We speak of opening our eyes, opening our minds, opening our hearts. We speak of opening the 'third eye,' the 'crown chakra,' the 'manipura.' Can one part of ourselves be open without another?

To be partially opened is still to be closed. There is only one pure unconditional opening to the infinite, the Self opening to the Self in All.

Let the whole body open, let every cell open. Let every photon open and become Light. Let the bud be annihilated in the flower, like
this hibiscus on my back porch, opening to the sun.

Nature is full of sacraments that hint about our fundamental blossoming, the blossoming of All into All. Whatever opens for a moment in time - a bud, a cocoon, a heart, a supernova, bouquet of wine in a crystal cup - re-capitulates what opens in eternity, now and forever.

Here is the trick of the trickster, who creates everything from nothing: this opening has always already happened! Our primordial liberation and release, which transpires in stillness, in immaculate silence, is the prior condition, the very space of our Being. Here is grace, that wherever we are, however fallen or broken, the boundless blossom has already happened at the heart of this moment. Before we "do" anything, let us repose in the Self.


"They were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." ~Hebrews 11:13

Gautama and Jesus were walking down the sidewalk. They recognized each other immediately because they were walking more slowly than other people.

"Excuse me, " asked Jesus, "don't I know you?"

"My name is Gautama."

"Are you Gautama the Buddha?" Jesus asked.

"Yes, that's what they call me. And aren't you Jesus the Christ?"

"I am," Jesus said. "And I have always wanted to ask you, what does the term 'Buddha' really mean?"

"Nothing," said Gautama. "And I've wanted to ask you what 'Christ' means."

"It doesn't mean anything," said Jesus. Then they both began laughing uproariously and contagiously. They laughed so hard that the busy crowds stepped far out of their path to give the two strangers plenty of berth.

Sauntering beyond the boundaries of the city, the entered fields of wild lavender, lonely and fragrant, their companions the bees and crickets. All afternoon they chased after swallows and butterflies, just for the fun of it. Some strange wine was involved.

Later, rumors abounded. Farmers and villagers claimed to have seen wild creatures: a rainbow twisting in the sky, sprouting wings, then devouring its own tail; a peacock-crowned shaman with radiant blue skin riding through the air on a trumpeting swan; a warrior woman in golden armor standing on a lion, her bow and arrows embedded with diamonds; a wicked little trickster of a fat-bellied boy with an elephant's head, riding on a mouse; dolphins with Botticelli faces, diving through cumulonimbus clouds.

In the evening, the two wanderers came to a village. The villagers whispered in little groups before the tavern, or on the bocci lawn. One said, "Since they shut down the mental hospitals, people like this have nowhere to live."

"Don't let your children near them," said another.

"They are illegal immigrants."

"Obviously, they don't work."

"One is Arab looking, the other is a Mexican."

But a local innkeeper saw how bedraggled and thirsty the two men appeared. He invited Jesus and Gautama into his tavern.

"It's happy hour," he shouted to them, "why don't you come in and have a drink on me!"

They sat at the bar. People shook their heads in disapproval. "What'll you have?" the jovial bartender asked Jesus.

Jesus replied, "What will YOU have, friend? I have already drunk plenty of wine. Can I give you some?"

Then the bartender asked Gautama, "What will you have?"

The Buddha answered, "I love being empty. Why don't you satisfy YOUR thirst?"

The innkeeper was confused. He began to suspect that these two were there to rob him, or perhaps they were really crazy after all. So he called the sheriff's office.

The sheriff's deputies book the strangers for vagrancy, trespassing, disturbing the peace, soliciting drugs, and three other charges, seven counts in all. They spent the night in jail with bums, prostitutes, drunks, and the mentally ill. In the morning, a deputy took them to the edge of the county, let them out of the patrol car and said, "Don't come back."

When the officer returned to the police station, the other cops were gathered round the sheriff's desk, talking about last night. The guard on duty said, "Everybody was singing. And by morning, they was singing beautiful, like in harmony, a regular choir. But there wasn't no words, just a kind of angel wail. Them two guys taught all the prisoners to sing."

