Raindrops in dogwood just after dawn,
a single thrush among the alders,
plaintive seals on faraway rocks,
and the deepening silence between.
Drink here.
A well makes no sound,
yet we answer and come
because the heart is an empty pail
and thirst listens.

Photo by Heartwhispers

The Four Yugas

The Vedic literature of India describes four Yugas (ages) repeated in never-ending cycles. The Vedic rishis passed this knowledge to the pre-Socratic Greek philosophers. The Vedic Sat Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga became known in the West as the Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age.

These four ages are not just chronological events on a horizontal time-line. They are simultaneous concentric spheres of energy emanating from the heart. If you want to return to Sat Yuga, the Golden Age, don't wait 432,000 years. Just return to your heart.

An awakened heart always lives during the Golden Age. This is why Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is within you," and, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Surrendered to the light of the heart, one lives in heaven while on earth.

Enter the Golden Age of your heart by dissolving mental duality, and thus dissolving time, into primordial light. This happens through the grace of Guru Diksha, or initiation. The Mantra given by the grace of the Guru draws the mind effortlessly within, through subtler levels of perception, until awareness merges into the silence at the source of creation. Thus the path for Satya Yuga is the divine Name. It is effortless and graceful, and it transcends thought. The average mind does not want to hear this, because the ego wants to work, to strive, and to imagine that it knows something important. So, while the gate of heaven is open to all, most will turn away and choose a longer, more difficult path.

Around the heart circulates the subtle energy of Treta Yuga, the Silver Age. The realm of Treta Yuga is composed out of Prana, creative breath. The energy within our breath is more dense than the pure light of the heart, and extends outside it, pervading the cells of the body. Yet this sphere of silver-violet light is vibrant with health and beauty. The path for those who dwell in the Silver Age is Breath-Work.

When attention is further removed from the heart center, one falls into the duality of intellect and theoretical argument. Those who focus their lives in the mind live in Dvapara Yuga, the Bronze Age. They strife for noble thoughts and moral deeds, yet their striving is not without anxiety, competition, and envy. Intellectuals experience a secret dryness, no matter how much fine learning they attain, an aridity that deepens in proportion to their distance from the nectar of the heart. The path for Dvapara is reasoning. This produces clarity of mind and effective action, yet never leads to the bliss of God-Consciousness, for intellectuals find it most difficult to transcend thinking.

Finally, there are those who dwell in the Kali Age. They have allowed themselves to become completely deracinated from the heart. These people even use Iron Age metaphors to describe themselves: "nerves of steel," "iron will," "pumping iron." They actually choose hardness, coldness, and bitterness, qualities they think they need in order to survive a grueling and dangerous life, a life of constant lack. Of course, they create this world through their own thinking, but imagine that it comes to them as a curse from somewhere above. Living in the ignorance of Kali Yuga does not mean, however, that we must endure countless lifetimes until the return of the Golden Age. It simply means that we live far from our own hearts.

On any given day, you may walk through the city streets and meet many Iron Age people. You will meet others lost in their heads, living in the mental realm of Dvapara. You will meet a few vibrant energized bodies who live in Treta Yuga. And you may encounter an occasional soul who radiates the inner light of Sat Yuga. These four realms are not separated by duration, but by consciousness.

An Age of Enlightenment and an Age of Darkness interpenetrate one another as simultaneous concentric worlds. You are the time traveler with the freedom to live in heaven or hell, the dark past or the bright future. You chose your path to the age when, and where, you wish to dwell.

This is not an esoteric Eastern philosophy, but is eloquently revealed in the Christian scriptures. The Greek New Testament clearly states that there are two ways to envision time. One is Chronos, chronological time, the horizontal vector from past to future. Most humans bind themselves to the duration of Chronos through their own narrow linear thinking.

