Pure & Impure

Om apavitrah pavitro va, sarvavastham gato-pi va,
yah smaret pundarikaksam, sa bahya-bhyantarah sucih

"Whether pure or impure, whether full of purities or impurities,
one who gazes on the lotus-eyed Lord gains inner and outer purity!"

~Vedic mantra

Freedom is undivided breathing, undivided seeing. May we breathe in the chaos of the world, all that stresses us, all from which we would cleanse ourselves, all from which we would escape. And without the slightest resistance, welcome it into the core of our hearts.

We often visualize breathing in a taintless transcendental light. We try to cleanse ourselves with holy white purity. Yet this very attempt to cleanse creates division between the pure and impure, darkness and light, God and matter. And the division is our conflict. The distinction causes the very stress we seek to dissolve.
Can we relax our vision and see the seamless undivided whole? See the world's impurity as it truly is: a mirage in brilliant clarity? This radical vision purifies both the world and the seer, because they are a single continuum of energy, one end of the spectrum vibrating as consciousness and the opposite end as matter. Purity of seeing relieves the stress on what is seen. Thus Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

Into your bold and boundless heart, breathe in the chaos of creation, the poignant terrible lovely broken earth. Breathe in the mirage, along with the pure, still, empty desert air.

शिवोऽहम् शिवॊऽहम्
Shivo'ham, Shivo'ham!

Thou Shalt Not Be Sad

Here is an open secret: the people who insist on 24/7 happiness usually suffer, in their deepest core, from an unacknowledged sorrow.

The greatest obstacle to spirituality is compulsory happiness. In the New Age, "happier than thou" has replaced "holier than thou."

Meditation academies, Guru ashrams, and Evangelical churches often share the same relentless regimen of compulsive smiling and competitive joy. On a "spiritual" retreat, it is not unusual to have moments when you want to say, "Please, just let me be down for awhile." But anyone who feels weary, confused, doubtful or angry must go off to heal like a wounded animal alone in the woods. The blues are not permitted, for they represent a failure to celebrate the Master's teaching.

A perpetual smiley-face is just a mask. And masks are stifling. It is healthier to welcome sadness when it arises. This is courage. Hug your anger, feel confusion, let lust pass through you honestly. And remember: to feel a sensation transparently does not mean that you must put it into action. On the contrary, those who don't permit themselves to feel the shadow are the ones who are bound to act it out.

Only when we embrace our pain with all our hearts can we embrace the pain of others, in the healing work of compassion. Let us never armor our chests.

We can breathe in chaos. We can breathe in all that we thought we needed to reject. And as we breathe in the sorrow of this terrible sweet broken world, offering no resistance whatsoever, we discover we can breathe out love.

Let Go of This & You Can Let Go of That

To let go of an attachment, let go of its opposite.

So often we suffer an unwanted entanglement, yet we can't stop clinging to it. When this happens, consider that any emotional attachment is connected to its opposite, because all human qualities arise in polarity.

This is a very gentle way of releasing attachment. First, I notice the emotional quality that I invest in what entangles me. Then, instead of contending with that, I simply become aware of its opposite. I notice what I invest with the opposite emotional resonance. For if I am attached to that, I am sure to be just as compulsive about this. The energy of these attachments may be positive or negative, consisting of craving or aversion. So we are talking here about fears as well as desires.

Instead of resisting that, I just become aware of this, bathing it in relaxed attention. Not judgment or analysis, just observation. Now something interesting happens. As my attraction to this relaxes, my clinging to that releases its grip also. Relaxing one grip automatically relaxes my grip on its opposite.

This is a practice of non-violence toward oneself.

Mind and Awareness

We confuse awareness with mind.

Mind is a mechanism for storing impressions from yesterday. With those impressions, we conjecture a tomorrow. But neither yesterday nor tomorrow have any actual existence. Time is just brain activity in the present moment.

Suffering arises when we allow the mind to overshadow awareness. Freedom arises when awareness outshines the mind. 

Awareness and mind are only connected through our choice. Mind becomes the finite content in the infinite space of awareness, because we choose to conjure a past and future.

Awareness is not in time. Time is in awareness. But awareness itself is pure and eternal Presence. Spontaneously self-luminous, self-awakening and self-nourishing, awareness needs no sensation, no memory, and no "I" to experience the boundless bliss of its own nature.