Another guard said, "There was this fresh bread smell everywhere. I can still smell it, can't you?"

The first guard added, "There was cups with leftover wine in every cell. Real nice crystal cups! Where in hell did they come from?"

"And in the morning, you found all the cells unlocked?" asked the sheriff. "Is that right?"

"Yes sir," said the guard, sheepishly. "But nobody tried to escape. They was all happy looking, lying around like they was right at home."

"I will need to report this to the county police commissioner," said the sheriff. "Now tell me about those two guys that made all the trouble?"

"They called themselves Josh and Buddy," the booking officer said. "We couldn't get no more information. All them sons of bitches did was giggle. And they didn't have no last names."

Dreamers Awake


Can a character lost in a dream change the dream? Why waste a lifetime trying to turn nightmares into illusions? I have but one short moment: let me spend it waking up.

I cannot change the collective dream of this world, but I can witness it. I can become the Seer who is not lost in the images I see.

The dream is fleeting, unsure, flickering with gain and loss, success and failure, pleasure and pain. But the Witness to the dream is changeless, eternal, unblemished by shadows, spacious as blue sky beyond the clouds, Self-luminous in a magisterial silence of pure bliss. The dream goes on for thousands of lifetimes, but awakening only takes a moment. 

To arouse the Witness is the deepest seva, the greatest service one could ever perform for one's self and others. For witnessing-awareness irradiates the shadows, thins the dream, and back-lights it with the dawn, inspiring many dream-characters to awaken. 

Dear friend, you are the Witness who outshines the world. Become "a Light that shines in darkness, and the darkness cannot overshadow it" (John 1:5). 

Earth Touching Gesture

My lower self said to my higher self, "I dare you to switch places with me, 
just for a little while." So we did. Angels took animal bodies, heaven clothed 
herself in earth, pain and beauty merged in a single teardrop called "human being." 
It was only for a moment, though it seemed a thousand lifetimes. Afterward 
we both agreed: no higher, no lower, no self. Only wonder.

LINK - 'Why the Buddha Touched the Earth': Article from Ecological Buddhism


The sign of an authentic Guru is this: he does not want you to pray to him for your enlightenment; he wants you to establish the state of turiya, the eternal Witness, in your own heart.

True liberation is not a guru-disciple relationship. It is the radiance whose Self-luminosity outshines every relationship. The is why the Yoga Vashista declares: "For the liberated, real devotion is not a relationship between I and Thou, but a relationship between I and Am."

A Guru does not teach you to worship the Light, but to be the Light. A Guru is not interested in teasing your thirst with drops from the glance of his eye, but in quenching your thirst completely. He does that by filling your heart with the ocean of guru-tattva, the Guru within. We must remember that Jesus did not merely say, "I am the Light." He said, "You are the Light."

Years ago, I was sitting with my teacher Maharishi - who never claimed to be a personal Guru. He explained the subtle mechanics of meditation in a completely unique way that I never heard before or since. "The impulse of grace that effortlessly draws the mantra into the silent field of transcendental consciousness (turiya), is precisely the same impulse that draws the disciple to the Guru." ~Mahesh Yogi 

Yet we sometimes get so attached to the outward form of our Guru, that we make the master into a surrogate mommy or daddy or lover. We may waste years in the emotional fluctuations of this affair, letting real "sadhana," or spiritual practice, fade into the background. Sadhana is not fixation on a personal Guru. That is just a subtler form of bondage: bondage with chains of gold instead of iron ones.

When we take away the beads and saris, the incense, chanting and lotus blossoms, sadhana really means developing "turiya," the fourth state of consciousness. Through regular deep meditation, interspersed with dynamic and committed action, we establish turiya, the inner Witness, as our permanent experience. Not just in the ashram or the temple, but 24/7, in gain or loss, pain or beauty. Whether we are busy in the market place, or sitting by a forest pool; whether we are dreaming, or even when the body is in deep sleep, the Witness shines inside us as boundless silent bliss-consciousness.

