What Time Is It?

We ask 'what time is it?' like swimmers desperately trying to stay together as they drown in eternity. What if, for a few moments, you let go? You drown in the ocean of not -knowing what time it is. You discover you can breathe in the depths. You become infinite again. You are 'in the beginning,' at the first moment of creation. That is meditation.

When you come back to the surface, you ask, 'What time is it?' But now you know it is only a joke.
 Hearing these words, a friend replied, 'I count breaths in my meditation practice. I think it keeps me hung up in time. I don't sink into the depths.'
Yes, we have been been misled by 'traditional' meditation teachers. Religion instructs us to count our way to enlightenment. That is why we seldom arrive. To speak candidly, nothing could be sillier than counting 'planes' of consciousness, 'degrees' of samadhi. Nothing could be more superficial than counting breaths from one to ten in Zazen, counting mantra repetitions with Japa beads, counting Hail Mary's with a rosary. Counting is the problem, not the solution. It sustains the illusion of time. 
Real meditation isn't a business handled by an accountant. Real meditation melts your clock. Each breath takes you home to the beginning. Each breath is the breath of God, breath 'one.' There is no 'two.'

A Very Decent Sort of World

"...and setting all the good of the world against the evil, he came to the conclusion that it was a very decent and respectable sort of world after all." (Charles Dickens, 'Pickwick Papers')

All night and day the media barrage us with images of violence and pain. But for all the world's sorrows, despite the redundant images of suffering for which the press has such an insatiable appetite, the vast majority of humans, animals, trees and countless other creatures carry out their hourly growth and flowering in quiet serenity, with no whisper of terror, no tremor of violence.

At this moment, most children are playing in an empty lot, making up games in the street, or clambering up the limbs of a tree. Adults are practicing some daily duty, the anonymous sacrament of the commonplace; or running their fingers through the fur of a cat, or listening to a bird twitter in a branch near the window. And if we do not enjoy the sacred suchness of this moment, we have every opportunity to, even if we chooses instead to focus on bitter doubts, anxious fears, or the empty chatter of the television.

In this precious moment, we are free to awaken and give thanks for this breath, to feel the breeze touch our skin, listen to a raindrop, honor a blossoming weed that grows from beneath a cinder block, or gaze into the eyes of friend and say, "Thank you for being here with me in this wonderful moment, on this gifted earth."


Have you ever met a pansexual? Perhaps you have pansexual tendencies and don't even know it.

In this age of liberation, we speak of straight, gay, bi-sexual and trans-gendered people. Now it is time to liberate the pansexual.

Pansexuals are not attracted to one partner only, nor is their sexual energy confined to one organ of the body. Pansexuals feel an erotic attraction to the whole cosmos, a sexual relationship with every flower and star. Each cell of the pansexual's flesh overflows with iridescent nectar, each atom vibrates between yearning and bliss, each photon of their body is a sperm of God. For pansexuals, the universe is a single organ of joy aroused, fibrillating through all creatures in perpetual love-making.

For the pansexual, this love-making is not primarily between creatures, but between creature and Creator. Human history has deeply misunderstood pansexuals, often assuming them to be mere celibates and monks because they are not wedded to a partner. But the pansexual feels married to everybody, caught up in the unending sexual union of earth and sky.

History's great pansexuals include Krishna, Kokopelli, Orpheus, whose lovesong dissolved the gates of the underworld, Jesus, wild poet of the Galilean meadows, Rumi, St. Francis of Assisi, Walt Whitman, William Blake, who said "energy is eternal delight," and the Guru who awakens the serpent Kundalini in your own voluptuous spine.

Among women, pansexuals include Radha, Mira, Mary, Billi Holiday, and untold thousands of Magdalenes martyred for the cause of ecstasy, whose immaculately sinful and perfectly fallen bodies transmute matter into Spirit through the all-pervading mystery of erotic grace. Selah.

Painting by Joel Nakamura

Awareness Doesn't Worry

Worry is a lifestyle choice. The ignorant imagine that worry indicates responsibility. The enlightened know that worry is a waste of time.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Don't worry; who by worrying adds one inch to his stature?" At the climax of the Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna: "Don't worry, just surrender to Me." (18:66)

Awareness doesn't worry. Only 'I' worry. 

A Deeper Anarchy

Should I blame our world catastrophe on the Wall Street Bildburger CIA Monsanto Chemtrail Pentagon Conspiracy of the 1%, financed by Israeli Lobbyists at the Federal Reserve? Isn't it more simple and direct to root out the I who blames, rather than the many whom I blame?

