Don't Count

Something infinite invented flowers
to remind you of the soft explosion
in your chest.
Reveal it through your face.
Take off the veil.
Why cover your lips, your eyes, your hair?
Inside the absence of noise
there is another silence,
more naked than your name,
the seed of light,
Christ resting in Mary,
the tremor of the poem before its word.
Why are there stars in the dark?
Because angels whirl and churn
the milk of emptiness
into the golden butter
of this body.
Why cover your lips, your eyes, your hair?
Take off the veil.
Don't count beads, dissolve them.
Don't count breaths, dissolve them.
Don't count the hours, the years,
the sins of the world -
Dissolve them in the beauty
I Am.


I turned off the news
last night.
It wasn't new.
I'm sorry that
I cannot join your
party on the right
or the left.
I’m sorry if this face
is not red with
righteous anger.
My beaten blood fills
both chambers.
The empty one says
"thank you"
to the one that pours,
then spills back the gift. 
My brain is busy
with forgiveness

in the dark.
Lighting 8 billion lamps,
I am all of us.

No need to say
what love is,
or even use the word.

It's been so long
since I have taken sides
that quarrels and feuds,
wars and Armageddons
seem like ripples
on a golden sea.
Now why don't
we just plunge
into each other's
trembling chest,
and drown?

Whirling Stillness


Dissolve the do-er
and let the dance arise.
Whatever you're doing
is not meditation.
Whirling arises in stillness.
Stillness arises in whirling.
Who breathes you?
Who plays your body like a flute
with seven doorways to emptiness?
Silence knowing its own
royal opulence, we call
Silence undulating
into creation, we call
No-thingness gives birth
for the sake of love.
Darkness spills light
for the sake of play.
Let there be rays and shadows,
waves and troughs.
Why does the sacred Zero
become Two?
Because One is not so interesting.

Photo: Mt. Tahoma taken on my walk today.

To Remind You

To remind you of her soft
explosion in your body
Emptiness invented flowers.
When you gaze into them
you return to her diamond void.
To temper the blinding
night of her counsel
She created your face.
Now take off the veil
of doubting.
See in the dark.
Inside the absence of noise
is another kind of silence,
the throb of her fingers
on the lute of your spine,
the tremor of a poem
before its first word.
This is how the Magdalen
visits your sepulcher of bones
after all the disciples
have fled the garden.
Her stillness whets the blade
of your breath
so that you might pierce
Christ's heart and
cleave it in two.
one chamber is for her,
the other for you.

Photo: another amazing flower by Kristy

Nectar of this Breath

At this full moon, in the festival season of the great Mother (Dwali in India, Samhain in northern Europe), I share something of the mystery of the Breath, for this very breath is the soul of the Goddess, she who casts out the net of stars, yet comes to dwell in our bodies.

There is nectar in this inhalation, the secret 'breath within the breath,' spoken of by Kabir. It is absolute stillness vibrating as luminous ecstasy, and absolute silence pouring out the song of love. The waveless is Shiva, its undulations the Goddess Shakti.
I do not need to move to a 'higher' plane, or a 'higher' world to find Her. She is the very life that flows into my body through this inspiration. And each exhalation is a privilege, an opportunity, to express gratitude.

A thin silk thread passes from the most distant yet personal star above, down through the crown of my head, like a sparkling pour of wine. This subtle thread becomes more solid, brilliant and clear the more I empty the grail of my mind to receive her generous outpouring. Stay open, O my soul, innocent as the child whose fontanelle has never turned over its cup.

The silken strand of Shakti threads through my vertebrae to the base of my backbone, rooting deep into sacred darkness, touching the core of the planet. So She, the Shekinah, comes as a pilgrim God to pitch her tent in the wilderness of my body, her naked presence gowned in my breath.

And on her glistening mala, which is my spine, 108 pearls are threaded, 108 Gurus teaching in a single silent breath the wisdom of all the world's temples. The gift of her inhalation is the axis of the galaxy, the axis of ten thousand galaxies clustered on my vagus nerve.

Discipline? Only an ecstatic simplicity, a rippling on the ocean of effortlessness. My body dissolves like mist, leaving only a sparkling rosary of breaths. Yet each sigh moves the tides, the seasons, the planetary dance. I need no other prayer. To breathe is worship.

Inspiration ascends through my flesh, into the blue sky above my crown, offered to those invisible countless stars. Exhalation descends through my flesh, into the earth, offered to the Mother's dark loam. My backbone is the Tree of Life, rooted in the groundless, and she who spirals around the Tree is Kundalini, the ancient serpent Hakima-Sophia, Wisdom herself.

This is the privilege of birth in a human body: to become the axis that marries the macrocosm and microcosm. To be the incarnation of God in a breath of Humanity.

All scriptures are mine, all worlds pearled in my backbone. This is no esoteric meditation for yogis, lamas, tantric mystics, cave-dwelling saints, but the common task of our crucified humanity; for each of us is the living Cross that centers East and West, Earth and Sky, Darkness and Light, in a humble offertory, in the temple of our chest. For in the words of Chief Sealth, 'All beings share one breath.'