The Mandukya Upanishad, 6-7, defines Turiya as the fourth state of consciousness, beyond waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. Turiya is the silent seed of creative intelligence, the "atman" who dwells in the core of the heart and never sleeps. A beautiful verse in the Bible describes this state: "I sleep, but my heart wakes."

Turiya is the singularity, the womb of the cosmos, from which both mind and matter arise as waves of energy. Being absolute and singular, turiya is beyond relationship. One does not feel devotion to turiya: one IS turiya. And from this silent, immoveable, imperishable IS-ness, one witnesses the ever-changing phenomena of the mind, the senses, and the world, without being entrapped or identified with them. This is real liberation, minus the romance.

The sign of an authentic Guru is this: he does not want you to pray to him for your peace and enlightenment; he wants you to establish the state of turiya, the eternal Witness, in your own heart.

When an awakened heart establishes turiya, then the inner freedom, self-luminosity and bliss of the Witness abide permanently, through all other states of awareness. The action of the external world remains the same, whether painful or pleasant, in gain or loss, but nothing shakes the immoveable repose, the radiant clarity, of that inner Witness.

To establish turiya, we practice regular deep meditation, morning and evening. But between meditations, it is essential to engage in dynamic action, thereby infusing awareness of the Witness into the nervous system during all its phases of action, perception, feeling, and thought. Meditation awakens direct experience of turiya; action ingrains that experience into the personality.

When we have established turiya as our own eternal Self-luminosity, then we innocently radiate that gift of light to the world, as the energy of compassion and peace. Our actions no longer arise from an ego frantically caught up in winning or losing, envy or regret, anxiety or fear  - but from the unwavering serenity of I AM. We act from the divine center, without confusion. For in our own awareness we have awakened "the light that shines in darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it" (John 1:5).

Here is a beautiful and innocent talk about the meditation practice I have found most graceful.

This Blade of Grass

This blade of grass is a miracle, because it Is. It's thingness is a blade of grass, but its Being is divine. All creatures are bathed in the nectar of Divine Existence, which is bliss. However fallen, broken or small, the creature floats in an invisible sea of perfection, the Being of the Creator.

Normally, we see the forms and objects of the world as foreground, their mere Existence as background. But now we are shifting to a new stage of human consciousness: to see creatures as background, and uncreated Existence as foreground.

The earth, the stars, and every blade of grass are bathed in divine beauty. Merely To Be is the miracle. Why not dwell in perpetual astonishment? Why not bow down to every drop of dew and every cricket, not because it is a thing, but because it Is, and Isness is God? If you don't understand this, I'm sorry. I can't explain it. Just walk barefoot in the wet grass at dawn, and watch a plum bud blossom.

Two or Three

The Upanishads declare: 'Ano raniyan mahato mahiyan': 'one atom of the smallest is greater than the greatest.' Quantum pioneer Sir Arthur Eddington articulated this principle for modern physics: 'When the electron vibrates, the whole universe shakes.'

Cosmic power manifests through the humble juiciness of the little, the personal, the least act of compassion, the close-at-hand. 'Insofar as you have done it to the smallest one of these, you have done it unto Me' (Mat 25:40) The answer never lies in what is big, but what is intimate. When banks get too large, break them up into local credit unions. When spiritual movements get too large, break them up into local shamanic circles.

Jesus said, 'Wherever two or three are gathered in my Name, there am I in the midst of them' (Mat 18:20) He didn't say, 'Two or three isn't bad, but more is better.' He didn't say, 'Start small, then grow your numbers with a big-time national marketing plan.'

Jesus gave us a model for spirituality as the intimate, the near, the local community.

Remind Me

Remind me about every horrific injustice in the world, and I will remind you of this dragonfly, settling on a silent unfolding galaxy of fern, after gentle rain, a beam of sunset rainbowed through one shimmering wing.

Wanting Is Over

If I got exactly what I think I want today, how long would I feel fulfilled? A week? An hour? A minute? Would I not wake tomorrow morning with the same restless desire, the same anxious wanting, that isn't quite sure what it wants?

