Why do you want to learn "mastery" of meditation? Mastery is an illusion. Don't be a master, be a servant of wonder. Then your practice will be so natural, you won't even need to call it "meditation" any more. Rest the mind in the heart. Root down to your feral core, where silence ferments the wine that Jesus poured, and bewilderment gives birth to galaxies without knowing how.

Painting by the great Mahmoud Farshchian



When did dapper cedar waxwing
put on his tuxedo for the berry feast?
Why did coyote flash his silver bling
in the moonlight?
How could you not notice
the naked alder drop her golden gown?
She sighed too softly.

And your garment of perfect happiness?
Weave it not from a thread of causation,
but breath - herringbone tweed
of past and future, twill
of star and gristle, intricate knit
of rainbows lining the dark cocoon
of your sankalpa, your secret vow.

Let it be one self-luminous
silent silken sutra, almost whispering,
"There is no other."
Friend, if you must go to war,
win it in your belly.

These woods, prairies, insouciant
ruined gardens of September,
have nothing to do with your disquiet.
They already celebrate
a victory of flowers.


Astonishment is a thankless task
and it pays so little
but somebody has to do it
or this green world will harden
with ruthless certainty
into money, politics, and steel.
Dear friend, it is through your eyes,
the glowing breath of your
speechless lips,
and the effortless radiance
around your body
that the work is done.


“Not until the soul breathes in the fragrance of its own lunacy can it stop
being a stranger to itself.” ~Attar, Conference of the Birds

Do animals have conferences?
We know for a fact that birds do.
Busy hummingbirds
gathered at sugary water coolers
to buzz about the news.
The gossip of grooming baboons.
Cud-munching cows who grind slow jaws,
muttering drole asides in the meadow.
Even cedars, nodding together,
murmuring like bearded magistrates in green robes.
What do they all talk about?
And on the Serengeti at sunset,
by the edge of the waterhole,
a gathering of unlikely species
who let go of many small needs
to share one great need.
The lioness, having drunk,
rears back her head, eyes closed,
knowing that the antelope is near.
She demurs, whispering, "Take heart, sister.
Neither of us will die tonight.
Greater than our hungers is our thirst."
A nervous hyena glances over the glassy stillness.
The gazelle looks back, her lips dripping.
You can hear their quietness.
One says, "Every evening, there is less."
The other, "This was the hottest day."
"Will they destroy everything?"
"I am afraid, I am afraid."
(Perhaps some evening, you and I
will come down to drink together
from these quiet waters of the heart.)
Now an egret spreads her feathers,
undulating hieroglyph against the moon,
just risen in the East.
What does it mean, this ancient wingéd rune?
It means, "Survive."


Photo by Tom Archer


 A poem of mine in Braided Way Magazine marvelously translated into Gaelic (ancient Irish) by Gabriel Rosenstock. Thank you, Gabriel! LINK

Through with the big corporation.
Through with the nation-state.
Through with the global church, the world guru.
Ready to return and taste the sparkling
renaissance of the small and the local.
No left or right: the center, yes,
but without circumference.

Better to barter a bushel of peas
for a well-honed axe handle,
graze my sheep in the commons
with yours, the sacred pasture
at the heart of every village.

Our little farms touching in one meadow,
we’ll send bees back and forth in a country
with no border but the stars.
No minarets and spires, but treetops,
Raven Mother perched in one,
Eagle Father in another, calling us
to lauds and evensong.

Shamanic circles, bio-regional theologies.
Eight billion gods, each with a human body.
And one ancestral bonfire
to change the bones of the dead into the sky.

I will dance like a flame in your kiln,
you like a pear on my table.
Let there be drums in the ancient forest
filled with the rhythm of our roots.

Every house a temple, every child a priest,
every leaf an offering, every word a prayer.
And so in each shall be increased
the mystery that is everywhere. 



Deireadh leis an gcorparáid mhór.
Deireadh leis an náisiún-stát.
Deireadh leis an eaglais dhomhanda, gúrú an domhain.
Réidh chun filleadh agus blaiseadh den athbheochan
lonrach sa rud is lú agus sa rud áitiúil.
Gan deas ná clé ann: an lár, sea,
ach gan imlíne ar bith.

Buiséal piseanna
a mhalartú ar hanla tua dea-snoite,
na caoirigh a chur ar iníor sa choimín
le do thréadsa, ba mhaith sin
an féarach beannaithe i lár gach sráidbhaile.

Ár bhfeirmeacha beaga in aon mhóinéar amháin,
beacha á gcur sall is anall againn i dtír
nach mbeadh de theorainn aici ach na réaltaí.
Gan túirín gan spuaic, ach barr na gcrann,
ár Máthair an fiach dubh ar chrann díobh
ár nAthair an fiolar ar cheann eile, ag glaoch orainn
chun moltaí is chun easparta.

