Peace

In the coming year, you may not bring world peace, but you may bring a healing light to the person right beside you. Walk gently. Go joyfully. Keep returning to your heart. That is enough.

Shabbat Shalom

Shabbat Shalom. Peace of the Sabbath to you. In Hebrew, Sabbath means "stop!" So I tried to stop my mind, but I couldn't. I'm sorry. Forgive me. I can't stop.

I let my mind wander among the stars to the rim of the nebula, beyond blackness, always moving toward Uncreated Wonder. When I arrive at any Edge, I jump off. What a holy Fall!

Perfect meandering in all directions at once is meditation. The mind that gets lost in the infinite is called The Heart.

The absolute stillness of chaos is born of non-resistance, which has nothing to do with concentration. It is just the opposite: the grace that is out of control.

Let your un-diagnosed adult ADHD attain the Sabbath rest. This is Divine Love. You arrive here by caring, but not trying.

Now get on with the silent, fragrant, thousand-petaled explosion of your emptiness.


Photo: Hubble photo of "Star-Forming Region 30 Dorodus"

Awareness Is Why

Only an embodied being can experience transcendental pure awareness, because the disembodied are too entranced, having no contrasting experience of the material world.

This is the inestimable value of a human birth. For it is only through the contrast of spirit and matter that the Self can awaken, and it is in this earthly body that we experience the paradox: both matter and spirit are made out of the same essence, which is pure Awareness.
Awareness is not thought, but thought arises and dissolves as the content of Awareness. Awareness itself is ever free from concepts and images. Awareness is unbounded, self-effulgent, shining with crystalline light, whose nature is ananda, bliss. In the mirror of pure Awareness, this entire creation appears as an uncaused reflection that is not composed of anything else.

Nor is awareness a product of material particles interacting in the neurons of the brain. Quite the contrary: material particles are vibrations of pure Awareness. Quantum physics verifies that the physical universe is made out of no-thing but "fluctuations in the vacuum." Yet the vacuum is awake: it is pure Awareness. And on this ocean of Awareness, universes appear and dissolve as bubbles.

Our waking world, our dream world, and even the black void of our deepest sleep, are ripples in a clarity that never slumbers. Awareness is the witness of birth and death.

But Awareness has a secret dynamism: the relationhip of Awareness aware of its Self. This transcendental relationship, Awareness of Awareness, is the inner space that creates the universe of subjects and objects.

Awareness is not One, but a Holy Trinity. Awareness is Love in Love with Love.  In the Vedic science, this inner Trinity is called Sat-Chit-Ananda. "Sat" is Being, the substance of the objective world. "Chit" is Consciousness, the subject. "Ananda" is Bliss, the ecstatic energy of Subject and Object meeting and dissolving into each other. 

The universe arises from this inner Self-relation of Sat, Chit, and Ananda. Thus the seed of all subject-object experiences in the world is transcendentally located, prior to creation, in pure Awareness.

The entire drama of creation, fall, and redemption, is just the story of Awareness. Awareness becomes separate from its Self, overcomes the duality, and reunites with its Self, for the sake of Love.

What are all these galaxies, worlds, atoms, aeons, lifetimes and infinitesimal moments, but Shiva making love to Parvati through the fire of Awareness? What is all this but Christ embracing the Magdalene in the bridal chamber of the Heart?

Again and yet again, through countless perceptions, countless dissolving kisses of subject and object, Love realizes its Self in the fragrance of a rose, the glimmer of a dragonfly's wing, the song of a thrush, the taste of the Beloved's lips...
And so, through every taste of the ordinary, we encounter the miraculous. Our wonder heals the world.

Unmoved Mover

Aristotle said that God is "The Unmoved Mover" (ὃ οὐ κινούμενος κινεῖ).
Aristotle was actually describing the Witness, who is more inward to us than our very mind, ever silent and awake, shining through us in the midst of the busiest activity. The Unmoved Mover is pure Awareness.

When I was hanging out in Trappist monasteries in France we sang this ancient Latin hymn, 'Rerum Deus' by St. Ambrose, at interludes between hours of manual labor. Ambrose based his conception of God here on Aristotle's Unmoved Mover.


'O God, creation’s secret force,
Thyself unmoved, all motion’s source,
Who from the morn till evening ray
Through all its changes guid’st the day'

When Raphael painted Aristotle's Unmoved Mover on the wall of the Pope's apartment at the Vatican in 1518 (pictured above), he portrayed God as a woman, setting the wheel of the zodiac in motion. In the Biblical tradition, this Unmoved Mover and ever-silent Witness of action is Hochmah in Hebrew, Sophia in Greek. She is the feminine divine, the womb of creativity.

May all of us find the immovable silence at the center of our turning; for great music, great poetry, great acts of peace making, come from that stillness. This is my prayer for the new year.

Moment of Solstice

The precise moment of solstice is Wednesday, December 21, 5:44 a.m. EST (2:44 a.m. Pacific time). At this instant, the whirling stars invite us to meditate, to meditate and taste, through the sacrament of the macrocosm, what is actually available in every breath...

You are the hub of the wheel. You dwell at the center of all that turns. The still point is everywhere, because its circumference is boundless. Here you may repose in the heart's silence, and be free from the endless karmic cycle, the world-anxiety of action and reaction.
This transcendental awareness is called 'Turiya' in the Upanishads, the thought-free state that is more intimate than waking, dreaming, or deep sleep, and nearer to you than the mind itself. One moment of this heart-silence frees you, along with generations of ancestors, from a mountain of weary weight.

