Wishing You A New Year

 
Wishing you all a New Year. Not a happy new year, just a new one.

Because if you allow time to be new each moment, you cannot help but be happy, filled with the energy of re-creation. In the coming year, let us resolve never to be more than one moment old!


But if we carry the old year into the new one, if we carry our old stories, doubts, angers, politics and belief systems, we cannot possibly be happy. The mind the past can never bring joy. No thought, no belief, no content carried over in the mind can provide living energy, living Presence.


Happiness arises when the mind doesn't cling to its content. That is when we taste the wine of silence between our thoughts. We soar into the empty blue sky of sparkling awareness, without clinging to the clouds. Then no-thing makes our mind happy: our mind IS happiness.


I pray that in the coming year, every moment, you will breathe out the old, and breathe in the new. Have a very New Year!

Behold the Lilies


"Behold the lilies of the field, how they grow." ~Jesus
Keep falling and falling until you finally feel the gentle jolt of landing squarely in your own wild groundless heart.

You are suddenly unbounded, because boundaries only appeared when you tried to be someone else, someone 'better.'

Here you don't need to follow any path, because you are your path. You've become the answer to your spiritual questions. Your mind has what it really wanted: silence.
 

Now the mind doesn't need to condemn or criticize others. It has a much more important task: to rest in the silence of the heart. From this rest, tremendous vitality and creative action spontaneously arise, driven not by ideology but love.

This is freedom: simply radiating your own truth without wasting an instant comparing yourself to others.

Truth, radiance and bliss do not come from another, from heaven above, or  from the world outside. Truth, radiance, and bliss only come from one place: alignment with your own heart.



Photo from incolors.club

The Vast Distinction

Do you understand
the vast distinction
between a Master
and a Teacher?
If you hear about a Guru
please don't ask,
'What does he teach?'
The Master assigns
no lessons.
He is a professor
of Nothing.
His lectures consist
of silence
between the words.
Passion in the tremor
of stillness.
When a secret admirer
leaves a fragrant blossom
at your bedside,
Do you learn anything?
Or is there simply
a storm of sweetness
in your chest,
a deepening hollow in the
trough between heartbeats?
The Master has come too near
to be known.
Presence is a gift.
He is the gift
buried in the gift.

How They Grow

"Behold the lilies of the field, how they grow." ~Mat. 6:28

Jesus wants you to look at a wild poppy.

Really see
the lake, the mountain,
the silent explosion of stars, the eye
itself,
orgasmic torrent of pixels charging your dark
amazement with waves of sparkling probability.
Avoid names.
Un-thing the creature
with pure naked beholding.
Watch boundaries dissolve into bliss particles
of the void.
Enter the wilderness of your lungs
where out and in breath merge.
Where the world and your soul
meet like lovers in a kiss.
Where Bodhisattva mind evaporates
in sky blues, no cloud.
Walk in the meadow of groundlessness.
Let each bare stinging footstep awaken
sleeping seeds.
Have the patience of Winter,
the body of Spring.
Because the dead poet Jesus wants you
to really see.
His gift a wild poppy
throbbing in the moonlight
of vast awareness.


~Photo from incolors.club



Parable of Raven Christ

While trekking through the high sage desert, I found Christ trapped in a ruined Church, shattering the stained glass windows, rattling the prison bars, pounding on the door from inside. Chains and shackles of dogma bound his wrists and ankles, more terrible than any nail wounds.

"You, you have the key!" He shouted, "Open the door!" He was pointing frantically at my mouth.

"What key?" I asked.

"Your breath," he replied.

So I breathed through the keyhole of that ancient door until it opened, whereupon Christ became a rare white mother raven with a wingspan that stretched to the far horizons, East and West. She rose into the sky, carrying the moon and all the stars in her beak. She grasped the earth in her talons like a mouse.


Spiraling outward to the end of the ages, then circling back to the present moment, she perched on my shoulder by my left ear and whispered, "You, you are the Christ too, filled with my Holy Spirit." This jolted me so deeply that I woke up, terrified.

"Woe is me!" I cried, "I am a man of unclean lips!" It was early Sunday morning. Quickly, I cleansed myself from the dream, brushed my teeth, and departed for Church to confess the sinful things I had imagined.