The other vision of time is Kairos: the eternal Now of heaven, which is the ever-present possibility of the kingdom. The kingdom of God breaks through consciousness into our lived experience whenever we choose faith, which is the energy of the heart. Commenting on a passage from Isaiah, St. Paul writes: 
For he says, "At the right time I heard you, and on a day of salvation I helped you." Listen, now is really the "right time"! Now is the "day of salvation"! (1 Cor. 6:2)
Why frustrate our minds by counting the hours, years, and centuries, when we can awaken eternity in our hearts this very day?

Heart Rise

Our problem is not that Mind and Heart are in conflict, but that only one of them is awake. Most of us live by the light of mind, in a kind of night. We see things dimly. We do not see the world as it truly is, bathed in the golden splendor of love.

The light of mind is only a reflection of the Greater Light that shines from the heart. At sunrise, moonlight is subsumed in the glory of the dawn. So at heart-rise, mental duality is subsumed in radiance.

The average human heart is numb and half-asleep, merely pumping. We barely glimpse the capacity of the heart to be a master gland for the endocrine system, a neural complex richer than the brain, a holographic processing system that integrates and broadcasts information from the galaxies, turning mere data into love.

To transform life on earth at this moment in history, no technology, no economics, no political action is more crucial than awakening the Heart.   

Touching the Earth: Weight as Sacrament

God said to Moses, Take off your shoes, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. ~Exodus 3:5

Go outside in your own backyard when the grass is still wet with dew. Take off your shoes. Stand with eyes closed in the cool grass and breath.

Don't just breathe through your nose: breathe through the soles of your feet. An ancient Chinese manual on the martial art of Tai Chi says, Today men breathe through their nostrils, but the ancient masters breathed through the soles of their feet.

Feel the weight of your body as a sacrament rather than a problem, a doorway to the Earth rather than something that needs to be reduced. Gravity is a sacred force: the sign of the Mother's hug.

Let your breath flow out of the ground into your legs and hips and belly. As you exhale, release the pent-up tension in your muscles. From your face right down to your ankles, give it up to gravity. All your tension discharges into the ground, yesterday's stale thoughts and worries released in the wet electrical grass. The touch of the earth brings you into this day. This is the only day there is.

Now, be a toddler just learning the dignity of standing and walking on this earth. Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh tells us that the real miracle is not to walk on water but to walk on the green earth. Lakota sage Black Elk says, Let every step you take upon the earth be as a prayer.

Sakyamuni Buddha taught that there are Four Human Dignities, and they are all dignities of the body: lying down, sitting, standing, and walking. We usually take a stand in our heads, on some abstract point of politics or religious belief. Why not just stand in your bare feet, on the living earth?

Walk slowly.  Feel the sensation as your left foot lightens and lifts into the air, the right foot pressing into cool grass, spreading like a hand to receive the earth, widening with body weight. Feel your weight roll from the heel toward the ball of the foot. Feel your toes gently grasp the earth, one last caress, as the right foot leaves the ground.

Walk this way for three minutes, that's all. It is not meant to be a rigorous discipline, but a momentary wonder.

Saint Augustine wrote, solvitor ambulando: It is solved by walking.

Walk to walk, without destination, an ever-arriving pilgrim. Walk just to experience the living dignity of a human body in its ordained place, connecting heaven and earth. Your body is the electrical link between soil and sky, the sacred cord with which the Creator is bound to creation.

Awake in a human body, wherever you stand is holy ground.

Age of Awareness

When information overshadows awareness, it is ignorance - even if the information is correct. When awareness outshines information, it is enlightenment - even if awareness is empty.

We have lived through the Age of Belief, the Age of Reason, and the Age of Information. Now the Information Age is over. The Age of Awareness has begun.
When information overload drives us crazy, the essential practice for mental health is not to know, but to un-know: to recover the formless prior to in-formation, to restore the self-luminous awareness.

The grace of un-knowing needs only a few moments of practice to clear our inner desktop, empty the trash, and refresh our software. Then awareness is freed from the imprint of the past, free to know again.