This restlessness is what Buddha called "dukkha," often crudely translated as "suffering." The first Noble Truth: our human experience is pervaded by "dukkha." But "dukkha" is much more subtle and subversive than blatant pain. It is a ceaseless subliminal anxiety beneath my persona of comfortable habits and smiles.

"Dukkha" is a voice that constantly complains, never realizing that what it really wants is relief from its own whining. What the mind really wants is Silence.

True Silence is not the absence of noise, but the taste of eternity. I don't have to wait til the end of my life to taste eternity. I cant taste the Divine Presence right now, at the end of this breath, at the beginning of the next breath. And when I behold this world of creatures, I can taste this silent Presence as the sparkle of pure existence that charges every creature that is. For the simple is-ness of a creature is its divinity. Whatever the outward form of a thing, its very is-ness is always perfect, inviolable and full of bliss.

How deluded I am when I try to derive satisfaction from the form, rather than the pure existence, of anything. The priceless gift of pure existence infuses and enfolds each creature in the world, no matter how fallen, how broken, how despised. And when I am awake, I encounter the is-ness of a creature before I see it's thing-ness, and I know that it has the same infinite value as my own is-ness.

Yes, we can greet the infinite un-created Being of a thing before we encounter its creatureliness.

Divine Silence sparkles in an acorn, a rotting carcass, a leaf of clover, a human face, a dog turd, a passing rain cloud. Every creature is a locus of Divine Existence, surcharged with the light of God. All we need are the eyes to see.

After lifetimes of seeking, I know that what I seek is merely the suchness of whatever is. Every dust mote is a celebration of God's presence. I am drunk with the ecstasy of mere Being, and my mind is so clear!

Wisely does Patanjali say in the Yoga Sutras, "Heyyam dukkham anaghatam." "Avoid the suffering that has not yet come." We dissolve tomorrow's "dukkha" by immersing in the miracle of the present moment, overwhelmed with gratitude.


God is a wildflower, can't be cultivated, grows in cracks and broken paths, no Latin name, no hothouse routine, no creed... Let the radiant unexpected blossom of the Nameless outshine every concept. Existence itself is the miracle, the wilderness where we grow.

πάντα: The All

Whatever happens, surrender the quest. Let I relax into Am. Spirituality is the radiance of wholeness. 

When I have the courage to give up the search for a God separate from Creation, a Spirit separate from the Body, a Heaven separate from the Earth, a Higher separate from the Lower, and a Christ separate from my own Heart, that courage is "spirituality."

Seekers look for the better part, the supreme "Good." But seeking one facet prevents me from being the whole diamond. My very quest for the holy is a flight from wholeness. My search distances me from my healing.

These words, "heal," "holy" and "whole," share one root. Holy healing does not flow down from above, it radiates from wholeness. 

In early Christianity, there was a word for holy healing wholeness: the All.  In Greek, the word is πάντα, "Panta.

Ephesians 1:23 describes Christ-Consciousness as "the wholeness who fills All in All (τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν πληρουμένου). Colossians 3:1 simply says, "Christ is All and in All." (πάντα καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν Χριστός) Jesus calls you and me to be the All, as he is. How do we become the All?

I become the All by being who I Am, in this very moment, preferring no part above the whole. I become the All when I allow the energy-field of awareness to rest in my heart, and radiate without circumference, embracing whatever arises.

My holy mistakes are the sparkling facets of the flawless diamond I Am. This ever flowing ever healing wound is my wave in the ocean of perfection. 

This Is Joy

This is joy...
a Summer walk, seeking nothing,
and discovering on a broken fence
morning glories,
a Winter walk at midnight, 
seeking nothing, and hearing
the whisper of falling snow.
This is sorrow...
a Summer walk, dreaming of snowflakes,
a Winter walk at midnight
dreaming of morning glories.

"Joy is the love of what is; sorrow is the love of what is not." 
~Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

First Trillium

"One who sees stillness in action, and action in stillness, is wise." ~Bhagavad Gita 4:18 

Don't just look at this flower, look at it's stillness. Then you become still. You and the flower, one breath.

