8/31/2012

Decide To Be You

I've finally decided that I want to be Me when I grow up.

When we ask a little kid, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" we are really telling them, "You have to become something else. Who you are isn't good enough."

I wish at least one adult had told me this when I was a child: "The whole universe is happy, and all the galaxies dance with joy, because You were born! For all eternity, there has never been another You, and there never will be. Yet for this brief moment, on this little planet, You are here!

"I hope that when you grow up, you will not try to be anyone else. Just be You: nobody else can do that!"

A Good Country

I don't care if I live in a great country. I care if I live in a good country.

In a good country, a nurse's aid who works six full days a week on the minimum wage, caring for the elderly and disabled, has as much right to quality health care and retirement benefits as any Wall Street investor earning millions off of dividends from the products and labor of other men's hands.

In a good country, the pre-school teacher who feeds and educates our poorest most vulnerable children, deserves to keep her job. But over the next decade, over two million children lose Head Start centers under the Paul Ryan budget.

In a good country, poor high school graduates receive low interest college loans, in order to acquire job skills and enter the middle class. But under conservative elites and the Paul Ryan budget, Pell Grants for poor students lose $170 billion.

In a good country, after four forced tours of combat, a vet with PTSD finds a program for healing. But Paul Ryan cuts $11 billion from veterans spending. 

I realize that the Republican Party tells heart-warming stories about Mitt Romney's experience as a church volunteer. As one who rebuilt and directed the community service program in America's oldest Quaker School, I admire the spirit of volunteerism. But you'll forgive my skepticism when people like the Romney's use volunteerism as an excuse not to pay taxes.

Anyone who claims that the problems of our society will be solved by spending a few hours a week at your local soup kitchen, is disingenuous. But in right-wing propaganda, community service and volunteerism becomes ploys to lower taxes and gut federal programs. This is a sentimental lie.

By cutting programs for vets, the disabled and the working poor, just to put more private wealth in the pockets of the rich, Republicans claim they will make the United States a "great" country. Yet if enacted, Paul Ryan's budget will be nearly as great a crime against humanity as George Bush's invasion of Iraq.

I'm no longer impressed by politicians who seek American "exceptionalism" and American "greatness." Seeking to be "great" is only swagger and goose-step if we do not seek to be good.

8/26/2012

Do Not Resist

The Hebrew word 'Sabbath' doesn't mean Sunday. It means Stop. In a culture that is always on the Go, how do you stay? How to stop and rest in eternal Presence?

This ever-changing creation arises and dissolves in boundless stillness. This ever-blossoming chaos appears and disappears in absolute silence. Just as a mirage shimmers in empty dessert air, the manifest world and the unmanifest silence seem to be opposite values: yet they are one and the same. 

Stillness pervades action, silence pervades the Word. The key to the unity is Non-Resistance. Non-Resistance melts noise into silence, and chaos into stillness.


8/24/2012

Thoughts Without a Thinker


Rest where creation arises. Your own awareness is Vishnu, sleeping on the milk ocean of waking dreams. In dawn's light, nourished by the sea of silence, float on waves of breath. Let thought-worlds bubble and foam without being the thinker.

8/22/2012

Lakshmi's Secret


In the radiance of Lakshmi, there is no dichotomy between material and spiritual abundance.

But for centuries, under the ancient delusion of monastic economics, this false dichotomy has been a blade in the heart of our innocence.

Jesus did not feel sorry for the rich young ruler because he was rich, but because he did not know how to give. As love flows, wealth flows. Economies stagnate not because they lack wealth, but because wealth is not spent, shared, overflowing.

Share your spirit and wealth unconditionally, with no strings attached to bind you to fear and lack. Money is not impure. When used to make the world beautiful, money is the very form of the Goddess.

This is Lakshmi's secret. Pour out love, and allow it to return to you as money. Pour out money, and allow it to return to you as love.

8/21/2012

Past Lives Are Bubbles: You Are The Water


Knowing our past lifetimes is of negligible value. What is of real value is knowing the eternal space between them...

Which is the space between breaths, the space between this moment and the next, the scintillating ocean of consciousness itself, which is always now.

The particle is just an instantaneous wave of the unmanifest boundless particle-field. The vacuum fluctuates into this finite particle, yet the field remains infinite.

In the timeless field of consciousness, let there be this momentary particle called "me." Whether you define it as a now, a breath, or a lifetime of a hundred years, does the duration have any meaning compared to who you really are? "For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by" (Psalm 90). "Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow" (Psalm 144).

Why cling to a moment or a lifetime, any more than you would cling to a breath?

Your past and future lives are bubbles on the surface of your eternal Being. More and more, identify yourself as the ocean, not the foam that plays and sings and dissolves upon the waves.

