Thank You Tree Good Bye

Thank you, tree. Goodbye. Were you a Christmas tree? A Yule or Solstice tree? Or simply an excuse to sparkle? Names fall like needles. Go back to the forest now. Become the smallest parts of yourself. We all do that. Remember your seed, closer to earth than light. Now grow downward, into darkness. 

New Year's Resolution: Give Up Angry Politics

I've noticed that the rage of the political Right and the rage of the political Left are one and the same energy. For some folks, political anger is the only rush: the rest is numb.

Whenever I become political - and sooo progressive - two things happen in me. First I become right: as in righteous. Which means I stop listening to anybody who has a different view. Second, my heart contracts. Love becomes less important than being right. I tune into a global wavelength of anger that feeds my outrage, making me more and more like the people I despise. I guess this is why Jesus said, "Love your enemy." He wasn't so much giving us a way to address our adversary as to save our own hearts from poisoning themselves. After all these years of being in "the peace movement," I really ought to take him up on it.

I've written nearly a hundred newspaper editorials where I've lambasted the political right, their corporate fascism, and their wars. But I was merely preaching to the choir, and alienating the opposition. No one changes any minds by being outraged, or right. Political anger doesn't solve anything: it just polarizes.

This is where I thank Charles Dickens. Re-reading Dickens teaches me the role of literature in getting one's head unstuck. Though Dickens never preaches religion or politics, Christ-like compassion pervades all of his stories: and it is a dynamic, active compassion. Dickens shows us a society crippled by unbearably corrupt banks, courts and politicians: a system that simply won't be reformed in any foreseeable future. Yet every day, apparently powerless people redeem the poor and the outcast with acts of human care, often heroic in their anonymity.

At the still center of the smallest act of kindness is a healing that redeems the earth. What changes things is not our moral outrage, but allowing our hearts to flower and act in the grace of the ordinary.

So I have decided to do my work outside the political system. The world yearns for anonymous sacraments of kindness that have nothing whatsoever to do with politics! The Kingdom of Justice is not built out of political angst, but apolitical movements of the heart, aimed at gathering communities rather than splitting them in two. This year, I resolve to drop the rituals of political anger, and disengage from the rhetoric of both Left and Right.

Peace to you, my friends, and happy New Year in this time of fresh beginnings, which we celebrate simply to remind ourselves that every moment, all year long, can be a moment of awakening.


Paths meet.
At the other side of the Crossroads
which is which?
Or would you rather wander in a desert
imagining that God has chosen
you alone?


The crack of the pine at midnight
where a deer leaps in the woods.
Winter rain against my window.
A seal's cry over miles of still water.
Fifty silent Christmas's ago,
my mother's voice.
Every perception arises in the Self.
Every motion is returning.
Distance is the last illusion.

He Accepts & Welcomes You

"No belief is required to travel with the Buddha. You can come to him with all your skepticism. He accepts and welcomes you, and he says, Come with me." - Osho.

Precisely the same is true of Jesus. No belief is required to walk with Jesus. He accepts you as you are and says, "Walk with me. I don't want to lead you, I want to walk beside you, and be your friend." Jesus is a Presence, not a belief. The dogmas and creeds invented by Church councils, hundreds of years after his birth, have nothing to do with this friendship.


Why do you count?

What would happen if you stopped counting?

the hours the years the days until christmas face book friends hits runs errors heads calories beats miles blessings breaths beads mantras reps of surya namaskar hail mary's stars sheep votes...

How many more? More than what? More than this? Could there be more than this?

What if you count til the end and the number is one?

Abolish Grades

Improve schools: abolish grades.

Do you grade your own children? Is your child a “C”?

Grading is degrading. Future schools will regard grading with horror, like slavery, or frontal lobotomies. Grades either make children feel unworthy, or inculcate that false superiority which spawns the arrogance of class.

With a 740 on my verbal SAT, I attended an Ivy League college. The kid next to me got a 340 and became a mechanic. When my car breaks down, I have no idea how to fix it. I tow it to his garage, awed by his superior intelligence. The grades we got in school mean absolutely nothing.


Grades encourage inside-the-box thinking, the box being a standardized test. Standardized tests produce standardized citizens, risk-averse and suppressed in creativity. Grading pits students against each other, reinforcing an ethic of me-first narcissism rather than cooperative problem-solving.

Like child abuse, grades demand submission to the elite and powerful. Teachers who define success by grades are simply bullies. No teacher is worthy of that title who does not dream of ways to evaluate students without grading them.

Our children are incomparable, each intelligent in a thousand ways but usually graded in just one. Grading establishes a dysfunctional hierarchy where few are rewarded, most are stifled, many are shamed.

Where is that courageous school that carefully evaluates students without grades, where intelligence flowers without bullying by the corporate testing industry, where the heart’s creativity is valued along with the intellect?


Are you alone?

Then Be alone.

You were alone from the beginning of time. You are alone until the end of time, which is now.

If you are perfectly alone, you are not alone.

With every fiber of your being, embody aloneness. Let each atom encircle a magnitude of aloneness. Rest as the majestic body of limitless star-clustered aloneness, and you will never be alone.

Blended Honey

The bee knows how to avoid the thorn, alight on the blossom, and steal the nectar without getting stuck. The bee makes honey, not from one flower alone, but many. There are many flowers in our garden: we are free to make honey from them all. We are citizens of the whole earth, and all religions are our birthright.

Winter Morning Meditation

Breathe out slow, root sunk in dark earth.

Silent pause, the still deep seed.

Not-doing in-breath, green heart gift

Sprouting sunrise.

Give Yourself 10,000 Breaks

Awakening is momentous because it is momentary. True constancy is letting this moment die. The Way is pathless.

Momentary awakenings infuse Eternal Life into the energy-field of each bodily cell. An instant of non-clinging awareness accomplishes this infusion more effectively than any sustained effort to hold onto God or maintain mindfulness for hours on end. Grace is never enforced as a regimen of remembrance.

Do we not burden ourselves with a false hope in continuity? Just observe: is there continuity? Or is continuity a fabrication of thought?

In the name of spiritual practice, we may attempt to super-impose a continuous mental watcher. But this is an artifice. Such discipline will only distance us from life: it will not transform the 'I'. The disciplined 'I' is just the same as the undisciplined 'I,' but heavier, because it carries the weight of discipline. A mental watcher is just the old egoic do-er wearing a blank mask.

