2/26/2015

Shivo'ham


 If you think that the Formless is impersonal, it is a great mistake; out of the Formless flow waves of intimacy.
Lovers close their eyes when they kiss, and disappear into divine darkness.
Empty sky encircles the clouds with the color of pure beauty; fragrance expands beyond the petals of the rose, calling bees to the garden.
Awareness is Shiva, enfolding the tiniest bud and the farthest star in delight; you are that delight.
You are a vastness nearer than the mind; you are awake before the first thought, even the thought of "I."
You are the primordial amazement that has not yet cried "O!" You are the space of wonder.
A pearl white breath like nectar pours from the infinitesimal emerald shining on the stamen at the center of your heart, where you rest in the stillness of the self - Shivo'ham.
You don't need to acquire a thing; just let go of what you are not.
In the beginning, there was a hollow in your chest, ringing like a gong.
All the planets, suns and galaxies were smelted out of that sound; their spiraling golden echoes cooled into flesh.
You are a forest pool, you are the reflection of night in the still water, you are the silence among the ancient trees; in your moonlit darkness, birds sing.
You pervade every atom with boundless Presence; you are the Peace all human souls are seeking -Shivo'ham.
You do not do meditation, you are meditation; Shivo'ham, Shivo'ham, Shivo'ham! 

Why I Never Go To "Advanced" Courses

I don't go to "advanced" courses any more. I've observed that many folks at "advanced" courses are secretly anxious and competitive, glancing over their shoulders to see if they're really getting more "advanced." The very concept of "advancement" creates distance and separation. I prefer "beginners" courses, where I find humility, innocence, and wonder.

Of course we can always cram more data into our heads, refine our mechanical skills, or make our muscles more flexible.

But none of that has anything to do with the Spirit. In a particular craft, art or science, one can certainly gain technical improvement. But applying this notion to the spiritual life is a disaster.

In the infinite space of consciousness, there are no "planes" to attain. We are either One, or separate. It doesn't matter whether we are separate by an inch or a thousand miles. Separation is all the same distance. There are no steps in the breath of love. One breath sweeps the universe.

If you want to study ignorance, find teachers who talk about "stages of initiation" and "levels" of consciousness. They like to build hierarchies, which only distance people from each other. This is not the work of the heart. Jesus, Krishna, Muhammad never talked about steps to enlightenment. They simply offered Surrender. For the true master, there is nowhere to advance. One can only be more deeply present.

"Islam" is the infinitive of the verb "Salam": Surrender. At the climax of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna say, "Abandon all religious trips and just surrender to me" (18:66). "Sharanam vraja": Give up the journey here and now. The priestly hierarchy rejected Jesus, so he rejected them. Jesus went to the outcast, the displaced, the up-rooted, who had no place to "advance." Through his mere Presence, he offered them immediate surrender. To the criminal on the cross beside him, Jesus said, "This very day you will be with me in paradise."

According to Master Jesus, there is no higher kingdom to which we advance, for "the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21).  In the Lord's Prayer, he said:  "Thy kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven." The realm of the master is the Kingdom of Presence. It is already right here. We enter it when we recover innocence become "like little children" (Mat. 18:3).

On the pathless way, there is nothing beyond First Grade. That's why I don't take any more advanced meditation courses. I just return to the primordial breath, the breath that created the cosmos. I just keep doing what is given to beginners. 

Jai Guru Dev.

Yes or No?

