The Taste

"The refreshing moon of the Buddha travels in the sky of utmost emptiness. When you arrange flowers, each flower needs some space around it to radiate beauty and freshness. Human beings are like flowers. Our meditation practice brings more space inside us and around us, so that we can radiate beauty and freshness." ~Thich Nhat Hanh
The Beloved said, 'Drink my cup.'
'What does it contain?'
'The ferment of namelessness.'
So I sipped the liquid
effervescent silence,
tasting like the hour before dawn,
full of thrush and sparrow
and the ruins of the moon
with a finish of starless night.
I tasted again, the black goddess
leaping with fins of fire
to spawn in the springs of my spine.
A third taste, and I became nobody.
'Now you know who I Am,' She said,
her eyes spiral caverns of the labyrinth
leading from temple to forest,
freeing the captive heart
from maps and signs.
I gazed, beheld
the illusion of all distances,
and fell into pavonine
rainbow-feathered emptiness.
Now I dwell in her secret kunj,
a chuppah with no canopy,
not even the sky,
just the desolation of roses
where flames go
when you snuff them out.

Or Hummingbirds...

Dostoyevsky wrote that the earth will be saved by beauty. I believe it, but I'm not convinced humans will be here to see it.

Humanity may be a brief and furious experiment. The planet may sparkle more clearly without us. Consciousness may realize itself through some other species with far less violence and melodrama: dolphins perhaps, or hummingbirds...

I do know this. In the little time I have left to taste earth's beauty, I will not be anxious. I will not be outraged. And I will try with all my soul not to whine. We waste far too much energy doing that, whether in the name of politics or prayer.

Instead, I vow to savor this breath, to rest my mind in the heart, and to radiate love like a simple-minded flower.

Art by Martin J. Heade

Wind Harp

This body is not  
just a house of dust
but a wind-harp
for the whisper
of a stranger’s breath
seeking friendship
in your chest.
As the evening breeze
selects the pine,
as a moonbeam chooses
one trillium among ferns,
that silent caress,
so an ancient yearning
chose your mother’s spine.
How supple she was,
undulating to receive you.
When you agreed
to her darkness,
what were you wanting?
A density of light?
Isn’t it time to remember?
Let your heart be
pure listening now,
and your body
will become a song.

Photo: Harmony, Inc.


99% of our suffering dissolves when we learn to observe our thoughts instead of believing them.
Who is the witness of the mind? Who observes this thought arise and depart, without clicking 'like' or getting lost in an endless thread of commentary?

The Witness of thought is not a thought, and cannot be known by thought.

Gracefully transcending the mind, rest as boundless living silence, then return refreshed for action. This is the value of meditation.

Pick up the intellect again and use it as a tool, but it doesn't use you.

Dispel a thousand thoughts like clouds in the blue sky of awareness. But keep one sparkling jewel in your heart, the sun of pure love.

The one who teaches you this transcendental art is truly your Friend.

Photo by JSL Photography

Sophia Trinitas

This Russian Orthodox icon hangs in our home. It is Saint Sophia with the Three Virtues, faith, hope, and charity. But as in all iconography, the truth of the images penetrates much deeper into the mythic unconscious.

To me this window reveals the Goddess Trinity. Sophia Wisdom is the Holy Spirit, feminine power of Christ - his Shakti. The three Graces are her gifts.

What are these three gifts of Grace? To know Yourself. To know an enlightened Teacher. And to know the divine Friend who dwells deeper inside you than your soul.

As the bee makes the same golden honey from three different flowers, these three forms of Grace are one. Thank you, Mother Wisdom.


The best leader
has no opinion, no party,
and offers no policy at all.
A policy is just an imitation
of what love will do
when the moment arrives.
Does the dragonfly know
how it will land
on a trembling reed?
When others speak of a crisis
she responds gently,
then moves on
like a cloud on the mountain.
She is not of the left,
the right, or the center.
She surrounds a problem
from all sides
with pure consciousness
and it is not a problem.
She does not pretend to know
what is correct and incorrect,
for being right
only stops the current of life.
Creation pulses
from the heart of uncertainty.
Therefore she is an example,
not a lawgiver.
When others are inspired,
they do the work.
She rests in gratitude
and overflows with power.
Listening is silence is compassion.
The nation that puts this
into practice
needs no government.
What is her goal?
To dissolve the end
into the beginning
with every step.
Where does rain go
after it rains?
Ever disappearing
into the soil, the leaves,
the sky.