True Self-Awareness is spontaneous, marvelous and, like space, impossible to hold. Liberation happens not in hours of continuous practice, but at points of discontinuity and instantaneous surrender. Don't give yourself a break today: give yourself ten thousand breaks! One infinitesimal moment of grace is worth more than five hours of concentration. It is the precious seed of wu wei, of sunya, the grain of mustard seed that Jesus spoke of.

Stop, look, listen, and let go. The very letting go of the seed plants it deeper, shedding the husk of I. From this momentous momentary awakening springs the eternal Am.

"I tell you the truth, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces abundant fruit." (John 12:24)

Jai Guru Dev.

Relax Into Your Work

Some are called to be peace makers, some are called to be warriors. Some are called to be saviors of the poor, and some are called to be investors who promote the growth of commerce. Some are called to be artists or poets, some are called to be scientists or scholars. Some are called to be mothers, and some are simply called to Be.

Abandoning all comparison, relax into your own work. Your calling is neither inferior nor superior to the work of another. This universe would never be the same without you and your infinitesimal stitch of thread, whose effect on the eternal beauty of the whole cannot be gauged by anyone living today.

"Greater to do thine own work, however humble, than to attempt the work of another, however noble." - Bhagavad Gita 18:47 

Whom Shall I Blame?

 Let's see, whom shall I blame for my world's misery today? Capitalists? Socialists? The Military? The Muslims? And whom shall I thank for my world's beauty today? Jesus? Krishna? The Goddess? The Brain of Science? Can I not see that every wave of blame or love arises from the Self and returns to the Self? No one has created these conditions but I.

No, I do not create the world, but I create the way I see the world. And that is the world I act on.

Worry About Everthing or Nothing

"Don't worry." (Lord Jesus, Matthew 6)
"Don't worry." (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita 18)

We either have nothing to worry about, or everything to worry about. Worry is not selective. Once we become a worrier, we worry about everything, from the collapse of civilization to a smudge on our collar. Worry becomes our way of life, our identity. If we can't find a problem to worry about, we invent one.

So much of our mental energy invested in worry! But we can choose to put this energy into observing the worry rather than feeding it. Thus we create a space that is far more vast than anything we could worry about, and this vasteness is the awareness of the Witness. 

Shifting energy from the content of worry to its observation, awareness grows clear and sharp, and the worry becomes a mere sensation in the body. Try it and see. 

It is impossible to simply stop worrying or suppress it: that leads to inner warfare and stress. But if we become aware of our worry and watch it, as a mother watches over her crying children, then the energy of the mind resolves into clarity, a clarity overflowing with compassion. Compassion cannot worry.

At the end of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says, Don't worry (18:66).
And in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6, Jesus says it over and over again: don't worry. Don't worry about what you will eat... Don't worry about what you will wear... Don't worry about tomorrow. Instead, he tells us, we  might live as flowers in the field and birds in the air, utterly natural in the present moment, free of worry. That is real faith.

To worry is to be unnatural, tangled in the past and future. The past and future do not exist in nature. The past and future only exist in the mind. The mind is unnatural.

Don't take it from me: take it from Jesus and Krishna! There is no need to worry about anything, not even death. Once we go down the path of worry, fastening the mind onto one tiny problem, we worry about everything! We search for problems and catastrophize every situation. Worry becomes our food.

The cure for worry is surrender of the mind to God. Until that happens, we can practice self-observation: keep observing the worry and it will diminish. The witness will expand in silence, and the negative thoughts will lose their power, for we see that they are only stresses dissolving in the brain. 

Observation is the bridge between suffering and surrender. When the mind is afflicted with the ten thousand doubts of human life, be a Yogi and observe this mind. Then when you are ready, be a Bhakti and surrender this mind.

Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih.
The final discipline is to embrace whatever happens with an open heart. This is not passivity: it is response ability.


"Form is emptiness, emptiness is form." (Buddhism, Heart Sutra)

"Ano raniyan, mahato mahiyan. One atom of the smallest is vaster than the greatest." (Upanshads)

I need look no further than physics to confirm the Buddha's words. Vast empty space permeates my body. Compared to the scintillating substance of their atoms, bodies are nearly all void, empty. As the opening verse of the Bible describes it, "In the beginning place, where God is creating the universe, the earth is a formless void."

The so-called "particles" in an atom have no real substance. They are little balls of "matter," for matter does not exist. Each supposed "particle of matter" is an all-pervading field of radiance, at the center of which a fleeting wave of pure mathematical intelligence flares. "Particles" are glittering equations written in the vacuum. Have you ever written your name with your finger in the air? Did it have any substance? Was it really "there"?

Particles of matter appear and dissolve instantaneously as unbalanced mathematical equations, teetering on the graceful edge of chaos. And this imbalance of equations, this loss of mathematical symmetry, is the dance of creation. I cherish the random sub-nuclear frolic of imperfection: for if these wave-equations ever solved themselves, the universe would vanish into the stillness of perfect symmetry.

Blessed be the creativity of chaos.

How spacious is my body? I make room for several galaxies in a molecule of my fingertip. Each nerve is a tunnel of stars. My flesh is filled with clear skies. And in the heart of every atom is a vast luminous trembling silence, an asymmetrical vacuum ever whispering, "Be light, weave yourself from sourceless beams, and dance!"

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Comfort's in heaven and we are on the earth,
Where nothing lives but crosses, cares and grief. 
(Shakespeare, Richard II, Act 2)

How could there be a God if suffering is permitted? Why would any God allow it? This is the perennial question of seekers.

God allows suffering so that we may see through it.

If God did not permit suffering, then we would be stuck in an incomplete and hungry happiness defined by mere pleasure. So from time to time, the Almighty permits us to take on as much as we can bear. Precisely in that unbearable moment, we see through the pain, and our vision becomes truly vast. When we see through pain, we see That which is ever the same in both suffering and joy. That is Samadhi, which in Sanskrit means sameness of vision.

In the realm of the gods, where all is pleasure, Samadhi cannot become permanent. Gods must be reborn as human beings on earth to gain liberation. You may be one of them.

Gods must be crucified. Samadhi becomes permanent only in a world where suffering is possible, demanding a vision that grows so laser-like it makes our pain transparent. In the concentrated Now of suffering, see through your pain into the vastness of Being.

