6/30/2013

Yearning to Bow


My daughter took this picture with instagram on the solstice. She noted, "Summer needs no filter."

I planted this peony three years ago in a place that became a secret, hidden by swelling ferns and dwarfed by bamboo. It blossoms only two or three days of the year, just at the dawn of Summer, then drops its petals and vanishes. I never told anyone it was there, but Abigail discovered this flower, and made it ever-lasting. Thank you, Abby.

Just this flower, just this picture, give me such fulfillment. How is that possible? Now that I am older than I ever imagined, yet somehow feel younger than I ever dreamed, I realize how boring my present life would seem to the youth I once was, yet how utterly beautiful it is: this sacrament of little things, brief perpetual pause between seasons, fragrant shadow under the petals of now, and quiet resolution of all my imperfections, into what I Am. 

I wrote a poem about it:

This yearning to bow
to a dawn-lit peony,
to your own out-pouring breath,
to a petal of sound that floats
on the stream of silence....
Bow without knowing why.
All foreheads touch the same ground.
Love has no name.

Choice

The intellect makes distinctions between this and that.
The heart ferments these differences into the wine of love.
This is why we need a mind, and this is why we need a heart.
But if your mind insists on choosing, tell it to choose
the heart.

6/29/2013

The Obstacle

 
Nothing prevents spiritual blossoming more than the perennial delusion that Grace is mediated by a hierarchy of elites, at the top of which is a pope, a guru, or a savior - when all the while the real Master embraces us immediately, now, from the deep Beauty of our own heart.

6/27/2013

Afraid of Fertility


Are we afraid of our fertility?

It is not the world that pushes us out of our comfort zone, but our own creativity. Beyond the safe boundary of imitation lies the ecstasy of being a creator.

Where are you truly of service? Where you share your ecstasy. Service is not the drab duty of imitating what others do in the name of seva. Service is sharing the ecstasy of your unique gift. Being You without fear is the real seva. No one else can do it.


Freud wrote that, “The behavior of human beings in sexual matters is often a prototype for the whole of their other modes of reaction in life.” It's interesting to me that many of the sexual dysfunctions and controversies in our culture arise from fear of pregnancy; while in our spiritual lives, our growth is blocked by fear-based patriarchal institutions that point to a Creator above, but prevent us from realizing the Creator within. 

May we form a new community to honor ourselves as divine Creators, celebrating fruitfulness on all levels.

From the Depths

 

When I was a kid, I loved to swim. One of the main reasons I loved to swim was because I could let out my breath in a long rising stream of bubbles as my body sank to the bottom of a blue-green sunlit pool. At bottom, I would lie on my back to feel the silence, the stillness, while people played on the surface far above. The sound and motion of their play did not reach me at all. I simply witnessed.

It's taken me a lifetime to realize why I loved that experience. It was an innocent childhood sacrament of cosmic consciousness.

On the sensate surface of our lives, what plays in time is a shimmer of forms that does not disturb the vast stillness in the depths of our Being. From the depths, Being beholds time, enfolding the outer world with compassion and peace. It is precisely the non-involvement, the inviolable stillness of pure Being, that generates peace for the world above, and provides a calm basis for what happens on the surface. If Being were not completely beyond the realm of becoming, peace would not be possible.

Meet the Unknown


 "The deep truth is imageless." ~Shelley

The deepest information has no form. Therefor, to be deeply informed, dissolve. How to dissolve? Listen to silence: for when we listen, we do not think.

We've been listening to our thoughts, which can be known. Now listen to the Unknown, which cannot be thought.

The Unknown will have its way with us, whether or not we pretend to be in control. Having dissolved in the boundless darkness beyond thought, do not be surprised to see an Other gazing back, as from an unfathomably empty mirror. Do not be surprised to meet a Person, radiant with friendship and compassion.

Will I recognize the face of the Other who gazes back at me from the depths of the Unknown?

My Ishta-devata, gifted form of the formless, the Other I encounter reflects the highest aspiration of my own personality, my own culture and karma. For some, it may be the serene countenance of Amita Buddha; for others, Lord Krishna, with a playful smile; for some, the Mother Goddess; for others, Christ, darkly radiant with human pathos.

