Commentary On Basho

In the beginning
God said
and never spoke
another Word.
All this arose

from the croak of a frog,
the scrape of a twig on the widow,
the breathing sound
of a baby in the dark.
Don't try to understand.
Just stay awake.

Painting by Andrew Dolphin

Wiggle Down

"Very little grows on jagged rock. Be ground, be crumbled. Wildflowers will come up where you are." ~Rumi

Learn to mingle underground. The largest organism on the planet is the subterranean fungus of honey gold mushroom tendrils forming a mycelium network that transports precious nutrients to the root systems of trees all over Oregon. We have looked to the starry heavens for our metaphors, but the paradigm for the new collective sustainable green enlightened economy is right at our toe-tips, if we go barefoot and wiggle deep enough down.

TED Talk


The mind is only a bridge
from the silence of the watching cat,
the silence of the opening flower,
the silence of a cloud on the mountain,
to the silence that knows
itself without thought.

If you have crossed over
to the radiant shore of meditation,
don't carry this bridge on your back.
Move like a fallen leaf
in the breath of Autumn,
touching the earth, but just
Photo: AP /The Quincy Herald-Whig, Phil Carlson


"Why bother to brush my teeth?
Why bother to bathe, or dress, or wipe myself?
 Why bother to get up?
Why bother to eat?
If I simply lie here and move my suckling lips,
someone will feed me warm milk."

These are the thoughts of an old old man.
These are the thoughts of a newborn infant.

"Am I in the world, or the world in me?
Is breath in my body, or my body in breath?
Whose breath?
Where is the Am of this I?"

These are the thoughts of a newborn infant.
These are the thoughts of an old old man.

In the borderland between death and birth,
the mother wanders,
searching for her child.


You can inscribe the Quran on a robin's egg. But when the little bird hatches and shatters the shell, its first cry contains every word that Gabriel told Mohammad.

You may study all the Torah scrolls and every jot of Talmud, but allow yourself to be surprised by a scarlet berry on a naked twig, and there is no revelation but the winter sky.

Practice Ayur Veda, chant the Gayatri, memorize the Upanishads, but when you crush one grape on your ton
gue and compare the sweetness, a drop of nectar wipes away the mind.

Thus I repeated the name of Jesus, practiced his love sayings, watched and prayed all through the night. But only when my flesh felt the dawn, and my heart heard the sparrow's Gospel, did I receive the gift of tears.

O Scholar, pundit, pious friend, O seekers of wisdom and people of the Book: do not deny this breath in your body.

If you want to know what true faith is: gaze, touch, drink!

There are no advanced practitioners here in the present moment. We are all beginners! 

Love Thyself

In vain do I love God if I do not love myself. In vain do I serve humanity if I do not love myself. In vain do I achieve perfect selflessness if I do not love myself.

This is the first and greatest commandments, the foundation of all others: Love Thyself. For if I do not love me, how can God love me? And how can I love anyone?

The Divine respects my intention, for intention is the first prayer. Therefor, God will not remove my dark cloak of self-judgment. If I choose to judge myself unworthy of love, and dim my own light, God will not interfere in my darkness.

Yet as soon as I say, "I am ready to be infinite light," divine brilliance is all there is.

I heard my teacher Maharishi say: "A wave asked the ocean, can I be like you? The ocean replied, it's easy: just settle down."

Now is the time to settle down, love myself , and return to God.

Let the "I" of the mind rest in the "Am" of the heart. The heart is an ancient ocean of love, radiating golden warmth at the center of the body-soul. Breathe through the heart, see through the heart, listen through the heart, whisper through the heart, "I love, therefor I am."

The awakened heart is not a metaphor but a practice. 

Jai Guru Dev.

The Practice of Enough

"How can I be grateful in a world where there is so much violence and suffering?"
Where else can you be grateful?

Suppose you lived in a heavenly realm where everything was perfected, nothing "bad" ever happened, and there were no contrasts or opposites; a world where you only expected, and only could expect, unalloyed pleasure? Would you be grateful for anything?