Does awareness require a brain? Or is the brain a temporary host that awareness visits to enjoy the theater of individuality?

For several million years, humans have been so entangled in brain-mind that we were not even aware of awareness. Now awareness is blossoming.

Awareness seems abstract at first, and the world concrete. In the end, awareness is solid as a diamond, and the world cloud-like, ever-dissolving.

This is not metaphysics, but practice.

Behind the Veil

"Form is condensed emptiness."~Albert Einstein

"Form is emptiness, emptiness is form." ~Heart Sutra

Rend asunder the veil
of Planck's Constant.
Enter where light cannot go
in foaming cauldron chaos
neither great nor small,
the density of the vacuum,
containing ten to the ninety-third power
oscillations of pure possibility
per cubic centimeter,
the diamond solidity of space
before creation: here
make mountains and rivers,
forests, stars and wolverines,
owls, mushrooms, slivers of moon,
make your body out of hers,
out of the dark Eye that gazes
into its own womb.

A Guru Is Not Merely God

With a breath of grace, Guru dissolves the inmost veil of separation. Then, simply to be is prayer, simply to breathe is worship.

To whom will you pray when the guru dwells as a vast silence in the core of your heart? What words are necessary? During his discourse on prayer, Jesus said, 'Your Father already knows your need before you ask' (Mt. 6:7).

In Sanskrit, 'Guru' literally means, 'Light dispelling darkness.' We spent thousands of lifetimes praying for light. Now the master comes to teach us sadhana, so that we can Be the light.

Jesus did not say 'worship the light,' he said 'you are the light,' because he was a guru and not merely a god. Yet after the first two centuries of Christianity, his followers were no longer hungry enough, they were not starving for freedom. They did not thirst for the source, but only wanted their prayers answered. 'Give me this, give me that.' So they replaced the inner Light with a white robe and a pair of sandals. They built churches around Jesus'  picture. This is how spirituality becomes religion.

The real guru is formless and subtle: not just inside, but inside the inside. The real guru is not the Pearl, but the empty space at the center, where all pearls are united on one invisible thread.

The guru draws us ever deeper into the space of the heart. He passes his suture right through our chests, causing the silence to pulsate with love. This pulsation is the source of the universe. 

O Seeker, why settle for anything less?

Jai Guru Dev.

Jesus & Christianity

 (HEAR this message in a short video.)

Jesus said, "You are the light of the world." Religion said, "You are full of darkness."

Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is within you." Religion said, "The kingdom is far above you."

Jesus said, "You are all gods." Religion said, "You are lost sinners."

Jesus said, "These things that I do, you shall do also." Religion said, "These things that you do are tainted with original sin."

Jesus said, "Love your enemy... put away your sword." Religion said, "Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war."

When I abandon the absurdities of religious doctrine, I am free to meet Jesus, to experience Jesus. I discover that Jesus is not a myth, but a living personal energy, just as Amita-Buddha and Lord Krishna are living personal energies, reaching their arms forth from the one Radiance, as avatars and sons of the Goddess, She whose Shakti spices all creation, making creatures hot with divine beauty.

Religion dies on the cross of its contradictions, and Christ-Consciousness rises from the dead. Then the Second Coming: the awakening of Christ in you.

Don't believe any of this! Just gaze into an apple blossom, where it is all so obvious.
Jesus quotes are directly from the New Testament: Mt 5:14, Lk 17:21, Jn 10:34, Jn 14:12, Mt 5:44, John 18:11.


The ground of action is stillness. Forgetting this, our action is weak.
The ground of the mind is silence. Forgetting this, our thoughts are confused.

The ground of the heart is presence. Forgetting this, our love is yesterday.

On the Sabbath, we return to the ground; this is called 'meditation.' Nourishing ourselves, we nourish all creatures.

No need for temple, priest, or holy book. Just stop, listen. The church is the space of awakening.

Each moment, a thrill is passing through the earth. A thread of bliss is passing through the pearl's emptiness, uniting every heart.

Just stop, listen. Know why the robin sings.

Wherever you are, bow and become the ground.
HEAR a reading of this transparency.
Those who seek power do not understand it. Those who understand power do not seek it. Those who acquire true power do not seek anything.