Let us now dispel two misunderstandings about the Ishta-devata. One divine form is not superior to another; and there is no conflict between the form and the formless.

The only conflict is our resistance. The form constantly dissolves into the formless, and the formless constantly dances in the form. These processes are simultaneous, like a mirage shimmering in stillness. Resisting the formation of form or the dissolution of form is the last attempt of the ego to cling.

To greet the divine Person in the luminescent emptiness of the Unknown prepares me to serve strangers. When I greet the Unknown within as a Person, I am prepared to greet every stranger as the Beloved.

Therefor, let us cultivate an intimate relationship with the Unknown. 

6/26/2013

A Moment of Silence



A shift of your own consciousness from anxious thinking to surrendered silence, even for a moment, relieves the whole world from stress. When a particle dissolves into silence, silence awakens everywhere. This is not philosophy. It is service.

Painting by Albert Bierstadt

6/25/2013

Agreement

There is no death,
only our agreement
not to resist the opening,
the current of dissolving
that carries us again and again
toward a black hole of chaos
that suddenly blossoms
into the great simplicity
of Light.

6/24/2013

Confessions of a Wanderer


 "Be a wanderer." ~Jesus, Gnostic Gospel of Thomas

"The grail knights thought it a disgrace to quest in a group. So each entered the forest where there was no path, and where it was darkest." ~La Queste del Saint Graal, 13th C. 

Up until the age of seven, I wandered in wonder. Then I began to buy the propaganda of public school and Sunday school. They both insisted, each in their own neurotic way, that they had life figured out, and they were going to teach me how to be a "success." Of course, they were just passing along, to the next generation, their fear of failure.

Took me the next half century to realize that they were pretending. Absolutely every adult I met was pretending to know. Over the years I too pretended, and played the role of knower.

Now I know that I don't know. And the more I don't know, I know who I am.

If you've found the true path, congratulations: please don't guide me. If you've found the movement that will finally save humanity, congratulations: please don't sign me up. Because what I have found is the courage to wander in wonder again.

I have abandoned the compass of technique. Now I enter the ancient forest precisely where the trees are unfelled. I have no desire to super-impose any map of consolation over this unfathomably green mystery.

Meandering like a bee, I'm glad for any honey I can selve from the unselved sweetness of the sacred garden. When good and lost, I no longer move toward the center: I am the center. It's when I join a movement that I get stuck, and stop moving.

Say you and I rest by a spring in the forest. The spring is our gaze. We drink from each other. My sparkling ignorance encircles you, and you are at home.

Say the blossom of Correct Teaching withers away: we are the fragrance that remains. Just by sighing together, admitting we know nothing, we breathe life.

By letting go of our search, and meeting each other totally lost, we arrive at our destination.

(Photo: I took this in the Carbon River rainforest near Mt. Rainier.) 

6/23/2013

When you have a cup of tea, a relaxed belly, and a good friend,
even planning for the future happens in the present moment.

I Am Love

Creator plants this song in every heart: "I Am Love."

I invite you to say it quietly inside. Close your eyes, relax the muscles in your belly, breathe in a  gentle breath, then breathe out, feeling and hearing deeply, "I Am Love." Only if it feels right, I invite you to experience this...

The primordial Word that creates us: "I Am Love." Not "I love you" but "I Am Love."

"I love you" is possessive, contracting the heart with a silent demand for private attention. But "I Am Love" expands the heart with a love that makes no claim upon its object. Indeed, "I Am Love" has no object. It is the song of the Self, the all-pervading subjectivity, the triumph of cosmic person-hood.

"I love you" is only possible because our being first cries, "I Am Love." Maybe we don't listen to this song because we're afraid of being consumed in the fire of love's unity...

I desperately want to individualize myself. I want to be somebody! I want to be original and creative and articulate my own personal voice. This feels like a worthy enterprise at first. In fact we spend the first half of our evolution doing this, lifetime after lifetime. Then we begin the return journey. We begin to realize that this need to be "me" arises from incomplete understanding.