Pastel: Alala, sacred raven of Hawaii, by my dear friend Liz Miller.

Very Near


The amethyst of pure attention
shines in no-mind,
lit by its own grace.
Without a thought
breathe forth galaxies
in distance that appears
to be outside you.
The gift of the One:
two lovers in a single jewel,
twin chambers in your heart,
pulsing empty, full.
Surely you must weep,
for this is the purest prayer.
But doesn't each tear encircle
a mysterious otherness?
No intimacy is deeper
than solitude.
God draws very near
to those who are alone.

Secret of Stars

Stars have a secret.
They are always falling
into their orbits of glory.
They do not attempt to fly.
Darkness itself is their wing.
If you don't believe me
you are still trying
not to sink.
Plunge more deeply
into the womb of night
and you will draw very near
to the radiance
of your Birth.

Clinging


Clinging to light is not the Way.
Clinging to darkness is not the Way.
Winter is not an absence.
Spring is not a destination.
Lose your Way
in the bardo between seasons
and wake up wherever you are.


Painting by Sue Wookey

Introduction to 'The Fire of Darkness'


My Introduction to the new book of poems and collages by Rashani Réa and me, which is available this Spring. It is entitled, 'The Fire of Darkness: What Burned Me Away Completely, I Became.'

Art, like beauty itself, is a cauldron of opposites: light and darkness, Winter and Spring, the Warrior and the Mother, the political and the contemplative, the swirl of chaos and the stillness of the center. Only in vain do we seek victory against our antipodes. For that very battle feeds the polarity and divides the One. The answer is always wholeness.

My poems are a cauldron of opposites too. I cannot speak of the triumph of light, for that would disdain the creative potency of the dark. I cannot deny the spiritual power of the Warrior, even though he is born of the Mother’s womb. The best Mother is also a Warrior, and the best Warrior is also a mother.

And just as my poems refuse to divide the wholeness, so the art of Rashani Réa embraces divine paradox, and gives birth to syzygies —the ancient Gnostic term for mated pairs of opposites held in the harmony of God’s pleroma, the All. Her collages are still-points of contemplative silence spiraling out into the play, the dance, and the politics of creation. She is deeply influenced by Chinese aesthetics in her heroic refusal to give in to the cliché, the stereotype, the false victory of the half.

I hope, then, that her art and my poetry tend toward beauty, rather than sentiment. For is not sentimentality the false victory of the half—light over the dark, gentle over strong, a perpetual Spring that would deny the poignancy of Autumn?

Rashani’s dharma art can make us dizzy and disoriented, yet it energize the heart. Her images challenge us to leap into the “the Bardo.”

In Tibetan Buddhism, the Bardo is the period between death and rebirth. But it is really any liminal state, any passage in-between. In truth, we experience the Bardo all through our lives. We spend almost all our time there without knowing it! Yet we imagine that there is some ideal destination in the future, some Edenic beginning in the past. Past and future are not, only the transition between them— This! We are actually, as one of the poems in this book says, “the grey stuff in the cocoon, neither wing nor worm.”

The Bardo between death and birth could be one moment or a trillion years: between dissolution of the cosmos and the next big bang, between out-breath and in-breath, between two lovers’ mouths about to kiss, or a day between Winter and Spring, Imbolc. The Bardo could be the brave adventure of the Trans, passing from male and female. The Bardo is your moment of choice. Let that moment expand. Rest there awhile. Be alive in not-knowing…

The Bardo in Rashani’s art is an alchemy where one state is ever transmuting into its opposite. Yin is never quite Yang, Yang never quite Yin, without the seed of the antipodes already planted at its core. The groundlessness of the Bardo is not Hamlet-like indecision, but immense energy, creative power, the Shakti of the womb.

Physicists tell us that the source of creation is something like the Bardo: a quantum void, vibrant with a chaos of virtual particles, ever about to Be. I think the Bardo is also the dynamic that compels true mystics to become artists. Theresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Hildegard of Bingen, Zen Master Haquin, Thomas Merton were not only contemplatives, but poets and painters. Their silence was energetic, their darkness on fire. I think the art and poetry in this book might come from the Bardo.


