We confuse busy-ness with accomplishment, rushing through each task to get to ten more. But fulfillment seldom comes from doing everything we can. It comes from doing a few things very well, or even just one. I learned this from a caterpillar, moving slowly down a twig toward its singularity, the angled cleft that the universe had chosen for a cocoon.


Shhhh, here's a 4 A.M. secret:
The Goddess isn't just an 'energy,' 

She's a person.
The 'energy' comes from her gaze.
The gaze comes from you heart.
You can never be alone.


Our educational system fails us because it is based on one goal: getting the right answer. But healthy communities have never been based on competing for the right answer. They are based on creating threads of belonging, weaving root networks of trust. I don't care if you have the right answer. I care about you caring that we care. We meet in the space of the heart, the ether of caring. 

(Painting: Madonna of the Rose, 1435)

New Moon of September

Wishing a peaceful Rosh Hoshana (New Year) to all Jewish friends who begin the High Holy Days today; and a joyful Navratti to all devotees of the Mother, as we begin the nine holiest nights on the Vedic calendar of India. These ancient festivals follow the lunar cycle, and come on the first New Moon after the Autumn Equinox. In the Northern hemisphere, to the primal earth-centered eye, creation tilts toward the dark womb of its source. These mysteries are open secrets, revealed by the beauty of the ruined garden.

If you feel the call of inner silence at this time, a sinking and withering of the light, a purifying fall, just let go into the mystery of fructifying darkness. Repose in the Groundless tonight: this is deep meditation. We can feel a bit spacey and displaced during this transition, because organic life hollows out, thins its marrow, furrows its soul for the planting of a new Light Seed at the Winter Solstice. Just be compassionate with yourself, and be gentle with this breath.

Ain't Gonna Study War No More


What can you say about a country who invades the Middle East and makes war for over a decade in order to build 'democracy', then starts a new war with a coalition of 'moderate' Arab states, not ONE of whom is a democracy and ALL of whom are Medieval monarchies or fascist dictatorships? If this is what we call 'moderate,' how far our nation has drifted from its foundational ideals!

We were spiked into this war by a picture of an 'extremist' beheading an innocent man. Yet our chief Arab ally, Saudi Arabia, whose dynasty are the Bush's best family friends, regularly beheads people in public executions. Their most recent victim was beheaded for the crime of 'sorcery.' The Saudis have given a safe haven to Wahabi Islam. Their rich sheiks fund Al Qaeda and ISIS. Saudi Arabia provided 19 out of the 21 highjackers who attacked us on 9/11.

Bahrain, another coalition member, is a major U.S. military installation, where we keep our Persian Gulf fleet. Our press are not allowed to report on this Medieval kingdom, whose regime brutally suppresses any demonstration for democratic reforms. Other members of our new 'moderate Arab coalition,' like the UAR and Qutar, import serfs from Bangladesh or Pakistan to use as indentured servants, meaning slaves. Last month we sold Qutar $11 billion in weapons. They fund Hamas. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

As we begin the next phase of war, our Congress goes into a seven week 'recess' so they won't have to take any responsibility for it. Remind me never to vote for either a Republican or Democrat again.

Congress has good reason to be ashamed. They have become the whores of Babylon (a Biblical phrase from the Book of Revelation) - paid to roll over and serve those whom Dylan called 'the Masters of War.'

Henry Ford said, 'America's business is business.' No, America's business is war. The U.S. sells more weapons to the world than the next seven leading arms-producing nations combined. In the last four years, our rate of weapons transfer to developing nations has increased even more (ı). But this war begins at home: the assault of Wall Street on America's middle class. Workers pay the taxes that fund the military contractors who feed the Third World with weapons so that Wall Street elites and their bankers can reap the profits - without paying taxes.

We do not fight over ideology, religion, or territory. That is all propaganda. Our war is an economic scam run by Wall Street. Our economy is so weaponized that many of our biggest 'blue chip' corporations are up to their eye-balls in military contracts; likewise our universities. When we understand this, we know why an ever rising Dow-Jones Average requires perpetual war. America's seemingly confused foreign policy becomes very clear, almost transparent.

