1/31/2013

Quantum Entanglement


The tiniest photon
of instantaneous light
is hopelessly entangled
in eternal spaces
of your body.
That is how you are
entangled in God.

1/30/2013

Approach


The moon is full.
Bare footsteps on forest moss,
inaudible.
But one tiny ankle bell?
A single breath
on a wooden flute?
Or only a midnight breeze
among cedars?
Whoever is coming
wants to be heard!
A little time
for longing to arise
in Radha's heart...

Message in the Dark


Try to read this message in the dark.
Light a match and hold it near.
Too near.
The page ignites.
A widening circle of fiery emptiness
consumes the paper, the words,
their meaning.
Only the flame remains.
The light by which you see
annihilates the seen.
Come near me now.
Too near.
Open your eyes.
I am interested in burning,
feeding this flame.
I am interested in love
annihilating lovers.
So far, a story of eyes only.
But what about mouths?
A tale of fragrance, taste and song?
What if we tell it with the whole body
and burn up everything we touch?
What if we are widening
circles of fiery emptiness
and consummation?

Unstructured Structure


Highly organized systems spontaneously emerge from the unstructured chaos of the quantum vacuum.

Not as polarized opposites co-existing with each other, but as each other, the vacuum pervades the particle, spirit pervades matter, silence pervades action. Chaos is creation, and creation is chaos.

The mirage is no different from the still air. The waves are no different from the sea. There is no conflict between liberation and structure.

Those who rebel against structure to attain liberation are deluded. They are simply reacting: but a reaction is determined by that against which it reacts. Rebels are the most predictable and conventional of creatures, for they let their enemies define them.

Meditation is the deeper revolution. Meditation is not a reaction.

Spend a few minutes each morning and evening in deep meditation. In the midst of organization, transcend organization. Dissolve the mind into the structureless infinity of pure awareness. Then emerge into action, not reaction. This is creativity. This is how the beauty of creation spontaneously self-organizes out of the structureless beauty of the void.

Don't destroy institutions, teach them to meditate. Don't demolish structures, inspire them to dance.

1/29/2013


When the inner light of the believer outshines all objects of belief, it is not necessary to believe in anything. Then a dragonfly is a dragonfly, and a poppy is filled with God.

Awaken Yourself


Does the guru awaken me? Or do I awaken myself? The master attracts me to the beauty of awakening, and inspires me to awaken, but can anyone else actually awaken me?

I do my own awakening.

1/28/2013

Below


'Above' is a deception. The highest wisdom comes from below. Get down, sink in. The sign of the prophet is the mud between her toes.

The mind of God is a celestial brain in the earth. Its thoughts are the laws of quantum physics, marvelously irrational, its neurons interwoven in the mycelium fungus of self-healing and compassion.

Beings of pure light lead you astray, brandishing glorified weapons of war. Better to seek angelic guidance from owls, ravens, dolphins, sea turtles and mushrooms. The heavenly voice that heralds the day of judgment is the sound of the first bird every morning, just before dawn.

Find the ancient well in your body, drink from there. That is communion. Don't just be grateful, be the gift.

Your breath is the Holy Spirit, the priestess who descends to open the portal of your heart, which is the only temple. Let the movement she teaches your chest be gentle and round as a smile, for it stirs all the stars and turns this galaxy, where countless souls are waiting in less perfect worlds to be born here, as children of the Earth.

1/27/2013

Falling



The Beloved said to me, "You will keep falling in love and falling out of love until you realize, you Are love!"

"Then who are you?" I asked the Beloved.

But the Beloved was gone, and a new breath-full of Love was already stealing into my heart..."

Citizens of Out

 Burning hills of trash on the "out" skirts of New Deli

This morning I said, "I'm taking out the trash." The question suddenly occurred to me, "Where is Out?"

When I throw out light bulbs, batteries, plastic bottles, not to mention all the other garbage, is Out a place? Who lives there? What do I owe them for taking my trash? Billions of human beings never ask this question. We just assume there is a place called Out.

Like everything else that matters in life, garbage is a Circle. My trash pours into the landfill, from landfill to fire, from fire to rain, from rain to sea, from sea to soil, from soil to shard and kale and spinach, from green plants to my body. In earth's bio-web, trash doesn't really go anywhere. It returns. We eat and breathe each others garbage.

There is no such thing as Waste. We are all citizens of Out.

Presence is not Information


The past is too much information.

The future is so many gigabytes it crashes my hard drive when I download it, yet not a bit of it actually happens.

So I move the past and future to the trash, and clear the desktop of the present moment, which contains no information at all. My screen saver is the blue radiance of an empty sky.

I am not here for information. I am here for light.

1/26/2013

Whoever Swims in God


Fish have no concept of the ocean.
Whoever swims in God need not believe.
I didn't pray for this breath:
it was given by the mother
who stirs the stars like sugar in tea.
I don't need faith to have a pulse:
my heart is beaten by gratitude.
The blue sky of empty mind,
lit by a rose-gold sun ever streaming
rays of silence from the source of joy:
believing didn't create That!
That arose, and I surrendered.
Fools like me give up on god, truth,
temples, creeds, holy books.
We drink whatever flows from green
brown ruby nipples of the earth,
and call it prayer.

"Relax and Let Go" - Not!


Meditation Instruction
"Just relax. Let go..." Lots of luck.

A New Meditation Instruction
Do not even try to relax. Do not even try to let go.

Welcome tension, anger, anxiety, with open arms. As the blue sky embraces clouds, do nothing at all but observe that anxiety. Give it space to intensify, solidify, expand and dissipate. You are the space in which that anger is boiling, you are not the anger. You are the space in which anxiety and tension arises, you are not the anxiety and tension.

