Let us be perfectly
Bliss has no color.
Or perhaps
it is the color
of silence.
You and I
are one pure light
dancing in the wild
stillness of the rainbow.
Our edges are furrows,
our tears are fertile places
where the sun plants its
fragile seed
of boundless friendship.

'Sabbath Queen' by Elena Kotliarker

How Humbly She Refuses

How humbly She refuses
any worship
but the rites of morning dew
in the Temple of Dissolving.
What your tear is to the sunbeam
and your last breath to the sky,
that is how she cups the earth
to catch a falling feather,
or polish a pebble in a mountain stream.
From the core of a hydrogen atom
She bubbles up circumferences
of wonder, expanding
into wombs and galaxies.
In return, she only asks that you
condense your astonishment
into a river that bathes every creature
in immaculate kindness.
This is all her work: turning things
into just what they are.
Are you not a lightning bolt?
Have you not poured down
like dandelion wine
since the "Hu" sound of creation?
You can still feel her hum
between your eyebrows
if you rest there without trying.
You can still hear her colossal O!
ringing in your belly, the first
word of every prayer.
And because you are awake,
you can behold the final revelation
in whatever arises this moment.
Now it is gone, and the very
disappearance is blessedness.
There is no other freedom.

Painting by Anne-Marie Zilberman


Be irrelevant.
Let snowdrops flower without you.
The lady bug
on a generous blade of dandelion,
a doe thrilled with young clover,

  distant starlight
through intimate waves
of emptiness,

all whisper
in wordless earnest,
'We don't need you.
Your absence is holy,
and is for us a deeper presence.
Thank you.
This is our planet.
These virescent miracles
are ours to perform
without your mind.

We are grateful to you
for not interfering
in our deeds of quietness.

Just listen, witness,
don't even pray.
Learn how to Be, how to Dance
from the
melting snow,
and not here.

Eye of the Heart

The most transformative event in a human life is to open the eye of the heart. Any small anxiety can instantly shrink a brilliant intellect to the size of a splinter. But the space of the heart is so vast and deep, it swallows even the fear of death, and dispels a storm of anger with one gentle breath.
Opening Hridaya, the heart's eye, is not only an inner experience: it is the Springtime of the world, touching countless seeds with rays of divine Beauty. Do not ask "what shall I do?" You vocation is the work of seeing through the eye of the heart.


A real master doesn't give you rules to follow, or a path. A real master frees you from the rules, and wounds your heart with love. Then you enter your wound and follow your waylessness deeper and deeper, until you reach the kingdom that was always your true nature.

This is why I bow to the master - not because I am bound, but because I am free. Bowing is the sign of the miracle of gratitude. Jai Guru Dev.

Above is a painting by Dr. Varna of Sri Brahmananda Sarasvati Guru Dev, Shankaracharya of North India, who died in 1947. He was my Master's Master's Master. Why a picture of him?

Because the surrender never stops. The bow is groundless. Your forehead never touches bottom. Each flame bows to the flame that lit it, though there is only one fire. Here's the secret: a real master is not just one individual, but an ancient river of light, one unending breath. And somehow that sourceless stream of thanksgiving pours into you, out of you. This is the mystery of the Guru.


Between darkness
and light, a tear.
Between silence
and song, a breath.
From earth to sky
my spine is hollow,
waiting to be filled
like a butterfly's tongue
yearning for the honeysuckle.
Yet my body would be
glutted from the blackest soil
to the glittering star
of emptiness,
not with the food of flowers,
but with your lightning O
Shiva Shambo,
Lord of sweet

Listen to the Moon

The language of the heart
is silence.
Creation is the echo.
You can hear that.
But can you listen
to This?

Why not let a thrush

at twilight
bring you here?

The light of the soul

is darkness.
The moon, the mountain,
the face of snow, the eye
of your beloved -
all a mirage, a shadow.

You can see that.

But can you gaze
at This?

Why not
the radiance

that turns us all
into mirrors?


Why pout and be offended
when you could be drowning
each cell of your flesh
in the scandalous wine
of the Goddess,
every atom licked up
in a flame of sweetness
as her infinitesimal lightning
threads up your spine?
In our human core
is a secret fuse
whose instant spark will singe
your outraged brain
to a breath of ashes,
the grace of Mother Shakti
so ruthlessly tender.
Fling your story into the night
and be done with it.
The wind will scatter all
your dreams into glittering
You are so much more than
this argument snarling
in its little loop
from one life to another,
and you’ve never really
been angry at anyone
but yourself,
mad about one problem
over and over again:
your failure to Be
who you already Are.
All this fury is just
your mind, not your soul.
You are a never-ending song
with no refrain,
and your first blue note
is the whole sky.