We flood the Middle East with weapons and sell them to both sides of every conflict. We nurture organizations like Al Qaeda and ISIS, so that the arms cornucopia we sell to 'moderates' overflows into the hands of 'extremists,' giving us an excuse to sell even more to the moderates. And then come our own little bombing raids, at a million dollars per missile, a billion per jet. We turn the Middle East into a powder keg, then throw matches into it. THAT is U.S. Foreign Policy 101.

If we really wanted peace, if we really wanted to be the Christian nation we claim to be, we could turn this situation around, and begin right here at home. How? By demilitarizing our own economy. Place an arms embargo on every U.S. weapons shipment overseas.

Starve the people of bombs and guns, nourish them with instruments of peace. Instead of flooding the Middle East with weapons, flood the refugee camps in Turkey, Iraq, Jordon and Lebanon with fresh water, with food, housing supplies, medicine. Send teachers of meditation and the healing breath to regenerate the hearts and minds that war has traumatized.* Choose to become a force for peace.

We need a new breath. We need a new song. We need to sing, 'Aint gonna' study war no more,' the black spiritual based on a verse from the Prophet Isaiah. We need to turn our hearts around. Then we can act, not by putting boots on the ground, but the shoes of the fisherman. Walk where Christ walked, as he walked, in true strength. Let every footprint we leave on earth be gentle as a prayer.
* David Lynch Foundation: Transcendental Meditation for traumatized and at-risk population
* IAHV: Post-disaster trauma relief through the healing breath

ı) Rate of Arms Transfer from the U.S. to Developing Nations


At the New Moon, Sept 24, begins Navratti, the nine holy nights of Mother Divine. The vibrations of the Vedic mantras chanted at this time, especially those bijas (seed sounds) that resonate through the nervous system at the quantum field in meditation, bring green energy to the earth and peace to the mind.

Let humanity drink from the well of Vedic wisdom. These mantras were not invented by men: they are the eternal formulas of creation, the very structures of intelligence that constitute Natural Law. Civilization will regenerate the threads of its golden destiny, not through war or material technology, but through the inner science of consciousness.

All things are poured out at her feet. Nothing belongs to me, not even this breath. From the sparkle of the photon in one atom of my flesh, to the choreography of stars at the farthest circumference of my heart, everything belongs to Mother Divine. Jai Guru Dev.

No Renunciation

Buddha was deeply misunderstood. He didn't renounce the world. He liked it.

He liked the forest and the city, green tea and coffee ice cream, bare feet and wingtips, soccer and slam poetry. If something appeared before him, he liked it. When it dissolved, he didn't care.

His smile of tranquility was not an enigma, it was a smile of tranquility.

Buddha saw that no phenomenon is inherently superior or inferior. Therefor we can give up comparison of forms and simply notice everything that arises as a sign of awakening.

Awakening to what? To the perception that this form is composed of the awareness that perceives it. Therefor, all things scintillate in the fulfillment of self-perception, and there is nothing to desire.

To our ordinary minds, clogged with moral opinions, to reject nothing and grasp nothing seems irresponsible. But Buddha was deeply responsible. Because he was awake, he was able to respond.

Only in the present moment can we respond to the passing stranger as our wonderful guest. Only in the present moment can we feel compassion.

All around him, Hindu monks and yogis worked very hard to renounce the world, trying to get somewhere else. Buddha saw that there is no "else," and no need to renounce a mirage. This world, after all, is just images and shadows floating in a sea of luminous clarity.

Buddha was so awake that his mind was naked and his hands were empty. There is no more precious pearl than a heart free from grasping, no more radiant diamond than awareness free from thoughts.

See the cosmos in a dewdrop. To delight in everything is true emptiness.


Root your soul in the loam of breathing. Why pay white people for workshops in 'shamanism' when your dark ancestral matriarch rides her fiery lioness up the forest path of every inhalation?

September 21

Last day of summer, the day when the ray returns to the Sun, the day you remember, you are not a seeker of the Light, you Are the Light. Any Autumn rose could tell you this through its fiery silence, offering fallen petals back to a golden intuition. Be that way, just notice. This is all that is required of you today. Just notice, and be grateful.

