5/27/2017

New Moon

Big hearts carry pain
that others won't feel.
Boundless hearts weep
cleansing tears
without knowing why.
Yet at heart's core
is a hollow
that cannot be touched
by joy or sorrow.
The stars are longing
to rest here.
The moon takes off her
veil of light in vain
to know this stillness.
How may you enter
the shrine of
holy absence?
Follow a breath.
Painting: The Bohemian, by Renoir

Thank You

Thank you for this holy ordinary morning
and its quantum daystar world-round light.
Thank you for the blue of empty sky,
the gift of formlessness, for earthworms
in their ether of loam, and for dying
that dissolves our bodies into food
the tiniest hungriest creatures eat.
Thank you for this ladybug whose
wings are woven of my father's dust.
And, yes, my mother's tears must be
by now the snow on the distant mountain.
Thank you for the eye in my heart
that created this earth for seeing,
out of seeing, for saying thank you and
above all, for the gift of gratitude.

5/25/2017

Born A Shaman

Lots of talk about "shamanism" these days. People want to visit exotic countries and adopt the lore of indigenous tribes to turn themselves into shamans. But if you really want to be a shaman, you just need to return to your original nature.

You were a shaman when you were born, a master by the time your were six months old!  Your throat was the rattle, your belly the drum. The sounds you heard in your body were sutras and godspells full of Earth-power. You uttered ecstatic bija mantras as you gurgled milk from your Mother's breast: "Bawa!" "Ma!" "Om!" "Ah!" Hum!"
As a fetus tumbling through the womb, you achieved every healing posture, embodying all the constellations of the zodiac. And in your crib, rolling, stretching, curling, bouncing, you performed the complete sequence of yoga asanas, your wrists and fingers ceaselessly playing in secret mudras of tantric blessing.

Through the soft spot in the crown of your head, star music poured into your body; and whichever way you turned, your vertebrae were aligned with the black hole at the center of the galaxy. In a cave at the core of your brain was a tiny altar, where you hid a medicine bundle called the amygdala.

Whenever you felt a thirst for light, you simply closed your eyes and turned inward, walking down the forest path from your eyeballs to the pineal gland. There, in a wilderness of dendrites, you drank sapphire streams of wisdom from a bottomless well.

Through the radiant field of Astonishment, you absorbed waves of prana from the empty space around you: it was the true ayahuasca. No need to squeeze the sacred soma juice from rare mushrooms: it was the nectar of your own neuro-peptides, streaming from heart to hypothalamus.
The glowing tendrils of your nervous system did not stop at the edge of your flesh, because your flesh had no edges. Your neurons rooted in loam through the soles of your feet; while your eyes, ears, nostrils and tongue entwined with the planets through filaments of radiation.

The vegus nerve, spiraling like a grapevine round your backbone, was the Tree of Life in the Garden of Paradise, your body, its branches sparkling up into the frontal cortex, bearing the fruit of your joy back to the Milky Way.

Thus your human form, streaming with currents of bio-energetic fire, was a Burning Bush that revealed the one and simple commandment, "Love!" And the symmetry of that commandment contained all the laws of nature in its vast singularity.
O yes, there was a Serpent in your Eden, wound at the base of the tree. But the Serpent was not evil, for no evil existed. How could there be original sin where there is only love? You were born to Original Innocence.

Now that serpent was Kundalini Shakti, who did not dispute with Eve, for the Serpent was Eve herself. They were one and the same Goddess.

Therefor, friend, your unfallen nature is pure wonder. And you may return to your nature now, in an instant, by taking this breath. Nay, by receiving this breath. For breath is not taken, but given. And every breath you breathe is the Spirit of the Creator.

5/22/2017

The Holy Land

As I watched the news tonight, the announcer kept talking about 'Trump in the Holy Land,' visiting 'sacred sites' that were disputed by the two warring sides. All at once it became clear to me that the cruelest human behaviors, and the slaughter of millions, are rooted in our tribal notion that one land is more holy than another.

Either the whole Earth is sacred, or none of it is sacred. Why is it acceptable to clear cut that forest, leave nuclear waste on that prairie, spread toxic chemicals over those fields, but your little slice of real estate is untouchable and holy? When will we hear the cry of the great Goddess from every bleached coral reef and each wounded branch?

I got very angry and shouted at the news, "Your holy land is no more holy than my back yard!" - and the very instant I shouted the words "back yard," my dear friend Rave landed with a jolt on my back porch, joined by his lifelong mate. Here they are...

I turned off the news. What a sacred evening, every leaf is vibrant with the green Spirit, and songbirds are rejoicing in the golden evening sun!

Solstice Meditation: Light Of The Body

Have you ever meditated on your eyes?

We are always streaming THROUGH our eyes. But have you ever taken a few moments to rest IN your eyes, not moving outward toward the world, nor inward toward the mind, but staying in the liminal space of seeing, without the seer or the seen?
Through the portal of the eye, thought passes outward to project its world of anxiety, desire, and old karmic stories. Simultaneously, the energy outside presses back through the gateway of the eye as a dancing chaos of light-waves, which mind organizes it into the forms we choose to re-member.

Yet we take for granted the space of the doorway itself, the transparency of our own eye. We don't linger here to look at what is looking. So we never notice our eyes as we pass through them on our busy journey of world-making.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "The eye is the light of the body. If your eye is single and one, your whole body will be filled with light." We usually abstract Jesus' words into the intellect as moral concepts. We love to make mind-trips out of these words, instead of experiencing their roots in the spiritual heart of matter. What if we took Jesus' words as instructions for meditation in the body? What if we became "single and one" with our own eye?

Just for a little while, instead of streaming through your eyes, stop and rest in them. Remain in the space of pure beholding, without beholding any-thing. Sink deeper and deeper into the hollow cavern of your eyeball, neither going outside to form a world, nor going upstairs to process light into thought. Let "your eye be single," resting in the openness of its own window.

During this utterly effortless meditation, we notice almost at once a deep relaxation in the facial muscles, which we have unconsciously strained by seeking. We have translated this strain into the world we see. Now, resting the eye in its own light, the strain melts away, because no outer form need be created. The relaxation spreads through our whole face, creating a natural smile, and through all the muscles of the body.

We also feel a deep peace in the mind, because now there is no need to form concepts and mental images. In the "single eye," mind melts into its original nature, the blue sky of pure awareness.

On the subtlest level of sensation, where light-waves become photons of flesh, we may also feel an edge-less expansion of bliss. For when light rests in itself, new light is created, sparkling through our energy-field. What energy is our body actually made of? Particles of bliss.

A few minutes of this meditation will relieve much stress, and transform the way we see the world when we come out, refreshed for activity.


Very light of very light, vast cathedral dome of sight, self-illuminated mosque, starry empyrean of the eyeball: kneel here. Rest awhile. Venture neither out nor in, and every cell of flesh will bow down with you.

Reposing in the bliss where seeing arises, before anything is seen, be recreated, and your whole body will be filled with light.

5/20/2017

Chant Om Namah Shivaya



I invite you to place your attention on the gentle sound vibration, Om Namah Shivaya. This universal redeeming mantra purifies and heals the breath, the nervous system, the senses, and the world that the senses perceive. The flow of these syllables through your breath enlivens the five elements of your body and the whole earth around you.