My "individualism" can be as self-limiting as it is expressive. "Individualism" is a subtle form of fear: fear of death, death of the ego. My need to be somebody is based on the fear that my ego might dissolve. I fear falling back into raw unprocessed love, the consuming fire of love before "I," love before duty or devotion, primordial love exploding as the light source of my original innocence.

What would happen if I let go of my anxiety about being "original" and "individual"? Even for a few moments, moments of deep meditation, what if I allow the voice of my little "me" to be quiet, and I sink into my real originality, the first Word of creation, "I Am Love"?

No worry. I discover that God's Word of Love articulates me far more creatively than I could articulate myself. This song, "I Am Love," sings me as the ocean raises a wave, as a diamond sparkles one facet of its infinite multifarious beauty. The more I surrender to the One, the more I become uniquely Me. This is the secret of divine Love.

A glimmer of sunlight on the sea does not worry about whether it lives an instant or a thousand years. It sparkles and dissolves, sparkles and dissolves, ever born, ever dying. So what? Each glimmer is utterly unique, yet part of one sun.

How does my heart beat? "I Am Love." How does my breath breathe? "I Am Love." Maybe the world gets dark, maybe I suffer illusion and fear, because I forget to begin by loving myself?

Sing it 777 thousand times a day: "I Am Love." Through this song all creatures keep creating themselves, so that they can do God's work. Even a fly sings, "I Am Love" and becomes a fly.

Only we humans are vain enough to imagine that loving ourselves is a problem. Who could I love if every cell of my blood, flesh, bone and marrow were not the ocean of Love? Who could I love if each proton in each atom of my body did not sing, "I am made out of Love!"

Whisper it, friend, first like a secret, then like a bell on a temple, then like a storm that carries everything away.

Before I Sleep


Before I go to sleep, the Creator reminds me to search my heart and ask one crucial question: "Did you have any fun today?"

"But Lord, the world is so full of injustice, violence and terror. What right have I to be happy?"

The Lord answers, "I gave you the earth for beauty, but I also gave you the freedom to finish creation, by focusing on whatever you like."

"I finish your work?"

"Did I not give you the power to name the creatures? That is the power to bend the world toward joy or sorrow, love or fear; the power of your perception."

"They did not tell us about this power in church or in school."

"They did not want you to be powerful. But now I tell you, the supreme creative power is the power of Delight. Even if for a single instant you delight in a blossoming weed, the face of a child, or the sound of hummingbird wings, you lift the heart of humanity, and offer creation back to its source. For I Am perfect Delight."


6/21/2013

The Politics of the Restless Mind

The restless mind loves political angst, exaggerates conflict by taking sides, and believes that righteous anger will change the situation.

Political angst makes the mind feel alive on the surface level of mere thinking, but dulls and suppresses our underlying consciousness. By perpetuating conflict, thought perpetuates itself. The very nature of thinking is analysis, which is division, which is opposition. Thinking is like a dog that gnaws a dry bone to get the taste of its own blood in its own saliva.

The "political" conflict is really a conflict projected by the mind. Of course, this is the opposite of the Marxist analysis of history. Marxism is based on a materialist vision, a vision that sees our mental condition as a mere reflection of economic conflict. But the ancient Vedic vision is the reverse. How we see the world reflects the quality of our consciousness. The world is our projection.

The ego loves to superimpose its mental conflict onto the world. Year after year, century after century, we watch the same melodrama with the same players, and pretend it is happening "out there": the party of the Right vs. the party of the Left, rulers vs. the commoners, capitalists vs. workers, rich vs. poor, the 1% vs. the 99. Eventually we realize that peace does not come through this endless political theater, because peace does not come through ideology.

Peace is awareness, not thought. Peace is not one side of the conflict: it is the space around the conflict. That space is pure awareness, free from any ideology, free from the compulsion to take sides.

Peace is the end of conflict because it is the death of thought. When thinking subsides, awareness becomes clear, transparent, self-luminous. Then we can listen. We can be present. We can love. But this isn't what thinking wants. Thinking only wants to be "right."

Resistance shrinks attention into thought. Meditation expands attention into silent awareness. In resistance, we take sides and feed conflict with thinking. In relaxed awareness, conflict dissolves. Why be a cloud when you can be the sky?