Of course we need to know: but how much? There are many over-educated folks who amass information for information's sake, and end up as fools. The delicate art of discrimination is knowing what needs be known and gracefully letting go of the rest. Then the clarity of our Awareness, which is the freshness of the present moment, won't be overshadowed, over in-formed, by the forms of the past.

What is spirituality? Spirituality is simply what happens when awareness outshines information, and your Presence outshines your past.

Darshan & Diksha

"The Guru is both outer and inner. From outside he gives a push to the mind to turn inward while from inside he pulls the mind towards the Self and helps in quieting it. That is the Grace of the Guru. There is no difference between God, Guru and Self." ~Sri Ramana Maharshi

Darshan is the blessing of the Guru. Diksha is the initiation of the Guru. Darshan may add a little zing to your life, temporarily. But Diksha removes and destroys, permanently.

Diksha comes from the Sanskrit roots Da, "give," and Kshs, "destroy." Diksha is the gift of destruction. So if you want to receive some blessing and some light, go to the Guru for Darshan. But if you're ready to be destroyed, go to the Guru for Diksha.

In Christian tradition, St. Paul explains the mystery of Baptism as Diksha. In the waters of Baptism, you don't just get a cleaning. You participate in the death of Jesus. Baptism isn't for babies, but for adults who are ready to die. Only when you die can you be born again. Baptism doesn't wash your sins away, it washes "you" away.

Whether you call it a church, a temple or a yoga foundation, some "movement" always grows up around the Guru. The movement provides spaces where seekers can receive the Guru's Darshan. In Darshan, you come to look into the Guru's eyes in order to get something back. Gazing into the unfathomable clarity of that mirror, you see the face you need to see at that moment. The movement has less to do with the Guru than with the karmic needs of its members.

But when you get tired of seeing your own reflection, a day comes when you look into that mirror and no face at all looks back at you. You behold your true divine emptiness.

This is Diksha, real initiation. Diksha happens inside you, in an intimate place that has nothing to do with the movement, the temple, the religious organization. Darshan was between Guru and seeker, but Diksha is between Self and Self. Diksha happens, not in an ashram, but in the center of your soul.

Darshan only gazes at the outer Guru. Diksha gazes at the Guru in your heart's core. Grace has made him available as someone in front of you for a little while, but don't be deceived. If this one is truly your Guru, then she is the eternal Guru, the ancient Guru, who has always dwelt in the center of your soul, waiting for you to come home.

When you receive Diksha initiation, someone that you called "me" dissolves. Bewildered with wonder you ask the Guru, "Who are you, really? Are you my Savior? Are you the World Teacher? Are you the Avatar, the Second Coming?"

The Guru answers, "I am Nobody."

He means it. That is his final answer. His eyes are galaxies spiraling gracefully back into the radiant darkness, where God rests in the silence before creation. His emptiness invites you in, so that you too can become a mirror.

Picture of Sri Sri Guruji taken by Scott Hague

Thinking Big Makes You Smaller

Life coaches and inspirational speakers often tell us we're not thinking "big" enough. But is the path to happiness and sustainability really to "think big"?

The very concept of "big" makes the mind smaller.

Big is only big in comparison with small, and comparison is the root of our anxiety. You are incomparable. You don't have to think bigger than anybody. And you are uniquely happy, until you begin comparing yourself with others.

Comparison stifles creativity. Comparison doesn't allow us to do what is new, just what is slightly better than the competition.

Beauty doesn't have to be big. Beauty more often lies in the small, the delicate, the local. Beauty happens off the grid of comparison.

Be incomparable. 

Painting: 'Tiny Flowers' by Alexis Baranek


The only authority in the universe is awareness. I Am not represented by any authority in Congress, the Supreme Court, or the White House. I am represented by my own breath before the throne of fire in my heart.


The entire cosmos is made out of one essence: Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Truth-Love-Beauty.

Ancient rishis noted that this divine essence is a trinity, a three-fold shakti, three energies in one being. Omnipresent yet transcendent, the subtle glory of Satyam Shivam Sundaram suffuses each photon of light, each petal of the apple blossom, every star and the darkness between the stars. For space itself is awake with Satyam Shivam Sundaram, who is, quite simple, the Self.

