Take off the soft-breathing mask of forgiveness.
You are really quite angry.
Take off the fierce mask of outrage.
You are really quite gentle.
Be the one who wears them both,
the one who has no face.
All masks are hollow
yet sparkling with frowns and smiles.
No one inside, just silence,
delight of enso, ever-expanding zero
whose circumference is wonder.
After you've taken your faces off,
put them on again.
Be thousands of transparent veils
undulating in waves of moonlight.
Be the gravity-free hollow who wears them.
Be musky anthers unfolding in caverns of juice.
This is your true body, woven for the dance.
Woven of the mandible snap of animal laughter,
woven of the yeast of living tears.
This is your body of dark bread,
woven of lightning bolts.
Be night filled with stars,
miracles in a thimbleful of loam.
Be a mothering blackness of butter and sweat.
I don't want to stop
at your skin.
I won't turn back
at your dazzle of erotic fire.
I must pass through
your locks and doors,
a villain of the stars
scattered in your thimbleful
of brownest loam.
I must see You,
not the color of your herd
or the tribe of your ancestors.
I must taste the smoke
of your true voice,
not the missing tooth
in your harp of chromosomes.
I must see white mountains
melt and tumble down your spine
from the crown of death's wisdom
to the broken pomegranate
in your birth valley.
Smell the musk of your tears.
Hearken drum throbs,
flutes in your panther walk,
the way you shoulder blackness
and growl down barefoot paths of night.
I insist on beholding your pure
scarlet form of undulation,
just this breath
before it enters your body.
Why is there no serpent
among the constellations?
Because You are.
The ram, lion, scorpion, bear,
Use them to ford the stream of desire.
They are mossy stones
in the moonlight of an illusion
that we could ever be two.
When our timing is perfect,
which only happens now,
we devour each other.
Loss becomes a Way.
I must hear the lethal
silence of your owl wing
preying on my fur.
Until you have no shape
but the sacred crystal of my imagination.
Learn from the moth
on a thistle.
If you compare this moment
to any other now,
if you compare this presence
to any other place,
you turn your world to ashes,
your wings of amazement
What arises dissolves
in immaculate beauty,
a shaft of summer sunlight
stabbing the peony's heart,
then a raindrop
to heal the wound.
Not Just Air
Breath is not just air. Mingle awareness with the nectar of your breathing. Let it become a luminous and subtle elixir, the healing alchemy that dissolves the borders between 'mind' and 'body.' Your awakened breath reveals that there is only one energy pulsating in creation.We get stuck in concepts, trying to name this mysterious power - Shakti, Ruuh, Ch'i, Holy Spirit, the God Particle. Why argue for one minute over names, when we may taste this energy as direct experience? Through the gentlest breath, our atoms overflow with starlight, we melt into pure love, and dance with our Creatrix, She who spirals out of wild silence.
Photo: Laka, Goddess of Hula, by Alan Houghton
"The last shall be first." ~Jesus
Tonight before you go to sleep,
sing a love song to your enemy.
Send it out on tremors of the moon.
Forget what is possible -
that's been done.
Imagine some uncreated goodness.
Touch it here, under your breastbone,
where sighs end and light
is born from not wanting.
Silence has a flavor like musk,
communion between breath-rise,
breath-fall, where prophecies
and scriptures are stored
before they are spoken.
Assume that you only have one chance
to enter the beauty of the hopeless,
that love is eternal perishing,
that this is your final exhalation.
Indigenous people describe the cosmos as a Medicine Wheel, a Dharma Wheel of sacrifice. It turns when we give as well as receive. If we only take without giving back, our mouths eat but our souls die. This is the dignity of work.
A functional economy is also a Medicine Wheel, not only providing free gifts, but empowering citizens to work and pay those gifts forward. Only then do citizens turn the wheel, and feel whole.
Even Carl Marx understood this. He did not simply say "TO each according to their need," but “FROM each according to their ability." The earliest Christians lived collectively, yet they too followed the law of the wheel, quoted in Christian scripture: "He who will not work, shall not eat."
Our politicians preach too often about what people should get for free, and not enough about creating jobs. We don’t just need a nanny state, we need a marketplace with an even playing field to generate meaningful work. We need schools that partner with local businesses to teach marketable skills. We need to stop making capitalism a dirty word, and create partnership between government and business. We need a candidate whose vision turns the wheel.
Full Moon Meditation
This evening, whether its raining or clear, why not bathe in the light of the full moon? Let that radiance, soft as pearl, pervade your breath, mind, and body.
A gentle moonbeam permeates each cell of your flesh, filling the space between your molecules, overflowing the boundaries of your form.
