Birth Mother

Your belly button is the blossom.
Something buzzes there, making honey
of all this blood, these forests and mountains,
the darkness between stars.
Into the mystery of the Goddess you have entered 

more deeply than the Goddess.
She longs to be where you are now,
nursing miracles out of the green earth.
Why else should you taste the butterscotch sun,
the chocolate moon scented with herbs
from an ancient garden?
All that can bow bends toward her
through your breasts.
Come, engender yourself.
Humanity kicks from within,
then pours out of you like wine.
Dear one, your body is proof
that there is no other world.

Photo: 'Embryo' galaxy in Cassiopeia.


What attracts me is not your flawless diamond perfection. That is too cold and hard. I am drawn by the falling curves, the dimpled shadows, the pause and lilt of little flaws that make you utterly, uniquely beautiful. If God had wanted you to be perfect, you would not have been created.

The Chosen

The Chosen People are the people who choose to be present. They return to the homeland of Now. They live on the planet where every seed sprouts into a Burning Bush of revelation, every tree is the Tree of Life, each pebble is the Kaaba stone, all streams are the Ganges, and the rolling green hillside wherever you pitch your tent, is the Mountain of God. Their worship is to breathe.

My Dog, My Master

Surrendered so totally to my will, he allows me to experience what it is like to be God. But this does not make me vain. It makes me melt into my original nature: radiant, all-forgiving, golden, unconditional, even-though-there-is-poop-on-the-floor-and-chewed-up-socks love. Therefor he plays precisely the same role in my life as the Guru, awakening me to who I really Am.

The same cannot be said of my cat.

The Visit

The Goddess whispered to my heart,
You are not here to suffer.
You are here to make honey.
Visit the dark sticky places
in everything that blossoms.

Old Friend

Good bye, old friend. 
I remember how you taught me
at midnight, in sparkled 
lightning-bug mist that swathed 
green Pennsylvania clover, 
to ride cows. Silently 
we rode them until dawn.
They were never quite awake,
but we were. That was years ago.
Drowsy and patient, the cows

are gone, the meadow is gone, 
you and the days are gone -
but not this friendship.

English landscape by John Constable

The Blinding

It flashed out of the void,
then vanished.
You said it wasn't real.
You said that clinging to it
was sorrow.
You attended long lectures
about its non-existence,
weekend retreats to get rid of
what wasn't there, but
at night, alone, you admit
to having no idea
what it is, where it came from,
or what it means to the darkness
that fills you even now
with ineffable yearning
and dread.
All you really know is
that your life has become its
perpetual echo, an after image
in the eye that cannot see
out of dazzled blindness.
Ripe and desperate now,
why not confess how
much you need
the Beloved?


A featheriness rustles through all hearts,
in-furling and unfolding brilliant wings
to christen each atom and inflect the stars
with the light that belongs to children.
Each of us is all of that:
no edges, this shining, only waves,
A single atom of whose burning
is the curved horizon of God's joy.
You keep seeing this in Jesus, in Mary,
in bold voluptuous lovers.
Why not let the beauty be You?
Don't just be a flame. Become fire.

Be Happiness

Don't just be happy. Be happiness. Rest in the unshakeable, the imperishable golden core of your heart. There, happiness does not come and go. Everything except happiness comes and goes.


The  Subject pervades the Object, and the Object has no existence outside the Subject. This is the reality. However, when our consciousness is weak and wavering, the Object annihilates the Subject during the act of perception, creating the illusion that there is an "external world of the senses."

This delusion of separateness can usually be overcome by running your fingers through living fur, while repeating the mantra, "I love you."

Love's Bath

A Buddha transcends creation, gaining freedom, because he takes nothing personally. But I like being a person.

A Bodhisattva feels the pain of all sentient beings, redeeming the whole world, because she takes everything personally. But I'm not that saintly.

So I don't follow the Buddha path or the Bodhisattva path. I just bathe my imperfections in the Master's perfect love, and trust that some spills over.


You created all this for me. With infinite gratitude, I breathe in. Now receive your creation back as my offering as I breathe out.

Inhalation, exhalation, the two-fold Eucharistic offering, grace and response. Just to breathe is worship.