Have you not noticed? Those who have suffered carry a depth, an expansion in their eyes. When they look at you, you fall into it.

Good Morning Every Body

This Sunday morning I am fully alive in my body.

I have no wish to be elsewhere, for my flesh is radiant with Presence. Like a flame around a wick, the glow of Presence infuses each ligament of me, awakens each sleepy fiber, oils every aching joint, expands the atom with miraculous breath, and juices my thirsting cells with delight. Every single electron of my body is a portal to one infinite Sun. This is God's body, a gift.

I relinquish every teaching that says, "You are not this body." Such teachings do not help me, for I dwell on earth. I Am this body. I embrace this body as the matrix of a boundless Self, condensed into particles of bliss.

Our American culture has become a mass out-of-body experience, millions of us hypnotized by ideas, marching down city streets to get somewhere ideal, somewhere else. But where is else? Has anyone ever been there? Were we there when we arrived?

The root of every political and economic problem is that we are not present to our own eyes, our skin, our breath, our souls touching the ground. This mind is displaced from its beating heart. This spirit is in exile from its land of living flesh.

Why do we so unflinchingly support governments that exploit the poor and make war on human bodies? Because too many teachers have convinced us that, in the service of Prophets or Profits, bodies are expendable.

Bodies matter. Matter matters. Jesus, Buddha and all avatars demonstrate that God takes human incarnation: not just in their bodies but in your body, my body, and the body of each newborn child. Bodies are sacred.

There's no getting around, above, or out of the body. We must go through it, every vibration of it's pleasure and pain. The word vibration has the same linguistic root as the word fiber.

Matter is not an obstacle to Consciousness. Matter is the doorway to Consciousness. Matter matters.

To transcend the body, embrace it. To embrace is to glorify. To glorify is to expand. To expand is to dissolve. Honor God in your body. This is the bread of life.

Instructions for Stepping Through the Portal

First, agree to be here, weighted
and wedded to this place.
Breathe out, sinking from head
to heart space. Rooted
by your body's warmth, surrender
what was and will be:
excess electricity in your brain.
Now rest at the radiant Door
between heartbeats. No need
to knock. It was never closed.
Inhale. Step through, Breather of Light.
Hear the un-struck gong of the Source,
harmony's new Heaven, new Earth,
drenched with longing and suffused
with luminous blossoms that once
were your prayers. Practice this
as a mother-to-be rehearses
breathing before birth pangs.
When the moment comes,
will you stand with me here,
in the heart?

There is nothing to fear for those who rest in the heart...

I did not write this as a poem. I wrote it as a practical instruction, which I share because it may be useful in the moment of global energy transition.

Our survival value no longer lies in monetary wealth, weapons of war, technology or science, but in the practice of the presence of God. Truth is not about economics or political change any more: it's about Dimensional Shift.

Of course, we are in the midst of that shift now. The vibrational frequency of this so-called "physical" world accelerates daily, at an increasing rate. To those whose minds resist transformation, clinging to old patterns of understanding, looking to old institutions for knowledge, this incremental vibration-shift causes anxiety, depression, disorientation, and mysterious bodily illnesses with no cure. On the other hand, those who prepare their vehicles for dimensional shift through regular meditation, a pure natural diet, cleansing breath, and physical exercise such as yoga and tai chi, now feel more freedom and lightness within, even as the world around them seems to fall apart.

Incremental though this change appears to us now, there will come a final crescendo, a Moment of Transition. The materialist will experience this moment as panic and collapse. The intuitive will experience this moment as confirmation: longed-for enlightenment in a flood of Radiance.

The Radiance begins in the depths of the heart, on the abstract level of feeling. But very quickly, in a matter of seconds, it explodes to engulph the external world, infusing every perception with that which was, in the previous age, a "Light Within." We used to see creatures as separate physical objects. Now we see the Radiance as foreground and objects as background, suspended, dissolved in an ocean of all-pervading Spirit. For the light we behold in the new vibration is the very light of our own consciousness, animating the world around us - each leaf, each berry, each clod of earth, sparkling with the awareness that perceives it! Scripture calls this the "New Creation," a "new Heaven and a new Earth."

The whole purpose for stepping into this next phase of human evolution is to merge the subject and object, fusing but not confusing our consciousness with the Earth. As the light of consciousness explodes from within to without, scriptural language describes it radiating from "East" to "West." This is symbology. Our inward subjective nature is the "East." The external realm of our sensory perception is the "West."  The light from the East will fill the West.

Thus Jesus describes our transformation as a blinding flare of light, moving from East to West. He tells us not to panic, but to stand in the heart, "the Holy Place."
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place: whoever reads this, let him understand... For as the lightning comes out of the East, and shines even unto the West, so shall be the coming of the Son of man." (Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 24)
In that moment of transfiguration, you are the new and cosmic child of God: you are the "Son of Man." The "Holy Place" is not the sanctuary in a temple or on a mountain top, but your deepest meditative silence, centered in the heart-space. Jesus makes it clear that "the kingdom of heaven is within you." (Luke, chapter 17) "The time is coming and now is here when the true worshipers will worship the father in Spirit and in Truth." (John, chapter 4)

Today, many of us worry about the coming change. We fear for our property and the safety of our flesh. We burden ourselves with anxious preparation for an apocalypse. Even those who claim not to believe in such things, and will not talk about them, feel the tension of dread in the air.

But there is nothing to fear for those who rest in the heart. When that moment comes, our salvation won't be found in wearing survivalist gear, or hoarding fuel and water. Our salvation won't be found in the backyard garden we've so carefully cultivated, our solar-heated off-grid home, or our bomb shelter. 

If we have cultivated our inner garden, through the habit of resting the mind in the heart, we will find salvation in a simple effortless shift of attention. Through the heart, we will gracefully surrender I  to Am. We will step through the portal to a realm of more luminous vibration. We will step into Paradise. And our bodies will come too.

Kiesha in Zurich from kedarvideo on Vimeo.

My Yoga

My favorite asana is not the continuous motion
of clouds on a summer evening,
not the sky in its Posture of Perfect Emptiness,
nor the motion of the Cobra, the Locust, the Lion.
To each a yoga, ancient as its innocence.
Mine the Fallen Angel Pose: whatever
my body is doing just now, like November leaves
finally touching the Earth, mere matter
rooted by the rolling world in the mystery
of weight, inevitably sacred.

