12/30/2015

Have A Natural New Year

The 'highest path' is simply being natural. Every true Master has said, the nature of consciousness is to expand toward bliss, toward peace, in a most effortless way. There is more wisdom in the intuition of a honey bee than in all the concentration, self-control, and effort of the human intellect.
Most of the chaos humans cause in the world comes from our need to control, through our own mental effort. This effort backfires and chaos is born from over-control. Religious fundamentalism is just one example of how chaos is born from an over-controlling mind.
There will be a lot of chaos in 2016, and this will be a hopeful sign that human effort is backfiring. We will spring out of control, out of the old paradigm, into something wonderful and fresh: a life lived naturally, from the level of intuition, rather than the drudgery of intellectual effort.
If you study the religious traditions of the West, you discover than the theologians highly distrusted nature. Being "natural" was sin, because nature was "fallen". So they prayed for supernatural grace. This fundamental divorce between Nature and Grace has nearly destroyed Western civilization.
My prayer for you this New Year is that, in every breath, in every cell of your body, and in each atom of dust, you may allow Natural Grace to overflow. Let the Divine Mother take over. She is so lovely. She is your intuition. And She will make honey out of you.

12/26/2015

Analemma

Analemma: The asymmetrical figure-8 made by the sun's position in the sky at a certain time of day measured from one location throughout the year.
Nature is bored by symmetry, by straight lines, by right angles and perfect circles. They are imposed by our thoughts, which are extraneous to her dance. Nature loves the curve, the open knot, the graceful tangle of illusion, the mirage of past and future shimmering in empty Presence.



12/17/2015

Gifts of the Magi

In the darkest place, the light is born. The mind is a busy inn. No room there for the birth of innocence. The weary pilgrim descends into a humbler, quieter place, nearer the fur and the feather. Animals know how to be still. That empty place beneath your breastbone is the womb of the Virgin. Her name is Silence. 
 
Three kings kneel there to offer their gifts to the newborn light, who is your own Christ Consciousness. These kings are your three faculties of intellect, will, and memory. They kneel in the hay, baffled out of all thought. What gifts do they bring to you, Child? 
 
They bring three talismans of power, talismans that every Child needs for the journey to enlightenment. They are not flaming swords or shields of invisibility, sandals for flight or helmets for seeing the future. Such mythic talismans pale in comparison to what you received at your birth as a human being. 
 
You have worn these talismans so near to your body that you forgot their power. You even forgot that they were there, like diamonds in your breast pocket. Yet these are the gifts and graces that make you most human, most divine. 
 
Now before you learn what these talismans are, you must promise that you will not take them for granted any longer. They are so subtle, so radiant, so fraught with energy, that they are an open secret: so obvious to those who are awake, yet hidden to those who are asleep. Please cherish and honor them as your birthright.
 
These gifts of the Magi will not simply guide and protect you on your journey: they will magically transport you to the journey's end. Wherever you are, at any step of the way, they make the way pathless! 
 
The first talisman is your Breath. One single breath unites heaven and earth in your flesh. Each inhalation fills you with the swirling night of distant stars. Each exhalation offers and blesses the fruits of the infinite past, dissolving all impurity. Just by breathing, your body becomes the stairway of angels. Trillions of celestial beings descend into the world through your in-breath. Trillions of souls are released from purgatory, ascending through your out-breath. Honor the sacrament of breathing.
 
The second talisman is your Heart. Not some metaphysical state or moral abstraction represented by the word heart, but this faithful organ beating night and day at the center of your body: perhaps you thought it was just a muscle, or a pump! No, this blood-gorged cardio-vascular ganglion is a portal to heavenly worlds. But those worlds are all entangled in this one, and the knot at the center of this sacred entanglement is your heart.
 
Simply to rest in your heart is the beginning and end of all spiritual practice. Descending into the heart-space, the mind becomes silent and boundless. Some people think that meditation is an out-of-body experience. But meditation is an ultra-body experience.
 
At harmony with every pulsing atom of your body, you glow. Your glow irradiates the space around you, enfolding cities and forests, cradling the earth, expanding into the stars. Your body has no edges when the mind is in the heart, because the heart is an energy field without circumference.
 
The “soul” is the radiance of your body. It is your ultra-body, and its center is your heart. Touching the heart with pure naked awareness activates the entire field, a field that includes the galaxy.
 
So when you meditate, you don't go anywhere. You are infinitely here. And your hereness begins in the hridaya chakra. Our English word heart is rooted in this Sanskrit word, hridaya. The divine power of utterly being here arises from the heart. Which brings us to the third gift of the Magi...
 
The third gift is so near that you never notice it all all. It is closer than any thought, so transparent that you cannot look for it: you must look from it. In fact, this talisman is the very space of no-thought, where the mirages of memory and desire have vanished. The third talisman is pure Presence.
 
The Present Moment is the only time you will ever be happy, the only wealth you will ever possess, the only place where you will ever encounter the intimate gaze of God. Returning the the Present Moment is the goal of your eternal journey. 
 
Breath, Heart, Present Moment: these are the gifts of the three kings offered to the Christ Child, who is born as your own radiance in the darkness of this holy night.
* Painting by Gerard Van Honthorst, 1622

12/16/2015

'Dialogue': A Poem from 'Wounded Bud,' Translated Into Arabic

"I will wound you for free."
"But I want to pay for it."
"This will cost you everything."
"I have already given that."
"Then give me your silence,"
Love said.
So I renounced the mind and dove
into the space between thoughts
where I swam all night among moonbeams
with creatures who glowed in namelessness.
Just before dawn, Love severed off my crown
with a scimitar of sweetness, a wave of stillness,
mirage of emptiness, sword of the Prophet,
forever slicing One in Two, for the sake of devotion.
"Take that!" Love said.
"Thank you!" cried Bewilderment,
breaking the silence, opening
the wound again.