It is precisely in this world of contrast and paradox that gratitude is a meaningful spiritual practice. The practice of gratitude, even for a moment, brings blessing to your whole environment.

We can find the key to this practice in our most humble and unnoticed word, "enough." The moment we experience "enough," the do-er vanishes, craving dissolves, and we rest in wholeness.

The instant we've had "enough" of a bad thing is a portal to liberation. The instant we've had "enough" of a good thing is a doorway to the kingdom of praise.

I do not wish you fulfillment of your desires. I do not wish you abundance. I wish you something more rich and profound. I wish you just enough.

After writing the above, I came across the following story, shared on facebook:


'Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport as the daughter's departure had been announced. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said:

'"I love you and I wish you enough."

'The daughter replied, "Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom." They kissed and the daughter left.

'The mother walked over to the window where I sat. Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry.

'I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?" "Yes, I have," I replied. "Forgive me for asking but why is this a forever good-bye?"

'"I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is the next trip back will be for my funeral," she said.

'When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, "I wish you enough." May I ask what that means?"

'She began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone." She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more.

'"When we said 'I wish you enough' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them". Then turning toward me, she shared the following, reciting it from memory,
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.
'She then began to cry and walked away.

'They say it takes a minute to find a special person. An hour to appreciate them. A day to love them. And an entire life to forget them.'

- Author Unknown

Painting: 'Three Friends of Winter' by Zhao Mengjian, 13th C. Classic symbols of graceful endurance in the coldest months: the pine, the bamboo, and the plum.

Thank You, First People

I want to say "thank you" to the People of the Land. 

I want to say thank you for letting me dwell on the sacred ground of your ancestors.

I know what it feels like to have a Nation. But do I know what it feels like to have a Homeland?

Indigenous people dwell on homelands. Occupiers live in nations.

The conqueror invented the 'nation' to divide and occupy someone elses homeland. The conqueror invented borders. For indigenous people, there are no borders: only rivers, valleys, hills.

Whose homeland do I occupy? Have I ever thanked them?

Today I say "thank you" to the First People. Because it is the First People who remind me that the Earth is my mother, and I am only a pilgrim here, a grateful immigrant.

The First People teach me that we are all one Circle, no person is above another, no nation is above another, no species is above another.

The First People of the Land teach me the true names of trees and mountains, rain and soil. They teach me to listen to the song of the cedar and the golden mushroom and yarrow root. They remind me that no one owns the land. Only the Creator owns the land, for She created it.

Thank you, First People. Forgive me if I have displaced you in my greed to call your land my own. I had no right to take it. Will you let me stay here with you?

Thank you, All Our Ancestors. Peace.


Clear Winter midnight,
stars glittering in the void,
The empty bowl rings.
Hollow the lute's heart:
that's where the music is.
A breeze plays the reed
with nothing at its core.
This the poor in spirit understand:
before you were even born
the vacuum overflowed
with gratitude.
Here's the secret:
Be hollow and empty.

Peace in the Land of Now

There is no "Holy Land." For the whole earth is sacred.

All land is holy because it belongs to God, not to men. No land belongs to any tribe or nation. We are just stewards and pilgrims here.

If you say that God gave you the land, you lie. You have no proof of ownership but an old book and the blood on your sword. God did not give any land to you or me. We took it. We took it in the Middle East and we took in America. We took it in the name of the Chosen People, in the name of the Sword of Islam, in the name of American Exceptionalism. But they are all the same name: imperialism.

We take the Land from God and from the People of the Land. We take it not with the permission of the earth's Creator, but with scimitars and bombs, jets and drones. Then we use ancient myths and stories to justify our theft.

But the age of imperialism is over, and so is any religion invented to justify it. It is time to give up the old story and dwell in the Land of Now. For Now is the only space where humans co-abide in passionate neutrality, listening with open hearts.