Painting by Mark Keathly


Nothing has ever been perfect. Nothing will ever be perfect. But everything is perfect right now. This is the blessing of Presence.

Your world is imperfect. Your nation is imperfect. Your body, heart and mind are imperfect. But you are perfect. This is the blessedness of Being.

A Place

We're all haunted by the ancient myth that something is wrong. Something is wrong with the world. Something is wrong with "me." It just doesn't feel right...

But there's an even older story, about a place where we lived before anything went wrong, a place where it all felt right. In the myths, it's the Sacred Garden. We dwelt there before the Fall...

That place is inside you right now. That place is who you are.

At the ends of their outstretched wands, without any magic but nature's grace, white magnolias burst into blossom. The sun-drenched air is not too chilly, not too warm. Abandon your shoes. Slip off every garment and remember what it was like to be You.


I don't want to know what I should do. I want to know where the should comes from.

Through this inquiry, I discover that should is an echo, a ghost of the past, which has nothing to do with Presence. Presence is where I respond to life, where I discover response-ability without any should.

A wise counselor advised me to gracefully let go of should. But it kept gracefully returning. So I grabbed the should by its throat, dragged it to the top of Mount Sinai, and threw it back into the fire.

Should is the fear of judgment. Take away Judgment Day, and only now remains. Pure presence, free from judgment, is Love.

Chocolate Science

The evidence is in: chocolate is good for the heart.

I mean, Isn't it obvious that cocoa powder, rich in polyphenols such as catechins and procyanidins, inhibits low-density lipoprotein oxidation and atherogenesis, which is why our daily intake of cocoa increases plasma high-density lipoprotein and decreases LDL levels? Well yeah, we totally knew that.

"Dark chocolate has been shown to be associated with lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar levels and improvement in the way your blood vessels dilate and relax," writes cardiologist Julie Damp (Science Daily, 2/13/2012).

"To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure" (Titus 1:15). “'Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them?' In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean" (Mark 7:19).

So drown in love and eat what you like. You were born from a golden egg floating on the primal sea of chocolate. What hatches you is the pecking that comes from inside.

Great Silence

Nothing is greater than silence. What I feel in "great" art, poetry and music is silence between the notes, silence between the words, stillness in the brush strokes.

Creation is rooted in the silence that was there before Creator said, "Let there be light." Creativity blossoms from the void. Master craftsmen communicate deep silence through their chosen medium. Otherwise, it's just busy-ness and mere technique.

To improve my work, I deepen my silence.

The Language of Love

"A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou, my Love." When Omar Khayyam wrote these words in his mystical poem, the Rubaiyat, he used the ancient symbols of a universal love code that is also found in the Biblical Song of Songs, the Troubadours, Mira Bai, Jayadev, Kabir, Hafiz and Rumi. Jesus certainly used this love code in his wedding parables.

Lest we fall into worldly delusion, we must understand how to interpret these symbols correctly: The "loaf of bread" represents bread. I recommend a whole-grain loaf with garlic, rosemary and olive oil. The "jug of wine" represents wine. I recommend a hearty Cabernet. "Thou, my Love" represents a gorgeous woman. This is not a matter of speculation: you must experience the reality to understand.

Before one enters the Path, the world is as it is, and there are no metaphors. Entering the Path, the world shimmers with metaphor: all creatures symbolize an inner reality. But when one finally stumbles on the goal, one realizes that there never was a Path, and there are no metaphors. Things are just what they are, but lit from within by the marvelous light of Emptiness.

I played tennis with Hafiz today. One of us was drunk. We played long into the night, in pitch darkness. Every game went to deuce. The match didn't end til dawn and I won't tell who won. Leaning on each others shoulders, we wandered home singing songs that made farm maidens blush and drop their buckets of milk.

Money For Spiritual Teachings?

Money is the symbol of our willingness to dance with the Wheel of Sacrifice.

Money represents the responsibility we take in our energy exchange with the universe.

There is nothing impure about money. What is impure is to expect money when one has not earned it, or to withhold money from one who serves you. The ignorant waste their energy figuring out ways to avoid paying for what they receive. The enlightened are glad to give fair wages and profits to those who provide them with true service.