Om-Na-Ma-Shi-Va-Ya: "May divine purity pervade earth, water, fire, air, space and consciousness." These syllables enliven the energy centers in our nervous system. Each of the five syllabes purifies one of the five elements in our body. Na - earth at the root of the spine; Ma - water in the abdomen; Shi - fire in the solar plexus; Va - air in the chest; Ya - prana at the throat; Om - the space in the forehead. The bindu, or point of silence at the end of Om, is in the crown chakra at the top of the head. In that silence, all merges in the source.

No need to concentrate on these centers, or on the syllables. Simply chant the mantra, then let it ripple away into silence. Let waves of purification wash over you and through you, each vibration flowing to the area where it is needed, quite automatically. The key is to let the grace of the mantra do the work.

Breathing and chanting this mantra opens our awareness to the stream of loving-kindness that created the universe. In the East, that creative stream is called Shakti. In the West, she is called the Holy Spirit. Let the mantra flow effortlessly as a current of inner sound resonating through the hollow cord at the center of the body. If the syllables grow faint, running together like the murmur of a mountain brook, that is wonderful! The whole mantra merges into Shivo'ham, "I am Shiva!" If the mantra dissolves like a fading chime into pure silence, that is wonderful! Yet if all the syllables sparkle, majestic and clear in the space of awareness, that is wonderful too. Let the mantra be, however it comes.

Om Namah Shivaya. Your mind is a window for divine light. Your breath is a wellspring of divine love. Your heart is the fountain where the grace of Divine Mother gushes into creation.


5/16/2017

Drop This Thought

"Take no thought for tomorrow." ~Jesus, Matthew 6:34
For those who are addicted to thinking, here is a one-moment meditation: Drop This Thought.

The practice is unbelievably simple, so don't believe in it. Don't even do it.

Dropping this thought doesn't mean trying not to think. Trying to not-think is a form of repression that wastes our energy, because thinking is inevitable. But what we can effortlessly drop is our clinging to ideas. As soon as an idea or image arises in the mind, no resistance is required. Just drop it. Not-clinging requires no effort.

In fact, dropping a thought increases energy. When I drop this thought, the energy bound up in thinking dissolves its form and expands into pure awareness, which is the sparkling joy of boundless possibility.

The moment I drop this thought, an explosion of transparency fills the inner and outer sky, blessing every atom in my body and resonating into the stars.
Drop thought, drop affirmation, drop belief. What can be formed in the mind is only an idea, and an idea can never bring us one step closer to Being. A thought of happiness is not happiness. A thought of God is not God. The image of Jesus in your mind is not what Jesus IS. Crucify the image.

When you pray, drop the name and form of God. When you meditate, drop the mantra. The very letting go of the mantra is like sowing a seed in dark loam. The seed has to be dropped in order to sprout power. The mantra only bears fruit when it dissolves into silence.

Truth is never the outcome of thinking. We cannot construct an argument, a chain of thoughts, that will end with, "Eureka! I found the truth, now everything will be OK!" Truth is a wave of space in the heart, not a particle of thought in the head. So drop this thought and taste the emptiness of your true nature.

Although we have been addicted to thinking for many lifetimes, thought is not our true nature. One authentic taste of the pure awareness beyond thought awakens a new destiny.

This is not just some "Eastern" teaching. In the Bible, awareness beyond thought is called "the peace which passeth understanding." In the Sermon on the mount, Jesus tells his disciples again and again to "take no thought."

We have left the Information Age. This is the Age of Awareness. We are in recovery from our thinking addiction. Humans all over the earth are now discovering the redemptive power of thought-free awareness. Like the finest wine, sip this awareness in short moments of awakening. With time, it will pervade all your perceptions, and remain sparkling through dreams and deep sleep. "I sleep, but my heart is awake." (Song of Songs 5:2)

Fall into the well between words. One breath of this clarity is baptism. Bathe in the blessing that has no image, no concept, no ideology. This blessing is nameless because it is the very silence from which words arise.

The well between thoughts is ananda, bliss. Why not come down from the ever-circling mind and alight upon the clarity of your heart, like a swan settling on a still lake?

This is a living stillness, not a state of inertia. When I drop thought, there is a sparkling surge of awareness, an awakening of space itself. And because the space is unobstructed by any conceptual form, it keeps increasing. The ever-expanding quality of pure awareness is what makes this space dynamically blissful.

The early Christian mystic, St. Gregory of Nyssa, called it epictesis: "ceaseless expansion into God." Greek philosophers had removed God from human experience, putting the Divine on a static idealized pedestal of Absolute Being. But St. Gregory describes the real taste, the wild flavor of mystical experience: the Divine is not stagnant, but ever silently exploding in wildering widening spirals of ecstasy.

The Sanskrit term for this dynamism within the Godhead is spanda, from which we derive the English word "expand." Spanda is the pulsation within the depth of silence that creates the universe. Quantum physics now describes spanda as "fluctuation in the vacuum." All material particles arise from these fluctuations, and so-called "matter" actually consists of abstract wave-energy: waves of pure mathematical intelligence in the emptiness of the void.

Such pulsing clarity cannot remain a secret inside us. We long to share that bliss which is the effortless nature of mere Existence. And this motivates us to give joy to others. How does our bliss influence the subtle strata of energy around us?

The awakened radiance of thought-free awareness overflows through our senses, energizing our environment. For consciousness, sensation and environment are a single continuum, one field of energy in different degrees of density.

To drop this thought illuminates my senses. Now I can see-hear-taste-touch more clearly, with more luminous energy. This burst of awareness in me reverberates throughout the field of space, cleansing and healing the world.

"Drop this thought" is such an innocent practice that we need not spoil it by turning it into a "technique." Nor do we need to give this effortless practice any duration through time. For the attempt to sustain the practice, as a practice, destroys its innocence and wastes energy.

I can imbibe short moments of "drop this thought" throughout the day, without clinging to the experience. Such moments of ecstatic non-doing are excellent meditations for those of us whose minds are fickle and incapable of stilling themselves. Which means all of us!

Brevity is the soul of practice. Drop this thought now and take a sip of eternity. Then go back to work.

What happens in that instant of dropping thought? "I" dissolve. Nothing is so refreshing as the dissolution of the do-er.

Some speak of instant karma, but what we need is instant grace. Grace is not a state of duration, maintained by concentration, affirmation, or mindfulness. Trying to hold on to Grace is just another thought. Drop it. Grace is only possible as surprise.

Let yourself be surprised by Grace, moment by moment, all day long, and even in the darkest night.

5/14/2017

Sabbath

The Sabbath happens when we give up seeking. What's important is not how brief it is, but how conscious it is. One moment of awareness-without-seeking is a precious diamond, a sparkling burst of stillness that annihilates time. Something even more wonderful than happiness dawns the instant we give up looking for it.