Photo: 'The Palouse, Eastern Washington,' by Kevin McNeal


When an empire falls, it doesn't happen gradually. Everything collapses at once. The web of politics, economics, technology, education and spiritual life cannot suffer incremental or partial decline: it all comes apart with astonishing rapidity. From these ashes, already scattered around us, what terrible phoenix of beauty will arise? Creatives don't wait for others to tell them. The end-time begins now. There's no script. Your breath is the only prophecy. You are the phoenix.

Willy's Sight

 "My work is love. My discipline is love. Love is my pathless way. I also like to chew on underpants." -Willy

"Not to realize anything is sleep.
To realize something is a dream.
To realize that there is nothing to realize is awakening.
I just realized that my new dog food sucks."   - Willy

"I became Dog-Realized when I gave up worrying about food, drink, shelter, and what tomorrow would bring, and just surrendered my heart to the master." - Willy

The Path to Peace is Not a Straight Line

Tolerance is not enough.

Tolerance implies that my view is central and superior, while yours, though suspect, is permitted at the fringe of reality. We need to go beyond tolerance, to celebration.

Celebrating our differences means rejoicing in a world where people and cultures are delightfully and divinely “we,” instead of the God-forsaken world where everyone mirrors “me.”

Gandhi loved his Hindu heritage. He also devoted his life to enacting the teachings of Jesus, whom he loved as well. When asked if he was Hindu or Christian, Gandhi replied, “I am a Hindu, I am Christian, I am a Muslim, I am a Jew.” Gandhi was not confused: He saw truth shining laser-like through many faces, many traditions. Gandhi was a patriotic citizen of the whole earth.

When we enter the ecstatic heart of our own religion, we transcend our religion, and discover the ecstatic heart of all religions.

The way to peace is not a straight line. It opens in all directions, like a flower.

This short editorial letter which I published in The Olympian, Olympia WA, on October 3 was chosen by the editorial staff as their 'Letter of the Month.' It was a response to the bigotry faced by Muslim Americans.

Beyond Tolerance

Tolerance is not enough.

Tolerance implies that my view is central and superior, while yours, though suspect, is permitted at the fringe of reality. We need to go beyond tolerance, to celebration.

Celebrating our differences means rejoicing in a world where people and cultures are delightfully and divinely “we,” instead of the God-forsaken world where everyone mirrors “me.”

Gandhi loved his Hindu heritage. He also devoted his life to enacting the teachings of Jesus, whom he loved as well. When asked if he was Hindu or Christian, Gandhi replied, “I am a Hindu, I am Christian, I am a Muslim, I am a Jew.” Gandhi was not confused: He saw truth shining laser-like through many faces, many traditions. Gandhi was a patriotic citizen of the whole earth.

When we enter the ecstatic heart of our own religion, we transcend our religion, and discover the ecstatic heart of all religions.

The way to peace is not a straight line. It opens in all directions, like a flower.

This short editorial letter which I published in The Olympian, Olympia WA, on October 3 was chosen by the editorial staff as their 'Letter of the Month' for October. It was a response to the bigotry faced by Muslim Americans.

Light & Dark are Both Divine

 "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot comprehend it." (John's Gospel 1:5)

John could not trust a woman to be his teacher. He refused to transmit what Mary Magdalene taught him after Jesus had filled the womb of her mind with Wisdom.

Mary sang this teaching to John in a language of sighs. But the meaning is something like this:

"The Light shines in the Darkness, and the Darkness opens like a womb.

As a Mother bears her Child, the Darkness gives birth to Light. Yet many who see the Light forget to honor its source, All-Mothering Darkness.

"Do not follow those who teach that there is war between Darkness and Light, for they do not comprehend the Unity. Darkness and Light are both divine. Honor the Light, but return to the Dark Mother.

"Learn from Earth and her seasons: After sunshine blesses the land with harvest, its glow turns inward. Returning to the womb of Winter, light rests in a seed until the season of rebirth. Time is round as a hollow gourd, not straight like a vine. The vine grows from the pumpkin, though the pumpkin appears to hang upon it.

"Every resplendent creature returns to the Uncreated. No power transcends the power of the Mother. Offer all to Her. Nothing offered is lost." 

'They Know Not What They Do'

When Issa was on the cross, he did not say, "Father, forgive them for their sins." He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Does this not make it clear that, in the end, Issa regarded humanity's problem as Ignorance rather than Evil?

But his followers, reverting to their ancestral tradition, turned his path of enlightenment into a cult of guilt and atonement. We Christians have been beating our breasts in contrition ever since, expecting someone to come save us, when we might have been meditating on the Christ Within, and shining that Light on one another. As Rumi said, "Knocking on the door, it opens. I've been knocking from inside!"

My calling, as a friend of Issa, is not to judge but to awaken; not to make war between Good and Evil, but to choose Awareness instead of Sleep.

Only Sinners Make Peace

A new revelation is born when we grow so weary with the duties of religion that we drop them completely and awaken to the present moment. All the old stories and commandments fall away in the radiance of pure Presence. Revelation dawns when weariness with the past makes us bold. There is no revelation in history. Revelation is always now.

Now, we let go of old rituals and beliefs to investigate the simple phenomenon of awareness. We discover that all our suffering, which the old religion was supposed to alleviate, results from the mind's clinging to images of the past instead of resting in our innate awareness.

We abandon believing as a means of gaining spirituality, and simply rest in Presence, free from thought. Since this involves no doing at all, we let go of our spiritual practices. Yet the moment we relinquish these duties, a dazzling effulgence fills our soul, a blissful compassion warms our heart, and all the graces we sought through our religion now shower upon us. The light of grace that floods our being does not arise from any relationship whatsoever: with Jesus or Allah, Guru or God. There is no devotion to any holy Other outside our own refulgent self-awareness. The divine light arises unbidden as we simply rest in the ground of that Being whom we already are and have always been.

A bold man or woman who awakens in this manner innocently shares the experience with others, using the simplest language of daily life, free from the old religious terminology. Because the words of this awakened one arise from Presence, they are filled with life and power, transforming as any scripture.