The universe is a Great Wheel of Sacrifice, where energy consumed in one turning pours out in another. We participate in the great wheel through seva, service. No new energy is created, and no energy can be lost: therefor every service has a cost and a reward.

Whatever is of value has a price. One who does not feel the cost can never know the value. What is received here is paid for there, given to one, purchased by another. Is anything free?

If you value yourself, you will ask a fair price for your service. If you value others, you will pay them for theirs.

Capital-ism is not an evil. Debt-ism is the evil. Wealth that is built on manufacturing actual goods and services is capital. Wealth that is built on other peoples' debts produces nothing, creates no jobs, and concentrates itself in the hands of a few elite creditors, at the expense of many debtors. It is debtism, not capitalism, that ruins our community.

The coming age of justice will be a time when no man will be permitted to grow his wealth by increasing another's debt. But it will also be a time when each of us joyfully pays for what we receive, instead of assuming that others should bear the cost for us. The age of expecting something for nothing has come to an end. The reckoning is here: we owe the price for our footprints on the earth.

But what about payment for spiritual teachings? Some say that "spiritual teachings should be given for free." The truth is, spiritual teachings are the most valuable commodities of all. If we value them, we should pay for them. Spiritual teachings do not lose value when they are associated with money: they gain value.

If I pay a school teacher, a plumber or a doctor for their services, why should I not pay a meditation teacher, a yoga instructor, or a spiritual counselor? To say that spirituality is above money is to say that spirituality is not of this world, and not real.

Those who taste the radiance of spiritual energy know that it is as real as bread, blood or plumbing. Instead of giving so much of our money to million-dollar sports babies, weapons manufacturers, politicians and pharmaceutical corporations, we need to build more meditation centers, healing schools, institutes of breath work. We need to pay money for dance therapy, yoga, tai chi, and contemplative counseling.

If you are a spiritual teacher, be sure you are teaching something that really works, then joyfully ask a fair price for what you do.

Nothing is free. There are no entitlements - only turnings of the Great Wheel.

Relax on the Cross

The Crucified said to my heart, "Suffering is not my way. Relax on the cross."

"Relax into the center of paradox, where verticals of eternity cross beams of past and future."

"You can float in the sky like a cloud, or fall to the ground like a stone, but can you balance your body where opposites converge, where soil and stars, joy and sorrow, God and womb co-mingle?"

"Can you ease into your flesh, cradle creation in your heartbeat, touch heaven and earth with a single breath?"

"Let the wounds in your chest and crown, your palms and feet, be eyes ever opened to witness both laughter and weeping."

Practice Resurrection

If Easter and Passover are mere myths and fairy tales, then what use are they? But if they are real, then I shall practice Easter each morning at dawn. The Resurrection of the Body shall be my daily discipline. I shall make the Passover my path: from the realm of bondage, through the desert of purification, to a new land within the heart, flowing with milk and honey. These are mysteries of Presence, facts of direct experience, not only in Spirit but in every particle of flesh.
The effortless resonance of the mantra, vibrating as subtle sound through the nervous system, is the incarnation of the Logos, the Word made flesh. 
The techniques of yoga bring the Resurrection of the body. 
In both the Hebrew and Greek books of the Bible, the word for Spirit is precisely the same as the word for Breath: ruach in Hebrew, pneuma in Greek. The invocation of the Holy Spirit is the Holy Breath of mindfulness meditation, conscious breathing. The chrism or anointing of Christ-Consciousness is the descent of the Holy Breath in the practice of sudarshan kriya.

Moth & Flame

"I" call on the Lord as Christ or Krishna, Amita Buddha or Mother Divine, but the Lord already dwells within me as "Am."
The thought of  "I" is a moth that dances around the flame of  "Am." Some teach that "I" should be annihilated in the flame. But why this violence against my intrinsic playfulness?
Why not just let the moth dance with the Beloved, knowing the moth as a moth and the flame as the flame? Delusion only happens when I confuse them, identifying the winged dance of "I" as my eternal Radiance.
I Am both moth and flame: playfulness and liberation.