Painting by Josephine Wall

8/20/2012

Flame Without A Candle



My favorite comedian, Vanda Mikoloski, says, "Why do we need beliefs? Why can't we just show up?"

Presence is unbelievable. I can't believe in the present moment. I can believe in the past, in what is already known, but it is impossible to believe in the present moment: I can only surrender to it.

Thinking shields me from the radiance of Presence.

A thought is never what is. A thought is the image of what has already happened and gone. Thinking is the shadow of the past, cast into the future to avoid the present.

I construct my beliefs from these shadows of the past. Belief is the story I carry, but that story is always over. I wrap myself in a story because I lack the courage to be present.

When I drop my beliefs, I can drop my doubts too. Doubt is just the flip-side of belief. Every belief conceals a doubt, springs from a doubt. Doubt is the true believer.

To be without believing is faith.

8/19/2012

Waking


Waking up this morning, I knew that I had been walking barefoot on the Sun all night, my naked golden body made of That compared to which fire is stone. Every breath was a ray of violet lightning. Even now, I am walking there, holding your hand.

We stroll through a garden of radiant formless possibility, dreaming a dream that surely must mean something, if only we could share it in good faith. W
e dream that we have awakened on a green planet, where snow melts into streams that sing to the forest, anointing tender black seeds of plenteous carbon. They grow into hosts of wild flowers - lupine, alpine aster, cascade lily, indian paint brush - each tiny blossom giving birth to the Sun: the Sun in the heart of the Earth.

8/18/2012

Love Exactly


Love exactly. Many of us sort of, kind of, know what we love, but not exactly. The whole universe yearns to respond to your love. But you must touch the universe... here!

8/16/2012

Flow


Blessed be the flow.
Rain, tears, rivers, wounds,
waves of light, waves of darkness.
Milk, moon blood, money, love.
Blessed be the flow.

8/15/2012

Forest Walk


With each step, listen:
Evening green forest silence.
Listen, and arrive.

Purna


Nothing added to this moment makes it more full. Nothing taken away makes it more pure. The sparrow chirps, the silence of dawn is not broken.

8/13/2012

Point


My comfort zone was the size of an atom,
the tiniest point at the center.
"Center of what?" I wondered.
So I ventured out to the edge and found
that the whole circle was my center.
From circumference to circumference
I leapt and swam, or perhaps I fell,
buoyed by emptiness, arms winging.
When there's no ground to touch, does it matter
whether you plummet or soar?
I came to the horizon of all things,
golden beyond light.
Its curve contained creation like a smile.
Friend, this universe is nothing but
a pinprick of love in the core of my heart:
you too are my center.

Majestically Alone



Majestically alone, let solitude blossom.
All your friends are golden petals of this heart.
Majestically alone, let solitude blossom.
It doesn't matter anymore, this difference
between one and many.
Majestically alone, just open, just open.

To hear the poem chanted spontaneously by the author, LINK here.

Love Is Not Our Duty


Is love a duty? Is love a practice?

I decide how love should look, then I put this should into practice. Can love ever come from should?

I act the part of love, I mimic what my religion and culture teach me love must be. Do I then experience love?

Do you feel my love when I try to love you, because it is my duty?

I try and try to put love into action, without ever actually feeling any love.

Perhaps love is quite the opposite of duty. Perhaps love has nothing to do with what one should.

Come, dare to be graceful. Let the secret unfold its blossoms. Love merely is.

I am. Love is what I am when there's no should.

I refuse to put a noun after am. Then I am love.

8/12/2012

Uniphobia


What we fear most is not conflict, but the absence of conflict. We fear unity.

Unity is not the suppression of conflict, or the denial of duality. Unity is the singularity of dynamic wholeness, a wholeness that embraces conflict and integrates every seeming contradiction. But we fear unity, we fear peace.

That is why war does not cease. War is the eruption of our unconscious, unacknowledged need for conflict. Conflict provides a useful distraction that allows us to avoid the fundamental reality of our solitude.
* * *

We imagine a conflict, then we spend our time struggling to resolve the conflict we imagine. Our very obsession with resolving the conflict feeds the conflict with energy. Yet this conflict is not our real problem. The fundamental problem is our fear of being one, our uniphobia.

And why are we are afraid of the all-one? Because we are afraid to be alone.

* * *

Are you truly anxious about the economic conflict between capitalism and the working class? Are you truly anxious about the political conflict between the 1% and the 99? The cultural conflict between indigenous tribes and the Western state? The gender conflict between patriarchy and women's rights? The racial conflict between whites and people of color? The moral conflict between good and evil? The metaphysical conflict between spirit and matter? Honestly, are any of these conflicts what you are really concerned about?