O Gentle Green

O gentle green intelligence of frog, fern, cedar, hummingbird, how beautiful earth must have been when it was all yours, before the invasive species, the Mind, descended to infest your forest with concepts, like profit, property, and private wealth. How lovely earth was without usefulness, without thought of future reward, without any thought at all!

Now the work is to eradicate this foreign species, Mind, to weed out and destroy its seeds, its concepts, until we are able to perceive again, through no medium but wonder, in silence, the gentle green intelligence of frog, fern, cedar, hummingbird - rainbow wings of pure light, trembling out of purer darkness.

Be Sad

If you are sad, just be sad. Suffering does not happen when we are faithful to our sadness. Suffering happens when we are sad, and try not to be.

We are conditioned to believe that it is wrong to be sad. We live in a culture of compulsive happiness. It is like saying that the light of Spring is good while the light of Autumn is bad,  or that, when a sunbeam touches your golden body, you should not cast a shadow.

Embrace the bud of your sadness for a little while; it will open into something unimaginable. You will never attain this unimaginable something by resisting your sadness, only by drowning in it, tasting its nectar, letting it ferment.

Do you practice your sadhana
For any reason other
that melting into Presence?

Delicious food 
Silences the mind.
Is this a spiritual experience?

Be The Truth

The most priceless sparkling jewel is a mind free from judgments.

I once thought freedom from judgment was a negative state of dispassion, a way to remain unstuck. But now I experience, by grace, that when the mind is free from all judgments it becomes a clear crystal prism, through which divine light can reflect and radiate into creation. God doesn't need believers. God needs empty channels and hollow lightning rods, free of every belief, to conduct divine energy down to earth.
Grasping no object or belief, awareness itself is the Philosopher's Stone, Chitta Mani - the Wish Granting Jewel, the Diamond at the center of the Lotus, the Pearl of Great Price. Every spiritual tradition has a term for the holographic jewel that condenses all the information of the cosmos in its radiant emptiness. This jewel is who we ARE when the mind is transparent. The crystal subject becomes its own object in a Self-reflection that generates ineffable Beauty. Here is a graceful secret: the radiance reflected into the world by un-grasping is more useful than any knowledge or belief the mind could grasp. 

When we give up arguing about what is true, we can Be the truth. In John 8:32, Master Jesus says, "the Truth shall set you free." Throughout Western history, seekers assumed this Truth to be something grasped, known, attained as an object of awareness. But the truth that sets us free is our own awareness grasping nothing. Our work is simply to surrender to the Inner Light, which gushes from the heart and radiates into the world through our senses by virtue of the power of Wonder.

Hamsa; Meet Your Self

You are not lonely when you are alone; you are lonely when you search for many relationships, yet have no relationship with your Self.

If you have not met your Self, you are in for a marvelous surprise.

It is like the Hamsa swan wearily circling, searching for a resting place, and finally settling upon its own reflection in the still lake.

She thinks, "Who is this divine Swan who welcomes me into his own breast?" not knowing that she alights in the clear mirror of her Soul.

'Hamsa' is Sanskrit for 'swan'; at the same time, it means 'soul.' It is also the Upanishadic mantra, 'Ham-Sa,' which means I Am the Divine.

Breathing in 'Aham,' feel the thrill of golden life invigorate your own dear heart.

Breathing out, 'Sah,' surrender to the boundless Presence who first breathed your existence.

Who are you, really? You are the diamond effulgence where the syllables dissolve, the ocean where sun and moon kiss, where every creaturely reflection merges with the ray of its creator.

Why wait until you die?

U.S. Foreign Policy 101

U.S. Foreign Policy 101:

* Create and arm your own enemies.

* To ensure perpetual war and maximize profits, sell weapons to both sides of every conflict.

* If you sell enough weapons to 'moderates,' they will end up in the hands of 'extremists,' giving you an excuse to sell the 'moderates' even more.

* Elect obedient lapdogs for the military-industrial cartel and its bankers.