No One at the Center of the Cross

Jesus cries from the cross, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do." In that moment, does he carry the sins of the world, or drop them?

The center of the cross is a place that is light and free, without sin or blame. At the center of the cross, no one carries anything. If you load your cruelty, your bitterness, your blame upon the shoulders of one who dwells at the center of the cross, he won't take it personally.

Centered there, Christ-Consciousness radiates without judgment, from a vanishing point beyond "sin." At the center of the cross, there is no "I" to be burdened or offended, for "I" am crucified.

This is the crossroad of paradox where opposites collide, annihilating one another in an explosion of pure awareness. On the cross of paradox, concepts disappear, and awareness becomes available as free energy, no longer bound up in opposing viewpoints.

On this cross, form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Past and future dissolve into Presence. Joy and sorrow merge in Compassion. Matter and spirit fuse as the body of Grace. In the vanishing point at the center of the cross, where there is no "I" to take anything personally, forgiveness is the natural state.

If you witness events from the center of the cross, through the gaze of the crucified, you will see the world as it truly is: a mirage of shimmering ever-dissolving pairs of opposites. In such a shimmer, what can be accomplished by passing judgment or taking sides?

Arrows of hatred cannot penetrate the silence of one who is centered on the cross. The arrows fall back upon their source, and those who shoot them are destroyed by their own reactivity. Observing this self-destruction, one could assume that Christ-Consciousness has judged and damned the assailants as "evil doers." But divine silence has no need for retribution. Negative energy simply rebounds upon its cause, finding no target in emptiness.

All judgment is self-judgment. Christ will never return to judge the world. At the end of time, there will be no Day of Wrath. Christ simply forgives, and the end of time is now. We have already judged ourselves. "Judge not, lest ye be judged. And you will be judged by the very judgment you pronounce on others" (Mat. 7:1).

If Christ rests weightlessly at the center of the cross, carrying no burden, how should we understand the sacrifice of "the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world?"

The weight of human "sin" is the heaviness of the past. It is a collective story we tell in our minds. The actual pain we experience in the present moment is not the problem. The problem is the story we tell about it. By insisting on our old story, momentary pain becomes unendurable suffering.

But in the clarity of now, the old story simply drops. The lamb who takes away the sins of the world is our own innocent awareness, dissolving negative emotions from the past in the clear flame of Presence. Forgiving the sins of the world is the work of Christ-Consciousness in each of us.

In Philippians 2:6, St. Paul uses the Greek word, kinosis, which means self-emptying. "Though Christ existed as the very form of divinity, he did not cling to God-like status, but emptied himself." The kinosis of Christ is the anatta of Buddha: the healing compassion of no-self.

Jesus invites you to rest in unburdened lightness at the center of the cross. "Come unto me, you who are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest; for my yoke is easy, my burden is light." (Mat. 11:28)

The center of the cross is your heart. Let your heart be spacious and hollow with the impeccable self-emptiness of Christ. Surrender to the golden light of "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:27)

And who is Christ? Christ is the self-luminosity of Presence. In Christ, the "I" of the past is crucified. What rises from this death of time is the eternity of now.

Christianity is not about suffering, but about the end of suffering. At the center of the cross is liberation and joy.

Highs and Lows

Sometimes we rise in a wave, sometimes we fall into a trough. But waves and troughs of what? Our own crystalline awareness.

Our highs and lows are just a playful mirage in Self-luminosity. The ocean of our being is one seamless radiance, eternally at rest in its own transparency. That is why both Christ and Krishna said, "Don't worry. Just rest in Me."

Your Beauty (for Anna)


It's not enough for me to tell you that you have a beautiful soul. You are beauty. Every atom of your flesh is an awakening universe. Your breath, your secret smile in sleep, the tilt and sway of your ambling, the tingle of wet grass on your bare feet, your wrinkles and soft spots, the skip of your mortal heart, your moments of silence, your shadow, the mistakes you make, the things you leave unfinished settling just where eternity intended them, your sacraments of bathing and eating dessert, the landscape of your body rising and falling under the close and distant stars: beauty that can't be helped.