4/27/2015

See the Seer


"The most sacred Name is the soul of silence." ~St. Theophan the Recluse

Moses insisted on knowing God's name to gain some control over an Inward Light that would implode all things into the beatific singularity from which creation was arising at the center of his soul.
But because "God" was Moses' own Self, God refused to take any other name except I Am. That is why, in Exodus 3, which is the central event in the Bible, God told Moses, "I am that I Am... I Am is my name forever... Tell the people I Am sent you to them."

But Moses refused to accept the revelation on Mount Sinai as Self-realization. Instead, he turned God into an Other. Western religion has suffered the division of God and Humanity ever since.

Through names, we shield ourselves from the brilliance of our own Light. "I" believe that I will not survive gazing into that brilliance. And of course, "I" won't.

Whether we name this radiance Yahweh, Brahman, Buddha-nature or Allah, these names are all but shields. The true name of God dissolves into silence. And the enlightened are precisely those with the courage to enter this process of dissolving. That is why the subtlest instruction in the whole science of Yoga is given by Rishi Ashtavakra: Layam vraja, "Dissolve now!"

Don't worry. When this happens, God does not disappear from your mind. Your mind disappears into God. "The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me," Meister Eckhart reminds us.

When the first glimmer of that measureless clarity of the sky that is deeper within me than my own thoughts, flashes through the chinks of my little mind, I cannot believe the vastness of who I really Am. So I assume That to be some Other. Then I super-impose upon the sky of my awareness the shape of some familiar religious hero, such as Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, or my Guru.

But all such saviors are projections of mental form upon the formless radiance of pure awareness. Their sacred stories from the past were never written as historical accounts, but as mythic archetypes of our own journey to Self-Realization. The past, with all its stories, is a mirage, rippling in the eternal stillness of the present moment. As I wake to the now, I see that history is a dissolving dream whose duration is no longer than it takes for me to awaken. That "time" can be 100,000 years; or it can be an instant. How long does it take to dissolve the mind?

Will I spend thousands of life-times worshiping my projection of a savior, who appears in the mirror of my own consciousness? How long will I settle for that ghostly avatar, who is perpetually receding into the past, or ever about to return in a future that cannot arrive, because there is only now?

Any real God must be present. Therefor, I abolish belief to make space for what is. I reverse my outward-seeking gaze and revolve my quest 180 degrees, from the object of my longing to my longing's source. I look where looking begins.

Some in the Western religious tradition might be offended to hear this. But in fact, this revolution, this turning, is the true meaning of Biblical repentance: "T'shuva" in Hebrew. The word means turning back to God. "Return unto the Lord, O Israel," declares Hosea, and other Biblical prophets. This is literally turning our attention from the object to the subject, from the idol to the I Am.

Refracted through the prism of my mind, the Inner Light has diffused into multiple shapes and colors. This makes a fine dance, but dissipates the power of consciousness. Therefor, from time to time, I need to take a Sabbath rest to recharge the Light. When my world-scattered energy is depleted, I turn the rays of refracted awareness back to their source: T'shuva, returning to who I Am.

Jesus said, "If your Eye be single, your whole body will be filled with Light" (Mt 6:22). The journey is but a Gaze, and at the heart of this return is a mystical Mirror. I look into the Master's face. The Master gazes back. We meet in one Eye.


4/25/2015

Song of the Sweet Unmanifest


The Unmanifest is happiness,
But manifesting is fun.
Is there a problem here?

Just don't confuse
What never changes
With what always dissolves.

The bud has no idea
What a petal is.
The apple is born

From the tears of a flower.
Seed, blossom, fruit,
Yet no little "me,"

Just a wild becoming.
Now the juices bubble
In the sun,

The worm appears,
Then all that remains
Is the hole.

Yet we need holes to fill
With breath and music.
Dear friend, through all

These perishing forms
Flows the sweetest sap.
Taste That

In what vanishes.
Call it sorrow.
Call it joy.

4/17/2015

Ascetic Abundance and the Law of Subtraction

Abundance flows not only by the Law of Attraction, but the Law of Subtraction. Wealth is letting go of what we don't need.

Instead of deepening our desire for what we haven't got, let us deepen our gratitude for each need fulfilled, each tiny sacrament of the ordinary.

Abundance is never enough. What our soul really wants is not abundance, but enough. The wealth of simplicity and uncluttered spaciousness.

The problem is, we define abundance through desire, and desire is insatiable. A national economy based on desire harrows the earth. - even when we disguise our desire in new-age terms like "The Law of Attraction."


It is time for Americans to practice discrimination between desires and needs. When the intellect distinguishes need from desire, the heart rejoices in the ordinary. The simplest taste, sound and touch become sacraments. Dwell in perpetual gratitude for needs fulfilled, and experience the sustainable abundance of simplicity. True asceticism does not suppress life energy, but makes ordinary things sparkle. To be truly disciplined is not to deny oneself, but to listen gently as one asks the heart, "What do I really need?"