A note on the poems: they do not ‘interpret’ the collages, but are rather whole worlds springing out of visual seeds. And just as there are recurring motifs in the collages, so in the poems, all linked by one cosmic pulsation, the Breath. These are all breath-poems. For it is the breath that links the body to the soul, the individual to the cosmic rhythm. Therefore, I hope you will find these poems aids in meditation. Peace.

Credo

 
I don’t believe.
I don't believe in my heart,
yet it keeps beating.
I don’t believe in my hand,
yet it stirs honey into tea
and washes my grandmother's cup.
I don’t believe in the taste
of an heirloom pear
from a tree my father planted,
it is so sweet.
I gristle my fist around his original hoe,
and learn silent bending
from a gracious willow
without believing anything.

I don't believe in the hummingbird
asleep on a lilac twig, head cradled
on her own emerald breast.
Or in the silken cat slipping
through her element of moonbeams.
I don't believe in your eyes,
yet their gaze obliterates my confusion.
Empty, empty of every belief,
I can listen to the sound 
of falling stars in my body,
like snow, God’s breath
brushing my breastbone
.

'Invincible' (A Poem from 'Wounded Bud')

I don't want to be invincible.
I want to be astonished by loss.
I want to be stunned
and defeated by wonder,
shocked into a new creation
where only dancing is allowed.
I want to fall down again and again.
How close can my head come to your toes
before it shatters into spirals of gold?
Lift me up, I'll do
what a fountain does to sunbeams.
Step on me, I'll be the sky.


Amazon.com/author/alfredlamotte

Someone Said


Someone said,
"You need no other."
But I do.
I cannot light
the wick within me.
I am lit.
From the instant I was
planted in the flesh
I needed someone
for my milk and tears.
Even the absence
that encircles the moon, the stars,
is curved by a Mother's
inscrutable care.
Aloneness created us
to love.
Before first light,
the thrush waits blindly to feel
that same pull:
the jasmine breath
of my listening.
Here's the mystery:
we do not thirst for the One,
but the Near.

Padmanamaskar



In the Beloved there is no "should,"
no rule to obey, and no one to follow
down any path.
There is only melting.
I was butter, now I am ghee.
The pain was deep,
but all that was burned away

was not me.
Can the earth leave its orbit around the sun?
So I cannot take my gaze from your face.
Who would call this bondage?
The formless sky of love has become
a crown of thorns and a garland of roses
while remaining empty and blue.
Invisible sap looks crimson 
in the drunken poppy.
You are the hollow of a baby's palm
holding me like a ruthless talon.
Of course I could endure the Spring
without looking at a single flower,
then boast, "I have liberated myself
from Beauty."
But I would rather drown
in your blossoming eyes
because they drown in me.
We are dead bees
in each other's goblet of raindrops,
slaves of the pain of sweetness.
I gladly wear the chains of my Beloved
which are made of pure light,
because the Beloved wears my body
like a veil around each breath.
If you don't understand this,
you have never breathed.
Now make mischief, drop your burdens.
Discipleship is for donkeys and ants.
The Beloved is for those who leap
like dolphin warriors
through monsoon waves
of Unknowing.

Fierce


Breathe in
everything at once
and be the royal master
of creation.
Then become poor
in spirit
when you breathe out.
If you won't let loss
play with abundance
you will never be a lover.
A blood-red poppy
drops its petals,
dives back into the seed,
meets the spark
of frozen solstice
in the blackest loam.
Take root in your grief
where the Sun is born.
Dark energy encircles us all
like the womb.
Spring up
through a bolder falling.
Who knows if, tonight,
you might not finally embrace
the fierce beauty of your own
beaten heart?


Painting by Father J. Battista Giuliani

Cracks

Please make mistakes.
In your latticework of wounds
you look more broken and beautiful.
A trellis of cracks on the mirror
gives intricate wings to your reflection.
One appears as many there
because we dare to stumble
and drop the crystal trinkets
of ourselves.
Surely, love grows vines
on the arbor of our shattering,
and we make wine of sorrow.
That's why we listen in rapture
to those who have been crushed.
The secret is to soften the gaze
until the splay of your fault lines
becomes a rose.
How falling becomes you,
and turns you gold!
When you think you are whole,
you wander like a hungry ghost
far from the marrow
of your breastbone, where
the elixir is hidden, unpressed.
But when you've been torn
beyond repair,
the breath that was too soft to take
comes home to heal you.