To know the stillness of the Seer in the stillness of the flower, is to be still and know that I Am God.

It is not mere action that restores the health and justice of the world, but the breath of stillness. This is a mystery. From dynamic silence, great works are born.

You are the breath at the center of the world, an the world is the flowering of stillness.

Photo: Forest Trillium, 'Glen's Images '


What armored my heart made me weak. What softened my heart restored my power. What ripened my heart was God's breath. What broke it open, exposing the seeds, was your love. Now rest in the wound you have given me, and I will protect you.

The Rose Itself

A master never offers a political or economic program for changing the world. That is like trying to change the reflection in a mirror without changing what looks into it. A master offers the transformation of consciousness, which is the field from which the world arises. Before I judge whether the rose looks sweet or the thorn looks bitter, let me taste the Seer.

Beyond Name

Beyond the name of God is the natural mantra, So-Ham, "He I Am." Beyond So-Ham is Om, the vibration of silence. Beyond Om is the sound of your own breath dissolving in the heart. Beyond this sound is the voice of a frog, the song of a thrush, the cry of a hungry child...

Aho Aham Namo Mahyam

"Aho aham namo mahyam
daksho nastiha matsamah,

asamsprasha sharirena
yena vishvam ciram dhrityam!"

"I am wonderful, I bown down to me!
There is no one as skillful as I,
holding up the universe since the beginning of time
without touching a thing!"

~Ashravakra Gita 2:13

The West would surely misinterpret this as egotism, not realizing the deep sacrifice of the Self, an unconditional surrender and total loss that upholds the cosmos with humble hollow emptiness. Only one who has become Nobody could sing these verses!

Not Know

Given the choice between saying "I don't know" and inventing a conspiracy theory, 99% of humans will invent a conspiracy and look for a scapegoat. Only the wisest are able to remain in the divine space, the infinite possibility of "I don't know."

When Bodhidharma brought Buddhism to China, the emperor called for him. After a formal reading of all the emperor's merits and achievements, the monarch asked Bodhidharma, "Now what have you accomplished?"

Bodhidharma answered, "Wu." Nothing.

The emperor inquired further, "How much merit have you acquired?"

Bodhidharma answered, "None."

Exasperated, the emperor finally asked, "Then who are you?"

Bodhidharma answered, "Don't know." Was it a declaration or an imperative?

"Don't know" became his most powerful sutra, the two words in this classic Zen portrait of Bodhidharma, sitting in meditation.


The path awakens as awareness of awareness. The path ends as awareness of awareness. Therefor, there is no path, just this awareness, now.

The entire spiritual journey consists in a space-less shift of attention from the seen to the seer. Then, through the very act of seeing, subject envelops object without being overshadowed by it. Creation is a single Am with billions of I's, one for each moment of perception.

In the midst of the most ordinary perception, simply rest as awareness, letting the object shimmer in the ocean of your attention. Honor the seamless transparency, the boundless blue sky, of your Self. Be what as you actually are, before any thought or belief arises. You are radiant, all-pervading, inviolate. You outshine the world.

"The light shines in darkness, and the darkness cannot overshadow it." ~John 1:5

Don't Worry

Why worry? Right now, you could be savoring God in a breath.
Five times during the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Don't worry" (meh phoebe in Greek). At the climax of the Bhagavad Gita, 18:66, Krishna told Arjuna, "Don't worry" (mah sucho in Sanskrit). In each case, "Don't worry" is the precise translation. Could it be any clearer? Both Christ and Krishna teach us that a surrendered heart need not be anxious.
When you're worried about something, just remember: if you weren't worried about this, you'd be applying exactly the same worry to something else. Then look deeply into the energy of worry, rather than the object of your worry, which is really on a thought, and less real than the energy worry itself... 
That feeling is just electricity in your nerves. Let it dissolve into free energy, into lively awareness, into bliss. Worry is pent up bliss.
Worry diverts converts itself into thinking before you become aware of it, and thinking creates the illusion of a past and a future, which are only thoughts. 
 To worry wastes the greatest gift ever given to you: a human nervous system. This body was created to be an instrument of delight. Every star in the heavens is one of your glittering nerve endings. Each sparkle of sensation in your skin is an infinitesimal chip containing all the information in the cosmos. Holographic filaments of your flesh, lit with galaxy-reflecting dewdrops, furl on currents of inhalation, then unfurl on the breeze of exhalation, entwined with the virtual fibers of every sentient creature. All this happens in a timeless spaceless quantum singularity, in one atom at the center of your heart. What is there to worry about when you contain all that will ever happen, like a dust mote in the sky?
The cosmic Christ took human form to remind us of our true significance. He took a crumb of bread in his hands and said, "This is my Body," so that you could hold all of creation in your heart and say, "this is one atom of my Being."
Illustration, William Blake, 'Christ as Redeemer of Humanity'