Fáinní seamanacha, diagachtaí bithréigiúnacha.
Ocht mbilliún dia, a cholainn féin acu go léir.
agus tine chnámh shinseartha amháin
chun spéir a dhéanamh de chnámha na marbh.

Damhsód mar lasair i d’áithse,
tusa mar phiorra ar an mbord.
Bíodh drumaí ann san fhoraois ársa
lán de rithimí ár bhfréamhacha.

Gach tigh ina theampall, gach páiste ina shagart,
gach duilleog ina hofráil, gach briathar ina phaidir.
agus méadófar ar an mistéir
atá i ngach ball faoin spéir.

Another Kind Of Wedding

This wedding was planned before you were born.
Your ancient Heart and the Mother of Dances
were the elders who arranged it.

Don't worry, they knew what they were doing.
They run the beachfront honeymoon hotel

made of crushed emeralds
where we all stay between lives.

They chose this breath to marry your body.
Now you go stumbling down the aisle,
wondering if you're ready for this,
making eyes at the guests in their pews,
doubting, muttering to yourself,

"Should I marry this one instead?"

Stop tripping over your veil!
Stop chatting with strangers and unruly cousins!
Just keep gazing toward the sanctuary,
at the one who waits for you there.

The chuppah your vine-tangled ribs,

the aisle your exhalation of surrender.

As you walk down, you gradually awaken.

This procession is a pour of wine.
Your beloved is the bottom of the cup,

a mirror of empurpled splendor.


When you pour your gladness into that face,
and taste of that ancestral vintage,
bride and groom, priest and wedding
all dissolve in the fire of “Yes.”
Once you say, “I Do,”
these grapes become wine.

Painting by Marc Chagall


I received a massage from NoBody, who says that the "information age" is over. All information is a corrupted file, because it leads to the delusion that there is a knower separate from the known. The very act of in-forming creates an illusory distinction between inward and outward, when in fact reality is a continuum of consciousness: pure energy aware of itself without being separate from itself. There is no "interior life" separate from the exterior life. The boundary between inner and outer is only a mirage. The soul and the body are entangled on the grapevine of ISness. We are here to be tasted and touched, not informed. Massaged, not messaged.

The cosmic flowering of energy that we call the world, the universe, was too much for us at birth. It blew our minds. That was the original trauma. We turned around to flee from the terrible beauty of creation. It was too intimate an explosion, because it was all our own consciousness. So we tried to get back "inside" the mother. But there was no going back. Therefor we fabricated an illusory sense of "inside," called "mind" or "ego," and we are still in flight, back into the ghost of "me," which does not exist.

We invented duality in the birth canal, an utterly false fracture of this cornucopic kaleidoscopic joyfully meaningless Miracle into inner-outer, spirit-matter, self-other, subject-object, and we are still under the spell of our own traumatic double-vision: but in fact there is only This, the radiant ineffably gentle explosion of consciousness into waves of no-thing - thoughts, neutrinos, quarks, cells,
blueberries, chrysanthemums, clouds, moons, galaxies - one and seamless and all made of the same stuff, which is Awareness, self-luminous, self-creating, arising/dissolving each instant with absolutely no past or future, no meaning or purpose, for any meaning or purpose would imply a thinker standing separate from what IS. But there is no one inside or above to find a purpose in the marvelous order of chaos, which is its own triumphant dance of quiddity, all creatures shining just as they are in the radiance of Being. We might call it all "the play of God," except that there is no "of" between "play" and "God," who Is the dance itself, a seamless beam from the heart's core to the farthest softest rim of blossoming space.

And so we slaughter each other, compete with each other, bully each other, fear each other. Why? Because we're really lashing out at our own little "me," trying to rid ourselves of our own false existence, heartsick that we ever invented such a paltry separate thing. And we know prior to thought - not "deep down inside" but everywhere - that there is no self but everyone, entangled in the bliss of indomitable cosmic Wonder, an oceanic Wonder that bubbles with instantaneous selves. Thus the end of violence comes only with the end of our division into "me" and the "world."

As the great Jewish scholar Rabbi Abraham Herschel wrote, the true religion is "radical amazement." And as the young Martin Luther said when he was a mystic, before he froze his "me" into mind-born dogma: "Bewilderment is the true faith!" For we are all born mystics traumatized by birth, when we ruptured the continuum of incomprehensible rapture, and separated the still-born "soul" from the world "out there." O weep for the child who invented the false idea that there is something "wrong," or even a mind who could be "wrong." Yes, weep for the child who thought up a "me" who could ever be separate from Thee, or from the star-wild wholeness of Love.