The Cross Is Not Suffering

Jesus said, 'Take up your cross and follow me.' For two thousand years Christians have interpreted this as a call to suffering. But Jesus never said, 'Take up your cross and suffer.' Jesus never said, 'The cross makes you unhappy.'

We need to hear this saying in the context of another saying: 'My yoke is easy, my burden is light.' Was Jesus confused? Did he ask us to suffer a terrible burden, and then contradict himself? No, he said that grace is sufficient for bearing our cross.

His message is just the opposite of the traditional interpretation. Jesus does not call us to suffer. He reminds us that suffering is optional. It is only the burden of thought that we load on the bearable lightness of this moment.

Let us move through life like a cloud. No matter what burden is given as our special cross, it need not make us unhappy. It is our own mind that adds the weight of unhappiness.

Light and free is the kingdom of heaven within, having nothing to do with outward circumstance.

I can be joyful even as I carry my cross. And I can share this joy with each person I meet, even as they carry their cross too. We do not need to share our crosses, we need to share our joy.

Our crosses may be very different, but we share the same peace.


Let your wounds become eyes.
Gaze at me.
I would be healed.


To truly honor my hopes and dreams, which are also my deepest anxieties, I must acknowledge the truth about the future: it consists of nothing more than electrical activity in my brain and solar plexus, happening now. Becoming aware of the future as sensation in the body, I can drop it in the well of Presence. This is the only 'hope.'

To truly honor my past, I let it be whatever it was, then drop it in the well of Presence. Even one moment ago is very heavy. But Presence is weightless, absolutely weightless.

I can enter the refuge of this weightless moment at all times. It is the only kingdom of absolute peace. And because I am always already here, no effort is required. In fact, simply to be here is to gain energy.

Too much of a gift for most of us to feel worthy of receiving, is the gift of the present moment! But it is here, and it is given, whenever we want it. The practice is just to say, 'Thank you.'

Many ask, 'How can this talk about the present moment possibly be helpful in ending our deep economic crisis, our environmental disaster, our violence and social injustice? We need a concrete plan, and we need activism!'

I answer, it is precisely the practice of the present moment that will solve these problems; it is our activism, with all its plans, that has failed.

Compulsive activism does not work because it carries the story of the past. I am a Quaker, yet I see Quakers frustrated by this very mistake. Quakers began by gathering in silence to practice the Presence. The solutions to their problems arose by grace from the practice of Presence. This practice of collective silence was called Meeting for Worship. Yet now, as in many religious organizations, we are more engaged in political activism than in the practice of Presence. Presence has been co-opted by the old story of left wing politics.

Whether our story is political, ethnic, national, or tribal, we are crippled by the weight of the past. Whether the activist 'I' is an individual 'I,' a tribal 'I', or a national 'I,' it is nothing but a story from the past. This 'I' is the weight of fear, prejudice, and desperate hope from past generations. And its plans for the future are an extension of that past. The story of 'I' is always in conflict with the story of another 'I,' another tribe, another nations, another religion. Our world is a chaos of old stories: fear meeting fear, desire contending with desire, shadows projected against each other, furiously wrestling over precisely nothing.

Yet a new humanity is emerging, courageous enough to stand silent and naked as Christ before Pilot, telling no story. Can we rest in each others gaze, vulnerable, wounded, perfectly present? Can we meet where Rumi invited us, 'out in a field beyond right doing and wrong doing'? 

That field is here, the field of Presence. Let us gather in the now, in deep silence, then act together, spontaneously, from the heart. This is the only political 'plan.' This is the politics of Laotzu, Buddha and Jesus, who were members of the same party: the non-violent anarchist party.

The radical act is to be present. The revolution is to breathe. The world is nourished by your secret joy.


When one is initiated into meditation, a connection is made with the Infinite, from which, of course, we were never intended to be diconnected. But it happened. That was "the Fall." Initiation is the beginning of the Return.

Initiation only happens once in human existence. When real initiation happens, one does not respond with thinking or knowing. One responds with an enormous smile, a smile from the unfathomable depths of Being, a smile that embodies the curve of the known and unknown universe, bending toward the asymptote of Divine Grace.

Feelings in Space

You are the space filled with joyful and wrathful deities.

Getting 'beyond ego,' whatever it means, does NOT mean getting beyond the pungent delicious muck of human feelings.