5/13/2017

Swan

Hamsa means swan in Sanskrit. It also means, I am one with the Divine. Aham (I am) So (the Divine). Hamsa mantra is also Soham. They are the same mantra. Vedic literature declares that this two-syllable mantra is the subtle sound of breathing out and breathing in.
As we exhale Aham, we pour ourselves back into the ocean of Divine Love. As we inhale So, we allow Divine Love to replenish and recreate us, pouring light into each photon of this body. This miraculous process continues day and night, each moment we breathe. But most of us are so lost in the sensory stupor of worldly distraction, we are not conscious of the divine process of Hamsa. We have forfeited our birthright for a bowl of porridge (Gen 25:31).
But all we need to do is bring our awareness back to the dynamic meditation that is already happening in each breath. As striking two stones generates a spark, so the gentle friction of in-breath and out-breath generates Shakti, the energy of creation. And just as a swan settles softly upon a still lake, so the luminous grace of Divine Love reposes in the heart-space when its silence is unruffled by thought.
The still point where out-breath and in-breath kiss, between the sacred syllables Ham and So, is a dimensionless dot that seems so brief yet is filled with eternity; seems so small yet is the womb of worlds. Suns and galaxies arise from this infinitesimal bindhu, which is the same jot that the Jewish mystics called ayin soph or, the infinitesimal point of no-thing from which the light of creation shines. Thus an ancient Yoga text, Vijnana Bhairava, declares:
'The supreme Goddess, whose nature is to create, constantly expresses herself as exhalation and inhalation. By resting awareness in the space of the heart, between the descending and ascending breaths, one experiences Bhairava, the source of creation.'
In Yogic tradition, the name of this heart space is Anahata, meaning un-struck sound. The silence of the heart vibrates with the eternal music of the Vedas. And the mathematical resonance of this mantric music formulates the laws of physics that create the universe.
Hamsa is the inner science of all meditation practices, and the subtle dynamic within all mantras. Mantra is a Sanskrit word meaning a vehicle that carries awareness back to its home. The word derives from mannas (mind) and tra (vehicle). From tra we get the suffix tron, as in electron, a vehicle for electricity. Thus a mantra is a vehicle for the energy of the mind.

Where is the mind going? What location is it seeking? The mind is ever restless till it finds its home in its source: the silent radiance of the heart.
When the Guru gives the precious gift of mantra to the devotee, the mantra effortlessly transports the swan of awareness on wings of grace to this quiet lake of Anahata. All true mantras settle into waves of Hamsa that dissolve in the silent pulse of Absolute Being, where breath becomes still.
In this communion, meditation fulfills the Biblical injunction to 'Be still and know that I Am God' (Psalm 46:10). This is neither a belief nor a theology, but a direct experience of the living Peace that surpasses understanding, the stillness beyond thought. To 'know that I Am God' is to know Aham, I am, merging with So, the Divine.
Would you like to perform a very great service to humanity, right now? Would you like to provide healing and nourishment for the whole earth? Then repose on the still ocean between your breaths. Rest in the grace of Hamsa. Awaken the depth of inner silence.

Christ's Teaching on the Breath

"The wind blows where it pleases. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is for everyone who is born of the spirit." (John 3:8)

If we carefully examine the details of this verse, we find that it contains Jesus' meditation teaching on the breath.

Biblical Greek employs the same word for Breath, Wind, and Spirit. More than once, Jesus makes a wise pun on this Greek word, 'pneuma.'

The wind blows where it pleases. Your breath is moved by a mystery, not by your will. Simply noticing that your next inhalation is given, not taken, turns breathing into Grace. 

You hear its sound. Listening within, you sense a subliminal whisper in your breath, the sound that Elijah the Prophet called 'a subtle murmur of silence.' In Hebrew, this is 'qol daqah d'mamah.' 'Daqah' literally means 'finely ground or atomized.' The whisper Elijah heard was the vibration of the cosmos at the finest level of creation, where particles emerge from the vacuum. In Jewish mysticism, this sound of cosmic breath is the most holy name of God, יהוה , so sacred and interior that it cannot be pronounced aloud.

The first syllable of this Name is the inhalation, the second syllable the exhalation. These mantric syllables, 'Ya' and 'Hu,' both divine names in Hebrew mysticism, are also sacred seed-mantras in Islamic Sufism, Tibetan Buddhist meditation, and the Hindu tradition of Yoga.

Practicing what they called 'the Prayer of the Heart,' early Christian mystics found these same seed-syllables in the name of Jesus, conjoining the Lord's name with their breathing to guide attention into the heart center. Their classic manual of prayer, the Philocalia, teaches that you may 'enter the heart by means of breathing: therefor, Let Jesus be your breath.' (Hesychius of Jerusalem, 5th C.)

The subtle sound that vibrates through the breath is the very Word of creation. 'In the beginning was the Word,' says the Gospel of John. This creative sound-energy is called 'shabda' in Sanskrit. A Vedic verse declares: 'Adau bhagavan shabda rasahih: In the beginning, the Lord manifested the creation through a current of sound.'

Thus, like a tuning fork, the gentle sound of the divine Spirit in your own breath calls your Being back into harmony with creation's source.

But you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. The experience of creation's source is not a mere intellectual concept. This is not a philosophy, but a direct experience that conceptual thinking cannot fathom. Inhalation arises, but from where? Exhalation returns, but to where? Who is breathing you?

Though our intellect cannot grasp the abyss at the heart of creation, we taste its goodness in our breath: the absolute goodness called 'tova' in Hebrew. The refrain of the Biblical creation story is, 'God saw that it was good.' The goodness of 'tova' is no relative good, in relation to something bad. In the creation hymn of Genesis 1, there is nothing bad, no evil whatsoever. 'Tova' is unfathomable bliss, called 'ananda' in Sanskrit. Absolute bliss permeates every particle of creation with the goodness of God.

Thus Jesus teaches the same ancient secret of the breath that we find in the Yogic classic, Vijnana Bhairava: 'By resting awareness in the space of the heart, between the descending and ascending breaths, one experiences Bhairava, the source of creation.'

So it is for everyone who is born of the Spirit. Can we be born again, re-created through the power of the breath? As stated above, 'Spirit' also means 'breath' in the Bible. Each breath we take recapitulates, in our intimate microcosm, the cycle of cosmic creation and dissolution.
Breathing is death and rebirth, moment by moment. Breathing out, we abandon ourselves to dissolution in the void. We merge in divine darkness, the silence that was there before God said, 'Let there be light.' Completely surrendering through our exhalation, we enter a moment of unbounded stillness before the next inhalation arises. Yet this moment is permeated by eternity.

This tiny dimensionless 'bindhu' ('dimensionless dot' in Sanskrit) is the space where worlds are born. In Jewish mysticism it is called the 'ayin soph aur,' the point of no-thing from which light irradiates creation.
Between exhalation and inhalation, between inhalation and exhalation, a spaceless silence encapsulates the boundless ocean of divine energy. And this tiny bindhu is the real 'Noah's ark,' carrying us through the waters of dissolution into the next creation. In Sanskrit symbolism, it is called 'Hiranyagharba,' the 'Golden Egg' that floats between creations on the sea of silence. Cosmic energy is concentrated in this golden point until it is born again as the next universe.