Jesus said, "my kingdom is not of this world," even as he moved through the troubles of outward circumstance. Yes, your core of Christ-consciousness is in the world, but not of the world. The silence at the center of the spinning does not spin.

At the solstice pause, drink from an infinite stillness where everything is washed in rebirth. Enter this brief portal and fall into eternity. Listen to the unstruck gong of the void, the germ of every song of joy.

And never doubt that the solstice repose of light in the womb of divine darkness is the outward sign of a Mystery whose seed lies buried between your every sigh and inhalation. What is the cosmos but the radiant expansion of your own breathing?

Vespers

You are not here to let bad news weigh you down, or let heavy clouds overshadow you. You are here to irradiate the earth, to lighten its burden, and to outshine creation.

The uncreated radiance that outshines creation is not from above, but from within. It shines from your own heart-center. This is your work. Don't wait for peace. Don't pray for happiness. You are peace on earth. You are joy to the world.

Nothing can rob you of this fiery connection to your heart, except your choice to believe in the anxious thoughts of your mind. If you attend to the chatter that the spinning world feeds you, rather than feeling the silence at your core, whose choice is that? Who is guiding your destiny?

Let your attention sink from head to hridaya. This is the most ancient form of meditation. The beginning and end of all spiritual practice is to rest the mind in the heart.

Then listen. Listening is stillness. Listening sweeps the mind clear and awakens Presence.

There is no need to transit through a hierarchy of ascended masters, angels, initiations, or spiritual techniques. What did Jesus say? "You ARE the light." (Mat 5:14) You have immediate access to the radiance of the Divine, because That is your being. Touch your heart with this breath. Repose in the kingdom.

De Profundis

The Winter solstice is my favorite holiday of the year. Its message is symbolized by so many great festivals of midnight tree lighting, candle lighting, heart lighting...

This is the time when we have no choice but to Fall, to descend into the shadow and honor the night. Holy night is the Mother of stars. And She is the night in our own heart. We should never be afraid of the dark. Darkness is not the opposite of light, but the womb of light.

As the rose grows from composted loss, so the dark night of our soul gives birth to radiance, but only when we embrace the depth without trying to rise, or ascend to a "higher" state. "De profundus: out of the depths" (Psalm 130). Out of the depths I not only cry, but awaken.

Find the Center

It's not so important whether you are white or black or brown, whether you are gay or straight or transgendered, whether you come from a Muslim or a Jewish or a Hindu background. Just enter the circle from any direction you choose and find the center.

Find the divine essence that makes us all human. For when we awaken the heart, our differences sparkle like multilayered petals on a golden dahlia. But when we focus only on our differences, they divide us, we scatter, the circle is broken.

Do we not share the same blood, breathe the same breath, drink one water, grow food from one soil? Do we not dwell together on the same earth?

The full moon unites us in its silent glow. The reborn sun warms every atom of our sacred flesh. One race, humanity. One God, the light in the heart.

And though it may shine like a rainbow through billions of rays, there is only one religion - love.


Painting: Full Moon Solstice Mandala by Caterina Martinico

Call To Action?

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


In an already too busy culture, we constantly call one another to action. But do we call one another to the source of action?

Action that arises from the chattering mind has a completely different quality than action arising from inner silence. Deep action is not a re-action. Deep action is not other than stillness. Deep action does not come from belief or ideology, hope or regret, but from Presence.

Awaken to Presence, then see what happens, and what doesn't happen.

Winter Rose

December 13 and the rose on my porch is still hanging in there. Here's to all of you roses in Winter, still spreading your beauty in a dark time. That is why you're here. Thank you. Have a blessed Solstice.

Wings of Love

Intimacy does not dissolve boundaries. Intimacy requires boundaries. Love does not erase our limitations. They become translucent. Let love illuminate your wounds, your darkest lines. Learn from the dragonfly, whose wings are precisely defined by the sunlight passing through them.

Painting: 'Shiva Dancing' by Cynthia Rose Young

In A Relationship?

Krishna and Radha appear as two, Lover and Beloved. Yet they are one self-referential whole. She is longing and He is fulfillment. Implying each other, creating each other, vibrating within  each other, they are "Bhedabheda," which in Sanskrit means, "two and not two."
The mystery of Radha-Krishna is your own astonishing Self-awareness. Perhaps you yearn to be "in a relationship," but the truth is, you are never in a relationship. Relationship is in you. You are the continuum of the heart-space in whom all relationships arise and dissolve.

So when you feel this yearning, just become the yearning; let it flow like a river to the sea of your heart.=

The beginning and end of all spiritual practice is to rest in the heart, where stillness delights in the dance of multiplicity without ever actually becoming two. This is the fullness of Radha-Krishna.
Rest as the vastness in whose depth there is no other. For here, both "I" and "Thou" are waves on the ocean of your Being.

You need a soulmate? By the hundreds, by the millions, your soulmates sparkle and dissolve all around you. As they arrive, say farewell. As they depart, greet them.
Everybody you meet is a deeper revelation of who you are. This is true intimacy: a love that welcomes the otherness of its own self-revelation, without needing or clinging.

You grow intimate with all creatures when you are acquainted with your Being. Ever at home in the ground of silence, you are never alone. Your silence regenerates the whole creation. Don't take anyone's word for it. Find out through deep meditation.


