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.


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!


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.


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.


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.