People begin to listen to these words and follow them, as if they were rules of conduct. Of course, the words are not rules for future conduct; they are innocent expressions of a state already lived and experienced. Yet followers write the words down and these writings are regarded as holy texts. People not only repeat the words but imitate the deeds of the awakened one. Such imitations of life become rituals, though the deeds of the awakened one arose spontaneously, each appropriate to its occasion. Naturally, such rituals fail to bring lasting transformation, but this only convinces the followers that the awakened one must have been superhuman, an envoy from a higher world. So they continue to repeat those words and imitate those actions in hope of gaining some glimpse of the world from which the awakened one descended. Thus, through imitation of the past and subservience to the words of another, the followers exchange their innate freedom for the bondage of doctrine. This is how the spontaneous awakening of a human being is transformed into a new religion.

Now the awakened one is called Master and Savior. When the Master passes from the earth, followers continue to repeat the Master's words and deeds, regarding this repetition as true devotion, true service. To repeat the Master's actions and parrot the Master's words in a sanctuary or temple is the highest expression of what they call faith. Stepping outside the master's words, which the followers now interpret as laws, is called sin. If anyone actually discovers the true life of the Master by awakening just as the Master did, she is regarded as a heretic. Why? Because she lives spontaneously life in the present moment.

Those who would rather imitate the past will always condemn the one who awakens to Presence. In relation to religious tradition, one who is awake is always a sinner. Buddha was a sinful Hindu. Jesus was a sinful Jew. Muhammad was a sinful idol-worshiper. Luther was a sinful Catholic. George Fox, the first Quaker, was a sinful Protestant. If you wake up in the present moment and begin to live, you will be a sinner too!

Sooner or later, the followers of the Master encounter the followers of another Master. Because their rituals and holy texts are different, it is assumed that these Masters honored different gods. In fact, both Masters lived in precisely the same awareness, and expressed the same awakened Presence. But over time, their imitated words and deeds have been transformed into two different religions.

To each group of followers, the supreme duty is obvious: exterminate the rival religion. True Believers make war in the Master's name. War is the inevitable outcome of religious doctrine. Religious war is an irreconcilable conflict between two memories, two imitations of the past. But there is never such conflict between persons who live in the present moment. Because they were both awake in the Presence, Jesus and Muhammad would never have fought one another. Christians and Muslims make war because their minds are conflicted by memory and imitation.

Yet there is hope in war! Religious war is a sign that a cycle of ignorance has come to an end. The weariness of war leaves us no alternative but to awaken. Awakening to Presence, fear and aggression vanish.

We can end war by resting our awareness in the present moment. But we must be bold. We must be heretics and sinners to make peace. Our restful awareness threatens the True Believers, who are only interested in justifying the past. True Believers are bound to condemn all those who awaken, all those who peacefully abide in the grace of divine Presence.

My Original Sin

My original sin
is disembodiment
through thinking.

Thinking alienates me from Presence,
separates awareness from
its radiance, the body.

But I am redeemed through sacraments
of hearing, tasting, smelling, touching

a sparrow's song, a sip of tea, a scent of bread.
The storm of your fur, sweet animal,
my past and future.

Anointed by your fingers
I return to sinless Eden, un-
alienated Earth.

My body is the garden of your breath, flowering
with divine sensations.

Connect the Dots

I worked so hard to connect the dots: Man, God, Earth, Woman, a single Photon, the infinite Cosmos. But the pattern was too complex for my Mind. Then I opened the eye of my Heart and saw that there was nothing at all to connect. They were all one dot.

Return to Basic Sanity

Basic sanity is an explosion of Grace at the center of the soul. We return to basic sanity not just for our own sake, but to infuse the world around us with Grace. Let the mind be in the heart. Sink into the luminous bubbling golden cauldron of the solar plexus. Do nothing, seek nothing, be nothing. Rest in the space where you were never born, you are never one moment old, each breath is a gift from eternity, and the host of atoms, the myriad electrons of your body, are all angels of Light.

The Last Battle

"Have compassion: everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." (Plato)

To what struggle does Plato refer? I think he speaks of the battle between judgment and forgiveness, the apocalyptic battle at the end of time, which is always Now.

This battle constantly engages me. I cannot serve both sides. I am either a serf under the old empire of judgment, or I rebel to live free in the land of forgiveness. A heart that forgives much, yet reserves some judgment for its "worst" enemies, is a traitor to itself.

Lord of Love, give me the strength to choose forgiveness, even if my battle ends with unconditional surrender!

Pictured above is a detail of The Dying Gaul, from Rome's Capitoline Museum. It's one of many versions of the dying Gaul, a figure that seems to have gripped the imagination of the late Roman empire. As evidenced by the cord around his neck, he is a slave. Once a conscript into the army of the empire, he joined the rebels, returned to his tribe, fought naked against his masters. Eventually, his people will defeat the empire. To them belong the future, but at the cost of this warrior's personal death....

St. Paul writes, "In my weakness is my strength." The Gaul dies naked, alone on the field in the evening of battle, and defeated. Yet he radiates an unspeakable majesty. For as he surrenders to his Source, he knows that he is free.

All Your Dreams Must Be In Color

I decree that all your dreams must be in color. Any dream in black and white you must live over and over in waking until it turns to brilliant pastels that cannot be named.

I declare the numb places in your body unbearably sensitive to touch, even to the pressure of a summer breeze. When a butterfly settles on the back of your hand, you will faint with the intensity of its caress; and as for my caress, you cannot conceive of a world like that, where stones melt into song.

Now I remove the veil of loneliness and pronounce you shamelessly happy.

I command the waves, heightening your peaks and deepening your troughs. I clap, and the flatline of your dispassion becomes a typhoon of amazement. When you encounter a lover's gaze, oceans will still one another, every trough filled with a tear, and high places engulfed with sighs.

I demand that you postpone the wedding until you have removed your shoes and walked barefoot beside me on a distant star.

I abolish the straightness of paths, the narrowness of ways. I decree that your journey be a spiral.

I wave my hand and make your destiny a labyrinth with seven rings on moving water. At its center is the womb, where breath is in its liquid form.

I prohibit the sound of the word 'love': instead, everything you do must mean it.

I proclaim an end to both waking and dream. If you do not discover the light before darkness, the space before motion, the hum sheathed like a sword of ecstasy in silence, you must assume your shadow again, and take up right and wrong.

