Take back your power!
Breathe your heart clear.
Cleanse your gaze
with the gaze
of the Beloved,
who is any stranger.
Why hunger for images
when you could thirst
It is not your story
that heals the earth,
but your fragrance.
Love opens without a word,
just the burning sigh of
the sizzle a moth makes
entering the flame.
Taste that fire in your sap,
your spine a green
fountain of fierce deeds.
Let those deeds be
wild and unrehearsed,
petals that open and fall
in a single gesture
Make your intellect
the clear blue sky,
where beams of compassion
pour down into these
The gashed forsaken animal in your chest
is not who you are.
You are the razor that slew it,
honed by seven silences,
your edges defined by what is not.
Ruthless and bright
in your gorgeous wounds,
be a scimitar
drawn from the breast
of the Beloved,
dripping the wine we all thirst for.
She who wears the starry armor of night
wants to wield you, and use
your violet lethal incandescence
in the formless combat
Learn to balance
the unbounded breath
of a mother's gentleness
on a fierce thin blade.
They are precisely
the same grace.
Use both at once,
like an iris petal
slicing your heart in two.
Pour blood from
one cup to another
like the voiceless child
of the moon
about to make humans
out of mud.
Let the last tear
of your night vigil burn
a hole through the sun
can flow from light.
Japanese higo iris photo by Peter Shefler
In this meditation
the very first breath
is what scattered the stars,
spinning the web of countless
galaxies around you.
In this meditation
the faintest whisper,
the merest fragrance
of the Beloved's name,
is the Word of creation
that opened the eyes
of the sun and moon.
There is no effort at all
in this meditation,
just the wonder space
that melted your new body
when you first gazed into
your mother's eyes.
In this meditation
you are merely present,
which is faith.
A touch of warmth
in your chest ignites
the singularity, the terrible
fire at the beginning
and the end.
A soft golden peony,
then a smokeless violet flame
consuming the earth
without words this morning.
with wild poppies.
When I listened, she sang
the silence of flowers.
We come in many colors,
umber and cinnamon,
persimmon, olive and gold.
But we share one breath,
and surely, it is green.
"Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. 'Couldn't you keep watch with me for one hour?' he asked." ~Matthew 26:40
At precisely 4:22 A.M. my work is listening: a thrush in the darkness, a frog in the wetland. Their duet.
At 4:22 A.M. I need the earth to be just as it is, so that I may keep watch, so that I may witness my strange, familiar, lovely, terrible world, my sorrow and pain, my aloneness and unspeakable wonder, embrace it all, forgive it all.
Don't you need your life to be unequivocally as it is right now?
I promise I will not improve you or reform your world, because you need it to be 4:22 A.M. But I will stay, if you like, and keep watch with you.
I vow not to be your 'life coach' or 'spiritual teacher.' I vow not to interfere with this moment, this unique opportunity for you to embrace the sum total consequence of all your choices, then let it go and be free.
For how else but in this hot-mess of karma, from all these little fragments of disaster, randomly fallen precisely where thy ought, might you re-member and complete yourself?
In reality, all that seems capricious occurs with impeccable necessity at the right moment, so that you may unfold, through the playfulness of time, the eternal miracle of your Being.
I vow to remain awake with you. But no more than this. Won't you remain awake with me? It is true service.
Now come out in the wet grass and take off your shoes, for wherever we stand is holy ground. Just before dawn, it is early, not late. We will watch over one another. We will let the mind of yesterday and tomorrow dissolve into Presence. This is love.
Listen to the thrush and frog. Listen to the wind and chimes. Listen on behalf of those who sleep. Listen with all the silent stars, who also watch and pray.
I keep returning to the naked revelation that Truth is not an experience, Love is not an experience, Beauty is not an experience. Truth, Love, and Beauty (Satyam-Shivam-Sundaram) are all names for the clarity, the nakedness, of awakened space, where every experience comes and goes like a veil of clouds.
This awakened space is emptiness with no boundary, untouched by its content, an ever-virgin silence expanding forever in the splendor of dynamic stillness. This very quality of ceaseless expansion is ananda, which means bliss.
But bliss is neither joy nor sorrow, for joy and sorrow are experiences. Bliss is the field, the ground, where experience occurs. Yet miracle of miracles - and there is no explanation for this grace - emptiness refers to itself, perceives itself, and is aware.
To rest in this lively expansion is not an escape from the world, for it contains the world. Nor is it a case of "spiritual by-passing," for pure awareness already embraces whatever could be by-passed.
How could I possibly escape or transcend what floats inside me like a vanishing rain cloud, leaving drops of wonder and gratitude on my cheeks?