These mythologies not only describe a macrocosmic dissolution and re-creation, but the intimate rebirth that happens in each of us through our breathing. There is an ocean of silence between each breath, where the Spirit of God stirs the un-created waters of the void with a gentle breeze. The second verse opening verses of the Bible wonderfully describe this experience: 'Earth was formless and void, darkness was upon the surface of the Deep, and the Spirit (Breath) of God hovered over the waters.' 

What is 'the Deep'? ('Tehom' in Hebrew) Is it not the vibrant vacuum described by quantum physicists, where all sub-atomic particles pre-exist as 'fluctuations' and 'probability waves' before they spill into material form?

Thus, by the grace of breathing and not by our own effort, a single exhalation carries us back to the source of creation, where we are 'in the beginning' with God. Then, from that ocean of living silence, the next inhalation arises as a gift. With each breath, we are created again. All that is required is to pay attention.


5/09/2017

Wave of Presence



Mind creates duality between "time" and the "now," as if one is not the other. The seeker wants to stop the flow of "time" and enter the stillness of the present moment, as if "now" is a stasis, a stagnant pool of being, and not a stream of becoming.

But there is no "now" to be grasped and rested in, as if the present is a thing or a place. Because "now" is never an object of awareness, but the subject. I Am presence. Presence is a dynamic wave, moving without beginning or end. And all my suffering arises because "I" resist this wave-flow, which is only the flow of myself.
The paradox is that when I stop resisting the wave of presence, stillness dawns. A wave keeps moving across the ocean, yet at its base the wave is the ocean, and isn't moving at all. So my life endlessly flows through the tranquility of my own awareness, meeting apparent conflicts that arise and dissolve in the stillness I Am.

5/05/2017

River

In the river of God's will, the goal is never in the future.

When I separate myself from the flow of the Divine, and attempt to direct its current toward a future outcome, I alienate myself from Life. For God is the very Life from whom I separate myself in order to be in control.

Any goal that I desire is my will, not the Way of the Divine. But when I surrender to the Way, I am in a state of Grace. And this very surrender IS the goal, each moment, wherever the Way wanders.

Does this sound passive? Of course it does, because our culture educates us to control, to manipulate outcomes, to grasp for the "ideal," and be ever discontented with what Is. Now just see where this culture of "goals" and "ideals," this addiction to thinking about the future, has taken us...
The real passivity, the real paralysis comes, not when I surrender, but when I attempt to rise above the stream of Now and focus on future rewards. Thus the Bhagavad Gita declares: "Focus on your work, not on its fruits... Established in the peace of Yoga, perform action" (2:47,48).

We do our best work in the present moment. Surrender is never passive. It is "wei wu wei," acting without doing. What disappears is the do-er, not the action.

The instant one dives into the stream, Presence is electric, energizing the body with currents of Shakti that connect our atoms to the stars. Their majestic stillness is our dance. Their waltz of fire our stillness.

And our "goal" for the future? Whatever it may be, it always comes down to joy, does it not? Yet that joy only thrives in the present moment. Take the stem of a flower out of the water, it wilts. Take love out of the present moment, it fades away.

You Are peace, you Are love, you Are joy...

If you surrender to the current of the Goddess, wherever you are, the miracle of Presence arises. Yes, even in the midst of catastrophe.

Become present. Let the vast silent clarity of this moment swallow your mind.

5/03/2017

Negative Capability: Keats and Buddha


(This essay was published in 'Empty Mirror,' a journal of art and culture, on April 28, 2017.)
The relationship of Buddhism and the poetic process is a sublime yet unexplored topic among Western scholars. It’s about the silent space between the words, not just the word itself.

The poet John Keats writes: "At once it struck me what quality went to form a man of achievement, especially in literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously - I mean Negative Capability, that is, when one is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason..." (Letter to his brother, 12/21/1817)

In a letter to Reynolds, 5/3/1818, Keats speaks of stepping into the "Thoughtless Chamber, in which we remain as long as we do not think." This could mean nothing else but sunya, the Buddha-nature of thought-free emptiness. Keats describes his creativity in terms that Buddhists would recognize as anatta, no-self. In a letter to Richard Woodhouse (10/27/1818) he writes:

"As to the Poetic Character itself... it is not itself - it has no self - it is everything and nothing... A Poet is the most unpoetical of any thing in existence, because he has no Identity - he is continually in and filling some other Body... I have no nature. When I am in a room with People, then not myself goes home to myself, but the identity of everyone in the room begins to press upon me, so that I am in a very little time annihilated."


Jack Kerouac echoes Keats in his Scripture of the Golden Eternity. "Strictly speaking, there is no me, because all is emptiness. I am empty, I am non-existent. All is bliss."

What Keats calls “Negative Capability,” modern artists call “negative space.” Leonardo da Vinci wrote, "Of all the great things found among us, the Being of Nothingness is the greatest." Negative Space is the lesson of Japanese minimalism that influenced Matisse and Van Gogh at the fountainhead of modern European art.


Miles Davis filled his solos with negative space, creating by subtracting. "Don't play what's there," Miles said, "play what isn't there." (LINK)

Silence between notes. White sky between plum blossoms. Void that births creation. Darkness before God says, "Let there be light." The opening verses of the Bible describe the womb of creation in quite Buddhist terms, tohu wa bohu, in Hebrew meaning "formless and void." So the Heart Sutra, core of Zen, declares: “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.”

What the artist discovers in negative space, the mystic finds in pure awareness, free from the clutter of thought. Emptiness between stars, hollow in our throat and belly, vacuum in an atom, black hole at the center of the galaxy: these are all the same space. This space is awake. It is who we truly are. It is Awareness.

If you fall through the crack between quarks, into the vacuum of infinite possibility at the core of a proton, you will hear the music of the spheres. A pointless bindhu contains the information of the whole universe. The ancient Upanishads proclaim: "Ano raniyan, mahato mahiyan: One atom of the smallest is greater than the greatest."

And so affirms Neruda, the modern poet: "I, infinitesimal being, drunk with the great starry void."

Old Tire

A family of possums
living in an old tire.
Waves of morning glories
drowning an abandoned Chevy.
Who planted these
flowers in the junkyard?
No one, friend, no one.
I would rather love
the smallest good
than hate the greatest evil.
The robin weaves
her nest from threads
of dangling moss, dead twigs,
too ardent for outrage.
The moth does not protest
the evening of the world.
The honeysuckle's thin
silent trumpet
conquers the night
with a drop of dew.
What are you resisting?
Be open to the kiss
of rain, the sun's caress.
Expand this vulnerable
sweetness of your heart
and bees will return.
Here's the revolution:
breathe,
sing in the dark,
be grateful.

5/01/2017

When The World Is Out Of Control

People are so anxious these days, because the message they get from the world is that things are totally out of control - so out of control that no one can fix it.

This is exactly the right message for now. Settle down and receive it. Breathe it into your heart: the world is out of your control.

When we stop freaking out, we will get the next message, which is: "So what?" So what if everything is out of our control? Do you really want to control the world? Do you want an almighty leader to control the world? Which one?

Have you ever been in control? Are you in control right now? "Control is an illusion." That is the second message.