I decree that every form is sacred because it is formed out of nothing. I absolve you of thought.

Now I relinquish control of your illusions. You are free to become.

What this all means, you will tell me when you get to the place where I Am, and comprehend how you created me, to postpone the unendurable beauty of yourself.

Then we will return together, walking hand in hand out of the labyrinth, onto this green planet's miraculous grass.

There Is No Moment

We New Age seekers are always attempting to dwell in the now. But there is no such thing as "the now." Eternity is not quantified into past, present, or future moments. There is just an eternally dissolving wave of what is. Catch the wave, do not stop for a moment. There is no moment to stop for.

What the Dream Meant

The dream meant: "Wake up!" The vision was saying: "Get back inside your fur." The story in the ancient Book was always about this breath, this moment, this body. The lips of God were sealed because they were pressed against yours.

Effective Politics

Einstein said that a problem can never be solved on the level of thinking which produced the problem in the first place. We must transcend to a new level of thinking.

I would suggest that we need to transcend thinking all together, and find the answer in Presence, which is silent and ever free from thoughts.

Let 'I' dissolve into 'Am.' Then see if anything remains to be done. First, meditate. Then act gracefully, carefully, in the present moment. Write a letter to the editor, have a talk with a neighbor, caress your cat, get a good night's sleep, or go to a candlelight vigil in your local community, where Muslims, Christians and Jews stand shoulder to shoulder in Presence. I think the only effective politics is being 100% committed to this moment.

Cry 'River'!

O River Mother, May it Be.
May it Be, Star Father.
May it Be for Water and Wind.
May it Be for Sunlight and Moonlight.
For the Earth, the Winged and Creeping Ones,
The Four Leggeds and Two Leggeds,
Those with Words and those with Songs,
For the river and its children, May it Be.
May it be on Earth as in Heaven.
May it be as it was in the Beginning
When the Spirit said, 'Flow!'
And pure Waters moved through holiness
Up from empty darkness into light.
May it be as the Beginning
When the Spirit said, 'Breathe!'
And a mighty wind blew seeds from East to West,
Many-colored wings beating in green shadows
And flashing in sunbeams,
Gold Purple Wings of Quetzalcoatl, Blue Seraphic wings,
Christ's diamond wing over the jade forest.
May it be as the Beginning
When the Spirit cried 'Sun!' and it was warm,
The Spirit whispered 'Moon' and it was cool,
Two lights opened their eyes, nurturing blossoms
Bearing the Brazil-nut, Acai and Guarana,
Sweetening lips, strengthening bones.
May it Be as the morning when the Spirit cried 'Earth,'
Her green body stirred, brown hills awoke,
Rolled over, making valleys;
Her lips parted, the forest sighed, the rain laughed,
The river was a river singing
A song the forest people never forgot,
A song of Mother Amasonna, Destroyer of Boats,
Shelterer of Tribes, Mistress of Sacred Medicine,
Giver of Visions, Lung of the Planet,
Breath of the World: May it Be
For the trees and voiceless creatures,
For her deep black veins that must never be pierced again,
May it Be for the healing of her waters,
May it Be for her supple arms of sunlight and wind,
May it Be for those who dwell in huts upon her banks
And for those so far away they cannot smell
Her flower-scented rain: May it Be
As the first day of a New Creation,
Birthing the River again and the River's children.
May we all say, 'Flow!' FLOW!
May we all say, 'Breathe!' BREATHE!
May we all say, 'Shine!' 'SHINE!'
May we all cry, 'River!' 'RIVER!'
In the name of the Father, and of the River,
and of all her Holy Children, may we all say,
'We!' 'WE!'


The Distance

What is the distance between still water and the moon's reflection upon it? What is the distance between "I" and "Am"?

God's otherness is so intimate! Through the Prophet Isaiah, God sings: "Can a mother forget her nursing child? So I will never forget you!" In his Confessions, St. Augustine writes that God is "intimeor intimo meo: nearer to me than I am to myself." St. Catherine of Genoa declares, "Between my soul and God I find no me at all!" And in the Song of the Lord, Krishna teaches, "I am the very self of your self."

I cannot even begin to conceive of God unless God already dwells in me, at some inconceivably intimate depth of my heart.

A Piece of Chocolate

A Bodhisattva is engaged in saving all sentient beings. A Buddha is engaged in savoring a piece of chocolate. What is the difference?

In the midst of confusion and despair, when I am suddenly uplifted by a moment of transforming grace and inexplicable joy, I don't assume it happens by chance. Somewhere, a Buddha is tasting a piece of chocolate.

Clear and Empty

Clear empty Silence is the solid ground of the universe. Suspended in Silence, the material cosmos appears weightless, instantly dissolving, sparkling like a handful of snow thrown into a sunbeam.

No Thought For Tomorrow

"Take  no thought for tomorrow," Jesus taught. Yet we are incessantly planning!

Tomorrow has no Being. Being is now. Therefor, the future has no power over one who is awake.

Most of the time we can rest in Presence. And even when planning for tomorrow, we are in the present moment, for tomorrow does not exist.

Our plan will be effective, not to the extent that we worry about the future, but to the extent that we are present in this moment.

What the Mountain Taught Me

 Om Tahomaya Namah. I bow down to the Great Mountain Mother whose very name means, in the native tongue, 'breast that nourishes us with white streams.' I offer you these Cascade Lilies. Holding one for each of the five elements, filled with gratitude, I bow down before your snowy whiteness here at tree-line.

Our entire ecosystem thrives through your snow-melt streams, providing our energy, our food, our green emerald home. Therefor I make flower offerings to you.

The living sun, whose light goes over all, manifests Christ in nature. His golden power gently melts your snow, pressing your white breast, causing those streams of blessing to pour down upon us. Fire mingles with Water, Water mingles with Earth, flourishing green power. The green power of Earth sends forth the Air we breathe, and that breath becomes our prayer, transmuting all we perceive and offer into the Ether of consciousness.

Therefor I place these flower offerings before you, Mother Tahoma. As I bow down you teach me the secret of worship:

To praise one petal of a pascal flower, bow to a ball of goat's fur lying in the lupine, or pray to a blue moth disguised as an alpine aster, is to worship the universal Creator. The whole Word of God speaks through a blossom of columbine, and the passion of Christ is the ripening of a huckleberry.