Ramana Maharshi said, "Practice self-reform and social reform will happen by itself."

We've been struggling against corporate princedoms and powers, but this struggle is not enough. It is a superficial anarchy, and it is exhausting. A deeper anarchy is required. Anarchy comes from the Greek: an, against, archon, ruling power or first cause. The true an-archist overthrows the ruling power, the primal cause at the beginning of causation's chain.

In early Christian thought, the archons were not the physical rulers of this world: they were princes of the darkness within, the darkness of ignorance. St. Paul writes: "We struggle not against flesh and blood, but against archons, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in inner realms (literally,heavenly realms)." ~Ephesians 12:2

Who is the archon of our suffering, the first cause of our oppression? is it not our own distorted perception of the world? Who rules over our perception? Is it not ahamkara, the I-concept? We see the world through a glass darkly: everything is filtered through the fractured prism of I.

Now is the time to engage in a deeper anarchy. Deep anarchists don't overthrow governments, banks or corporations. Deep anarchists go straight to the first cause and overthrow ahamkara, the I.

With a growing population of deep anarchists, humanity reaches a quantum threshold to shift world consciousness. Governments, banks and corporations will change from within.We don't need the chaotic outmoded methods of a bygone era. We don't need to shatter shop windows, provoke the police, or occupy public buildings. Deep anarchists occupy the heart.

Simply remain present as you are. 
Fully accept what occurs as it occurs, 
just as it is presently occurring. 
Totally let go into your own being. 
Be fully centered in the now-presence 
of your own being, 
prior to what is occurring, 
and just let it occur. 
It’s all occurring in your presence. 
It’s occurring through you and from you
as an expression of you, 
but not you as an ‘individual’, 
rather you as the one Self.
“When the individual self, the ego, dies, 
then the sense of consciousness 
as ‘I’ and ‘you’ 
also dies, 
and only the universal Awareness
as pure Being
That remaining universal Awareness
which is the One Self
is both the location and the source 
of all happiness and peace. 
It is freedom.
This is itself enlightenment, 
it is the natural state.

~Ramana Maharshi


I poured out the jug of emptiness,
but I was still empty.
The night in my cup overflowed

with an ecstasy of stars.
Brother, we got drunk 

when we were still each other,
long before we became two.
We still can't tell the difference
between darkness and light.

All we do now is sing.
Endangered pods swim through our eyes
seeking sanctuary in other gazes.
The old earth dissolves into this one
every time we blink.
There is a sound that roses make
when they burst into midnight bloom
at the touch of the moon's fingers.
We hear Her when we breathe.
Remind me, inebriated friend,
what the password is for entering 
the kingdom of silence.

The Tao of Abundance



"That which is deflated must once have been inflated," says Laot'zu. How different are fullness and emptiness, really?

See how gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow, simply cancel each other out, bringing us back to zero. "Zero is where the fun starts," writes Hafiz. "There's too much counting everywhere else."

When gain is followed by loss and life brings me back to zero, I rest there. Loss seems negative only in contrast, in comparison. But loss can offer the quality of sunya, blessed emptiness. The New Testament calls it kinosis, self-emptying. My emptying becomes the occasion for God's fullness. Emptiness is the space of presence. This space is true wealth.

I see the same lesson on a grander scale in astrophysics. Steven Hawking writes, In the case of the whole universe, one can show that negative gravitational energy exactly cancels the positive energy of matter. So the total energy of the universe is zero.

Zero is the source of creation. And creativity. Quantum physics shows that every particle of matter is an excitation of zero, a wave of the vacuum. So if I want to act like God, I let my actions arise from nothing.

If I act from desire for gain, or from fear of loss, either way my action becomes weaker. Truly creative action has no motive at all. It arises from zero, a state of Presence, free from the fever of desire.

To my limited intellect, such action appears random, whimsical, merely playful. Yet God only creates through play. In every wave of divine play, or lila, dances the whole ocean of zero.

Why then struggle to tally a profit on this balance sheet of gain and loss, pleasure and pain? The bottom line is always zero. Ignorance is my quest for more and more, but enlightenment is a zero-sum game.

Sukha-duhke same kritva, labha-labhau jaya-jayau, says the Bhagavad Gita (2:38). Act in dispassion, letting sweetness and sorrow (sukha-dukha), profit and loss (labha-labhau), victory and defeat (jaya-jayau) be the same to you.