She is both subject and object. The entire material universe blossoms out of consciousness and is made of consciousness, as waves of different size and shape are all made of water. Every object is suspended within the transparency of the subject, as a mirage appears in empty air. Therefor, the Goddess creates the universe out of her own awareness, pervading each particle, yet remains completely separate in order to gaze with love at her creatures.

But the supernal gift of her Truth, generosity of her Love, and greatness of her Beauty is this, that after creating the world, She deigns to dwell in her creation as a fully awakened microcosm of herself: a Christ, a Buddha, a You. This is your destiny, friend. You are Satyam Shivam Sundaram expressed as a unique individual. Your whole evolution as a created being is just your gradual awakening to who you really are.

You have a higher calling than you ever knew. Be God, worship God, express God in your words and actions. Let your religion be to honor your own divinity by serving that divinity in others.

This is the dignity of your incarnation. Only a human being has the potential to fully embody Satyam Shivam Sundaram. For a human body is the microcosm, the intersection of all worlds, from the celestial to the sensual. Therefor, angels in heaven envy men and women on earth.

How then do we awaken our full experience of Satyam Shivam Sundaram?

Through a practice of transcendental deep meditation which allows us to dive into the heart of Truth, bathe in the radiance of transcendental Love, and overflow with the nectar of divine Beauty. Handed down from the dawn of history by the Holy Tradition of Vedic masters, ignited by the grace of their initiation, this meditation is natural and effortless.

There are many spiritual practices. But only a practice that illuminates your mind with the blazing sun of Truth, melts your heart into the ocean of Love, and opens your eye to the Beauty of God's face, is worthy of the name of meditation.

Jai Guru Dev.

Your Own Body is Your Yoga Teacher

 Unconscious breath is just an organic process that keeps biological life moving; and disembodied awareness is just space. But when we unite them, infusing breath with awareness, healing happens and wisdom is born. Now your breath becomes Prana, Chi, Ruach Elohim, the Spirit of God.

Awareness touching breath is Shiva touching Shakti, the kiss of Christ and Mary Magdalene. When this conscious breath touches the body, in the merest sensation, it is the birth of their divine child on earth.

You own body is your Yoga teacher, and your breath is the asana customized just for this body. The most advanced Yoga asana is a good old-fashioned stretch.

Forget technique. Forget "correct" posture. Just luxuriate in the movement of this incomparable breath, the miracle that can't be helped, because it is happening now.

Let your inhalation open the smallest segment of your spine. Let your exhalation send currents of light into your joints and muscles.

Experience every micro-movement of this stretch, with attention inside your body. You can practice this stretch in the quiet of the morning when you are lying in bed, or standing. You can use it as a break in your business day.

Reach your arms over your head. Stretch one leg at a time, pointing the toes of each foot. Breathe in again and stretch your torso and spine. Stay in the stretch as you breathe. With each breath, lengthen a segment of your spine, gently opening a little space between the vertebrae. Do this even in your neck, by drawing the chin slowly down toward your chest. Use gentle micro-movements to bend different segments of the spine from side to side. Scan your whole body, from the tip of your toes to the crown of your head: use the stretch to open up and breathe through any tense stuck places.

Your body invites you to pour healing breath through any place that is stuck, tense or numb.

One slow luxurious stretch, enjoyed without comparing yourself to any other body, could be the best Yoga class you ever attend, guided by the best Yoga Teacher on earth.

From the new blog: 'Svaha! A Book of Hours'


"Things are not as I want them to be." This is suffering. "Things are just as they are." This is liberation.

Accepting the universe exactly as it is in this moment is the first graceful step toward transforming it. Unconditional acceptance is the most potent invocation. A blessing descends, stillness envelops the chaos, and the energy of innocence begins to create.

All the angels in the cosmos respond to the prayer of my heartbeat when it goes, "I agree, I agree, I agree."

