It is not such a blessing to be in the presence of a person whose mind is full of thoughts, even if they are very "intelligent." In fact, it can be exhausting. It's a greater blessing to be with one whose mind is awake in stillness, silent, free from thoughts. Look into their eyes. They will invite you, saying without words, "Welcome to the miracle." This is how little children meet on the playground.

When we allow the stream of the world to arise unimpeded by our mental commentary, we don't have to look at the world through a haze of ideas about it.

Then everything sparkles with primordial shakti, inherent power. Awareness participates in the Wordless continuum of creation. We see the world as miracle. Like two birds singing among magnolia blossoms, we can still enjoy words and have a conversation. But the words don't arise from our mind. They are not words "about" the world around us.

Our word arises out of the continuum, the stream of energy that creates the world. Our conversation is libretto to the music of the earth. We do not have a "conversation with God." Our conversation is God.

Changing the World?

At the finest level of creation, on the threshold of silence, the particles of the world annihilate and rebirth themselves out of the vacuum every instant. In the final analysis, this clear empty space of infinite mathematical possibility is pure consciousness. This means that the universe is a sparkling ocean of wonder, a miracle of unfathomable energy without past or future, a continuum with no division into subject and object.

It is our mind that superimposes time, with stories about the past and future, onto this instantaneous creation. These stories are usually full of conflict between "good" and "evil," light and darkness, and imminent disaster. We project our story onto the energy around us in a desperate attempt to control the apparent chaos of the Unknown. We do not see that the Unknown is miraculous and beautiful: all we see is our story.

We are not in control. We are marvelously and blessedly out-of-control. How could we possibly do anything to save the world if we cannot even control our own minds? If we really want to change the world, let us change our mind. How, by dissolving it. Dissolve the patterns and stories instead of projecting them into our energy field. Then see if this ever-changing, ephemeral, miraculous and lovely creation really needs to be saved at all.

I Will Wound You For Free

"I will wound you for free."
"But I want to pay for it."

"This will cost you everything."  
"I have already given that."

"Then give me your silence,"
Love said.

So I renounced the mind and dove 
into the space between thoughts, 

where I swam all night among moonbeams 
with creatures who glowed with namelessness.

Just before dawn, Love severed off my head 
with a scimitar of sweetness:

wave of stillness, empty mirage,
sword of the Prophet, 

forever slicing One into Two 
for the sake of devotion.

"Take that!" Love said.
"Thank you!" cried Bewilderment, 

breaking the silence, 
opening the wound again.


"The light shined in darkness, but the darkness could not overcome it." ~John 1:5

This light is not any Other. This light is not someone before you, or above you, or outside you. This is the light of your own awareness, in the present moment, shining through the power of your past, through your karma, through any bondage that was ever upon you. The light of awareness in the present moment is the most powerful force in creation. There is nothing more healing than being who you are.

'Positive Thinking' Does Not Arise From Thought

Negative thinking begins as a precognitive affect in the primitive brain, below the cerebral cortex. So does positive thinking. The source of positive or negative thinking is not thinking at all.

Negative thinking arises as a barely conscious emotional decision to flip our primordial switch toward anger and fear. And we have done this so often it has become an inherited characteristic, a sort of "original sin" buried in the brain, an inherent disposition toward negativity.

But we can brush the amygdula with a breath of attention, and flip this deep switch back to the positive.

We do it not by intellectual self-analysis, or by thought tripping, but by an effortless intuition, feeling our way down into the old brain and bathing the amygdala in a breath of intent. This is accomplished in a moment, an exhalation.

Become aware of your mid-brain, any sensation there at all, even numbness. Now let a silent stream of attention flow with your breath through this ancient region at the base of the brain. With the softest intent, just brush the amygdala: flip the switch. Don't complicate this process with thought. Just do it.

Now allow a glow of positivity to stream up through the ancient brain into the cerebral cortex, like nectar through a green stem, into a blossoming flower.

Neither an affirmation, a concentration, nor a visualization, this is an actual felt experience, at the finest level of sensation. Yet this fraction of a moment can change one's whole day. Best to do it for only a breath, and not as a sustained "meditation." That would only ruin the innocence of direct experience. Brush the amygdala switch with a gentle breath often throughout the day, re-attuning your whole physiology to the stream of positive energy that our Mother, the Earth Shakti, always sends up into our bodies.


Who improves? Compared to whom?

The irony is, the moment you cease comparing yourself, you begin to blossom. You discover who the cosmos has been yearning to be as You. The glow of your freshness irradiates the galaxy. Earth, sun, and stars would not be quite the same, were they not infused with You.

