I plunge into the dark
ocean of midnight
knowing I will emerge
in the blood of another
much like this one but
wet and sparkling
Photo: dolphin in the womb from Nature Heaven
Every night, Jesus prays to you.
'Let the pain of Mary's womb
into the taste of this bread,
freshly baked in the oven
of your body.'
The Shaman bows at your feet
murmuring, 'You are the best medicine.'
And what does Buddha confess?
'My past lives are as fallen leaves
by your gentle exhalation.'
Counting beads of memory
will only sabotage the sacrament
defiling your sacred relationship
with the ordinary.
Why feast on your wound
when your nature is healing?
Why worship dreams
in the ancient temple of trauma?
Love's story happens now.
only one silent breath
In your Wintry heart
what cannot die or be born
has tenderly swollen, purple
as the nipple on a naked twig,
the coming plum.
Hello, Ram Dass. Welcome home. Thank you for all those times we sat in sat-sang all afternoon and all evening. I was in college and you always stopped there on your way back from India. You were the first one who taught us to chant, and to honor pure Presence. You told stories about your infinite Friend wrapped in his blanket. You opened the fountain in our chests. Then we were silent for long golden rivers of now. You made it so safe and eloquent to laugh at ourselves, at the whole wondrous joke of seeking what we already have. I hope you've met Willy there, which is here, in the rays of the Heart. I love you.
She is immaculate silence,
the fecundity of night.
She gives birth to fire
before its conception.
Her void is moist with stars
yet She who cradles them all
has become your breath.
Don't strive for the light.
Just let your darkness
be a manger.
Is She not the wine
between your thoughts?
and be the mother
of your own heart.
Painting: 'Adoration' by Gerrit Van Honthorst, b. 1592
Jesus said, "The Eye is the light of the body. If your Eye is one, your whole body will be filled with light (Mat 6:22)." He did not take human birth to reveal a path out of the flesh, but to glorify God in the flesh. What are we made of? Subtler than a photon, finer than the fleetest quark, each particle of our blessed matter is a wave of unbounded Christ Consciousness.
There's a milky fractal
landscape of infinitesimal stars
between violet frost wings
where my galaxy of attention
briefly catches like a thistle thread.
I cluster here,
white whorls of no other.
As you can see,
degrees of magnitude dissolve
Every creature pours its cream
into another's cup.
Earth is a kind of overflowing,
our eyes already filled
with what they might see,
eggs containing their
golden selves without breath.
Meet me here
before any thing.
The nectar of contentment
flows up your stem,
opening golden petals
here, in your chest.
Don't you know that
the seeds of the world
come from the jewel of silence?
They are scattered dancing
reflections of your face
when you choose beauty,
when you breathe the wondrous
un-created energy you Are.
Now let your fragrance fill
the space between the stars.
Be more and more
like the Moon.
Though her reflection
is sometimes whole
and sometimes broken
by these trembling waters
She is always still
and radiant in the sky
of true emptiness.
She doesn't keep repeating,
"I am not the pond,
I am not the pond."
She just gazes.
is sometimes whole
and sometimes broken
by these trembling waters
She is always still
and radiant in the sky
of true emptiness.
She doesn't keep repeating,
"I am not the pond,
I am not the pond."
She just gazes.
At the full moon in December
Buddha celebrates the birthday of Jesus.
At the full moon in May
Jesus celebrates the birthday of Buddha.
They meet in mid-March
outside of Topeka, Kansas
hitchhiking on route 75
slamming each other with verses
from the next book of Revelation:
"You changed water to Ayahuaska
made from celestial poppy stars
and drank all seven jars!"
"Your mind is a neon bubble of no-thing!"
"Don't get wasted on martyrdom!"
"Moderation will get you nowhere!"
"Nothing wrong with a clean shave, Rebbe!"
"What's with the belly, Tattagatha?"
"The Milky Way is my frisbee!"
"I churn God's anger into ghee!"
"I remember more lives than sand grains in the desert!"
"All the information in the cosmos in one weird quark
of my hemoglobin!"