So generous in her unbounded gesture of stillness is all-mothering Ananda that she cherishes, forgives, encircles and heals all trauma. The past is swallowed up in Presence.
There is only one hope for peace on earth. Meet here, in this space. This is not an appointment. I do not mean tomorrow. I mean now.
Every particle of matter is made out of love, waves of pure love, dancing in a cosmos of appearances seemingly tainted with impurity and imperfection due to the playfulness of our own minds. We don't even need to forgive. We just need to be still for a moment and see through the eye of the heart.
Vedic texts like the Puranas declare, it is precisely during the darkest age, the age of Kali Yuga, that the most direct path, the easiest path, the purest path to liberation is given. Grace is more abundant in the darkest time. This is the compassion of the Infinite. It is said that one cry of the Mother's name is enough.
We are liberated not by staying in paradise, but incarnating on earth as dense voluptuous bodies, in the garden of opposites. The gods are jealous of humans who get to be on earth at this time.
Diamonds are not formed in the sky. Diamonds are formed under terrestrial gravity, out of pure black carbon. "God realization," Mahesh Yogi once said, "is a very concrete experience."
Here on earth, the densest matter is a springboard to the higher Self. But we spring inward, not upward. We become both gross and subtle, dark and bright, human and divine. We become whole.
Wholeness means total release from clinging. Wholeness means we no longer cling to light, or flee from shadows. We no longer cling to spirit, or flee from matter. Wholeness means we stop eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and start eating from the tree of life.
Now the mind is confused by duality, and those who pretend "to know" are the most confused of all. Yet precisely when the head is uncertain are we invited to fall into the Heart, to tap the source of divine Wisdom and divine Beauty.
Thus we find the simplest yet most profound instruction for spiritual sadhana repeated nearly verbatim in both the Indian yogic text, Vijnana Bhairava, and the early Christian manual of prayer, The Philocalia: "Let the mind sink into in the heart."
Why waste this precious chance in anxious despair and outrage? See the chaos on the surface of the world as the husk of the fruit, whose interior is juicy, tangy and sweet with the nectar of life itself. Only then do you truly hold something in your eye, your smile, your gentle hand, that gives nourishment to others.
Practice vivekya, discernment, to distinguish the eternal depth from the ever-changing surface. In Kali Yuga, one cry of the Name slices through the bitter rind. One breath of the Divine sweeps away the illusion of ten thousand lives.
This is a difficult lesson.
It's why we came here.All of us are lovable.
Not all of us are likable.
To cherish only some
is mere preference,
Preference is culture,
love is God.
in my back yard,
but the berries taste
wild and sweet.
Put some space
around your story.
This tale of lack, betrayal,
is always the tale
of the past.
But the space you
hold around it
is now, blue sky
more wide and still
than any storm.
Don’t try to stop
the whirl and chatter
of the mind.
Just stop believing it.
You could fill the hollow
in each cell,
the star-strewn emptiness
in every atom of your body
with this delicious breath.
What is real?
An ancient presence,
pulse of tranquility,
that turns to honey,
drowning the myth of ‘me’
in the nectar of silence.
Friend, you have
a secret work
inside your work,
the business of the heart
inside the heart.
The energy comes from gratitude,
the connection a root feels
with the sun,
butter with the ghee flame.
The task is Being.
A new kind of Doing is born.
For the white-throated sparrow,
it's the labor of a song,
the golden industry of silence
in the hour before dawn.
Today was a beautiful day on earth.
Did you notice the sky,
filled to its goblet brim with blues?
Did you smell the salt breeze from the bay?
Did you take off your shoes at lunchtime
and walk on sun-sparkled grass in the park?
Did you turn down the voices
and close your eyes to feel
the silent air on your skin
like a gingham quilt of ancient songs?
You are wrapped in the love of all
the grandmothers you don't remember.
They have woven and are weaving
prayers into your heartbeat.
Did you breathe out the smoldering ashes
of everything you know,
and breathe in the sweet hollow crystal
The riches you don't notice
are the ones you already have.
O my soul, don't waste another
beautiful day on earth!
Photo: golden visitor on my back porch hanging basket.
A soul-friend said to me with yearning, "I miss the silence! How can I
find it again?"
This touched me deeply. It is the most important question, the most
mature question.Yet it is the question of a child yearning for Mother,
the question of one who could not ask it unless every particle of her
body was already pervaded by the answer!
Dearest one, do not look for silence with the mind. The mind is never
silent. Find silence through this body. Your body, not your mind, is the
gateway to samadhi...
Let mind dissolve into sensation, sensation into energy, energy into
emptiness. Then just listen.
Descend into the cells of your body. Feel all your molecules vibrating as
one sensation. This sensation is God's delight in the body of the cosmos.
You are the stars, the galaxies, the infinitude of space.
