1/31/2014

Volcano Mother


Volcano mother of the island, island mother of the rainforest, forest mother of the sky, sky womb of stars, stars birthing protons that fall back into the sea, into molten void at the heart of the volcano, spewing the rainbow of you and me and the dolphin people. Raven, carry our songs to the shore. Osprey, carry our music over the waters. Hawk, carry our gaze over the land. New moon in Aquarius. We love us, we love us. No one is left out.

New Moon


The Holy of Holies is not in Jerusalem, Mecca, Benares or Rome, not at Stone Henge or Macho Picchu, nor the ashram, nor the forest, nor between the Guru's toes. It's in the stillness where outbreath and inbreath kiss. Repose here. Rest at the center of the whirled.

1/27/2014

 

Rashani's collage cards, using my poems, see more HERE. See her website at Rashani.com

Samyama: The Role of Intention


In meditation, desires and attachments become temporarily quiescent, as mind merges with vast silence. But when I emerge from silence, are those impulses of desire and attachment really transformed? 

Is there any assurance that my spiritual practice will actually change me into someone better? Is there a mechanism in silence that assures the dissolution of my negative tendencies, and the growth of my positive ones? Or will a bank robber who meditates just become a calmer bank robber? 

Surely the key is my intention. Intention is the link between the field of karma and the field of silence. 

In Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, there is a subtle aspect of meditation called samyama. Samyama means that our mind forms an intention just before it dissolves into silent formless samadhi. It is like holding a seed, then dropping it into a dark furrow. Samyama is the link between moral practice and spiritual practice. This is why the eight limbs of Yoga include the Yamas and Niyamas, the do's and dont's of moral action: non-violence, non-stealing, truthfulness, sexual purity, devotion to study, etc. Having a spiritual practice disconnected from moral intent is as ignorant as having no spiritual practice at all.

Western religious traditions over-emphasize external moral action to the exclusion of inner silence; but Eastern teachings, at least as Americanized for New Agers, often overlook the moral precepts to embrace meditation alone.

A gentle but firm intention before meditation, whether formed as a prayer or an affirmation, gives trajectory to the formless silence of meditation. It is like pointing the arrow in the chosen direction, before letting it go. First point, then let go. Just as there is no value in pointing the arrow if one doesn't let it go, so there is no value in letting go without pointing the arrow.

The drawn bow of meditation is full of creative silence. But where do we point the arrow of our love?

1/26/2014

To Myself

I said to myself, "There is no I!" And I answered, "Right on! I can get down with that!" To which I replied, "Shut up, you!" And I responded, "Take it easy, I'm just trying to be agreeable." So I said, "I don't need you to be agreeable. I need you to disappear, like NOW." So I just gazed at myself with compassion. Then I heard the breath of silence whisper, "I love you."

1/24/2014

Seva


Serve in your own way, according to your own gifts, directly from your heart. As taught in the Bhagavad Gita, "Better to perform one's own duty, though faulty, than to perform another's duty perfectly." (3:35)

To judge the service performed by this person as superior to another's, is as arrogant as judging this person's religion superior to another's. One of us serves by offering disaster relief in a Third World country. Another serves by teaching stress management to veterans with PTSD. One serves by providing shelter for the homeless, another by starting a local business and hiring her neighbors. One serves by raising children with wisdom and compassion, another serves by creating healing art, and another by teaching yoga or meditation, to raise the energy of world consciousness.

One serves 2 or 3 million people, another serves 2 or 3. All are absolutely equal. For love is not quantitative. One drop from the heart can change the entire universe.


Photo by Thinh Nguyen

1/21/2014

1/20/2014

Healing




It is healing to know that everyone does not have to care about the same things....
 

 It is healing to know that you don't need to waste energy criticizing what you don't like, when you can generate energy celebrating what you love...

It is healing to know that when your dear one walks through dark shadows and moods, you can walk next to her, walk next to him, without needing to fix anything...

It is healing to know, people value us more for our wonder and openness than our expertise; more for our silences than our words; more for our listening than our advice...

It is healing to know that our heroes are utterly flawed, utterly human, and the great ones are just like us: they just let their passion for Truth take over...

It is very healing to know that the truth of your passion is Your Truth, not someone else's...

And sometimes, more often than you think, it is healing not to know anything.

1/19/2014

Prophecy


Every new year I read prophecies channeled from some "Light Worker" or "Ascended Master," who is supposed to speak from a "higher plane." These predictions always say the same thing:

We're about to pass through a cosmic shift, a planetary re-alignment, a reversal of earth's "polar field;" and this will transform human consciousness as never before. So prepare, prepare, because its always just around the corner! If it's January, then the "shift" will occur in March. When its March, the "shift" will occur in June. By the end of the summer, we're looking forward to the "shift" at the next Winter solstice. But of course, it never quite happens, because the future never arrives...