Quite the contrary, it means being so open to feelings, so transparent to the flow of anger and delight, sorrow and wonder, erotic yearning, confusion, exuberance and pain, that they don't get caught or co-opted in the net of any person who could limit them by calling them 'mine.'

Then feelings are free to flash and dissolve as Who they really are: devas, angels, divinities pouring through us.

Let your sorrow be boundless sorrow. Let your yearning be boundless yearning. Let your wrath be boundless wrath. Let your laughter be boundless laughter. Let your humanity be boundless humanity. Then it is not yours. it is God's.


God requires sincerity, not perfection. What we call a stumble, God calls a brilliant step in the dance. What we call a missed note, God calls a new harmony. What we call a mistake, She calls creation.

Here one might point out that, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, "Be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." But unfortunately, this is one of the worst translations in history. 

The Greek word "teleos" does not mean "perfect" but "complete, whole" and attempts to express the Hebrew-Aramaic "shelamim" (related to Shalom), which means "at one and in harmony with the whole." The Aramaic actually carries an agricultural flavor. It means "rooted in the earth and fruitful." So Jesus is really saying, "Bear fruit, be ripe and full, and be a microcosm of the fruitful wholeness of the All."

How You Got Here

You were not sentenced to this planet.
You volunteered, remember?
In fact, you waited in line,
an angel in tears.


I love to pour the Mystery back into the Well. Is it spirit or matter? Is it metaphor or perception? Is it particle or wave? Mirage or stillness? One of us, or two? I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I love to say it, 'I don't know.' I love our dialog of eyes, and words that melt into the silence of the heart.

(Picture: Sacred well in the Kom Obo temple, Egypt)

Grace of the Mantra

"Adau bhagavan shabdha rasahi: in the beginning the Lord manifested the universe through a stream of sound." ~Vedic text

"En archai ein ho' Logos: In the beginning was the Word." ~Gospel of John

This morning I am so grateful for the mantra given by the grace of the master at initiation. A living mantra is no ordinary word read from a book or heard in a conversation. A living mantra is an emanation of the Logos. Without repetition or concentration, but by Grace, a living mantra carries the mind back to the source of the universe. It is the Word of creation in reverse.

This Word invites us back to the Beginning. But the Beginning is not in time: it is in the core of our hearts.

Let grace, let grace, let grace guide you inward, to your original radiance, through subtler softer realms of energy, until you dissolve in the silence that was there before God said, "Let there be light."

Dearest friend, begin each new day with re-creation.

Judgment Day Was Yesterday


Why do our religions assume that Judgment Day is in the future? What if the last judgment was yesterday? Judgment is always of the past. But no judgment decreed by our past karma can defeat the liberating authority of this present moment. Awakening to Presence wipes the day of judgment clean off the calender. Revelation 21:1 says, "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away..." But of course, the end of the world and the beginning of the world always only happen in the present moment.


In the desert of ruthless clarity, O God, you are the mirage, I am the water.


"Straight and narrow is the way." ~Jesus
"Like a razor's edge is the path." ~Katha Upanishad

The present moment is as thin as the finest blade, the width of an electron, less! On one side, the abyss of the infinite past, filled with irredeemable memory and regret. On the other side, the abyss of the infinite future, filled with anxious anticipations. Yet the past is no longer, and the future will never be.

There is only the present moment, disappearing like an infinitesimal sub-nuclear particle. We cannot grasp it. Now it is gone!

What to do? We live in a non-existent past, a non-existent future, a non-existent now.

Only that awareness which is stabilized by pranayama, and clarified by meditation, can remain balanced on the razor's edge. But our mind wavers from past to future, ever carried off by winds of karma into regret and anxiety, unable to enjoy the simplest fragrance of a rose, the most charming song of the thrush, which is here and gone.

Let us practice pranayam, kriya and meditation to stabilize our hearts in radiant Presence. For radiant Presence is eternal. It is all that really is.

A man who was very wealthy, but very depressed, came to Maharshi and said, "Nothing lasts." 

Maharshi answered, "Then would you say that life is ever-changing?"

The man said, "Yes, ever-changing."

Maharshi said, "Then find the joy in that." 

"But there is no joy," the man replied. "This is what I'm saying. There can't be any lasting joy when everything changes and passes away."

Maharishi insisted, "But it's ever changing."