حوار

“سوف أجرحكَ مجانا.”
“لكنني أريد أن أدفع ثمن الجرح.”
“سيكلفكَ ذلك كلَّ شيء.”
“لقد أعطيتُ كل شيء من قبل.”
“أعطني إذن صمتك.”
قال الحب.
فتخليت عن فكري وغصتُ
في فضاء ما بين الأفكار
حيث سبحت كل ليلة بين أشعة القمر
مع مخلوقات تتوهج بلا أسماء.
قبيل الفجر، اجتث الحب تاج رأسي
بسيف من حلاوة، بموجة من سكون،
بسراب الفراغ، بسيف النبي
الذي، إلى الأبد، يقطع الأحد اثنين لكي نختبر التفاني.
"خذ ذلك!" قال الحب.
“شكرا لك!” أجاب الذهول باكياً،
فكسر إذ ذاك صمته، وانفتح
الجرح من جديد.

Translated on Dec 16th, 2015, 
by Dana Chamseddine

12/09/2015

Happiness Is Energy, Not Thought

Happiness is energy, not thought. Happiness is not a state of mind, but Prana, the primordial bliss-energy of creation.

We won't attain happiness by replacing one thought with another, by imagining, or by manipulating mental states. Neither will we attain happiness by performing "good deeds." Many people perform constant work yet remain unhappy and depressed; even though they are outwardly active, their inner energy is low. People with low prana are not healing to be with.

The energy of happiness, the energy of prana, pours freely hroughout the universe. Wild animals and angels know how to breathe it in. When a creature of the forest is exhausted or sick, it knows how to curl up into a ball of fur, in soft green silence, to recharge with prana. Then it becomes wild and vital again.

But humans ruin this natural process of graceful restoration, by trying to "do" it with their minds.
If we want to receive healing or give healing, we must dive deep into the source of energy, far deeper than mere thinking. The well of prana lies beyond the mind. Tapping that source of bliss-energy, we imbibe pure happiness with every cell of our body. This is the power of meditation. Jai Guru Dev.

12/06/2015

The Nectar Of This Breath

If you truly taste the nectar of this Breath, you will need no other drink,  no other medicine, no other wealth, no other name for the Divine. There are billions of breathers, but only one Breath.
 

With your first inhalation, the infinite space of Love informed you. With your last exhalation, the infinite space of Love dissolves you. But this does not happen only at the beginning and the end: it happens now. With each Breath you are born, you die. With each Breath Love creates you, and welcomes you home.
 

Breathe Christ this morning. Breathe Buddha this morning. Drink the milk of the Breath of the Mother of God this morning. Here is the invitation of the Beloved, whatever name you call. Won't you join me in one infinite perfect Breath?


Courage To Love

Originally the word "couråge" meant love, from the Old French, based on the Latin word for "heart." But our hyper-aggressive culture of insecurity has separated love from courage. Keeping the heart open without judgment is love. Keeping the heart open to the pain, without shielding ourselves through judgment, requires very great courage. Love is the highest form of courage.

"Judge Not"

"Judge not, lest ye be judged." These plain-spoken words by Jesus are seldom practiced, or even heard, by his followers. I know that I fail constantly to rest in the purity of his teaching.
In the coming age, "moral decision making" will be on the level of intuition rather than intellect. Simply rest in the silence of the heart, then do what you love at this moment. Encourage others to consult the heart's silence, then do what they love at this moment. Do not judge them, do not judge yourself, even if your "decisions" appear to be completely opposite.
A passionate freedom from all judgment is the perfection of moral philosophy. Refraining from judgment strikes the intellect as irresponsible, but is in fact the purest response.
Judgment is a fear reaction to protect the heart, locking the heart away from its innate power. When we have the courage not to judge, the heart comes alive in the present moment. Then we can respond with vulnerability, which is the supremely invincible power of love.

11/28/2015

One Moment Meditation

The first amphibian surfaced from a murky pond to gaze at the vast blue sky, briefly glimpsing the starry realms through which he would one day evolve to soar.
So it is that, for those of us who spend countless lifetimes mired in thought, memory and desire, it is sheer delight to drop the mind and truly See, even for a brief moment.
We can practice this one-moment-meditation often throughout the day. Just rest as the clear sky of Presence, without thinking.
You did this as a little child, but were never rewarded for it. No one ever said, "Well done! That was a wonderful moment of Presence!" So you quit your natural meditation practice.
Brief boundless wonder - freed from past, future, and the mind that creates them - recharges every cell of your body with eternal Being.

11/19/2015

Thou

Kindness is nearly impossible when I generalize, when I abstract humanity into groups - by religion, nation, class, or ethnicity. But kindness is a miracle of simple joy when I meet humanity in one person: the person who happens to be right in front of me now. This person is not black or white, rich or poor, Muslim or Christian, Syrian or American. This person is simply Thou.

Take Care of Consciousness


Just take care of consciousness and all will be well. Don't worry about your body. Don't worry about your thoughts. Don't worry about the stories you hear from far or near, the stories you hear from your own mind. Don't worry about your nation, your race, your religion. Don’t worry quite so much about your food, your water, your air… Just take care of consciousness.