Courage

 
 Originally the word "courage" meant love, from the Old French, based on the Latin word for "heart." But our hyper-aggressive culture of insecurity has separated love from courage. Keeping the heart open without judgment is love. Keeping the heart open to the pain, without shielding ourselves through judgment, requires very great courage. Love is the highest form of courage.

Creation Story

In the beginning
Raven Ma said 'Listen!'
and never spoke
another Word.
For there is no creator
but your vigilance.
Let the world be born
from a frog croak,
the scrape of a twig
against your window,
the breathing
of a baby in the dark.
Even on a moonless night
the diamond clarity
of your emptiness
illuminates the forest,
mountain, and sky.
Do not squander
the gift of silence.
Being awake
is its own reward.
You will find no name
for the place where
the sun comes up
inside your chest.

Dance

 
Dear friends,
instead of teaching me
all that is wrong with this world,
why don't you teach me
how to dance?



Kingdom

I offer this message with love. To hear it, please, just for a few moments, let go of all you think you are, and follow this breath down into your chest - a brief and effortless journey to the listening heart.

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world... for I have overcome the world." And he said, "The kingdom of heaven is within you."

More than ever today, we need to hear Christ's secret of sanity, for all of us have reached a mental health crisis, our minds overwhelmed with images of world-sorrow - in no small part due to the media. But you are not this world sorrow. Anger and angst are passing clouds. You are the Sun.

The world is the flux of opposites, sparkling in a gown of tears, whirling in a golden robe of laughter. And those opposites are ever-balanced and paired, in grief and hope, pain and joy, darkness and light.

But the nature of the world is not your nature. The world has its own nature, and you cannot change it. Not even Jesus could change it.
He simply lived the Way. And that is all you can do, which is enough.

If you postpone your celebration of Life until all conflicts resolve, and the 'right' side triumphs over the 'wrong,' you will ever remain frozen in bitterness. For the judgment day, the end of time, is never in the future. It is always now.


This world-sorrow arises and dissolve like mist. But it is not you. Your kingdom is not of this world.

Yet when you live in the world, not of the world, you uplift the world. That is the secret Jesus whispers to your heart. To embrace this humbling, devastating, liberating truth, not only lightens your burden, but radiates that lightness around you.

On the other hand, if images of suffering and conflict drown your mind, that is your choice. But you must know that to carry such heaviness will not empower you to lift others. Rather, it will make you part of the burden.

You are free to invest your energy and attention wherever you like, and where you invest it, that is what grows in your life. Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there shall your heart be also."

Here is a koan to practice. "Do I choose to swallow the toxic images that the world feeds me? Or do I allow the stream of my own life to nourish me from within?

Honor your life-stream. Flow with it in truth, gratitude, compassion, and beauty. Attain, as much as possible, a courageous measure of self-sufficiency. You are not called to carry the millstone of all humanity, but to be the wheel of your own destiny, rolling out of your own center.

This is not selfishness, but response-ability. Who do you think you are to believe that you can save multitudes? At best, you can be an example, and a quiet spring of strength for the few whom nature sends to walk beside you, ever so briefly, on your labyrinth way.

Now take off your shoes. Get mud between your toes. Dance for no reason.



Bud


The Christ bud swollen,
glowing in the womb
of your hopelessness.
Your yearning a now
that scorches the future
in the fire of bewilderment.
How shall You, the Beloved,
come to Me?
How shall I, the Beloved,
approach You?
As a winged gazelle
with an inhuman smile
of ominous benediction?
As a leopard with sapphire
and diamond teeth
dripping the fresh blood
of your innocence?
As the forest of sighs,
greening silently
around your loss?
Perhaps as your very
next breath?
Waves of stillness
in the heart.
Because I am, You are.
Because You are, I am.
Crush us.
Put us in the blackest jar.
What shall our fragrance
be called?
'My Ravishing,'
'Pillage of Otherness,'
'Musk the Lover Left at Dawn.'

The Moment Before Creation

 
We met in the moment
before creation.
You left crescents and stars
all over my body,
wounds that would see,
eyes that would never be healed.
My longing turned to fire.
What burned me away completely,
I became.