Finally, there's a third message for these times, one we can only accept when we surrender the illusion of control. The message is: "All we really have is our compassion, the brokenness of our heart."

We are here for compassion, not control. To love with every breath, to love with each small ordinary deed, even if the deed is merely listening.

You can spread the message of compassion. You must. The world is thirsty for it. You don't need to be a scientist, a politician, a guru, a social "activist," or a charismatic TED-talker. You only need to break open your heart and release the fragrance of love, in your own unique voice, your own royal gesture. With the generosity you are, breathe compassion.

4/30/2017

Nothing is Important

Everything is dissolving; therefor each particle of dust is infinitely precious. Nothing is important; therefor you are supremely beautiful.

No greater or less, no higher or lower, each creature the incomparable ideal of itself. Therefor I am free to give the same attention to your lips that Christ gives the soul.

The earth is not important. The sky is not important. Moon and stars are not important. The swirling galaxy is less than a water spider caught in a drain. The highest mountain is a ripple in a sea imagined at the final moment in the fading mind of a fresh corpse.

How important are you? The hollow in a reed, an empty cocoon, the hole in a Cheerio carried back to the forest in a crow's beak.

Tell me what thought you had precisely this time yesterday. Was it important? Where did it go? Whatever happened to that thought is happening to our world this moment. We are dissolving. And all the information we ever were is stored nowhere.

Existence is loss. Yet sacred loss opens space for wider existence. Friend, it isn't my intention to bring you down. What is weightless should not depress you.

I want you to dance on the ocean like a bubble that has just popped into nothing. I want to give you wings like a drop of last night's dew that disappears into a sunbeam on the mouth of an iris.

Grail

I loved Holy Communion. I even studied to be a priest so that I could draw nearer the mystery of the Eucharist, the two-fold offering of divine grace and human response.

The Eucharist is the central Christian rite. Christ bestows his Holy Spirit as a gift of grace. He sends his Shakti down upon this human work of bread, this ferment of wine, and transforms them into his flesh and blood. How should we respond? By offering worship. And offering ourselves back to the giver in his service.

I used to think I needed a church, an altar, a golden grail, an unleavened host, a priestly ordination.

Then I discovered that my flesh already is the Bread of Life. My blood is the Wine of Eden's vineyard. There is no Sin that I have fallen in. And every man, woman, or child was ordained to the priesthood of wonder the moment they were merely born on earth, where pain and beauty meet at the center of eight billion crosses.

The church is my body, the alter my breastbone, the two-fold offering my inhalation and exhalation, the rising and falling of my chest. This very breath is the Holy Spirit, poured into the grail of my heart. I do not take a breath. It is given.

What may I offer in return? My exhalation. In effortless surrender, I become hollow, an empty cup again. Simply to breathe out is to follow the example of Christ's kinosis, his self-emptying (Philippians 2:7). Here is the Good News: when you are completely empty, God fills you.

The sacrament of breathing embodies, in most intimate microcosm, the essence of all rites: the Vedic yagya, the Dharma wheel of sacrifice and sustenance, the mutual exchange of Yin and Yang, the cosmic mystery of Fall and redemption, descent and return.

A perfect prayer descends into my chest without a word spoken. I simply witness in wonder and gratitude. All day long, breath pours down and is offered up, what incense!, an ebbing flowing tide of divine nearness, drawing the heart into the silence of the Godhead.

Give us this day our daily breath. Let the sacrament continue through the darkest hours. "I sleep, but my heart is awake" (Song of Solomon, 5:2).

To breathe is to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16). Moment by moment, breathe the Spirit into flesh. Let it burst into flame on the altar of your heart, becoming earth, ashes, dust. And moment by moment, breathe out the offering of your body in return, a propitious sacrifice.

Jesus said, "Watch and pray" (Mat 26:41). To pray is to breathe. Watch and pray this breath. You will become the Presence of God.


Painting: Dante Rossetti's Grail Maiden

Hug

Hug the whole entanglement without untying the contradictions. Don't try to make complexity simple: it already is. There is no need to see the many as one because the one never became many. Through the grace of this paradox, an iris teared with dewdrops answers all your questions, and your surrendered heart is wider than space. All you need is the hunger of silence to understand that the cry of the owl at midnight means precisely nothing. In that nothing, your ancestors gather round you, singing your name. At first light, the sky in a robin's egg is filled with invisible stars.

4/29/2017

Aristotle or Plato?

Ever since Aristotle defined 'ethics' as 'habits,' Western morality has been backwards. Aristotle said that we become kind by acting kind, we become loving by acting loving, we become just by acting just, because kindness, love, and justice turn into habits.

But Spirit is who we already are before we act; and love, justice, wisdom, mercy are the inherent attributes of pure Consciousness before a single thought arises. Furthermore, everyone knows that, if we attempt to act kindly without being kind, we are just acting: our behavior is artificial.

When, on the other hand, we directly experience our transcendental divine Self through meditation, we awaken those divine qualities in our innate a priori awareness. Then we ARE kindness, we ARE love, we ARE justice, prior to acting them out.

But Aristotle believed the self was a blank slate. He literally called it the tabla erasa on which we inscribe our character by acting out ethical habits. He taught such ignorance because, unlike his master Plato, he never experienced a Self that transcends the intellect. He was a thinker, a philosopher, but not a yogi. He did not taste samadhi or breathe in "the peace which passeth understanding."

Before Aristotle, Plato taught that we must transcend the ordinary thinking mind, the mind of opinion - literally the Greek word he used. When practice the dialectic that takes us above mind into the realm of the Logos, we will gaze at the pure light of truth with the inward eye of the soul. He described this method quite carefully in The Republic. And for Plato, this ascent of the mind to pure seeing was not only a contemplative process, but was the method of science - again, his own word, scientia.

For Plato, it is this direct inward experience of the Light that changes our behavior into ethical action. Ethics are not inscribed in the soul through our material action; ethical actions flow out to the world from the Light within.

Like Plato, Buddha taught that we must transcend the cluttered multiplicity of the mind and awaken the unity of sunya, emptiness. Emptiness is the Buddha nature, the other shore, beyond the restless stream of thinking. Emptiness gives birth to compassion. This is the paradox of Buddhist ethics.

The Upanishads also taught transcendence. We must transcend waking thought, dreaming, and deep sleep, entering turiya, the fourth state of consciousness. The direct experience of turiya is the Self, the still and ever-silent witness of action. Then action arises spontaneously in harmony with Dharma, the moral law. This is also the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita. Yogaastah karukarmani: "Be established in the state of Yoga, the eternal non-changing Self, then act."

In Chinese tradition, the same principle is the basis of the Tao Te Ching. It  is the art of wei wu wei, "act by not-doing." When awareness surrenders to the Tao, the Te of ethical action arises spontaneous in harmony with nature.

Thus, the ancient masters of the East awakened the state of transcendental consciousness through deep meditation, prior to action. Consciousness preceded action. And Plato was deeply influenced by his master from the East. But the West followed the ignorance of Aristotle, rather than the wisdom of Plato.