Are they not all abstractions, super-imposed by your mind on the concrete world, the world just as it is in each irreducible uncategorical moment? You project your concepts onto this moment, trying to categorize it's quidity, its whatness, trying to make this exquisitely unique moment part of your mind's internal argument. Thus you distract yourself from ever having to stare into the abyss of your true predicament: aloneness.

When you have the courage to embrace your aloneness unconditionally, there is no conflict at all, no duality to resolve, and nothing to oppose. What is happening right now could not be otherwise. What will happen in the future is blessed by dwelling fully in the present, without fear. There is naught but the naked unity of Being alone.

* * *

Some insist that men and women are social animals. We are very dependent on each other, for sure, but does that make us essentially social?

The illusion that our deepest essence is social comes from an incomplete analysis of human experience. The truth is, our life begins and ends alone. Our essence is solitary. We were not born with a partner; we were not born as a community. We will not die with a partner; we will not die as a community. We were born alone; we will die alone. This is the truth. Have you confronted your aloneness?

The solution to all our conflict, whatever form it may take, is to embrace aloneness unconditionally. Then and only then can we radiate peace from our very core. Peace comes from know that there is no other to contend with.

It is not enough to say, "There is no conflict." You must dance with it. You must prove to yourself that the conflict is but a small flame in your vast radiance. Now you can dance with conflict, resolving it by seeing that the conflict is part of the wholeness that is already here.

* * *

We are all you.

No matter where you go or who you encounter, your experience of us arises as your perception, in your mind, through your awareness.

Your awareness is the fundamental field through which every particle and every phenomenon appears in your life. The other can only exist in you. You will never escape your fundamental solitude, no matter how hard you try to distract yourself by imagining that there are two. Your own consciousness is the seamless container of the cosmos.

Majestically alone, why not let solitude blossom?

This is your real work. The rest is play. When you do the work of surrendering to fundamental solitude, transforming all into one, fear is impossible. Loneliness is impossible. Only love is possible. You will joyfully embrace each creature you encounter, even the so-called enemy, as your own Being, fulfilling the great commandment: "Love thy neighbor as thy Self."

Here is a thought-experiment, a simple meditation:
  • What would it feel like, this very moment, if you stopped fleeing from aloneness? 
  • Would you survive? 
  • What is it that survives?
  • Do you have any edges now?

All Part Of You


What unacknowledged part of you is Mitt Romney?
What unacknowledged part of you is the police officer
in his gas mask and riot gear?
What part of you is Israel?
What part of you is Palestine?
What part of you is the secret Iranian nuclear missile program?
What part of you is the bratty American gymnast
smirking at the world because she only got a silver medal?
What part of you is the undocumented Mexican field worker 
changing her baby's diaper under the apple trees
with hands stained by toxic pesticides?
What part of you is the Aurora Batman shooter
with his Smith and Wesson assault rifle?
What part of you is the dolphin who feels like
beaching herself?
What part of you is the Paul Ryan budget?
What part of you is Jesus?

Don't Forgive


Please don't forgive me.

Whatever I did to you, I did through unconsciousness, not with intention. So please don't forgive me.

Whatever I did to you arose as what is, and what is cannot be otherwise. Never waste a moment regretting what is. So please don't forgive me.

If you must forgive me, you are still trapped in resistance to what is. You have not accepted the gift of what happens. Your very forgiveness means that some part of you still blames me for delivering your own karma to you.

If you must forgive me, you suffer the illusion that we are separate, and that the world might be anything other than the projection of your own light.

Whatever I did to you was your opportunity to become free, your opportunity to release yourself from the bondage of reaction.

Don't forgive me, thank me.

Don't forgive me, and I won't forgive you. I will thank you. All that you have done to me, whether intentionally or unintentionally, I will regard as liberating grace.

Instead of forgiving one another, let us be thankful. For the only true forgiveness is gratitude.

8/11/2012

The Solution Is Now

Our political, economic and environmental crises will be solved when human beings learn a particular inward skill that has nothing to do with politics, economics, or technology: the skill of dropping the past and awakening to Presence. To awaken and meet together in this Now is not a prerequisite for solving our problems: it is the solution.

"Live quietly in the moment and see the beauty of all before you. The future will take care of itself." ~Paramahansa Yogananda

8/10/2012

Be a Spiral


Are you a straight line or a spiral? A straight line is consistent, but brittle and easily broken. A spiral embraces contradictions, and weaves them into power. Spiral your opposites.

8/09/2012

Birthday of Krishna (Aug. 9)


In the Rasa Lila dance at Vrindavan, the Lord manifests a separate, intimate, personal form for each of the Gopis, while remaining transcendent unmanifest unity. The divine Self is One in all, yet gives to each who yearn for His love an intimate relationship.