"The sea turtle with the elephant on its back
carrying the world in his tusks
swims in the ocean of my emptiness!"
"I have ten thousand arms bearing swords of un-knowing,
ten thousand eyes seeing through wounded black holes,
ten thousand mouths all shouting Neti Neti!"
By now, like all truth tramps, they are hungry.
Throwing their arms over each others shoulders,
they swagger into Happy Jack's Diner
where they bang on the counter, laughing beyond
control and shouting, "See that apple pie?
We want the whole thing!"
Happy Jack's wife, Thelma,
silences them with a smile.
"I know, boys," she says, "I know."
Then she suckles them from her boundless
transcendent black bosom of grace.
Dear friend, my christmas tree does not depress you. Your own mind depresses you. My happiness does not make you anxious. Your own mind makes you anxious. It is not my duty to tiptoe over the earth trying not to trigger you. You can avoid much suffering if you refrain from ascribing intent. Please discriminate between the intentions of others and your own reactions. This is true forgiveness. Discriminate between the actual world and the feelings that arise in you about it. This is true Vairagya, non-attachment. Only then can you sink deeper and discover that your nature is peace, your breath is love.
Slow down, walk softly, go nowhere. When you spend a little while just walking in the silence of Winter, with no other purpose but caressing the ground, each footfall, like snow, makes the earth more sacred. You step into a new dimension, the dimension of the Ordinary, leaving a trail of miracles.
Painting by Andrew Wyeth, who said, "I prefer Winter and Fall, because then you can feel the bone structure of the landscape."
Earth was created so that creatures could say 'thank you.' The angel is not so lucky, serving without choice, like God's crystal wristwatch. But you may take the form of a bee or a rose, a seed or a furrow. You might become a flame or a wick, a nipple or a baby's lips. You choose. Remain a grape, or get crushed into wine. Be the stranger at the door, or the host who says, 'Welcome friend, come drink and get warm, then tell me your name.' The part you play in this world doesn't really matter, as long as you dissolve into a golden arrow, shooting upward, returning your portion of light to the fountain of stars.
"Which of you, by worrying, can add one inch to your stature?" ~Jesus, Mat 6:27
The power to Be without the compulsion to Do, to Be in the world without anxiously trying to fix or manipulate it, is itself a transforming earth-healing act.
Far from passivity, the act of Being is the stillness that spins galaxies, creating stars. In the past, only a few yogis, hermit monks, and crazy zen masters knew this secret. Now the secret is open, and many are realizing themselves as the Witness.
Much of the present world turmoil is the phase transition that occurs as energy settles into a new quantum state. The karma of chaos has been loosed and won't be 'fixed.' One can either increase the chaos through worrying about it, participating in it, and trying to clear the muddy water by stirring it up, or one can witness the chaos from the innermost core of Being.
We must understand once and for all that the Witness is not the thinking mind, but the unbounded Silence beyond thought. This pure act of witnessing, from the field of transcendental Silence, smooths the path of evolution and hastens the transition for everyone.
We witness from the very state of peace into which the world is inexorably settling, which means that the Witness already watches from the age to come, and Is the future, while the doer of chaos has already fallen into the past.
Then what to do? Nothing extraordinary. Simply perform the sacrament of your ordinary work, whatever your work may be, along with regular meditation to establish awareness in Being.
The mother who is settled in Being does as much for the earth by darning her children's socks, as the angry protester who marches in the street. It is a great ignorance to imagine that one person's actions are more important than another's, simply because they are more political, more religious, or more lucrative.
Being, not doing, harmonizes, heals, purifies, and unites. Being is love. Right doing will flow out of Being as the fragrance flows from the flower. When awareness is rooted in Being, then the simpless act we perform releases the fragrance.
Though your mind may argue otherwise, never forget that peace is your very nature, love is your breath, silence the power beneath your words and deeds.
