Each heart beats in the same language, whether the mouth speaks English or Pashtoon.
By some ancient covenant written in our bones, we consent to the light that spills through a stranger's eyes.
Whether we worship Allah or Persephone, it only takes a glance to know that all blood ebbs and flows to the rhythm of one moon.
Yes, friend, priests and imams call you to war, speaking of light and darkness. But there's fat in your marrow that's deeper than fear;
Something that nods to the enemy, effusing tears, grinning wildly in agreement, murmuring, 'Yes, yes, you too are right!'
Every Jew inhales electrons of Mohammad's body. The Prophet's breath contains Christ's sighs, particles of sheep dung shaken from Moses' sandals.
Right now, dusty atoms of Jesus flesh swirl into our eyes. We look at each other but see only him, the way a gaze sent up from Isfahan, and a gaze from the Dome of the Rock, mingle in one star.
Now try this experiment: remove your heart and place it on a butcher's block. Is it made out of paper and ink? Is it a sphinx face carved from stone?
Is your heart white or black, Persian or Hindu? Or is it fragrant like a wild blossom from an unexplored forest in the mountains?
Mine gushes Burgundy, yours Cabernet; maybe they're both a little drunk, trembling, alive.
See if it gasps like a fish with prayer, in a spasm of wanting. See if it yearns to fill itself with the blood of every man or woman on earth....
This is what you'll learn: to depend on the silence of the body to solve every riddle of words.
To gaze toward the nameless sun at the center of your ancient brain, where all scriptures came from.
To listen awhile by a stream in the summer woods, where water murmurs and swallows wait for evening in green shadows.
To trust in the answer that seeps from the wound of your missing rib, and listen to the breath that comes and goes like this:
"सो ऽहम. So'ham. I breathe in God. I breathe out me."
During these painful times, root your attention in the truth: you are in the world, but not of the world.
The irony is, the more deeply rooted we are in transcendent Being, the more powerful and free we are to act creatively from the present moment. So here are some practical reminders of mindfulness.
Repose for a moment as simple awareness, the imageless transparency of Being, before a thought arises. Do this often throughout the day.
Know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Creator flows through your body as the gift of breath. Each breath is the milk of divine love.Don't ascribe motive to the actions of another. This saves you from becoming the motive you ascribe.
Drop blame. When we blame someone, we take on their karma. This is why we become more and more like our enemies, and why we often choose enemies who remind us of a secret shadow in ourselves. There are a thousand more useful ways you can serve the world besides blaming others.
Please, don't confuse this worldsorrow with your soul. You are the unfathomable well of forgiveness. You are peace.
Cradle every breath
as a mother holds
her only child.
This is a more
fruitful way to hug God.
You won’t embrace
anyone else, not really,
until you taste the kiss
of these two sparkling
in your own body -
one spilling down
from the soft white
the other springing
from groundless loam
where the blossoms
on your backbone
root and drink
the mother's darkness.
but only to those
who knew how to listen -
I am You, I am You,
Lord of Merging Rivers.
Om is not a chant. Om is the vibration of absolute silence, rising and falling in waves of itself.You cannot chant Om, but you can hear it. Just be quiet and listen. Om is the womb of paradox, the resonance of the void, the fullest harmony of emptiness, giving birth to the earth, the galaxies, the space beyond the rim of time.
When you are listening, your mind is not making the noise of thought. Then you can hear the thunder of quarks and neutrinos, the chorus of a trillion suns in a single proton.
Is it a proton in your body, or in the body of a fiery rainbow she-dragon on a distant star? Both. Now enough talk. It is dawn. Time to dissolve...
Hear the annihilation of subject and object. Drown in the ocean of quietness, where there is no more listener, only Listening. Let this Listening give birth to a sparrow's song.
And yet, some people spend lifetime after lifetime arguing for their limitations, preferring disaster to hope. It is a choice that comes from such a deep place in the soul, we hardly notice: a kind of rebellion against the gift of joy.
The cosmos is nothing but the dance of pure awareness becoming aware of its Self (Shiva) through the energy of its own inherent bliss (Shakti).
