Stop crying, "What should I do?
Mercury is in retrograde!"
What you should do is
dance like the sky.
All horoscopes tell one story.
The universe is your reflection.
O yes, your swirl of sun, moon,
and planets has its own
feral rhythm, hardly a waltz.
But those chimeric
baubles and spheres
are wind chimes in the illusion
of distance, all moved
by one breath, yours.
Seven billion birth charts
singing the same chorus:
You are made of light.
Leo, Taurus, Aries and Capricorn,
patient beasts of darkness
roaming through the meadows
of your body, munching karma:
They are not "above."
"Above" is a buried bulb
in the stillness between heartbeats,
and galaxies are clustered
on the arbor of your spine,
ripening their golden orbs
into the nectar of awakening:
ferment That!
Drink the vintage of
pure Being, 100 proof.
Don't get burned by little sparks
falling back down:
Become the fire!
Painting by Bill Bell, 'The Astrologer's Dream'

A Final Rose

At the place neither inside nor outside,

in a silence prior to thinking, the final rose

burns its black hole through your retina

into a turquoise gland at the back of your skull.

The scent drifts through umber petals

the way the soul exits a crinkled body,

except that the soul is only a description of itself,

but the odor of withered rose is real,

un-predicated on speech. We say,

"In the beginning," but this place is before

the beginning. We say, "was the Word,"

assuming that it is a noun. What if,

in the beginning, was the Verb,

un-declined, neither 1st, 2nd, nor 3rd person,

who created this world of nouns, or did She?

Perhaps there is no noun, it's all thing-less,

and the world is only our description of it.

What if the world is a terrible sweet fire

that finally consumes every human tongue?

Something about your gravity, your grief,

gives courage to the gods, who are tired

of being disembodied stains in a cathedral window,

fixed virtues in a catechism of glass.

They long to clothe themselves in flowing verbs

than rain on hay grass and release its sweetness.

They want to weigh upon this mother of bodies,

earthing themselves, hugging the brown of chestnuts,

bouncing like hail on an empty park bench,

dissolving like lonely faces of frost in maple leaves.

O yes, angels yearn to fathom the opacity

of your tears, smother their glistening in your dust -

which is, after all, how You came to this place,

the place of the final rose, where names of things,

and things themselves, must perish.


No Obligation


Of course the outraged are outraged that you are not outraged, but in truth, you are under no obligation to be angry. And though they are certain that the world cannot survive without their opinion, you are under no obligation to have an opinion about anything. Thoughts arise and dissolve like clouds in the empty sky. You cannot grasp them, so why try? To realize that you are not under any obligation to believe in your thoughts is the dawning of freedom. Why should we insist that they are "your" thoughts or "my" thoughts? You are not a being. You are Being itself. Bow your head and pour the ideology out of your skull. Your beliefs will compost next Spring's kale. To be green and useful, the uncreated light of heaven must pass through the belly of an earthworm. Your mind is just dark energy billowing out of the void in the axis of a neuron. You came here to be astonished. You came to meet your friends in Rumi's meadow, out beyond opinions. Bring an empty cup. In the field of the effortless, small miracles with blue petals spring up, smelling like the stars.

Lupine I photoed on a mountain hike.

Sonnet in Autumn Air

A naked breath and all is silken clear:
the ash leaf crinkled by October sun,
the caterpillar’s need to disappear
in rainbow dreams of trembling darkness, spun
by uncreated wings in the cocoon,
the sweet diaphanous allure of thread
between a sleepless spider and the moon
entangled like a specter of the dead.
Now split an Autumn gourd and smell the musk
of emptiness, the dim pain we must feel
and savor deep beneath our ruddy husk.
Taste every shadow sunlight might reveal,
and stay, where shriveled berries are reborn.
One pure nectar seeps through rose and thorn.


Photograph by Jean-Francois Beaudry in National Geographic

Chandra Nadi

Drink the full moon.
Hold her as a breath,
then set her back
gently in the sky.
Gaze awhile
and you will see
the blaze of your
own tenderness,
the bruise of your caress.
She loved that.
It awakened her.
Now, with your whole body,
you must teach God
how to kiss.

Autumn Prayer

In the ordinary of the season,

to notice is to worship.  

Musk odor in the hollow of the last pear.

The garden withered to its root,

still amber with warmth, 

the tint of collapse, of fallen 

happiness well-seated.

Your beaten heart releases the scent 

of something rain has unshaped.

Loss tastes more delicious than music.

Your mind stream grows so clear

it reflects the abysmal blue 

of its otherness, the sky.

Starting at the edges, all creatures

burn inward toward their center.

Now is the season of understanding

that the soul is the deepest organ

in your body, and it is on fire.

Even your wings are lit by death,

 and a mighty empire falls around you 

like a brittle leaf.

Listen for the luscious chafe 

of silence within silence,

like the murmur of water under snow,

the perishing of a bell.

Let this sound claim you.

God needs no dearer name.

Merely a breath, this whisper 

is the seed of a new creation.