If I praise one petal of a pascal flower, bow to a ball of goat's fur tangled in alpine aster, or beg the intercession of a moth disguised as blue lupine, I am worshiping the Creator of All. The complete Word of God speaks through a blossom of columbine, and the passion of Christ is the ripening of a huckleberry. If I cannot grasp the Revelation of a bumble bee on a flower of Indian Paintbrush, what use are books of scripture?
Photo: Our beloved Mount Tahoma (Rainier)
Kiss your demons and they will turn into dark angels. Drive your dark angels away and they will return as demons.
Lust is not a demon but a dark angel filled with un-created star nectar. Anger is not a demon but a dark angel filled with healing fire. Grief is not a demon but a dark angel who carries an ocean of love in her jar. Depression is not a demon but a dark angel whose river of wisdom runs deep under the earth. Addiction? No, not a demon but a dark angel bearing gifts of empathy and compassion on her broken wings.
If you do not bow to your dark angels they possess you, and you must act them out. But if you bow to them they breathe through the numb places in your estranged body. Then your cells and atoms start singing, and your dark angels dissolve into the energy of awakening. You possess Them.
A true teacher will not divorce you from your dark angels. A true teacher will inspire you to bow down to them, and taste the wine of night.
Become the dark. That is surrender. Let your heart be an empty womb. Only then can you give birth to the light of Christ.
Be a pilgrim, but be a pathless pilgrim.
Every real pilgrimage is a journey to the same place, the place where I Am. Whether I make the haj to the Kaaba stone, or a journey to Jerusalem, Benares, Arunachala or Machu Picchu, whatever holy mountain, sacred river or saint's shrine I choose for my destination, it is always the journey of a single breath, from my lips to my heart.
The same is true of our journey to the goal of "enlightenment." Yet being pathless does not mean abandoning our sadhana, our daily spiritual practice. It means that there is no "ahead" or "behind." Measuring "progress" in relation to some future destination has no spiritual meaning. Everything happens now.On the basis of human appearance, no one can determine whether this person is "more advanced" than that person - which is why Jesus said, "Judge not, lest ye be judged." God sees something totally different on the inside of us than others see on the outside.
I have witnessed people of the most diligent faith and moral rectitude who, upon initiation into meditation, experienced nothing at all for years, if indeed they had the humility and patience to continue the practice. And I have witnessed others coming right out of addiction, depression, violent emotion and extreme sensuality, who experienced all heaven burst upon them at the moment of initiation. Bliss from their ancient human core gushed up from the heart, because they were so ripe.
Meditation is not thinking. Meditation is awakening the boundless space that contains thinking. In the silence of no-clinging and no-resistance, thoughts arise and dissolve like clouds in the blue sky. And the more you become this clear blue-sky of awareness, the more spaciousness you enfold in every neuron, ever cell of your body. Your silence imbibes the luminous Shakti of darkness, whose energy created the cosmos in her womb. Whatever may be your outward task, this is your inward duty: give birth to the Light.
Rumi said, there is some kiss
we all want, the kiss
of spirit on flesh.
I say, there is some garden
where your breath meets
I can't lead you to
this green place because
you are already there.
But I can tell you
that if you are awake
all seven poppies
burst open at once,
each a sunrise
in your body.
Rest in the living silence of possibility, before a single thought is born. This is the space where wonder discovers how to love. It is not the numb stillness of sleep, nor the brutal stillness of self-control, nor the "mindfull" stillness of any discipline. The grace of true silence cannot be practiced. It simply is.
Silence is the rippling surface of eternity, where time arises as a playful afterthought. This silence is the threshold between form and the formless, between creature and Creator. The pause at the center of every pulsation, of a galaxy or a photon, it is the axial momentous eternal ayin-soph between day and night, Winter and Spring, exhalation and inhalation, the slicing scimitar of now.
Medieval Christian philosophers called this living silence "synderesis," or "pure intellectual soul." Thomas Aquinas told us that the synderesis dwells "on the borderline between time and eternity."
Indian philosophers called it "ritam bhara pragyam," the luminous field of intuition where all knowledge is condensed, and all history is available in this present moment. "Ritam" is not a thought, but the field whence intellect arises, prior to thinking. It is our inmost seed, where pure consciousness ceaselessly breathes forth the soul.