But please do not expect a bright happy little "me" to be there when the anger and tension are gone. For that expectation is the real cause of your tension.

Discussion
Isn't it frustrating when you hear a meditation teacher give you the instruction, "Relax... Let go..."? Can we get clear about this? If I am tense, anxious, angry, telling me to relax and let go is utterly worthless as an instruction. In fact, this instruction reinforces our ignorance, because it assumes that there is a "me" who has the power to relax and let go, or to cling and hold.

The instruction to "relax" and "let go" is doomed to failure because it assumes that after I relax and let go, there will remain this bright happy little "me."

But real meditation only happens when I'm willing to give up the little "me" along with its anxiety. The truth is, the effort to maintain a bright happy me was the cause of my tension in the first place!

Are you willing to become nobody in order to give your anxiety space to dissolve? If you are not willing to become nobody, if you are not willing to become pure empty space, there will always be a little "me" there to call the anxiety "mine."

If there is unhappiness, then there is a "me" at the center of it, clinging to "my" unhappiness yet at the same time trying to "relax" and "let go" of it. See the contradiction?

At least for the next 20 minutes, am I willing to be nobody? That is the only real question in meditation.

When "I" am willing to be nothing but this empty space, then "my" anxiety is free of a holder, a center. Tension is free to dissipate like a cloud in blue sky. Only then is revealed the real nature of this blue sky: compassion, peace, pure nectar.

The anxiety, and the bright happy "I" who wants to get rid of the anxiety: can't get rid of one without getting rid of the other.

Yes, it is impossible to "let go": but it is quite possible to shift awareness to the one who wants to let go. This shift of awareness is the real meditation.

Shifting awareness to the one who is tense means discovering that there is no one there to be tense. There is only a cloud of tension floating in pure consciousness. Then "I" dissolve into "Am." This is the only solution to the problem of tension, anxiety, and anger.

"For the enlighened yogi, the true relationship between the soul and God is not a relation of 'I' and 'Thou' but a relation of 'I' and 'Am'." ~Yoga Vashishta

This may sound very cold and impersonal as an intellectual concept. But as a direct experience, it is the final end of anxiety, the transformation of anger into bliss, and the portal to divine Radiance.
I tried to renounce all my impurities. But that was too hard, and I was too weak. Now I surrender my breath, and that purifies everything.

Be Space, Teach Meditation


Be Space
This time around, we're not here to focus on the content. We're here to focus on the space that contains it. In meditation, the silent background of thoughts, the spacious sky of awareness itself, becomes the foreground. This is the shift that defines our age.

To guide a person's attention from the heaviness of objects to the weightless expanse of pure space; from the heaviness of thoughts to the weightless expanse of pure awareness; what greater service can you perform? To liberate the sky from the non-existent boundary of clouds: what greater freedom can you share?

You may be one of those who are called to this work, but until now you felt useless on our planet. Perhaps you pretended to be like other people, but your interest just wouldn't stay fixed on money, sex, war, or political debate. You kept returning to one concern, yet it seemed like nothing at all, because in truth it was no-thing. Your concern was the clarity of consciousness itself.

Your passion was exploring the nature of awareness. You were drawn to the mirror and not what it reflected. But such endeavor was not recognized by your society as a valid pursuit. Nobody gave you encouragement. You couldn't speak about this work because your education gave you no vocabulary for it. So they called you a dreamer. They even diagnosed you with attention "deficit." But in truth, your mind abounded in attention, pressed out and overflowing!

I tell you, your time has come...

Jesus had the same problem. They wanted him to fix the content of their lives: their history, their religion, their poverty, their political situation. But he came to expand the container, not to fix the content.

Jesus didn't give them a better concept of god: he shattered every concept, freeing the space around all gods. He said, "The space within you, the space of awareness itself, is God."

"My kingdom is not of this world," Jesus taught. They thought he was pointing toward a higher place, or a state after death. But he wasn't pointing to any place at all. He was awakening pure space.

Jesus said, "I am not here to replace the stuff in your mind with new stuff. I am here to empty you. I am not interested in stuffing. I don't stuff you with any religious doctrines at all. I remove every idea, until all that remains in you is what I Am."

Those who heard him weren't ready for these teachings, so they crucified him. But now, many more are ready to hear. And when you awaken the space of Christ-Consciousness in them, it will be the Second Coming.

Yes, many are ready. Many are weary with political, economic, and technological promises that don't solve the problems they claim to. Many are weary of religion and all its content, its stuffing of belief. Many are ripe for the foreground-background shift, which is the mere shift of attention from thoughts to the space in which thoughts arise.

Humans are ready to become aware of awareness. This is the great evolutionary step we are taking.


Teach Meditation
In Milton's words, "They also serve who stand and wait." You have been waiting, and by waiting, serving. Now your time has come. Time to speak the simple truth: the utterly transparent message of pure awareness.

They will ask, "How can simply being aware solve our problems?" And you will answer, "Find out for yourself. Become aware of awareness."

"How do we become aware of awareness?" they will ask. Then you will teach them to meditate.

Teach them to discover a space inside, deeper than mind, a space that has nothing to do with thoughts. A space that is silent, limitless, self-clarifying, eternal, free from past and future, and overflowing with the nectar of joy: the space that is who we are.

Don't hesitate to tell them clearly what all the great prophets declared: God is consciousness, and everything that is, is made out of consciousness. This simple fact dispels the materialist delusion.

Awakening space in ourselves will awaken the space in trees and mountains, moth wings and plum blossoms. It will reanimate the earth. And awakening space in ourselves will awaken other human beings as well.