Holiday Gift Idea



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The Blessing Of Opposites

Where opposites are polarized, humanity is blessed. I once heard my teacher say, "Heaven and Hell are all around you: take your pick." This is truer now than ever before on this planet. This is the best time to leap out of old patterns and gain liberation from the bondage of duality.
What is the sign of liberation? Perceiving the dance of opposites as a single field of energy, and not as a conflict.

For every hellish event that happens, somewhere on earth heaven is breaking through. The discerning heart remembers that only in a polarized world is the evolution of consciousness possible. Here only can we get unstuck, for when we try to grasp at anything, its antithesis arises.

Only here can we learn the secret: we are the creators. When we identify with the violence and conflict the media keep feeding us, we are co-creating that world. In fact, some political activists would rather sustain conflict than solve it, because the sense of "us" vs. "them" feeds the "i".

But we can also choose the miracles of love that blossom on this planet. Gently favor them, without clinging. Let slip away the shadows of despair. Where our attention goes, there is our reality. Or as Jesus put it, "Where your treasure is, there shall your heart be also."

It takes no creativity to identify with the ugly husk of the old order that is fading away. The sweet fruit is layered a little deeper inside. Look just beneath the surface. Truth loves hide and seek.

Where doubt and fear dissolve, a New Earth emerges within the rough rind of the old. Faith discerns in the luminous albumen of spiritual energy what will soon be born as matter. Spring is latent in Winter. Just so, the future hides in the seed of Presence, wrapped in the chaff of the past. We are invited to love a better world into incarnation.

Can you not taste the honey between the cells? Darkness is the womb of light. Let your heart be a prism to radiate the healing rainbow. Hold up your Self of crystal to the night. Only then will the ray descend.

"Loka Samastha Sukinao Bhavantu." May the whole world be filled with happiness. This ancient Sanskrit prayer is our invocation to ourselves.

"I" Love Conflict

We will never solve a conflict until we observe the part of our own self that loves conflict, identifies with conflict, and builds it's "i" out of conflict. To "i"-dentify with the conflict lets us play the victim, the martyr, and the hero. As political activists, we would often rather sustain a conflict than solve it, because our "i" is fed by the sense of "us" vs. "them."

Even the worst human being carries a good seed, a seed that flowers when nurtured with our positive energy. On the other hand, even the best of us carries a vicious seed, whose shadow we project onto others so we won't have to embrace it as the hurt part of our self.

What good does it do to hate people on the other "side"? Better to dissolve the polarity of "us" and "them." Bathing people in our hatred and distrust only brings out the worst in them, but bathing them in the light of our goodwill awakens their better angel. Here's a radical idea: Love your enemies. But I actually think somebody already said that.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving. If you want to be happy, be thankful. If you want to be thankful, just remember that the world is made of very little things. Now breathe into your heart one small creature, one tiny blessing for which you are grateful, and you will radiate healing through every cell in your body. Who knows? Perhaps through every particle of earth, and the ocean of stars.

What Is


"To see we must forget the name of the thing
we are looking at." ~Claude Monet


What happens, happens. That is all. A flower of energy in the void,  incomprehensibly sacred, with absolutely no "meaning."

The mind makes up a story about it, superimposing its melodrama onto this marvelous dance of unfathomable suchness.

Yet, however heroic or tragic, our story can never be as extraordinary as what actually IS.

What is, disguised in the form the present moment, is the formless infinitude of Being, arising in ever-dissolving splendor as a portal of liberation.

But instead of stepping through the portal, we resist it. We want to change this moment, reform it, and redesign its Presence to fit our story.

Which of course is impossible, because Presence cannot be "fixed." It is always already happening.

Have you ever asked, "What would the world be like if I welcomed this moment, without copying and pasting my drama over it?"

Perhaps Winter would come, then Spring. A raindrop might be a raindrop, shaking the stars. The owl crying in the forest at night, nothing but the mystery of itself. Every breath a mysterious gift.

Flow



Sakyamuni Buddha taught that there are four great human virtues: sitting, standing, walking, lying down.
All other virtues arise from these four,  because right action flows spontaneously from a relaxed and natural body.

To relax is the most radical teaching, the most revolutionary commandment.
When we truly relax, without falling asleep, something quite profound happens. All that is compassionate, all that is healing, flows from that restful alertness.
What could be easier than to relax? Yet it is difficult for most of us. And even when we do, we fall asleep. Then we cannot taste our own delicious Being, the source of every virtue.

Why can't the body relax? Because the mind is not relaxed. Why can't the mind relax? Because the “I” won't relaxed. Why can't "I" relax? Because the ego can’t say, “I don’t know.”

Why can't the ego say, “I don’t know”? Because "I" won't stop clinging to opinions. Why won't "I" stop clinging to opinions? Because "I" fear Emptiness.

Why am "I" afraid of Emptiness? Because "I" resist death. Why do "I" resist death? Because death is boundless.
Why fear boundlessness, which is simply returning to the natural condition? Because the Infinite loves to frolic and play, and "I" am afraid to frolic and play.

Why? Because to frolic and play, the Void needs a body. Am "I" afraid to be in a body?
Now here is the problem. Spiritual seekers resist embodiment, believing that the body is an obstacle to liberation. They say that, to realize the One, it is necessary to know, "I am not this body." Yet this distinction between "I" and "the body" is the very duality they claim to transcend.