Nature's intelligence carries on the astonishing complexity of your cell physiology without planning, without thinking. So let your mind rest in bewilderment. Be wildered and witness the primal Radiance of your flesh. Just listen to what listens.
Listen to the round empty bell of each cell. Honor your hollow places, the caverns in the core of matter. Rest in the cavity of your mid-brain, the space at the center of the eyeball, the void in your nostrils, ears and throat, in your chest, heart, belly, and bone marrow. Your body is a temple of empty places.
Now be aware of the space in a single atom. At any point in your flesh, enter that sub-nuclear vastness, the silence beyond the stars. Tumble down into the densest proton. It's very density is made of emptiness. Fall into That.
The dimensionless point, the infinitesimal bindhu at the center of a quark, contains the total information about every galaxy in the universe. Let these gravity-waves draw you down into the groundless source of creation. Come Om to the singularity of your Self, before the "big bang." Rest here, "in the beginning," with the Creator.
Your mind is struck dumb with beauty. The particles of your body dissolve into the hum of the void. Emptiness sparkles with virtual photons and electrons of pure consciousness.
This is the womb of creation, where spirit and matter have not yet unraveled into subject and object. You are not just listening to the resonant silence of the void, You are the silence.
This meditation was also published in the online journal
of SAND (Science and Non Duality).
The story is in the mind, but it's energy is in the body. Mind is past. Body is now. Healing is not in the story. Healing is the release of energy that was bound up in the story, when the body awakens from the dream of the past. When I awake, the dream dissolves. When I awake, the past dissolves. My ancestors rejoice.
To make a flame, ancients struck stone
against stone, worshiping a star.
I brush my heart with breath, just one:
the whole earth catches fire.
My soul was never spun
from world-stuff of desire.
I shine through the empyrean,
and dance upon the pyre.
I birth the moon, I touch the sun
inside, a deeper light, and higher.
Image by Heinrich Khunrath, Ampitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae, 1595
Resting the mind in the heart,
practicing the great healing mantra,
'I Don't Know,'
I attain the supremely liberated
blue-sky of Bodhichitta
in one sip of the rare cognac
of this breath,
which puts the vast cloud of my
hornet thoughts out of their misery
with the fragrance of emptiness.
Now I can listen and transcribe
the Sanskrit sounds that babies make:
'Hum, Ghoo, Phwt, Sah!'
I can let a thousand teenage angels
skate board round the vortex
of my belly button.
O little one, Neighbor,
your long-suffering headstand,
your most patient warrior pose,
are training wheels for dancing
naked while juggling stars.
Your crystal mala beads are just a handrail
leading to the edge of the cliff
where many ascetics leapt and fell,
discovering that they still had bodies.
You must take your ankles and teats,
tear ducts and glands full of laughter,
crows' feet in gray nests of hair
full of turquoise eggs, the whole
entanglement of this human
and animal sorrow with you,
with you, with you, like a thief
who runs away, carrying the dowry
of the emperor's daughter
between your bony shoulders.
Photo from Etsy
Here is the good news
for the first Sunday in June:
there is no solution.
Your life is not a problem to be solved.
This is the Gospel for a morning
when salmonberries dangle
in their sable caps, lusciously
yellow, surfeit of their own bright leaves.
If you do not take a handful
and smear them on your tongue
right now, the deer will do it!
They will come so silently to steal
the beauty you cannot see.
Or by a viridescent shadow pool
between the ferns unfolding
in close breathless air,
a huckleberry's sour fire
will succor you.
Taste all that burns with color.
Given the wild
possibility of such a world,
is this not the best news?
There is no conclusion,
no certain end or new beginning -
only pulsation, survival,
and the edgeless unceasing
chaos of faith.
The first drummers
and the throb
of creation came
from the womb
of Her silence.
Painting by Charles Landelle, b. 1821
'Algerian Woman Playing Dambouka'
Those who are liberated don't speak about a path, a spiritual technique, or embodiment. They don't use words like "non-dual awareness." In fact, they hardly speak at all. They sing. They're not even liberated, because no-thing ever existed to be liberated from. Whatever that search was, with all its telltale footprints of powdered sugar, the scattered rudhraksha beads of a broken mala, it disappeared into meandering dandelions, which now appear as they are: exploding galaxies of uncreated light. Every breath an ejaculation of the ordinary, we let regrets and anxieties, ideas about the past and future, default into their original field, electrical sensations in the brain. No images, no thoughts, no memories, but a humming continuum of nameless honey, energy without form, where mind and body were never two. This is the pre-verbal music that trills creation, with joyous differences, but no edges. At 5 A.M. a sparrow breaks the unutterable void into a trillion slivers of glittering darkness.