Here are some wealth-producing principles for sustainable ascetic abundance:
1. Breathe out, all the way down to the buried seeds: touch the earth with gratitude.
2. Breathe in: let every cell be filled with the blue sky.
3. Upon awakening, listen to the first bird at dawn.
4. Sniff the present moment like a hunting lioness.
5. Eat like an elk on arctic tundra, where each precious sprout contains a beam of sunlight.
6. Hug yourself like a sleeping cat.
7. Learn to say, "enough," as you would say a prayer.
8. Every now and then, take a break from your task to drown in pure love for yourself. 

Loving yourself dissolves desire and attracts the power of the universe to help you accomplish your work. Loving yourself is the shortcut to abundance.

4/15/2015

No Reform

No re-form really works, because the creative solution lies in the form-less.
Just dissolve thinking into sparkling awareness, and stop worrying about it.
To welcome the task of the present moment, no matter how humble it may be,
with a light heart lightly surrendered to the infinite: this is the revolution.

4/14/2015

Women


Though it sounds like a stereotype, I've come to realize it is nevertheless true,
that most men I know tend to conceptualize their pain before they even feel it;
whereas most women I know do not put on the armor of thought to protect
themselves: they feel directly, being led by the Spirit of the Wound to a deeper
understanding never gained by leading with the intellect. And this is why,
presently, most of my true teachers are women. They don't even know it.
But I bow my heart to them.

"I Want Nothing, I Do Nothing, I Am Nothing"

The no-thing that nourishes everything...

Christian mystics called it 'Via Negativa,' way of negation. The Vedantins of India called it 'Neti Neti,' not this, not this. Buddha called it 'Sunya,' emptiness.

Master artist Leonardo Da Vinci wrote, 'Of all the great things we can discover, the greatest is nothing.' Physics shows us that the entire material universe arises as waves of immaterial energy, virtual fluctuations in a vacuum. And in the Bhagavad Gita Krishna says, 'Even Brahma, the Creator, returns to nothing.'

When we are graced with a truly deep form of meditation, we dissolve into the Absolute. But this word is so dry, so philosophical. Sometimes we use the word Void, but that also sounds so lacking in life! How can it be described in a way that truly conveys the fullness of that womb? It can't.
By the grace of meditation, dissolve every form into the formless. Dissolve all thought into transcendental silence. Even for an instant, this tasteless nectar sweetens a whole day. Un-create for a moment, and renew creation.

The No-Thing is the womb of the All-Mother. She is unfathomable Peace and unendurable Bliss. What cannot endure in her? Our story of the past, our impoverished victimized 'me,' our insistence on being small.

What remains? A tidal wave of infinite Existence, crashing over us as the humble task of the next moment.

                              

4/13/2015

Beyond Compare



You are complete. You are the crown jewel of creation. You are absolutely perfect this very moment. You have eaten from the Tree of Life and you are full - that is, until you compare yourself to anyone else.

The instant you engage in comparison, you eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Us and Them. You have fallen into Sin.

What is Sin? To believe that any creature in heaven or earth could possibly be better, worse, or in any way comparable to You.

4/12/2015

Happiness?






Real happiness has nothing to do with the modern cult of the smile. It comes with an unconditional embrace of sorrow, revealing that even our shadows are woven of light, with threads so subtle they can only be seen through the eye of a broken heart. Have you embraced your tears? Have you honored your grief? Have you entered your wound?








Painting, mixed media, Marie Laparco

4/10/2015

Ritual



I can only anticipate the past. I can only expect the repetition of an old story. All I can plan is the safety of bygone images, not the Presence that animates them. That is why, to live in faith, I renounce hope.

No instance of creativity, no shock of ecstasy, no awakening of love, was ever planned. The living breath that floods my flesh comes from eternity, not from time. I learned this by watching the patient perennial explosion of apple buds, none of them ever one moment old, in the ancient ritual of inexorable surprise.

4/09/2015

Take Refuge Here



Take refuge in this moment. One lightning bolt of wonder through the heart of a child incinerates ten thousand books of philosophy. All the speeches of politicians burn to tasteless ash in the diamond eye of a lover. A wild hyacinth springs from the manure pile, fragrant as the breath of an angel. There is no war in this meadow. Gods yearn to be born on earth for one cool April morning.

4/07/2015

Two Long




Two long to be One, One longs to be Two. There is ebb and flow in the ocean of the void. Stillness is a dynamo. Silence resonates. Subject and Object are born of each other, particles of Matter emitted from waves of emptiness. You can rest as activity, you can act as rest. The worm under the stone in your garden is coiled like a galaxy, because it too is filled with stars. "Oh," cries the robin at dawn, "this is going to be tasty!" Don't overlook the message in the finest follicle of fur. Every pore in your skin is a doorway to the higher worlds.

4/06/2015

Laus Trinitati



Every act of our perception is God's Self-delight.

When I pause to look at this apple bud, I manifest the Holy Trinity: the eye, the blossom, and the delight of perception.

This is God's sacrifice for me. God miniaturizes the Holy Trinity in my most limited and incarnate sensation. My perception of a tiny bud is a hologram that contains all of God's knowledge about Herself.

In apprehending this apple bud, I crucify God into subject and object, so that duality may dance in the wonder of perception, even as the two dissolve back into One through my delight. This is God's passion.