How could those who
fear the body, deny the body, and seek separation from the body, ever relax and be natural?

O friend, your body is
the Buddha-nature at play. Your body is none other than the Void, and the Void is none other than your body.

Every photon of your body is the sparkling effulgence of ever-expanding bliss. Every atom of your body contains the spaciousness beyond the galaxies. The vastness of your body is not limited by any phenomenon that whirls within it. Your body has no edges; it just ripples out in ever more subtle fractals, touching the most distant stars. Even your pain is a fierce contraction of the formless, calling your attention to the bliss solidified in its sensation.

O friend, if you resist your own body, you fear everything that happens. But if you welcome your body, just as it arises this moment, you are a Warrior of the Dance. You fear nothing.

Relax into your body. Be natural.


Solidify Your Being

Material forms can never be solidifed. Mental concepts can never be solidfied. Yet we keep trying to hold onto our bodies and thoughts.
The body is made of fleeting evanescent particles, ever dissolving into the vacuum. The mind is made of passing thoughts, and even our most cherished beliefs disappear as soon as we fall asleep. Yet humans cling to the body and mind as if they were real, without attending to the firm foundation of this inconstant life: their own Being.

The creature changes and passes away, but the Being of the creature is un-created and immutable. Un-created Being bestows existence on the creature, and pervades each fleeting moment of time as an eternal Presence.

How can the Un-created bestow existence on the creature? Through the breath of love. In the Indian tradition this breath is Shakti, the energy flowing into Prakriti, the material creation, from the Purusha, the unmanifest Shiva-consciousness. In the Western tradition this breath is the Holy Spirit. The breath of Spirit-Shakti intimately partakes of both natures, soul and body, creator and creature. And that is why, even in our own experience of meditation, breath is the link between soul and body.

For too long humanity has been entangled and identified with bodily sensations and thoughts, completely unaware of the source that lies beyond mind and body. Yet the source is more intimate to us than our own bodies, our own minds, because the source is Being itself.

We have been living in exile from what is nearest to us, and dwelling in what is most distant...

We inhabit a crumbling cardboard shack swarming with flies; yet our shack is built on an enormous diamond. We keep swatting the flies and bemoaning the collapse of our hut, without noticing the diamond that could bring us immeasurable and immediate wealth.

This mind is a swarm of flies, this body a crumbling hut. Yet our Being, which we mistake for an abstraction without substance, is in fact the real and changeless foundation of our lives. Instead of wasting our energy grasping at material forms and swatting at mental concepts, let us turn our attention to the very ground of existence. For when we pay attention to it, Being solidifies.

Solid as diamond, Being outlasts and outshines all mental concepts, all material forms. To experience the reality of Being as our own awakened essence, is bliss. No other joy, whether of mind or body, can compare to the bliss of Being. And no other service we do is as useful as the work of awakening. For whatever path other humans may follow, we solidify the very ground they walk on when we touch the depth of Being. 

The material world is quite shaky now, the human mind even shakier. It is time for those who hear this inner call to awaken the power of Being.

How do we do this work? Breathe out and let the body rest. Breathe in and sweep the mind silent, until, without concept or form, you awaken the jewel of Self-Radiance. Relinquishing sensation and thought, taste the unbounded stillness of your source, and simply let awareness be aware of awareness. This is meditation. Meditation solidifies Being.

Unlink Your Pain From Its Story

Perhaps you are working through a tough story. A story of loss, victimhood, shame, craving, betrayal, abuse. It hurts. So your mind keeps repeating the story in hope of finding some relief. And you assume, as we all do, that by repeating the story in your mind, and acting it out again and again in your body, you will eventually change the ending...

Yet it never changes, does it? You think the story is over. Then something happens in the world that triggers your outrage. And if something triggers your out-rage, the in-rage must already be there, just waiting to be triggered.

Every time you tell the story, or re-act it out, you get even more chained to the past in an endless loop. This is the wheel of karma.
Is there freedom from the wheel? Yes. This is the Good News. Yet freedom from the past never lies in a higher world, a savior, an esoteric doctrine. Freedom from the past lies in one place only: the present moment.

Your story is a boat of pain, a vehicle of suffering. But please observe: while the story is always in the past, the pain is in the present. That is why, every time you repeat the story, it feels so real. You are feeling pain in the present, through the images of the past, held together by a narrative in the mind.

Now here is the open secret: Instead of repeating the story over and over, just tell it more deeply, and enter its pain. Enter the pain so deeply that the story drops away, and only the pain remains. Then you are in the present, not with any story, but with the living energy of your pain.

Do not resist the pain. Just cease to tell a story about. Breathe through the pain and unlink it from any image in the memory. Feel the pain as nameless sensation. Let it swallow you in its darkest void. This is courage.

If you follow your pain all the way into the void, remaining present to it without a story, something wondrous and graceful happens. And it happens in the Now, without the slightest reference to the past. When you drop the story of your pain, your pain blossoms into pure energy.

Now your suffering flowers into something that is no longer suffering, something dynamic that is no longer stuck in a mental repetition of the past, no longer bound to a story. Your pain is free.

Are you listening? It is not simply that you are free, but that your pain is free! In fact, you are free because you pain is free of its story. You can breathe it out.

Let your pain flower into the sparkling energy of Presence, the radiance of pure awareness. 




