duty is to meditate.
Before we create one more battlefield, let us touch the hallowed ground of our own Being.

4/06/2011

Changing America

President Obama is now the target of at least as much hate from the Left as the Right. This means that he carries twice the negative energy projected by Americans than George Bush did. People say, "nothing has changed." Maybe what hasn't changed is our negativity.
"But I am so weary with trying to be positive!"
No need to be positive. Just don't be negative. Drop the negative mind and its projections. Find the silent center of your heart, the space where you have nothing to fear and no one to blame. Then see from there. Act from there.
All it takes is a quantum threshold of our population to practice this, whether on a peace march or washing the dishes, and America will change gracefully.

To Forgive

The unbroken heart blames. Only the broken heart can forgive. Therefor let us break each others hearts with forgiveness. In this world, we are all to blame. All of us are born with blood on our hands. For us, only one option remains: to forgive, and to forgive, and to keep forgiving in a ceaseless pouring stream.

Outside

There is no such thing as thinking outside the box. Thinking is the box. Transcend thinking, drop the mind, leap into boundless thought-free silence, and see! Then thinking will follow you there to build new boxes.

 'I have been outside the box, and it's weird!' - Willy

4/03/2011

The End


The world as we know it will end in a few years. How does one prepare? Rest in the heart.
The world as we know it will end in a few months. How does one prepare? Rest in the heart.
The world as we know it will end in a few days. How does one prepare? Rest in the heart.
The world as we know it will end in the next breath. How does one prepare? Rest in the heart.

4/02/2011

This Joy Is Not Yours



"Out of Joy all beings are born; in Joy they live and grow; to Joy they return. Who could live or breathe if there were not this Joy in which we dwell?" (Taittiriya Upanishad)

Joy is the spontaneous liberation of awareness in the present moment, unstained and uncaused by the past. No matter how much we have achieved, our achievement cannot create joy. Joy is uncreated. No matter how much we have suffered, our suffering cannot discredit joy. Joy is unconditioned. Joy has nothing to do with our resume, success or failure.

Let us rejoice, for joy cannot be ours! We may call it God's joy, or nature's joy, but not ours. Perfect joy envelopes creation as sunlight bathes a mountain, as mother holds the infant at her breast, as a radiant cloud of energy enfolds the electron. Happiness vibrates in every twig and bud, every sparrow's song. Happiness saturates each cell of the human body. But when we claim this happiness as "my" happiness, it vanishes. Joy can never belong to you or me. For joy is given prior to anything we do, poured out as Grace upon all creatures. This universe is a song of joy. The dumb crustacean has as much happiness as I. And I am happy as a leaf. The only difference is the degree to which each creature is aware of the joy that is already here.

Unhappy people believe that they must do something to deserve happiness. But real happiness can never be a personal achievement. Happiness is not a reward: it is there before you lift a finger. It arises like the dawn, poured out freely by the heart of Being.

You were not born with the inalienable right to pursue happiness, but to be happiness. You are immersed in joy as a fish in the sea. Does the fish seek water? Joy is your element, your birthright, the prior condition of Being before you came to be.

Drop every strategy for making yourself happy and surrender to that Joy which you can never possess.

Sweetness of Revenge, Stillness of Forgiving


Vengeance tastes sweet. Then it makes you sick.

Today I heard an interview with the family member of a 9/11 victim. She declared that killing Osama bin Laden was just the beginning, for we must track down every last terrorist and kill them.

She is still in deep pain. We must empathize with her as best we can. Her sorrow and bitterness are still overwhelming. But it is extremely dangerous to translate filial grief and personal trauma into national policy. Imagine the sorrow and bitterness of mothers in the Middle East. After 9/11, we embarked on a war of vengeance. Bin Laden killed just over three thousand innocent civilians in America. America killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq.

Jesus wanted to end the Middle East's perpetual cycle of retaliation. Instead of following his way, we embarked on a foreign policy that wove our need for revenge into the warp and woof of Middle Eastern karma. It may take us centuries to get out.

"Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us," Jesus said. Let us enfold the soul of bin Laden, with all our enemies, in the light of forgiveness. Yes, forgiveness!

For-giveness is literally giving up the need for retaliation be-fore it happens. The delicious taste of revenge, so often mistaken for justice, legitimizes our need to get one more lick in just to settle the score. This sickeningly sweet feeling goes on and on forever, because our enemy must get his lick in too. Forgiveness means letting go of that addictive sweetness. Drop the cycle completely. Step out of it. Step into the Silence at the center and be free.

This is why Jesus taught, "Love your enemy. Pray for your persecutor." He was not teaching us to be goody-goodies. He gave us a practical tool, the sword of truth, to cut the thread of retaliation. He did not teach this for our enemy's sake, but for the sake of saving our own hearts.

Fear and revenge, fear and revenge: temporary modifications of the ego. Not long ago, we were filled with fear of Al Qaida. Now our whole nation dances with joy over the killing of one man. Tomorrow, we will fear something new.

There is an alternative to this cycle. We don't have to cling to Samsara, the wheel of retaliation. Instead, we can descend into the heart, the silence at the center of the wheel, where there is no karmic gravity binding us to action and reaction. Resting in the heart space, we find stillness that is deeper than the waves of anger and revenge. This ego is essentially just a structure of fear and a bulwark of insecurity. But if we risk the vulnerability of forgiving, we can rest in the open space beyond the modifications of the ego.

It is time for our nation to find a leader who dwells in this forgiving space. A leader who know how to center down and create a new foreign policy from the heart of stillness. A leader who listens to democratic voices, instead of defending dictators and monarchs. A leader who establishes a Department of Peace-Making to replace the Department of Defensiveness. A leader who chooses understanding over retaliation. Where is such a leader?

Each of us is that leader! From the light of our own heart, each of us transforms the wavering reactive mind of humanity into the changeless radiance of peace.