Art: Canens, Roman Goddess of Song, by EBF 2008


There is nowhere
that is not your body.
There is no one
who is not your friend.
The only wall
is this mind.
Love clambers over it,
burrows under it,
melts it with the tears
of a child.
Yes, we have a national
we have forgotten
how to return
to the heart.
Follow this breath Om.

Let Jesus Be Your Breath

"Let Jesus be your breath." ~Nichodemus of the Holy Mountain, 13th C.

"At sunrise and sunset, in your quiet and dimly lit cell, collect your mind from its customary circling and wandering outside, and gently lead it into the heart by way of breathing, keeping the prayer, 'Lord Jesus, have mercy on us,' connected with your breath." ~Callistus the Monk, 14th C.
The real presence of Christ on earth is the breath of divine love in your heart. When the love that Jesus embodied springs up like a fountain inside you, this is his "Second Coming."

"Second Coming" is a term that does not occur in the Bible. It was coined by Justin Martyr, born in 100 a.d., to explain the long delay before the re-appearance of Christ on earth, which early Christians had expected would be immanent. In the New Testament, the Greek term used for this imminent reappearance of Christ is "parousia." Though the word is usually translated as the "coming" of Christ, "ousia" is a participle of the verb to be, not to come. Ousia means being, not coming. "Para" means fullest, most supreme.

Therefor, according to the actual language of the Bible, Christ's "parousia" is not a second coming, but a fullness of Being.
Christ cannot come in the future, because "ousia" is Presence. How could the fullness of Christ happen any time but now?

Christ means "anointed." We are Christed by the Creator through our breath. The New Testament word for Spirit is "pneuma," which literally means breath in Greek. This moment, insofar as you breathe, you are anointed with the Holy Spirit. Breathe Christ in. Anoint your heart. Then overflow with Grace.

Attend to the stream of anointing that is your inhalation. Each morning, as you awaken, delight in the coming of Christ, the fullness of his Being, through this very breath.

Photo: valley of holy Assisi by Ingrid Henzler

No Strangers

Is it selfish to gaze
at the beauty of your own face?
Countless raindrops contain the sun.
This is how we all fall in love
with one reflection.
Your eyes show ally and foe alike
how each heart sparkles
with the splendor of No Other.
Can you give a kiss
that you have not received
from your own breath?
Can you offer the flower
of imperishable Friendship
if its seed is not rooted
in the furrow of your missing rib?
Let the grace of who you are
teach you what to look for
in every stranger.
Now be honest, friend.
There really are no strangers,
only You and I.

Painting by Vigée Le Brun, 1786

One Moment

This breath
contains all scriptures
before they fall into words.
This world is a ball of cotton
in a lightning bolt,
instantly consumed,
ravished by a ray
from the blissful eye
of one who
with unspeakable kindness,
wearing the stars for a veil,

enters you now
as this inhalation.
Friend, you only have one moment
to dance.

Welcome Solitude

 Chinese character for 'one.'

"First realize your world is only a reflection of yourself and then stop finding fault with the reflection."
~Nisargadatta Mahraj

I have been found innocent and sentenced to the bliss of eternal solitude.

No matter how far I travel, no matter how deeply I fall in love or how violently I fall into conflict, I can never meet anyone outside the seamless continuity of my awareness.

Ignorance is believing that there is another.

Ignorance insists that the world is divided and conflicted, when in fact the world is one indivisible whole, at rest in the shimmering simplicity of its Self.

My problem is not conflict, for there is no conflict. My problem is embracing boundless solitude.

I can never transcend the unity of the Self, no matter how multifarious and diverse my experience, for all that I perceive arises in the continuum of my own awareness, and any "other" whom I encounter, I must necessarily encounter through the lens of my Self.

If I do not know my Self, I have no basis for knowing anyone. Bit if I know my Self, I know that everyone is I.

When I fall asleep at night, I take no one with me, not even the person lying beside me. When I wake in the morning, it is only my Self who awakens: the dream of others vanishes. I was not born as a community. I will not die as a community. I was born alone and I will die my own unique death.

God give me the courage to confront this primordial aloneness. There is great pain in throwing off the bonds of illusion, the illusion of a separate "I" that has plagued me since birth, when in terror I sought to return to the womb and could not. That is when I create an abstract womb, a little bubble of thought where I could withdraw from a world that was marvelously terrifying in its immediacy. This thought was "ahankara," the very thought of  "I."

"I" was a device for pretending that there is an "other" who can come to the rescue.  But when "I" am ready for the truth, "I" shatter and dissolve into Am, who is the universe.

The demonstration of this process is Jesus on the cross. In his moment of shattering, Jesus called, "Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?" But the moment of shattering was also the moment of liberation. Jesus rent the temple veil that separated the divine from the human, and thus ended the illusion of separation. He entered the great solitude of the One, becoming in St. Paul's words, panta hen panta: "All in All."