Humanity is asleep. Sleep walking, humans tread heavily on the earth, stumbling on its delicate greenery. And we trample each other. But awakening the natural beauty in our Self, we bow down to the same miracle of life around us. Honoring the Self, we honor the environment, and we love our neighbor as our Self. This is the ecology of meditation.

Do not pollute the work of meditation with any political, economic, or religious message. That is all just content. Simply help people polish their mirrors: it is their business what they reflect. Teach meditation to East and West, artist and executive, believer and non-believer, pacifist and warrior. Do not teach Buddhist meditation, Yoga meditation, Christian meditation, Earth meditation, or Metaphysical meditation. These labels are just more stuffing. If your meditation has a label, it is not meditation.

Remember that the world's problem is not war, injustice, pollution, or poverty. These are only symptoms. The problem is that we are asleep. Our mirror is clouded. Awareness does not know itself. This mental disorder throws all our actions into disorder.

Give both friends and enemies the one solution to all problems. Teach them to cleanse their mirror with meditation. When each of us cleanses our own mirror, we reflect the sun of God upon the earth. We illuminate every creature we meet.

The world doesn't need our busy-ness, it needs our consciousness.

Who Beats My Heart?

I can't keep track of my atoms.
I don't even know the number of cells in the tip of my pinkie. 
I have no idea how to command my molecules, "Rearrange yourselves for I have just drunk wine!"

At night when I'm sleeping, who breathes me? 
Who beats my heart, and how much do I owe him?
When I meditate, who orders my neurons to fire in synchrony? Who whispers, "chill out" to my adrenal gland
And when I wake up in the morning, who shouts to my pituitary, "Less water, more fire!"

I asked a scientist to explain all this, but he couldn't measure the light-years in a single atom. 
I asked a guru, but he just mumbled in some lost language full of M's.

How do you expect me to balance my checkbook when I can't count my electrons, or tell you who performs this body of miracles?

Workshop


O friend, how many workshops will you attend,
how many ashrams and institutes of spiritual healing
must you visit before you learn the truth?
Every dimensionless point in space is filled
with 10 thousand suns that you just don't see
because you're living on all of them at once.
This is called 'consciousness.'
Now here is the final spiritual practice.
You won't need any other.
I learned it from a fat golden poodle.
When anyone, friend or foe, approaches you,
throw yourself on the ground before them.
Lie on your back with a vast empty smile and
invite them to rub your belly.
This is the only way.

1/23/2013

Fungal


  "The largest organism on earth is a fungus."  ~Scientific American

Dank the root cellar of your fruitfulness,
the mushroom odor of germinating silence,
swollen, connecting the mycelia of yearning,
the fungal awareness deep underdown
within the within.
Sniff out the truffle in your hypothalamus,
the aromatic spore of ancient desire.
Spread your tendrils, grandmothers,
co-minglers in loam, entwining
hopeful fingers in a new humanity,
earth's largest organism.
Who knew these tiny golden nipples
wriggling up to suckle sunlight
were a single vast sensation,
the touch of the Other
nestled in your heart. 


"Mycelia transmit information across their huge networks using the same neurotransmitters that our brains do: the chemicals that allow us to think." ~'Nature's Internet: The Vast Intelligent Organism Beneath Our Feet'

1/22/2013

Another Silence


Don't cover your beauty with a veil.
Inside the absence of noise there is another silence.

Not the quietness of the flesh, but the seed of light.
It is Christ resting in Mary,
it is why there are stars in the darkness,
the tremor of a poem before its words,
the place where angels churn the milk of emptiness
into the golden butter of your body.
Don't cover your eyes, your lips, your hair.
Take off the veil and dive naked
into the ocean of your heart.

Art by Rashichaturveda

Five Milestones on My Spiritual Journey


On the occasion of my 65th birthday, I share five milestones on my path. Or rather I should say, my pathlessness. For each milestone is but a melting of the path into the goal. I was going to call this little essay, 'Five Essential Spiritual Ideas,' but the first essential spiritual idea is that there are none....

1. There Are No Spiritual Ideas. 
Spirituality is freedom from ideas. An idea can no more contain the Spirit than a cloud can contain the sky. The first and last steps on the spiritual path are exactly the same: let go of thinking.

2. There Is No Time.
This milestone on the pathless is like awakening from a dream. It is simply the realization that past and future do not exist: all is Presence.

Time is thought. Past and future only exist as neural activity in the brain. Is your brain in the past or future? That would be pretty good trick. My brain is always right here. Thank God.

I sense this miracle of Presence momentarily, but flee back into my cocoon of thought. When I have the courage to fully emerge, the Now magnifies a thousandfold in intensity. I ride the cutting edge of the wave of Now, ceaselessly electrified, never one moment old.

My neural energy was previously bound up in sustaining illusory images of past and future. When time collapses, this energy is liberated from thought and is available as Now-Consciousness. Dropping past and future, my mind not only feels lighter and clearer, but my nervous system is augmented with free energy, heightening every sensation. Ordinary living takes on color and is saturated with bliss, because so much more energy is here for alertness, sensation, and availability to others. My life is no longer siphoned off into the ghost-world of thought. The work of Presence begins.

3. Space is Awake
The next milestone: reversing the polarity between abstract and concrete. What used to be empty becomes solid, and what used to be solid becomes empty. This too is an awakening, peeling off another layer of the dream.

The so-called 'material' world now becomes the abstraction, ever dissolving, devoid of any lasting substance. Awareness itself, which used to seem abstract, now appears solid as diamond. Consciousness, not the object of consciousness, is the only concrete reality, because everything else dissolves into it. Now the very ground of being shifts from object to subject. In fact, I Am the shift. I stand not on the passing mists of this world, but on pure Awareness.

The space between events is alive, sparkling with eternity. The path between goals is self-luminous and lovely, an end in itself. Awareness, not its object, is the ground.