Compassion Time

With every tear, your core becomes stronger. In the midst of grief, feel the silence within you solidify. You are a survivor. You are the inalienable light of the Self. Now breathe your power into the heart of a friend. It's compassion-time. No need to blame others. Just serve others, until you see that there is no other.

Witness the Whirlwind




Witness the whirlwind. The whirlwind of thought, emotion, and action. Can you find a "do-er" doing it all? Is there an "I" at the center of the storm? Or is the eye of the storm a wondrous silence, the silence of the witness?

We forfeit this birthright of divine silence because we insist on forming concepts and holding points of view. As soon as we have a point of view, we lose the energy of the infinite, shackling our infinite space in a self-created enclosure.

What happens when we cease enclosing space? There is no center. And with no center, there is no left or right. In order to form a concept that we feel right about, as opposed to wrong, we must first create and hold an enclosed space in the boundless space of our own consciousness. We must form a point of view in pointless awareness. Only then do left and right, right and wrong, have any meaning. Take away the point and the boundaries that enclose it, and infinite space has no center to be on the left or right of.

We waste so much energy creating these enclosures, so that we may hold onto concepts, beliefs, opinions. Every time we form a concept, we must form the contextual enclosure that makes it right or wrong. But this is a futile act of consciousness in the infinite space of consciousness. It is like trying to draw shapes in the water of the sea.

The boundaries of a concept are imaginary. Why form them at all? Do you have to be right or wrong? Do you need a point to be to the right or left of?

Infinite awakened space is your real nature. You are the boundless sky. This absolutely still, absolutely clear sky only appears to take shape and move as a mirage. Yet within the boundary and movement of the mirage the sky actually remains formless and still.

Up until now you have been playing the bondage game. The bondage game was the game of creating conceptual boundaries, getting stuck in them, then feeling the need to put them into action in order to break out of them.

But when you finally weary of the bondage game, you discover a more exquisite form of play, a new game: the liberation game.

You play the liberation game by refraining from forming a concept. You refrain from getting stuck in any mind-created boundary. Then there is no need to act out, for there is no concept to act on.

As the player of the liberation game, you are simply vigilant. And as the vigilant witness, you live in constant delight. Why? Because, in the vast space of your awareness, whose very vastness is the nature of bliss, you have inserted no point that needs to be defended. And with the discovery that you need not be to the right or left of any point, you are constantly delighted by boundlessness.

Just keep inquiring, "Why do I need to be right or wrong about this?"

The ultimate activism is to refrain from falling into a concept. Of course, this act of refraining from concepts is not doing, but non-doing, which provides abundant free energy to use in simply being aware.

So as the player of the liberation game, by ceaselessly offering and letting go of the need to form concepts, you are perpetually replenishing your supply of free energy, not as form, but as the unending infusion of sparkling awareness.

The point of the liberation game is constant awakening. This means witnessing the infinite play of energy in stillness. The bondage game was a game about doing. The liberation game is a game about refraining. And the more you refrain, the more you delight, until finally you do nothing and accomplish everything.

The truth is, no one really does anything. The One is simply happening, in countless fractals of its Self.

The winner of the liberation game competes with no one, wins nothing, and has no point of view. She is like the wind moving in the sky.

Existence is pointless. To see this is not to fall into despair, but to experience boundless delight in all phenomena, without judging one as superior to another.

Perpetual delight is not an achievement or a reward. It is merely the inherent nature of the Witness, pure consciousness, who is utterly still in the midst of activity, and utterly boundless in the midst of the world's boundaries.

You are the victor! Now you delight in exuberant waves of form, arising and dissolving in the ocean of the formless, without leaving any conceptual residue in your mind.

This is your work: to bestow your delight upon all creatures as you delight in them. And this perpetual bestowal of delight is love.

Painting: 'White Lotus,' Georgia O'Keefe

Transmutation

There is no catastrophe in the present moment. But the mind, full of past and future, loves to project its anguish into the world, then play the victim in its own melodrama...

What happens to my fear, my rage, when I breathe it as the sacred energy of Presence, without telling a story about it in my head?

This suffering gracefully transmutes into sparkling awareness, pure, transparent as the sap in a scarlet dahlia, and I become available to love.

Ancient Portal

Lady Moon, perhaps you are the great Sun's mirror. But there is a more ancient story that says, you are a portal to Divine Darkness. I travel to you on my breath, leaving this world of words behind. Lady Moon, the sound of So'ham is only the name of the gate keeper. I let all wombs reverberate with your silence.

Supermoon (November 14, 2016)

The golden fullness of this Moon
does not limit or condition
the dark mystery of Night
any more than the radiance
of a photon gives boundaries
to the womb-void that bears it.
Devotion to the Master
does not limit or divide
the unity of the Divine
any more than an open door
encloses the space of the mansion
one enters through it.
Nor does the personal form
of the Lord limit or bind
the bliss of the Formless
any more than a drop of sweetness
contracts the ocean into which it falls.
Let this drop become the sea.
Let the sea become this drop.
Don't be afraid to bow and enter
the little door of this enormous tent!
Let the nectar of your Master's presence
be the flavor of the Infinite
in the cup of your broken heart.


Photo: My teacher gazing at the full moon

Shine

The energy you shine affects the world far more than the ideas you believe. People who need healing are not drawn to your ideas, but to your radiance. Don't worry so much about whether your beliefs are liberal or conservative, holy or pagan, politically correct or incorrect. Just keep raising the vibration of your light. This is what spreads love.