You can have your chapati and eat it too. God is both formless and personal, bheda-bheda: 'two and not-two.' This is the mystery of devotion. There are as many ways to God as there are human hearts.

Through devotion, we humbly embrace the paradox and avoid the conflicts. Devotion invites us to transcend the fundamentalism of the Vedantist, who insists on reducing all to an impersonal Self. Yet devotion also invites us to transcend the exclusivism of the True Believer, who insists on a limited personal form.

Happy Birthday, Krishna!

Casting Out Demons


Jesus went from village to village exorcizing demons. Presence exorcizes the past.

Each of us accumulates our ghostly past in the form of a story called "me." We carry this ghost around inside us: it feeds on us and takes all our energy, u
ntil we are possessed by the past. We keep repeating our story in an endless loop, which prevents us from ever getting to the present moment.

Some very common story lines include:
  • "Why does this always happen to me?"
  • "How come they get away with it when I try so hard to be good?" 
  • "I'm always right: why doesn't anybody listen?" 
  • "It's not fair that I have to work so hard and they don't." 
  • "My suffering is worse than your suffering."
The past is my demon. The past can be honored as an angel, and consulted for guidance from time to time. But when the past controls and possesses me, it becomes my bondage.

When Presence awakens, the story of the past vanishes like a dream. Free from regret and desire, the clarity of this moment drives the old demon from my body. Now I am free to celebrate a life that is never one moment old.

The Gospel is Presence in the form of a new story, a special kind of story that casts out stories. This kind of story is also told by Zen and Sufi masters to stun the mind of the listener into silence.

The purpose of the Gospel is not to recount the literal events of history. Quite the contrary: the Gospel casts out time itself. That is why Jesus always speaks in the present tense: "Before Abraham was, I Am."

Jesus is the clarity of my pure awareness. The demon he casts out is the old Adam, the pattern of my past. In Christ, I am a new creation, born again with every breath. And every breath is the anointing of the Spirit.

This has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with the sacrament of breathing in the temple of Now.

8/07/2012

Numerology 101 (Which is Actually 2)

"1 is the most intolerant of numbers." ~David Albert

1 is intolerant.
2 is conflicted.
3 is condescending.
4 is stubborn and overweight.
5, like Hamlet, thinks too much.
6 shows up at the mall in her curlers.
7 is stuffed with esoteric gibberish.
8 wears too much bling bling.
9 can do the full lotus but is only pretending
not to have thoughts during meditation.
I invite them all for a weekend at my
ancestral beach house in the Hamptons,
unaware that one is a murderer
(that is not a clue).
Saturday morning, we find 6's body
naked in her bed, evidently poisoned.
She never did put on any make-up.
To solve the crime we call in Zero,
who acts like a nerd but knows everything.

8/04/2012

A Place at the Center


There's a place at the center of your heart where opposites dissolve into each other. When you stand here, you have no enemy, no rival, no opposition. Fear cannot arise. You are incomparably radiant.

8/03/2012

Truth Is Meaningless

When you see the world as Truth, nothing has to "mean" anything. All is full as is, and the smallest detail is always already complete. What does it mean?

Om purnamadah purnamidam, 
Purnaat purnamudachyateh,
Purnasya purnamaadaaya, 
Purnamevaavasishyate
~Isha Upanishad 

"That pure transcendental wholeness is Full; This relative particle of it is equally Full. From the Full, only the Full can appear. And when Fullness is removed from the Full, Fullness remains."

Let all things be full, just as they are. O how marvelous the grace of not meaning!

8/02/2012

I'm OK With Not Knowing

                                                                        
I'm perfectly OK with not knowing.

In fact, I'd rather live among people who are content with not knowing than among true believers. If humanity is ever to transcend the insanity of religious conflict, it won't be when 'our' belief triumphs over 'theirs', but when we all embrace the sacred art of Not Knowing.

Sounds very Buddhist, right? Yes, we find the discipline of Not Knowing in Buddhist 'sunyata' (emptiness) and the 'nirbija samadhi' (seedless silence) of Vedanta; but we also find it in the heart of Christian mysticism. The 14th C. Cloud of Unknowing states:

"No one can think of God. Therefore it is my wish to leave everything that I can think of, and choose for my love the thing that I cannot think. For God may be grasped by love, but not thought.

"Nowhere physically is everywhere spiritually. Keep working in this nothingness that is nowhere, moved only by your love of God.

"Rest in this cloud of unknowing, with only a loving stirring blindly beholding the naked being of God alone."

Art by Jamal, Mystical Expressionism