Let moonlight suffuse the silence within each atom, saturating the very nucleus, glowing in the stillness between gravity waves at the heart of a proton.
Just as the moon radiates outward, the moon radiates inward, bringing peace to the mind, penetrating to your crystal soul, which reflects it like an open eye of wonder.
This meditation requires no effort, no concentration, no imagining or visualization. For the light is already here. Just soak in the tingling quietness of moonlight, and feel your anxious thoughts dissolve.
Just for a little while, turn off the news, forget politics, let go of your need to fix the world. The world has its own karmic spin: for the next few minutes, the world will survive without your worries and plans.
Let the balm of moonlight pool in your forehead, like a blue pearl.
Moonlight is the presence of the Goddess, who wants to soothe your soul. But when we resist her, when we do not allow ourselves to be drawn into deepening silence by her fullness, we can feel strain and disharmony.
So don’t resist the pull of the full moon. Let her mysterious gravity draw the tides of your body inward. Bathe in the moon, and be refreshed.
Meditation also published in The Braided Way journal. LINK
Photo of this week's Strawberry Moon by Alie Shebar.
Rose and Poppy
Rose and poppy flirt with fire,
scarlet fragrance on promiscuous wind.
Pollen makes a spaceless pilgrimage
from pistil to stamen,
like the wandering of a breath
through the chambers of your heart.
Bees brew honey in a secret place,
scentless and white.
These are generous signs
that you soul is not a thing, my love,
but the dance of all you will become
in diamond darkness brighter than death.
You've let sorrow break your heart,
why not let joy?
Why not lick moonlight from your fingers,
tasting of thunder?
There's an emptiness between
your breastbone and belly
where inhalation and exhalation kiss,
effusing starry musk.
Worlds can happen in that sticky dot
of incomprehensible sweetness.
The sign that you have been there
is a teardrop
enfolding your whole mind
in blue silence.
Never underestimate the surface of things.
They signify the depth.
Painting by Georgia O.
Winds of Change, Rays of Hope
The change will not come from social media "activists," busy fingers on the keyboard, heads in cyber space, posting internet visions of planetary doom.
The revolution will not come from the angst of the Left or the dogmas of the Right.
The new earth will not be the work of neo-liberal globalists, multi-national corporations, or bureaucrats of the centralized socialist state.
The environment will not by saved by the slogans and applause lines of Republicans or Democrats, posturing under cable tv lights in Congressional hearing rooms.
These myths must all vanish in the awakening of the small and the local. Alchemy happens, but we fail to notice it, because it happens in our own backyard.
Miracles unfold on the scale of the infinitesimal. The word "radical" comes from the word for "root." Radicals have dirty hands, fingers down in the loam.
Check out this town in Texas , already off the fossil fuels grid, not as a result of federal or even state programs, but the creativity of the local. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/texas-town-future-renewable-energy-180968410/
The green renaissance will be bio-regional: the synergy of small-business entrepreneurs and municipal governments. The politics of manure, the sacrament of organic strawberries, the temple of your neighborhood farmers' market.
Growers and green energy makers not twenty miles from your town. A solar farm on the roof of the abandoned factory. Windmills sprouting from a desolate meadow. The crazy man in his dilapidated barn, turning chicken poop into tractor fuel. The goatherd crone, selling milk for your baby.
The winds of change and rays of hope are already here. Have a little faith. In the little.
Photo: New York City, Smithsonian Magazine.
Listen here! This is my butter song. This is my chocolate song.
Real Irish butter. Real chocolate from the jungles of the heart. This is my bourbon kale cucumber smoothie song. Acoustic blues.
My song of remembering grandmother, when nobody ever heard of gluten. "Eat from the hand of love, child. That is the only law." A time before commandments.
Whatever fell from the wrinkled branches of Eden, her hands. Her prune eyes and persimmon cheeks. Dumplings and white gravy. Lemon maringue. Coconut custard. Cornmeal mush.
Watercress she picked in the woods by a stream. Dandelion greens from pools of August sunlight. The past and future melting on a spiral of hotcakes, each blueberry a wound, a void, a center of the golden Dharma wheel.
I still smell her biscuits soaking up the essence of all created things. I still taste frozen cream, sticking out of milk bottles at the back door on a Winter morning.
Listen here. Singing is better than obedience. This is my song. If you cook with butter, you might not live as long. But if you don't, you might not live at all.
She returns to you through her secret name.
The lofty science of names
is the Mother's wisdom, healing the earth.
They don't teach this in schools.
You learn it from your intuition,
what you know without knowing
how you know, through a smokeless
blue flame in your chest,
ignited by her breath.
Her exhalation is your inhalation,
the kiss that creates.