Your duty is not holy war: not חרם  or جهاد‎, 'herem' or 'jihad.' Your duty is to listen through your heart to the sound of children crying.

Your heart has exactly the same access to the revelation of God's Word right now as Moses, Jesus or Muhammad ever did. Now is the time to abandon prophecies spoken ages ago, and listen to your own prophecy, spoken in the silent wilderness of your own heart. Then you will hear the hearts of your Islamic and Jewish and Christian siblings too.

You will never find peace in any story or authority handed down from the past. Peace is now.

The Chosen People are the people who live here, in the holy land of Now, choosing to love.

Look Now

I said, "You are the pearl, I am the grain of sand."
You said, "Look now, there is no grain of sand."

I said, "Let me beg one luscious fig of you."
You said, "Become my seed, engender the whole fig tree."

I said, "Like the moon on still water, I reflect your light."
You said, "Neither moon nor water, you are the sun."

I said, "Thank you, thank you."
You said, "Thank you, thank you."

Friend, when you give yourself to God,
God is as grateful as you are.


Just for a moment, drop desire.
What remains? Thanksgiving.
In the ocean of gratitude, the heart wants nothing.
In wanting nothing, the ocean of gratitude.

Infinity fills the littlest "thank you,"
for a sip of clear water, a taste of bread.
You have ten thousand petals: drop them all!
Be the scent, not the flower.


Between my Self and God, your name.
Between my body and the formless one, your dance.

(At the edge of the meadow, where the forest begins, evening mist and moonlight: you tease our seeing)

Between one heartbeat and another, a silence engulfing the stars.

(Slowly whirling whiteness in the moon-pearled night, you emerge like a flame of ghee)

Between the longing and the tear, your absence.
Between distance and nearness, my faith.

(Some of us are weeping, others are becoming flutes of breath)

At the crest of inhalation, a trembling seed of birthless light.
At the trough of exhalation, a blue flower
floating in your well of presence.

(You leave us, yet your imperishable smile wells up from our bellies, and we become your faces)

Between my navel and the uterus,
a rose-scented whisper of blood.
Between goddess and lover, virgin and whore, your undulation.

(We are soaked with dew. Someone keeps drumming across the meadow. You have departed. Fog settling on trees, forgetfulness: yet I continue to gaze at your glimmering gesture of possibility.)

Between the kirtan and the tongue, my spine.
Between this flesh and the strings of desire, my nerves.
You play them like a vina with your glance.

(Worlds are wounds in space. We dwell in crimson places, learning to endure the long separation that ends with every sigh.)

Between image and emptiness, the chiaroscuro:
your beauty and its odorous shadow of yearning.
Between coiling and uncoiling, your outward and inward spiral,
a sacred confusion.
I am Shiva now, you are Shakti, never knowing when to stop
until you galaxy my mind
with infinitesimal syllables of bliss.
Between the Lord and his paramour, a secret sound.
In that sound, a world; in that world, a meadow for the dance.

(You are leaf-veined sunlight in the green gold garden, the wash of warmth on umber mushrooms. I am the fortunate grass, crumpled under your naked foot.)

Between our mouths, one ghasp.
Between our lips, a wine drop barely tasted,
a mantra stronger than sorrow.
We cry into each other's nearness.

Now crush this poem in your fist and throw it on the fire,
lest anyone find out that we are one, yet two!


Intuitive people often feel they have met before. We see a stranger, yet say, "Why do I feel this person is special to me? I'm sure I know them."

Of course you do, of course you do! Our Higher Selves always bow down to one another in a realm of golden Radiance, recognizing the magnificent incomparable luminosity and achievement of each others pure Being.

"I know you! You are the supreme Beauty!"

"Yes, I recognize you too! You are the embodiment of supreme Wisdom!"

"I have always wanted to meet you. You are the supremely Victorious One!"

"I bow down to your glory. You are God's Fool, supremely funny! It is through you that I receive my smile!"

Friend, we created the world for our friendship.