Not "your" consciousness. Don't worry about "your." Simply repose in the gorgeous primordial warmth of the un-created One who radiates pure kindness in the heart of all creatures, if they will only turn and see...

Hug pure consciousness. Nourish the light of the Self. Let consciousness bathe in her own reflection. Feed consciousness her own nectar. You are the invisible sap. You are the seed and you are the soil. You are the sun of awakening, and you are the golden flower.

11/15/2015

Waves of Love

 
 “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and trust shall be your strength." ~Isaiah 30:15
Love is not an action. Quite the contrary, Love always already is.
We simply melt into the innate condition of Love when we refrain from doing what divides us. We think that we must do and do and do, but it is our doing that divides us into parties, clans, nations, religions.
Love unites us not by doing, but by Being.

When I allow my heart to flow back to the ocean of love, I find only Persons, not parties. And I see clearly that each Person is a wave of Love's ocean: unique at its peak yet, at its base, merged in every other wave. All our waves are made of the same water. What is that water? Pure consciousness. 

The water stirs itself into expression and arises as a Person. But in rising up with great enthusiasm the water not only becomes a wave, it leaps out of the sea and becomes a drop. For a brief moment, the drop separates itself from the ocean. This is what most human beings on earth experience: separation from the whole.
Love incarnates as a human child, crying, I lack! Fill me! Then love takes a journey of return to fullness. This is the eternal story of the ocean of love, repeated in each wave as a human soul.
In our brief life of separation-consciousness, we imagine that Persons are in conflict, and that the solution to the conflict requires competition, aggression, even violence. Separation-consciousness is the real cause of war.
In separation-consciousness, each group blames its rival as the cause of the conflict. We blame Islam, Christianity, capitalism, communism, white people, Arabs, Jews, liberals, conservatives. We blame one nation's foreign policy or another's. But the truth is, we are each the cause of war when we insist on being separate from the world.
I perceives a world of conflict because I am the conflict.
War will never solve the conflict out there. Political action from the Left or the Right will never solve the conflict out there. I will never solve the conflict out there.
The conflict is solved in here. When I enter into the deepest meditation, and probe the very nature of pure consciousness, my false and separate identity dies. The separate me dissolves into silence, releasing a fragrance of grace, an elixir of wholeness.
The end of war will only come when a critical mass of Persons return to themselves, consciously nourishing human nature at its source.
This world is a creation of consciousness. The world is transformed when consciousness awakens consciousness. This transformation is not a doing, but a deep repose.
Rest in the heart. Rest from every thought and act of division. In rest is returning. In returning is wholeness. In wholeness is healing.  
When Jesus gave us the new commandment, Love one another, even as I have loved you, he did not mean that there was anything we must do. Doing was the Old Law. Jesus liberated us from the Old Law, the law of doing, the law of karma. Jesus meant that we are now free to Be. We are free to rest in our own nature as pure love, beyond doing.
Then is there no action to perform? Of course we perform action. Action is inevitable. Right action flows spontaneously from the grace of Being, just as fragrance is released from the opening bud. Action is a flowering of stillness.
Let the drop fall back into the ocean. Let the mind fall back into the heart. Fall in Love and Love will welcome you home.
Jai Guru Dev.

11/12/2015

Be Kind and Meditate

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Actually, these words were not written by Plato. No one is sure who first wrote them. But they are worthy of our practice.

People are stressed these days, and the stressed mind feeds on conflict, because it seeks its reflection in the world outside.
A red Starbuck's cup becomes a cause for "the Christmas wars." One person says "black lives matter," another says "all lives matter," and people take sides. Why can't both statements be true? Why can't a cup be red? The stressed mind will see any situation as a conflict, when in reality it is just a situation.

Could we possibly forgive people for being who they are? Including ourselves? Most of us, in fact, are doing the best we can.

The stressed mind ascribes blame. If a person behaves incoherently, and makes a mistake, we want to ascribe motive. We want to take it personally. Our mind says, "That person did this to Me! They don't appreciate me. They are against me."

In fact, the person we blame wants to do what they believe is right, just as we do. And when they made the mistake, they probably weren't thinking of us at all. So why take it personally?

We all fall short. We don't need to waste our energy ascribing blame and intention to other people's frailty. Why not just say what Jesus said? "Forgive them, for they know not what they do."

As we enter these long benighted Winter days, let us practice MEDITATION and COMPASSION. What is compassion? Honoring a person's Being above their doing. What is meditation? Compassion for one's self.

11/11/2015

Happening

Whatever happens happens effortlessly, like a cloud forming in the sky. But until the happening, my mind creates a melodrama in which "I" play the role of do-er.

"I" sustain the illusion of effort. It feels to "me" as if a great deal of work must be done. But when it occurs, the action occurs in its own time, as a flowering, a mystery. The mystery unfolds from deep silence, not from the chattering of the mind, with all its efforts and plans. The action cannot be called "my" action at all. In fact, even the "work" I did in the preparation was happening spontaneously in the present moment, without actual effort. This is good news. The good news is that all things happen effortlessly in the field of Grace.

When the body hears this news, it breathes a sigh of recognition, and says, "Yes, that is how it feels. Please, just let me dissolve in the subatomic dance, the dance of dust and starlight, one continuum without separation. My body is the world and the world is my body."

But the mind, on the other hand, hears this good news as an insult. "How dare you denigrate my effort and hard work! This event could never have happened without me, and a great deal of planning went into it!" The mind perceives the event in time, as the effect of some previous cause, because the mind invents time, feeds on time, and exists through time. Time is thought.

