Be Particular

Spirituality does not exist in general, but in particular. It is precision awareness. This wild orange anemone, this sunbeam falling into precisely this raindrop. To love "humanity" is a lie. Never generic, compassion embraces only this homeless mother, this wounded veteran, this fleeting breath...

Consciousness does not awaken as a movement, a party, or a tribe, only as a unique individual. To generalize about human beings is the root of violence.

There are no "white people" or "people of color," no "socialism" or "capitalism," no "Muslim" or "Christian," no "masculine" or "feminine." As soon as I revert to the abstraction, I murder millions.
Don't serve "the poor;" serve every person you encounter. Don't free "the oppressed," free the oppresser too. Don't hate the 1% and love the 99. Love is 100% or nothing. And only this particular person can be loved.

Are there no ethical distinctions to make? Of course. There are infinite ethical distinctions. Every now is an ethical distinction.

The radical act is to be present. The revolution is to breathe. Moral courage is to be particular.


Grace is an impulse from beyond the structures of our own effort. Only grace can bring deep meditation.

Whether our effort is mental, emotional, or physical - jnana, bhakti, or hatha yoga - the state of deep meditation never results from self-will. Any command we give ourselves to relax the body, concentrate the mind, or produce a feeling of peace, will fail. Why?

Because relaxation, concentration, and peace are effects, not causes.

In the stillness of true meditation is infinite rest, where body, breath, feeling and mind repose in the field of transcendental silence, merging back into a single field of energy. Any effort or instruction we could possibly give ourselves, whether to "concentrate" or to "relax" or to "love," can only disturb that ground-state of silence, never draw us into it. For every self-instruction is an action that disturbs stillness. 

This is the paradox: we want to meditate, but real meditation never comes through self-will.

The paradox is solved by Grace. Grace comes from beyond, from outside the knot of our self-effort. A knot cannot untie itself. Only the impulse of the master's Grace allows meditation to happen, without any effort on the part of the meditator - except the decision to be open, and to sit for a period of time. Twenty minutes of grace-full meditation is worth years of sitting without the grace of the master. This is why so many people who try to teach themselves meditation, as if it were a "technique" to be learned and practiced, like a job, achieve little but a sense of pride in how long they have been meditating. They were never initiated into the grace of the master, which flows through the Guru lineage.

Americans are obsessed with independence, individualism, and do-it-yourself achievements. They assume that receiving the initiation of the master means losing their freedom. In fact, the grace of the master is freedom itself.

Grace is like a feather's touch on the crown of the head, the brow, or the heart. It is the subtlest impulse in creation, yet the most powerful, collapsing every structures of thought, dissolving self-will, allowing our attention to repose in absolute stillness, while fully alert. This is turiya, the fourth state of consciousness as defined by the Mandukya Upanishad: beyond waking, dreaming and deep sleep. The state of turiya is known in Yogic philosophy as samadhi, and in Christian mysticism as the prayer of union

This transcendental silence is not just an absence of thought, but a fullness of bliss, ananda. It is boundless, self-luminous, and joyful. Neither a thought or a feeling, it is consciousness alone, illumined by consciousness alone: yet it is awakened by the impulse of another. A candle cannot light itself. The nearness of a flame, already lit, ignites the waiting wick.

To awaken the radiant stillness of effortless meditation is the role of the spiritual master.  This is why we say, "Jai Gur Dev: all gratitude to the Guru."

Noli Me Tangere

The full moon woke her at four AM. The moon's voice whispered, "Wake up, meditate, become pure light."

So she wandered through the wetlands, disturbing the frogs and mallards, until she came to the wild grove of apple trees and the tomb, the tomb of the past, where they try to bury Masters.

The tomb was empty. Something like a breath had rolled the stone away from Mary's heart. She wept with joy in the garden of the present moment.

Now he is walking toward her among the first Spring flowers, still crystaled with snow. As she reaches out her hand to touch him, he says, "Noli me tangere: do not cling to me!"

