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.
Lupine I photoed on a mountain hike.
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
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
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 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
No jewel is more radiant and clear than a mind free from judgments. Here is the space where we can truly meet.
And no "practice" is more full of grace than simply dropping judgment. Yet this effortless non-doing requires great courage. Because the moment we drop the judge, we are assailed by ten thousand voices from our conditioning, our politics, our education, shouting, "How dare you! This is irresponsible! You must choose sides! You must condemn the opposition! How can the world survive without your judgments?"
Yes, the moment after you drop judgment, a tidal wave of inner voices judges YOU. Be courageous. Drop them too! When we drop the voices of our judgment, we drop the voices that judge us, and we drop them not one at a time, but all at once. Let an exhalation of surrender sweep these voices away like scattered petals, dry leaves. Then breathe in the breath of emptiness, sparkling with Shakti, vibrating with the pure power of silence.
Hollow and transparent, blaming no one, we are present, eyes open to a luminous world, created just now. The ocean of the heart overflows through these eyes. Few words are needed. We meet. And we respond to a world that actually IS, instead of responding to our mental judgments about it. This is real response-ability.
When Jesus said, "judge not, lest ye be judged," he was not warning us, but inviting us into the spaciousness of love, a realm beyond karma. Judge-not is the gateway to the miraculous. Judge-not is immediate spontaneous communion in Christ-Consciousness.
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.
Photo: The camellia that fell from a bush by my front door.
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.
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
the light she needs
from the bright stream
the heart’s silence.
Rest here, friend.
And don't come alone.
Bring thousands with you.
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.
Tears of trees, pelicans,
Tears of time, a time
Don't explain it away,
As for the leaf
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
give thanks to you, dear friend,
"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."
"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.