  Now I am your swirl of gold
in blackness.
The purple bruise of solitude
brings tears of joy.
Swallowing distances,
nothing is more intimate
than silence,

the full moon pressed
on my forehead,
your kiss. 

What Are We Made Of?

"Taste and see that the Lord is good." ~Psalm 34:8
All creatures are broken vessels overflowing with goodness. God tastes the goodness in all of us, and longs for us to taste it in ourselves, to taste the deliciousness we are made of.

The cosmos is nothing but "Tova," the goodness of God, vibrant in myriad flavors, dancing in myriad forms, sometimes painful, sometimes sweet, sometimes dark, sometimes bright. This is why, at the dawn of creation, "God looked at everything he had made and, behold, it was very good!" (Gen. 1:31)
You can argue all you want for the existence of evil, and you can choose, if you like, to make a cult of your woes. But there is really nothing else for us to be made of but the goodness of God.

Our atoms consist of subtle particles, which are made of even subtler particles, but the subtlest particles of all are pulsations of divine goodness, waves of Shivananada.

Creation arises from silence as a divine song, from stillness as a divine dance, from the boundless space of the Self in pulsations of bliss, quarks and photons of ananda, vibrating in the blue sky of awareness that pervades each cell of your flesh. Have you tasted this?

The Creator, remaining still and silent, loves to undulate in waves of joy. Honor Shiva as the inviolable space of your own awareness. Honor Goddess Shakti as the dance of creation, which is no-thing but the pulsation of that space. They are not two.

You are Shiva-Shakti. You are the wild messy fallen akimbo cosmos whirling in the stillness of the Self. Have you tasted this?

Dazed by our own fierce beauty and spice, we do not see, we do not taste our deliciousness.

This is why God allows us to break open and spill. It is when we break open and spill that we taste and see what we are made of.

Don't be afraid to break open and spill.

Entangle (A Poem from 'Savor Eternity')

Does a sunbeam get entangled
in the lace beauty
of the dragonfly's wing?
When spider weaves
her most intricate web
across the night,
does she ever trap
a star?
Be more and more
like the ripe moon hanging
from an apple branch.
Let your heart irradiate
the world, without getting
caught in its stories.
Those tales of
enchantment and yearning,
conflict and loss,
past and future,
are not about you...
Your work is Presence.
Pour out something careless
and carefree from the Well
of Silence in your chest.
Bless all creatures with
the un-created light
that gushes without circumference
from your groundless center,
where a terrible and holy love
burns through every veil
of separation...
Consider, friend,
that what transforms the dust,
the air, the sea, the moon
beyond the motion of the sea,
is not how much you do,
but how deeply
you penetrate this ancient now
with love.

Sky

The sky doesn't try to expand. It is effortlessly infinite. The sky doesn't mind clouds passing through it, or need to clear them away. They dissolve as they come, but the sky remains clear and blue. And the emptiness of the sky is not a negative quality. This emptiness is its purity, its beauty, its dignity. Now there cannot be more than one space. The space of the sky and the space of awareness are one and the same space. Your awareness fill the sky, overflowing the rim of the furthest galaxy. And the sky fills each atom of your flesh, overflowing every neuron in your brain.

Thanksgiving

I give thanks for this breath. It is really all I need this moment. And the more I give thanks for this breath, this fountain of bewilderment, the sweeter and deeper it flows through each cell of my body. Then I know it is the breath that wove nests for the stars, and set them singing in stillness. Thank you, Lord, for this breath. It is yours.



Painting by Laura Diehl, DeviantArt

Transcend

Don't transcend the body,
transcend the mind.
The mind that wants to be
somewhere else,
in the past or future.
The mind that wants to be
separate, certain, correct.
When we transcend the mind
we don't go anywhere.
We arrive right here, in the body.
We don't mind the mess,
the incorrectness,
seeing clearly that the sky
fills each cell,
feeling stars fall through
the marrow of our bones,
welcoming mountains and clouds
into a synapse of bewilderment,
knowing without a thought
that each photon of our flesh
was breathed by Buddha
and passed like a kiss
to a wound in Jesus.
Now I am dust in a sunbeam.
What are you?