4. The Heart is the Center of Creation
Now a third monument on the pathless way: I realize that the only real wealth is the radiance of an awakened heart.

This is a shift of "center." All outward centers dissolve into my inward core. To love my own heart is the beginning of all true relationships.

The fire of stars, the black hole at the center of the galaxy, the Word of creation, radiate not from external points in space, or from any Creator above, but from the pulsing silence within me: quite literally my heart, beating in this human body. The heart is not only a physical organ, but a portal to the heavens.

Now I understand that every theological concept and every name of God was but the description of a possibility in my own consciousness. Vishnu, Shiva, Mother Divine, Brahman: all states of me. Father, Son, Holy Spirit; the Christ, the Comforter, the Kingdom of God: all radiant faces of my own heart. The influence of the constellations and planets, sun and moon: my chakras seeking alignment with my inward sun, through the waxing and waning of my breath.

I no longer dwell in the dark ages of mythology, astrology, or religious belief, giving away my spiritual power to heavenly ghosts, or projecting my spirit onto the stars. The universe is the expansion of my heartbeat. The light of the galaxies radiates from the blue flame burning at my center.

One photon in the tip of my little finger contains the electrical energy of the cosmos. An atom in my toe incorporates countless suns. I am astonished by the mighty chorus of creation. But this music pours not down from celestial spheres. It emanates from my depths. I experience this universal harmony not as sound, but as the silent vibration of simply being alive, right here.

5. Love Needs No Object.
The last revelation is just beginning to dawn for me. I am struggling to express it...

For eons we have assumed that in order to love there must be an object of love, and a relationship of lover and beloved. It might be another person, a spouse or child; it might be a guru, a savior, or a god in heaven; it might be a goal or project to complete. But there is someone who is the lover, and something else who is the beloved. We project this assumption into our religion, our conception of God. We assume, therefor, that God loves us and that we are the objects of his love.

But then of course, things get personal. Because God is personal, he might be disappointed in us. He might get angry or jealous. He might even want to punish us, or get a divorce.

Personal love is so limited!: first, because it confuses love with attachment. When love needs an object for its gratification, then even the most selfless and "spiritual" love becomes narrow, and quickly shifts into its polar opposite. Fearing loss of the love object, the lover becomes jealous, or possessive, suspicious, even hateful. That is why the "god" of the Old Testament becomes "a jealous god" and a god of "wrath." Wherever there is relationship between subject and object, wherever love needs an other for its object -- and it makes no difference whether the other is an "it" or a "thou", because the flaw is in the very duality of lover and beloved  -- then love's selflessness becomes self-seeking, love's scope becomes narrow.

But divine love transcends relationship. Love is absolute, not relative or relational. Love does not need to confine its heart to a lover or beloved, for true love dissolves the subject and the object, until only love remains. If I really love you, then I cannot say, "I love you." I can only say it like this:
"(I) Love (You)."
This love is cosmic and dispassionate, bathing every creature in divine intimacy without attachment, without any "me" or "mine." This love is what Jesus called "Agape". It is neither the passion of "eros" or the familiar attachment of "filios."

Relationships are just rehearsals for divine love. In the words of William Blake, "We are set on earth a little while to learn to bear the beams of love." When we are ready, we discover the truth: the glory of God is passionate dispassion, love without a lover, consuming all creatures in the uncreated fire of bliss.
___________

II. Autobiography of Nobody

In the eight grade, I awoke through some great books. I should mention them: Alan Watts' 'Way of Zen'; 'A Coney Island of the Mind' by Lawrence Ferlinghetti; the collected poems of e. e. cummings, which I immediately stole from my school library since no one, it appeared, had ever checked it out, and the poems in it filled me with ecstasy.

A little book of haiku called 'Cherry Blossoms' introduced me to the essence of Zen in the poems of Basho, Issa, Buson. Then I stumbled onto Laotzu and I knew I was on a quest for something called enlightenment. I would take these books to an abandoned grave yard in the woods and read all weekend, alone.

I heard John Coltrane and started playing the sax. I called him up on the telephone and pretended I was a "jazz man." I didn't want him to know I was only 13. I said, "I love your music. You are great." He said, "Thank you." He was kind.

This all happened when I was in the eight grade. None of it happened in school.

From the green earth I had a sense of what enlightenment was. I used to wander through the woods and fields, just listening to silence and gazing across space. When I was five I wandered far into the fields and got by boots stuck in the mud of a freshly ploughed field. The fire department came and found me standing there.

The distance from one apple bough to the wood pile, the shimmering space over a plowed field expanding to the edge of the forest, the sky punctuated by a drifting red tailed hawk: space itself seemed to be filled with living consciousness, but I had no words for it then.

I assumed that this space was God, and knew that God was formless, an intimate Presence gazing at me from every atom and every star. I knew even then that God could not possibly be a form. I loved Winter, because the spaces around twigs, between branches, over fields, stretching to the moon and stars, were so alive with emptiness. There were many moments as a child when it seemed that space was the solid substance, and the material forms that filled it were just dreams.

I escaped from Sunday School by wandering off into the forest before my parents awoke. I hated Sunday school. But in the woods, there was God shimmering between twigs, gazing back from rocks and singing in the brook. I named the forest creatures after Native American tribes: every fallen tree that gave me a bridge across Red Clay Creek, every rock, every bend in the stream had an Indian name. From a very early age, I knew over 60 tribes and where their homeland was on the continent of America.