The West calls the divine Self-sacrifice the Holy Trinity. Indian philosophy calls it Sat-Chit-Ananda: Being, Consciousness, and Bliss. Pure Being remains transcendently one, yet is simultaneously a self-relation: aware of itself. Being pulsates with an inner subject-object duality, prior to the creation of the universe. Yet the eternal subject and the eternal object (Christ-child) are eternally united in Self-delight. Pure consciousness is God the Father. The object of consciousness is Christ the Child. The delight through which God beholds Christ in himself is the energy of the Spirit, who is the Mother.

Each act of human perception, bathed is Awareness, is divine conception, the Father and Mother rejoicing in their Child, the created universe.

How could creation not be born of this throbbing love within the stillness of the One? Every photon of light, every sub-atomic particle of matter, is composed of pure bliss, a sparkle of delight thrown out of the churning void, struck off by the joy of Being beholding its Self.

My every taste and touch participates in the hidden ecstasy of God's own delight. I see a white blossom, a star, an infant's eyes, a homeless woman's hand. In each act of perception, the universe is created again, expressly for the purpose of perceiving itself.

And when we gaze into each others eyes, how can we not see God gazing into herself?

The sexual ecstasy of lovers is but the clue to a more essential bliss, available to awakened awareness in every moment of earthly perception, this breath, this touch, this apple bud.

It is incomprehensible that anyone could ever be bored or dissatisfied. Simply to open these eyes, to hear the sound of a robin at first light, to gaze at the stillness of peaches lying on a wooden table, is to be the triune God in the act of Self-creation.

O ocean of souls, O communion of one, O solitude of all!
In the beginning,
the Father gazed
into the mirror of the Spirit
and saw Christ.
That mirror was the womb
of eternal silence,
for even God is mothered
by a mystery.
Then Christ gazed in the mirror
and saw You.
You too were born
of that joy!

(A poem from 'Wounded Bud')

4/05/2015

Cross

The purpose of religion is to connect the earth and stars, microcosm and macrocosm, through the cruciform matrix of this human body, a holigram of energy-transformation whose cardinal points, the crown, soles of the feet and hands, embrace the four directions, four winds, four elements, integrating time and space into cosmic beauty at the center of the heart.

The crucifix, displaying the tortured body of a man in grief and pain, did not appear in Christian iconography until the fourth century. The cross is a pre-Christian symbol expressing the dignity of regeneration and divine embodiment. Of course there is no transformation and no birth without pain: but we do not need to make a cult of suffering. The second century theologian, St. Athanasius, wrote, "God became human so that humanity could become God." Have a blessed and peaceful Easter.

(Mandala by St. Hildegard of Bingen, 11th C.)

Gnostic Gospel of the Garden

(Mary Magdalene Removing her Jewelry by Alonso del Arco, 17th C)

Jesus said to her, “Noli me tangere: Don't touch me. For I have not yet ascended to My Father."
~John 20:11-17

O Magdalene, I never said such words.  I said, "Touch me, touch me!" For as you live through my breath on your lips, so I am embodied through your caress.

Touch me in the smallest petal of a wild rose. Touch me in the rain-soaked sunbeam. Touch me in the loam and dahlia bulb, the icy water of a mountain stream.

Touch me through the feline curve of the midnight moon, the rippling pelt of the wild stallion, the fur of mist on fallow meadow.

Touch me in the blue flame of the homeless mother's gaze, ever searching for her child. Touch me in pain unbearable without the nearness of hands. Touch me in the speechless zero of a dying soldier's mouth.

The Word of the Lord is a radiant throb of silence at the heart of sensation. All scripture is written in your palm. Working fingers are holy as fingers that pray. Therefor touch me in the second kneading of risen dough.

Touch me beyond stars and night. Reach into the darkness that was here before I spoke the world: then cling to what yearns back.

My flesh is everywhere now, my inhalation sheathed in your form like the kernel in a chaff of wheat. Holy men no longer say, "God is in heaven."

The time has come for you to repose more deeply in the chambers of the skin. Let the marrow of your bones be yeast, fermenting the death-pale illusion that you were ever not ripe.

There is a bridal bower in your chest, where sun and moon lie down to conceive a human thistle, fragrant yet clustered with thorns. The scent brings forgetting, the thorns bring remembrance of grief: these are your wings.

On your ankles you wear ringing stars, the earth your crown, weightless as the moment of death. Let every dust on your naked sole, each atom in the crysalis of your body, be a doorway to this wedding.

Invite the living and the dead, the rich and poor, those who believe and those who doubt. This feast is not a secret.

4/01/2015

Remembering the Heart




When you are anxious or unhappy, remember your heart. Don't wait until you feel peaceful and content. At any time, particularly in the midst of stress, just rest your attention silently in the hridaya, the heart space. It's a practice as easy as a sigh, too simple for the intellect; yet it cuts through illusion with devastating power, awakening the breath of wholeness. Ancient masters of both Yoga and Christian traditions said, "Let the mind be in the heart." Resting the mind in the heart is the beginning and end of spiritual practice.