Make Room

The Friend said,
"Empty your mind,
make room for my gaze."
I said,
"But I'm an educated man!"
The Friend said,
"Your head is clothed in many words
but your heart seeks nakedness,
laughter and tears."
"What shall I say when
men of knowledge
call me a fool?"
"Say nothing.
Just teach them to dance."

Wesak: Full Moon of the Buddha

On this sacred night, I give thanks for the Dharma gift of each great wisdom tradition.

From Islam, the beauty of modesty. From Hinduism, the playfulness of God. From Buddhism, not grasping any thing, because emptiness itself overflows.

From Judaism, the presence of all history now, redeeming humanity in a family meal. From Sikhism, the synergy of science and the spirit.

From Taoism, the dance of opposites. From Bahai, the unity of faiths. From Christianity, the knowledge that love is a Person.

And from the world's indigenous tribal people: shamanic energy, the most primordial revelation of them all.

For the Goddess, who ecstatically whirls the earth, dwells in my body as this breath. The medicine drum is my heartbeat. The bone rattle, filled with bright seeds, is my own skull. And the fire at the center of our wild songcircle is the light in each others eyes.

No Body

"Ano-raniyan, mahato-mahiyan:
Smaller than the smallest
is greater than the greatest."

No body
is as small as God,
who is smaller than a gnat,
smaller than a speck
of pollen on a bee's foot,
or the tremor of gravity
in the ocean of a quark.
God is more insignificant
than the time it takes light
to pass through a hair's breadth.
Any creature as tiny as That
must be un-created,
with a perfectly
silent name.
A sparkling 
so imperceptible as God
would have to disappear
into everything,
a swirl
of galaxies
dissolving in the stillness
between heartbeats.
Infinite power
is yours
when you are that small.

Photo by Aile Shebar

Perfect Morning

A perfect morning to go
nowhere breath by breath
down a woodland path,
letting your feet perform
momentary miracles,
softly as if daubing tears
from your grandmother’s face.
Don’t take steps,
give them.
Remember that the one who
created you broke your wings
so that you could learn
to walk on earth.
How can you thank her?
Crush diamonds
with your whirling.


Photo by my daughter
Abby in our back yard.


In the beginning
was the Verb,
daring grace
without a do-er.
The question is,
if no God ever said
Let there be light,
wouldn't this all have
happened anyway?
Let there be no noun
but fire, a breast
of becoming,
mothering brilliant shadows.
Let there be You,
purest act of mirroring,
astonishing your way
through the swirling navel
of causeless joy.
You the entangled womb
filled with moons and dolphins.
You, the swimming itself,
neither milkmaid nor pitcher,
only the pouring
without a brim
for this cauldron of stars,
your body.

Old Tire

A family of possums
living in an old tire.
Waves of morning glories
drowning an abandoned Chevy.
Who planted these
flowers in the junkyard?
No one, friend, no one.
I would rather love
the smallest good
than hate the greatest evil.
The robin weaves
her nest from threads
of dangling moss, dead twigs.
She is too ardent for outrage.
The moth does not protest
the evening of the world.
The honeysuckle's thin
silent trumpet
conquers the night
with a drop of dew.
What are you resisting?
Be open to the kiss
of rain, caresses of sunset.
Expand the bitter sweetness
of your heart
and bees will return.
Here's the revolution:
breathe, sing in the dark,
be grateful.



You were not commanded
to re-act.
Let strangers taste
the fruits they have chosen.

This is a dance
of broken stems
bleeding untainted sap.

After a thousand lifetimes
  attempting to change the world
you'll finally breathe
without trying
to fix anything,
not even yourself.

Love will flower
from astounded stillness
of the will.

You'll awaken to entanglement,
tiny creatures like yourself
overflowing with tears,
and you'll be reborn,
as a dripping chalice
of honeysuckle.