It is false to distinguish Polytheism from Monotheism, Paganism from Christianity. The tiniest gnome that dwells in a thumb-knuckle of quartz, the flower sylph dancing on the petals of a shooting-star, or the soul of a hummingbird sucking nectar from a blossoming sweet-pea, is a Fifth Gospel. The Logos, as in the beginning of time, streams through the sap of the smallest weed.

A worshiper may enter this stream at any point, vast or tiny. Praise God in a honeysuckle. Bow down to a singing brook or cedar tree. That bow is pure as any worship in church or temple, acceptable to the Lord of Hosts as if it were offered at the Mercy Seat in Jerusalem.

Any act of sincere worship, however "primitive," taps into the divine current flowing through all creation. If I praise the undine in a dewdrop, my Eucharist returns to the Christ through whom all things were made. Through this drop of dew, reverence carries my attention back to the Unity from which every impulse to worship arises. There, in pure Creator-Consciousness, all devas and elementals, all nature sylphs and elfin sprites of this green earth, are fused as a single life with the highest cherubim, the rolling angelic spheres of inter-galactic intelligence, the powers and principalities of heaven. In the most innocent act of earth-centered offering, I touch supreme Godhead.

Is the microcosm of my body not a sign of this all-pervading reverence? The consciousness in every cell inter-radiates every other cell to awaken as one Me. If I enter a single atom of my flesh, I enter my whole personality. Just so, the humblest creature on Earth is a gateway to the divine whole. To praise the beauty of a moth is to contemplate the face of Christ. 

Therefor, I make flower offerings to You, great Mother Mountain Deva. Om Tahomaya Namah. Carry my prayers to the One.

"One who offers to Me with devotion only a leaf, or a flower, a fruit, or even a little water, this I accept from that yearning soul, because with a pure heart it was offered in love." (Bhagavad Gita 9:26)

Sense of the Heart

"See that your chief study be about your heart... for the true spirit of prayer is no other than God's own Spirit dwelling in the heart. And as this spirit comes from God, so doth it naturally tend to God in holy breathings and pantings." (Jonathan Edwards)

If life seems confusing, it is because we complicate it by listening to the words of the mind instead of the wordless warmth of the heart.

When we take a few moments to center down in silence, we open to the guidance of an Inward Light, a radiant sensation in the region of the heart, directing us as surely as a blindfolded child is directed by a Mother's whisper: Getting warmer... getting warmer....

To develop this intuitive sensibility is the greatest need of our educational system. Today's schools educate us to be data-processors, with complex technical skills but no inner voice. How can leaders guide the world if they don't know how to listen to the guidance of the spirit?

The Colonial theologian, Jonathan Edwards, called this inward skill the sense of the heart. "It is not a thing that belongs to reason, to see the beauty and loveliness of spiritual things; it is not a speculative thing, but depends on the sense of the heart."* He is describing a spiritual touch, a leading beyond words, yet something distinct from impulse, gut reaction, or mere sensuality.

The sense of the heart is characterized by a feeling of warmth, expansion and lightness with regard to what is good for us, for our community, and for our environment; by a sense of coldness, contraction, and heaviness with regard to what is not evolutionary. The sense of the heart is never wrong. What misleads us is the voice of doubt or the voice of judgment, but they do not come from the heart.

The time is approaching when our lives may depend on whether we follow this sense of the heart, or remain stuck in stale arguments, mental concepts, and outworn creeds.

*Sermons, 'A Divine & Supernatural Light,' Northampton, 1734

The Third Tablet

It is said that Moses received from God a third stone tablet of laws, but he shattered it in anger. Or did he accidentally drop it, being human, and this too was ordained, since the laws engraved upon it were too abstruse for that age?

Perhaps, as a result of God's mood swings, the laws on the third tablet contradicted the laws on the other two. Is there not evidence in scripture that the Almighty is bi-polar? But this may only be a flaw of human perception, refracted through regret over the past or anxiety about the non-existent future. For when we behold the Almighty as pure Presence, we avoid the polarizing effects of time, and God appears quite sane. It is in such moments of Seeing that the third tablet is miraculously restored, and takes precedent over the other two.

Whatever the explanation, we may now receive the revelation of the third tablet, which was discovered intact in a chamber beneath the Sphinx. 

* Thou shalt not worry, for what is, is.  
* Thou shalt not honor any power above gentleness. 

* Thou shalt not listen to the belly crying 'More!' or the brain crying 'Less!' but only to the sigh of the heart, 'Enough.'

* Thou shalt not search for any human dignity greater than walking, standing, sitting or reclining. For my supreme gift to the universe is the relaxed composure of a human body, just as it is.

* Thy senses are pathways to Me; thou shalt not suppress their delight. If thou dost honor as a sacrament the faintest sensation of skin, eye, ear, nostril and tongue, thou shalt crave nothing more violent or addictive. Ye, merely to breathe shall be thine ecstasy.

* Thou shalt not repress thy sexual nature, nor holy desire. Only make love with care and respect, and never betray thy heart's chosen partner.

* Thou shalt not worship any concept or image of Me in thy mind, for idols graven of thought are more dangerous than idols of silver and gold.  

* Thou shalt not seek my name and form in any temple but thy heart. And when thou findeth Me there, thou shalt see Me in the humblest form: a leaf, a flower, a glittering little piece of dog shit.
* Thou shalt not define thyself through any story of the past or any hope of the future: for thou art the radiance of the present moment, and in this radiance I Am.

* Thou shalt not doubt that I am Thou, and Thou art I.
Do we not both say, I Am? In this Am, We are one.

These are the laws of the third tablet. They are unbearably simple, unspeakably self-evident, and impossibly easy to follow. That is why they have never been given until now, and will never be given in the future.

The Right Time

I've often said, "I'll get to it when I have more time." But the truth is, "more time" in the future is a fundamental delusion of  mind. There will never be more time than there is in this moment.

The feeling that "I don't have time" is produced in a tense, stressed nervous system. The anxious brain discharges a signal that becomes the thought, "I don't have time." What is really happening is stress in the body, and this stress is happening always in the present moment, causing constant rapid thinking in the mind, wavering between thoughts of the past and thoughts of the future. The whole sense of rush toward the future, and impoverishment of the present moment is a result of physiological stress.