When you discover a tiny blue violet in the meadow, it never occurs to you to say, "This flower is imperfect, it needs improvement." You accept the flower's perfection, just as it is. Yet for some strange reason, this is not how we encounter other people, and that is not how we encounter ourselves!

We insist on changing ourselves, and we insist on changing each other. We want to do people the immense favor of converting them to our ideal, the very ideal that prevents us from being who we actually are. How strange! Most of the harm and mass destruction humans inflict on one another, we carry out in the name of improvement.

The irony is, what truly expands and heals us arises from a deep repose in the silent core of our own nature. What is already here is far more powerful than what is not. Improvement need not be imposed: it bubbles up. Above all, we need to be gentle with ourselves.

I search the earth for that miraculous elixir that will improve me. I seek darshan at the ashrams of the great gurus, meet with shamans, visit holy pilgrimage shrines in the forest and on the mountaintop. Then one day the search, the whole search, collapses in a singular wave of absolute clarity, and I am cast up upon the shore of my Self. There is no greater healing, and no more astonishing miracle, than being who I Am.

Self-improvement? The Self cannot be improved.

The Greatest Service

The greatest service you can perform for another person is to remind them who they really are. Giving people food, water, medicine and shelter provides temporary relief, and telling people about Jesus or the Guru gives them temporary inspiration. But sustainable transformation only results from awakening the seed of God in the core of the soul. You do the supreme kindness to another person when you help them awaken their inner self-generating abundance, when you initiate them into the unfathomable light of their own Being.


The miracle is not the flower,
but the Existence of the flower.
The miracle is not the moon,
but the Existence of the moon.
The miracle is not the snow,
but the way all creatures
crystalize from pure Existence
and melt back into it.
Why are you here?
To look deeply into the flower,
to look deeply into the moon,
to look deeply into the eye of each creature
until you behold that jewel of Emptiness.
What can you do but love and dissolve?
What can you do but bow and fall 

on your knees in wonder?
You are that Existence.

Truth Has No Name

A thought rooted in the ground of eternal silence is ten million times more powerful than a thought in a thread of mental chatter.

Truth is not the final idea in a chain of intellectual argument. Truth is the radiant fullness of empty awareness, before a single thought arises.

When I attempt to preach Truth, I uproot it from the field of silence, and Truth withers away. When I claim that Truth is contained in a Book, I shut it in a prison.

There is no such thing as a sacred text. What is sacred is the Silence where the words come from, and the space between them. That is what we feel. Truth has no name.

We hear "great" words and "great" music. We see "great" works of art. But what makes them "great"? The silence they come from. It percolates through their form. In his "Diaries and Notes," Leonardo Da Vinci wrote: "Among the great things that are to be found among us, the Being of nothingness is the greatest." His art manifested the unmanifest.

If Your Religion Won't Evolve, Abandon It

Humanity wasn't thought up to serve religion. Religion was thought up to serve humanity. If your religion won't evolve, abandon it. Invent a new one. Create fresh ceremonies, offering your wonder to the present moment. Let your own Word renew the earth and sing the stars awake. Perform a miracle: touch the wet grass with your bare feet. Baptize the ocean waves with your naked body. And please, stop arguing over which dead prophet told the truth! The truth shines through every atom of your flesh this very morning. If You yourself are not the light, then they were all wrong.

Engraving: William Blake's 'Albion,' embodiment of divine humanity.


Why do I love this picture so much? Reminds me of what I learned when I was a little child: its fun to feel the stillness at the center of whirling.

Scrying the World in the Bowl of the Heart

'Scrying' is the ancient art of seeing destiny in a reflection: a mirrored image in a bowl of water, or a still lake. I scry the world, for it too is an image reflected in a bowl. Let me gaze a little more deeply before reacting. Blaming others for my predicament is the work of the political mind. Seeing clearly how I cause my world is the work of the soul.

Will Religion Own Its Shadow?

There is an ancient Tibetan myth. Like all great myths, it is full of truth. When we die, our soul confronts its shadow, its unresolved work, its denial and projection, in the form of a wrathful deity, hideous and angry, terrifying and lethal. The soul wants to flee back into this world again.

But if the soul is brave, then instead of repeating lifetimes pretending the demon is an "other," the soul finally confronts its shadow and owns it. Kissing the monster on the lips, the soul hugs the wrathful deity and welcomes its energy into her heart. At that instant, the demon turns into an angel, liberating the energy that had been bound up in denial, repression, and shadow-making. The soul is free. Light and darkness merge in their original unity, which is limitless bliss. For what is light but darkness unbound? What is darkness but the ground where living seeds of light are buried?