But the body exists as Presence.

The event would have happened anyway, without the mind. And the happening would have been witnessed with joy and amazement - not by a thinking "me," but by pure awareness free from thought.

Whatever happens, happens in the Now as a flower of grace. There is no need to super-impose thought onto the wonder of creation.

11/10/2015

No Loss

There is no loss
that is not an invitation
to birth new space,
no midnight that does not
contain a star,
no wound that will not see
like an eye.
Darkness hugs.
Emptiness cleanses.
Powerful medicine never tastes
like candy.


Art by Hildegard of Bingen, 11th C.

Drop the Veil

When you drop the veil of hope and wanting,
you can see the sun pluck harps of frost
netted between oak leaves.
You can hear the chime of infinitesimal
stars in sparkling silence.

Call it a moment of grace if you like.
But really, grace is all there is
here on earth where things
are made of tinier and tinier miracles.
And really, it's true, love overflows
the rim of a dust mote.
O mind, expect nothing, abandon hope.
Plunge naked into the fierce
breaking waves of the ordinary.
Of course the voice within goes on
muttering "More!"
but a listening
inside the within
slowly rises like water from a forgotten well.
One breath bows to another,
and you remember how to stand here
amazed, then how to walk.

11/06/2015

Action Free From Thought

For 2500 years, Western culture has labored under the assumption that right action is founded on right thinking. This means that action must follow a preconceived plan. Therefor, when we act, we divide our attention between the present and the past. We're not all here. Half our mind must step back in referral to a previously constructed design.
The most creative action flows immediately out of spiritual intuition, without the intervention of thought. Ask a jazz musician. Ask a batter who must instantaneously connect with a pitch over the plate.
Intuitive action, free from thought, is not impulse. Impulse is blind absorption without awareness at all. But intuitive action emerges from  innate intelligence crystallized as clarity itself in the field of global awareness.
The act that flows from intuition is focused and intense, because the mind is undivided, all in one place. Creativity is Presence in action.
The universe has an incomprehensible plan that is more complex and wonderful than anything a Thinker could preconceive. The plan of Presence includes eternity. It is the Tao. It manifests through a dance of spontaneity.
As more and more of us become aware, we will choose Intuitives as our teachers and leaders, rather than Planners and Thinkers.

Chaotic Beauty

The beauty of chaos is the harmony of opposites. A creative mind welcomes contradictions. All the colors of the rainbow radiate from pure white light, and light is born in the womb of darkness.

11/05/2015

Chittakasha

 
Chitt-akasha: literally, "conscious-space."
Space is awake! Awakened space fills each atom, vibrates as gravity waves in the proton's heart, spills over the rim of the farthest galaxy into the void beyond creation, filling the darkness with Self-seeing...
Chittakasha: the ever-expanding boundless space You Are, the space of your own pure awareness...
Awakened space is not 'spacy'! 'Spaciness' comes from detachment, from separation of mind and body. But awakened space pervades every cell of your flesh, and every particle of dust. Awakened space is not just the vastness above, but the holy ground...
Space is awake, witnessing the arising and dissolving of photons and stars in the same dimension of eternal bliss...
Space is awake, witnessing your dreams, witnessing your body even as it sleeps, witnessing the feathery brush of the faintest breath...
Even your death and your birth are enfolded in the limitless sapphire-blue sky of the heart...
In the West we call it the Anointed, the Christ-Consciousness. In India, Shiva. In Buddhism, Bhodichitta. In the deepest Earth-centered traditions,the womb of the Goddess...
What name we give this space doesn't matter. What matters is to awaken, through meditation, and begin looking FROM this space, instead of looking FOR it...

11/01/2015

Everything Is New

"Old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new." ~2 Corinthians 5:17
The most liberating political revelation is the discovery that we don't need to protest or resist the old paradigm. That struggle only polarizes, separates, and generates negative energy. Negative energy is that which makes us smaller.
We are not called to protest and resist because the old paradigm is burning itself down. We don't need to help it. We are called instead to begin rising right now from those ashes.
Rise and manifest the new energy, vibrating abundance and unity in the present moment.
The new energy values personhood above ideology. It does not superimpose concepts on the living miracle of Presence. Dualistic concepts such as 'white' or 'black,' 'capitalist' or 'socialist,' 'foreign' or 'native,' 'spiritual' or 'material,' only exist in the gray ghostly parallel world of thought, a world without juiciness. Those concepts divide. They do not heal. They have nothing to do with the radiance and wholeness of the Person, the wild healing edgeless contact of Consciousness with Consciousness, spontaneously generating a cosmos of divine Otherness, without separation from the stillness of the divine Self.
You vastly serve humanity simply by living, in and as this new vibration. Your very Presence is your protest, your dissent from all that is past. Don't let anyone diminish you by demanding to know what you are doing to save the world, or which "side" you are on. If they ask you, simply answer, "I Am."

Awakening the Ordinary

Awakening has nothing to do with changing outward circumstances. The ordinary is still ordinary - but it is now weightless, floating in groundless silence. The park bench is still a park bench, but it is falling through the boundless abyss of wonder.
The grocery store is still a grocery store. The camellia bud is still a camellia bud, beautiful and perishing. Like the old woman's face, wrinkled, lovely, and not long for this world.

Awakening does not change the forms and the content of the world whatsoever: it simply annihilates time, abolishing the notion that there is any "goal" or "purpose" in the future, any "meaning" in the story of the past

Awakening opens the vertical dimension of Being, which has nothing to do with the horizontal dimension of time. They converge at the center of the Cross, and that center is always Now. Being can only happen in the present moment. 