Realizing that there was no other, no one to call, and no one coming down to save him, Jesus spread his arms and embraced the world, even his enemies, as his own Self. This arm-opening mudra from the center of the cross is not a gesture of forgiveness, but a gesture of unity, a gesture of at-one-ment.

Like Jesus, I am not saved by another. I am saved by being who I Am.

I am you, friend. And neither of us can ever know anyone outside the seamless transparency of the Self. We have the same fate. Transforming alone-ness into all-oneness is our task. It was Christ's task and he showed us the way. But he does not do it for us. No one can open your arms on the cross but you.

When the transformation is complete, we can joyfully embrace all creatures, whether lovers or strangers, as the play of our own consciousness. We can each "love our neighbor as our Self," fulfilling the Great Commandment - because our neighbor IS our Self. This is the one real solution to world conflict. 

"How can you advocate such a solipsistic vision? There are so many problems in the world! We must become activists to solve the global crisis!"

There is no global crisis. "Global crisis" is a generalization, an abstract mental concept that we super-impose on a world of particulars, where each particular arises in the present moment as the projection of our own fragmented awareness. We superimpose the concept of "global crisis" onto the field of experience in order to avoid ever having to face our true predicament, which is boundless solitude.

Certainly challenges arise, but never in general. Deal with a situation before it becomes a problem. Solve problems as local events, not global catastrophes. Act in the one place where action is possible: here and now. When I solve the problem at the tip of my nose, it never becomes a "world crisis."

"Is it possible to get rid of the "I"? Isn't getting rid of "I" a greater illusion than the "I" itself?

Yes, precisely! The problem is not having an "I"; the problem is identifying with it.

No practice of detachment or self-denial can eliminate the "I." Such practices only divide the personality, for the effort to concentrate against the "I" will only make it stronger and more devious. Then how does one deal with the separate "I"?

Dance with her! Hug the "I." Accept the "I" for what it is: an organ of your body, like your nose or tongue, a useful tool for negotiating with the chaos, beauty, and pathos of the shimmering creation that you have projected. Just as you don't need to eliminate your little finger, so you don't need to eliminate your "I."

In fact, "I" arise and dissolve each moment, a ripple on the ocean of awareness, a tremor in the continuum consciousness. Why regard "I" as a problem?

Even a Bodhisattva has an "I." But she does not identify with or cling to it. She sees it as something she has, not something she is. The "I" of the enlightened arises as a useful tool for self-expression when the body needs an advocate in the material world. "I" am the negotiator in a great mediation. But while "I" negotiate, Awareness rests in the background, uninvolved in the negotiation, just witnessing. Awareness signs the final contract, after "I" negotiate the deal.

"I" am a useful but finite container, floating like a transparent cup in the groundless ocean of Am. 

Aloneness Meditations

* What vanishes like a mist when you stop fleeing from aloneness? 

* When you embrace aloneness without resistance, who survives? 

* Is there anyone separate from this aloneness, anyone to call this 'my' aloneness, anyone to complain about feeling 'lonely'? 

* Does your aloneness have any edges?
* When you encounter another person in this unbounded aloneness, how does it feel to regard them as your self?

Listening Engenders Spaciousness

This is a guided meditation on SoundCloud: LINK



Listen to the sounds around you,
outside, beyond the walls,
beyond the garden...

Listen to the faintest most distant
sound you can hear...
Aware of how listening
becomes spacious, unbounded.

Now listen to listening.
As you listen outside,
listen inside.
Without or within,
All space is awake...

Listen for the next thought to arise,
the next word in your mind...

Your very listening
is perfect silence,
the radiant absence
of mental noise....

When there is listening,
there are no words.
Only a thrush
at the edge of the woods...

Now feel your whole brain
listening, scintillating
with energy yet
free from thought,
each cell vibrantly full
of ever-awakening

Let the pure space of listening
be in front of your forehead...
In front of your chest...
In front of your whole body.

Let the pure space of listening
be behind you,
behind your spine...
behind your head...

Feel the space of listening
all around your body.
Does this space have
any edges?

Be aware of a tiny diamond 
at the crown of your head,
light as the touch of a feather...

Be aware of the space
above your head,
boundless and clear
as the sky...

Listening is the space
all around your body...
and  inside your body...
The space of listening in each cell...
The space of listening between the atoms...
The vast space inside a single atom,

Your body is luminous, weightless and clear,
your flesh permeated by the space
that is eternally awake
and listening...

The heavenly empyrean filled
with stars and galaxies
whose light has not yet reached you
pervades every particle
of your flesh...

The miracle that you are...