To Dana

You are the open gate of poetry
through whom West and East flow,
bowing as they pass, and passing,
they whirl, making way, and whirling,
they dance. Now tell me,
daughter of eternity,
how can this gate be either
in the East or in the West?
The cedar grows at the crossroad
of all paths.
Know your homeland.


There is no greater pain
than losing myself in you.
There is no greater joy
than finding myself in you.
Listen, my Heart,
fall into the silence of the rose.
Meet me there.

Heart Guide

"Heart" means heart. 

Yes, this physical organ, beating in the core of your flesh. For too long we have made "heart" a metaphysical term, and lost the real value of centering awareness in this miraculous temple of blood, muscle, neuron, hormone, and light. 

Not merely a pump, the heart is a neurological organ of intelligence, and an endocrine gland as well. Embedded in a limitless ocean of energy that connects you to the stars, your physical heart is also a portal to spiritual kingdoms.

But the heart's main function is guidance. The leadings of your Buddha-nature, your Christ-consciousness, your Gura-tattva, come through subtle wordless feelings in the heart. 

Follow what creates a pure sensation of warmth and expansion in your heart. Do not follow what chills and contracts your heart. It's that simple. The heart, not the mind, is what knows. 

(LINK: 'Intuition as Intentional Practice')

"The heart’s electromagnetic field, by far the most powerful rhythmic field produced by the body, not only envelopes each cell of the body but extends in all directions into the space around us. IHM Research suggests that the heart's field is an important carrier of information." (Institute of Heart Math, LINK)

"The time has come to turn your heart into a temple of fire."(Rumi)
"The souls ability to nourish itself lies in the heart." (Aristotle) 
"The beginning of prayer is to let the mind descend into the heart." ('Philocalia,' Orthodox Church)

The heart is surrounded by a neurological network as intelligent as the brain, connected to the brain in a feedback loop that generates spontaneous, self-evident global knowing. This intuitive way of knowing will guide not only individuals, but political communities. Intuition is the matrix where personal and collective intelligence interact. The energy-field of your own heart-center interpenetrates the heart-field of all humanity. Few humans yet sense the true potential of intuitive heart energy, or the extent to which their own Intuition will replace external institutions of government.

Intuition is instantaneous, collective, and all-knowing. Its non-localized omniscience connects all data in one Now of radiant seeing that circumvents the time-consuming sequences of Aristotelian logic. Intuition is a community of wisdom spontaneously self-organized, interactive, and non-hierarchical.

People who operate by the power of Intuition transcend competition and rank. Each finds their unique function in the network of the whole. The network of the whole is not a pyramid but a four-dimensional web, where every person is an invaluable link, communicating the electrical wisdom of others to All, and All to each. Yet each personal link augments and boosts the power of All by the input of its own creative vision. This dynamic network of self-governance, where individuals effortlessly interact with their communities, never gets tired or outdated.

The most powerful government on earth is not in Washington DC, or Beijing, or in any nation state. The most powerful government is the administrative authority that radiates from your own heart. We are entering the Intuitive Age, when politics will be absolutely local: localized in the authority of the individual heart. Operating from intuition rather than ideology will effect profound changes in our social institutions.
  • We will replace the hierarchy with the circle.
  • We will replace nation states with bio-regional communities, linked in one energy grid.
  • We will replace international banks with local publicly chartered credit unions.
  • We will replace corporations with worker-owned cooperatives.
  • We will replace centralized government with community meetings that reach decision by consensus. In fact, the concept of consensus will replace the concept of democracy.
  • World-wide religious institutions will disappear, replaced by local circles of shamanic healing, dance, meditation and celebration.
  • In schools and colleges, inter-connection of knowledge will replace specialization of knowledge. Learning will happen in circles, not lecture halls.
Such changes in the outward face of society evolve quite naturally as we shift our attention from the brain to the heart. There is no need to plan for these changes, to preach them from a bully pulpit, or to institute them through a political party. Simply begin to be more present. Dwell more in the heart. See more through the eye of the heart. Listen from the heart. Speak from the heart. These changes never happen in the future. They only happen in the now. 