Though empty of form, the diamond wonder of self-awareness vibrates with ananda, and these waves of bliss shape themselves into sub-nuclear particles. Therefor the world is made out of your own consciousness.
Become hollow and witness awareness overflow through your senses, spilling from your eyes, your nostrils, your ears, your tongue, into meadows and trees, mountains, rivers, and clouds. Rooted in the emptiness of naked attention, each sensation is the the first moment of creation, when God says, "Let there be light!"
But who is "God"? The symmetry of stillness breaks into fluctuations, oscillating mathematical equations in the vacuum, discharging gravitons and quarks out of no-thing. The formless void - in Hebrew, "tohu w'bohu" - is not a trope from Buddhism, but from the opening verses of Genesis.
Therefor, as founding quantum physicist Sir Arthur Eddington wrote, "the stuff of the world is mind-stuff."* Matter is made of immaterial awareness, trembling in its own blissful nature; and in this profusion of ecstatic emptiness there is no external agent, no creator.
Existence itself is the creator. Goddess Shakti, the dancing energy of the cosmos, appears as a virtual-reality image on the clear screen of awareness, which is Shiva.
The temple garden of Vrindavan, where Radha and Krishna make perpetual love, is the transcendental architecture of your own abysmal stillness. The mathematics of this sacred geometry is inherent in pure silence when silence becomes self-aware. This virtual space, created by the self-referring movement of consciousness through its own void, is an empty number-set generating all geometrical forms in the vacuum-field of infinite possibility.
Thus Sir James Jeans (another great founding quantum physicist)* wrote, "The Great Architect of the Universe now begins to appear as a pure mathematician." He affirmed that from the perspective of modern science, this is "a world created out of pure intelligence."
But is not through science that you finally know the secret of creation; it is through wonder. Find the wordless depth of prayer in the midnight quiet between two breaths. Here, in divine darkness, is the bridal chamber where Christ meets Magdalene, Krishna meets Radha, Shiva witnesses the dance of Shakti, and the world is born.
An infinitesimal seed is planted in your heart's core, yet it enfolds boundless fertility, containing the cosmos in a yearning zero. This seed is waiting to be germinated by the silent golden ray of your bewilderment.
An ancient yogic text, Vijnana Bhairava, declares: "The supreme Goddess, whose nature is to create, constantly expresses herself as exhalation and inhalation. By resting awareness in the space of the heart, between the descending and ascending breaths, one experiences Bhairava, the source of creation."
Dear one, the mirror is inside you. Awake, gaze, and be astonished. When you are astonished, you re-create the world.
See "Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the Great Physicists," edited by Ken Wilber (Shambala Press, 1985)
Also: "The Mysterious Universe" by Sir James Jeans (Cambridge University Press, 2009; originally published in 1930)
And: "The Nature of the Physical World" by Sir Arthur Eddington. Original lectures from 1927, now available from Timless Wisdom Collection (2005)
If the people's minds are clear, settled in sparkling silence, free from anxious and extraneous thought, while their bodies are infused with the healing breath of divine prana, then it won't matter whether their economic system is socialist or capitalist, or a mixture of the two: they will serve one another with civility, compassion, patience, and trust.
But if the people's minds are dull and anxious, their bodies stressed and depleted, then even if they live under the most egalitarian system of justice, with carefully regulated income equality, they will interact with conflict, envy, impatience and distrust, leading to violence.
That is why, no matter which political party you belong to, it is essential to practice daily sadhana. Cleanse the mind with meditation. Energize the body's cells with healing breath. Because, regardless of your political ideals, you are only capable of acting from your present energy level and state of mind.
Refresh your consciousness and raise the vibrations of your energy with daily practice. Let sadhana be the foundation of your politics.
One gentle sensation of breath, caressing the alveoli and the heart, can liberate this anxious mind. One inhalation may bring boundless peace. All that is required is this body, and a little awareness. This is why I have received the gift of breathing.
