A Thanksgiving


Gratitude is not a practice.
Love cannot be made.
"Non-Duality" is a poor substitute
for bewilderment.
See this holly berry in its
crystal snow nest.
What is it made of?
Your seeing.
Threaded on a rosary of miracles,
the tiniest atom
is an irrevocable protest
against the tyranny of One.
The sun and moon are whirling
because your love makes them crazy.
Just fall into the sea of not wanting.
Don't mistake your mind for the world.
Nothing is what you believe.
Why behold the poppy clustered hillside
through a shroud of words
when you could rend the veil of thought
and gaze into the sanctuary
of this green earth,
which is so lovely and wild
when your ideas about it
dissolve into a breath
of wonder.
Rocks and trees,
the undulating heron in a stream,
a brown body bathing
in her tub of foamy pearls -
all flames of ineffable silence.
They've broken their shells.
Each stands free of its name.
Just look.
What Fire God are they made of?
Your looking.
Now, with no expectation,
let a stream of thanksgiving,
a waterfall of uncreated stars,
spill down your vertebrae
and drown your heart
in the grace of the Christ
who is no-thing at all.

Confession: I Must Be Getting Lazy

Gateh Gateh Para-Gateh Parasam-Gateh Bodhi Svaha
Gone Gone Gone Beyond Gone Beyond Beyond, Hail the Go-er!
~Buddhist Mantra of the Great Liberation

Spend thousands for enlightenment at the Ashram of Tantric Wine Tasting? Advanced flow-yoga at a seaside resort in Bali? Or that Advaita retreat in a Tuscan villa. At this Saturday's workshop, the spiritual teacher will teach us that there is no teaching and no one here to teach. The $1200 course fee includes a complimentary green smoothie.

No thanks. I must be getting lazy. I've lost my longing for exotic spiritual destinations. I just want to wander in the woods now, beyond my dilapidated fence, listening to raindrops on ferns, no dakinis sculpted on the entrance to my mind cave, no Tibetan runes on the limestone walls of my emptiness, no echoes of vanilla dharma talk by some guy named Levine who calls himself Ananda now.

Guess I'm getting old. I just want to sing about the vastness of what I don't know. I want to open my eye - not the eye in my forehead but the eye in the callous of my sole, pressing dark loam with a barefoot kiss. From where I stand on the slow turning earth, I can see that this wheel rolls nowhere. "Here" is already "there," no intimacy sweeter than my own inhalation.

I want to walk more gently over the planet, sighing without words, and call it prayer. And I won't turn gratitude into a technique, because gratitude is simply me, breathing. Me, honoring the moss-bearded cedars. They are very great gurus who give their priceless teaching for free: a mist-green stillness.

The roots of their lineage truffle dirtward down to the first moment of creation, entangled in the fungi of the void, close to the fountain of wonder that gushes up from the center of every Now.

At midnight, soundless owl wings slice through the glory of night, bright knives of Un-knowing. Starlight seeps out of the wound, and I am awakened. I am thrice-awakened - here, there, and in each particle of dust. Parasam Gateh, beyond the beyond, right where I am. Coyote howl will be my song.  

Photo: Took this at the Carbon River Rain Forest, Mt. Rainier


All I can do for you is
take your hand and softly
lure you to the stillness
that surrounds your wound.

Cradle the clotted darkness,
enfolding your remnant
in what is so empty it glows.
No sorrow can survive
this silence.

It is like a mirror. Look,
I am holding it up for you.
Now slip into insouciant beauty,
the gossamer Witness.

If you have no faith, use mine,
the shattered beaker of my heart,
trickling arterial pathways
from sepulcher to sea.

Be what never becomes,
the moth of pure attention
resting in the flame
while all else burns to nothing.

Encircle your loss
with a deeper loss,
the secret Winter sun
in a hollow seed.

Now lose even that.
Taste the crimson void.
Burst into flower.

Photo: Christmas cactus from Zazzle.com