As surely as Christ was anointed by the Holy Spirit, a sparkling and unspeakably blissful consciousness anoints us. It is the very space of the present moment. We are that vastness, not the small problems that arise and dissolve within it. Love encircles us before we even seek love. Silence surrounds every battle and healing wings encompass even our birth and death. Rest in eternity just by being here. All spiritual paths end in the ceaseless refreshment of this Now. Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih.

Bubble Bath

Love pulsates in silence. Out of this vibration arise countless worlds, like a foam of bubbles on the still sea.

I may call this vibration of love "the Word of God," or "Shabda, the sound-current Om," or "Fluctuations of the Quantum Field at the threshold of Planck's Constant." But one thing is certain, I am taking a bubble bath. 

Luxuriating in this cosmic bubble bath, how foolish to grasp at one tiny bubble and call it, "mine!" Yet that is what I do, again and again. Through desire, I entered this world.

Now I see the entire cosmos from inside my bubble. Sometimes this is called "ego." In Vedic philosophy, it's called "maya," illusion: the universe distorted through the membrane of my own little translucent sphere.

In this world, I meet others of a like mind, a like desire. I meet the very souls I need to meet in order to confront my grasping, and become free through self-knowledge. Every person in my world is the mirror of my desire or aversion. (Aversion, of course, is just negative grasping.)

This bubble of "mine" will burst some day, and I will awake once again to the luxury of the bubble bath. Then, after relaxing awhile, I will once again become fascinated by another tiny fleck of foam, and foolishly grasp at it. The popping of a bubble only lasts an instant in that realm of infinitely expanded ungrasping awareness, but from the perspective of the bubble, it is a lifetime.

There will eventually come a time when I cease grasping. Then I will simply bask in God's luxurious bath, Vishnu resting on the ocean of milk. The only difference, in fact, between Vishnu and this human soul, is that He is awake while I am lost in the bubble of a dream.


What is desire?
What is frustration?
Where do they arise?
Are they composed of different energies?
What is fulfillment?
Of what energy is it composed?
Why does fulfillment not remain?
Where does it go?
Can you conduct this inquiry
even in your sleep?
How could you be bored or unsatisfied
when the blossom of a white camellia
has a thousand petals
and each one, veined with pink,
contains more worlds than the sky?
If you can answer each of these questions 
clearly, precisely, this instant,
then you are the Witness -
you are your Self.

Only One Religion

When Jesus' way becomes Christianity, it ceases being the Word.

When Sakyamuni's Dharma becomes Buddhism, does it have any Buddha nature?

When the holy music of the Koran becomes the doctrine of Islam, peace and surrender turn to war.

When Vedanta becomes "non-dualism," selves get tangled in the difference between One and Many, like bees trapped in the sweetness of their own honey.

From the beginning of time, there was only one religion. That religion is your breath. That beginning is now.

The only temple, the only mosque, is where breathing out becomes breathing in.

Those other places are just stone and mortar: good spots for meditation, though mossy stumps and forest pools are just as holy.

I'm not saying, don't go to church. I'm saying, when you do, offer flowers to the One who is everywhere.

The find Her in a child with out-stretched hands.


Eyes touch. Hearts press, crushing the rose. Lips sealed with the honey of silence.

Information is not communication.

You may transmit all knowledge about the entire universe without any communication at all.

Or, you may transmit the wordless pulse of divine love through a gaze devoid of information.

When our jobs, our schools, our colleges, are about information without communication, they are lifeless. We think we will gain something by adding more information. This just increases our stress.

Less information, more communication: that is the new ancient way.

We are here to communicate. Information, without communication, is a dead wire.

Is your relationship a dead wire? Is your mind a tangle of dead wires? Are your eyes dead wires? What do you need?