Chinese calligraphy: 'Wu Wei' - action arising from stillness.

Mad Elder's Blessing

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,
places to play in and pray in, where nature
may heal and give strength to body and soul.
~John Muir

Young men and women, abandon your cars,
abandon your cities, abandon nations and governments!
Go to the village, and beyond the village, to the woods.
Leave Jerusalem: Wander through Galilean meadows,
among the pagan wells of Samaria.
Leave the palace: take off your crown and pearls,
dance with the cowherd girls and boys at Vrindavan.
Make your marriage bed of moss,
find the oasis of the river otter,
learn of the anthill and swamp lantern, 
kneel in the place where the elk shed their antlers 
dreaming of Autumn bugle song.
Leave the ruined towers, the bank vaults of emptiness,
erase the borders, smash leveler and compass.
Nature laughs at edges, she knows no straight and narrow.
Love wanders in fractals, and lovers get lost
in all directions at once:
they call their bewilderment "home."
Let your morning prayer be the motionless explosion
of a rhododendron into atoms of fire.
No one owns an acre, no, not even a handful of soil!
Cast a circle in your campsite,
but stay only til dawn.
Your zip code is the color of the blossoms you sleep under.
Every worker's heart beats out of the berry
you caress in the palm of your hand.
Eat slow, the way wind nibbles the mountain.
Become skillful in the brewing of teas that heal,
made from weeds in abandoned factories.
A vineyard of magical entanglements
springs up from every burnt place:
trust in time.
Learn root medicine from dangerous leaves.
Drink infinitesimal proportions of nettle and hemlock.
Never ride, walk everywhere,
softly on the earth as moonlight-driven thistle-down,
each footfall an uprooting and return.
Money is over: invest in the wealth of friendship.
Economy is this:
reduce your wants until you know your need.
How many pairs of shoes are required to take an evening walk?
Wet grass and warm sand are two vast sandals
fitted for your nakedness.
When it rains in the forest, seated in your cedar hut,
you are She, the paleolithic grandmother,
except for one spiral of difference:
you have a website with ten million hits!
One of you is village shaman, another midwife and healer.
One makes flutes and drums, one teaches children how
to sing plant songs and talk to trees like wind.
Yes, there are carpenters among you,
hemp weavers and weavers of spells;
and gnomic guardians of the underground river
of sacred information,
keeping computers alive with runes of silicon.
Don't worry, fungi will eat your father's plastic;
angels of bacteria will devour landfills
and drums of toxic sludge;
organs of the new technology entwined with liver and spleen
inside your grass-fed free-range body;
nano-music in the cells of your amygdala,
transmitting herbal medicine from Tibet,
Macho Picchu, the green ruins of Paris;
transistors in root vegetables, mushrooms of beryllium,
prayers, mantras, drum thunder,
cables of high speed access to God,
all mingled in your brown body, Villager, Voyager
to a new dance on the prehistoric spiral,
where magic chuckles with accuracy
and science nods in wonder,
where the market is faith and the barter is trust
and all debts are forgiven.
"Abundance, abundance!" cries the wren,
flashing through a golden beam among green layers
of ancient darkness.

(My photo: nurse log and red fungi in the Carbon River rain forest,
Mount Rainier, May 14, 2012)

Beatitude (After Mat. 5: 3-12)

Blessed are the hopeless,
for they have no alternative but the present moment.
Blessed are the disillusioned,
for they awake from their dreams.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for they are empty.
Blessed are the confused,
for they sink from the mind into the heart.
Blessed are the alone,
for they are all one.

Blessed are you when people insult you, and mock you, and throw you in a ditch, and no one comes to save you. For then you have only one clear choice: either die or pick yourself up.

Shake off the dust. Wipe away your old story. Become the author of your own existence, undaunted, incomparable.

Let the grace of Self-luminosity enfold you. Let wings of joy carry you. Let life unfold as no one but you can live it. Walk in natural harmony with the teachings of Jesus, Buddha, and all scriptures without reciting a single verse, entering a temple, or believing.