Aristotle was a materialist. He taught that action precedes consciousness, and our habits in the material world are the foundation of our Spirit. The ancient masters taught just the reverse: consciousness precedes action, and Spirit is the source of matter.

We followed the materialism of Aristotle. We would have been a completely different civilization had we followed Plato.


Painting, Plato and Aristotle by Raphael, 'School of Athens,' Vatican Papal Apartments

Rest In Shared Abundance

When we practice affirmations for 'abundance,' we often make 3 mistakes.

First, we concentrate. Concentration is a subtle form of strain, belying uncertainty.

Second, we focus on our lack, not on abundance. Even when we think we are thinking about abundance, our very affirmation comes from an anxiety about lack. The subconscious is always more powerful than the conscious. So which seed are we actually planting? The thought at the surface level of awareness, or the subconscious anxiety?

Third, when we conceive of abundance, we think of personal rather than shared abundance. 'My abundance' is still a thought of lack. It lacks generosity of heart. It lacks expansion.

Don't focus, rest. Don't rest as lack, rest as abundance. Don't rest as personal abundance, rest as shared abundance.

Now rest so deeply, so confidently, so joyfully, that you let go of your very intention, and there is only silence...

Letting go of the intention in deep silence is called 'samyama' in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. 'Samyama' is much more powerful than concentrating on your intention, or asking for it in prayer. 'Samyama' means having an intention, yet letting it go in a silent mind.

Therefor, (1) You have clear intent, but it is not contracted into 'mine'; it is intended for all. (2) It is not subverted by its unconscious negation. (3) You let go of this very intention, and rest as silence.

Letting go drops the seed in the field of Infinite Possibility, the creative womb of the Mother, who is Pure Awareness. Be patient. Let the seed sprout in its own time.

Rest in shared abundance.


'Abundance,' oil on canvas by Leon Frederic, Belgium, 1897

4/28/2017

Never Ask

Never ask, "What difference have I made?" The world was transformed just by your being here, by your breathing here, by holding the earth in the palm of your awareness for a little while, in the warm space of your heart, before you laid it gently in its nest again, like a small blue egg. What did you whisper to the world, that it grew such star-drenched rainbow wings?

4/27/2017

Who Knows?

"In the sunlight of awareness, everything becomes sacred."
~Thich Naht Hanh


Information is overrated. It is far more important to find out Who is being informed. In fact, we often use information as an escape from awareness.

In the age of digital media we are addicted to "knowing," entranced by an endless hypnotic stream of information. Yet most of the time, we're not looking for information at all: we're looking for connection. And we connect through the silent magnetic field of the heart, not through information stored in our brains.

Let us become sane again. Let us engage in the sacred practice of Unknowing. Unknowing is a return to Presence.
Right now, can you step out of the information in your head and become a naked Being available to sunlight, wind, pebbles and stars? Can you awaken to the green frog hiding under a fern, the person at your side, the breath of the moon?

How much education is required to hear a robin, or be overwhelmed by sunset? How much knowledge do you need to feel your heart beat? And to love?

Some will say that Unknowing is ignorance, but it is the opposite of ignorance. Ignorance is being mesmerized by the stream of distraction, swept into a toxic river of images and sensations fed to us by the media, until we have no inner life.

But Unknowing is awakening. We wake to the space beyond thought, the Clear Light that streams from within.
You are not the clutter of your knowledge. You are the Knower. You are the Light of the world.

Devas Respond To Your Intention



As soon as you become aware that "I am made of pure light!" countless hosts of sub-nuclear angels muster to your trumpet of intention.
Your flesh is composed of celestial hierarchies, ranked according to the table of the elements, which are waves of bliss.

This explains the little rush and plume of gold that fountains from each dendrite in your cerebral cortex. It also explains how you can move a mountain.
For the material world responds to your intention too, as an extension of your body, through the divine portals of seeing, hearing, tasting, smell and touch. Send forth you messengers, O Eye, O Tongue, O sacred Nostril!

Even your pain is intensely luminous energy, sharpening your focus, melting ancient boundaries, removing the dross of thought - as long as you don't label it, "suffering."


For the moment you think, "My body is sick and I am a weak fallen sinner," the heavenly hosts depart, and you are no more than a lump of uncooked bacon.

Engraving by William Blake

4/24/2017

Be-wild-erment

Embrace bewilderment: be wild.

There is a forest of entangled miracles at the center of your heart. There Jesus calls his disciples, "Come away by yourselves into a wild place and rest awhile" (Mark 6:31).  He wants to recharge their energy with untamed innocence.

In the Old Testament, God calls Israel back to the wilderness: "I remember the unfailing devotion of your youth, the love of your bridal days, when you followed me into the wilderness, through a land unsown." (Jeremiah 1)

"True comprehension is bewilderment," wrote the young Martin Luther, when he was learning from Rhineland mystics like Meister Eckhart and Johann Tauler. Later, when Luther turned politician, he lost his inner powers, renounced mystical innocence, took up dogma, and joined the patriarchy.


Tauler wrote that God is "a simple hidden wilderness beyond being," and "a wilderness incomprehensibly wild... where multiplicity is lost in unity" (Sermon 60). Rhineland mystics like Tauler had nurtured the Protestantism of the radical reformers. They were almost entirely exterminated, not by the Catholic Church, but by Lutherans and Calvinists. Imagine how different Western history would have been had the Reformation kept its roots sunk in the mystics, rather than transplanting itself to the arid pseudo-rationalism of the Puritans!

Thus we now must look back to the Roman Catholic roots of mystical Christianity, especially among the Rhineland mystics, where Celtic monks from Ireland had been the first missionaries, rather than monks from Rome.

In the French version of the Arthurian Grail story, La Quest de la Sainte-Grale, the anonymous author, probably a Cistercian monk, tells us that "each knight chose to enter the forest where it was most overgrown, and there was no path."

The pathless wilderness where we meet God need not be on a mountaintop, in a desert, or forest. Wherever we are, even in the midst of market place or urban jungle, we may enter the wild places of the Heart, and be lost in Love.

4/21/2017

Leap

"Love is like an aroma, like a current, like rain."
~Frieda Kahlo


Leap into the stream of annihilation. The past does not exist. The future does not exist. There is no present moment, no resting place, no state of being or point of reference called now. Now is not a noun but a verb, a verb that signifies perpetual dissolving.

How long will you cling to illusory images of time, fleeting sensations of a solid world? These images exist only in the mind. These sensations are a shimmering mirage of emptiness, fluctuations in a vacuum, to be witnessed and enjoyed, but never possessed.

Why not relinquish every attempt to grasp a permanent object, a permanent mind, a permanent me? Simply dive into the stream of death, which is the stream of beauty, which is the stream of birth.

This never-ending flow of dissolution seems terrifying, does it not? That is because you are standing outside it. You are standing on the shore.
Those who have the courage to leap in and lose every-thing will discover, through an instant trembling flash of eternity, the true nature of this river, which is bliss.

