O my body, O my soul, never say that this lifetime was not the best of lives! Of 10 thousand dwelling in the silence of a jewel, 10 thousand as a rose, 10 thousand on the feathered wing, 10 thousand in the fin and gill, 10 thousand garlanded by fur, 10 thousand in the House of Adam, this life alone is the one when I received the whisper of the Master's breath, the sweet anointing of Initiation.

As an evening breeze chooses this pine branch, as a moonbeam chooses one trillium among the ferns to silently caress, as an ancient yearning chooses your mother's womb, so I chose this life. Not through merit, surely, not through virtue but delight, I chose to be chosen now, so that I could surrender and be danced!

Painting by Mahmoud Farshchian


"Love is strong as death."
~Song of Solomon 8:6

Mecca? No haj.
You are already there -
Allah's swirling gaze returning
to your eyes through a golden rose.

Jerusalem? No pilgrimage,
only the gesture of the moth wing
settling on a white dahlia.

Benares? Even the flutesong
of a scarlet tanager passing through
these woods can lead you South
to Shyam's intoxicating garden.

Rome? No need to go.
So very gently, like waves on sand,
Christ comes to you as this breath.

Love is not a journey but an opening.
Rest in the meadow of never arriving.
In each tear of dew, the wild anemone
has already captured the sun.

Wander where a sigh goes,
to the edge of silence where
there's no need to leap.

No need to leap into the dark
because the dark leaps into you.
Perish in that amazement.

Any infinitesimal point
in space
or time is a well
that overflows
with elixir,
with wine
more savory than death.

Wherever you are, pilgrim,
rest here, drink this.

A Park Bench

Don't go on and on
about Oneness.
Just fall silently in love
with the bittersweet juice
that runs all down our mystery,
then see what happens.
Meet your pain with a kiss
of direct perception.
Angels yearn to fathom
this opacity of tears
and smother their brilliance
in your dust,
where there are no names
for things, only
the peep of a frog,
the sting of a nettle,
the vacancy of a park bench
covered with wet leaves
where we met and surely
touched one summer afternoon -
all signs of awakening,
signs of a Witness enraptured
by the sad, broke-open,
unfallen world...

From Clea

"As for you, wise one, I have a feeling that you too perhaps have stepped across the threshold into the kingdom of your imagination, to take possession of it once and for all. Write and tell me - or save it for some small café under a chestnut tree, in smokey autumn weather, by the Seine." ~Lawrence Durrell, Clea: Alexandria Quartet

No Other Way

Let your discipline be
a ripple on the ocean
of effortlessness.
Let your breath uphold
the universe like a feather
touching a bubble that
encircles the weightless stars.
What if it bursts?
You attain emptiness.
What if the feather floats
away on a breeze?
You attain grace.
But there is no one here
to carry the burden
of attainment.
So dissolve
into the laughter
of the Goddess.
She breathes you.
Embrace all things
just as they arise and
let them melt away -
a drop of dew on
the golden iris,
a hungry worm
in the fallen apple,
dark petals drifting
on the full moon
in a midnight pond...
Friend, there is no
other way to get through
this miracle.

Photo by Kristy Thompson

Credo (from my book, 'Savor Eternity...')

My prayer wheel is the turning year,
the sun my confessor, my priestess the moon.

My daily offices are morning mist, evening swallows,
hush of midnight.

My scripture, white clouds on blue emptiness;
pictograms of geese, pointing South.

I gave up theology to watch the bees make honey.
My anointing is the mud between my toes.

The barefoot poet, Jesus, taught me to mulch and till
the heavens into loam.

His Spirit is a quietness in my heart.
Hope gets in the way; the source is gratitude.

Through vaulted arches of hemlock and cedar,
a thrush bell calls me to prayer.

May the pilgrim melt into her path, the path
into the goal,

the goal into this moment, and the very first step
into Waylessnes....


'Like the Very Heavens'

"And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavans in its clarity." ~Exodus 24:10

Rummaging through my mind, I couldn't find any past, or future, or now. So I concluded that past, present, and future are all a dream. This very inquiry woke me up.