Between

Between the rising and the falling of your chest is the portal to a marvelous world composed of nothing but fragrance and the music of dying.

The furrow between your nipples was harrowed by this breath; the blossom of earth and heaven's marriage kiss grows there.

Why do you think Gods and Goddesses descend in pairs?

To heat themselves in little quarrels and tiffs, spinning their downy essence toward two-ness, then embracing to dissolve.

The air around your face is a quantum field of whispers that suddenly crystallizes; you quit you work and look up, wondering why your mind stopped.

These visitations come so that your soul and body might remember their long betrothal, and their lifetimes of courtship.

Now you can boldly advance in the art of love toward that ecstatic union where pollen rains from the midnight sky, inebriating your tomb with star-melt.

Deeper than sadness, deeper than sin, the state that you have fallen in...
It is not you who awaken, but every seed in the garden you so joyfully abandoned for the sake of divine hopelessness.

Crisis

We see the world in a state of crisis when our mind is in a state of crisis. But we see the infinite possibility for miracles when we breathe the breath of Beauty.

Through a few minutes' deep meditation in the morning and evening, as we let the mind repose in the coral heart of silence, Beauty blossoms through our perceptions, as surely as the flower is born of the seed.

Our first response-ability to mother earth is to purify our awareness of her.

Continuum

Time, with its inherent anxiety, disappears when we stop resisting anything that happens. How could we possibly resist the continuum, the stream of dissolving forms, when we are part of it, and it is our own consciousness?

The flow of happening need not be divided into separate "events." But our mental resistance granulates this gentle stream into "time." The continuum is one, not many. The liquid now is eternity, which is not a pond but a river.

The frictionless pour of the unending moment is true wine; to drink from it is communion. Communion requires no "holy" place, no special sacrament, no spirit apart from the body. Communion is our assent to the ceaseless flowering of the ordinary.
But if the mind insists that circumstances should be otherwise, and things are better elsewhere, then the ecstatic stream of suchness is dammed by an "I," and there is suffering.
Nothing to seek, nowhere to hurry, just be dynamically present. Only now is love possible.

Moth

In the heart of every liberal
is a conservative.
In the heart of every conservative
is a liberal.
Don't fear your opposite.
The moth has two wings
bound together
by some primordial intelligent
yearning for nectar.
Drink from your heart.

Discipline?


'Discipline' comes from the same root as the word 'disciple.' In the Medieval Church, the word was associated with punishment, self-flagellation. But originally it meant profound learning, grasping the truth, and receiving pure knowledge. The deepest discipline happens without effort or control, through surrender to the Beloved. That is the discipline of pure freedom.

Happy Divali! (October 30)

To me, a beautiful woman usually wears glasses. But not always. She looks like a studious librarian on the verge of turning into a wild panther. 

Modesty and contentment veil, yet magnify, the motion of her hips, cooling the earth with the sinuous breeze of her walking. 

She does not hunt or hurry. She is too busy generating energy from darkness, light from the Unmanifest. Men become gentle with power around her. They become better men.

Blessings to Lakshmi, Goddess of Beauty, in this sacred festival of Divali. And blessings to all the Lakshmis who carry the divine power of creation in their human bodies.
Lakshmi is the secret abundance in every breast. Through her grace, giving is overflowing. Sweet daughter, beauty is not your perfume or the color you paint your lips, or the shape of your body, or the gemstone you wear on your finger. Beauty is the splash your soul makes when you dive into the ocean of her Presence. 

Lakshmi is the fountain of tears that cleanse both the seer and what is seen. To that Lady of my faltering chest, to that paramour of my exhalation, I whisper, "Om Shri Mahalakshmi Devyai Namaha," asking nothing in return. For she has already placed in my heart, like aa rose floating in a cup, this swirling centerless hollow astonishment filled with stars.

Welcome Chaos

I am heartened to observe that the greatest artists and philosophers emerge, not during periods of social stability, but precisely when cultures fragment and decline.

It is not equilibrium but the broken symmetry of the unbalanced equation
that engenders creativity. Inspiration never comes through
the entropy of even redistribution, or the imposition of equality. Wisdom does not emerge from a flat-line of social conformity, but from the purifying flame of chaos.

Lao T'zu wrote the Tao Te Ching as he abandoned a rotting empire. The Renaissance was an age of political mayhem and petty violence between city states. The "Golden Age of Athens" was not a respite of social harmony, but a series of plagues, wars, and dictatorships, when the best men were hastily imprisoned or exiled.

Beauty is born when wise souls embrace the clash of opposites. Great
leaders speak in paradox, not platitude. There is no need to flee from conflict: conflict invokes the Witness, and awakens the very space that contains it. Even the most terrible crisis - even your death, your birth - is enfolded by a stillness, filled with the breath of stars.

What 'Green' Means To Me


Green economics begins with a new definition of abundance: the freedom gained by needing and using less. Wealth is a simpler material life, making room for the infinite resource of the spirit.

A Green vision celebrates the small, not the big; the local, not the federal; conservation, not waste; cooperation, not competition; enough, not more. What riches do we gain by investing in clean energy, sustainable economy, local community, and gentler living?

The wealth of an ancient forest, a fallow meadow. Abundance of beauty, with leisure to walk more slowly on the Earth. The profit of evening silence, a thrush's song. At midnight, ten million stars. At dawn, time to breathe.