Of all hard lessons in the Magdalene's life, this is the hardest. For she loves his form, his glance, the sensuous sway of his white seamless garment, and his tender sandaled feet.

But he is a true master, and a true master says, "Do not worship my form. I am not this face, this gaze. I am not a white robe dancing in the moonlight. I am the burning in your chest. I am your own radiance. Worship the one who shines from the center of your heart. That is who I Am."

"But master, before I met you, I was asleep."

"Mary," Jesus says tenderly, "I gave you a little breath of light. Now you must do your own awakening."

This how Mary becomes an ecstatic outcast, a joyous orphan without a church, a child of moonlight, a paramour of the Lover Within.

Painting: Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo, 1536: Mary Magdalene

When Is Anger Useful?

When is anger useful and when is it destructive? I have found that when I put anger into action as 'anger,' it is a disaster. But when I take the time to do the inner work of transforming energy, anger is the loam that nourishes seeds of creativity.

First, de-link the energy of anger from the mind by un-naming it, 'anger.' Then just feel its energy, as energy, in the body. Breathe through that energy and follow its pulsating sensations from the forehead to the throat, to the chest. Don't attempt to change it, just observe the sensations in the embrace of awareness.

I discover that anger, as anger, cannot thrive in the clear air of awareness. In that spaciousness, anger spontaneously unwinds its pent-up grief and lonliness, melting into useful energy, sparkling energy, delightful energy. I discover that what I called 'anger' was just a knot of empathy, too fearful to express itself.

When I follow anger inward to its source, it is love. Now I am ready to take action.

A Living Guru

Favorite Tree

My favorite tree, flower, fruit. I was climbing this tree in the garden of Eden when Adam's first wife, Lilith, picked an apple and ate it without guilt, without any "should" or "should not" in her mind. She immediately turned into a serpent with scarlet moth wings and started dancing on her tail. She became my guardian angel. I was an ape. Still am, mostly.

Renunciation of Attachment is Unnecessary

All through our religious history, we've been told to give up the things of this world, to renounce our desires and attachments. "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God..."

But you don't have to give up desire. Just meet the one who desires. You don't have to renounce your attachments, just get acquainted with the one who is attached. The radiance of your own pure awareness is more blissful than any experience your awareness could cling to.

With the fragrance of the Self, desire for the petals of the non-Self falls away naturally. Contentment arises through the agency of no other. Contentment has no content, but is consciousness alone.

This attrition of desire and attachment happens gradually over 7000 lifetimes, but the process is accelerated a thousand-fold by the practice of Transcendental Deep Meditation. Through the Master's grace, meditation grants unalloyed experience of ananda, the bliss-nectar of pure Being. Jai Guru Dev.

Many Candles, One Flame

A candle cannot light itself. But once lit, it lights other candles that come near. Enlight- enment is communicative, a community energized through satsang: not just truth, but truth shared. This is the difference between non-duality and solipsism.

It is our work, not my work. It is not the work of aloneness but the work of love. Love doesn't just melt me into the one; love melts us into the one. And the One becomes every drop.

Your dreams affect my dream, mine yours. Your awakening affects my awakening, mine
yours. We awaken each other, or dream each
other. The honey is not brewed by a single bee.

Irish Melody: St. Patrick's Day

Of all music, it is Irish melody that opens up my chest, not only with simple joy, but simple sadness. When I hear Irish music, I abandon the preference for light over darkness. My heart knows both Winter and Spring. Always, there are two seasons at the core of my healing.

Irish music tells me my tears are the dew that moistens the soil. Irish music tells me that each raindrop kissing the earth is a shattered globe, holding a mote of heartache. What use is a star that does not fall into a seed? Every blossom is a bleeding wound.

Enlightenment is not the end of grieving, but the stillness that contains it, allowing pain to be without edges. I am the sound of the ocean in a shell, rounding my luminous pearl from a grain of stone.