In the field of "ritam" we can apprehend anything in the universe, knowing all "about" it without knowing the details, because the diversity and duration of the entire cosmos exists here as a timeless singularity, a point within our pure awareness.
The poet Emily Dickinson wrote, "Dwell in possibility." She was inviting us to repose in "ritam."
Quantum physics also describes this silent field of infinite potential, where no-thing may become anything. The "quantum vacuum" pulsates with virtual photons of light and virtual electrons of energy, particles that are and are not. These "fluctuations of the vacuum" are stirrings of pure possibility, defined in mathematical terms as "probability-waves." What we call "matter" is made of nothing else but these vibrations of possibility in the silence of pure consciousness.
At any instant, one of these immaterial waves may burst out of emptiness as the finest particle, or as a new universe. These dimensionless monads are the "sparks of creation" described by Jewish Kabbala, and the primordial "atoms" (amatu) defined by Vedic philosophy. Our bodies contain countless hosts of these sparks as photons of light. Yet because they are holographic, each spark contains all the information of the universe.
The total sum energy of the possibility-field is zero, but at any infinitesimal point within it, the energy is infinite. That is why the nothingness at the center of a black hole is simultaneously the densest "thing" in creation, a monad containing cosmic information. This omnisciently dense point of no-thing at the center of a black hole, is also the subtlest graviton in the heart of matter. Which means that each point in space contains the universe, as pure knowledge.
All ancient creation stories explain, in symbolic imagery, how something comes from nothing, what the Church fathers called "creation ex nihilo." The first verses of the Hebrew Bible declare that, when God creates the heavens and the earth, the earth is tohu wa bohu, "formless and void." The same vocabulary we find in Buddhism: "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form." Whether the religion is Biblical or Buddhist, the truth always comes back to the void, and this same void in the creation stories of the world's religions is the "vacuum state" of energy in the creation story of modern physics.
Is the "vacuum state" of quantum physics synonymous with consciousness?
We can answer this question with a logical argument. Can there be two voids, an inner void and an outer void? Can there be two entities that are infinitely abstract? Of course not. Pure abstraction contains no duality. Voidness must be an indivisible singularity. Emptiness is absolutely empty.
Therefor what Buddhists call "sunya," the emptiness of no-mind; what Yogis call "samadhi," thought-free awareness; must be precisely the same void as the vacuum of quantum physics. Mind and matter both arise from one matrix: an insight not only shared by all the ancient mystics, but by the most brilliant modern physicists.
"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter."When, through transcendental deep meditation, we allow our awareness to settle into this primordial matrix of no-thing, we return to the source of creation. Here in the ripples of awakened silence we feel the whole cosmos forming out of formless awareness. This is not only the thrill felt by God "in the beginning," but by every meditator, and by every artist or poet at the moment of creation. The world is on the tip of your tongue.
Thoughts are brilliant zeros
whirling after a 1.
Meditation is the hollow
in all of them.
Whatever spins, spins in you.
Don’t be this restless intellect.
Be the space through which
Be the green journey
of a spiraling seed
into the death of its flower.
Past and future are only
the shimmer of now.
The glittering chaos
of memory and desire
are as changing clouds
in a distant sunset.
Watch them in silence.
There is great beauty
in beholding the turmoil
of your mind.
as the blue sky.
This is the color of wonder.
There are no
of the present moment.
We're all beginners
Sumi-e by Mariusz Szmerdt
The practice of Winter
requires no effort.
Simply do not fear
the hollow place.
Be thankful for
what's left in the gourd,
for the gift of withering,
your open palm,
your persimmon cheeks.
Find another word for "emptiness."
Look for husks, pods,
bright crinkled faces
in the Void.
Those who visit this world
report that it is a planet of chaff,
rind, stretch marks, scar tissue.
Everyone here must break open,
wear a gash on the belly,
reveal the bewildering sweetness
of their fruit.