Now you must change the name
of your wound to 'River of Roses,'
the name of your sorrow to 'Fragrance
of Her Fallen Hair, No Longer Gold.'
Name your sleepless midnight tears,
'The Undulation of her Hips
in a Sea of Moonlight.'
Name your darkest longing, 'Bare Feet
Crushing Pale Violets in Wet Moss.'
Name whatever season it is, 'Enough.'
Be more careful of silence.
In the crystal space between their shadows,
let creatures arise from their given names.
To truly listen is to name.
She will return by virtue of your listening.
Wondrous photo by Kristy Thompson
Inhalation and exhalation are your wings. They are soft and fragile, but bear you to God. If you weigh them down with thoughts, even a thought of "I," they will not soar.
Freed from the burden of mental chatter, these breath-wings will carry you into the blue sky of silence. But this blue sky is within you. It is pure awareness. And the radiant sun that shine is this sky is your heart.
Perhaps you have named this radiance the Christ, or Amita Buddha, Allah, Shiva, or God. These names are dross that must burn away in the golden beams of Beauty. And Beauty is not far away. It is not above. This Beauty is nearer than any concept or image of it: the luminosity of consciousness itself.
When your inward eye merges with this sun, your whole body is filled with light (Mat 6:22). Then the formless distills into a tear, an earthly tear in your physical eye, and this tear is the gift of grace, the sign of divine wonder.
Grace bestows this gift of tears. When you receive it, you will desire no other wealth, no other treasure. For one tear of prayer is the pearl of great price. It is pure happiness.
Allah has become your breath - flowing in, flowing out, Rahman i'Rahim - so that the Life you receive you may offer.Shiva has become your breath - So'ham, God I Am - so that the Bliss you receive you may offer. Yes, my soul is the pulsation of Goddess Shakti in his stillness.
Jesus has become your breath - Ish'hua, Ish'hua - and this breath is his luminous bride, the Holy Spirit, so that the Love you are given you may offer.
Wiser than all the Vedas, wiser than the Qu'ran or a thousand Bibles, is the Silence between your breaths. Cherish and abandon, cherish and abandon.
Here is the ancient science of bewilderment: breathe the joy that created you.
She who fashioned your bones out of dust and made them hollow, who filled your chest with the boundless sky, has become your Emptiness.
Why? So that you may sing the name of the Beloved, and fill her womb with praise.
Painting, Hafiz by Mahmoud Farschian
God is local.
a bee-crazed blossom.
The honey is your wonder.
The finch in your garden,
dipped head-first in wine,
flirting with the firmest
is just one of
from Our Lady, Green Tara,
mother of Buddhas,
mother of oceans,
mother of tears,
revealing that all
is well, and very well.
Now dare to melt
your gaze and see
the one who sees.
Photo by Kristy
Lies of Jesus
Jesus spoke (I lie,
it was the open mouth of a morning glory
uttering one last breath of starlight)
"I did not come to forgive you."
The new moon's blood-drenched tooth (I lie,
it was the glint of a bobcat kunjed in honeysuckle)
whispered, "Why are you here then?"
Jesus answered (I lie, it was my own tongue
entering my chest like a paring knife,
flooding my body with strawberry wine)
"So that flesh could forgive the calumny
of its self-wounding."
Now I hear the sound of mist, the gong
of cattails over the wetland,
thrush song up-spiraling, corpses
of fallen angels bloating to the surface,
I do not lie
when I tell you that I am awake,
that I breathe through naked feet,
mud gushing between my toes, knowing
that the bones of the earth
are the of heaven.
I am the cause, and I am the effect.
I blame no one.
Painting, Monet of course
Now Do Just This
How many breaths
can you take at one time?
How many heartbeats
can you feel right now?
Can you gaze at more
than one pair of eyes
How many mouths can you smother
in a single kiss?
The way winds long,
the forest is deep,
yet each step is a prayer,
and an answer.
Take one, then another,
yet ever only this.
Don't let your many-mindedness
ruin the earth.
Dear friend, the shimmering field
of golden possibility
grows countless seeds
in a simple light,
the light of You.
Again I tell you,
one moment at a time.
You can always tell
when someone is trying
to sound like
They don't sound
If you want to bear
root down in
your own body.
When you are mad,
of your anger.
Be all of your grief.
And when you feel
like no one at all,
What if you're on
and you stop
for coffee with fresh
marion berry pie,
and you fall in love
with the waitress?
Then gaze at her
like you mean it.
Tell her everything
in a single glance.
Leave her a very
large tip and
a note that says,
"I will never forget you."
And you won't.
* Painting: 'The Waitress,' William Paxton, 1923
The Irony of Presence
True Presence is transcendence in the heart of the world.