In awakening, the world does not change. But the ground collapses out from underneath it. Everything is suspended in the void, lighter than air. All you see is dissolving atoms, pervaded by vast silence.
Laughter erupts from your heart, because the cosmos is so marvelously absurd and whole. Things, after all, are ineluctably what they are, no more, no less. And this is a miracle that absolves you from the melodrama of needing to change the world. That is when true change begins, for that is when you become truly creative, creating your cosmos from the heart of the present moment.
You are also absolved from the the compulsion to find meaning. Freedom from meaning makes you light. That lightness, that freedom from meaning, is real liberation, because it liberates your awareness from the mind. Awareness, liberated from the mind, no longer imposes concepts on the miracle of existence. A camellia is just a camellia, just an ordinary miracle.
Yes, at the moment of awakening, forms and circumstances do not change: but they suddenly become weightless. The world that others take so seriously appears as a mirage, a kaleidoscopic phantasm projected through the seer, shimmering in the ever-expanding stillness of the Eye itself.
What happens in Awakening is precisely nothing. No-thing is the field of the divine, which is entirely groundless. 

This quality of ungrounded abysmal nothingness is the most unappreciated yet profound aspect of our existence. Awareness of omnipresent no-thing-ness gives infinite depth to the most insignificant event. A beetle on a blade of grass is as miraculous and stunning as the birth of a galaxy, or the resurrection of Christ.
Forget philosophy. Forget religion. See the revelation of divinity in a raindrop. The final truth is the apotheosis of the commonplace, in the present moment. Finite things are just what they are - yet their Being is infinite.

10/29/2015

Flow Down

The energy flows down, not up. Haven't we always been taught by our religious traditions to seek what is "above"? That was then, this is now. Now we flow down.

Our breath invites the stars, with all the intergalactic space that enfolds them, down into this body, so that the sky can make love to the ground.
We are not here to transcend Matter, but to impregnate earth with the breath of the Spirit, infusing the energy of Mother Shakti with the consciousness of Lord Shiva, so they may dance as one, the formless in form. This is true in-form-ation.

Each inhalation fills us with the sky. Each exhalation pours stars into the mother-ground. Your body is the bridge between Heaven and Earth. Your breath is the life-line between Creator and Creation. Honor your body. Honor each breath.

10/27/2015

Enfolded

You are embraced by a divine Presence that has nothing to do with circumstances. You are enfolded in beauty simply because you Are. This is the Gospel of Astonishment.

10/25/2015

Sabbath Now

 
In the trough between two heartbeats is boundless wealth, abundant healing, and perfect unity. The space between out-breath and in-breath is where stars and galaxies are born.
The stillness whence the cosmos arises is nearer than the mind, humbly folded in the sacred rhythms of our body, where breath caresses breath, and one chamber of the heart pours love into the other.
When you let go of worry, gossip, mental chatter, and sink into the sacred well of silence here, beneath your breastbone, you honor the Sabbath; you regenerate the world. This morning, even for a little while, repose in who you are.
Painting: Shabbat Queen by Elena Kotliarker

Non-Duality in Politics

In our new age metaphysics, we love to call ourselves "non-dualists," but in our politics, we are as stuck as ever in duality, in polarization, in the false dichotomy of "left" and "right."
Government is beautiful. Free enterprise is beautiful. In an enlightened society, the public and private sectors sustain and nourish each other. In an ignorant society, demagogues of the right and the left pit them against each other.
The role of good government is not to destroy free enterprise and make us all wards of the state, but to break up monopolies and too-big-to-fail banks, so that local entrepreneurs can thrive, provide diverse goods and services, and create real jobs.
I am as wary of those who dogmatize about the evils of capitalism as I am of those who dogmatize about the evils of government. Incidentally, the average size of an American corporation is less than 17 employees, including the largest multi-nationals. That means the vast majority of them are just 2 to 10 people working hard to provide a new product or service to their local community. They are the forgotten citizens in our politics of polarization.
But they are the children of the phoenix who will rise from the ashes of the old order. They will lead the way to a rebirth of local artist and artisan cooperatives, local energy producers, local farms, local publishers, local credit unions, local shamanic circles. The answer is neither the mega-monopoly nor the centralized government (which end up being the same entity) but the local entrepreneur, supporting, and supported by, the commonwealth.
But what do I know? In all my schooling and college, I was never taught a single course in how to start your own business. I doubt if any of my teachers would have known how to teach it.
Bring local business entrepreneurs into our classrooms and faculty meetings, to teach schools what skills we need to build economic freedom and self-sufficiency.
Just a Sunday morning thought. Have a radiant day. Better yet, be the radiance.

10/22/2015

The Gift of Pain

It is the way we learn to carry the secret pain we have each been given, not the way we try to get rid of it... the way we learn to embrace, and in embracing, to transform the secret pain we have each been given, not the way we attempt to deny it... the way we learn to honor the secret pain we have each been given, not the way we blame it on others... that determines our capacity for Joy.