We can thank such prophecies, in a way: they are really invitations to abandon the future. A prophecy challenges us to remember that:

The "higher planes" are all inside us... To truly "ascend" is to follow your breath into the heart... The real "shift" is from the edge to the center... from worry about "when" to the silent mind of now... from the final destination to eternal waylessness... from the ascended to the fallen... from the search to self-abandonment... from the strain of wanting to the grace of gratitude... from knowledge to bewilderment... from busy thinking in the head to quiet unfolding in the breast... from the "next great thing" to the gentle anointing, the radiant glow, of things just as they are...

Only when I dwell in the Kingdom of Presence, do I truly begin to transform.

1/17/2014

Portal

 "For the one who descended is also the one who ascended far above the heavens." ~Ephesians 4:10

We don't get to universal consciousness, or enlightenment, or God, by transcending the body, by rising above our humanity, or by mere ascension. That is the old Platonic way, dividing matter from spirit. We attain the highest heaven by entering the humblest dust mote, the atom, the photon of flesh. Every particle of your body is a portal to the cosmos.

1/15/2014

Circle of Devotion


Devotion to Blessed Mother reveals human Jesus.
Through human Jesus to divine Christ Krishna.
Through Christ Krishna to infinite Buddha Mind,
that gash in his hand, an eye.
Infinite Buddha Mind reveals a speck of dust.
Devotion to dust reveals Blessed Mother.
Enter at any point in the circle.
Breathe to center.
Be the whole wound.


Artist: Kate Hansen

Quit


"Chaos" is the ever-unfolding, spontaneously perfect order that my mind can never comprehend.

The effort to control this chaotic sea of perfectly incomprehensible order is all that is meant by "ego." And to quit this striving for control is "dropping the ego." It is no apocalypse or cosmic event, just a melting away of self-imposed boundaries: like discovering that I am pinching myself in my sleep, so I just wake up and stop pinching. The pain ceases. The parenthesis I've been inscribing in the air dissolves, because it was never there.

I was thrown into this crucible of earthly existence just to realize that there is no other recourse, no other freedom, no other salvation, but here and now, at the inmost veil of the intellect, to quit striving for control.

Then a full moon is a full moon.

1/14/2014

Mountain of Silence


The mountain of silence rises inward. The summit is the abyss. Climb by sinking. 

There is only one word here, humming forever, "Am." "I" was never born.

A withered leaf on its twig is a withered leaf on its twig. The moon in a puddle, rainbowed by gasoline, is the moon in a puddle rainbowed by gasoline. 


A stray white dog is a stray white dog, silhouette on garbage mound, bathed in luminous distance, washed by the diamond transparency of miraculous night.

Thus, in solitude, attain intimacy with creatures near and far.

1/13/2014

Catechism


I cried, "Give me a meditation practice! Give me a spiritual technique! Something I can do right now to gain enlightenment!"

The Friend answered, "You are already doing it."

"I don't understand."

"You're not supposed to understand," answered the Friend. "The mind has no part in this."

"Then what practice am I doing?"

You are born in a body on earth. You awaken. That is the practice."

"What is the meaning of this birth?"

"You are on a cross, crucified by a paradox, with no escape."

"What is the meaning of this crucifixion?"

"The marriage of opposites, which occurs on no other world, and in no heaven. This is why even the gods must be born on earth if they wish to gain liberation."

"What is the center of this cross?"

"The vanishing point between past and future, spirit and flesh, joy and pain, stillness and action, converging in your cruciform body, at the heart."

"What is the mantra?"

"Your breath."

"What is the asana?"

"Embrace your flesh, just as it is."

"What is the prayer?"

"A silent 'O!' Lose yourself in that zero."

"Is there a ceremony to perform?"

"What is your body performing now?"

"My body is sitting, then standing, then walking, then lying down."

"That is the ceremony."

"To what goal will this practice lead me?"

"To the laughter you are laughing, to the tears you are weeping, to things just as they are in this moment, anointed with the dew of Awareness."


The Scale of Perfection

            Vatican mural by Raphael, Lady Justice, 1512

THE SCALE

I decided to weigh my imperfections in a scale against any faint perfection I might find in my soul, expecting my sins to outweigh my goodness substantially.

So I set on one side all that is imperfect in me, which I soon found to be everything that has form. For all forms shift and perish. My body and its deeds, every cell and molecule down to the least photon of light is insubstantial, impermanent, and therefor tainted with mutability.

Then, determined to set on the other tray what little perfection I could find, I looked into myself. And I beheld nothing perfect. Yet this perfect no-thing was everywhere!