Sabbath Moment

Desire for wealth, fame, and a better world, for title, achievement, and moral merit, along with every anxiety about the future of the earth, will completely vanish with the sound of the first robin on a Spring morning, if the heart is immersed in one moment of gratitude.

What holy book or words are needed? This thanksgiving breath of gratitude is the deepest prayer, the jewel at the center of creation. In one tiny droplet of the heart are clustered galaxies, celestial worlds, all sentient creatures of heaven and earth, trembling, immersed and purified. The greatest service I can perform for humanity is to be grateful for something very small in this moment. All good works and creativity flow from this.


When we listen to the voices of war, we plant seeds of war in our own hearts. When we listen to the voice of silence, we plant the seed of peace. Now gaze at the shimmering pearl in the tidal pool of this breath and become pure light.


Anything that becomes an 'ism' suffers the death of its life energy. 'Ism' turns the verb into noun. The Quaker Way became Quakerism, the power of Peace became Pacifism, the Tao became Taoism, the Way of Buddha became Buddhism, the brilliance of Marx became Marxism, and the infinite power of the Feminine became feminism. When we let go of the Ism we can return to the life energy.



You're all wrong.
Every damn one of you.
How do I know?
I'm wrong too.
I'm better than you at being wrong.
I've been wrong since the Big Bang.
Even that's wrong.
There was no beginning.
We're ever-evolving mistakes
in a sea of eternal perfection.
When you add and subtract all the Buddha's
little blunders,
the sum is neither greater nor less
than one.
Yet without them, there's no dance.
Any mistake might be
the serendipitous mutation of blessed chance
that ensures our survival,
O graceful sin of Adam!
How could we encounter a butterfly
were it not for the grisly mishap
in the cocoon?
How could we enjoy popcorn
without the hunchbacked caveman
who tripped over his enormous feet
spilling his seeds into the fire?
Where would you be without your mother's
uncarefullness about the moon?
Were it not for our sacred stumbles
there wouldn't be a damned thing
but the unbroken symmetry of a fat Zero,
frozen mouth of a silent God
yearning to say 'O!'
in a dense white hole
from which no Word escapes.
The people we need to watch out for
are the ones who are right.


"Capacity of the senses for enjoyment is limited, but desire of the mind is infinite." 
~Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

This is the root of my addiction and suffering. I seek fulfillment through the senses, instead of turning to the diamond bliss of pure consciousness, which alone can satisfy this mind's yearning for the eternal.

O my soul, meditate, then radiate. Repose in the Self, then act in the world. Resting in contentment, innocent overflowing love, and self-effulgent joy without entanglement, be a Blesser, not a Seeker. O my soul, you are the Light!

Cherry Blossom, Ash Wednesday

I took this photo at midnight on Ash Wednesday. Miracle in my front yard. First cherry blossom of the new year. Proof that Jesus never died, he was only in samadhi.

What shall I give up for Lent? So many sins, where do I begin? Yet I could not even be aware of my sins if this diamond Witness within me were not already taintless and free.

The virgin silence of pure awareness is immaculate, without sin. Only that which is liberated observes what it is not.

This cherry bud bursts out of my own Being, ands I know that the Seer transcends the seen. This blossom is created to liberate my un-created awareness. This brokenhearted bud is my savior.