Move like sunlight through the air. Sit like a mountain on the earth. Sing like water flowing to the sea. Don't hurry: there is no one to keep up with. Let your breath be of service. Let every gentle step be your goal, for you are the Way.

Invent the ceremonies of wonder.


God was made in the image of a Tree. That is why your naked toes root in the ground and breathe sap through your soles.

Your arms branch out toward mine in tangled forest touching. The palms of our hands are leaves exchanging golden coins of sunlight.

Through your hollow trunk flow rivers of love into the sky. Offer your knots and clefts for nests
to whomever may come.

Stand in a field of clover and dandelions if you don't believe me. Let the sun open all ten thousand petals in your brain. Let the wind carry your thoughts away like seeds.


The real Guru is a spiritual shock-jock.

But the false Guru just makes you comfortable. He invites you to his pricy spa, takes all your money, and never pushes your buttons.

A Guru's job is to get you ready to meet Kali. Kali is the holy terrifying cosmic bitch, who is so sublime she pushes every button in your body and soul, until you're so wide open you become the universe. That is the only real comfort.

"Jesus said: Seek until you find. When you find you will be troubled. When you are troubled you will be astonished. Then you will reign over All." ~Gnostic Gospel of Thomas

May Morning

This is the morning you wake up
trembling with delight
because you know you're going to run
barefoot through the wet grass
to baptize your toes in stinging dew.
You're going to kiss the dark light
of the earth with your body,
a mothering shock from sole to crown,
and through that kiss conceive the day,
the season, the rest of your life.
O choose which gracefully befallen
moment shall have no end!

Painting by Maggie Cross


In the moment of silence
our differences become beautiful
and unite us.
Just gaze...


You can remember a memory,
but you cannot remember being alive.
This is it.

Jesus the Anarchist

Jesus is an anarchist for Love. He teaches no system of politics, economics or religion, yet he proclaims the destruction of the old temple and the rise of a radical new order, a new kind of government: government from within. "For the kingdom of heaven is within you" (Mark 9:17). His kingdom is established in consciousness.

Jesus is an anarchist for Peace. He makes friends with rich men, like Joseph of Aramethia, as well as the poor; with Roman soldiers, like Jairus, as well as the powerless. His radical party includes us all: the 1%, the 99%, the tax collector and the black-masked zealot, the pacifist and the proud Vet.

Jesus is an anarchist for Truth. His only title is "I Am." His revolutionary act is to be Present. His authority is healing Breath.

The entire religion of Jesus is one simple Truth, the Truth that sets us free, the Truth that shatters every temple dome and palace wall, the Truth that archons of the old order cannot hear without fear and trembling: 

What saves the world is the fountain of joy in your heart.

How then shall we practice the religion, the politics, and the economy of Jesus? By diving deep into our hearts, transcending ideology, and touching the simplicity of divine silence. By a practice of transcendental deep meditation, where we drink from the fountain within, recover the fullness of our birthright, and share it with all we meet.

His yoke is easy. His burden is light. Quite lovely it is, quite innocent and natural, to be an anarchist like Jesus.


I don't understand praying out of books. A prayer that is written down is no longer alive, as it was in the moment it was felt and sighed to the Mystery. Why not feel and sigh the prayer that you are in this moment? You don't even need words, let alone written ones!

Master, I Can Be Without You

Master, I can be without you, as the apple bud and robin's egg can be. But without you, my being would not overflow. Your grace is the overflow of my being.


You've overrated your cerebral cortex.
Now listen to your insect brain.
That's what caterpillars do and they turn out
beautiful, with wings.
If it smells like mother's pudding, eat it.
If it hugs you, hug back.
If it glows umber-gold in valley mist,
go that way, follow the warmth.
Inch by inch, your belly invents the path
with hundreds of meditating toes
and a quivering antenna tuned to the sun
by a brilliant stream of mindless photons.
The glistening stick of the Way
has many branches, but never a wrong turn
toward the goal that is everywhere.