There is no universal law requiring us to say Yes or No, to take sides, or to have an opinion. Sometimes it is wiser simply to rest in infinite possibility.
Powerful action arises directly from the Void, as intuitive intelligence. This intuitive intelligence of the Void percolates through every cell in our body. It has nothing to do with ideologies and belief systems. Our total cellular intelligence chooses every moment, whether to eat this or that, to turn right or left at the crossroad, to listen to jazz or classical.
Those who are stuck in ideology do not respond to the living earth. They try to impose their ideal of the world upon actual life. The ideal always represents the past, projected into the future, but has no relationship with the energy of Presence. To impose an ideal or an ideology on the present moment  is an assault, an act of aggressive, not a caring response to life. Beware of any man or woman with a plan.
No one needs to change the world. The world is constantly changing all by itself. The body is constantly changing with it. We just need to bring them into synchrony, to dance, moment by moment.
What those who insist on changing the world really need to change, is their minds. The world is never rigid or fixated: it is the mind that becomes rigid and fixed in its ideology. We live a culture of belief. Most of us feel pressured every day to take sides, adopt this religion or that, join one political party or the other. Do we ever ask ourselves why we need a religion or a political party, or why we must believe in anything?
Do you need to believe in your breath in order to breathe? Must you believe in your name? Must you believe in sleep in order to go there at night? Belief is just clinging to thoughts that have already come and gone...
Thoughts arise and dissolve innocently in the ocean of consciousness. They are part of the dance, and perfectly harmless if we don't cling to them. But when we cling to a thought, it becomes an opinion. Then it becomes an ideology. Then it becomes a war.
Non-violence is directly related to the discovery that we can act from Being rather than believing. Being responds to what arises in the present moment, and this is true response-ability. Being is action now, but belief is re-action, formed in the past. Action moved by ideology is almost always a form of violence. Action moved by Being is peace.

2/23/2015

Jai Guru Dev


To me, the greatest discovery a human can make on earth is that we can transcend the mind.

Though containing no object, no image and no thought, the Knowledge gained by transcending the mind is infinitely greater than anything the mind could know. It is the deepest freedom, and the only real peace.

This Knowledge is nearer to me than "I" am: the all-enfolding nature of boundless space aware of its Self before a single thought arises. It is the luminosity of the Void, vibrant with waves of love.

Where Knowing, Being, and Joy are one and the same, this is the Self. This is God. And with a few minutes of deep meditation each morning and evening, this becomes the practical ground of ordinary experience.

Jai Guru Dev. All gratitude to the masters who have handed down this elegantly simple meditation through the ages.
 ________

LINK: NBC News on how Transcendental Meditation transforms inner city schools in San Francisco.

2/22/2015

Donuts



Today I arrived at the gym feeling extremely proud, having resisted the temptation to stop at the House of Donuts and eat one of their irresistibly delicious fresh-baked classics. On the way home, after an especially challenging workout, I felt doubly proud. So I stopped at the House of Donuts and had two. O yogi, the body is innocent. Beware the mind!

2/21/2015

7 Antiphons for the Night Vigil


1.
As often as there are stars I asked
Why? The night was silent.
Then just once I said Thou.
The night became a song.

2.
Healing comes
from a heartbroken place
where you've breathed out
everything you carried.
Stay there.
The next breath
is God's love.

3.
I inhale you
with all your weight of grieving
and my heart grows lighter.
This is how bees carry
the pollen home.
All that burdens us with trust
is destined for sweetness.

4.
Dogen saw stars in a dewdrop.
Ananda saw the Buddha in a flower.
I saw Christ gazing back at me
from the bottom of the empty cup.
Some pour it all out to get here.
I got here by drinking
everything.

5.
May the pilgrim
melt into her path,
the path into the goal,
the goal into Presence,
the very first step
into waylessness.

6.
A gentler world begins
in the way you touch your heart.
Be soft with the Light inside you.
Caress your body with a sacred breath.
The Lord is nothing more.
You are the glimmering destination.
You are the golden honey daubed
on the bread of the ordinary.
Whatever is perfect,
whatever is heavenly,
starts here.

7.
Breathe in darkness, breathe out light.
This is prayer at midnight.
Breathe in blood red, breathe out blue.
Be the hollow sky at two.
Breathe out peace and breathe in war.
Tears of compassion at four.
Breathe in Winter, breathe out Spring.
Dawn, hear one sparrow sing.
Just to be Present is heaven on earth.
Every breath is a rebirth.

Blackness

I love blackness. O 3 am! O womb, O voluptuous ink of poems, 
O Virgin of Montserrat, the blessed symmetry of zero, quantum 
vacuum gushing particles of night, O fountain and fecundity of 
nothing, without your one eternal uncreated No this mad and 
multitudinous dance of Yes could never be born, O Light is not 
enough, I love the Dark!