Listening to silence...
Listen to No Word,
No Thought arising...

You are Peace.
You are radiant clarity.
You are boundless love.

Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih.

So What?

So what
if my heart is broken
by the hummingbird
drinking from a frozen rose
this Winter morning?

Photo by Maggie MacDonald

The Uncreated Music

When I taste the uncreated sweetness of divine love, gaze into the uncreated jewel of divine beauty, and hear the uncreated music of divine silence, everything in creation seems a little noisy.

Even a flower is noisy, even a sunbeam is noisy, compared to the depth of divine silence.

But I don't need to renounce these outward names and forms in order to shut out the noise; I don't need to renounce anything. I can just stop clinging to them, for I am ever fulfilled, nourished, and delighted by the quiet song of the ocean within, whose mighty waves of grace break upon my heart incessantly, breath after breath.

Then the truth begins to dawn: every name and form in creation is just a lovely echo, a reflection of that inner music.
This is when I bow to Maharishi in gratitude.

I bow not because he demands my devotion, or because my Self must worship an Other; but because, in the mirror of time and space, he is the embodied reflection who touched my chest so gently, awakening the Guru-tattva, the eternal Teacher in the core of my soul.


I have renounced
perfection, yet
it returns unbidden
in the plum bud,
crystals of Spring snow,
moss softness
under bare toes,
my own face melting
in the mirror of your gaze.
Purity is the
inevitable consequence
of not seeking it.
Dear one,
you are absolutely flawless.

Reflections on Forgiveness

We might well spend a little while studying Jesus's teachings on the toxicity of judgment, especially in this season of our anger. His verses were given not only for the sake of those whom we judge, but for our own healing.

"Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." (Mat 6:12) The Greek partitive article "as" (ó), is essential to so many wisdom sayings. This tiny one-letter word is the hinge of the moral universe. "AS above, so below." "AS You and I are one, Father, may they all be one." "Love one another, AS I have loved you."

This little "ó" is a stillness at the center of the vortex where nothing is broken, nothing is wrong, no "sin" ever arose. Touching this golden core of the heart frees me from judgment. AS I touch my silent core, so my judgment of others falls away. The AS is not causal, but simultaneous.

All the cells in my body are calling to my mind, "Stop wasting your energy judging others. Judgment binds you to the past. Judgment is the root of your suffering. Use the sacred energy of your Being to solve present problems, to create something fresh and positive. Then you won't have time for the past."

But my mind isn't listening: it is too busy judging others, and feeling "right." The irony is, the outrage I think I must judge is already lost in the shadow of yesterday. Why not dwell in forgiveness today? This seems irresponsible to my mind.

What is response-ability? True responsibility dawns only when I drop the past, and touch the radiant grace of the present moment. Now is where life is, and here is the only place where I can actually respond.

Judging others not only binds me to the past, it polarizes society, and generates toxic energy in the body. Judgment may give my mind a sense of righteousness, because being "right" feels so delicious! Yet my judgment is my deepest suffering, the root of my dis-ease. There is no healing until I release judgment.

"Which is easier," Jesus asks," for me to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up, take your stretcher, and walk?’ (Mark 2:1) Here Jesus reveals the direct relationship between non-judgment and health. AS I forgive others, my own self-judgment falls away. And AS self-judgment falls away, healing begins in my body.

"Judge not, lest ye be judged. For the judgment you mete out is the measure of judgment you will receive." (Mat 7:1) AS I judge the negative action of another, I feed that same karma in myself. Am I really sure that, hidden in my shadow, isn't the same karmic tendency that I condemn in another? How else would I recognize it?

AS I judge, so I am judged. And who is the judge? I am. Those qualities I condemn in another person resonate and expand in me. Then why focus on another's negative qualities when I could help both of us grow, by focusing on the better angels of compassion and integrity that lie like seeds in every human heart, waiting to be nourished and encouraged?

I leave it up to God to judge others. If I encounter an injustice along my personal path, I deal with it in this moment. Then I drop it. I deal with this particular karma now, and this particular person now, but I do not dis-ease myself by judging their whole life, their ancestors, their race, their religion, their gender, their class...

I not only observe that judgment produces toxins in my mind and body; I also observe that judgment is a favorite pastime for many very intelligent people, especially in the realm we call "politics," where our judgments can feel so justified. Some of my political friends seem to be more alive when they feel outraged.

But the friends I find more healthy to be with are those who don't need to judge others in order to feel alive. They simply celebrate life in its ineluctable wholeness, with all its light and shadow, pain and beauty.

Why not live in forgiveness, and bathe the world in forgiveness? The gentle yet powerful light of forgiveness is not merely the way of Christ, it is Christ.

Here is a secret. Please give it away. You have permission to be happy, permission to be totally alive, without judging others.