The Dark

Oh blackness, Oh 3 a.m., Oh womb, voluptuous ink of poems, O Virgin of Montserrat, the blessed symmetry of zero, quantum vacuum gushing particles of night, Oh fountain and fecundity of nothing, without your one eternal uncreated No this mad and multitudinous dance of Yes could never have been born - Oh Light is not enough, I love the Dark!
Photo of Venus and Saturn conjunction taken on a walk near my house.
Prose poem published in The Yes Book.

In An Instant


In an instant you could
lift your soul into the center
of a dust mote,
which is the center
of every sun,
attaining the infinite clarity
of the stainless mirror
where every face
of God appears,
to see forever all that is
through one pure tear
of compassion, just
by striking the diamond
of Awareness
against the diamond
of Awareness,
generating trillions
of ananda-sparks, neutrinos,
pollen, supernovae,
other selves.

Image: 'high-energy ghost-particle from outer space,' published at CNN

Slight, Gentle

Shakti is a slight excitement in the field of infinite Rest, an ever so gentle whisper in the field of infinite Silence - the secret source of Power.

Photo: The hibiscus in my backyard bloomed last night. The air cleared and the blue sky shouted and all distances dissolved in the intimacy of the Self.

Blessed Are You When You Are Confused

"Someone asked me, "Are you a Christian, a Hindu, or a Buddhist? I can't tell which."
I answered, "Neither can I!"

"You must be confused," he said.

"Blessed are you when you are confused, for then the mind must descend into the heart."

"But what is your religion?"he asked.

"Listen, friend. I was a born-again Christian, a twice-born Hindu, and an un-born Buddhist. Then the Goddess hugged me to her bosom of unfathomable silence, and suckled me on the mere sweet milk of breathing.

"Un-created fire gushed up my spine, poured through the wound in my heart, and fountained out my empty crown. These eyes became black holes at the center of twin galaxies whose blinding light has not yet reached this world.

"Now I am just a finger writing on trembling waters: Impermanence is the soul of Beauty."

Thank You

Thank you water. I love you. Rain.
Thank you dirt. I love you. Molder down.
Thank you sun, at dawn or evening.
Clothe me in your beams.
Thank you, death. You feed the loam
with bodies large and small.
I return to you.
O stars, I'm not sure what you do,
but without you would I be?
I love you, held or falling.
Thank you, masked workers
in orchards or trucks at 5 a.m.
I love you,
bruising your hands with fruit.
Thank you wind.
I receive you like a moaning pine.
You lift me like a thistle.
In my foolishness I see no difference
between my body and an alder leaf.
Autumn comes, hollowing
a place for the soul in things.
My soul is parched with praising.
I would sing like a wren,
disturbing the great silence.

: Monk's Garden, County Kerry

Aware In The Body

Take a rest from the restless mind. Sink into the eye of the heart that looks by feeling. Sea-feel every cell of your body as an ocean of love, each strand of DNA immersed in healing waves of luminous breath. Since this is utterly real, you don't need to visualize, imagine, or try. Just feel, see, become aware. The miracle is here already, but it is activated by awareness.


Einstein daydreamed at his messy desk,
sliding down a lazy sunbeam at the speed of light. 
= mc2

August Kekule fell asleep in front of the fireplace,
his rational mind exhausted.
discovered the circular structure
of the benzene molecule
dreaming of a luminous serpent biting its own tail.
Dr. Oppenheimer directed the Manhattan Project,
inventing the first atom bomb.
He also studied Sanskrit.
As he watched the explosion in the desert at Yucca Flats,
he muttered verses from the Bhagavad Gita.
"I am become the destroyer of worlds.
Even if you beheld the light of 10,000 suns,
you would not see one particle of my glory."
The first Neanderthal was a scientist too.
He gathered a handful of useless corn,
jagged and tasteless as broken teeth.
Then he stumbled, spilling the kernels on hot coals.
It was an accident.
They popped, grew soft and fragrant.
He tasted one.

Science asks very simple questions
without clinging to answers,
for the answers are dancing like dust motes
in a golden ray.
Science is not knowing,
but knowing how much we don't know.
Paying attention to particulars, yet trusting
in the limitless space of possibility between electrons.
Science is careful, not infallible,
intuiting the way all creatures ground their hearts
in a paradox of quantum uncertainty.
The answers are dancing like dust in a golden ray.

Photo: J. Robert Oppenheimer

Dialog with an Unknown Reader in the Jungle

I received this wonder-ful picture and message from a women named Issa who lives in a community deep in the rain forest of Costa Rica. I have never met her.