And in an instant, one electric stroke of fur or flesh can silence my haughty intellect, puffed up with argument and ideology. This is why I receive the gift of sensation. I welcome the sacraments of light, sound, smell, taste.
Imagine being trapped in this mind, stuck in concepts and beliefs for thousands of years without a body! That is just what happens to the hell-bound, the hungry ghosts, and demigods. That is all they are: beings like me trapped in a mind without a body.
Myriad disincarnate souls yearn for this human form, in order to attain liberation through the kiss of awareness and sensation. Out of billions, I get the opportunity to be born on earth. What an honor!
Here is a chalice of the finest wine. No, a mouthful of pear nectar will do, or a single berry on the tongue. And if I am truly awake, even a sip of pure water is a magical sacrament.
Shakespeare wrote, "Eternity was in our lips and eyes." Zen Master Dogen said, "Those who gained enlightenment by seeing blossoms or hearing sounds, achieved it through the body." Rumi sang, "Forget every touch and every sound that did not teach you how to dance!" And what did Jesus gently tell his disciples? "Take, eat, this is my body."
The secret of salvation is not a belief but a sacred meal, not knowledge but a kiss. The original sin? To think about living on earth instead of touching the ground with our feet...
Most of my life I lived in the next room, separated from the radiance of the world by a thin gray wall of thought. I didn't dwell on the earth, but in my abstraction of the earth, my mental soliloquy. Then I got saved by the grace of a blueberry crushed between my lips.
I remembered what it was like when I was a child, when I swam as a body of light in a sea of light. Then the flavors of the earth burst through the haze of conceptual thinking. I stripped off the armor of names and let the Nameless caress my nakedness. I felt the unction of soil on my soles.
Flesh is not the obstacle to Spirit. What binds me is the chain of my ideas, the manacle of my abstractions. This body is the savior who has come to deliver me from the prison of my mind.
Heaven is a dandelion brushing my cheek, inviting my feet to dance on the soil. I know without thinking that the one who created me has become this breath, so that I may make an offering.
You might look at ordinary objects and say, "There are no miracles." But in fact, these objects are miraculous - the dandelion, the cloud, the dewdrop, the eyes of a child - for they exist. And that they exist is a miracle, because Being itself is transcendent, breath-taking, eternal.
Just before he died, Buddha's followers asked him for his final teaching. So Buddha merely pointed to a flower. We see the thing-ness of the flower, but the Awakened One was pointing to the Being of the flower. There is a difference between the thing-ness and the Being of a flower.
To the mind that is half-asleep, Being seems abstract. But to the awakened, Being is more solid, more actual, than any thing. The difference between ignorance and enlightenment is simply this: the ignorant see a world of things, but the enlightened see the Being of things.
This divine Being imparts to creatures a fleeting and apparent existence, so that we behold them and know quite clearly that they are real, whether they be subatomic particles or stars. The Being that imparts a brief and relative existence to these things, must be more actual and solid than any of them. Therefor pure Being, though formless, is more real than any thing which exists.
When you awaken your own Being, you know that you are not an object. As Being, you participate in the Being of all. There cannot possibly be more than one Being, and you are That, I am That, all this is That. Om Tat Sat.
Compared to the lightning-bolt of pure Being that passes through a thing to give it reality, the form of the thing is a mirage.
Pure Being enfolds us, upholds us, births us, and finally receives us in death. Out of the Being we take form, and to the formless Being we return as an offering, just as waves emerge and return to the depth of the sea. At the moment of death, we awaken and rejoice in the boundless majesty of who we truly are. We know our Being as more solid and substantial than the world. But why wait until then? Why not awaken now, dying to form and waking to eternal Being?
Being is the pure generosity of space, birthing atoms and galaxies, gods and men, world upon world, beyond imagining. Yet the marvelous and boundless ocean of Being is simply the space of our own awareness.
Being is always full and complete, in whatever form we might behold it. The wing of a dragonfly might be frail and broken, but its Being is perfect. A dying old man might be yellow and shrunken, with a death rattle in his throat. But his Being is eternal, fresh and vigorous, passing out of that breath into eternity.