Eternal Life sees from the center of the cross. The garden sees through the light of the desert. The sinner sees himself with the eye of Christ. Alone in the wilderness with this cherry blossom, I bow down.

Deep Work

O Lord, our deep work is your Being. Even a Sabbath moment, a single breath, one clear taste of Being, is enough. Let this wine-stain of eternal beauty spread through the fabric of time, until the ordinary of our whole day is sweetened with your Presence.

Nothing Is Wrong

To the bud, the blossom is a catastrophe. Caterpillars don't believe in butterflies. Night fears dawn, the Destroyer of darkness. The rain that ruins your picnic waters my garden. Cling to the part, and everything is a problem. Embrace the whole, and nothing is wrong.

Laughter and Tears

"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest... for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
(Gospel of Matthew 11:28)


"Give up all religious duties and just surrender your life to me: I will deliver you from all your sins, don't worry."
(Bhagavad Gita 18:66)

The Spiritual Placebo
For both the weary of heart and the spiritual seeker, the world is full of placebos. Not only is most medicine a placebo. Wealth is a placebo. Fame is a placebo. Food is a placebo. Sex is a placebo. Knowledge is a placebo. "Spiritual practice" is a placebo. "Selfless service to humanity" is a placebo.  "I" am a placebo.

The "placebo effect" occurs when an "inert" sugar pill appears to produce relief from disease, but the relief has no actual cause-and-effect relationship with the pill. This placebo effect explains a great deal about our spiritual life as well.

Every material or mental phenomena that we depend on for fulfillment is a placebo. A wave of happiness rises from deep within the core of our heart and breaks momentarily on the shores of our mental or sensory experience. At that moment we may be doing some work of service, singing a chant, reading a book, or practicing a ritual. We may be eating a certain health food or gazing into the eyes of a revered teacher. Whatever the phenomenon may be, it becomes a placebo because we associate it with our happiness, as if that external action caused our inner joy. We assume that this produced that because they occurred at the same time.

But waves of happiness arise constantly from the silent Source within. We just don't notice or acknowledge them. We have simply forgotten how to attune our attention and our breath to this inner pulsation of joy that is the natural energy of the heart. Only under certain clearly-defined and usually "religious" conditions do we permit ourselves to turn within and experience our true nature.

We forget that we are always bathed in the inner Radiance. It is not necessary to assume an external cause for the bliss that arises indefatigably from the heart.

Lacking faith in ourselves, we keep taking placebos: religious, aesthetic and sensual. We repeat the same acts which we associated with brief moments of bliss, desperately hoping to recover the inner experience through an outward achievement. It is now time to learn one of the hardest but most liberating lessons of life:

Happiness is never the effect of an external action, or the outcome of a thought process. Happiness is already here. Luminous waves of bliss-bestowing love rise spontaneously from the ocean of stillness in the core of your heart. THAT is your divine nature, your causeless birthright of Ananda: therefor nothing you do can create or destroy it in yourself or another. Radiance percolates out of your core, ever independent of thoughts or actions. This is the truth. You don't need anything from the outside world to make you more full: yet the world needs your light for its illumination. With humility you may accept this gracious gift of Light, this abundant upsurge of Joy, but you can never do anything to cause it. Understanding this, all that is left is celebration. Let your Radiance overflow. Bless all the people.

Laughter and Tears
Only two phenomena in human life are not placebos. Only two outward events may be organically related to the bliss within. They are the innocent childlike phenomena of laughter and tears.

These organic responses of the body-soul indicate that we have touched, however briefly, our Source. Laughter without apparent cause, or mysterious unfathomable tears, are true intimations of a heart in touch.

Those few precious moments when we laugh or weep are the moments when we are fully present, fully open, to Being. We are not looking anywhere else. We simple are. Laughter and tears are not placebos for something we seek, but flowers of awakening now.

Most human lives are long journeys between brief moments of laughter and tears. Time is only "time" when we are pilgrims between these moments, which are moments in eternity. Yet by relaxing into Grace, we can widen vibrations of laughter and tears to encompass all the moments in our life.