Seva

It is good to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, shelter the homeless. But it's not enough. Mere alms-giving keeps both giver and receiver in materiality.

The deepest service is to awaken the heart. If you feed a person, you keep them biologically alive for another day, but to what purpose? So that they get hungry again? So that they can breed hungry children? So that they can acquire wealth, perchance, and make others hungry?

But if you teach a person how to stir up the inner fire of bliss in every atom of their body, kindled from the depths of divine silence, they will fulfill the purpose of living: they will experience God. That is the greatest service. That is why we teach meditation. Meditation awakens the very core of our being. 

6/17/2013

Free

We are overwhelmingly free. There are people in prison cells, with nothing at all, who realize overwhelming freedom. There are people with immense political and economic power who feel utterly bound.

6/16/2013

Open Letter to God the Father


Dear God (alias 'Almighty,' 'Lord of Hosts,' 'Heavenly Father'),

OK, I know we're all having gender issues here. And I must admit, my life has been so much better since I started thinking of you as Her. I mean, face it, the Goddess energy rocks! But because its Father's Day, I'm going to try really hard to say, 'Our Father.'

At least for today, though, you got to promise me you won't be jealous, angry, or judgmental. No brooding in the clouds. Come down to earth. And no more Commandments. They don't work. Suggestions are much better.

Please drop the crap about hell because we've grown up and just don't buy it. Also, don't order any more armies to slaughter the Hittites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Palestinians, the North Vietnamese, the Sunnis and Taliban, Apaches and Gay People. And stop sending whirlwinds to the Bible belt: that makes NO sense.

Lose the lightning bolt. There are no sacred weapons. Get over the thing about hierarchy. Try a circle. Stop threatening people: you come off sounding petty and stupid.

And one more thing: Art. Some of us really like art. We like sculptures of the Goddess. We like fertility. We like cave paintings of women with huge hips and wolf mothers and Kali dancing. We don't worship idols. We just like art. So stop telling us what to do with the almighty freedom of the human imagination. We painted You didn't we? Who do You think imagined that beard?

Just be glad You still have some friends. Look, I'm trying to do the right thing here, I'm even using a capital 'Y'. So get off your pedestal and join the human race. If You give me a deal on that, I'll agree, at least for now, to wish You a happy Father's Day.

Please notice, however, I'm not on my knees. I'm just reaching out for a handshake. Maybe even a frikkin hug. But no more kneeling. No more fear and trembling. Just friendship. How bout it, Father?

And one other thing. Even though your followers persecuted and crucified them for it, some of the great ones like Jesus and al-Hallaj demonstrated quite persuasively that You are not 'up' there: you are within. So from now on, whenever I capitalize the 'G' in God, I'm also going to capitalize the 'H' in human. OK?

Now, from the bottom of my heart, I say, 'Dear God, happy Father's Day.'

____________

P.S. I got a response to this letter almost immediately. God said, " OK, Fred. But You must get over it too.'

6/15/2013

Peace


The peace that passes understanding is not above but before understanding. How crucial it is to connect with Who you already are, before you know anything! Tell me, friend, how do you return to the Heart-Whole-Healing alignment that you never lost?

6/14/2013

Christian Minus Sin



"... that my joy may be in you, and your you may be complete." ~John 15:11

Christian - Sin = Celebration. Celebrate the incarnation of Joy from the womb of Light. No one fell. No one is guilty. No one needs to pass through Armageddon to get to the Garden. We just need to plant it right where we are, and enfold all creation in the fire of Love. The only sin is to think so little of ourselves that we give away our power to another.


6/12/2013

Privacy

The politics of privacy is getting interesting.

We progressives want complete transparency and public disclosure in government. But don't mess with our own privacy.

Being good students of Marx, we disdain private property and private enterprise. But we demand private iPhone and email accounts.

We encourage the government to confiscate and redistribute private wealth - taxation - so that we have all the access we need to other people's money. Yet the government who gives us the money isn't supposed to know anything about us.

We claim a right to public healthcare, public transportation, public schools, public parks and public safety from crazy people with assault weapons. Yet we also claim a right to privacy. Would this be a public right to privacy, or a private right to public goods and services?