Then I looked at the shining blue sky, and the shining blue sky was looking at me: mirror-like vastness gazing into itself, beginning-less, boundless, ever-expanding.

This infinite gaze into Itself is all there ever is. This gaze vibrates as Love. And this vibrant love-gaze beholds itself in the hollow of every nutrino, every atom of each cell, each breath and flower, each sun in every galaxy.

The very shimmer of consciousness, celebrating its formless ecstasy in the forms of you, me, the fallen leaf, wakes again and again to its own Beauty, which is the substance of all matter and energy, the beginning of creation, and the final goal.

Look into the petal of the last Autumn rose, look into the burst of a supernova, look into the eye of the refugee child who seeks a new home: you will see one invitation to love and fall, to fall in love, fall deeply into who you are...

Merely to awake is why we are here.


Even on the most radiant days, there is a sorrow at the heart of life. When we deny it, the day becomes a desperate quest for happiness, and the night is long. But when we absorb the trough into our rhythm, like the shadow of a breath, that benign negation infuses all things with spaciousness, tinges creation with golden poignancy, like Autumn itself. What is heavy is not sadness, but the denial of sadness. A cricket in the alder taught me this.

Photo by l1993.deviantArt


The art of wine sipping is subtle.
The discipline, one glass at a time.
The vintage I speak of is this breath.
Was it your heart or mine that became
a cup for the other's lips?
Was I the host and you the guest,
or did you pay the tab?
All I remember is, the tip was
incalculable, but the server told us
to forget about it.
O Lord, we went reeling out of the tavern.
I think I said, "Here's my shoulder.
Now give me your arm.
My devotion to the path will keep us
both from stumbling."
In the light of morning, I can't imagine
speaking such words to You.
I even remember whispering,
"Here's my chest, with its
broken gate wide open,
Lord, I'll make sure you get home."
It's not my fault that a single sip,
a single inhalation
of your presence,
inebriates the Lover
and the Beloved.

First Communion (for my baby daughter)

Before you were born you were
the watcher of galaxies whirling within.
Then you asked the Great Question:

What would it be like
to live
on one of those
infinitesimal dust motes
floating in a golden beam of your heart?

What would it be like to carry
the whole bruise of a supernova
in your softest tissue?

And here you are, little one,
crying for milk! Here you are
where all the circling stars are less

than a drop of fire
into the boundless blue bowl
of your gaze.

Here, where the Question no longer arises,
you have come to dwell in the uncertain
and call it Presence;

to drink from the unknown
and call it Wine;
to savor a breath of silence

through your broken heart
and call it Bread.
This is better
than a thousand answers.

Picture, my daughter Abigail



In the self-effulgent infinite sky of pure awareness, there is no fire or smoke. In the self-effulgent infinite sky of pure awareness, there is no virus, no dis-ease, and no fear. Clouds of sorrow and anger are perfectly welcomed and embraced, even as they dissolve into the boundless blue of the sky.

There is no conflict here, because there are no races, no tribes. There is one human family. There are no beliefs or ideologies here, no division into black or white, left or right. There is only the Unity, and this One is not an object but a subject, not a thing but a Person.

There is one Person with eight billion human faces,
like countless rays of one Sun. Each has its own color, its own song. And they are all singing in the vibrant silence of this self-effulgent infinite sky. Yet there is only one, the Beloved, who has fallen hopelessly in love with love itself.
Do you want to heal the earth? Then begin by meeting this Person. You need not wait for this Person to come as your savior. You need not settle for mere stories about this Person, who may have appeared in the past, or may be prophesied in the future. For this Person never lives in the past or future. This Person only comes to life now, as Presence.

This Person is ready to meet you, ready to begin the healing, in a place that is nearer than your next breath, more intimate than you are to yourself: in the
Bridal Chamber. The Bridal Chamber is the hridayam, the heart. There you will gaze into the face of the Beloved.

You may call the Beloved by some endearing name, such as the Christ, or Krishna, Buddha or the Goddess, Kundalini or Kwan Yin. Or simply, the Friend. But don't be too caught up in names. Remember, beyond name and form, who the Beloved really is: the self-effulgent infinite sky of your own pure awareness.


