Painting: Bouguereau, Girl With A Pomegranate
“Watch and pray.”~Matthew
The deepest prayer watches
the play of this mind
as a mother broods over
her feverish child.
The Witness is a comforter
who untangles thought
with her glow, her feathered
rustling over the ocean
Our roots are in the waters
Isn't the purest worship
just to pour one breath
into another, a fragrant
offering that turns the stars
in their wheels of stillness?
Ours is a priestly office
in the temple of bones,
kindling the mystery
that rents the veil
between inside and out.
To repose in the rhythms
To make a wine-dark oblation
of our certainty.
Now let some soft supernova
burst beneath your ribs.
Don't name it.
Just let the wellspring
spill over your fontanelle
and carry hope everywhere
on a careless wind.
Betroth your heart to the night.
It's easy to say that a Goddess
pervades every dust mote
and bears the morning sun.
But you must taste and see
that the earth is made
of crushed emeralds,
sweet diamonds hammered
into grains of amazement
by seeing itself.
Take Off Your Shoes
“Take off your shoes, for the place where you
stand is holy ground.” ~Exodus 3:5
Go outside. Take off your shoes. Breathe sunlight through your fontanelle,
the soft spot where the bones of that old story never healed. Feel
honey trickle through your neurons, dripping from vertebra to vertebra.
A ray of violet bathes your furrowed brow, washing away the pain,
transmuting anger into joyous useful fury.
Rays of golden song-bird yellow caress your throat, healing grief.
Your clenched heart-bud softens in a glow of ancient forest green,
and 1,000 perfectly wounded petals unfurl.
Knotted thorns in your belly disentangle with a fragrant breeze,
the whisper of the name of the Goddess, and you notice the rose
that was already there, blossoming in silence.
Now what's this, fermenting in the cauldron of your hips?
Your weary disappointment, turning to purple wine.
Breathe out through the soles of your feet, or so it seems,
the shattered sunbeam passing down your spine as through a prism.
Didn’t you know you were made from infinitesimal love-sparks?
This is how you give birth to the rainbow.
But for the surrendered, who have no choice, even light
is not enough, beauty is not enough.
There is a wilder, more holy secret.
The arc of healing does not shower from the sky,
it gushes out of the earth.
Give birth to the rainbow that percolates from compost, glow
of bone splinters, mushroom spores, song of the earthworm, birth
to the piebald treasure of the dead, gift of darkness. Selah.
For we do not exhale through these naked soles, we inhale,
breathing loam, pouring our olive-brown energy upward,
diastole of crystalline detritus.
We gather tiny relics of our ancestors' flesh, still warm
in embered sacrifice, and fling their swirling ashes into night.
They are the stars.
Tapestry by Annelie Solis
Vedas declare, "Yatha drishti, tatha srishti: as you are, so your world
appears." Your heart is not just a muscle pumping blood. Your cardiac
plexus is not just a bundle of nerves in your chest. It is a resonant
field of energy extending far beyond the apparent edges of your flesh.
Your heart irradiates the cosmos, and interpenetrates all other hearts.
The quality of your own heart makes others more expansive, light and
joyful, or more contracted, heavy and angry. Every breath may be a river
of life and healing. You not only choose your soul, you choose your
Photo by Kristy Thompson
The Day Will Come
into the ocean
the Beloved's name,
I think that every
morning is this day,
Aligning these layers of our experience, we sink into the heart by means of a gentle breath, and then the heart spontaneously sinks into groundless Being. As when a ripened apple snaps from the branch, and falls, its seed enters the loam. What is our loam? The zero-point black hole bindhu ayin soph womb of creation.
Prayer is alignment with the Source. Devotion is alignment with the Source. Seva, service, is helping others align with the Source. The greatest service one can perform is to encourage another to align - not with you, not with your guru, not with your race or your political party, but with the Source.
What is the Source? A tiny seed planted in the core of your cardiac plexus, which is not a mere bundle of nerves but a resonant field irradiating the cosmos. The hollow of this tiny spore in your own chest is the space beyond the farthest galaxy, whose light takes 13 billion years to reach your body. Which means that your body is a holographic image of the cosmic human form.
How could an infinitesimal seed buried in the furrow between two lobes of your lung, cause billions of distant stars to whirl? With the power of this exhalation. But your breathing must be softer than a wisp of thistledown, and the Word of God must vanish into silence.
Whoever awakens this dust mote in you, this kernel of boundless clarity, inexhaustible light, and unfathomable dark energy, is your Guru, whether fallen, foolish, famous or unknown. If the teacher does not awaken the taste of the Infinite in your heart, doesn't matter how charming or hypnotic, how radiant or saintly they may appear.