Choice

 
Your mind is the oppressor. Your mind is the healer. Your mind creates your role, leaps in and calls it fate. Why spend ten thousand lifetimes playing the victim, complaining about the darkness of the past, when you can dissolve into the light of Presence now?

Your spine is a wick, your body a flame that has no edges. Just radiate. No need to make even a hair's breadth distinction between 'spirit' and 'flesh.'

Why not choose to contain the stars you see above you? We could meet here. But you're so stunned with astonishment, you've forgotten that you dwell in the heart of a miracle - this perpetual flowering of the Self into the Other.

Forget This Poem As Soon As You Hear It


Don't imagine that breathing is something you do just to stay alive. Breath has a secret purpose.
Each inhalation whispers the most beautiful name of God to every cell in your body, while the crystal ladle of exhalation pours your mind into the bowl of longing.

When your intellect is parched by too many words, your lips disconnect from the offering cup, and you whine for more of what you don't need.
You're choking on your own pollen. Let the breath of the Master turn your dust into a steady pulse of pouring honey.

Don't silence your thoughts; let them sing to the music in your chest.
A ladybug bending her grass blade, or a dove that keens in the mist at dawn, are fleeting deaths in the vast bewilderment of love.

That cloud, the opal gift that veiled the face of the shy half moon, now passes into emptiness. Thank the Beloved.

Wouldn't you rather be overwhelmed with beauty than know what it means? O do not staunch the brilliant flow of darkness from the wounded sky!

Grow

At some point it becomes so obvious. Conflict and violence in the world 'out there' are projections of conflict and violence in the mind. It is good that we have political activists, but we also need meditation guides to heal humanity from the root up.

No matter how hard the farmer works to prune and doctor the tree, sickness in the root produces sick flowers, sick fruit. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali said: "Heyam dukkham ana-ghatam: Avoid the suffering before it arises."
Heal from below.
Grow perfect flowers while
they’re still in the seed.

Theater

Rather than criticize the role another plays in this world, play your own with more serene intensity.

This is the Theater of Dancing Opposites, who frolic in pairs so that we may see beyond them. Cling neither to this nor that, despise neither this nor that.

Each situation arises just for our benefit, that we might embrace the moment, letting go of another fear, craving, or illusory limitation. When we learn to dance with the world instead of resisting it, we see how perfect it is.

If hearing this makes you mad, it's OK: that is your role this moment. Now hug your anger.
________

Photo: 'All the world's a stage,' Shakespeare, from 'As You Like It'

Love Is Not A Commandment

I don't trust people who say they love everybody. Love isn't that bland. Love is not pablum, but wine.

And why should I love everybody? Where does the 'should' come from?

I don't want my love to lose its juiciness, its intimate anointing touch. I don't want to love All, but Thou.

When love becomes a moral law, it dies. Constrained by duty, the heart cannot melt. Therefor, I have no duty to love you.

Love is a sacred gift, not a commandment. No one commands a gift. Love is stronger stuff than law, flowing from a dark mystery, aged in the wine cellar of my body.

Beautiful Animals

Humans are beautiful native animals. But somehow, this body made of earth and stars was invaded and occupied by the Empire of the Mind. Mind is foreign to the earth.

Mind is not consciousness. Mind is the cloud that obscures the clear sky of consciousness. Mind generates religions of violence, technologies of control, and economies that rape our planet. Our governments are ruled by greed, which is of the mind, not the body. Our governments thrive on war, because mind establishes a sense of identity through conflict. The "I" knows that it exists because it differentiates itself from "you."
Mind feeds on polarization, separateness, duality.

Hating an "enemy" and scapegoating an "other" makes the mind feel concrete and alive. Mind cannot know love, for love is the field of unity, deeper inside and more intimate than thought.


Love is prior to polarization. Love is whole and beyond conflict. Love does not take sides. Love is the only alternative to our self-destruction. Only by transcending mind and resting in love can we save our civilization. The future of humanity depends on a revolution to expel the foreign invader from the native land of our body. The only revolution, the only radical act, is to transcend the mind. All other concepts of "revolution" are within the mind. 

Let us return to our native organic wholeness, sensed and intuited by pure consciousness ,without thought. "Return" is an ancient spiritual practice: "t'shuvah" in Hebrew, "metanoia" in Greek. "Metanoia" is usually translated as "repentance." But in Greek it literally means beyond (meta) the mind (nous). When we surrender this anxious little ego, with its constant thinking, we return to the source, which is pure awareness, unadulterated with mental concepts. We repose in the radiant silence before a single thought arises. This meditation is our fundamental revolutionary practice, our fundamental repentance. Meditation is the radical act of transcending the mind.

Gaia invites us. Let us return to Her. Let us return to the sparkling organic intuitive molecular intelligence of the Great Mother, who irradiates each particle of our flesh with divine wisdom, and pervades matter with the light of consciousness. She is Wisdom, Hochmah Sophia. She is Kwan Yin, Mother and Matrix of Bodhichitta. She is the immaculate power of Intuition, saturating boundaries with the nectar of of boundlessness. She is a far deeper and more universal form of intelligence than the thinking mind. Into her matrix, we now upload ourselves.

In our dance of return, the Way-showers and Wisdom-holders will not be technocrats, corporate elites, intellectuals with PHD's, or the priests, rabbis, and imams of the "Abrahamic" faiths. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have all morphed into systems of violence. Though they may have begun as beloved communities of the oppressed, the poor, the exiled, they have become the most violent religions ever seen on earth. All three claim to be superior "revelations" from a supernatural God above the earth and above the flesh: in other words, religions of the mind.