Perfection, I saw, must be unchangeable, motionless, unbounded Being. Only vast emptiness is perfect: only the void, the vacuum of space. Yet quantum physics shows us that the vacuum is the womb of all forms. All creatures are unbalanced equations that decline and fall from the null set of pure mathematical symmetry, each composed of vibrant abstract probability-waves, desperately seeking to rebalance themselves into that perfect zero...

I beheld the unfallen diamond-hearted emptiness of this perfect zero filled with galaxies beyond me, yet pervading every cell, each particle of my body. For the space that outdistances the stars is the same space stretched out between each atom, yes, between the electrons in the atom, between the shimmering quarks inside a proton!

And I saw, at the very source of my seeing, a Void awake with Self-delight: the boundless Being of my own pure consciousness. I understood, beyond knowledge, that this alone is perfect.

Then I turned to my imperfections, that riot of changeable forms and deeds, and I condensed them into a thimbleful of stuff. But what stuff? I condensed these forms even further into a mote of dust. But was the dust mote made of? Further I distilled it down, until my imperfections occupied only a dimensionless point, a bindu, אין סוף, utterly weightless!*

I compared this infinitesimal no-thing on one side of the scale to the infinite perfection of empty space on the other, and I perceived that they were equally weightless, and in fact identical. 


Imperfection is less than a pinprick in the fabric of the universe. Perfection is omnipresent and eternal. Imperfection dances as a mirage of mere form in the stillness of perfection, without conflict or difference. 

Therefor, a pure blue sky pervades the fabric of my flesh, down to the least photon. I am pure. I am stainless. I am eternal. I can find no imperfection. And if this is true for a hopeless sinner like me, mh friend, how much more true is it of Thee?
______

* אין סוף: "ain soph," in Hebrew Kabbala, the point of infinite No-thing from which  יהוה generates the light of the universe.

* Bindu: In Sanskrit, the dimensionless and silent point from which Om emerges to create the universe as a stream of sound. 

1/11/2014

1/09/2014

The Space Between


The space between events is alive and sparkling with eternity. The path between goals is self-luminous and lovely, an end in itself. Awareness, not the object of awareness, is the ground we stand on, solid as diamond!

Now we enter a new galactic rotation, corresponding to a shift in consciousness. The new paradigm exchanges background and foreground. The background was Awareness, which seemed abstract, like nothing at all, while the foreground was concrete material form. But now Awareness solidifies into the foreground, the very substance of our life, while material form appears more and more insubstantial, dissolving, and transient.

Oft have spiritual traditions said, "the real is everlasting, the unreal is ever passing away." But this metaphysical proposition is rapidly becoming our concrete experience. We perceive that the ever-fluctuating quantum vibrations of the external world are made of no-thing: but the diamond-solid changeless field in which these forms arise is our own consciousness.

We used to stand on the world. Now we stand in the Self.

Om...
Asaatomah Sat Gamayah
Tamaasomah Jyotir Gamayah
Mrityormah Amritam Gamayah
Shantih Shantih Shantih

From the unreal, lead us to the real
From darkness, lead us to the light
From what is passing, to immortality
Peace Peace Peace

1/08/2014

Meeting


A small band of English Quaker refugees formed the Chichester Meeting of Friends in 1684. Back then they called themselves, Children of the Light. The old stone meeting house they later erected near today's Boothwyn, Pennsylvania, still stands. Quakers taught Western seekers to dwell in the apocalyptic simplicity of the present moment.

Why turn "liberation" into a cosmic mystery, a political utopia, or a distant goal that only happens when we are finally good and dead at the end of lifetimes? Liberation happens at the end of every exhalation, and at the beginning of each new breath. The cosmic mystery is Presence. Today, we are still and always Children of the Light.

1/05/2014

Picture the Electron


At this instant
there is no distance
between your body
and the radiant tongue
of the Goddess.
Taste everything at once.
You are made of light.
The smallest particle of You
is boundless.
Bee a hive.
When weary, return
to golden sweetness.
Reduce your journey
to Home itself.
You only make real honey
when you Are honey.

"We can envision a particle such as an electron as surrounded by a cloud of virtual photons which buzz around it like bees round a hive. Each photon emitted by the electron is rapidly reabsorbed. Photons nearer the electron are allowed to be progressively more energetic because they do not venture far from home, and so need exist only for the briefest duration.

"Picture, then, the electron immersed in a shimmering bath of evanescent quantum energy, intense near the electron but dwindling steadily with distance. This restless seething ferment of virtual photons is, in fact, precisely the electron's electrical field, described in quantum language.... The energy of this photon activity surrounding an electron can be computed. The answer proves, unnervingly, to be infinite.