Artist: Rimi Yang

Surrender to Wholeness

Beauty is the nuclear silence in your groundless core, where surrender and rebellion are one and the same.
Surrender to wholeness. There is no escape. That is the victory. Refuse to be divided. Immersed in the vigil of unbounded bliss, rebel against any force that would diminish or entice you to choose one view against its opposite.
For it is never that one side is enlightened and the other is ignorant: ignorance is the antipathy itself, the separation of wholeness into polarized opponents.
As ancient Gnostics taught, the Pleuroma, the Fullness, appears as a dance of sygizies, paired opposites in endless sexual play, bursting with dynamic creativity. But when we identify with "this" rather than "that," we lose the equipoise at the center of the cyclone, and cease to be the dynamic whole. In the words of the New Testament, you are not one against others, you are "panta 'hen panta," all in all.

Of course there are choices, but they are momentary and intuitive, never frozen into ideology. Therefor, revolt against every ideologue, every  divider, who would lure you into the toxic but delicious energy of blame and judgment. Blame and judgment are not actions, but re-actions. And re-action means endless entrapment in the wheel of spiteful karma. Know that anyone you judge is yourself. Then act.

Act from the silence of the unified field. This is Yoga. "Yogastah karukarmani," whispered Krishna in the Gita: "Established in Yoga, perform action." Dynamically at ease in the heart, rebel. Rebel with the effortless grace of an exhalation.

Rebel ruthlessly yet gently against those who insist that you are a group and not a person, that you are one and not the other, that you are the Mother and not the Warrior too, that you are the light and not the darkness, that you are the homeless wanderer and not also the royal sage, that you are one color only. For you are all the colors of the rainbow, and the transparency that lets light through.

You are dust in a sunbeam, and you are the sun. You are a disappearing dewdrop, and the blue sky of eternity. You are the immovable mountain, and the moving cloud on whom the mountain rests like a feather. You are the passion of two lovers, and the liquid lightning of pure love that needs no other.

Here is your incomparable dignity: that you are a single human being. Yet your body encompasses all the gods. Your breath turns the wheel of creation. The stillness at the center of your heart spins galaxies of unborn stars. The savor of your mere existence is the honey of the Goddess.


Photo: Mt. Rainier, taken from my favorite walk.

Sunday Morning, Nov. 11

When he appeared to them after the resurrection, Jesus simply breathed on the disciples and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit."

Withered husks fall away, but there is sparkling sweetness within. Forms perish, releasing the imperishable flame of essence.

Every breath is a kind of body, containing a soul of starlight. Through the grace of this breath, you can pour divine shakti, the power that created the universe, into each cell of your flesh. This breath can transform pain to beauty, rising from your belly to your crown, and back down to your chest. Rest here, in the radiant new life. Let withered husks fall away.

The beginning and end of all spiritual practice is to rest the mind in the heart. You are the flame. You are pure love.

Photo: In Assisi, by Ingrid Henzer

Resist Not

 
"Resist not the evil one... Love your enemies." ~Master Jesus

Jesus did not speak these words for our enemy's sake, but for our sake. He came to save us, not from our enemies, but from ourselves. Yet his words of healing make us very uncomfortable.

Ironically, the deepest comfort of the mind is having an enemy. The sensation of resistance against an other makes our ego feel alive. The ego is most at home when it has an enemy.

Each of us might ask, "To what extent is my identity formed by resistance against an other? Who would I be if I had no enemy?"

To encounter the other in a love that has no enemy, because it holds no resistance, is the purest political action, more radical than any ideology of the left or the right. For ideology does not inspire action, but re-action, using the other as a stereotype to confirm our belief.

The most radical act is to be present. Presence is the revolutionary breath of love. In this destroying fire, the other is no long judged as a 'white' or a 'black,' a Muslim or a Christian, an immigrant or a native, a Republican or a Democrat. The other is a Person.



Painting: Face of Jesus by Rembrandt

Divali



BLESSINGS OF DIVALI
Election day in the U.S. is the sacred night 
of Goddess Lakshmi in India. Jai Ma!


Haven't I been whispering this
again and again to your ear?
She is the undulation of silence,
the serpent in your heart.
She is the dancer in your stillness
who takes off veil after veil
until Shiva and the Self are one.
She is the wisdom of Unknowing
who became a womb for Jesus.
Draw nearer now and listen!
She humbles herself to become
the invisible body of your next inhalation.
She is the empty seed
at the death of a sigh,
the dark sweet moment between breaths
when countless galaxies blossom
and dissolve in your chest.
Draw nearer, even nearer now.
She weaves everything that Is
from the energy of pure delight.
Your yearning for her beauty is a flame
that floats on the river
of her yearning for You.