I played Indian warrior. I killed and died over and over again, in every possible way. But the great moments were when I delivered funeral orations over the bodies of dead warrior, honoring my enemy's soul and prowess. My friends grew weary of playing with me because I would insist that, after I killed them, they must lie there a long time and listen to me deliver a funeral oration. Then they would have to deliver an oration over my dead body in the next battle. They just wanted to play, and kill, and die. I wanted us to give funeral orations.

In 7th grade, I tried to get into the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, because I was forced into Confirmation classes. But it didn't work. Prayer, I realized, could not be read out of a book. It had to emanate from my own breath. One day after Church, I was out on the green lawn gazing at thunderheads in the deep blue sky of April. I realized in a flash what the Holy Trinity really was. I understood that it had nothing to do with Church.

God is the blue sky father. The Spirit is the green earth mother. The Son is their offspring, Me. A human body is the link between sky and earth, and each of us is the offspring of Sky and Earth. The Holy Trinity is our family, Father, Mother, and Child. I laughed at how obvious this was, and how ridiculous adults were, making it so complicated. I had nothing but disdain for priests and ministers who preached sermons that turned the sparkling sky, the barefoot tingling earth, the glory of this human body, into a frozen system of beliefs.

Years later, in seminary, I remembered this experience and swore I would never be ordained as a priest or minister, for we are all priests, all offspring, all Christs in the Holy Trinity. That is when I became a Quaker.

Spending three years at Princeton Seminary made it very clear that I would never find fulfillment in orthodox religion. The reason was simple: Christian orthodoxy is based on stories from the past and promises for the future, but it leaves the present moment devoid of significance. That is why I followed the way of the mystics, not the theologians.

I went to Europe on a quest for the Christian mystical experience, through contemplative prayer and Gregorian chant, wandering through France, following the Medieval pilgrimage roots. I've shared this story in a post here: 'Searching for the Magdalene' (LINK). I've also shared my attempt to understand the meaning of Christ's incarnation and sacrifice in the Christmas story, The Magi (LINK).

My path became more formal when I started Transcendental Meditation in college, then became a teacher after my personal study with Mahesh Yogi. I have never stopped the practice, never needed another type of meditation. It's been that way for over 40 years. My life energy is also enhanced by the Sudarshan Kriya, the healing breath technique taught by Maharishi's one-time disciple, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. My many personal encounters with Sri Sri, including his stay in my house in Philadelphia, gave me invaluable openings and incalculable gifts of Grace.

I can truly say, he is my Guru. On a summer night, a mall group of us were sitting with him in a field under the full moon. We were singing kirtans, and weeping, because it was his last night with us before he returned to India. This was in 1990. I watched him dance into the mist and disappear, dance out of the mist, reappearing in his white veil, then disappearing again into the moonlight darkness. He was teaching us that form and formlessness are no different. He was saying what Christ said to Mary in the garden at dawn on the morning of the Resurrection: "Do not cling to me."

Once when I was meeting with him alone in his room, I told him, "Guruji, you have something we want. What is it?" He said, "No, I've gotten rid of it. You're still carrying it."

Then I asked him, "Who are you, really?" He looked at me with intergalactic eyes of boundless love and said, "I am nobody." He meant it. That is when I knew he was my Guru. It has taken me another 25 years to understand what he meant.

But this spiritual autobiography does not deal with events and places. It simply highlight the inner milestones of realization on my pathless path. I leave you Five Milestones on the Pathless Path.

Jai Guru Dev

1/21/2013

Silent Nest


The silence of your heart
is a nest
where miracles break forth
from the smallest shells
of blue.
Yet they require some
rustling softness
resting warmly upon them: 
your breath,
the mothering power.
Nestle in that place.
Give birth
to wings, possibilities,
the sky itself.

1/20/2013

All Conspiracy Theories Are True


If you believe only one conspiracy theory, it will distort your world. The key to mental health is to believe them all.

Accept every conspiracy theory that comes along, left or right. Just say, 'Yes, that too!' Then they will cancel each other out and the world will appear as it is, radiant, clear and sweet.

The truth is, your heart conspires with the stars to put a huge smile on your face for no apparent reason. I promise, everything is OK.


Now which worries you more? Black UN helicopters flown by Kenyan Muslim homosexuals coming to take away your guns, or fleets of unmanned surveillance drones using gamma rays to secretly photograph your private parts?

Personally, I think the greatest threat is the fluoride and other rat poisons that pharmaceutical corporations put in our flu shots to lower our IQ and make us vote Republican. Of course, we already know it was alien Greys and not Al Qaeda who attacked us on 9/11: that explains why Obama has such big ears.

The space of your laughter is more vast and mysterious than any conspiracy can contain.

1/19/2013

Dante and Beatrice: the Role of the Muse


'In that book which is my memory...
on the first page that is the chapter
when I first met you,
appear the words...
Here begins a new life.'

~Dante, first line of La Vita Nuova, his earliest work

'Such was the living light encircling me,
leaving me so enveloped by its veil
of radiance that I could see no thing.'

~Dante Paradiso, Canto XXX, summit of his last work

From the time he met her as a child, to their 'courtly love' as young adults, Dante's muse was Beatrice. He hardly knew her, hardly met her, yet devoted all his works to her inspiration. She died at 24. In the final book of the Divine Comedy, it is the beauty of her light that guides him to the beatific vision of divine light. He keeps turning to gaze at her face, and she chastises him for gazing at her beauty, rather than the self-luminous rose of beauty itself.

She merges into the rose, to take her place among the celestial choirs, as Dante enters into the final vision, the radiance of pure love.

Through the personal form, we merge into the personal formless. But it is never IMpersonal.

Bow down to your muse in gratitude.