And where does this nectar seep?
Into the soul.
And where is the soul?
If you can't find passion
in the land of disappointment,
be ardent about this breath.
Fall in love with your next inhalation
as with the first gasp
of a newborn foal.
Softly attend your sigh
as if it were your mother's,
and her last.
Whatever is delicious,
whatever is astonishing,
whatever brings piquant
and savory tears,
ripens and dies now.
Anger is an energy
that attracts more anger.
Intelligence is inversely
proportional to crowd size.
A single animal behaves
than a multitude of men.
Therefor hold space
for the Alone,
curled up in the woods
around your own wound,
keeping your breast warm
to share your perfect milk
with one stranger
at a time.
The rock star guru
seated on a golden throne
sells glittering tricks
to stop your yuppie mind.
The yogi says, repeat
this mantra 12,000 times a day
til monkey mind is docile
as a lamb.
The roshi shouts, kill it!
Concentrate so hard
you burn a black hole
between your eyebrows!
But what does Fred say?
Oh dear one, what does Fred say?
Be a lover.
Let your mind run wild and free,
kissing every sweet spot
in the universe.
Just don't chase after it.
Renoir's 'Woman with Black Hair,' which I recently photographed at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. Maybe my favorite Renoir. She is re-creating the world through the serene and positive energy of her gaze...
Plant seeds of beauty through your lips and eyes.
Name every creature with your love.
See the world you want to realize
lit from your face, not from above.
Now better dance than hesitate.
God waits to watch the wonders you create.
I give thanks for my daughter Liz, and for my beautiful wife Anna, for Abby and Willy and Finn, and all my relations. Ho! I give thanks for Philadelphia and Seattle and the vast rolling chaos of love between them. I give thanks for food. I eat whatever my host gives me, knowing that it is blessed by the grace of hospitality. I say, 'Yes please, I'll have seconds!' I hug my bad habits too, because the space of my hug is wider than the habit. I hug all ragged fractal untied threads of lack, all jagged angry edges of wanting. And when I hug them, I am free. Because the space of the hug is always wider, and I am the space of the hug.
Photo: My daughter and I after running up the steps to the Philadelphia Art Museum, like Rocky. 11/25/19
I used to believe in Nothingness. Sometimes I spelled it 'no-thingness' to be more metaphysical, or I Buddhacized it into 'emptiness,' which sounds kooler. But now I truly un-know that there is no such thing as nothing.
What appears as nothing, or vast emptiness, in deep meditation, is only the space around the jewel. My senses are too dull to perceive anything but this auricular shadow for awhile. But finally, after my perception has been refined in the fires of even deeper grace, I discover that this "nothing" is a cornucopia, the fruit of the seed of the fruit of the seed, divine causation spiraling ever inward toward a luminous and adamantine source, who is the very Eye that seems to be perceiving it.
This endlessly spilling source never empties but grows more full, more solid. The deeper I dive, the more Christalized the ocean of the un-created. The great seers were all gemologists: for Jesus the transcendent was not the heavenly sky but the "pearl." For alchemists, not the philosopher's space, but the philosopher's "stone." For Adi Shankara, not emptiness, but the "crest jewel of discrimination." For Yogis,"chitta mani," the "jewel" of pure consciousness. And for Tibetans, "Om mani padme hum": not the hollow but "the jewel in the heart lotus."
Penetrating the yoni of unbounded blackness, I enter a light so blinding it only appears to be dark. Krishna's dance vibrates at such an astronomical rate of energy that it only seems to be stillness.
There is finally no Void at the core of my Being. There is only the Goddess brilliantly drumming fierce throbs of diamond silence. For the sake of the fragrance of love, One ever bursts into Two. And Aphrodite, love herself, is born from sexual froth in the infinite sea of super-radiant chaos.
At this time in our culture, loss and uncertainty are arousing many old stories in re-action. Old stories of blame, betrayal, martyrdom, apocalyptic fear. Old tribal stories too: man vs. woman, race vs. race. These stories feel like they are happening now, but they are in the past, tending to tell themselves, taking on a life of their own. In my opinion, these stories are not who we really are.
