Gaté Gaté Pará Gaté Parasám Gaté Bodhi Svahá:'Gone, Gone, Gone Beyond, Gone Beyond Beyond, Hail the Go-er!'~Buddhist Mantra of the Great LiberationSpent thousands for enlightenment at the Ashram of Tantric Wine Tasting. Advanced flow-yoga at a seaside resort in Bali. Mantra to make me smile. Then, at Saturday's workshop, a Spiritual Teacher taught me: there is no teaching and nobody to teach it. The $1200 course fee included a complimentary green smoothie. I told my bank to cancel the check and wrote the Teacher this note: "Since there was nothing to learn at your workshop and Nobody was the teacher, I am paying nothing for what I received. Thank you."I must be getting lazy. Lost my longing for exotic spiritual destinations. Just want to wander in the woods now, beyond my dilapidated fence, listening to raindrops on ferns, no dakinis sculpted on the walls of my mind cave, no Tibetan runes on the limestone cavern of my emptiness. And please, no more vanilla dharma talks by some guy named Levine who calls himself Ananda now.I must be getting old. Just want to sing about the vastness of what I don't know. Want to open my eye - not the eye in my forehead but the eye in my sole, pressing dark loam with a barefoot kiss. From where I stand on the slow turning earth, I can see that this wheel rolls nowhere. "Here" is already "there." Let me just walk more gently over the planet, sighing without words, and call it prayer.I only became thankful when I stopped turning gratitude into a practice. Gratitude is the intimacy of this breath. Gratitude is the grace of what already is. And grace has no past.I honor the moss-bearded cedars. They are very great gurus, who give their priceless teaching for free: a mist-green stillness. The roots of their lineage truffle downward into the first moment of creation, entangled in the fungi of the void, close to the fountain of bewilderment that gushes up from the center of every Now. Listen, friend, a teacher fills you, a Guru empties you. A teacher transmits knowledge, a Guru wakes up the knower. A teacher bestows information, a Guru bestows wonder. The mind thirsts for certainty, the heart yearns for breaking. If the yearning is intense enough, the Guru could be a cricket.If you still need some rules to follow, friend, follow these: taste the nectar of this breath. Bow down to your father's enemy and kiss the ground. Vow to be healed by the very next stranger. Walk softly over the earth, sipping from the barrel of foolishness. Pulverize diamonds with your whirling...Now I hear the chthonic incantation of Her who meant to ululate the color green, but accidentally sang the stars. It's midnight. Soundless owl wings slice through the glory of darkness, bright knives of Un-knowing. Moonlight seeps out of my wound, and I am thrice awakened - here, there, and in the gut of every earthworm. Parasám Gaté, beyond the beyond, right where I am. Coyote howl will be my song.
Photo: Took this at the Carbon River Rain Forest, Mt. Rainier