Then, is there no eternal reward? Yes, certainly. But I look for it in the wrong place: Wall Street, fleeting sense pleasure, the fantasy realm called the future. True reward is nearer! Abundance is already here, before I even begin the search, more inward than the eye who looks for it. Grace deposits the heavenly reward in my heart before I even take this breath. For heaven is just the formless space of now, wherever I am.  And every now is the fullness of zero, regardless of the content arising and dissolving in that boundless space.

When I open my clenched fist, I hold the whole universe in my palm, light as a feather. Have I acquired anything, or let it all go?

Brilliant Nissan Ad: 'The Value of Zero'

Guilt Cannot Endure a Circle

Guilt cannot endure a circle. Shame cannot survive one mindful breath.

Hierarchies use guilt as an instrument of control by suppression of breathing. Shame literally suffocates.

If you suffer from shame, or feel your breathing stifled in any way, ask yourself: to what hierarchy did you gave away your power? It may be corporate, military, religious, or even a family. Try as you might, you will never receive love from the same authority that gives you shame.

Abandon hierarchy. Join a circle. Learn to breathe.

Don't Resist Seeking

Nondualists tell us there is no seeker, no path, and nothing to seek. But they often make us feel worse because we didn't get liberated from seeking during their afternoon workshop. Such teachers are not helping anyone. After taking their workshop, we are not only left with our seeking, but we feel guilty about it!

Why resist seeking? Resistance feeds duality. Just be compassionate toward yourself. Hug your seeking as a mother watches her child. The compulsion to seek has been arising in us for thousands of lifetimes. The fact that seeking doesn't disappear in a flash is no sign of weakness. Life lives in waves. We can authentically be both jnani and bhakti, non-dual and dual. We are Oneness playfully seeking itself. Where is the conflict?

I am a seeker. I have an authentic moment of non-duality: "There is no path and nothing to seek: I dissolve in boundless contentment!" But in a little while, the path reappears. I am a seeker again.  Now I assume that, either the moment of realization was inauthentic, or I must relinquish my spiritual practice. I practiced regular sadhana of meditation for years, then went to a non-duality workshop, and now emerge even more confused - feeling guilty that my seeking did not vanish in a flash, yet also feeling guilty about practicing meditation. Non-duality has doubled my affliction!

This whole drama is another sub-plot of my melodrama, and how this mind loves drama! The story about a seeker, a path, a guru and a goal has fed this mind for eons. Someday the voice that tells this story will fade into silence. Until then, why beat my  breast and cry, "Woe, I am a weak and fallen seeker!" This is just the new age version of a guilty sinner.

I seek, and sometimes I transcend seeking. Why not accept both realities? Why not just say, "I had a moment when no practice was required, because there was no separation between who I am and who I seek. The need for the Master dissolved. That moment was authentic. Now it is gone, and I find myself meditating, practicing sadhana, longing to be with my guru again. So what? This too is authentic."

Forgive this old mind. Have mercy on its ancient seeking. The seed of non-seeking is planted. What does it matter if the old habit still comes and goes for a little while? No need to feed conflict either by clinging to the path or rejecting the path.

When I am gently aware of my seeking, seeking gradually fades into all-mothering awareness, as waves settle into the sea.

The End of Hierarchy

Humans love hierarchy. It absolves us from the responsibility of being equal.

When we are absolutely equal, no one else can be blamed. No one else can free us from our dependency. No one can be supplicated to carry our sins. The anxiety of freedom is on our shoulders.

That is why we love to burrow down into a hierarchy: the church, the government, the corporation, the army, the guru's ashram, the boy scouts.

Nowhere is hierarchy more deadly than in spiritual institutions, for those who look to an authority cannot be free. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "Faith based on authority is not faith."

True faith is beyond obedience. Don't obey, surrender. Surrender doesn't happen when I obey an other, but when I rest completely in Am.

The followers of Jesus could not bear true faith, true equality. He wanted them to form a circle, but they insisted on hierarchy, so that their egos could maintain a sense of separate identity. In one Gospel passage, we actually see them arguing about who will sit closest to Jesus in eternity. But eternity never happens until hierarchy dissolves and each of us say, "I am the Father are one."