I don't want my message to get in the way of people's suffering, if that is what they need to do for awhile. Who am I to tell people anything they don't like to hear? It will only make them angrier and more reactive. Because I choose not to be a part of these stories. I only have one simple message to tell. It is beautiful but it hurts.
You are not the old story. You are Love's radiant clarity now. You are Love's emptiness. And Love needs no story. This very moment you can be happy. No story of victimhood, no way of the cross, no path of penance you must follow to get here. Wouldn't you rather look FROM this place than FOR this place?
We are entering the season of Angeltide, when the joy of the Inner Light shines more and more from the hollow un-created center of all creatures, until it bursts through as the Solstice energy. Now is the time to let Breath cleanse mind. Let Silence make love to your heart.
No one is to blame. To realize this is freedom.
I blame others to absolve myself from the sins of the world, yet I as much as anyone am responsible for the appearance of creation in the shimmering bliss of pure consciousness.Now let me unbuckle the breast-plate of anger, lower the shield of political judgment, and drop the sword of blame.
For blame is just the way I deflect the pain of my anger and fear. But when I release judgment, I have no choice but to inhale the terror of the earth. Yet only then may I widen my embrace to feel her Beauty.
The Sorrow is profound, but the Beauty is breath-taking. The Sorrow I breathe in, the Beauty I breathe out. What I draw into my heart is cleansed and transmuted into a sapphire sky, emitting rays of gold. Self-luminous compassion is mine to release. Now let me breathe the dawn across the sea...
Yes, let it be repeated: the un-created arising of the whirled is only a mirage in blue stillness. Amidst this hurricane of sorrows, I Am the unbounded seer, the Eye of the storm. Pain has no beginning, beauty no end. There never was any Sin, nor ever a Fall, because all creatures are forever falling from Grace, through Grace, into Grace.
This is not a belief, a philosophy, or a practice. It must be tasted to be known, and the knower must dissolve into the taste.
Dear Friend, won't you join me in this breath?
Today I honor the Warrior who wields the sword of his own breath to sever the illusory knot that binds every effect to its cause, once and for all liberating the earth from any creator, liberating the body from any soul, the dance from the dancer, the song from the troubadour, and the full moon's beauty from the sun. I honor that mighty one who achieves victory without war, empowering the world to dance in the void without creation or first cause. Again and again I bow down to that Warrior, offering priceless golden petals from the seedless rose that was never planted in any ground, yet springs from my loins and blossoms through my crown for no other reason but the frolic of stillness.
Madness has taken its toll.
Where once there were opinions,
now there is laughter.
Where once there were rare gemstones
Now there are waves of sparkling uncertainty.
The earth tilts toward the womb.
The sun cries, thirsting for black milk.
Silence cannot contain its own emptiness
and fills our bones with dust.
We must listen to the gong of the raven
that unties the vagus nerve
from it root in the anus
and it’s needle eye in the forehead.
Lost in the desert between
those firmly nippled opposites
we may still find some chalice
buried in the pulverized cathedrals
First offer a drink of sand
to the ancestor who betrayed you.
Then taste the magnificent ashes
of your own fire.
I do not know what these words mean,
but I know they will carry me like raptor wings
into the tropical depression of your breast,
which is just another caesura
in the rhythmic echo
of a world without voices.
Now let us open eight billion mouths
to the diamond cave of zero.
Painting: Marc Chagall
"She raised her eyes to the bright stars, looking down so mildly from the wide worlds of air, and, gazing on them, found new stars burst upon her view, and more beyond, and more beyond again, until the whole great expanse sparkled with shining spheres, rising higher and higher in immeasurable space, eternal in their numbers as in their changeless and incorruptible existence.
"She bent over the calm river, and saw them shining in the same majestic order as when the dove beheld them gleaming through the swollen waters, upon the mountain tops down far below, and dead mankind, a million fathoms deep.