"There is no limit to how short a journey a virtual photon may take, and so no limit to how energetic it may be. The combination from all the nearby photons of unbounded energy to the overall field strength is infinite." ~Paul Davis, Professor of Mathematical Physics at the U. of Adelaide, Australia, 'The Matter Myth'

Vedic Bee Goddess, Bhrarami Devi


"The god Indra was the namesake of ancient India and the deity who separated heaven and earth, and is said to have received honey as his first food. Similarly, the Indian Bee goddess Bhramari Devi derives her name from the word Bramari, meaning ‘Bees’ in Hindi.  It is said that Bhramari Devi resides inside the heart chakra and emits the buzzing sound of Bees, called ‘Bhramaran’. Likewise, the sound of a Bee humming was emulated in Vedic chants and the humming of Bees represented the essential sound of the universe." Link

1/04/2014

Listen, Child


Child, there was a time when we did not know that the earth is alive and the sky is inside us.

It is hard to comprehend, child, but once there was a time when men believed that we could own the soil; we had rights to the land and could take from the earth whatever we desired.
Yes, it is hard to imagine, child, but there was a time when pale-skinned men looked down on ebony and mahogany brothers, as if they came from another womb.

There was a time when husbands treated wives as they treated the land, as property; and a time when men who loved men and women who loved women hid their love, fearing exile and murder.

Child, there was a time when we slaughtered each other in the name of freedom; we slaughtered thousands daily and looked the other way, loudly distracting ourselves with games.

It is painful, child, but you must hear: there was a time when a few of us lived in unspeakable luxury, devouring the labor of the poor.

And every night, those few slept soundly, believing themselves to be a higher species of humanity, chosen for wealth by unearthly grace.

I tell the hard truth, child: there was a time when the hungry and the sick of heart wandered dark streets, homeless in a land of plenty, without a breath of welcome.

Listen to your grandfather's tears: there was a time when we did not know that the earth is alive and the sky is inside us.

'Private!"


I no longer believe in "private land." It is only a cultural prejudice, and not a law of nature, that persuades us of our right to own the soil, the aquifers and springs, the woods, hills and prairies.

Can any man own the earth, even a handful of loam? My hands did not create her, she created my hands. At best I am a tenant, a steward of the Motherwealth.

I do not own a single speck of dust. Not even the photons or electrons of my flesh are mine, for they dissolve in an instant, beyond my capacity to create or destroy. Every proton in this body of light is the gift of a star. And even that is composed of ephemeral quarks, shimmering in an unfathomable void, whose mysterious Source has no boundary or duration.

When I say "privacy," does privacy have any edges? Or is privacy simply our mutual respect, in a boundless realm where we are, finally, each other?

Mother, I belong to you. Father, I belong to you. Friend, I belong to you.

1/02/2014

Have A New Year Without Seeking Happiness


Every new year, there is a slipping into meditation after midnight to receive a keynote for this rising wave in the ocean of time. The keynote for me this year was very clear: Repose without a search. Have a happy new year, but don't seek happiness.

Repose in the Knower who cannot be known, the Being who cannot be experienced. Give up the spiritual quest for any kind of "experience," because happiness is not an experience.

Happiness is not an experience of God, Guru, or Lover; not an experience of "higher consciousness" or visions or groovy tantric sex; not an experience of extreme sport or mountaintop; nor even of compassionate service to humanity. All such events happen "out there," through objects that arise and vanish into memory.

Through any such experience, we touch Truth only vicariously, second-hand, in the realm of body, senses, mind. Yes, even thoughts are vanishing objects "out there."

Truth is not what vanishes into memory. Truth is not what must be repeated or refreshed by another trip to the ashram, another lover, another drug, another meditation technique, another wilderness trek, a trip to the sacred mountain, a Yoga pose. Truth cannot be refreshed, because anything that needs refreshment must have been lost, and anything that can be lost is "out there," in the shadow realm of experience.

Truth is the emptiness where every experience that could be sought or found has arisen and dissolved like a mirage. Truth is the silence where every thought has formed and disappeared like a cloud in blue sky. The world of the senses is a lightning bolt, here and gone. But in what still space of Truth, in what vastness, did it flash?

The space of Truth is who you are, your very awareness in repose. Unseen, the one who looks. Unknown, the one who knows. Truth is a marvelous motionless explosion of transparency, expanding from an empty inward depth more intimate to You than your next thought. Let Truth sparkle without any quest for it, because there is no "it."

May this new year, this new day, this new breath arise from your heart of silence, right where you are this moment. May bold successful action arise in joyful waves from this stillness. Repose in the Truth I Am without a search. Be now what you've been looking for, and bless the world.