When he surrendered on the cross, "the temple veil was rent": Jesus eradicated religious authority. Until that moment, a veil separated the priest from the people. Only the high priest could part the veil and enter the inner sanctum of the temple, the Holy of Holies. Jesus tore that veil away, revealing the Holy of Holies to be the core of our heart. "The time is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers worship God in spirit and in truth." (John 4:23)

Jesus never said, "Worship me." He invited us to be his equals in the divine Presence. He wanted us to have the same relationship with God that he enjoyed. Jesus said, "These things I do, you shall also do, yes, even greater things than these." (John 14:12)  Jesus not only said, "I am the light of the world," he said, "You are the light of the world." (Matthew 5:14) In his final meal with the disciples, Jesus prayed "that they may all be one." (John 17:21)

The absolute equality of our souls in Christ is the hinge that unites Christian mysticism with political ethics. Equality with Christ is not just a mystical experience, but a radical political calling to root out any social structure that sustains the illusion that one human being is superior to another.

The Church's hierarchy was not institutionalized until the Council of Nicaea, three centuries after Jesus died. The Church's hierarchy was not Jesus' will, but the direct order of the Emperor Constantine. The first result of this council was to suppress Christ's vision of equality and replace it with the imperial structure of Rome. The diocese of the Roman empire, each ruled by a Tribune, became the diocese of the Church, each ruled by a Bishop. In many cases, the the ruling family of the local Tribune became the ruling family of the local Bishop. It is nearly impossible for an honest historian to find much of Jesus in the Church after the Council o Nicaea, but it is quite easy to find much of the Roman empire.

Let us now proclaim to a brave new generation of spiritual seekers that God needs no intermediary, neither high priest, nor king, nor guru, nor savior. No one stands between your soul and God. At our deepest center, we are all anointed with Christ-Consciousness.  

Such a spiritual vision is also the basis of a new political vision. There are no elites. No one is saved or unsaved, washed or unwashed, royal or common in God's eyes. Samadhi is not just the goal of meditation, but the root of democracy. Samadhi means unity of vision (sama - sameness, dhi - seeing). In the soul, samadhi is union with God. In society, samadhi is political equality. Democracy is rooted in a spiritual vision.

Does equality with Christ mean that I have no personal relationship with God as other? God forbid! The wise have called God, the other within. Now I can have even deeper intimacy with the divine: but my relation with God is friendship rather than servitude. "I no longer call you servants... for now you are my friends." (John 15:15)

The cosmic Christ is divine love personified, yet without form. Buddhist's call it Amitaba, Hindus call Krishna. In samadhi we merge in living silence with the radiance of Being: then we come into intense communion with the personal aspect of God. We may even see God's face - the glory of Christ, Amita Buddha, Divine Mother, or Krishna - depending on our cultural heritage. In this experience, we realize that God does not require a specific form to be personal. Hence the vision of samadhi not only heralds the political equality of persons, but the equality of religions. Religious pluralism, not exclusivity, is the sign of democracy.

Yes, we can transcend any insistence on a particular form of deity, yet have the most profoundly personal experience of our God. The Lord is all-pervading and His body is the cosmos. The Being in every form is divine. This means that devotees of all world religions can worship together, each in reverence for their personal God, radiating one and the same divine light from their hearts.

When a perfected Master like Jesus passes from this earth, she or he enters the radiant field of Christ-Consciousness as a drop enters the ocean. The drop becomes the sea, yet the sea also becomes the drop, and is eternally flavored by that drop. So in deep meditation, as we merge with the oceanic Christ, we may still experience the personal fragrance of Jesus, the personal vibration of the Master whose light has guided us there. Devotees of Jesus experience the intense sweetness of their Master's presence. Devotees of Krishna or Mother Divine or the Gurudev experience the unique flavor of their Master too. Yet all are one in Christ-Consciousness. Where is the conflict?

Worshiping our personal form of God in the formless Being may be likened to a room where a lily has blossomed. The scent of the lily pervades the air, even after the flower has withered away. When I enter that room and sit quietly, the scent of the lily bathes me, though I cannot see its form.

Immortality Is Your Element

Every infinitesimal particle of your body dissolves into immortality now. The vastness where galaxies dance is your soul just as surely as the space between the atoms of your flesh. Stars swirl through you.

Immortality enfolds your birth and your death. Immortality is your element. In the ocean of immortality, you swim and bask. How silly to worry about whether you will attain eternal life: you are eternal life.

Gifted with a human form for this precious moment, you have an opportunity to do a brief dance of gratitude. Then, mirage-like, your form evaporates. This momentary association with a body is a sacrament, a chance to worship. Yet your actual identity cannot be located anywhere, in any form.