"Hi Fred, hope you are doing well. I wanted to share with you the current state of the books I have of you. You wrote in the preface: 'I hope it gets dog-eared and frayed, used like a hand tool.' Well they sure did, and got soaked, molded, here in the jungle of Costa Rica! Yet each & every poem is still readable and read."
Then Issa went on to post her interpretations of a poem on her web page, with another photo from the rain-soaked moldering book.

 "From my favorite poet... For me it describes perfectly the very rich experience of living simple, nomadic, immersed in green, in Costa Rica. No securities, only the knowledge pipas (coconuts) will be available all year round.
"The erotic green of parrot's shout...
The daily sensual experience of being in warm tropical nature with hardly any cloth between skin & air, the heavy smell of huge blossoming tropical flowers and the intense sounds of mama nature (waves, rain, thunder storms, parrots, howler monkeys, crickets, frogs, toads) as an eternal love song playing in the background as soundtrack...
"Here in the jungle of Costa Rica it's obvious the beloved is everywhere, is everything, caressing skin, ear drums, exploding beauty for the eyes as food for the soul... look at all this abundance, and none of it is yours... you ARE all of it, you ARE this juicy abundance. 
"Silver glistening of toads
A remembrance of the service born here in Costa Rica of offering the 'toad medicine' (Bufo containing 5-MeO-DMT) in combination with bodywork in a private session. What a loving job to have.
"All that remains is the entanglement of my surprise...
In Costa Rica, especially the last years here on the Osa peninsula, it is as if the wild wise child within came fully awake, stepped into her power, shook off all the shackles, and is dancing with so much joy, fully enjoying the play of life, the illusion of control evaporated, as the wild child is life itself. No one is controlling, doing anything. Each moment a sweet fresh surprise to get entangled in. 
"Loss teaches you everything
I lost many things in Costa Rica: physical stuff, psychological baggage, spirituality (the idea that there is someone who should get enlightened), weight, conditioning, civilization (the idea that there is a certain way to be civilized, a norm to live by), domestication (the idea you should own a house/property and own many physical things in order to be secure), sentimentality of romance (there are no two so there is never two coming together, its apparently part of the play to have this experience yet it has lost its sentiments).
"It's when all is lost that all is found. When the illusion of the one who is separate and doing her best to be in control, to do the 'right thing,' is gone. When she is apparently gone (she was never really there), life just flows magically, completely empty (nothing can be held onto, prevented to change) yet fulfilling every need and desire as there are no particular demands from anyone. Life fulfills life as water endlessly keeps flowing from a well to the sea.
"The nothingness, the loss, the not knowing, the apparent letting go into the void... it is everything, it opens up to everything. It is the ultimate security, the unconditional love, the graceful mystery.
"I wish I could express it as magically as this poet."  

God! I think you have, Issa, and so much more!




When I stop trying
to be good, I become
I never saw a bird
trying to sing.
The music just
A common sparrow
is perpetually surprised
by the flow of
all into all.
This is the mystery
of the obvious.
Let us refresh the depth of the ancient expression, All in All. The All in Greek philosophy (Panta) is the divine Pleuroma or fullness. It is what in Sanskrit is meant by Brahman, the totality of the universe alight with God-Consciousness. Hence the beautiful expression in the New Testament: "Let God be all in all (Panta hen Panta)" ~1 Corinthians 15:28. "All in All" means that the fullness of the cosmos is not only completely full, but doubly so because conscious of itself: All aware of All.

The common sparrow has no little "i" trying to sing "better" than any other sparrow. The song that pours through her astonishment is the song of All singing to All through All. And that is how we humans were meant to sing, with the added bonus of being Self-Aware. But instead of using our awareness to celebrate the All, we use it to fabricate a small, independent, separate "i." Isn't it time to fall back into the heart-song of the universe? Don't worry. Allness only makes your voice more unique. The ocean become the drop.


A light flows from my center
yet shines from somewhere 
beyond "me."
When I get used to that
radiant blindness,
it seems more like a garden.
Then I hear a flute deep inside
the silence
and yearn to know who lives there,
dancing in the moonlight.
Write this on my tomb, friend:
All he did was wonder.
To enter the wedding
of breathing out and in
I open the gate of emptiness.

If there is a Beloved,
there must be a Lover.
Write this on my tomb, friend:
All he did was wonder
why it takes an Other 
to awaken Oneness.
Grace is not an abstraction
but a living touch 
ignited by a glance, 
an exhalation, a scent 
of rose and evening rain.
The Master may appear 
before you in white robes,
brown face and sandaled toes.
But that is only an occasion
for the Sun and Moon 
to kiss and shimmer
in your own chest.
Write this on my tomb, friend:
His deepest pleasure 
was to drown in the gaze
that spills from your eyes.