10/18/2015

Ananda Bhav: Bliss of Mere Existence

"Existence is bliss." ~Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Just to Exist is a miracle! We can savor and see the miracle of Existence, not with the faculty of taste or sight, but with the faculty of pure awareness.
We wake to the miracle of Existence each morning, we bathe in the miracle all day, and we fall into the miracle when we sleep, yet we don't notice the diamond transparency of the all-embracing hug of Divine Mother. Like the fish taking the sea for granted, we seldom appreciate the wealth in which we are immersed. We don't see That because we are That.
The miracle is not just the soul, it is the body. Existence pervades each cell of my flesh, and fills each atom with the boundless space that contains the stars.
There is nothing esoteric about "enlightenment." Esoteric means "hidden." But enlightenment is just the opposite of esoteric. Enlightenment perceives the miracle of pure Existence as the most concrete reality, even more concrete than things which exist. Pure Existence shifts from background to foreground. Then I appreciate the Existence of the object even before I perceive the object. This means that I bathe in the miraculous, no matter what temporary material form it may take.

Normally, perception is so overshadowed by thing-ness, that one doesn't perceive the thing-less field of Being from which things emerge, and into which they dissolve, like clouds in the sky. So one adopts the false assumption that perfection and abundance must be elsewhere. We THINK we need to take a journey to find the infinite Existence we already are. And it is this very thinking that prevents us from arriving right here.
If we are humble enough to honor the divine Existence in a fallen leaf, a raindrop, a pebble in a stream, a stray dog, or a human face, why not take one step deeper into humility, and honor divine Existence as our very Self?

10/16/2015

In The Palace

That which was in the beginning, that from which the universe sprang, that which is most ancient and primordial, bubbles up from the hollow core of the present moment.

To taste, to feel, to become intoxicated by this vintage while incarnate in the body, is why we are here.

Those whose transcendental goal is to abandon this corporeal form merely postpone their destiny. We come back into these hands and feet, this tongue, these eyes again and again, not to do penance or be tested by temptation, nor to "overcome" the flesh, but to embody infinite joy, and press out the nectar of love. Darkness nurtures this work of incarnation as surely as light...

Look around you. Scent all-pervading possibility. Touch the living creature by your side and pour your sparkling wine into the night.
 

Drink to your health. Drink it all. You are not traveling any path. You are dancing in the palace. 

Art by Andrew Gonzalez

10/13/2015

Unsought

I craved the savor of non-duality, but always found two, the searcher and the sought. So I quit the search and began to relish the hidden nectar in every perception... 
Chimes of wine on my tongue, melody of vanishing clouds, taste of the evening star, amber glow of owl song at midnight, healing touch of moon-kiss on my fontanel, lonesome thighs of blackness, those yearning curves of empty space around the galaxy... 
Each dissolving multitudinous touch a quiver of the continuum, the one invisible tincture of my own awareness, and yours...

10/11/2015

Jesus Claps His Hands

It saddens me to see a Crazy Good Luck Bodhisattva  capitalizing on his Gift, his Wonder-spark, taking enlightenment public on the Dow-Jones, marketing awareness, as if the pure white light of the Void were a commodity, or an SAT score.

Enlightenment is the sister of Spontaneity, and cannot be cultivated. God is unprogrammed. The Grace-happening will not be systematized. It is like selling the sea in bottles. In a bottle, it is not the sea.

Absurd and gawky as a dandelion, Buddha blossoms from the ground of Silence, fertilized by the dung of bliss-energy deposited by an untamed Presence who wanders up and down the food chain like a hungry lion.

No effort of intellect can capture the Tathagata. Names and labels only cage the past, but the foolishness of Now is wild. When the mind attempts to understand suchness, Love evaporates. All that remains is the authority of thought.

But all authority is illusion, and thought is a ghost. There is only God's crazy amazement, the sky miraged in a shiver of Self-reflection.

Thus does Jesus clap his hands, and the storm ceases. Thus does the Son of Man smear spittle and mud on the blind man's eye, restoring sight. Thus the Avatar of Loss and Unknowing distributes a little basket of bread, feeding thousands of hungry bellies.

Ask the Lord to teach you these techniques and he will say, "I have no idea what I am doing, or why. Existence compels me to play and take delightful risks. Why don't you come wandering with me? Wandering is love without destination.”

Upon hearing this, his followers demand an accounting. They insist upon a doctrine, a ritual, a Church. He refuses. They crucify him.

Then, in his name, they invent their own religion of insatiable desire.

Autumn


Every raindrop
a gift from the earth, lifted
and blessed by the sun....

10/09/2015

Ask a Child to Point to the Heart

Ask a child to point to the heart. Ask a Zen master to point to the heart. Ask an indigenous shaman to point to the heart. They will point... to the heart. 

This bloody fruit at the center of the body: they will point to this! For those thirst for life, heart means heart. The heart’s beauty lies in its physiology, not in its metaphysics.

Your heart a red pump, meaty twin-chambered dualist muscle of diastole, systole, in, out, rough shuddering blast site of anxiety and yearning, rage and unspeakable sorrow, well of tears in the desolation of love.

Heart a cosmos of atoms in the darkest cavern of your sobbing ribs, crimson resonance of electro-magnetism, syncopated vibration of very Matter, a field outdistancing its cruciform, yet deeply embodied in your sacred weight.

Heart a locus where all other hearts conspire to be your heart, a hologram among your bones, mingling rays of inter-planetary information through the vacuum in each pulse.

Heart the sinew and neurology of Light, portal to the first Word, embryonic Sun, floating in sea womb of lymph and marrow.

Organ of mere blood, the rainbow spectrum of whose power is rooted in gravity, yet widens into the white empyrean, beyond the elements, ringing as music in a quintessential unstruck bell, chiming every proton out of its star.