The only solution to this conundrum is more consciousness. The All-Knowing dwells in every nook and cranny of the earth. The All-Seeing pervades the sky, unto the farthest galaxy. One proton contains the information of the cosmos. Consciousness fills every point in space, and you are That. "Tat Tvam Asi." Where is the privacy?

In all of creation, only a handful of human beings - elite hipsters with full bellies, comfortable beds, iPhones, credit cards and online bank accounts - whine about their "privacy."

Art by Daniel Holeman

6/11/2013

Honey

There is a process of making honey that begins in the loins, no, in the soles of the feet, no, deep in the loam, and if allowed to continue without the intervention of the mind, results in the fountain of stars that others call the sky at night, but we know as astonishment, the domelessness of the temple of this body.

6/09/2013

The Path to Now


Is anything acquired by the Self? Is anything abandoned? 

The crucial question is, what have you accumulated through your spiritual practices? Be very clear and honest about this. For all your initiations, your advanced techniques of meditation, yoga and pranayama, your Visa bills for jet-setting to the ashram, have you actually acquired anything? 

Who were you when you started your quest, and who are you today? Is the one who accumulated all this knowledge, all these spiritual practices, any different now? Has Awareness changed?

The most advanced practice is to stay where you began. That path is best whose first breath is all you will ever need. 

6/08/2013


When I choose a flavor
I don't reject
anything

The World Dances In Us


To purify the world, see the world as pure. Then act in a pure world from the level of pure vision. 

To purify vision, meditate, immerse the heart in pure Silence.

Seeing the world as pure is to see the dancing Goddess, Shakti. Seeing the world as the dancing Goddess is to see nothing ungodly. See earth made of starlight, in every atom, each proton ripe and dense with bliss, Ananda.

The dancing goddess is the whole creation. She is the earth. She is nature, Prakriti. Where does she dance? In what space?

Her dance is an exquisite mirage in the immaculate void of our awareness. Adore her as your own Self. 

Even her wildest dance is the vibration of stillness, of clear empty mind. Just as the form of each ocean wave is made of water, so her dance trembles in the stillness and the silence of our adoration and wonder.

The world rests in the dance of the Goddess, and the dance of the Goddess rests in you. May you rest in Shiva, unbounded awareness.

This is the Sabbath: to rest in God. To set the world like a jewel in your heart, and your heart like a jewel in divine Silence. Your Sabbath rest restores the whole creation. Selah.

6/07/2013

5 A.M.



The word "God" has grown too heavy. We made it heavy by treating "God" as information, something to be known.


God is not information. Therefor God cannot be known.

God is the mirror of perfect silence, where information rings true. God is the field where information arises, then dissolves. But the field is not what it contains.

This is why the ancients never uttered the mantra, the name of God, aloud. Whenever they came upon "God" in the sacred text of Torah, they simply said Ha Shem, "the name." Whenever they designated "God" in the sacred text of the Veda, they said Om.

Om is not known. Om is tasted, like exquisite nectar, the oak and caramel brilliance of the dark. Om is breathed, Om is occupied, Om is filled with the world we create. Om does not create the world. Om breathes us, and we breathe earth.

The earth rests in us, as we rest in Om. Our resting place can never be disturbed.

Once, we venerated thoughts. Beliefs. Concepts. But the thought of "God" is not God. It is an idol, carved out of mind. 

We no longer bow down to a thought. We bow before silence, and become the silence we adore. 

Better to listen than to know. Listen to the wood thrush sing, and the moment just after.


6/06/2013

My Offer


I bowed. When my forehead touched the earth, I could feel the stars spill out. The intellectual asked, "Why do you bow?"

I answered, "To honor my body."

"To whom do you bow?"

"To the one who is bowing."

I sat in meditation. When my breath touched the root, I could feel the kiss of Christ and Mary Magdalene. The intellectual said, "You've been sitting for over an hour, doing nothing."

"Doing nothing works," I said.

The intellectual said, "Show me." So I started grinding diamonds from the mirror of silence. I took them to the marketplace and cried, "What will you give me for one of these diamonds?"

The Rich Man answered, "All my wealth."

The Prince said, "My father's kingdom."

The Alchemist said, "The five elements, and every secret of magic."

