Great Wheel

The universe is a Great Medicine Wheel, a Dharma Wheel of work
and sacrifice. To turn it, we have to give as well as take, and we must
empower givers. If one simply takes what is given for free, without
the opportunity to give back - through work, seva, and sacrifice - then
the mouth may eat but the soul will die.

Solve Me, Dissolve Me

I can never solve my problems, because the root problem is
the perennial discomfort of the I. Nor does it help to simply
drop my problems, because no matter how many problems
I drop, the weight of I still remains.

But while it is difficult to drop my problems, it is easy to drop
me. The ancient Rishi Ashtavkra summed up books of spiritual
instruction in two words: Layam vraja, "Dissolve now!'
(The Ashtavakra Gita)

Through the grace of the Master comes initiation into meditation.
Through meditation, "I" gracefully dissolve. Then there is a dance
of celebration. And in celebration, problems solve themselves.
It is a most beautiful path, because it is pathless.

Jai Guru Dev.

Between the Birds

When I wake up just before dawn, I don't listen to the birds. I listen
to the silence between the birds, the stillness overflowing with what
makes them sing. Returning to that sweet dark nectar at the source
of every breath makes me sing too. If we don't sing, the sun won't rise.


There is no need for argument.
'Right' and 'wrong' have both been
swallowed up by the heart.
Your very breath will guide you now.
Just bathe the world in the ocean of love

that rises and falls in your chest.
This is your majestic calling.


If I lay all the outrage of the world on one side of the scale, and a single
lightning bug lands on the other, Wonder would still outweigh Injustice.

The world is not divided into "good" and "evil." Chaos and beauty are
not two. Therefor I will never bring healing to the world as an intellect
who stands in judgment over against it, dividing "right" from "wrong."
Any world I could possibly know is a wholeness that includes the knower.

The solution to every conflict is Presence. I heal the world when I own it
as my Self. All of it: not just the unfolding of its gentlest flower, but the
bursting flame of its most terrible tragedy.

The moment I embrace the whole, a silence is born that encircles the
opposites. A stillness surrounds every battle. That stillness, in the heat
of the conflict, is compassion. Then I see that every event is a dissolving
breath, an invitation to astonishment. 

May you sleep like an empty wine-stained cup under the black canopy of
night, undisturbed by the violence at the heart of every beautiful star.


Yoga is not a posture or an exercise. Yoga is dissolving into the sun,
melting into the radiance of who you really are. All these mental
torments and anxieties depart the moment you become thankful for
this breath. To be infinitely grateful for a single inhalation is true Yoga.

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,
Wherever you are now, thank you for this visit in 1984, on the porch
in our first house in Germantown, Philadelphia, when our baby Abby
was born. I remember how wonderful I felt in your presence that day,
sharing finally the mysterious grace and helplessness of fatherhood.

Pop Pop, you were awesome and cantankerous, infuriating and loveable.
Even though you were a white American male, you were a good man,
and I have decided not to blame you for all the sins of the world.

Your most wonderful quality was this: you stopped trying to figure me out.
You gave me permission to be whoever I might become. In your presence,
I never had to be you. I could make mistakes.

Where you are right now, I have no idea. But I bow down in gratitude.
Thank you for me. Thank you for my children. Thank you for my ancestors.
Thank you for the seed of Life, the vector of time, the momentum of
eternal becoming.

Thank you for your rough care. Thank you for your wondrous manly
incapacity to be cruel. You were irascible, but you never hit me. You never
spanked me. Your chastisement was fair. You were always there to come
home to. No matter how far I wandered away, you threw a feast for me.

Perhaps you have dispersed into cosmic dust. That's OK, I still feel you
all around me. I still bow down to you. I honor you as sunlight falling
on my brow. I worship you as rain, nurturing the roots of my food.

I venerate you as soil under my feet, remembering the enormous green
zuccini squashes of your garden in July, and the terrible bread you tried
to make out of them. It was bread kneaded by big clumsy hands of
unconditional love.

You are the air in my lungs. You are the taste of amber ale, the crunch
of peanuts, the cheer of a triple hit by Richie Ashburn on Saturday night
in Connie Mack Stadium, 1957. You are the haunting sound of an
Evinrude outboard engine fading across a still cove on a humid morning
in the Chesapeake Bay. You will return to take me on a fishing trip.

I know that my breath contains atoms of your body, mingled with atoms
breathed by fathers in the Congo, in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, fathers in El
Salvador and Vietnam; atoms breathed by black and brown fathers, by
slaves and kings, by Jesus and Buddha; and it is your breath, still
circulating through the stars. Father, you have no edges.

Thank you. I love you. It goes without saying. But I want to say it.
                                                                                    Your son,

Mid-Summer's Eve

I live in a land of peace and beauty. When I need to be reminded of this,
I just turn off the internet, step outside in my bare feet, and look at these
flowers in my back yard. The golden ones are just weeds. But they too
have their blossoms.