To the Teacher whose flame ignited my wick, whose whisper awakened my inhalation, I bow down. I bow down in the perfect freedom of Gratitude. Jai Guru Dev.

Painting by Wieslaw Sadurski


A true teacher leads you to the shores of the Unteachable. Gently pushes you into the waves. Lets you drown. Reach out for a lifeline. But the teacher won't throw you one. Only gives you a smile. Your body floats face-down for three days, salt in your wound, your soul a grain of sand chafing the gristle of an oyster. When the pearl emerges, you have no more need for polishing. In the blackness beyond your rim of light, breathes a soundless and beautiful catastrophe, the new green world. You created it without a Word. Now it is evening. On the beach by quiet waters, you walk with the teacher. Neither of you leave any footprints.

October Afternoon

A bright cold clear October afternoon. Run in the park with my best bro', Finn, then come home to a guided meditation with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. His tidal wave of gentle words: "The grace of Divine Mother flushes away the entire past and brings the freshness of this moment." As we enter the final day of Navaratri, the Nine Holy Days of the Goddess, I pray that we might all let this be our experience every day, every breath, every moment. Don't miss the juiciness and radiance of the world!

We superimpose our thoughts onto the cosmos, then mistake our mind for creation. But there are no concepts in the earth. There are no concepts in the stars. "White" and "black," "right" and "left," "socialism" and "capitalism," nor any "isms" at all actually exists out there in the Mystery, where the universe whirls in the grace of emptiness, through a wild eternity of silent wonder, getting on quite swimmingly without our little concepts. So let us meet in that wonder, strangers from nowhere, pilgrims to the present moment.

Stay Open

Even though we're alone and in mourning,
Hafiz wants each of us to keep our tavern open all night.

To teach our wolves to howl.
To teach frolicking and screeching to our alley cat souls.
To bear loss in a full cup and drink it down.

In this ambiguous world, we stumble on a body
at the tip of every shadow, but we get to choose
at the last moment whether to die of grief or ecstasy.

Don't you love this bee-mused vine-tangled
land of labyrinths, each night a different flavor
of the moon, each day the pure light exiled
to new hills and valleys of color?

You were already so drunk when you arrived,
you can't be choosy about who walks you home.
Just for tonight, you saved all seven bottles
of your precious love-wine.
I will help you with them, dear.

We will work together.

You're thirsty, I'm thirsty, God is thirsty too,
but it's all the same Thirst.

Persian miniature by Mahmoud Farshchian

A Song of Questions

Merge with your doubt.
Marry bewilderment.
Past and future
are too heavy to bear,
but in this moment
you are weightless,
at home with loss,
every atom filled with
the empty sky.
Moved by the stillness
of your Mother's breath,
fall into dancing and sing
a song of questions:
"What's happening?

Where is the ground?
Who keeps beating
my heart?"

Painting: Hafiz by Mahmoud Farshchian

What You Call Falling

What you call falling
She who breathes you
calls the dance.
What you call the wrong note
She calls
stunning harmony.
You say "mistake,"
She says "creation."
But you have forgotten
the well within the well
where when you drink
many can drink
from you.
You have buried 
her secret spring
under your house
of knowledge.
How will you be whole again?
You must thirst
so deeply
that healing waters
burst out of your own
breathless soul.

Image from Elaina Beam, Starlight Muse


When you take a breath early this morning, before the dawn, don't bring to mind an image from yesterday's news, or an anxious thought about the non-existent future. Just flush your mind with the breath itself. Simply bathe in the sparkling stream of nectar, charged with the star energy, flowing so gracefully into your body, a gift of inspiration from the Mother of Silences.

As we enter the dark half of the year, and the Light that was manifest in summer's fruit returns to his mystic seed in the womb of the Great Mother, we learn to embrace the Void, the Hollow in the spore, where the Christic radiance will be reborn at solstice.

This feast of time's return to mothering night is expressed in India as Diwali, in the ancient mysteries of Northern Europe as Samhain. I wish you a profound feast of Winter magic at this turning time. Remember that Darkness is not the opposite of Light, but the womb of Light.

Here is a poem in honor of the turning. Nabasvan, better known as Brahma Muhurta, is the "breath of dawn," the hour before sunrise, most ideal for meditation because the air is rich in the energy of prana shakti.

Hello, my name is Darkness,
and I am addicted to light.
I began to savor sunbeams about the age
of four, and soon was in the hopeless habit
of drowning in flowers.

The first sip I remember: a yellow
chrysanthemum on a September afternoon.
Now I guzzle from the grail of the full moon.

I wake after midnight craving stars.
I creep downstairs, tip toe past
the cider and cheese, wander out beyond
the pumpkins to the meadow's edge,
leaving crystal footprints in frost.