The Priest said, "Absolution of your sins, and the keys to heaven."

I shook my head and replied, "None of you have offered enough for even the tiniest of these diamonds of silence." Then I returned to my hut, touched my brow to the earth, and meditated for another hour.

The Age of Wholeness


The collapse of every ideology based on fear of the other. A blessed birth pang as we pass into the Age of Wholeness. We cannot conceive how vast and nearly instantaneous our progress will be when we act from our wholeness instead of taking sides, being "right," and drawing our identity from our conflict with the opposing party. Wholeness is a new way of being in the world.

6/05/2013

Your Body is the Sacred Door

The doorway to a house is not the whole house. Yet this humble open space, the door, is a gateway between outside and in.

The lintel was sacred in ancient cultures, a liminal space protected by Gods and Goddesses like Ganesh, who blesses and protects doorways in India.

Your body is the greatest portal of all. Just as the door is not the whole house, so your earthly body is not the totality of who you are: but it leads to the stars, to the kingdom of heaven.

Honor your body as the doorway to the Infinite. Honor every glistening organic pulsation of muscle and nerve. Honor the hollow passages, flowing with food and lymph, blood and air. Honor the neuron flowing with fire. Don't let anyone tell you, "You are not your body."

Honor the ocean in each cell. Honor the sky in every atom, opening like a sunrise from nucleus to electron cloud. Honor the black hole at the center of each proton, dense with all the information of the cosmos. That is the sacred Yoni. Be that opening.


Your body is an initiation, a rite of passage. Open like a flower to the space around you, for your body is a radiance beyond flesh, connecting you to the energy-field of other bodies. Your body has no edges.

Your navel is the place of emergence where ancient tribes return to the earth. Honor your breath, your exhalation into meadows, forests, mountains. Honor the inhalation that brings you the moon, infuses your blood with distant suns. The great hall in the palace of your breathing leads to the center of the galaxy.

Every house in the Zodiac is your home, a mansion within your body. The garden in the courtyard of your body blossoms with constellations. The intimate glow between Orion and Gemini is a synapse uniting two nerves in your cortex. Therefor you must honor every tingle in your flesh.

Honor the whirl of the galaxy in your forehead, throat, chest, belly, and sparkling sex. Quasars cluster on your vines so that Gods may drink your wine.

Yet never forget that most of your body is emptiness. This is the secret of your fulness. Honor the luminous silence inside, the vacuum rippling beyond the rim of the universe: that unbounded space is also inside your body.

The emptiness that fills your body is not nothing. It is consciousness, womb of ineffable Motherhood. At the core of the finest particle of your flesh is the pathway to the Goddess.

Bow down to your body. Bow down to the one who bows. Feel your crown touch the earth, as fire kisses kindling. When you bow, feel what spills from your body. When you bow, when you touch the earth with your body, pour out the star-ocean of Devas and Devatas, Buddhas and Dakinis, Avatars and Heavenly Bodhisattvas, who have gathered inside you to be churned, fermented, and brewed.

Your body is the grail that receives and pours, ever-empty, yet never not full.
____________

6/04/2013

Drum


Women were the first drummers refusing not to dance beating sheaves against the barley sifters for meade brewing and turning work to song the men did not understand so the women gave them the work to do and the women kept dancing and drumming the hollow the empty rippling the mystery of the womb the vibration of nothingness became juicy and swollen on the vine dripped down and made the men mad with desire but who kept drumming...

"In the beginning, from Nothing there arose Desire, the primal seed and germ of Spirit." 
~Rig Veda 124.4

Every person is absorbed in some vast, significant, beautiful inner work that seems small and hidden to others. Whoever you meet, honor their incomprehensible vastness.

6/02/2013

Northwest Morning


Out of the night, I stumble half a step toward You. You have already taken a thousand toward Me, like a silent underground stream that emerges into a secret valley, rising in a mist of presence filled with thrush song, dogwood blossoms, the intoxicating fragrance of hidden things. I come by a path that leads from my brow to my chest, on a journey of exhalation. Thus I enter the kingdom of your Sabbath dawn. The pilgrimage to the heart is eternal, but it only takes one breath.