4/18/2017

Coming Om

The sound of the Omkara mantra contains all possible alphabets, and all the harmonics of sacred geometry expressing the physics of creation. But 'Aum' must be de-mystified. Just listen to your body hum...
When Jesus said, 'I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last,' he was referring to the beginning and end of the alphabet, contained in the resonance of 'Aah' and 'Ouu.' These are not only the interior sounds of Aum, but the two-syllables in the Tetragramaton, most sacred name of the Lord in Biblical tradition. Of course, 'Ah' and 'Ouu' are also the sweet and by no means esoteric sounds of your own breathing...
In Aum, 'Ah' and 'Ouu' end in a dimension-less point of vibrant silence, the hum of infinite possibility. Mmmmm... This point is called 'Ayin soph' in Hebrew, 'Bindhu' in Sanskrit. Writing Aum in Sanskrit, the Bindhu is simply a dot over the whole figure. In that soundless hum, innumerable universes arise and dissolve. After chanting Aum, you can feel this boundless dot just above the crown of your head, where your soft spot, the fontanelle, never really closed...
Let the sound of 'Ahh' resonate in your belly. Let the sound of 'Huu' resonate in your heart. Let the sound of 'Mmm' resonate in your brain, massaging every neuron. Your brain is a beehive, cells buzzing with the healing music of Aum. Now feel the silence of vast space above your crown...
There is no priestly secret about Aum, reserved for gurus. Aum is the sound of your own body, being created this very moment out of a divine Breath.
According to Mandukya Upanishad, 'The sound of Om is the universe. Whatever has existed, whatever exists, whatever shall exist, is Om.' The opening words of John's Gospel echo the Upanishad: 'In the beginning was the Word... all that is created, is created through the Word.' A Vedic verse declares, 'Adau Bhagavan shabdha rasahih: In the beginning, the Lord manifested the universe through a stream of sound.' Modern physics confirms that all matter is really made from waves of abstract energy, resonant fields of the silent vacuum.
Aum is the primordial play of infant's speech. Mantras were our first language, and Aum contains all mantras, all names of God. In moments when we are truly happy, in a state of wonder, how do we speak? We return to that original language. We do not preach philosophy or metaphysics, or shout political slogans. We utter the primal mantras of creation: the sounds of consciousness celebrating its integration with a human body:
Ah. Oh. Hey! Wow! Hi! Mama. Papa. Mmm... And even now, when we question someone's existence, we ask, 'Whom'? But the ancient sound of 'whom' was not a question. It was the answer. 'Huum' is a heart mantra, the 'unstruck sound' of the 'anahata' chakra: vibration of the cosmos emanating from our own awareness at rest in its eternal source.
'Huu' is a name of God in both Islamic and Jewish mysticism. Sufi's chant, 'Alla' Hu, Alla'Hu, Alla'hu.' 'Huum' is the bija mantra that ends the central prayer of Tibetan Buddhism, locating God as the jewel in the center of the heart lotus: 'Om Mani Padme Hum.'
If you want to meditate on the deepest name of God, listen to the sound of your own physiology, resonating from the silence of the void. If you want to understand the science of mantra, become like a child: sing praises from your heart.
I offer this mad babble to celebrate National Poetry Month. Shelley wrote in his Defense of Poetry, 'Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.' He was speaking of the sacred power of language that is EVERY human's birthright.
Don't speak a second-hand language! Don't let the words of religious dogma, politics, or the media's talking heads co-opt your divine voice. In your own flesh, discover your Word of creation. Use it to bless and heal the world. Name yourself. Name the earth. You are a creator, and creation begins with the Word.
Om Sat Naam!

4/17/2017

The Mirror of Creation Is Inside You

The cosmos is nothing but the dance of pure awareness becoming aware of its Self (Shiva) through the energy of its own inherent bliss (Shakti).

Though empty of form, the diamond wonder of self-awareness vibrates with ananda, and these waves of bliss shape themselves into sub-nuclear particles. Therefor the world is made out of your own consciousness.

Become hollow and witness awareness overflow through your senses, spilling from your eyes, your nostrils, your ears, your tongue, into meadows and trees, mountains, rivers, and clouds. Rooted in the emptiness of naked attention, each sensation is the the first moment of creation, when God says, "Let there be light!"

But who is "God"? The symmetry of stillness breaks into fluctuations, oscillating mathematical equations in the vacuum, discharging gravitons and quarks out of no-thing. The formless void - in Hebrew, "tohu w'bohu" - is not a trope from Buddhism, but from the opening verses of Genesis.

Therefor, as founding quantum physicist Sir Arthur Eddington wrote, "the stuff of the world is mind-stuff."* Matter is made of immaterial awareness, trembling in its own blissful nature; and in this profusion of ecstatic emptiness there is no external agent, no creator.

Existence itself is the creator. Goddess Shakti, the dancing energy of the cosmos, appears as a virtual-reality image on the clear screen of awareness, which is Shiva.

The temple garden of Vrindavan, where Radha and Krishna make perpetual love, is the transcendental architecture of your own abysmal stillness. The mathematics of this sacred geometry is inherent in pure silence when silence becomes self-aware. This virtual space, created by the self-referring movement of consciousness through its own void, is an empty number-set generating all geometrical forms in the vacuum-field of infinite possibility.

Thus Sir James Jeans (another great founding quantum physicist)* wrote, "The Great Architect of the Universe now begins to appear as a pure mathematician." He affirmed that from the perspective of modern science, this is "a world created out of pure intelligence."

But is not through science that you finally know the secret of creation; it is through wonder. Find the wordless depth of prayer in the midnight quiet between two breaths. Here, in divine darkness, is the bridal chamber where Christ meets Magdalene, Krishna meets Radha, Shiva witnesses the dance of Shakti, and the world is born.

An infinitesimal seed is planted in your heart's core, yet it enfolds boundless fertility, containing the cosmos in a yearning zero. This seed is waiting to be germinated by the silent golden ray of your bewilderment.

An ancient yogic text, Vijnana Bhairava, declares: "The supreme Goddess, whose nature is to create, constantly expresses herself as exhalation and inhalation. By resting awareness in the space of the heart, between the descending and ascending breaths, one experiences Bhairava, the source of creation."

Dear one, the mirror is inside you. Awake, gaze, and be astonished. When you are astonished, you re-create the world.

_____

See "Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the Great Physicists," edited by Ken Wilber (Shambala Press, 1985)

Also: "The Mysterious Universe" by Sir James Jeans (Cambridge University Press, 2009; originally published in 1930)

And: "The Nature of the Physical World" by Sir Arthur Eddington. Original lectures from 1927, now available from Timless Wisdom Collection (2005)

Behold the Lilies

"We cannot live in a world that is not our own, in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a home. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening, to use our own voice." ~Hildegard of Bingen, 11th C.
Jesus, the wild poet of the Galilean meadows, pointed to this flower and said, "Behold the lillies of the field!" He wanted his disciples to learn everything they needed to know about God by looking at a flower.

Just so, in his final gathering, Buddha held up a little blossom, twirling it in his fingers but saying nothing. Ananda smiled. He understood the complete Dharma through one little flower. 

William Blake, the poet of perception, wrote: "See a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower!" The Kingdom of God is not a theological abstraction, but the break-through of this trillium, one white three-petaled explosion nestled in oceanic furrows of green.