The white-robed rock star Guru seated on a dais, bedecked with flowers, adored by millions, is not the Guru-tattva that burns like an emerald in your chest. Be sure you're not just worshiping a robe, a beard, a pair of sandals, an idol with enticing eyes.
What is the sign of the living Guru? A bending flame, igniting the wick of your spine, so that you burn with the same fire - a fire that is not mere faith or philosophy or passing mystic mood, but the unchanging radiance in your heart. You are full. You cannot speak. You have no more questions. The Guru is not there, but here, within you, seated in the Temple of Silence.
NASA photo: alignment of black holes, The Independent, UK
Rest as Pure Awakened Space
"That space is God in which everything arises and dissolves." ~Upanishads
Our religion conditions us to believe that the path is long, the goal is distant, and God is far beyond this place, far after this moment. But the truth is, we live in a vast trick of perception whose punchline is This! We are what we've been seeking.
Long before any New Age teaching, the ancient Upanishads declared, "Know This to be That which you are seeking." Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is here in the midst of you." The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas gives us this version: "The kingdom is poured out over the whole earth, but men do not see it."
What if the Divine is space itself? What if space is awake?
A dictum from the great mystics of the Western tradition, attributed variously to St. Augustine, Giordano Bruno, or Pascal, but originally found in the Hermetic sayings of 3rd Century Egypt: "God is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere." It is a thought-experiment for contemplating the divinity of space.* * *
The revelation that space is awake is so self-evident yet so stunning, that it strikes our awareness like the trumpet of the Last Judgment, calling us to the only temple that remains: the temple of the present moment. We enter this temple when we simply give up the search.
Space is awake, even when nobody's here. Space was awake before we were born into it, and into that Space we will one day dissolve. We generally use space as a means to an end, a vessel to be filled with our busy-ness. But what if space is fulfillment, and an end in itself?
Look at any street in America and you see people furiously intent on getting someplace else. They rush through space unconsciously, assuming that space is an abstraction, a nowhere filled with distance that they must overcome in order to go somewhere.
But imagine if we awoke to the divine fullness in the height, the depth, the breadth of emptiness. Imagine if we moved through awakened space, not to arrive anywhere, but simply to enjoy the dance?
Just for a moment, rest your attention in the voluptuous softness of space itself. Taste the all-pervading bliss of mere Presence.
The Goddess, Shakti, is She who softens space around you, and fills emptiness with gentle golden light. The inner softness of space itself is her body.
Space is the beginning and the end. This living stillness awaited us at our birth, and will surround us at our death, womb to womb, never born. Even in the midst of the battle, a healing silence envelops us, wider than any cry of pain. Even when we are falling, we are at rest in the tranquility of awakened space.* * *
Space is no-thing, yet the source of creation. The opening of Genesis tells us: "In the beginning... the earth was formless and void." But the Biblical text makes it clear that this void is alive with energy, a churning oceanic intelligence, vibrant with breathings of the Spirit, the living womb from which light shines. For in that vibrant space before creation, "the Spirit-breath of God was stirring the waters."
The opening passage of Genesis reflects, in poetic form, the revelations of quantum physics. Matter arises from an apparent vacuum, yet the empty vacuum is a rippling continuum entangled with virtual photons and electrons - waves of pure mathematical probability. The void is alive with the possible. Space is awake.
The hologram of awakened space contains, at every infinitesimal point, all the information in the cosmos. A bindhu, a dimensionless point of pure space, tinier than a quark in the nucleus of an atom, bursts with virtual worlds. Yet the womb of space remains ever-virgin, transcendent, immaterial.
This ground-state of energy, this zero-point of the quantum vacuum, is Mother Divine. In the words of the 2nd Century Christian Gnostic, Valentinus, "The true Virgin Mother is mystical eternal silence."
Awakened space is not only conscious, but consciousness itself. When we awaken as space, existence becomes truly interesting! Emptiness overflows with self-nourishment. The very transparency of space sparkles as a kind of self-luminous food. Here is why mystics and saints were content with nothing: in that no-thing they actually experienced abundance!
This is the secret: there is no lack. Wealth is all around you in emptiness. Pure space is an invisible cornucopia of creativity that can generate any form or substance, from the tiniest sub-nuclear particle to the vastest sun. You have inherited unlimited wealth just by existing in space.
Mystics love desert solitude because empty space awakens us from the torpor and clutter of materialism. In the wilderness, we stop deluding ourselves with the notion that consciousness is the effect of chemical interactions in the brain. At the subtlest level of quarks and gluons inside the supposedly "solid" proton, every particle of our physiology is born from vast awakened space. Pure intelligence was here before the brain.
Consciousness is the cause of matter, not the effect. Our bodies condensed out of awareness. Brain, nerves, molecules are all composed from waves of awakened space.