Like the individual soul, each world religion holds a dark, violent, Medieval shadow, a lethal bruise on its most vital organ. Every religion must do the inner work of soul-retrieval, to heal and become human. Otherwise, religion will destroy the earth.

It does no good to pretend the shadow isn't there; to project it onto a rival sect; to blame "the West," or "Zionism," or "American foreign policy," or "corporations," or "modernism." Our sudden acts of violence don't erupt from the scape goat: they erupt from the shadow within us. And it does no good to pretend the criminals who perform such inhuman acts in the name of religion aren't really practicing it. That is sheer hypocrisy. We must stop defining religion merely by its luminous ideals, and start defining it by the deeds actually done in its name.

It does no good for Hindus to embrace the joy of Krishna, if they don't confess ownership of the caste system and the culture of rape. It does no good for Buddhists to cultivate the compassion of Buddha, if they don't own up to their patriarchy and sexual repression. It does no good for goddess worshipers to hug trees and embrace forest spirits, if they don't acknowledge the shaman's ego, the bigotry of tribalism, the toxicity of ancient taboo.

It does no good for Jews to quote the humble kindly verses of their Bible, if they don't own the chapters that call for stoning homosexuals, for genocide and enslavement of the Canaanites, and for holy war (read Deuteronomy 20: 10-20). It does no good for Christians to whisper sweetly about the forgiveness of the Lord Jesus, if we don't own the Crusades, the Inquisition, the witch-burning of over three million women.

And it does no good for Muslims to claim a religion of peace, if they refuse to own the shadow-voice in their hearts, the voice that demands the beheading of "blasphemers" (which is practiced not only by terrorists but by the government of Saudi Arabia), the voice that demonizes Israel, the voice that rejects our civilization simply because the West is too ambiguous, egalitarian, and complex. Groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda are simply the projections of a shadow that Islam has carried in its heart for centuries.

In every age, of course, simplistic atheists and "progressives" try to kill religion. But it always returns, either as shadow or light. At this moment, religion has a choice: to radiate beauty on the earth, or to lurk in the half-light of the past, infecting the world with viral bigotry and hate. The question is not whether we will have any religion at all, but whether religion will grow up.

If we swallow our religion just as we received it from our parents, in a silver cup of shadows, we inherit half-conscious lives. Religion needs to ferment, to transform, to grow from the larva under the rock into the adult with rainbow wings. As each person does the work of soul-retrieval in order to mature, so I pray that our religions will heal, and humanize, and be re-birth themselves.

Nothing is Extraordinary but Awareness

Nothing in the world is extraordinary.

When I actually arrive at the mountain top, or at the birth place of Jesus, it turns out to be just as ordinary as standing in the back yard, before I started my journey.

Nothing in the world is extraordinary but awareness, and awareness is not of this world. Awareness is the Seer of the world. When I am truly aware, I see the ordinary through the light of the miraculous, because the miracle is What Sees.

No peak, no diamond, no sexual delight, no wine, no symphony, no sense perception is ever extraordinary in itself. We fantasize the pinnacle of achievement, but even if our wildest fantasy comes true, when we get there, it is mundane.

If I cannot see the ordinary in the miraculous light of true awakening, then beholding the grand canyon, or a masterpiece my Michelangelo, has the same quality as looking at my big toe.

The Extraordinary shines from within as the scintillating radiance of consciousness itself. The Miraculous flowers in my heart, then pours its fragrance through my senses onto the alter of the world. But the blossoming of the Infinite begins at the source of breath. Silence sparkles before the music starts.

Therefor ignite your Shakti, the power within the within. Then baptize the earth in the splendor you were placed here to give. You were not created to receive Beauty, but to pour it forth. See every leaf and raindrop, every pebble in the stream, the eye of the newborn child, the face of the dying man, as perfect, holy and marvelous, because the Seer is perfect, holy, and marvelous.

In Praise of Modesty

This is the Tell All Age, when we celebrate, as much as we dread, the end of privacy.

Confusing Truth with self-exposure, we dare each other to reveal everything, and imagine that "spirituality" means tearing away the veil. We mistake modesty for shame, then wonder why we cannot be intimate.

I mutilate what is subtle and fragrant when I force the flower open. And that flower may be myself, as well as another. This compulsion to expose leads to a naked, unlayered literalism that cannot discern what is fine, savor the paradox, or taste the bouquet of ambiguity.

Impatient exposure is not Nature's way. She nourishes through concealment, storing sweetest fruit beneath the bitter rind, wrapping rainbows in the grizzled cocoon, protecting her miracle in nests, eggs, wombs.