2/20/2015

Intellectuals



The intellectuals that I admire
are the ones who passionately
defend both sides
of the argument,
then fall down
laughing crazy among violets
and dandelions.
Now I must tell you that tears
of joy and sorrow both
effuse from a hollow space
between the words.
When truth is known,
only that silence
remains.

Commit Revolutionary Acts


What is revolutionary action today?

To chain oneself to the White House fence and get arrested? To shout angry protests in the street? To join a Tea Party? To hold sit-ins and sing peace songs in front of banks, shutting down commerce? To overthrow the government and spill the blood of the rich? These are hardly acts of revolution, for they have all been done before.

What is radical action now?

To slow down (this is advancement). To subtract (this is abundance). To say thank you without words to a hummingbird or flower (this is healing the earth). To savor one breath (not the last one or the next one, but this one). To welcome a distraction (this may be the gateway to a new world). And just for a moment, to be rather than to do (this drops a seed of Eternity into the earth).

True acts of revolution are radical acts of prayer. 

Painting by Floy Zittin (www.floyzittin.com)

2/16/2015

Revelation


The old Rabbi said, Torah contains all revelation.
The Brahmin said, Vedas reveal everything.
The Gospel is the end of it, said the priest.
Then I went to a Mosque, where the Imam told me,
Those old books were corrected by the last Prophet:
no revelation after holy Qu'ran.
But a funny thing happened when I heard them:
my heart contracted in breathless withering,
I felt my juices drying up.
So I walked barefoot through my own back yard
and consulted the first plum bud.
That tiny green nipple gushed Torah,
Veda, Gospel, Qu'ran: new juices
blushed up the twigs in my body.
Allah struck dumb by the fragrance of that pollen,
the breasts of El Shaddai could not contain the milk
that sparkled over those naked branches
and bubbled up in mushrooms.
Forsythia dripped golden sweetness,
tipped the tulip cup and spilled
bright God all over the moss.
The original prophet was the Robin.
Then came the grace of the messenger Bee.
At night I heard Upanishad intoned by frogs,
ten thousand little pundits in the wetlands!
At dawn, I was moved into deeper silence
by the Sura of the Sparrow.
I could not fathom the verses of the Thrush,
feathered rishis in the apple trees.
Books are for Winter, calligraphy of frost.
I love to read, but when Spring comes,
Epistles are written in the petals of the rose,
I Ching cast in blossoming sticks on blue sky.
As long as seasons unfold
like wings of Presence from old cocoons,
revelation will never cease!

2/15/2015

Have You Laughed?


Have you laughed for no reason?
Billows of stillness.
Have you cried without 

knowing why?
Tears are crystal wells of silence.
For what purpose
does your chest rise and fall?
Flowers of gratitude.
In Winter, let it be Winter.
In Spring, let it be Spring.
And now for no reason,
without knowing why,
breathe love.


Painting: Renoir's 'Spring'

2/13/2015

Meditation Is Not Concentration

Teachers who teach concentration and call it meditation may actually block the expansion of their students.

If concentration were meditation, then balancing our checkbook or carefully tying a knot would expand our awareness and fill us with bliss. We concentrate all day: we get tired and cranky if we don't rest our attention.

Meditation is the opposite of concentration. It is de-concentration. Real meditation is the dissolution of any content on which to concentrate. When awareness radiates its own light, with absolutely no object to be aware of, this is samadhi, the deepest meditation.

Any object you concentrate on, even the most sacred name, even the radiant vision of God's face, is just more stuff. But meditation un-stuffs the mind. Meditation rests from focus, dissolving attention until our space is boundless. True meditation is never about the object, but the subject. When the subject knows its Self, reposes in its Self, and drinks the infinite bliss of the Self, then the subject is its own object.

This interior relationship - where perceiver, object, and act of perception are one continuum of awareness - is the essence of Yoga. You may call it Advaita, Christ Consciousness, Buddha-Nature, whatever you like. But the taste is what counts, not the name.