* In presidential speeches, use the same buzz words every ten years to promote a war against 'evil.' Always tell the people how many of us they killed. Never mention how many of them we killed.

* Pretend that American war is Christian war. Never remind them what Jesus really taught: 'Whoever lives by the sword shall die by the sword... Love your enemy... Resist not the evil one.' Since weapons are this nation's most lucrative business, the teachings of Jesus are bad for Wall Street.

To Her

On this 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, I weep. I weep for the women of the unspeakable rape-culture of India, for the daughters of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in whose perpetual civil war more than a million have been violated, for the women of Iraq and Bosnia and Cosovo, and all victims of the weapon of mass rape, used as a political tool. I weep as well for the victims of domestic abuse in America, especially those who are so traumatized by our patriarchy, they cling faithfully to their abusers; and I hang my head in sorrow...

Then I remember the Goddesses who honor me with their friendship. Never has a man had more awe-inspiring friends who are women: prophetesses and poets, artists, yoginis, wisdom teachers of the art of living, herbal healers, shamanist elemental movers of earth air fire, and water breakers, defiers of the rules of illusion, fire walkers through vast Dakini fields of Demeter-consciousness, who elevate the sacred grain stalk, who invent the drum, who gush the cream, who tread the clusters of my body into the wine of stillness and turn the harvest to a dance...

O wild wolf women, cat women, owl women, seal women, shape-shifting the very ground I walk on, I bow my face to your ascending powers. You know who you are, some with fiery locks that fall down to your loins, some with shaved heads like wish-granting diamonds, some in cities and some in forests, some alone in your Allness, some with partners, some the grandmothers of the tribe...
O wounded yet bleeding medicine, eternally unviolated heart-broken Mary's of the unborn, O messengers of milk and moonlight, black piquant triangles within triangles of the milliferous Kali Chakra, winged sisters of the heart inside my heart, for you this prayer: I'm sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.

Shadow Patch

At this very moment, doubtless there is a sudden local act of violence happening in a "trouble spot" somewhere on earth. But for every trouble spot, there are 10,000 spots where peace is breaking out, children are kicking soccer balls, mothers are brushing their daughters' hair, men are working in fields, families are gathering around fires, laughing and telling stories.

When we allow the media to define our world, the news is never good. Is the world more violent today than in the past? Or is there just more coverage of disaster, more news about unhappy places, more electronic hyper-vigilance? Reading every political site we can find on our computer when we get up in the morning doesn't enhance our consciousness at all: it merely causes collective secondary post-traumatic stress. When our minds feed on this virtual media world, we lose touch with the vibrant continuum of the organic Earth, humming through its fur into our senses.

This is why meditation masters throughout history have directed us to pay attention, not to our thoughts, but to this breath, this tiny blue flower, this delicious sting of dew on the soles of our bare feet. Zen founder Dogen said, "Those who gained enlightenment by seeing blossoms or hearing sounds, achieved it through the body." The Psalmist of the Bible wrote, "Taste and see the goodness of the Lord!"

Dogen's disciples, or the desert prophets of ancient Israel, would not be tempted to download the phantasm of electronic imagery fabricated by iPhone, Facebook, Twitter and cable TV into their brains. They knew that the mind is not the actual world, but a ghostly parallel cyber-world, floating alongside the real one. When we let the mind of artificial images get overfed by the corporate media, then to dwell in the suchness of the Earth is even harder than it was in Dogen's time.

We always have the choice to cease clinging to media-mind. Then we can savor the blessed sacrament of the Incarnation, the miraculous commonplace of a warm September afternoon: a fallen apple, its golden wound a chalice for the glutted bee.

I choose the Earth, just as it is, un-PhotoShopped. I choose to turn off the news. Then I can hear a whisper of cricket silence around the Autumn crocus, bursting from withered alfalfa. Such still small voices call me to cherish Earth's loveliness. From this cherishing must flow my deeds.