The Politics of Transcendence

Transcendence does not mean going somewhere else. It means staying right here and dropping the mind, with all the conflict and duality it projects onto the world.

Transcendence does not mean becoming more abstract, but more solid - becoming a still flame of Presence that burns a hole through time.

Transcendence is so concrete, so present in fact, it draws others into the flame, burning away the conflict in their minds also.

When we practice transcending the mind and being present together, as satsang, then love is possible, because there is no ideology, no political party, no agenda but to celebrate community.

Ode to a Radish

It's OK
just to be OK.
Now take out the 'just.'
Don't compare traumas.
Your laceration is inimitable
as a vein of rubies
glistening in jagged stone.
It's OK
to bleed out your miracle
on the patio amidst
the failure of your roses.
OK to fall down in tears
on the linoleum
with a broom in your fist
and not know why.
Neither clinical depression
nor bliss
are required of you.
It's OK
not to be outraged,
not to be abused,
not to be 'radical'
which comes from the Latin
for root,
as in 'radish.'
It's OK to be a radish,
rooted to the core
of your bittersweet heart.
OK to be a still life
where others feel compelled
to march and scream.
It’s OK to be not just you,
but You.


Painting by Jane Palmer



No Question


She created the earth, then entered your body as this breath.

Therefor savor her undulation, from the azure pearl adorning the emptiness above your crown, to the coral flame devouring pungent boughs in your valley of yearning.


What is an exhalation? A trellis for
surrender, the ever-expanding muteness of your gratitude.


Give up searching
for a word. Bewilderment is not uncertainty. Wonder is not a question.


What will blossom from your grief is a sweetness with no hint of Winter or Spring, steel tears of daylight, or musk of voluptuous just-forgotten dreams.

The flavor of One cannot convey the perfume of her presence. The scent of Two overpowers it.

The name on the bottle was Catastrophe, but it cannot be purchased now. You have broken it, and bathed in the tincture of loss.

Don't you know that your silence is hers, the womb
of stars, the hollow in every seed?

Listening To The Night

Right now
at 2:53 a.m.
there are people who are alone
and they choose to be alone
and they feel
the peace that flows
through all creation
threading the dark centers
of distant galaxies
into the rosary of
this breath.
Right now
at 2:53 a.m.
there are people who are alone
and they do not wish to be alone
and they are lonely.
They are so alone.
And yet I feel them all
in the night.
I feel them all
together somehow
in the beauty
of a Great Absence.
I am listening.
I can hear their silence,
their breath so near.
And I wonder, 
could there ever be
more than one
solitude?

From My Soul

 My soul said to me: "Why do you mistake the nature of the world for your own nature?
"The nature of the world is conflict. It has always been so, and always will be. It is a field of opposites in polarity. And this is the only place where you can awaken your Self to gain freedom, beyond the pairs of opposites.

"Gradually, you learn to see the conflict as a dance, an inevitable play of light and shadow, until the dream itself awakens you.

"Then you taste your true nature, not as philosophy but direct experience, and know that your nature is not the nature of the world.

"Be still, and know that your I Am is God. You are freedom. You are joy. You are the peace that passes all understanding.

"You are not here to perfect the world, or even to change it. For the nature of the world is change itself, imbalance, imperfection.

"You are here for a nobler task: to wake up the Changeless in the midst of change, the Boundless in the midst of boundaries, the Pure in the midst of impurity.

"Then perhaps you might shine some interior ray of the Christ, whose kingdom is not of this world, on your fellow pilgrims.

"Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih!"

No Idea


New ideas don't come
from old ideas.
They spring from emptiness,
flowers of silence.
Therefor the wise confess,
'I have no idea,'
and become Masters
of Wonder.

How We Get There

We wonder why everyone is so stressed. But many of us would not know who we are without a conflict in our mind. This conflict is called "I."
Democrat against Republican, socialist against capitalist, woman vs. man, black vs. white, vegan vs. omnivore, the enlightened vs. the ignorant - many of the most conflicted claiming to be non-dualists.