Goddess of Autumn,
don't allow the doe and fawn
to steal all my plums.

Savor the Ordinary

Medieval Christians called the time between sacred festivals, "ordinary time." They recognized that ordinary time is also a time to celebrate, and called the liturgy for this celebration, the "Ordinary of the Seasons." What a wonderful expression!

Tibetan Buddhists called this liminal time the "Bardo," which could lie between two lifetimes, or two breaths. Yet, whether we are Christian or Buddhist, or something in-between, this ordinary time is the time for enlightenment, the time for initiation into the Mystery.

But we are too busy looking for the perfect end-time, the resolution of our problems in the future, to notice that we constantly fall through the secret Bardo of the Ordinary. We are too busy to notice that the between-time, wherever we fall, is holy.

Let us learn again to savor the ordinary of the seasons. Look deeply into a persimmon on the kitchen table. Now it is an extraordinary persimmon. Why? What is the difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary? Just the degree to which we rest in the sacred depths of the present moment.

Painting: Classic sumi-e by Zen master Hakuin


For just an instant
                    between breaths
                                      be held
      in the gentle palm
                        of desolation.
   Let a wing
        of desirelessness
                       glide up your spine,
    ringing the star bell
                    in each vertebra,
       turning the cells
                          of your body into
   chalices of golden fire.
                If this be too abstract,
  remember how her lips
       seemed to melt as they
rose up to press your tongue
                               for sustenance.
Is it not the same pressing,
                      the same nectar?
                Gaze until you burn
     a black hole in her face.
Use memory for fuel.
                                    Then look
     into seeing itself and see
how your eyes precede creation.  
          Your eyes are the Vedas,
                             opening a way
to the darkness of love.
            But first you need
                  to exhale everything
      you ever believed.
Surrender the argument.
              Resist not, then whisper
    the great
"I don't know."

Drop the Noun

It is so important to Be. Not to be a white or a black, a socialist or a capitalist, a democrat or a republican - but simply to Be. Have the courage to drop the noun after you say, "I Am." When you are not a noun, when you are not any-thing, you will experience the deepest miracle as you meet someone else. You will meet your own Being as the Other. You will love your neighbor as your Self.


Draw a line.
Choose a point on the line where the ratio
of the smaller section to the larger
is that of the larger to the whole.
Build rectangles out of these
segments tracing an ever
widening curve counter
clockwise from the corner
of each to the furthest
corner of another.
Now begin to dance,
a serpent
rotating your pelvis,
rising through the knees,
with back-handed sweep to scatter your seed, planting your
corn in rings, not rows, galaxies of swirling Chi, Fibonacci gestures
overflowing the ram’s horn of abundance
in every atom of your flesh, each pearl
on your rosary of chromosomes the sum
of the two generations before it until
you become a pineapple, a conch
holding the moon and tides,
the whorl of a hurricane,
the dizzy glance
of Goddess Inanna,
the space between her cheekbones
proportioned to the distance from chin to crown,
and the ratio of that to the pilgrimage of her breath
from the kum kum dot in her brow to the hollow between
her nipples, all her lineaments a ratio of wild triangular
darknesses between her thighs, rhythms that spiral
from the indeterminate decimal of her yoni,
musk of Sri Yantra, geometry of stars
in a spider’s web of intervals spun
from the silence between the notes
in a song of Sapho, golden ratio
of your inhalation to its sigh,
and of the incomprehensible
way life seemed when you
looked forward, to the way
it looks now
as you gaze back.


I believe in logic.
It will be 90 degrees today.

Therefore I am baking
homemade blueberry pie.

A tree frog lives in the folds
of the old umbrella.

Therefore it will not rain,
and because you are in love,

2 x 0 = 1.

A dragonfly lands on a quivering cattail

precisely at the feathered gong

in a red winged blackbird’s throat.

This could only mean
that the world is good, and very good.

That the wetland will be here
for at least a thousand years to come.

And because you are troubled

by almost everything, my dear,

despite the constant golden pulse

of grace that breathes you

out of emptiness,

you are perfectly human.

Sumi-e by Sengai, b. 1750