Tonight, I'm sure that elves and elemental spirits will ring-dance here,
while in the black sky above, still tinged with turquoise at 10 PM,
Venus will dance with Jupiter, sipping from the cup of the New Moon.
It is Mid-Summer's Eve.

Tomorrow is the Solstice, the longest brightest day. It's also Father's Day,
when people will bathe me in love I did nothing to deserve. I will accept it.
Tomorrow, June 21, is also the International Day of Yoga, when we can
celebrate our wholeness as one human family. Let every barefoot step you
take upon the green earth be a prayer. Om shantih, shantih, shantih.

Photo: my back yard, taken by my daughter, Abby

There Is No Other

This is the only commandment: don't 'other' anyone.

The most painful yet most healing embrace: there is no other.

The murderer is not other, the racist is not other, the oppressor is not other,
the rich not other than me.

The immigrant is not other, the stranger is not other, the poor and homeless
not other than me.

The Christian is not other, the Muslim is not other, the wholly Other
not other than me.

Earth is not other, new moon is not other, sun is not other, night not other,
Beloved not other than me.

Take courage, dear heart, see others as waves of your Self, reflections in the
mirror of your own pure consciousness.

Love the other as yourself, because the other is your Self.

Take courage, dear heart, see those who are hardest to love as rejected shadows,
cast by the Light you refuse to embrace as your own divine Radiance.

What is the difference if we say, "Om shantih, shantih, shantih,"
or, "There is no other, no other, no other"?


Your Radiance

We are one earth family, the human branch of an extended family that inhabits
billions of galaxies. We were born for ennobling challenge, not petty conflict.

Conflict arises only because we forfeit our cosmic birthright, and identify with
boundaries of tribe, race, nation and religion, which are merely projections of
the little ego and its mental constructs. In fact, humans are spiritually empowered
as individuals, not groups.

Each one of us is a diamond microcosm of divine wholeness. The vibrations that 
emanate from our heart pervade the entire universe. Love is our very nature. 
Why not shed this withered skin, and emerge as a rainbow of star song?

International Day of Yoga, June 21: LINK 


Through healing breath and meditation, cleanse the heart of bitterness,
cynicism and judgment. Discover the divine beauty that is the true
nature of your own awareness.  

When you radiate beauty from your very Self, you see beauty all 
around you, and serve that beauty in others. As you Are, so the world 
appears. This is the real meaning of Yoga.

International Day of Yoga, June 21, proclaimed by the United Nations:

Plunge into the Sea of Unbelieving

"I do not cease swimming in the sea of love,
rising with the wave, then descending.
Now the wave sustains me, then I sink beneath it.
Love bears me away where there is
no longer any shore." ~Al Halaj

In the actual world, conflict does not exist. Creation is a perfect ocean of energy, dissolving and recreating its forms in waves that flow within the motionless whole, un-caused and absolutely one. Where is the conflict?

Thought superimposes duality onto the One in order to nourish the hungry mind, which sustains itself on conflict. The mind insists on being "right." Being "right" is the addiction, the rush, of the mind. But to be "right," the mind needs a "wrong" against which it can argue. Thus the mind needs conflict to feel alive.

To be free of conflict would destroy our mind, our belief system. For the mind, the end of conflict is "the end of the world." Mind symbolizes this "end time" through apocalyptic religious imagery. What these visions really describe is not the end of the world, but the end of our world-view. The Apocalypse does not annihilate the earth, but our interpretation of it. Armageddon is the silencing of our thoughts. The armies of light and darkness clash and dissolve, because duality is over.

If you want peace, refrain from solidifying a permanent belief in anything. Plunge naked into this sea of energy without an interpretation. As if you have already drowned, flow as a current of exhilaration, a sparkling wave of Shakti in the silent bliss of Shiva, who is pure awareness.

Freed from all opinions, live in perfect agreement. Say "Yes" to everything that Is. How could it be otherwise? Give up being "right." A newborn child, a wayfaring fool, a breeze in the sky, a mushroom in the forest, whose roots are also the roots of all other trees, you are the stillness that enfolds the battle, you are the silence that pervades the babble of the marketplace. Conflict simply does not exist, because you don't think it.

When we plunge into the sea of unbelieving, awareness becomes clear and empty, like purest glass. Senses sharpen. Conflict dissolves by itself. Liberated from every belief, how can we possibly wish harm to any creature?

"This sounds dangerous!" you say. "It sounds like becoming a fool!"

Yes, exactly. The Bible itself says, "the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men" (1 Corinthian 1:25).