When you discover that this very breath is the subtle, most intimate body of the Goddess, She that played with the Almighty at the creation of the universe, swirling her sweet milk into galaxies, then you can rest in your heartbeat, whose silence says more than all the words of scripture, and savor the whole story of salvation in the rising and falling of your chest.

Photo by Aile Shebar


When I discovered the emerald
hidden in my ribs,

I gave up duty and skill,

wealth, adventure, and fame

just to follow this menial

vocation: I became

a Jewel Polisher!

I keep moving

the ragged cloth of this breath,

moistened with the tincture

of pure awareness,

over the chalice in my heart

until golden emptiness itself

becomes wine, each drop

a gem of hopeless wonder

deeper inside than my name,

reflecting a world beyond

confusion, without edges,

where meadow and forest,

the wreathe of clouds,

the incandescent blackness

of night in the panther-eye

of the unhoused stranger,

even the face of the beloved

who lies beside me, are all

one nimbus gleaming out

of my body. Now

consider that you also
might mother creation
through this simple work,

the rhythm of stillness.

Photo by Laurent Berthier

Inventory of Essential Distractions


Honor the distractions that keep you whole. 

Titmouse at the thistle feeder.

Wing-beat of geese navigating by the moon.

A glistening spider’s web in the withering hyssop.


Exultation of a turquoise moth

who will die before sunrise.

The baby’s ancient gaze

from a supermarket shopping cart.

Two dragonflies dancing

at the edge of a spring-fed pond.


Are we not redeemed

by the sure sweet vision of particulars?

What else is faith?

Elegant cracks in a hand-made tea bowl.

Waves dissolving on sand.


Fragrance of honeysuckle on a broken fence.

Bamboo wind chimes in an empty barn.

A horse's tail swatting flies on a summer morning.

The motionless explosion of a rose.

Every flame-tipped thing

conspiring in ceaseless revelation

to whisper, “Yes, you are here.”


In a fallen camellia, the splendor of Sr Chakra,

those empyrean petals, choir upon choir.

The silence between raindrops. 

This breath.




Photo: The camellia that fell from a bush by my front door.




What is an "activist"? You can be an activist planting Winter squash, gathering apples, walking in a fern forest, listening to your children, or smiling from your heart at someone who is lonely.

True activism means, to gently immerse your whole astonished body in the river of Presence. To be moved by the breath of beauty like a golden leaf, falling right where you are. To drown in the mystery of communion with whoever stands before you, and serve them by Being. Out of Being, doing arises. This is love. And whatever action happens in that moment is your politics. The politics of compassion has no party, and no platform. It is groundless.

A disheveled crow, a boy in the rain with his shining basketball, a spider web catching the moon, a crone at the grocery store marveling at all the soup. These are your tribe. This is your native country. It is all a sacred homeland.

Earth is not transfigured by how much you do, but how wantonly, how nakedly you plunge into the ocean of this perishing moment.

Don't Come Alone


No need for me
to tell you

my Master's name.

No need to show you

my Savior's face.

Just come a little

nearer to my chest

and you will catch fire.

I know the world hurts.
But there is a very safe place
right here where

this breath arises,

this pulse is born,

and the moon drinks

all the light she needs
from the bright stream

of the heart’s silence.
Rest here, friend.

Don't be afraid.
And don't come alone.
Bring thousands with you.
Photo by Laurent Berthier

Lesha-Vidya: the Faint Remains of the Ego

Lesha-Vidya (Sanskrit) means "the faint remaining seed of ignorance." Leshavidya can be the seed of humble service, or the seed of a yogi's downfall, depending on whether it is acknowledged. So-called "spiritual teachers" must consciously embrace Leshavidya, so as not to forget that they are merely human, or imagine that they have become "God."

After their "enlightenment experience," this seed patiently and secretly accompanies them on their journey. They become successful gurus and life coaches, with profitable non-profit corporations,  glossy websites, and global hierarchies of adoring followers. But even the "enlightened" must acknowledge the faint seed of ego in themselves, and hug it with consciousness. The wise teacher does not attempt to destroy this seed or deny that it is there; but actually utilizes Leshavidya, as the key to humble empathy with ordinary people, and as prayerful player in living relationship with the divine.

But if Leshavidya goes deep into the unconscious, the buried seed will one day sprout and burst into a dark and inconvenient blossom, sometimes scandalously obvious, but often subtle, like the barest veil. In such a spiritual teacher, what was once the grace of innocence becomes a carefully-contrived persona, ironically insulated from humanity yet craving publicity. This is a tragedy to behold.

One's ego is either the play-mate of Krishna, or a hungry ghost. But as long as we are on earth, it is there. Use it. Love you ego, dance with your ego, pray with your ego. Let your ego be the friend of humanity and God.

Sometimes You Cry

Sometimes you cry,
but these are not your tears.
They are the tears of the moon,
the tears of September.
Sometimes the tears have no eye.

Tears of trees, pelicans,
old staggering
elk with ruined antlers,
gray tears of the mountain
pouring from loam to loam
through your body.

Tears of time, a time
for dropping petals and
last berries, time
to settle and lean bare
into mothering darkness.

Don't explain it away,
how beauty is so much
like sorrow,
the silken crack in your clay
shaped like a vast
bolt of lightning.
Repair it with liquid gold.
Be kintsugi.