To transcend the dualities of the mind and the images of the senses is to become more present, to be "in the world but not of the world."
Presence is "turiya," the fourth state of consciousness, transcending the senses, the dreaming mind, and the dullness of sleep. Presence is boundless Being itself, awalening prior to thought, prior to any image or belief in the intellect.
One cannot try to be present, or "achieve" it, for that is merely a thought of Presence, or a manipulation of one's mood. Presence must be infused in deep meditation; it is the very stuff of silence.
Gradually, with regular meditation, Presence permeates the subtle nervous system, until one quite naturally maintains the silent witness, the boundless power of Presence even in dynamic activity.
Presence is an invisible radiance carried into the busy marketplace of daily life, healing and open other hearts. Yet one who carries this energy of Presence has nothing to "do" with it.
To meditate and awaken the field of transcendental Presence is not a "bypass" of our anger, our grief, our pain. To bypass these wounds is to suppress, not to transcend. Transcendence is completely different from suppression. In fact, the silence of transcendence is so healing and so powerful that release it unwinds and releases repressed grief, anger, and psychic pain, which then manifest in the body as physical sensation.
When this happens, the instruction is not embrace the sensation without resistance, and taste it as energy in the body: not to intellectualize or analyze the experience. In ancient mythic symbolism, this meditative process of releasing repressed trauma is the confrontation with a Wrathful Deity. The Wrathful Deity first appears monstrous and demonic, but when the meditator embraces it, without struggling against it, the demonic form dissolves into an angel of healing.
Who who is skillful in the art of meditation does not suppress ancient grief or anger, even if they appear to be one's demons. For they are shadow forms of oneself, and contain much useful energy. When we kiss the demon, rather than wrestling with it, the energy repressed in its demonic form is freed. It becomes formless sparkling awareness, and the meditator becomes more available, for response-able, for others.
Transcend the mind, with its paralyzing concepts, and dive into the ocean of Presence. Then dance with the dragons of the deep. Kiss your demon's lips. Emerge cleansed and healed, ever more Present to the world.
Self is What Flowers in the Sunlight of Grace
Even if we only transcend the clouds of mind and taste the blue sky of pure awareness for an instant, this momentary impression of Eternity will free us from lifetimes of anxiety, endless loops of mind-chatter.
From that moment on there is an inexplicable lightness at the core of our heart, a tranquility, a luminous and causeless joy. Hard times still come, with grief and anger and pain, but now we simply honor them as they arise, embrace them as they break over us, then let them pass. We used to call it "suffering." Now it is only passing clouds, that weigh nothing, and do not touch the sky.
Transcending the mind is a direct experience of Being, not a belief or philosophy. Awareness is not an idea. Established in That, we can use the mind as a useful tool, but the mind will not use us.
How far above the clouds of everyday mind is the sky? The absurdity of this question is obvious. The Self is not above. The Self has no higher or lower ground. Self is what flowers in the sunlight of grace, when Being simply stops doing.
Self is the dissolution of all planes, levels of attainment, hierarchies of better or worse, and efforts to achieve any "state." Self is the realization that you do not need to obtain peace, because in your core you Are peace. You Are joy. You Are the sky.
The meditation "practices" that really "work" are those that are no work at all, because they are rooted in Grace. In their very praxis, effort and doing dissolve. Of course the ego does not want to hear this; because the little mind of "me" wants valiantly to labor, to resist, to achieve, and especially wants us to acknowledge the importance of its suffering.
Please do not confuse this pure awareness with passivity, for the Self is dynamic. In the stillness of the Self creative action arises, a fresh spontaneous dance without the paralyzing burden of the past.
I keep hearing about "grounded spirituality," the latest thing. Isn't "grounded spirituality" just the old assumption of separateness: the spirit and the ground, soul and body, heaven and earth? Only what is separate from the ground needs to get "grounded." But the ground is consciousness itself. I need to get grounded in who I Am. Spirituality is groundlessness.
Even The Thorn
I lost the burden of freewill
when I chose everything.
Sap gushes from the whole rose,
even the thorn.
Eternity has happened,
and it was beautiful,
sad, sweet, full of waiting.
Now I wait for you
to flower in the space I am.
I want you to be the fragrance
of me when I am gone.
No, only crushed and trodden.
The juice is everlasting,
fermented with yearning.
Those who wander here,
waking or dreaming, wonder,
"Were they two?"
Love unfolds without lovers.
We're bubbles on the shore
reflecting a thousand moons.
Touch me ever so gently
with your feathery exhalation.
Don't be afraid to burst
and become the wine
of my unfathomable darkness.
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