Another Heart


Something inside me broke its golden center,
spilling all circumference,
drowning edges in a sea of breath
like ancient ruined cities of coral.
I thought it was my heart
beaten by yours, torn by silence.
But no, there is another heart
where your name and my name are lost
in rhythms of yearning,
where form's boundaries submerge
in the music of an inhalation and a sigh.
No, there is another heart, dear one,
deep inside yours and mine,
whose only joy is the wound of love.


قلب آخر
شيء ما تحطم في داخلي
وجوهره الذهبي،
فاض على المحيط،
فأغرق الأطراف في بحر من النَفَس
كأطلال مدن الماضي المرجانية اللون.
ظننته قلبي
تحطم على يدك،
ممزقاً بالصمت.
لكنني أخطأت: هناك قلب آخر
بضيع فيه اسمك واسمي
في إيقاعات الحنين،
تغوص فيه الأشكال والحدود
في موسيقى الشهيق وتنفس الصعداء.
هناك قلب آخر، حبيبتي،
في أعماق قلبك وقلبي،
قلب لا يفرح إلا بجرح الحب.

Translated into Arabic by Dana Chamseddine

The Poppy

 

Love has ruined my heart.
Poppies grow in rubble
where a warrior stood
defending the One.
Thirst is my strength now.
Tears are mighty shields of prayer
arming my eyes against the night.
My only meditation is to wait
for a rendezvous
with the breath of the Beloved.
Her name is the morning star.

 

زهرة الخشخاش
لقد أتلف الحب قلبي.
ينمو الخشخاش تحت الأنقاض
حيث وقف محارب يوماً
يدافع عن الواحد الأحد.
يصبح العطش قوّتي.
ودموعي دروع من الصلاة
تتسلّح بها عيناي ضد الليل.
وتأملي الوحيد يمسي
انتظار موعد مع زفرة الحبيب،
مع كوكب الصباح.

Arabic translation by Dana Chamseddine

1/18/2013

Settle


So now, after the solstice of 2012, we have entered a new circle on the evolutionary spiral: a settling of energy into the heart center is taking place, with a discharge of stale forms and concepts in the mind.

This discharge of old patterns may make the mind confused, uncomfortable and cranky for a while as attention gradually stabilizes in our new orientation. Mind is resentful about its loss of rulership now that awareness has shifted its magnetic North to a deeper more silent place.

For mind is no longer the guiding force. The guidance comes from the heart - quite literally from this pulsing radiance at the center of the body. Now mind is the disciple of silence.

We want to cling to old arguments, old habits of justification, but they are passing away like yesterday's newspaper. This is frustrating. What to do? Simply stop clinging.

Remember, this mind is smoke, but you are the fire. In the previous age, you identified with wisps of thought, flying in every direction. Now you can rest in your hearth at home. Let the breath-breeze sweep away the beliefs and the fears of a bygone age.

The keynote for this period of time is the discovery that old paradigms just don't work any more. Those who are stuck in them will experience conflict. They will project this conflict onto imagined adversaries in the world outside, but the conflict is within themselves. It is the conflict between brain and heart, between a mind that won't surrender and a deeper Radiance. So these people will get increasingly frustrated, fearful and angry, and will polarize into the negative force. Please don't butt heads with them. Let them butt heads with themselves! Just smile, bless them, and let them go their way.

But those who gracefully breathe out the past, and trust with utmost simplicity in the Present Moment, will experience constant renewal, with a transparent mind and a heart unencumbered by the world's negativity.

You now have a choice whether to immerse in confrontation and conflict, or be free. Previously it was not a choice. Your karma was too thick and heavy. Now you can choose to let the heaviness go.

This is the time to rest at the Source, even in the midst activity. Where is the Source? Where in-breath arises and out-breath dissolves, the stillness before thought. Act from there.

Stop looking for that place and start looking from that place.

See, you traveled effortlessly from the rim to the center without even knowing it! Welcome. You are a survivor.

From now on, live each moment as royalty, and honor the royalty in others. No one has to justify themselves anymore. We are all sparkling facets of one royal diamond.

In the radiance that is always now, everything is as it should be, as it must be, as it is.

1/17/2013

Rose of Emptiness


Whatever I can name, I can let go of.

When I let go of names, I make listening sacred.

When I let go of names, every breath, every particle of dust gets interesting. Life begins.

Do you want a name for it? Laotzu called it Tao, but he warned that it really has no name. Jesus called it the Kingdom of God, but he said, "It is not over here or over there: it is within
you." Buddha called it Nirvana, but he refused to say anything about it. He wouldn't even say whether it was existent or non-existent!

When I hear these religious terms, I mythologize them, imagining them as places, objects of perception, or states of existence. I assume that these words describe some content of experience. But if Truth were the content of my experience, it would just be more stuff that I could let go of. It would just be another name.

Truth has no content or name. Happiness is not an experience. God is not an object of attention. What we're talking about here is precisely what remains when all is abandoned, including 'me.'

So what remains?

Look into the motionless explosion of a rose. Look deep into its atoms. Gaze all the way down through its sparkling architecture of pure light, into photons bursting from unfathomable night, where the most infinitesimal particle contains the information of all the stars.

Fall into holy loss, vibrant annihilation. Fall into the luminous thunder of divine silence.

This is the rose of emptiness. 

1/16/2013

Window


A pellucid inner window transmutes the dross of the world into golden light. A self-luminous crystal lens, nearer to me than thought, an unbroken stream of seamless transparency, is awareness itself. In thast sweet invisible sap creation dissolves, the seer dissolves in each petal of the seen. From the lucidity of my own pure awareness creation springs, a rose floating on the void, roots dangling inward...

No matter how conflicted this world may appear, the self-evident truth is that it always arises a priori in the perfect unity of my own awareness. I cannot escape from the boundless freedom of my blessed solitude. I cannot know anything but my Self."