The man grew frustrated. "That's what I've been telling you, Maharshi." 

Then the Master gently asked, "What is this EVER?"

The man's expression suddenly changed. A new power dawned in him. Then he laughed and laughed, for the first time in years.

Please Liberate Jesus

When you liberate Jesus from the Holy Trinity, when you liberate Jesus from the throne of Judgment, when you liberate Jesus from the outmoded roles of tribal religion - Messiah, Warrior King, High Priest, Slaughtered Lamb - Jesus turns out to be a dear and joyful Friend, intimate with your heart, calling you to live in the kingdom of ecstatic wonder, right here and now.
"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

"Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one inch to your stature?...

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin. And yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." ~Jesus, Matthew 6

Make Friends with Solitude

It is a mistake to imagine that solitude means aloneness. You are never really alone. Solitude vibrates with intimacy. Millions of stars gaze down through the hemlocks at a single trillium in the forest.

Solitude contains the deepest companionship. This is a mystery. You will be happy when people are with you, and just as happy when they leave, happy when two, and happy when al-one.

In solitude, you are everyone's secret companion. You are the force that draws them into deeper silence. You dwell inside them, just as great living souls dwell in the heart of your solitude.

Make friends with solitude, and you will be the friend in the heart of every creature. Meet me here, in the solitude that is both of us.

Mirrored One

Gowned in forests, veiled in wheat, river eyes and delicate hills your shoulders under their shawl of stars, hemmed by the Milky Way; beloved Earth you are, and sky you are, creation and a bride you are: yet, lovely mirrored one, you are but a reflection of the Light, an echo of the Silence within...

You are a shadow of the uncreated Beauty who dwells between my heartbeats, awaiting the kiss of longing. The real Bride of my soul is She whose ineffable face you resemble by becoming, but never attain in Being.

O Goddess Earth, I bow to you in reverence, not in worship, because you are the planetary angel of Her, but not HerSelf. She is the mystery prior to your breathing, the well of darkness before the waters, the mistress of Silence before there is a Word.

Whoever said, 'Let there be light' was in the mirror, but not the mirror!


It is not helpful to suppress sorrow, and cover it over with happiness. It is helpful to see sorrow, anger and anxiety, as contractions of the same energy happiness is made of. Simply seeing allows sorrow to dissolve, as morning mist in a sunbeam. One does not even have to "practice." One only needs to observe raindrops, apple blossoms, swallows.


I am a lotus, you are a lotus, Jesus a lotus, the Guru a lotus, the dearest golden poodle a lotus, all floating on one still pond of solitude, equally radiant, inseparable, entangled, with pale green stems undulating from the same luscious mud.
I never hear the breeze whisper, "This one is the Master, that one is the Savior." I just hear a breath rippling over the waters, singing over the pond, "How beautiful you are! And you! This one has blossomed, that one is next! How beautiful!"

Two or Three

The value of a master's teaching is not measured by the number of his 
followers, but by the depth to which it awakens the heart. Jesus said, 
'Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the 
midst of them.' He did not say 'two or three million.' Be nourished by 
the ordinary. Let friendship be the path. Stay with the seed. If we keep  
dissolving the great into the small, we will never lose touch with the infinite.

Why Doubt?

Why doubt? What energy, what advantage does it gain?
There is no more need to doubt than there is to believe.
Doubt is for those who fear falling in love with everything,
Who is crazier? One who stands on the shore with her
doubting cup to measure the sea, or one who throws her cup
into the waves and plunges in after it? Doubters are very
intelligent people who don't know anything about wonder.

Word & Deed

"Speak a new language, so that the world will be a new world." ~Rumi

Some say words without deeds have no merit. I say this is a meritless distinction. Words and deeds are interwoven as quantum waves and particles.

Both the Upanishads and the Bible tell us that the power of the Word creates the material universe. Medical research shows that the power of the Mantra transforms and heals the neurology of one who knows how to use it properly in meditation. From Isaiah to Martin Luther King, prophetic words have changed the world.

Indigenous people know that holy places have holy names, and holy names vibrate with the presence of the places they name. Tribal wisdom hears sacred songs embedded in the plants of the forest and the feathers of the owl. So Earth is embedded in the story we tell about her.

Om Sat Nam. May our word engender our deed. May our deed keep our word. May we sing the world new.