Sabbath Blessing

Attend to the blessing. This is your work today. 

Through these eyes, ears and nostrils, blessing flows inward from the dew spark on a thistle, throbbing fragrance of hyacinth, long-awaited April thrush. And through these eyes, ears, nostrils, blessing flows outward, the consecrated ointment of perception.

Both tides, subject and object, are the bubbling incandescence of an instant, dissolving in one sea of Self-Delight. You need not wait for the blessing. The blessing does not come from any master, or angel, or heaven above. Breathe blessing now. It wells up like a tear from within you, enclosing the universe in a drop of dew. You Are the blessing!

The blessing was always already here, in the beginning, before the Word, when the world arose from the clear blue sky of your own awareness. 

Din of Spring peepers in the wetland, pouring from the uncreated silence of your listening. Green tendrils of water lily, sprouting from the darkest ground of your stillness. Stars that seem beyond the moon, floating in abysmal mirrors of your chest - the perfect polished emptiness that hangs between breaths. 

When you awoke at first light, did the blessing not spill from your face, sprinkling the city with healing? When you opened your eyes, did you not anoint the sun, the snow-bright mountains, pearls of trillium in the cedar forest? 

Earth is bejeweled in the tincture of your amazement. Come a little nearer now. This is your work. Attend to the blessing. Watch where it begins. See the seer.

Gateh, Gateh, Para Gateh

Transcend thinking to sharpen the intellect. Go beyond
sensation to refresh the senses. Pass through the atomic
structure of the body, into the dimensionless vacuum,
to nourish every particle of flesh. Water the seed hidden
in dark loam, and leave the blossoming to sun and sky.
This is the dynamic secret of meditation.

"Gateh, gateh, para gateh,
parasam gateh, bodhi svaha!

"Gone, gone, gone beyond,
gone beyond the beyond: hail the Go-er!"

Does AM Need An I?

When we say, I Am, does the verb need a subject? Does Am need I?

To this question, one answers: ‘Yes, because an observer is required.’

Another replies: ‘No! You don't need an observer. The identification of pure consciousness with mind creates an I, and this I is confounded with consciousness. When the identification ceases, then there is pure consciousness but no I. Everything - objects, thoughts, feelings - remain as they are, but there is no I to claim these phenomena for itself. Then there is witnessing without a witness. For example, we say, "It is raining." But what “it” does the raining? There is no “it” that rains. Just raining.’

Both answers are correct.

Existence celebrates existence by observing its Self, delighting in its Self. Thus existence produces an I as its agency of Self-Delight.

This glorious dance of Self-observation is not a problem or a cause of ignorance. One dances as Two through the agency of a momentary I, and I am merely the play of consciousness with it Self.

The problem arises when I attempt to give myself duration, to fix I as a permanent construct, separate from what is observed.

Insisting on being a permanent I separates my life from the wholeness, the continuum of existence where subject and object are one field. That is when my suffering begins. I am haunted by the constant sense that something is broken, something is wrong, I am incomplete, I am a "sinner." And it is true: something is broken, for I have broken myself away from existence.

Why not let each momentary I be a snowflake, uniquely appearing, instantly dissolving? Can I be a sparkle of light on the ocean waves, dancing for this moment, then disappearing into radiance?

I am never one moment old. I keep dissolving like a spark into the fire. Yet the fire of the Self keeps dancing and generating new sparks of I. In this dance, there is absolutely no difference between creation and destruction.

That is Shiva's grace. Shiva becomes this sparkling I for an instant of perception, just to awaken again and recognize Himself through another. The dance of Shiva's Self-recognition and Self-annihilation is perpetual bliss, ananda.

Ananda is eternal, lasting less than an instant.

My Soul Mate Is My Soul


There is a Light in the mind that the mind cannot know, shining before knowledge. Can I taste this Light, which satisfies every kind of thirst - for wine, for caresses, for God?