Simply Being, you have nothing to fear, for your existence is whole and complete each instant. You require only one commandment: Be.
Being requires no effort, and when you truly Are, doing flows spontaneously from the grace of Being. The only reason we cannot experience this is because we try too hard to exist. Yet existence requires no work: we need only to allow it to Be.
When we become an empty vessel, and the mystery of Being flows through us, decisive action flowers from the heart, without plan or preconception. All great masters have taught this truth: dynamic action through effortless stillness.
The Taoists called it wei wu wei: doing through not-doing. Laotzu said, The way to do is to be. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna taught, One who sees stillness in action and action in stillness, truly sees. Jesus said, Behold the lilies of the field, they neither toil or spin.
One who is established in Being appears to be engaged in dynamic activity, but their inward experience is stillness. Outward action, inward silence: that is the husk and core of life. Seen in true perspective, Being is solid as diamond, while action is like a line drawn on water, ephemeral and dreamlike.
When we observe our past, all that has lead up to this moment, we see how dreamlike it is. As for the present moment, it is gone in a micro-second. As for the future, it does not exist at all. Thus all of our existence - past, present, and future - is a phantasm, a mirage, playing in the still space of eternity. Why not realize the dreamlike fluidity of existence now, while it is happening?
Just as dynamic action occurs in a dream while our head quietly rests on a pillow, so in waking life we may achieve masterful accomplishments while our awareness reposes in the unwavering stillness of Being.
You cannot experience the grace of Being through some other being - neither through Jesus, nor Buddha, nor your Guru. You can only taste the infinite through your own infinite nature.
Please, for the sake of the world, awaken the sheer magnificence of who you are. When your heart consciously resonates with Being, you will send heart-waves throughout creation. Your realize Being not just for you: your Being uplifts the world.
Many creatures exist, but there is only one Existence. Touch the Being in your heart and you touch everyone. Taste the miracle of your own Existence and you see the miraculous nature of all creatures. Even a gnat is holy.
Non-violence is to be yourself. Non-violence begins by honoring one's self as a singular soul-body, refusing to identify with labels of race, gender, religion, or nationality. When we honor ourselves, as selves, we can honor others: not as groups, but as Persons.But just as right-wing movements divide us, so today's 'progressive' movements promote conflict by labeling Persons by their group identities. Some of us who talk most about 'diversity' actually stifle it, because real diversity is not to promote the tribalism of 'blacks' and 'whites,' Muslims and Christians, straight and LGBT, liberal and conservative - but to recognize the incomparable Personhood of each human being.
Violence begins by making generalizations about people. It is easier to hate a category than a Person. But the general type melts away when we meet the individual, and dare to listen.
I am not a type. I am not a category. I am not a liberal or conservative, a Christian or Pagan. I am not a nationality. And I am not a color.
Remember the great civil rights leader who asked us to judge people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin? If Martin Luther King said that today, many would accuse him of not sounding 'black' enough. But when he wrote his essential document, A Letter From Birmingham Jail, he did not derive his concept of civil rights from racial or tribal law. He referred to the Biblical prophets, to Jesus, to Plato, to a Western tradition of jurisprudence that struggled for centuries to lift us above tribal law, honoring the bold new concept of individual rights. Civil law does not judge you by your identity-group, but your personal actions, in a trial by a jury of your peers.
Let us each take a moment to contemplate the thousands of years of blood and toil that it took humanity to evolve this concept of individual human rights... But now this precious heritage is threatened by those who would herd us back into categories, group-identities, tribes. Such categories are chains that shackle the boundless mystery of the human Person.
To superimpose a group identity on me is an act of violence against my Personhood. Yes, you are free to label me, but I am also free. And my radical act of freedom is this: I refuse to identify with your label.
There will only be peace when we allow one another to be Persons. I am neither superior to you, inferior to you, nor the same as you. I am unique. And I am not your concept of me: you are your concept of me. I am who I Am.
We live in a self-correcting, self-balancing, self-aware feedback system of organic wholeness. Her name is Gaia. We don't participate in her intelligence by projecting fear, anger, and visions of tomorrow's doom. We participate in her intelligence by radiating love, today.