The limitless vacuum beyond the stars saturates each atom of your flesh. Fundamental particles of matter are no-thing but blessedly unbalanced mathematical equations suspended in the mind of an infinite zero. Creation tumbles out of that zero as mathematical asymmetry seeks re-balance. O glorious mistake! O sacred imperfection!
Blessed be the calculus of our stumbling particles, because if those equations ever factored themselves back to perfect symmetry, the whole universe would dissolve into the empty circle. Let us enjoy this dance of space, these waves of emptiness playing in the ocean of the void, as a marvelous unsolved equation. Because the mystery is unsolved, there is wonder. Because there is wonder, there is creation.
* * *
In the words of Sir James Jeans, one of the founders of quantum physics, this world is "made from pure intelligence." Jeans also said, "God loves to do geometry," a paraphrase of Plato.
Max Planck, another founder of modern physics, said that "mind is the matrix of matter." Likewise their colleague, Sir Arthur Eddington, wrote: "All through the material world runs the stuff of our own consciousness... the stuff of the world is mind-stuff."
Where can we find this cosmic stuffing? Far above? Deep within? In another dimension? Will it require lifetimes to reach? These questions are answered when all our seeking simply falls away, and we embrace the spaciousness of our own attention. The stuff of our consciousness is empty space, and the stuff of the world is consciousness.
The 12th Century Christian mystic, Hildegard of Bingen, wrote that "God hugs you; you are enfolded in the arms of the mystery." We are like fish searching for water, surrounded by a miracle so self-evident we just don't notice. The deepest form of worship is simply to breathe the space we are. The beginning and end of spiritual practice is to rest as pure awakened space.* * *
There is no need to go elsewhere to find nourishment, healing, and creativity. All is contained in the very space around us, the very space pervading our atoms. Self-awakened space vibrates with every attribute of God, and resonates with every name of God. This is true "physically" as well as "spiritually." Someday our civilization will derive infinite free energy directly from fluctuations in the vacuum of empty space.
* * *
Here is the purest meditation, requiring no visualization or effort: the naked sparkling awareness of what already is! Just open your attention to the Great Space within you, around you, to the left and right, above and below. Now see this same vastness within each cell of your body, in every atom, in every photon of your flesh...
This is the ineluctable truth so obvious and immediate that it shakes the universe. Your awareness of space is space. You are unbounded and all-pervading.
As Self-Awareness, the subject becomes its own object in itself, as itself. This dynamic pulse between subject and object within pure awareness, gives birth to space. Consciousness creates space through its own pulse of awakening.* * *
Consciousness is one, yet as awakened space, it pulsates as two. All created worlds of perception become possible when space as subject knows itself as object. There is a perpetual oscillation from subject to object in the continuum of the empty void. The void ceaselessly explodes into the polarity of consciousness and matter, yet consciousness and matter are made of one Self-radiance.
And this is why the awakened space of deep meditation can heal and re-energize the body. Space is not only our awareness, it is every particle of our nervous system. To become truly aware of space is re-creation.
The mind rebels against such a spontaneous revelation of the obvious. Mind wants to attain something, to climb a ladder, to work its way from level to level, plane to plane, initiation to initiation. Ego wants to say, "I have been meditating for thirty years, and you have only been doing it for one. I have attained level seven, the highest initiation. You'll get here some day if you keep working at it." This is the mirage of seeking, the illusion of a journey. The illusion of a "path" playfully appears as a trick in the pathless wilderness of space.* * *
To delight in emptiness is too graceful for the mind: not enough drama, not enough quest. Here is the joke. The only thing preventing our realization of divine space right now is the thought that, "This is too easy."
No circumstance can limit our practice of spaciousness, since space is not affected by its content. We can enjoy this repose wherever we are. We do not find rest in the content of this moment, for the content, as form, is ever changing. But we repose in the space of the moment itself, the space that contains whatever is happening. What happens changes, but the space is changeless and eternal.
The riot on an urban sidewalk and the green glen by a forest pond are both but momentary configurations of the same fundamental particles, appearing and dissolving in precisely the same space. Every battle is surrounded by a stillness...
* * *
Because space is awake, there is an easy natural way to find liberation this instant, wherever you are. Ever so gently shift your attention from the content of the moment to the space that contains it. This bears repeating:
Ever so gently shift your attention from the content of the moment to the space that contains it.
Ironically, this salvific shift occurs by grace in some of the most violent and terrible events. In the midst of a crash, a traumatic accident, an act of war or sudden violence, so many survivors recall how they experienced a deep peace, a time-stopping stillness, surrounding the trauma. For many people, this is their first taste of spiritual Presence. Life, even in its most challenging moments, reveals its secret source. Surely, this happens at the moment of our death...