That is why, if I feel that I'm rushed, out of time, ghasping for more  leisure, hungry for that sense of eternal expansiveness that is available not in heaven, not in a monastery, not on vacation, but in Presence: then make the time to practice pranayama and meditation. It is only through breath, exercise, and the deep discipline of centering that we end the mind's wavering from past to future, and come into the pure Presence of eternity, which is Now.

When the nervous system is stable and the brain is refreshed, when consciousness is alert and settled in the self-radiance of its silent Being, vast time available anywhere, at any moment.
We think the problem is 'they' when it is 'I.' We think the solution is acting out there when it is resting right here. Let 'I' rest in 'Am.' Then see what needs doing.

Build It Here

Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim. 
Dear friends, if you can't build your mosque
in lower Manhattan, build it here,
in the ground zero of my heart.
Here is infinite, empty, ancient space
to fill with the call of the minaret.
But you will find a Christian church here too,
a Buddhist temple, a shrine to Radha Krishna,
and a sacred tree for the Gods of ancient Ireland.
If you don't mind sharing 

the space of compassion,
it's yours.


Here is a course of radical spiritual instruction, an ancient initiation, available today. This initiation is only for those who are serious about transcending ego, expanding awareness, embracing all possibilities, and shattering boundaries, even the boundaries of the Bodhisattva!

The instruction is free, but requires everything you have. Though the teaching is profound, no master teaches it. The practices are mystical yet earthy. You will celebrate its beginning but not its end. The instruction is so intense that many drop it midway. The course involves no rules, but constant discipline. It is so intimate you cannot take it with a group, nor can you take it alone.

What is it?

Pearls Without a String

Is there an ego?

In a moment of real happiness, or in a moment of truly serving another, there is no no ego, no I who says, I am happy.

But in a moment of dissatisfaction, the experience of separateness arises. Memory strings such moments of separateness on an imaginary thread & calls them me, as if they had continuity. But they are just gray pearls without a string.

Relax. Spend more time doing what makes you happy, and more time serving from the heart. Then there's no you who has to do any spiritual work to transcend your ego.

Primordial Religion

The prophet: your Mother.
The scripture: your Body. 
The holy name: your Breath. 
The temple: your Heart. 
The alter fire: Awareness. 
Eternal Life: Now.
All religions: Shadows.
All rituals: Rehearsals
for This Human Being
Consciously Breathing.

Happiness Is Unimaginable

I can't imagine being happy.

I think about where I want to go, whom I want to be with, what I want to acquire, to make me happier. Do these images of happiness in the mind make me happier?

Imagining happiness is the seed of unhappiness because happiness is never in the future. The image of Summer in thought only deepens the Winter of our discontent.

Bliss is imageless. I only taste it in the present moment.

Hence the greatest mystics rejected visualization practices, preferring the 'via negativa' or way of un-knowing in Christian mysticism; 'sunya' or emptiness in Buddhism; 'nirbija samadhi' or awareness without seed in the Yoga tradition. Bliss has nothing to do with what can be imaged or visualized as a thought. Bliss is the vast space of awareness, where the coming and going of thoughts is incidental.

When I hanker for something better, an image of future happiness, am I not creating a conflict with what is? That always promises to be greater than this. The imagination of my future negates the value of the present moment. Hence Jesus said, 'Take no thought for tomorrow.' He wants me to be happy now.

My most creative work springs not from an image of future happiness, but from the overflow of Presence.

Imagining happiness is the subterfuge my mind uses to perpetuate it's restlessness in a more palatable form. But if I want to taste bliss, I must taste it right where I am, and quit planning to be happy.

In this moment, stop clinging to images of happiness. Don't push them out or deny them. Just release your hold on them. Become aware of the space around you: not the objects contained in space, but space itself. Feel the effortless expansion and softening of pure space. Now close your eyes, feel this soft space in the cells of your body, in the atoms. Allow what is to flower silently from the heart of the Unimaginable.

21,000 Times a Day

Already today I've been baptized 12,000 times by the Holy Spirit. I'll be born again 9,000 times before sunrise. It happens with every breath, doesn't it, friend?

All we can do is say "thank you God," bowing down to whomever we meet. Our bodies are the temples of this birthless deathless refreshment.

There's no religion any more: just the art of living. We're all high priests. Our status is so high, in fact, we got to be born on earth!

Millions of heavenly devas stand in line waiting for this opportunity. Don't waste a moment wishing you were somewhere else! Resting gratefully wherever you are is the fastest path to the next perfection of Now.


The object of perception floats on the surface of consciousness like a tiny crystal of sugar on top of my mango pudding. Whether I eat the sugar or not is irrelevant to my enjoyment of dessert.

In itself, consciousness is already full of nectar. It needs no added sweetener. In itself, consciousness contains more sap than the blossoming lotus, more fragrance than the finest wine, more delight than any romance. The light of consciousness overflows through these senses, illuminating the earth: it's not the other way round. The earth is nourished by the light within us.

This is why Jesus says, "You are the light of the world."

Save the World

To end war, it is not necessary to kill the enemy: just kill the idea of "the enemy." To draw closer to God, it is not necessary to pray harder: just dissolve the idea of "God." To overcome attachments, don't worry about attachments: just drop the "I" who is attached.

Seen through my concepts, the world needs many improvements. Letting go of concepts, especially the concept of "I," the world appears as it is, each atom lit from within by the radiance of God.

I Believe In Everything

Whatever you say, I say right on, and its opposite even more! Every lie has its thread in the tapestry of truth. Every truth is a lie somewhere else. 2+2=5 is a wonderful mistake, for it leads to learning that  2+2=4. Every debunked hypothesis brings deeper insight. No affirmation stands alone. And no truth is worth killing for. I believe in everything.

We don't go to war over what we believe, but what we disbelieve. True Believers spend most of their time proclaiming, not what is right, but what is wrong. Believing passionately in few things causes violence. Righteousness feels entitled to destroy falsehood. I believe in everything.

One needs discrimination, vivekya. But the ultimate discrimination is stepping back into the absolute Self, separate from the relative creation, to witness the cosmos as a web of complimentary opposites. Creation is a play where all is true, all is false, and nothing touches the empty changeless silence of the witness.

If I believe in this rather than that, I am bound in the net of creation. But I am free to love when I believe in everything.