This sacrament, this hungering love, this opening wound, your heart…

10/08/2015

The Passion

Above all, the world needs passionate people: not people who are passionate about this political cause or that religious teaching, this candidate or that guru, this project or that movement, but passionate about Being, about Awakening, about this very Breath, this miraculous gaze into the eyes of a Friend. The only power that will not fade, will not be exhausted or shadowed by doubt, is passion for Presence itself. It is the Serpent Fire in your spine, the Beloved in your heart, the Dancer who whirls a double helix of stars out of your silence. This is the passion that will transform the earth.

10/05/2015

Seva Smile

One way to perform great Seva, great service to humanity, is to be happy right now for no reason, and smile authentically from your heart.

Easy Hard

Life is easy and full of sweetness. Life is hard and full of bitter pain. Both statements are perfectly true, and we make them simultaneously with integrity. When we embrace this paradox in every cell of our body, with no resistance, then our life is liberated, and full of grace.
Our experience is sweet, and our experience is bitter, but there is no conflict, no choice. Sweet and bitter are waves of the same energy. We cannot taste grace as long as we seek the light and flee from the dark, cling to the sweet and reject the bitter. Grace only vibrates when life is undivided. Grace only hugs wholeness.

10/02/2015

Confession

 
A flower makes no effort to spring from its seed. So you spring gracefully from the seed of the Self, because you cannot possibly be other than you.
The final liberation is just to repose as you are, right now, before you even have a thought. There is no other path, no other blessing, no other grace. This is why Jesus said, "Take no thought, but behold the lilies of the field."
Imagine how it feels for a rose to be nothing but a rose? For a wild lilac to be simply this galaxy of fragrances? Why be anyone else? In fact, suffering arises from the very effort to be other than I Am in the present moment.
Repose in the Self is not passivity. It is the ultimate dynamism, the regenerative power of surrender to the force of creation. Resting as you are cannot but release the germ from its seed, the action that the universe longs to perform through your uniqueness.
Ecstasy blossoms right here, and cannot be avoided. Confess that you are powerless to do anything about it. How else will you get through this devastating miracle?

9/26/2015

Alms

People perform good deeds in order to get good feelings, or to avoid bad ones, like guilt. So it is all for the sake of the Self. There's nothing wrong with this. Just accept it for what it is, and don't pretend.

Occasionally, in the spontaneity of the present moment, one finds a need, and true loving-kindness arises. There is no intention to perform an act of "charity," no plan to engage in a "service project"; simply the spontaneous arising of compassionate action. This is actual love, "agape." There is no do-er. It is the action described by Jesus when he says, "Giving alms to the poor, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing." It is the action described by Buddha in the Sutras: "When a Bodhisattva performs an act of charity, he has no intention to be charitable, and no concept of 'charity.'"

In such a do-er-less act of love, you will serve another creature with infinite care and devotion, because at that moment no other creature exists but the one whom you serve. You have no plan, no intention, nor any karma to be fulfilled. In that moment of love, there is no past or future.

Performing even the humblest, most anonymous deed in such a manner, pierces the heart of the universe and makes the stars tremble.

9/23/2015

A Healing Stillness

A healing stillness enfolds the deepest pain, the deepest anxiety, very softly. This gentle encompassing is not a product of the mind, a belief, or a technique. It is the fruit of surrender.
The New Testament calls this breath of presence the "Comforter." We may call the Comforter "He" or "She," since She is infinitely nearer than "it."
The Comforter is always already inside us. We don't need to invoke Her. We may not immediately feel the Comforter in the midst of turmoil, because She is even more intimate than our pain. We may not see the Comforter, because She is the seer.
If we cannot find the Comforter, it is because we are looking in the wrong place. To look any further than the one who is looking, is looking too far. The Comforter is your very awareness, when crystal clear.
You may feel clouds of anxiety, but you are not the clouds. You are the space where they arise and dissolve. The nature of that space is peace, clarity, and compassion. Yet in that space there is room for every kind of cloud, every shade of feeling, from the highest joy to the deepest despair.
The Comforter does not transcend feelings, She embraces them. She absorbs them into vast tranquility. Her overflowing stillness encircles the most violent or desperate emotion, without the slightest resistance, the slightest attempt to suppress or control.
Rest effortlessly in the Comforter, just as the color blue reposes in the sky.

9/21/2015

Rummaging


Rummaging through my mind, I couldn't find any past, any future, or any now. So I concluded that past, present, and future are merely a dream. This very inquiry woke me up.

Then I was looking at the shining blue sky, and the shining blue sky was looking at me: mirror-like vastness gazing into itself, beginning-less, infinite, ever-expanding, and blissful.

This boundless gaze into Itself is all there ever is, ever was, or ever shall be. This gaze vibrates as Love. And this vibrant loving gaze is contained as a celebration in the hollow of each nutrino, each atom, each cell, each breath, each flower, each sun, each galaxy.

The shimmer of consciousness waking, again and again, to its own sky-blue Self-Radiance, is not only the substance of all matter and energy, but the purpose of all matter and energy, the first cause and the final goal.

What Jesus meant when he said, "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and last," pure sparkling awareness yearns to know itself in and through every creature. Such yearning is the unity of the ethical and the mystical.

Look into the petal of the last Autumn rose, look into the burst of a supernova, look into the eye of the refugee child who seeks a new home: you will see one invitation to love, to fall, to fall in love, to fall deeply into who you Are...

9/17/2015

The Ordinary is the Field of Grace

If someone starts talking about 'higher states' or 'enlightenment experiences,' feel sorry for them.