"The child sat silently beneath a tree, hushed in her very breath by the stillness of the night, and all its attendant wonders. The time and place awoke reflection, and she thought with a quiet hope-- less hope, perhaps, than resignation--on the past, and present, and what was yet before her." ~Charles Dickens, 'Old Curiosity Shop,' 42
Big hearts carry pain
that others won't feel.
Boundless ones weep
without knowing why.
Yet at the heart's core
is a hollow that
cannot be touched
by joy or sorrow.
Stars yearn to rest here.
The moon takes off
her veil of light in vain
to know this stillness.
How may you enter the
shrine of holy absence?
Follow your breath.
Painting: The Bohemian, by Renoir
We are not here to carry the pain, the grief, the blood-guilt of our ancestors. We are here to free them. Our life is not an act of penance, but an act of bold forgiveness.At the root of our literature and our politics is the Oresteia trilogy of Aeschylus. The Furies drive Orestes mad with their infernal history of unreleased trauma, through the relentless cycle of retaliation. But the new Goddess of civilization, Athena, descends to cast the deciding vote in the Assembly of Athens, the original rite of democracy. Our freedom is a choice, and it frees others as well as ourselves. Orestes awakens from the dark stupor of the past.
I am Orestes. I am the punishing Furies. I am Athena. I descend into the Assembly of my own heart, where all are gathered. I cast my vote for absolution, and pure joy.
The fool never gets tired
of three things:
drinking strong wine
from his own heart,
reaching the goal
on the first step
of an infinite journey,
and running his fingers
through the wise fur
of a brown four-legged earthling.
Now get good and lost
until you find yourself
beating at the door
of this fool’s hut.
Knock and he'll cry,
'It's me!' you'll reply.
And he'll answer,
'There's no room in here for me!'
So you'll spend a thousand
more lifetimes praying,
fasting, giving alms
until one day, weary
of all your goodness,
you'll wander to that hut
and knock again.
'Who's there?' he'll cry.
'Nobody,' you'll answer.
Then he'll open the door
and hug you with fierce joy,
uncorking your heart
so that you too can taste
the dark vintage of wisdom
that's been aging in your chest
since the day before
there was light.
Things that make me sad.
I cannot stop sipping whisky.
I pour it down the sink.
Then I buy more.
Even though I got a new dog
I miss my old one.
This makes me cry sometimes.
When my wife is away
I wish she could be here.
I dream of her.
But when she’s here
In the store I can’t find things
they sold when I was growing up.
The junket pudding, the ginger snaps,
the little mary janes.
The world is a wound that will not heal.
Now here's a list of things
that make me happy.
This breath too.
Stars in the dark.
A robin in November.
Thank you thank you thank you.
The void is not even void.
It gushes like a wound in your food.
Your grandmother knew,
nestling your brown voice
in her quilt of bones.
Now pay attention to what pays attention.
Secrets will reveal themselves,
atoms of pain instantly swollen
into galaxies the size of tears.
Your gaze circling the earth
like a shapeless moon.
The eye of space itself awakening.
And your own breath will heal you.
Is there a black hole at the center of the galaxy? Who knows? The dark energy of un-knowing is part of the hole. Creativity arises from this wound at the core, maelstrom of inward collapse, self-annihilation in unfathomable vulnerability. It is precisely here where the light comes from, but we don't even know where "here" is, because it is center-less.
The Bible speaks of the mystery as "kinosis," self-emptying. Buddhism calls it "anatta," no self. Most people want to take refuge FROM this black hole. The mystic takes refuge IN it. Of course, as soon as one says, "I" am a mystic, "I" am an artist, this "I" becomes a wall, a glittering mirror, that cuts off all access to creation's source.~ Photo by NASA, Andromeda galaxy floating in the blue light of pure consciousness.
Only humans argue with what Is.
Where is the argument between wind and thistle, wave and stone, the tooth of the lion and the throat of the crippled gazelle?
This indisputable world flows seamlessly on, through an eternal continuum of Presence. Our marvelous bodies respond in the moment, with just slightly more neurological complexity than sea urchins. This instantaneous organic physiological response is our entire destiny.