Maybe the answer is never one side vs. the other. Maybe we could rest the mind in the heart. Maybe we could all go meet in Rumi's field, under the stars, beyond ideas of right and wrong. How do we get there? Listen to the silence. Trust this breath. Take off your shoes.

Photo: taken on my full moon walk

Samhain Meditation

   
    The veil between the worlds is thin.
    Bright to dark the seasons turn,
    Green Man's fire in the Jack O'Lantern,
    Light above now shines within.

   Come dance in the circle of Samhaim,*
   Buds of Beltane burnished in frost.
   Honor the Old Ones: nothing is lost.
   Whatever you offer is born again. 
              
   *Pronounced Sów'an
We have just ended Navratri, most sacred Goddess festival of India. We wish happiness to our Indian and Goddess-centered friends.

In the West we have Goddess festivals no less sacred. At the end of October is Samhain (pronounced Sów'an) the Pagan and Celtic New Year. Children know there's something holy about Halloween, and its not just divine Snickers bars and Red Hots. There's a tingling electric presence we feel in the ether of Autumn, the living womb of silence, nature's ineluctable Om.

Just as the Indian Goddess is three-fold - creative Sarasvati, abundant Lakshmi, and energetic Kalishakti - so Samhain honors the three-fold Goddess: Maiden, Mother, and Crone.

At Samhain time, the fire that once was flower, fruit and harvest now burns inwardly, while outward forms wither, rest, and cool. The hollow of gourds and pumpkins symbolizes that inner space of Winter meditation. Now is the time to empty ourselves and prepare our hearts for the birth of new solstice light at Yule.

This is womb time. What outwardly fructified goes to seed, stores up its fire for Spring. The Christic energy of the male, the Green Man who triumphed last May, wanes in power now, returning to rest in the darkness of the Great Mother. Nature's light descends into the hollow places of the underworld. For underworld is sacred space too. Get down in mushroom silence, where Queen Mav mingles death and life at the core of every perennial bulb.

                   Our Samhain alter at Common Bread, Evergreen College
Gossamer October threads the veils of this world to the realm of the dead. But the realm of the dead is full of life. As the veils thin out, we feel so close to our ancestors, so intimate with those who have just departed. That is why, at Samhain, we build an alter to the dead, greeting those recently passed one last time before they move to the next cycle of their never-ending growth. The playful custom of Halloween ghosts belies this poignant time of fellowship with the other world. The Mexican tradition of Dios des Mortes comes much closer to the original spirit of Samhain.

When the veil between the worlds grows thin, it is time to embrace our loss and grief, to honor the husk of outworn relationships, then let them go. Time to pour the wine and apples of the old story onto the midnight "bonfire," culling the herd, offering old bones. Time to sink Earthward, feel our kinship with gnome and dryad, wood nymph and salamander. For as outward husks grow frail in shadows, yet the mysterious depths of matter glow, and we realize that the earth herself is lit with Spirit.

Western Form of the Three-Fold Goddess

We have many forms of the three-fold Goddess in the West. Prominent at Samhain is Hecate, witch-crone deity of moonlight, crossroads and wild animals. We also honor the harvest mother Demeter, who goes by many names such as Rhea or Ceres. Persephone is the maiden, who will usher in the Spring. Her Celtic version, Aericora, is the consort of Cernunnos the Green Man. She is also the Welsh Cerridwyn, keeper of the wiccan cauldron, feminine template for the holy grail.

And we honor Mary Magdalene, consort of Jesus. In Palestine, the town of Magdala Nunayya on the Sea of Galilee was known for its pagan temple of the moon goddess, whose priestess may have been called Magdalena. Some believe that, in Biblical symbolism, Mary Magdalene represents the moon, the dark lunar energy that balances the bright solar Christ.

However you honor the divine Feminine, do it now. For in the Northern hemisphere, the earth is bending back toward the Mother, the divine blackness of origins, the loam of the hidden seed. Now we remember that darkness is not absence of light, but womb of light.

O Breath of emptiness, season of dew-jewel and corn stalk, spider's web and nugatory gourd, bless the starlight above us, the fallen garden around us, the hidden rainbow in the cocoon, the mycelium darkness below.


Painting by Wendy Andrews