Awakening is risky. Your nostrils will flare and you will be a panther sensing the wind. Your spine will rise and undulate like a cobra. You will open as a rose and release your fragrance to the whole garden. You won't have edges.  You will be response-able. Able to respond, not out of your past, not out of your story, to imaginary characters, projections of your fear and desire. But to the face of divine Presence scintillating in every creature.

You will perform the most dangerous, wonderful, salvific act: to refrain from believing.

Photo by George Karbus

Natural Sadhana

~What spiritual practice can anyone enjoy, anywhere at any time, 
without depending on a religion, a teacher, or a belief?

Place mind in breath, and breath in heart, surrendering every effort 
to know anything other than the Presence of this moment.

~If the answer is so simple, then why is there so much stress and violence 
in the world?

Stress and violence are not caused by 'evil ones,' but by people who can't 
enjoy themselves. They can't enjoy Being because they are busy striving 
to be more than they are, better than they are, other than they are.

Such people are very idealistic. Have you noticed that those with the 
highest ideals and deepest beliefs cause war and oppression? We make 
war on others when we are at war with our own hearts. 

If we cannot accept ourselves with unconditional love, we strive to be 
someone more than we are, someone greater than ourselves. This very
striving causes stress in the whole structure of human consciousness, the 
underlying fabric of the world. Earth would be at peace right now if we all
stopped trying to be somebody else.

~Then what is the greatest service I can give humanity?

To embrace yourself. Give grace and beauty to the world by simply 
being You this very moment. Commit to your deepest, most natural joy.
You will share it with others through every smile, every glance of your
sparkling eyes. 

Please don't be divided by the effort to become someone else, someone 
'better'. Hugging yourself with limitless Being makes this ordinary day a 
miracle, turning boredom and discontentment to wonder. Follow your 
true nature. Be wonderful.

Compassion Fatigue Does Not Come From Compassion

You can't practice compassion, because compassion is not a technique. 
Compassion either arises or it doesn't. You can't conjure it up. In fact, 
compassion more likely arises when you're not trying to be compassionate.

This is why Jesus said, "When you give to the poor, don't let your left hand
know what your right hand is doing." And according to the Sutras, Buddha 
said, "When the Bodhisattva performs compassionate service, there is no 
concept of 'compassionate service.'"

People who pride themselves on being social activists sometimes complain 
of "compassion fatigue." But our burn-out never results from too much 
compassion. It results from too much trying, too much effort to mimic 
what we imagine compassionate people must do.

The greater spiritual practice is just to let the moment Be, without attempting 
to become anyone more noble, anyone more selfless, anyone other than we are. 
If we act spontaneously from Presence, compassion will arise without practice.

Acting From Stillness

We don't need more activism. We need more awareness.

Awareness doesn't have to shout, protest, march in the street, or engage in violent confrontation. Awareness chooses the right word, spoken quietly at the right moment, to penetrate the darkness and open the heart.

Awareness acts so gently yet decisively that things seem to happen by themselves. Awareness inspires an innocent breath of change that sets off a chain reaction of creative acts. Hardly anyone notices the one who spoke that Word or breathed that Breath, but the world was turned in a new direction. The true "activist" acts without acting, through silent awareness, remaining in the field of the anonymous, whence creation arises.

This is the essential teaching of the greatest masters, whether of the East or the West. Laot'zu taught "wei wu wei": doing through non-doing. Far from being a passive approach, this teaching spawned the martial arts, which is highly effective action expending a minimum of effort.

In the Bhagavad Gita 4:18, Krishna says: "One who sees action in stillness and stillness in action, truly sees." And Jesus said, "Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these" (Luke 12:27).

Our nation is already hyper-active, hoarse with shouting, over-organized, and stressed out with angry protest. Yet all this exertion is leading us nowhere. Angry "movements" come and go, yet little seems to change. Why?

Because we have not learned to incorporate the field of Silence into the field of action. We have not learned to lay the foundation of daily activity with deep meditation.

Mahesh Yogi's favorite line from the Gita was, "Yoga-stah karu-karmani," which means, "Established in the field of Yoga, harmony and peace, perform action." Meditation is not an escape from action, but a preparation for more dynamic action: doing less to accomplish more.

Jai Guru Dev

The Choice

Human life is a simple but momentous choice: whether to be in conflict or beauty.

Our awareness cannot be in conflict and beauty at the same time, for beauty
is wholeness, conflict is duality.

Mature awareness dwells in beauty, embracing opposites in the glow of paradox.

But Awareness that cannot endure the pain and beauty of paradox, sees only division,
duality: things must be "right" or "wrong."

Beauty enfolds conflict in something more vast, a space of healing and forgiveness. 
There is no beauty in conflict, but in what embraces the conflict.

I am a damned fool. I choose beauty. I choose to see through the eye of the heart.
I agree with Dostoyevsky's idiot, Prince Myshkin: "Beauty will save the world."

(Photo by my beautiful daughter, dahlias on her her patio)