Spirit calls me not to save the ghost-world of media-mind, but to tend the sacred patch of ground covered by my own shadow, and welcome every wayfarer who passes through this place. If we all practiced a little hospitality as we wander through each others shadow-patch, that would be enough. That would bring peace on Earth. 

There Is No Spiritual Awakening

There is no 'spiritual awakening.' Spiritual awakening is a meaningless term, a mere concept in the mind. Awakening is not predicated on any relative condition such as 'spiritual.' To be totally awake annihilates all mental descriptors like 'spirit' and 'matter.' We awaken as naked wonder, wearing no veil of thinking, no shroud of mental commentary. Let pure awareness burn through the veil of thought, until no mind remains. I am sure this little dog, Bowie, a waif rescued on the streets of San Francisco, knows more about awakening than any philosopher, because the animal energy of his neurons is a pure fire burning without the smoke of names and concepts.


Wild, ephemeral
wounded ruins of summer -
Autumn crocuses.

Liminal Things

A list of eleven liminal things
that aren't things
because they are both
physical and metaphysical:
1. Light
2. Breath
3. A dolphin's smile
4. The eye of a fawn
5. The new moon
6. The silence in a song circle
just after the song
7. Fireflies
8. An old book of poems found 

in the attic on a rainy afternoon
9. Fragrances of the abandoned garden
10. The electric brain that lets go of thinking
11. A loon

I would have added the September mist over salal and huckleberries 
in a stand of hemlock, but it settled into my marrow and made me long
for a body of fur...

Photo: late summer hike on Mount Tahoma

Sabbath: Be Without A Plan

"Take no thought for tomorrow, for tomorrow will take thought for itself..." ~Master Jesus

If at certain moments we feel purposeless, wandering without a plan, why not repose and rejoice in the grace of aimlessness?

Our culture conditions us to feel useless, lazy, irresponsible in such moments. But those can be the moments when we come up for air, step out of the box of our agenda. Those are the moments when we become intensely aware of the tiny sacraments all around us, the countless possibilities for small acts of kindness. Chung T'zu said, "Many know the use of the useful, but few know the use of the Useless."

Today, the earth has woken up perfect and whole. You can wake up perfect and whole, just as on the First Day. You were perfect when you were born, what happened?

Someone convinced us that we needed a plan. And then we became disappointed, because the world never works out according to our plan. Blessed are those who still have the capacity for surprise!

Our education and our religion brainwash us to believe that we must have a plan, a meticulously crafted story about the non-existent past, leading to some definable and material result in a non-existent future. This, of course, is delusional thinking. 

But what happens when I have no agenda? I am the water that does not get caught in the net. I am always home, always healing. My Presence refreshes the earth, because there is no "mine" in that Presence.

This ineluctable moment of pure Being renews the entire world  around me. Instead of being dedicated to my plan, I am devoted to Life itself. Now I am available, response-able to whomever I encounter.

A man with a plan is quite unconscious of you when you meet him, unless he can use you for his ends. If you do not fit into his agenda, you are just an obstacle in his way. In a sense, there is nothing more dangerous than a man with a plan.

But when I am free of an agenda, I have no edges, I embrace you with the fullness of Being, and I playfully re-create reality out of this moment, for there is no other moment. I am here for you, and I belong to you.

Please, for the health of the planet, spend some time every day just Being without a plan. The Bible calls this "the Sabbath." In Hebrew, Sabbath does not mean "seventh day." It means "stop!" Whenever you stop being the do-er, you celebrate the Sabbath.

Even if only for a moment - stop, look, listen and Be. Be the Witness of your mad spinning cosmos. Be the center of the sunflower, flinging out your spiral of seeds and galaxies. You will be surprised by the abundance of creation when Life is your only agenda.

Friendly Water for the World

If I could show you the blue
eternity in the jewel,
the sky in my heart,
if I could show you the story
of the stars in my breath,
we would dissolve
into each other.
But I cannot show you.
I can only tell you
one word: Love.
Yet the word is not enough.
Let it become a deed.
Let become a gift.
Let it quench your thirsty lips -
pure water.

Friendly Water for the World: 
A great cause, created by Quakers
in Olympia, WA.
Please Give! LINK