Come, be a trickster, a magician. Play in the appearance of your body, even as you pervade each dust mote, every flower and star.

Babies See God

When I was a baby, I knew how to hide in the space between electrons.

People saw me bouncing and laughing, but they had no idea where I was hiding. Even today when I go there, I can't find any me. But it's not an escape, because that infinite space is everywhere. 

Didn't we all dwell in boundless Satsang once, before the technicians of the finite whom we call adults drove us out of God's garden? Now we measure eternity in hours and micro-seconds. We divide our vastness into inches. We have become measurers, which we call being educated. The truly important questions, the vastly simple questions, have been educated out of us: "What are we measuring? Hours of what? Inches of what?"

We have no idea what the world is actually made of. All day, we stumble through our duties without knowing what anything really is.

Sir Arthur Eddington, one of the founders of quantum physics, wrote: "All through the physical world runs that unknown content which must surely be the stuff of our consciousness." Einstein developed his theory of relativity after a daydream: fantasizing what it would feel like to ride on a sunbeam.

But in our age of so-called reason, few of us listen to the child-like questions that geniuses like Eddington and Einstein ask. We just go back to our measurements, counting and spending.

My dear friend Ann recently said, "A  six month old was sitting next to me in a restaurant. He was just laughing and smiling and kept looking my way. He was so joyful, I couldn't help but feel blessed. He is the new screen-saver of my heart."

We all have memories of being that child, intuitions of a life more graceful.

Babies get it. The world is a lightning bolt of love, flashing out of the void. The stuff of the universe is the bliss of no-thing. Zero hugs all numbers. Silence embraces all words. Stillness bears every achievement.

When you see a baby laughing at what seems to be nothing, eyes twinkling with delight for no apparent reason, please remember that baby is gazing between the electrons, into eternity, at God. That baby is never one moment old. And neither are you.

~Photo on top: me.


A day will come when we replace money with awareness, in a world governed by infinite debt-forgiveness. We will treasure each others' happiness as currency, and share the unfathomable abundance of mutual trust.

Until that day, let us practice the economics of the Buddha. Every dollar in my pocket is part of every dollar on earth, pulsating with the labor and service of men and women everywhere. The dollar I call "mine" is in fact a sangha, a community.

Painting by Marinasoria

The Silence of Delight

Delight is deeper than discipline. Trust in the guidance of your delight.

Is discipline required for my eye to follow a flower to its center, its stillness? Is the eye not focused, is the mind not quieted, by sheer delight?

Discipline too often means doing what we "should" because we lack the courage to do what we love. But delight deepens delight, until we touch the bliss of silence.

At the peak of every delight is pure meditation. When we hear the most beautiful music, make the most beautiful love, taste the most beautiful ice cream, we close our eyes and sink inward.

Deepen your delight, by means of delight, until your heart discovers God, who is the source of every pleasure.

Cloud of Witnesses

"Loneliness" is only a thought. You are never alone. Rest in your breath. Feel the radiant cloud of witnesses within you - angels, Buddhas, all your ancestors, all your friends - waves of consciousness.


"When you wake up," said the Fool, "sing before thinking."

"That's impossible!" I answered, "I'd need a thought to remind me."

"Not if you fall asleep," said the Fool, "with the name of the Beloved under your pillow."

So night after night I lay my head on the holy name of Krishna, Jesus, Ha'Shem, Mother Divine;

Ninety nine names of Allah, a thousand names of Vishnu; but when I awoke, I forgot to sing.

Then one evening when the moon was full, I pillowed the universe on my heart and breathed, "I am, I am." Only the name, "I am."

Now I awake, a golden fountain sighing all the words for Light. At dawn, I am the dawn.

Wholeness Needs No Morality

Wholeness never seeks to harm itself, and therefor needs no moral restraints, no commandments. Thou shalt not requires two, where "I" feel threatened or rivaled by "you." But in wholeness there is only One: the need for morality never arises.

Jesus declares all moral commandments fulfilled by a single law, "Love thy neighbor as thy Self," because my neighbor is my Self. There are not two beings governed by right and wrong: there is only Being, wholly in love.

When we are fragmented, center-less and un-whole, we waste our time imposing moral constraints on ourselves and each other. Instead, let us learn to rest in wholeness. The unrestrained ecstatic wholeness of love is our natural prior condition, always already happening for good, never for evil.

"Somewhere, out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there's a field: will you meet me there?" ~Rumi