Do not look at this flower through your concept of it. Look at the flower itself, what James Joyce called "the ineluctable modality of the visible."

The flower has no name. It is no-thing, unrestricted by its outline, a gush of revelation breaking into three dimensions from beyond space-time. The flower flows from  unfathomable depths of uncreated Silence, through the mediation of the world, into your eyes. It is an offering to you. In this sacrament of perception, consciousness awakens consciousness through the mystery of matter.

Now, if you are like me and other "educated" Westerners, you do something remarkable at this point on your forest walk. You flee from revelation into thinking. Turning to your hiking partner, you ask, "What is that flower's name?" The other replies, "It's a trillium." She may even nail it down with Latin: "trillium grandiflorum."

What has just happened? You have settled for a concept, a verbal description of reality, rather than suffering the nameless onslaught of Radiance.

You closed your eyes to the incarnation of the Wordless, the silent offspring of Father Consciousness and Mother Matter. You replaced the living Christ with a ghost of thought. Sometimes names kill. Sometimes we need to un-name things.

The world is a Mystery. According to the Greek fathers of the primitive Church, a Mysterion is a transforming encounter with the divine, beyond names and beyond intellect. Creation ex nihilo, from nothing, is a Mysterion. The incarnation of God in a human body is a Mysterion. The Sin of ignorance, our refusal to acknowledge that we live in God's perpetual miracle, is a Mysterion. These early theologians were mystics who refused to define the mystery, for a Mysterion must be experienced, not conceived.

In the Middle Ages, however, Christianity lost much of its power and grace when scholastic intellectuals attempted to define as dogma what is really only available to the intuition as mystery.

When we define the Mysterion through our intellect, we super-impose an ashen gray world of our own creation upon God's miracle. We impose the parallel world of our thought, our incessant mental commentary, on the nameless radiance of the Mysterion.

Frightened by the every-changing fluidity of experience, we try to solidify the world with names, freezing the verb of God into a noun. Thus we dwell, not in the world, but in our description of the world.

In God's revelation to Moses, Exodus 3, Moses asks for God's name. But the Divine refuses to become a noun. God reveals only the verb, I AM. Perhaps this was the lost commandment which God wrote on the tablet of the law that was shattered: "Thou shalt not conceive a name for the world."

A stream of Radiance flows toward us from the world, yearning to touch our hearts by the sacramental power of eye, ear, tongue, fingertip and nostril. A similar stream of Radiance flows from within us, outward toward the world through these same gateways of sensation, yearning to touch the incarnate. The Radiance that flows toward us and the Radiance that flows out of us meet in sensation, one and the same Light. The Light was divided, by a trick of perception, into subject-object duality, just so that we might awaken this radiant unity.

Divine Light pulsates in the play of subject and object. This is the dance of Shiva and his consort, Shakti. She becomes mother-matter in order to dance with consciousness, to delight Him, to return the offering of his creative fire through every form. Therefor, when we reunite the light within us and the light outside us, through any mere sacrament of the commonplace, perceiving the shudder of a leaf or the glimmer of a dragonfly's wing, we allow God and his Spirit to make love, uniting themselves in us, through our act of human sensation.

This is the bliss which re-unites the shattered world and heals it. Duality appears out of the One, so that duality may dissolve into the One. This is the eternal dance of Shiva and Shakti. And it is nothing esoteric or other-worldly. It is no more than the simple delight of our sensations when we are fully awake.

Let us call this reunion of creation and creator, Radiance. You may call it what you like. But it is a new kind of substance, the substance of Grace. The New Earth will be formed out of this radiant substance. It is neither matter nor spirit, but something sensuously transcendent, divinely sensual. And the quiet moment-by-moment experience of this unity, through a mindful perception of the ordinary, is our true vocation on the earth.

We are created for Self-Delight.
Why then do we create an artificial veil of thought between the world and awareness, an ashen layer of names and concepts? Some of us spend our whole lives building this ghostly gray wall of thought. Are we frightened of drowning in the blessed radiance of sensation? But who is drowning? The very same divine Light out of whom the object of sensation is made...

Blake wrote, "We were put here for a little while to learn to bear the beams of love." Humans can hardly endure such unfiltered beams. We cover our eyes, not with our hands, but with the concepts of our mind.

Then we need some patient old shamanic farmer to point out what is. We need poets to show us that the world is a dew of Spirit, condensed into matter. We need the bard to sing us the ancient Celtic spell: "Morning has broken, like the first morning!" In truth, this world is not even one moment old. We've tried to make it permanent through names, through beliefs. We've tried to impose the stories of the past on this fleeting now. But the past is merely thought, while existence is Presence. We cannot know the Mysterion, we must dance it.

When you look at the flower without naming its thing-ness, you engage in the original meditation. You are like Adam before he named the creatures in the Garden. Adam fell into a world of names, but we can be Eden-dwellers. We need only awaken. And the simplest frog-song or raindrop can awaken us.

Every particle of our being, every photon of this body, is an organ of perception. We can see again. Trillions of eyes sparkle in the heaven of our flesh. Where were you when you discovered that your body is made of stars? Remember...

Look again at this flower. The chaos of its edges dissolves into boundless fractals of your own awareness. The luminosity of this little blossom is not to be taken for granted. Named, it is Trillium rhomboideum grandiflorum. Un-named, it is the portal between heaven and earth.

Now imagine what you might behold when you muster the courage to look into a human face this way: the face of a homeless stranger, a wandering alien from another country, or the face of your enemy...

Can you gaze into those eyes without naming them, without saying, "This is a black child, this is a Muslim child, this child is wealthy, this child is poor?" Courage means that, when we look into the eyes of another, we settle for nothing less than the face of God.

4/15/2017

Dawn

At this very moment, the surface of your oceanic mind is a foam of thoughts, images, memories, each lasting but an instant. Yet beneath this bubbling mind-stuff is the sea of Silence - self-luminous, still, eternally awake in its own nature, which is perfect peace.
Lacking nothing, your depth is full. Full of what? Radiant emptiness. And when you express any form of this fullness, that least expression is the complete whole, the ocean in a drop. For only fullness can come from fullness, pressed out and overflowing, each particle a hologram.

Yet because the essence and substratum of each form is emptiness, whatever you express is lighter than air, scintillating and playful, with no weight, no need to last more than the instant of its birth.
There is nothing to call "mine," nothing to cling to, because you are perpetually ripe and sweet inside. You have always already fructified. You act not to attain a goal, possess a property, or fulfill a need, but simply to release the fragrance of your fruition.
This gently surging sea of contentment is who you truly are. And the great masters - Krishna, Elijah, Gautama, Jesus, Muhammad - are your elder brothers. You and they are born of the same Goddess, the mothering depth of eternal inner Silence. The masters came not to establish creeds, churches, or religions, but only to remind you of your true nature.
Therefor, there can be neither rivalry nor hierarchy in their Presence. Just take the hand of any one of them, your chosen Friend, and let him guide you gently back to yourself.
When? Why not now, this very morning? Why not come Om?

It is merely  the journey of a breath, taking no more than a heart beat. Then you can share your radiant emptiness with humanity. Isn't this why you are here?