Silence is our mother tongue. Whole journeys end and begin there. In ancient times, the deepest Truth was a divine secret, the scent of ecstasy exquisitely veiled in the language of symbols, the wisdom of the master conveyed in the breath of the Wordless. But now the witless and desperate, who do not know the Self, need to say everything.

Those who cannot keep a Mystery in the heart may find that they have lost the soul. For a soul, like honey, is brewed in private chambers, stored in golden darkness.

Leave the inside inside. If you want a seed to sprout, keep it buried in the crystal loam of Winter's garden. You cannot taste the nectar in the vine; it must wait until the harvest. Hold the fragrance in your rose until it opens by itself, through the grace of dawn. Age your love-wine in the cask of the unspoken. Whisper what is intimate, but only to the Beloved. That which is not revealed can make your face shine.

Lessons of the Year

Lessons of 2014? Most of us can't even remember what we were hysterical or wrathful about this time last year. In fact, in the impeccable precision of chaos, most of us were learning precisely the lesson we needed to learn each moment.

We did not die of Ebola. In fact, scientists have discovered abundant sources of antibiotics in the very soil itself. ISIS did not overrun the United States, or even the Middle East. Obama did not start another major war. The streets of America did not explode into anarchy and chaos. The military police did not seize control of our government.

The U.S. economy did not collapse; in fact it expanded more than any major economy in the world. None of us died of a disease caused by GMO's. Our planet was not eaten by an angry red solar flare.
The world did not end. But Christ did come again, in every crocus, every bloodwart, every honey bee. And several billion people performed infinitesimal acts of kindness, upholding the arc of goodness through the universe.

Lesson for 2015? Every moment, we do what we are called to do, without anxiety, knowing that in our incomparable uniqueness, even the most insignificant work, performed with love, may transform the cosmos. The Earth remains a beautiful planet, gently tumbling from season to season, like a clumsy bride blessed by light and shadow. One who cannot love the shadows as deeply as the light, is not ready for the privilege of dwelling here.

Mother Dance

We show the deepest gratitude to our Creator when we acknowledge her infinite presence in our own body. 

Every breath we breathe with awareness awakens her Shakti, her energy in us. This Sanskrit word, from which derives the English "shock," signifies the Mother's creative power. Each mote of our dust is wombed like a star in the night of her mystery. She vibrates the electrons in every atom of our flesh. Leaping from axon to dendrite, She is the thrill of light in our photons, the fiery self-annihilation of this very thought in your brain.

Our minds are empty cupfuls of her immaculate silence. Even our flaws are composed of her infinitesimal love-sparks. Trillions of particles in your body are dancing with her. Why don't you?

Solidify Awareness

The most abstract element in life is our own awareness. For most human beings, awareness is so abstract that we don't even notice it. The absent-minded professor looks for the glasses that are already on the tip of his nose. Likewise, we are not aware of our own awareness.

We are absorbed in sense perception. We store up a back-load of these sensory images, and this inventory of images is the mind. The intellect is a busy postal clerk who ceaselessly sorts and categorize these mental impression. Imagination recombines and projects them into the future. But the future is the past; both exist only as thought.

Hence the mind is not awareness. It is the stuff that clouds and overshadows awareness. Awareness shines beyond senses, mind, and intellect, as the sun beyond the clouds. Yet on a cloudy day, we cannot see the very source of our light.

Awareness is the abstract background of perception. Material form is the foreground. "Spiritual growth" simply means that the background begins to illuminate the foreground, until they shift. Awareness becomes foreground, luminously crystalized.

The fruition of spiritual growth is to make the abstract concrete, to make awareness more concrete than any object of which it is aware, more solid than any thought in the mind or any perception in the senses.

Pure awareness is a Self-radiant jewel: "the pearl of great price" in the Christian scriptures, "chitta-mani" and "the diamond-cutter of doubts" in Indian tradition, "the jewel in the lotus" as described in the Tibetan mantra "Om mani padme hum," and in Renaissance alchemy, "the philosopher's stone."

These symbolic gemstones represent nothing other than our own Self-realized consciousness. Our awareness has triumphed over the world, the light of the real over the shadows of illusion. Hence the meaning of Plato's Cave Allegory in The Republic, and the words in the prologue to the Gospel of John: "The light shined in darkness, and the darkness could not overcome it."