Their 'spiritual path' is likely rooted in discontent, in a flight from the ordinary. They may never find the magic they seek, because only in the ordinary do miracles of wonder happen. Only in the ordinary does Grace flow, fall, and settle into incarnation. Every Autumn leaf is a sacrament of the ordinary, and just to breathe is worship.

Throughout the Catholic liturgical year, there are high feasts and saint's days, but the greater part of the year is called the 'Ordinary of the Seasons,' or simply 'Ordinary Time.' Many chants and praises in the Latin heritage celebrate the Ordinary. The liturgical color for the Ordinary is green....
Ordinary Time is the time when we perceive miracles. The veil between the worlds thins down to sudden mushrooms, dewy webs, silken threads of nature's quietest breath. Let us begin every morning by discovering a miracle. Miracles are the ordinary signs that our gratitude is bearing fruit.

Yoga

Seeing the world without seeing the seer, is bondage. Seeing the seer is meditation. Seeing the seer while seeing the world, is liberation. This is the essence of Yoga.

9/16/2015

Anger Is Energy

"Tyger Tyger, burning bright
  in the forests of the night;
  What immortal hand or eye
  could frame thy fearful symmetry?"
  ~William Blake
ANGER is very useful as energy in the present moment. But trapped in the mind as a story about the past or an intention for the future, anger is toxic. If we de-link the anger from mental images of past and future, feeling it directly in the body, we are energized for creativity. We are so much more powerful when we use anger to be creative, rather than critical.

9/14/2015

Beauty

When do we finally accept that our fear, anger, and anxiety about the world serve no positive purpose, neither uplifting nor healing a single being? We are not here for fear, anger, and anxiety. We are here for Beauty.

If Beauty stills and stuns our mind, even for a moment, that Beauty must irradiate every atom in creation.

Spend a few moments in Beauty every day. She is all around you: in the fur of a cat, in the last garden rose, in the eye of a child, in the fading light of an evening cloud. Yet these are just reflections of the actual Beauty that vibrates in the core of your heart. Here inside you is the silent pulse of transcendental Beauty, lending its tincture to all that is beautiful: the un-created divine Radiance through whose Beauty we recognize the shadow of beauty in creatures.

If not for your own sake, then for the sake of the earth, take a moment to taste and see some small beauty. And from that external image, sink to the source of Beauty in your heart. Your faintest breath will become an eternal spark; and for that instant, You are the diamond at the center of the lotus.

9/09/2015

The End of Belief

Religious beliefs are ruining the earth, and robbing our most essential civil liberties. Now the invitation is offered to give up believing in God, so that we might experience God. The mind that is emptied of every belief descends into the heart, to taste the boundless luminosity of divine love. Love depends no more on a belief than the clarity of the sky depends on a cloud.
Took this picture of the clouds over my village on a late summer walk. Some clouds sweet, some heavy, all dissolve. Sky remains...

Be Like A Wounded Animal

It is more important to be myself than to be spiritual.
Those who are very spiritual, but make war on themselves, cause great stress in the world. If I am against myself in order to become a better person, dividing myself into a 'higher' and 'lower' self to do interior combat, I may call it 'self discipline,' I may be a good Christian soldier, a good Jihadist, a good Yogi, a good Pacifist, a good political activist - but I will inevitably project my inner conflict onto others. The world is not healed by my improvement, it is healed by my embrace.
Be a wounded lion in the forest, licking and healing your furry gashes. Honor your flesh. Be not a soul and a body, but a whole field of self-nourishing energy. The Comforter enfolds you as You. The forest heals you, and you heal the forest.

9/07/2015

Fall Into Your Mother's Arms

When I am unhappy, it is easier to dissolve the I than the unhappiness.

When I dissolve, the cloud of the world has nothing to cling to. I evaporate into clear space. In this sky, who cares if clouds come and go? Who cares if whole lifetimes, whole worlds come and go?

Ashtavakra says, "Layam vraja: dissolve now!" How then do I dissolve?

Begin by accepting that these clouds of unhappiness aren't really mine. They belong to the world. So often I imagine that my unhappiness is a private angst: but it is the world's sorrow that I feel, a great darkness around me that is not truly my own property.

When anxiety brings me to my knees, it is a moment of grace. Why? Because mind gives up and sinks into the heart. There, in that deep well, I drop all my worries, because I drop the I. Then there is surrender to a Presence that is always right here, in the midst of doubt or fear. This depth, this very space of nothing at all, becomes alive with sparkling consciousness. At such a moment, trust the Presence, and know it is the womb of Mother Divine.

"Amma, Mother, I am powerless! You are the only power. I am falling, but I am falling into the abyss of your grace. My very hopelessness is the infinite depth of your heart. Not I, Mother, but you. You are All around, above and below, deeper inside me than my own being."

To surrender like this, one must be brought low, with no one and nothing to depend on, neither money nor status, neither name nor intelligence nor degree. Only then can a humbling grace burn the me away. This is what Jesus meant by being poor: "Blessed are the poor in spirit." The word he used did not just refer to an economic poverty, but to an inward state of destitution, total surrender.

As I dissolve into this mothering space, my surrender not only lightens my burden, it lightens the burden for others. The cloud of world-suffering lifts from their hearts too. It is the greatest mystery, how our own interior cloud produces the world-cloud, and how our own interior surrender heals the whole planet.

Persons are not separate particles, but inter-penetrating waves in one ocean of forgiveness. When my tiny wave rises or falls, the ocean rises and falls in you. We contain one another.