As for the leaf
on a useless bench
in my garden,
one of a myriad fallen things,
the season is rich
with brittle offerings.

Pouring from loam to loam
through your body,
sometimes the tears have no I.

Photo: yes the old useless bench in my garden


I am grateful
for the Muslim mathematicians
who invented algebra
(an Arabic word),
and drew the first Zero,
whose radiant emptiness
exalts the One
by powers of ten,
and for Mansoor al Hallaj
who was tortured and burned
at the stake for ecstatically
humming the mantra,
"Ana'l Haqq! I Am Truth!"
bestowed on him by Shams,
the Guru of Rumi,
and I am grateful as well
for the humble nameless
artist of Isfahan
who wrote the entire
Qu'ran on a bird's egg
using for his brush a single
whisker from a newborn goat.
Yet how much more do I
give thanks to you, dear friend,
who with your gently
centered hairpin breath
pierces that shell
to suck out the unknown,
then through your most
delicate exhalation 
to inscribe the 114 Suras 
along with many others
not yet revealed (O calligraphy 
of illuminated nights,
O innumerable constellations,
sacred beasts of darkness
hurtling toward us to be born) 
yes, to inscribe them here,
on the inside of the egg!
I dreamed this poem, but could not convey it. So I will simply describe the dream, that I had on the eve of the Jewish New Year, at the New Moon of September, 2021. The dream began in anxiety about the world, yet I awoke in an ecstas
I was a captain U.S. Army Intelligence, sitting across the table in a dangerous game with someone holding an egg that had the entire Qu'ran inscribed on its shell. Very fragile. The world depended on not dropping and shattering it. I held out my hand to catch the egg, daring the other player to throw it. I knew the world's fate would rest on this delicate but desperate throw. He tossed the egg and I caught it gingerly. Then I knew what I had to do, but not why.

I had to inhale the uncreated unborn emptiness inside the egg through the tiny hole at the top, then blow a breath back into it. Which I did ever so gently, yet quickly with a one-pointed fiercely fine and focused exhalation. And with that breath, the whole scripture, and my own seeing of it, suddenly appeared INSIDE the egg, glittering like the dome of a great mosque or cathedral, radiant with all the stars and galaxies.

And the egg did not shatter, and the world was not destroyed. I awoke in great joy and it was clear then that our scriptures - the Torah, the Veda, the Qu'ran - are very dangerous and heavy when only inscribed on the outside. They could crush us. But when we breathe the holy writ inside, and let the law be inscribed on our hearts, earth becomes a paradise.

Happy New Year.

Message From My Cat


I've been seeing lots of social media pictures of cats upside down, or gazing from on high. So I decided to tune in to the spirit of Basquiat, an upside down cat who was my landlady for 22 years (pictures above). She still watches over my family and she is wise. This is what she wants us to know:

"Thinking is overrated. Positive energy doesn't come from positive thinking. Positive thinking comes from positive energy. And positive energy comes from a silent golden explosion of Being out of the void at the core of every photon in your flesh, which is also the black hole at the center of each galaxy. So stop worrying and be what you Are.

"You are infinite. You are the womb of light. You are the all-pervading center. Feel the energy that is so full of joy it has no other meaning, no other purpose but what it Is. You are my Am, and I Am yours, and We Are myriad ever-dissolving Selves in the holographic quantum crystal of this moment. So stop worrying and pyrrh."

No Agenda

"Truth is the only thing you'll ever run into 
that has no agenda." ~Adyashanti
Your radiance outshines earthly form.
The worm loam, the white dahlia,
the moldering corpse, the newborn baby
all have your face.
Your radiance outshines the human mind.
No thought contains you.
Every desire has your face.
Marveling at your radiance,
the archangel and the cow
gaze with one eye.
Your compassion outshines every law.
No scripture contains you.
When you glance at me
there is no right or wrong.
If I cannot see you in the one I despise,
then the face of Jesus is a plastic flower.
No mirror contains the light of wonder.
Your body is silence, the explosion
of molten paradox.
I keep it gold and warm, near the heart,
so you don't congeal into opposites.
When you burst out of my center,
my center is everywhere.
The ones I feel sorry for are those
who still think this world of pain and beauty
has any meaning, any purpose...
They haven't tasted one spoonful of your dust.
They haven't tasted your salt in their tears.
They are still sober.

Painting by Heather Theurer

Round Sonnet

"God hugs you, you are encircled by the arms

of the mystery." ~Hildegard of Bingen

God hug me whole and round me with bright thirst,

then crush my clustered loveliness to wine.

And with no feet to tread, may God use mine,

or be the cup in whom I am immersed -

the sky sphered sapphire in a robin's egg,

music spilling from a hollow reed,

the circle of my breath, a prayer to beg

of stars the fire to sing, of You the need.

Small violets dew'd with dawn's dissolving pearl

remind me to be grateful for this mere

vanishing moment, when twinned spirits twirl,

mine in yours, like pollen in a tear.

Love suffers perfect loss, yet owns no less.

The more our hearts surrender, more possess.