When I truly listen
I have no opinion
Yet in that moment
my emptiness, my capacity
draws me nearer to Truth
than any opinion
I could possibly hold.
A sparrow taught me this.
Better to listen than be right.
As the ear is drawn effortlessly to the song of the thrush, so the mind is drawn by the grace of the mantra to the silence at creation's source.
True meditation is completely effortless, completely graceful. There is no concentration, no repetition, only a pathless spontaneous expansion of joy. Why would the mind need to concentrate on what it naturally enjoys?
The mantra is the seed of the bliss of God-Consciousness in the form of sound, enlivened with divine Shakti at the moment of initiation, through the breath of the Master.
No science is more precious than the science of mantra. No art is more beautiful than the art of meditation. That is why we say, 'Jai Guru Dev,' gratitude to the masters of the Shankaracharya tradition, whose lineage we pass down from the dawn of human history.
'I'll let you be in my dream if I can be in yours.' ~Bob Dylan
When I say, 'this world,' why do I assume that this world of mine is the same world as yours? To each mind, a world....
Who can say that the world we each construct out of the primordial energy around us is the same world? And what if that energy, after all, is consciousness itself, shaping itself into a world?
I am perfectly willing to say that we share the same field of consciousness. But I am not willing to say that we construct the same worlds out of it.
When you crush a ripe blueberry on your tongue, and you are present, there is overwhelming sweetness. But if you are busy thinking of something else, you won't notice the taste at all.You need the gentlest agreement with the body, an agreement simply to be here. Then that blueberry sweetens your whole day.
And just as your tongue tastes the tang of a berry, so your mind savors the fragrance of a breath. The wonder of a single inhalation carries a mind-full of energy and peace, brightening the whole inner sky.
Yet if your mind is somewhere else, or lost in memories of yesterday, you won't scent this miracle. You must agree to be present to your breath, with no other thought or intention. Then you are swept clear by the same gentle yet mighty wind that stirred the waters of the deep at the dawn of creation.
Now if a blueberry can awaken your body's delight, and a breath can recreate your mind, what imperishable beauty blossoms from the core of your Being when you let your heartbeat have its way with you, and sink into the pulse of silence?
These are simple gifts of human incarnation. Don't imagine you are being selfish by attending to them. Let God be present in your tongue, in your breath, in your heartbeat, and you will become a fountain of gratitude that nourishes the world.
Polish the diamond of Self-recognition with your breath. It was given to you for that purpose. Then you will shine like the sun, requiring no thought or external object to taste the ever-expanding bliss of your heart. In that overwhelming simplicity, your own awareness becomes the supreme authority. Bow down to That. Take refuge in That. Sing about That. Tat tvam asi.
Photo by dear friend, Aile Shebar
Haven't you noticed? This is a world of opposites. After awhile, what's good for you is bad for you, what's bad for you is good for you. Get unstuck.
'Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.' ~Proverbs 18:21
'Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.' ~Ephesians 4:29
In the depths of a drought, the Prophet Elijah said, 'Go eat and drink, because I hear the sound of abundant rain.'He heard the sound before the event. Vibration underlies matter. A world of mantras presages the physical world. A thing is preceded by its true Name.
Our language used to have the power to create, to bless and to heal. We sometimes feel nostalgia for this science of mantra, for the Godspell our voices once commanded. We encounter it again in great mythic stories, or fantasy novels like Lord of the Rings and Wizard of Earthsea. Something in them rings true, because we hear the ringing.
Indigenous tribal people still revere the sacred force of names. Aboriginals in Australia can navigate through immense deserts by listening to 'Songlines' that thread the earth together. Words and chants may create or destroy. Empowered by the consciousness of the masters who have reverently passed it down, the whisper of the bija mantra can dissolve lifetimes of karma.
But sorry to say, we have lost our natural access to the science of mantra. We have dissipated the sacred power of the Word by misusing our speech to spread rumor, vulgarity, and insult.