Creation happens without a future, beyond dispute. Our thoughts and labels for the circumstance are irrelevant. Our gift is not to think, not to argue, surely not to worry out a solution, but to be Awake. Nakedly aware in the vast terrifying beauty of the Happening, just as it arises and dissolves.
A fearless spiritual warrior leaps into the Transcendental Mandala of the Supremely Ordinary Empty Now, which is the face of God. As the Bible tells us, no one who looks into this face can survive (Exodus 33:20).
Which means, annihilation of the chattering 'me,' with all its opinions and objections. In God's boundless and eternal gaze, there is only room for wonder. No more arguing with what Is.
White privilege, brown privilege.
The privilege of a human birth.
The privilege of seeing, tasting the rainbow.
The privilege of having an earthly body.
The privilege to breathe in.
The privelege to breathe out.
The privilege of dissolving
into the formless infinite heart
The privilege of taking form, in order to dance.
All sentient creatures, blessed with privilege
because they are merely alive.
The privilege of a caterpillar whirling
all Winter in the chrysalis.
The privilege of an eagle soaring over mountains.
The privilege of a worm in the apple core.
The privilege of the last rose, frost scented.
The privilege of a maggot devouring death.
The privilege of pausing
to hold up your grandmother's cup
in a sparkle of soapsuds.
The privilege of clinging
to your grandfather's hoe each Spring.
The privilege to be a creator
with wet clay-covered hands.
The privilege to shape your story.
The privilege to remember
and the privilege to forget.
The privilege to blame
and the privilege to forgive.
The privilege that loss brings, awakening the heart.
The privilege of taking one more barefoot step
on this sacred planet.
The privilege of hearing a raindrop at midnight.
The privilege of praying the dark.
The privilege of giving back your breath
to trillions of invisible stars
whose light is tomorrow.
Uncredited image from Pinterest, photographer unknown.
My favorite feast in the Jewish calendar is Sukkoth, the Feast of Booths. I'm sorry this harvest festival has just ended.
The Bible commands the Israelites to party in the vineyards for seven days after they harvest the grapes to make wine.
They must sleep in the fields where they party, building little vine husk huts to remind them of their roots in the nomadic life. They are to leave the edges of their fields ragged and un-gleaned, so that homeless wanders can find fresh food there. And they must leave their huts ('Sukkoth') filled with grain and fruit for those 'People of the Land' ('Yom ha'Eretz').
This is a festival of paradox, celebrating a life of abundant joy, yet honoring the poor. For all matter overflows with Spirit, and Spirit overflows with matter. The edges of our bodies are ragged, like meadows at the harvest. We are one other, every body overflowing into the fractals of the cosmos.
When we remember this, is there not enough for everyone?
Some speak of the 'gross physical body,' as if it is separate from consciousness. They need to look a little deeper. Flesh is made of pure light. Every photon of matter is an ocean of grace.
Root down in the darkness of Mother Matter until She offers you the wine of unlimited radiance. Honor your body just as it is, its crows feet, scars, cauldrons of cellular trauma boiling over with old stories.
Without clinging, embrace all memories, images, and beliefs about 'me,' letting them dissolve as they arise. Now witness what they really are: sparks of electrochemical energy dancing in the nerves of Presence.
When you meditate on the body, through the body, as the body, without traveling any distance to a 'higher state,' you arrive. You have always already arrived - not at the merely infinite, but at countless golden infinities, clustered in the vineyards of your flesh.
Listen child,To your breath belongsthe gentle powerthat created the sun.Your inhalation awakensstars in your body.Your exhalation chargesthe moon and planetswith whirling fire.Mountains, streams,
and forests live
because you are alive.No one will teach you this in school.They don't want you to be filledwith your own radiance,which is incomparable.You will have to learn itfrom the terrible sweet drumof your heart.Listen child,whatever you dream of,whatever you desire,whatever you worship,you are that.
It glows from your Being.
Photo, our first child, Abby at six months