When the diamond light of awareness solidifies, spirit overshadows matter. The forms of the world are but shadows compared to the adamantine beauty of pure consciousness. This is true perspective. We see the material world arise and dissolve as a mirage within the sapphire radiance of our own unbounded compassion, or like lines drawn by a finger on water.
Somehow this process of solidifying awareness got confused with religion. But in fact, no "god" or religious belief is required for this process to reach fruition. The poetics of religious ritual, myth, and scripture are powerful symbols that enrich our spiritual vocabulary, as long as they are not interpreted literally. For they are only figures in a stained-glass window, portals where the light can begin to illuminate the world, until the full sun shatters the prism. Religions all represent the process through which the light of our awareness overcomes the shadows of form.

In the words of William Blake, "We are set on earth a little while to learn to bear the beams of love."

The Search for Meaning is the Root of Suffering

Nothing causes more suffering than the search for meaning. The very act of conceptualizing a "meaning" separates us from the essential energy, the bliss, of living. For the mind must be separate from that of which it forms a concept. When "I" separate myself from life in order conceive its "meaning," I only deepen my loneliness. My very quest for meaning causes alienation.

But when "I" abandon meaning, the separate "me" collapses into the wholeness of life-energy. Awareness without concepts is free to sparkle as a seamless continuity where subject and object dissolve in the bliss of perception. "Meaning" is swallowed up in delicious chaos, the chaos of ananda, or bliss. What remains is a dance of energy without reason or motive: it simply Is.

This dance has no Creator, but wondrously explodes out of nothing, free from causation. That which arises from nothing is un-created.

To dive into this uncreated energy of nothing is the end of suffering. There may be pains or pleasures, but there is no suffering.

 Suffering is the mind's resistance to the freedom of energy. Suffering is the attempt of an independent "me" to conceptualize this wonderful wildness as "meaning," which is like trying to capture the sea in a measuring cup.

"I" need not realize or attain anything. "I" merely dissolve into the ocean of living that I Am.

Humanity developed a separate "I" for the evolutionary purpose of gaining a certain degree of self-consciousness, but paid a great price for it: the price of alienation from nature. This alienation led to a sense of meaningless, and a quest for meaning. But the quest only perpetuates the alienation. Now it is time to return, to transcend that egoic self and to merge with wholeness, yet to merge consciously, not unconsciously. So we are really spiraling upward in evolution, not circling back. We are adding a ring of consciousness to the dance.

For thousands of years, seekers have assumed that the "saint," the "yogi," the "buddha" was peaceful and content because he or she had come to realize the meaning of life. Quite the contrary. The buddha has come to realize the meaninglessness of life. This is freedom.

Liberation is a wondrously absurd space that resists nothing, demands nothing, seeks nothing, thus discovering epic beauty and boundless pathos in an ant climbing over the edge of a dish to reach a breadcrumb.

Mother Song on New Year's Day

Mother Lakshmi sang to me: "Selved in silence, be the axis
of the wheeling stars. See how your lover's face flowers out
of your own gaze. Did I not give birth to you so that the earth
might be grounded in astonishment? This is your work: with
every breath, reduce your life to the poverty of wonder."

Happy New Year

Atma, the supreme Self, dwells beyond time. Mind, by thinking, creates time and dwells in the past and future. Atma whispers, 'Happy New Year!' to awaken this mind to eternity now. May the Light within make you rich with love every moment of the coming year!

As the Purusha, Atma remains settled in the absolute field of timelessness. Yet its Shakti projects this body-mind into the relative field, Prakriti, or nature, where we become subject to the laws of karma and the game of time. 

Play the game well. Play your part. Be meticulous. Be on time. But if you fuck up, don't worry about it. We are actors in a theater where we are also the audience, witnessing our own tragicomedy. How exquisite! To be both the doer and the witness, both bound by form for the sake of the drama, yet unbound in pure conscious.

Those who say that time doesn't matter because they live in the "eternal now" are as clumsy as those who never tap into the Timeless at all. The next time you book a flight to take a trip, and you arrive at the airport
too late for your connection, go complain to the agents at the desk that time doesn't matter because you live in the now. They will laugh at you. The fact is, you were not on time.

As long as we have a mind and body projected into Prakriti, that mind and body will be subject to the elements of nature. Therefore, if we want to be successful in life, we must utilize the relative structures in the collective consciousness of humanity:
the signs and houses of the Zodiac, the Gregorian calender, the months of the year, the twelve hours on the clock. From the perspective of  Atma, these cycles may be illusions; but as mind and body, we must play their game carefully.

It doesn't require much art to live in a cave, or much wisdom to be busy in the marketplace. But it requires the most exquisite art and wisdom is to live "in the world but not of the world," reposing as the timeless Self while the personality plays its active role in time. God are reborn on earth to learn that skill.