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