It is not the florid summer noon that mystics love,
but the radiant liquór of what is not,
the hidden pulsar in the void.

I stand here shamelessly shining from belly to brow
with blackness, secret nectar known to mad
Taoist mountain poets, Benedictines drunk
with vigil hymns, Sufis, Beguínes, whirling ones,
the wiccans of Mary magic.

Tipsy as a reed I sway, my spine a hollow
twist of stillness til my roots tingle down
to the planetary seed, my crown
aglitter with Andromeda.
By sunrise I am utterly wasted.

O Nabasvan, breath of the mother-hour,
when silence turns to cream and ghostly
mushrooms quiver up from mud-musk like
virescent nipples of the crone:

I promise to reveal what can never be known.
Let my body sheathe your dagger of angels.
Hello, my name is Luminous.
Pierce me with the flame of your shadow.
I am addicted to night.


Come out to Rumi's meadow, beyond right and
wrong thinking,
where we loaf among wild poppies,
spilling wine as they do, letting our colors run,
carelesss as our mothers were about the moon;

where old Basho sits and listens on a mossy stone,
while dour-eyed Rilke gives advice to young poets
and King David plays his sad sweet lyre.

Isn’t it time for you to come home and be lost?

There is no war in this meadow.
Give up your argument: that was yesterday.
Come and be reminded of your privilege.
The privilege to exist an instant on this earth.

The privilege to find a womb here
and get bathed in the ocean of microbes.
The privilege to be brown, to be green.
The privilege to wear a human face;

to stand or repose, to sit or walk slowly, going
nowhere but your footsteps, amazed how a taste
of milk, or the fragrance of a summer evening rose
can liberate your flesh from the edges of the mind.

Above all, the privilege to receive this breath,
and welcome her as a pilgrim who journeys
across vast night, raveling up the galaxies
with all their threaded tears, to offer herself

upon your alter of gristle and bone.
You carry songs in your blood.
You carry all, and the future of all.
I’ve told you this before, my friend:

You are the ancient fire who falls from stars

that died so long ago, so far away, their light
is only now arriving in your body. Yet, and yet,
you cannot be more than one moment old.


"All through the physical world runs that unknown content
which must surely be the stuff of our consciousness."
~Sir Arthur Eddington, Nature of the Physical World

When you woke up
this morning,
did you really?
Have you tasted the light?
Did you savor one actual
breath of air?
Then surely you felt
like dancing.
Surely you welcomed
your heart home
to this swirl of carbon dust,
the nitrogen argon waltz
of your body,
to the wild expanse
of probability waves
we call "awareness."

After all, what else
are you doing here but
gorging the void
with photons of amazement?


What is the sign of a true Teacher?
When you try to forget him,
you can't.

When you to try to renounce him,

accuse him, scorn or abandon him,
he does not abandon you.

When you crucify him,
he keeps
as a gentle breath
and pierces your chest like a ray
of atomized rubies.

If you need to let him go awhile,

he doesn't mind, he just dissolves
into the transparency
where this world
-mirage arises.

And in the darkest night,

the more you pour your mind
into his cup of silence,

the sweeter the taste of the void,

and the fatter the fruit of his sunrise
in the morning of your heart.

Plant Song

If you want to spread far,
root deeply.
The peony opens in stillness.
There is no seeking.

Sun and rain arrive, gift-bearers.
Begonias overflow,
adoring shade all summer long.

They do not gaze with envy
at the beam-lit golden poppy.
Blossoms of forget-me-not
weigh their own beauty,

bowing each
to earth
in a sea of electric blue.
One breeze caresses
petals of every kind,

whispering to the smallest
flowering weed,

"Be incomparable!"

Not striving is a practice
of great power.

This is how love descends
into a heart where the stamen
and pistil already twist.
You need to meet yourself first,
then take a lover.

Photo from Wedding In A Teacup


By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made,
and all their hosts by the breath of his mouth.
~Psalm 33

Stars are gazing back
at you tonight.
They have forgotten
their words.
That your tiny empty cup
of amazement
could contain
their rimless
of distant fire
awakens in their
hot core
a trembling
like yours,
any need to say,

Let there be light!

Photo by Alex Noriega, 'Reflection Lake,' Mt. Rainier

The Healing

This planet will not
be healed

by powerful politicians
in big cities
who spend trillions on
a global strategy
that never quite begins.

They also burn much
Earth will be healed  
by villagers
who sing,
by backyard gardeners
like you

who walk more slowl
right here,
who feel the green
through bare soles,

speaking fewer words,

cradling each
others anger
mothers, awakening
the heirloom seeds
of the heart.


You'll find a new earth
in the silence
between words.
Plant your seeds of peace
Before the invention
of thoughts
we sang ourselves
to sleep.
The day melted back
into humming,
the humming into quietness,
the quietness into a breath
of the Beloved.
Of course the stars
were not yet born,
and the moon was still
inside you.
Lay your head
on my shoulder now.
Listen with all
your heart,
and I will tell you nothing.