We only need to taste this spaciousness for an instant, a one-moment meditation. This meditation is not an escape, for it enlivens our readiness to respond, making us truly response-able. And it can happen during our busy work day.* * *
Just rest as awareness, even if there is chaos around you. In this brief Sabbath rest is re-creation. If the Sabbath can happen every seven days, it can surely happen now. Each Sabbath moment is filled with eternity.
Let it be repeated: Rest as awareness, even if there is chaos around you. Allow this momentary Sabbath to happen often throughout your day. Gradually an inner stillness will pervade all your actions. The time will come when the spaciousness of eternity outshines the fleeting content of the moment.
Awakening space is redemptive. As awakened space, we remain thoroughly in the world, though not of the world. We awaken space for others as well as ourselves.* * *
You cannot awaken for yourself alone. The space within you is also the space around you. Your awakening becomes available to others. Your space resonates blessing to all who dwell in it. This is how the practice of awakening space becomes your deeper work, no matter what else you are doing. By awakening space, you become a healing presence in the world.
Use Azure And Aquamarine
as nature does,
no, not her most
but the ones
she reserves for caesuras,
vanishing centers, the depth
of pools, a morning glory,
robin's egg, a sky
over Lemnos in June,
and when we gaze
into each other,
where we go, where we
come to rest,
Photo by Edward Fielding
The Practice Of Surrender
give up something.
Gratitude to Mystic Meandering for editing!
I am quenched
I pray without words.
with wild poppies.
She sings the silence
of the meadow.
And because the sun
must overflow this morning,
clothe the naked beauty
of the soul
in colors, umber,
olive and wheat.
Yet we share one breath,
and surely, it is green.
Painting by my friend, Klaus Ostendorf
How You Get Poured
There must be One in order
for there to be No One.
One and No One
This is meditation.
the pure gold of Presence
in the cracked enamel
of an ancient story.
of your own heart
who offers you, no,
lets you fall
into a flame without
fragrance or smoke,
into the fire of love.
"I salute the light within your eyes, where
the whole universe dwells." ~Chief Crazy Horse
'The world will be redeemed by beauty.' ~Dostoievsky
Our work is to behold beauty everywhere. To discover the whole blue sky in every cell of our flesh, sixteen billion light-years of emptiness in each atom. This is the dharma, the duty of the human mind. Why then would we waste one precious breath in argument and blame?
Solstice is a peak in time, a high pause in the year, when we can taste the transcendent embodied through our senses, and see the majesty of light solidified in the quiddity of a hummingbird's throat.
The Hebrew psalmist said, "Taste and see that the Lord is good." The ancient singer did not say, "believe" or "contemplate," but "taste" and "see." Solstice is an auspicious sensory moment, a time to taste and see. See what? Bliss incarnate in the commonplace.
What is bliss, ananda? No fleeting feeling or mere pleasure that comes and goes, but the quality of limitless expansion. Bliss is the dynamism of over-brimming stillness. Bliss pervades all of creation and, when apprehended, makes everything suddenly weightless. Bliss is the fullness of Being, the true parousia, when the formless overflows and sparkles as the transcendental form of Krishna. One of Krishna's names is Sundara, meaning absolute beauty.
On solstice we see everyday miracles boldly. A wild poppy, a pebble in a stream, a sod clump, an infant's tear, rainbow oil on a sidewalk puddle: Govinda glances and blinks at us through the slightest thingness. Just for an instant, before we perceive the creature, we see God's un-created gaze.
At the core of our soul is an inward eye that sees the face of divine Beauty shining through the ordinary. With this inward eye of the heart, we embrace suchness in the space of forgiveness, and only then does the world begin to change.
For an instant, Krishna and Radha frolic in the meadow of our senses, playing hide and seek with us, just so that we may be stunned into silent wonder. Then God and Goddess hide their loveliness again within the shadow of this earth, yes, even its sorrow.
One name of Krishna is Shyama Sundara, meaning "the boundless blue sky of transcendental beauty." The glory of the human mind is to be a still pelucid lens, to become transparency itself, silent and amazed, in order to witness the darshan of the supreme Lord through a particle of holy dust.
Please, don't waste one breath of this precious bewilderment! Let the mind melt into the eye of the heart.
What Do You Mean?
What do you mean?
Why do you need to mean?
Atoms are made of rhythm and sound,
Blossoms, trees, and forests are made
of rhythm and sound,
Clustering spirals of rhythm and sound,
galaxies don’t mean anything.
What does this poem mean?
It's just rhythm and sound.
For a moment, friend,
on a Sabbath morning,
give up the work,
give up the search
Just breathe, circling round
a great emptiness
filled with the rhythm and sound
God doesn't mean.
God whirls and sings.