Who then are the Way-showers and Wisdom-holders of the coming age? They are shamans and healers of indigenous tribal peoples. Yes, the natives of the land will lead us home. They will help us return to our bodies. They will show us how to walk on earth in a sacred manner, so that we can breathe the stars again.

The Wine of Renunciation

No need to renounce what was never mine. But if I must renounce, I renounce this breath.

Renouncing my breath, all else in my life must be surrendered. I confess that this breath is not mine. I did not create this breath. It is a gift.

*

I renounce wine by tasting it with deeper devotion. I become aware of every flavor, touch, fragrance, color. I am born on earth for this sacrament of sensation, this marriage of perception and awareness.
                                                            *
When I am awake, sensuality is renunciation, renunciation is sensuality. I can become so fully aware of a sensation that in its deepest center is silence, where I can taste awareness itself. Then, so effortlessly and gently, I let go of the sweetness that first enticed me to it. For the taste of awareness out-sweetens its object.
Is there not a vast difference between losing myself in the sensation, and tasting it deeply, with awareness? This is the difference between sensuality and sacrament.
*
If the Self is awake in the moment I taste this wine, I am not this wine. The moment I scent this rose, I am not this rose. The moment I perceive the business of the marketplace, I am not this busy-ness: I am the stillness that sees. And the moment I witness time passing, I am eternal. For the seer must be other than the seen.

*
Therefor, the instant I fearlessly perceive my most vicious impurity, without judgment or rejection, I am pure!

Hence the real meaning of repentance, "metanoia" in Greek. "Meta" means beyond, "nous" means intellect. To repent is to move beyond the restless images and sensations of the mind, to go beyond the intellect, and rest as the silent Witness.


*
The objects of my worldly passion manifest before my senses for this very reason: so that in becoming aware of them, awareness may taste itself, and be liberated.

This is why I not only bow down to roses, birds, clouds and babies; I bow down to all that binds me, all that makes me angry, lustful, jealous.
Impurities are here to free me from impurity. I bow down to my liberator in the form of whatever arises in the great mandala of the present moment. Thus the Vedic text decrees:

Apavitrah pavitro wa
Sarwa vasthan gatopi wa
Yasmaret pundari-kaksham
Sa bahya-abyantarah shuchih
"Whether pure or impure, whether full of purity or impurity, one who gazes on the lotus-eyed Lord, who is the very Self, gains inner and outer purity!"
*
"Blessed is this human birth. Dwellers in heaven desire this birth, for true wisdom and pure love are attained only by humanity."
~Srimad Bhagavatam, 11.13
Angels envy us. They are so absorbed in beauty their awareness is lost in celestial delight. They are in bondage, even though the chains that bind them are made of golden flowers.

That is why the gods must be reborn
in this world of pain and joy, love and anger, a world opposites, to gain liberation. Here our attention can't get lost in any sensation for more than a moment. The Self just won't get stuck in a paradox of opposites. Only on earth is awareness jolted into Self-awareness.                                                           *
Yes, it is very difficult to renounce a single sin, a single obsession, or even a single thought. It is much easier to renounce everything at once! By becoming aware of this world, I am not the world. By becoming aware of my mind, even with a thousand chattering thoughts and desires, I am not the mind!

Desert air contains the mirage while remaining perfectly empty and still. So awareness allows the shimmer and din of the world to appear, while remaining silent and pure.

By giving waves room to play, the ocean is whole and one. The boundless sky does not resist the clouds that arise and dissolve within it. Friend, you are always already effortlessly surrendered.

Sorrow

Your unfolding heart,
so fragrant with compassion,
cups this teardrop world...

In the Bhakti Sutras, Sage Narada says, "The path of divine love is very easy." In the Gospel, Jesus says, "My yoke is easy, my burden is light." Yet few of us find love easy. The spiritual path seems hard. Why do such great Masters tell us it is easy?

"Easy" does not mean always luminous and joyful. The dark of the New Moon is as powerful as the splendor of the Full. Our path of love includes sorrow, shadow, and pain. But sorrow, shadow, and pain are not suffering. They only feel like suffering when we resist them, clinging to a preference for joy, light, and pleasure. It is clinging and resistance that are difficult, not the fleeting content of experience...

We do not cling to a breath, or resist the next inhalation. So we may breathe through any moment on earth, even the moment of death.

Be easy with your sorrow, gentle with your shadow, light with your pain. Whatever the feel of the experience, let your inhalation brush it softly. Let your exhalation sweep it clear. And whatever nests in your chest like a bird with broken wings, cradle it.

The open rose welcomes the raindrop, and holds it like a jewel.

The Divine Relationship

'Depth calleth unto depth...' ~Psalm 42

Relationship with the Guru is relationship with the silence inside you, the boundless depth surrounding the tiny thought of 'I.'

This is why, when you are in the presence of a true Master, no question arises, no mind, only stillness. The 'I'-thought, 'ahamkara,' disappears. You dissolve.
The role of the Master is simply to remind you of who you really are. The Guru's depth awakens the depth in you. You are not this little bundle of worries and regrets. You are peace. You are vast clarity, like the sky. You are a priceless sparkling diamond of pure compassion.

Jai Guru Dev.