Keep the window clear. Polish the glass each morning and evening with the cloth of breath. Gaze until you become the light by which you see.

The Book of Practice


There are 10,000 pages in the Book of Practice,
containing 100,000 instructions
for uniting Heaven and Earth,
for making God Human,
for infusing lumps of soil with stars and galaxies,
for irradiating your naked body with a splendor
beyond the delights of man and woman,
for turning the sex of infinity into the breath of life
and the clarity of pure awareness
into a solid diamond.
These practices are sweet and terrible,
demanding at least 777 lifetimes.
But the wise cheat.
They read no further than page 1, Step 1:
"Rest the mind in the heart.
Thought is just smoke: Be the fire."
Then they go straight to the end of the book,
the very bottom of the last page, where it says,
"Rest the mind in the heart.
Thought is just smoke: Be the fire."
This is all they do.
It is the way of Masters and Beginners.
We who need to do anything else
are just sophomores, fiddling
with intermediate knowledge.

Whirl of Stillness


Eight trillion eons ago, She meditated on her emptiness and said, "Shhhhh..."

After another twenty billion years, She whispered, "This is getting a little boring...."

Then, just three billion years later, She said, "Wait, if I'm alone, who am I whispering to?"

That's when She saw Him, and went mad with love. She was his reflection in the mirror of consciousness.

When She had fully awakened to Two in One, He began to woo her. He created gifts. He offered her particles and anti-particles from the vacuum. He offered mud, corn, lace underwear, a sword, a lute, fire, Birkenstocks, and the music of Johnny Mathis. Then he invented war, dancing, and baseball. It was not enough. Sex and poetry. Backgammon. The Earth. Dolphins and honey bees, gifts from the Venetian Lords of the Violet Flame. Wine, a gift from Mars.  Still, it was not enough. And still today from the cornucopial void there pours what is from what is not.

Faith in the one rejoices in two.

Revel in gentleness, but wrestle a kiss from every demon.

Rub your body in the healing balm of gelatinous conflict. Smell the stink of Kali's lair, and ask to spend a day in her darkness, picking marrow from the bones of her lovers. Make soup.

Resist not the exquisite lap-dance of angels. Perform the mudras of the Wrathful Deity Mahakala, who is only your mind, rejoicing in essential pointlessness.

Be the reflection of a cloud dissolving in a mirror: but remember that the mirror is made of polished stone.

Don't you see, friend? Sometimes love becomes fierce to thicken the plot.

Be sugar, enter the pan and caramelize.

If you don't have fire in your belly, you will never cook the sun and stars.

Now go forth in a seamless robe of laughter, wearing a priestly garland of tears. Drive the liars from the temple with your sash of doubtlessness. Engage so deeply in your fury that your heart becomes silent. 

Let Truth not shrink from the whirl of stillness.

______________

Photo: Wrathful Tibetan Deity Mahakala, an emanation of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of compassion.

1/15/2013

Two Poems by Dana Chamseddine


تحرقني الحقيقة فأفرح! وتذرّي رمادي الحالم فوق أنهار الموت، فتعيد إليها الحياة!

Truth burns me: I bliss out!
Then It disperses my dreaming ashes
on the rivers of death,
restoring them to Life!

عندما أحببتك، رقصت الفراشات في السماء وتركت النور لتنظر إلى عينيك! حبك المستحيل صار محراب الفراشات التي تتلمظ بمازوشيتها!

When I loved you, butterflies
danced in the sky and left the Light
to look into your eyes.
Your impossible love has become
the sanctuary of moths
who savor their masochism.

1/14/2013

Pinned


Something bigger than all the galaxies,
more golden than 10 billion suns,
is pinned to this old body at the heart.
Whatever such vastness is,
one breath fuses it with bone and marrow,
earth touching heaven like a baby's mouth
meeting a nipple.
In the synapse where neurons exchange
a kiss of fire, there is a spiral of stars,
and somewhere inside that
this green droplet we live on.

Gentle Manifestos


Blessing, not protest. Justice is in compassion as grapes are in wine.
*
Do you really want to change the world? Get off the wheel of opposites. Stop reacting.
*
Be a creator. Reaction is just karma. Creation does not arise from previous conditions.
*
I plant a seed of peace, a seed of friendship, a seed of joy. But if I have no Silence in my heart, where will it take root?
*
Action devoid of Silence is stress. Action from Silence is love. This is why we pray first, then light a candle.
*
I have never seen a mountain swept away by fog, only made more beautiful by its passing and dissolving. Selah.

Photo by Laura Converse

Bell


Stars, deeper stars. Stars within stars. Why is it always a surprise, this thing called night, so alive with namelessness? One enormous empty singing bell whose silence says: "Enough melodrama! Stop all this falling in and out of love. You are love!"

1/13/2013

Sabbath


Sabbath morning.
Do nothing for one hour.
Then see how the world dances
like mountains in mist.


Groping for what I already am, 
getting rid of what I never carried, 
how much energy is wasted
which could better be spent gazing 
at the clouds on Granite Peak. 

Nothing to attain, 
nothing to renounce.
This I learn from dripping cedars 
in white emptiness.

1/12/2013

Right This Moment


All is a breath. Don't ask whose. Just keep offering what is given.

Right this moment, it makes no difference what you ate. It makes no difference what you did yesterday, or this morning, whether it was right or wrong, success or failure.

Right this moment, it makes absolutely no difference what you believe, or disbelieve, whether you are a Christian or an Atheist, a Buddhist or a Wiccan.

Right this moment, it only matters that you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, you are loved by an infinite love.

You are engulfed in an ocean of love. Love's tidal waves sweep gently, silently, in and out of your heart with every breath.