Have I met this Light, who is the one Companion in all relationships? Have I wedded this Light, who awaits me in my heart, more intimate than me to myself? 

Have I gazed into the countenance of Christ, Krishna, Mother Divine, and seen that these are the rays of my innermost face?

I spent lifetimes searching for a soul mate, moving from lover to lover, guru to guru - which is the same quest - looking for the right person. Yet the right person dwelled in the core of my own chest, patiently abiding until the homecoming, longing for my longing to remember its source. In a thousand hints a day I denied my Beloved's whisper. Yet every leaf and raindrop spoke to me, "Dissolve your search in bewilderment! Embrace Me through whatever you perceive this moment, an apple bud whose seams are bursting, an earthworm turning through mud toward the galaxy of a dahlia bulb."

This is the secret: my soul mate is my soul. By being two, I awaken the one. By being one, I radiate the other.

Most of our relationships are just needs. One may feel, I need you. Or even, I need to be needed. But needing is not love. Love happens when the stream of need subsides in its spring. When one witnesses the motionless explosion of one's own heart, there is contentment. And the overflowing of that contentment is love. Until then, love cannot reveal itself unless love hides in its own shadow. That is the game love plays.

"For the God who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts with the light of the knowledge of divine glory, shining in the face of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6). This Christ face shines from my heart as my own Self.


 "Time is what keeps the light from reaching us. There is 
no greater obstacle to God than time..." ~Meister Eckhart

I'm pretty sure I won't be getting an Apple iWatch
in this lifetime: I gave up wrist watches years ago.
I'm going to wait until it actually does something new,
like show an icon of a door, which when you touch it
or whisper a secret bija into the mandala watch face,
becomes a portal to the center of the galaxy sucking
you in, transporting your whole body to a golden beach
by a shimmering emerald sea under the sapphire sky
on Brahma Loka, where Guru Dev is sipping soma
mai tai cocktails with little parasols sticking out of the ice.
Now that is a watch I would wind up and wear on my wrist!

Fallow Time

The unexpected holds infinitely more potential for the miraculous than the expected. I leave wild fallow acres of unplanned time in my schedule, Sabbath time, time for a butterfly to alight on a blossoming weed.


I confess that I have dropped out of all organizations, religious or secular, that preach the dogmas of the Left. This feels as wonderful as liberation from the dogmas of the Right. Freedom is the fresh air between thoughts. For me, the only political movement is the radical revolution of this breath.

As far as I can tell, the Left is a secular form of fundamentalism as dogmatic as the Right. Both Left and Right are so identified with anger, they wouldn't know who they are without it. 

Each side comforts itself by blaming the usual suspects, their favorite scape-goats, for all the problems of a world too complex for the mind to grasp. The Right blames government regulation; "foreign" religions (especially Islam); and the poor, particularly poor people of color.

Equally simplistic, the Left blames successful business entrepreneurs (evil capitalists); American foreign policy (which seems to cause all the violence on earth); and "white privilege," which is the original sin of being born Caucasian.

I thank God for delivering me from the bondage of political correctness! Many of us have freed ourselves from old religions. But now is the time to free ourselves from old politics.

Does this mean I am uncommitted? No, I commit to clarity. I commit to the generosity of Presence. I commit to a love that doesn't need to argue because it is empty enough to listen. Let my political home be the space that contains all all points of view, without being contained by any of them.

This space is compassion. We enter it by saying, "I don't know."

When thinking kills Silence, we have already 
planted the seed of war. When thinking dissolves 
into the Listener, we have already planted 
the seed of peace. And when the mind ceases all
resistance, chaos is stillness.

Only You

Our deepest dream is that someone else will take care of us. Waking is scary and marvelous. Then giving begins. The camellia blossoms in Winter. She is a wise flower. Either cry for milk, or become the breast. Be the Mother of your own heart. In the end, only you can take care of you.