In that essence, Being, Consciousness and Bliss are one Sat-Chit-Ananada, the Holy Trinity.

In the simplest meditation, we don't need any visions, heavenly sounds, or philosophical insights to feel the Bliss of pure Being as our own Consciousness. This naturally expanded state of rest does not come through effort, mind-control, or concentration: it comes through the Grace of the Master. Then we feel in each atom of our body the same vastness that contains the distant galaxies. How light, how spacious, how free we truly are, just as we are!

Un-stuffed and burdened by nothing, our emptiness shines, more radiant, more solid than sapphire!

This is why we say, "Jai Guru Dev," all gratitude to the holy Shankaracharya tradition of masters who have handed down this profoundly graceful practice of meditation.

2/12/2015

I See The World I Am



I see the world I choose to see. If the mind is in crisis, everything appears in crisis. The crisis is the mind that sees.

The world will be healed, not by political or economic reform, but by the realization by multitudes that we see "through a glass darkly" (1 Cor. 13:12). We see the world through our mental states. It is time to heal what we see by healing the lens through which we see it. All our misguided attempts at reformation and revolt are but reactions to our own mental qualities.

"Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). I bring about the most radical revolution when I  awaken to my deepest response-ability: to see the world I Am.

2/09/2015

See

If an electron is made from the light of God, and every atom
is filled with divine presence, and if the densest proton is a black
hole charged with all the intelligence in the cosmos, then a mote
of dust is sacred, one particle of flesh is holy, and our central task
is simply seeing things as they are. The crisis of our civilization
is not a crisis of belief, or faith, or economics, or political injustice,
but a crisis of perception. No one who SEES what IS could ever
harm the smallest being. Let us open our eyes and usher in
the Age of Astonishment.

2/06/2015

When I Was One




When I was One, life was just as complex and full of bumps as it is now. I just hadn't learned to label the differences between things yet, so it was all a continuum of lumpy wonder and grace, Om-made bread pudding, with honey. One bite, and the golden rose of September would whisper to the February plum bud, "We are so lucky to be confused! Let's feel each other's toes down where the mushrooms grow!" Every moment was a blessed Fall into some delectable imperfection that allowed me to smelltastetouch the single viridescent stem whose tiny flowers are the stars.

2/05/2015

Turning Off the News





While the media replicate one act of yesterday's violence a billion times, a billion marvelous deeds of creative kindness are happening now, and the media ignores them. So I turn off the news, which is never new. Then real news awakens in the silence all around me. My back yard sings with seeds of Spring. In the infinite dimension of Presence, I am free to love.







Illustration from Barbara Berger's, 'Grandfather Twilight'

2/04/2015

Blessed Be The Edges


In the stillness of the flower is the dancer - you! 
Awareness is unbounded, yet awareness cannot become 
conscious of its unboundedness without the experience 
of boundaries. Blessed be the edges.

Free



How beautiful to dwell in the garden of opposites!

When they are flowers, I never call their colors "opposites";
I call them "complimentary." Why can I not call human opposites
"complimentary"?

I say I want to be free, but do I? Really? I am not free for abundance
if I am not free to be poor. I am not free for joy if I am not free
for sorrow. I am not free for gentleness if I am not free to be
aggressive. I am not free for generosity if I am not free to make
a profit. I am not free for voluntary simplicity if I am not free 
to consume. I am not free to be liberal if I am not free to be 
conservative. I am not free to be spiritual if I am not free to be 
sensuous.

I am only free when I allow the opposite to be OK. But when I
condemn one side as "wrong" and the other as "right," I am bound.
This is the most difficult less on earth, but it is why I am here in this
glorious broken-open bewildering world of complimentary opposites.

Moon





When you stand at the edge of your meadow and gaze at this full moon, and I stand at the edge of my meadow and gaze at this full moon, is it the same moon?

Well then, when all your thoughts dissolve, and the mind is filled with this marvelous light; when all my thoughts dissolve, and the mind is filled with this marvelous light, is it the same mind?