Each atom of air, photon of food, electron in your body, swirling galaxy of stars, is made from the same radiance, the radiance You Are, the radiance I Am, the radiance of pure love.

Love is the nature of consciousness, just as it is, right this moment. Perfect love is always already here.

All we need to do, all we have to be, is awake.

Artist Link: Josephine Wall

1/11/2013

Big, Little


Have you noticed? If you do little things very very carefully, big things disappear, but each little thing is filled with a starry heaven. The journey from what you are doing right now, to the most important thing in your life, is the distance from your forehead to your chest. A single breath. Do you understand this?  I don't.

Photo: Milky Way over Mt. Hood, Oregon

1/10/2013

Of Guns and Bibles


I am sick of the gods of war.

We can’t explain our gun culture by scapegoating the NRA, or Hollywood, or a few mentally ill people. We have to look deeper, into our disturbingly violent religious heritage.

Our "holy" books call us to battle. The military propaganda of ancient scribes we consider "scripture" (see Deuteronomy 20). The story of Joshua's genocide against the native tribes of Palestine gave religious justification for the treatment of Native Americans by white colonists, calling themselves “the new Israel.” Biblical notions about “the chosen people" conquering a “promised land” inspired “American Exceptionalism," with our imperial invasions of the Philippines, Central America, Vietnam, Iraq, and now Obama's drone war against Third World villagers.

Americans glory in war. We don’t just idolize hunting or sports guns, but military assault weapons. For many citizens, arming ourselves for a coming apocalyptic battle against dark foreign powers is not just a right-wing political conspiracy, but a religious duty.

Yet such violent fantasies are far from the true spirit of Jesus, who said, "Love your enemy… Put away your weapon." (Mat 5:44, 26:52)

Let us abandon the old gods of tribal warfare and honor the living God of compassion. Sacred history is not the past: it is what we do now for justice. The "promised land" is not a country conquered with guns, but a society that cares for its poor, its elderly, its sick and homeless.

The chosen people are the people who choose peace.

Illustration by Gustave Dore: Joshua and the Hebrew army sparing one inhabitant of the city, Rahab, because she betrayed her own people.

1/08/2013

What Wine Doesn't Say


The wine doesn't say to the grape,
'Let me back in,
I want to be juice again.'
You've been uncorked.
Your job is to make everything 

spin.

To Her

 

Love poets only write about five things:
earth, air, light, water, and you.
But you are only known through images.
Therefor when we speak of you
people imagine we are talking about the world,
the flame of your caress, the ocean of your glance,
starry wind of your voice, landscape of your kisses,
a garden of lovers who burn each other up
as roses in fragrance, or bees not knowing,
not caring, who will drink their honey.
When I met you, love, it all became so real.
I could not see or taste or touch your lips,
no, that was because you filled my heart
with a fire from inside,
and the distance between us was God's
blinding Now of light.
Who will understand this? Only you,
and blades of grass whom the Master's feet
crush.

Left Right


A butterfly has two wings:
a Left wing and a Right wing.
They are not angry at each other.
They lift one another.
Your name is written on both
in hieroglyphs of blackness and fire.
Isn't this how opposites dance
into the sky?


Artist: Don Ray

1/07/2013

Fist




Unclench your fist;
anger is not the way.
Unclench your heart;
the radical act is compassion.
Buds, cocoons, broken shells
teach us to change through non-violence,
a passionate expansion of wings and petals.
Yes, things burst, but only
as beats of rhythm within rhythm.
Save your blood for deeper
more musical veins, the ones in your heart.
The real revolution is to breathe.

Tree of Fire


I don't want information, I want light.

"Information" is creation's first fire imprisoned in bytes of silicon, trapped in dendrites of cerebral protein, snuffed into memes of smokey thought. At least for a few minutes this morning, in deep meditation, free my radiance from knowing!

Isn't this what happened to Moses when he saw God in the "burning bush?" It wasn't a bush but his own brain stem. His spine was the Tree of Life, branches catching glory, spreading the fiery first commandment of the hypothalamus, 'Let there be light!'

Doesn't the Bible say, "Our God is a consuming fire?" The Word of creation is not information, but bliss.

Let the burning breath of my sushumna surge through the root-ball amygdala, brilliant sap bursting synaptic twigs in radiant blossoms of the cerebellum, leaves of electric flame. The Lord did not plant this tree to overload the branches of my nervous system with the Knowledge of Good and Evil, hanging in clusters of opposites.

I was pruned to bear more fire.

Thank You


Sixty five years old. I feel about seven most of the time. Jesus have mercy on me.

I don't have enough courage to be a pacifist, enough humility to be a christian, or enough purity to be a yogi.

I get angry and harbor impure thoughts. I eat and drink unwholesome foods. I wander too wondrously among many gods. I study and study, yet seem to know less each day. Of dubious use to humanity, or even to my loved ones, I am mere baggage on this planet, and my carbon footprint is very heavy.

I am the very incarnation of incompetence. All I do is write poems and feed them to the wind, hoping somebody will find one, and they don't clutter the planet too much.

Yet for no apparent reason the universe has accepted me, and allowed me to dwell on the precious green earth, embraced by sunlight and air, enfolded in the miracle of mere Being. Something vast permits me to say, "I love, therefor I am." And this fills me with unspeakable gratitude.

1/06/2013

A Question for Stars


Petals in a bud, rivers in a spring,
twins in a womb, lovers in love.

Once it was like this: I Love You.
Now it is like this: (I) Love (You).

What longs for me in you
longs for you in me. Between

your breathing out, my breathing in,
one stillness.

Feathered seeds on ocean winds
carry my words to your distant loam.

Only you can hear them, gently
disturbing the stars with a question:

Why don't we fall in love
with Love itself?