Meditation is infinite communication. Each breath sweeps the cosmos, awakening other souls.

Is this information?

The connectedness we feel through electronic media has just been a hint about the new plane of communication into which humanity is rising.

This will become more clear and more available to those who open themselves after the Winter solstice, 2012.

Spread wings of intuition, soar through awakened space, the space of perpetual communication, the blue sky of wireless consciousness, dissolving the illusion of distance, transforming aloneness into all-oneness.

PHOTO: Hubble telescope, the Bug Nebula, NGC 6302. The fiery, dying star at its center is shrouded by a blanket of icy hailstones.


Beloved, bewildered and wild,
you filled me with my heart.

Though pure, though one alone, you pour
your soul into itself, a golden art,
creating cups of otherness,
two roses from one molten ore.
Now, love, conceive a mother's bliss.

Bear your Self, and fill your heart with child.

Painting by M. G. Park


How did this country get so messup'd? Gay marriage, weed legal, uppity woman Senators, Buddho-Pagan-Yogini churches on my street, the white house gone all darky and Kenyan? I'll tell you where it started. I saw it happen. It was the night they let Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan show.

Who has the courage to finally say it? The essential force behind every form of religious fundamentalism is sexual repression. Denied by the psyche, this results in acts of violence and visions of apocalyptic disaster. Acknowledged by the psyche, this force becomes sexual or creative expression. Celibacy is not repression. Celibacy is keeping the life force moving upward, like a flame.

Opus Posthumous

Confined to this small world,
wings batter themselves.
A mother of pearl thimble,
a cocoon of broken glass.
Don't wound
yourself staying.
Fly away.

Democracy, Consciousness & Persuasion

Orestes petitions Apollo (right) and Athena (left) for mercy from the Furies (above).

At the dawn of Western politics, Aeschylus wrote the Oresteia as a hymn to democracy. For Aeschylus, democracy was not founded on the authority of any state, constitution, holy book or deity, but on the power of civil discourse alone. 

In the congress of the Aereopagus, civil discourse was achieved through reverence for the holy art of persuasion: Peitho (Πειθώ). Aeschylus' drama ends, not with the pronouncement of a God, but with a vote of the people. Athena herself casts the deciding vote to acquit Orestes: but her vote has no more weight or influence than that of an ordinary citizen!

Then the Goddess sings the drama's final hymn, not in praise of Peace, Justice or God, but in praise of Peitho - persuasive civil discourse.
"High thanks be thine, Peitho (Persuasion), with eyes divine."
The United States has the oldest running political election system. Keep it running. There are lots of political stories. You want to tell yours. I want to tell mine. They may be very different stories. So what?

What makes your story right and my story wrong? No authority at all: just your power of communication. Every story is just a swell of perspective in an ocean of consciousness, gaining temporary and relative veracity through persuasion and agreement.

So let us listen with civility to each others' stories, and let us dialog. There is no other authority for determining truth but our agreement. All our stories have a right to be heard. And every vote has equal weight, even the vote of the Goddess.

We need bigger federal government; we need smaller federal government; we need no federal government. We need to stop using fossil fuels; we need to drill more. Rich people are rich because they do well; rich people rob the poor. Poor people are poor because they do poorly; poor people are blessed and thus entitled to somebody else's money. Democrats and Republicans are different; Democrats and Republicans are owned by one corporation. These are just stories. Listen; don't judge.

Some of us have no political story at all. We have given up inventing stories. Politics is but a theater of the mind. A nation gets the president it deserves, because the leader reflects our collective consciousness, and a president can do no more or less than what our own consciousness empowers us to do. Still, we manifest that consciousness by voting.

So let us dialogue, persuade, listen and choose. Then vote. And when you cast your ballot, begin the day with a joyful morning meditation. Bathe your heart in the radiance of love. Vote your Higher Self, not your fear and anger. Let your vote reflect the Light within you.

Voting is a sacrament of faith, hope, and charity toward your Self.