I give my poems to other mouths,
the mouth of the cocoon,
the mouth of the tear in a snake skin,
the mouth of the trough between dark waves
where wind is born, the mouth
of the sparrow, but it must be
a kind of sparrow I have never seen,
living in a desert olive tree, near you.
I give poems to the mouths of roses
that grow by the sea in a ruined abbey.
I place them in the parted lips
of evening, ambiguous curvature,
holding a final drop of fire
in the silence between earth and stars.
You are gone, I do not ask where.
I drop this poem in our wound,
the well of emptiness, the fault line
in the shattered mirror of our seasons,
as you pause to breathe
through your entanglement,
unable to tell if this be Winter
or Spring, Summer's end or Fall.
Let this poem be a kiss
on the mouth of "ever,"
in the frail brown body
of the word, "ever-changing."

Painting: Bouguereau, Girl With A Pomegranate



“Watch and pray.”~Matthew 46:21


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

of silence. 

Our roots are in the waters

before creation.

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

of unknowing.

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.


The 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 universe.

Photo by Kristy Thompson

The Day Will Come

The day will come
when you no longer
count your breaths,
no longer pray
for a blessing,
no longer wait,
no longer
The day will come
when you can do nothing
but sink
into the ocean
of the effortless,
which is the space
of the heart, and hear
the Beloved's name,
like the hollow
of a golden flute
played by no one
but the softest breeze
just after dawn.
I think that every
morning is this day,
this invitation.


It is not our planets that must align, but our body, senses, breath, and mind. The spiritual journey is not to travel, but align.

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
common colors,
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,
the stillness
between thoughts,
and when we gaze
into each other,
where we go, where we
come to rest,
the purest

Photo by Edward Fielding


I am quenched

by yearning.

I pray without words.

Earth answers

with wild poppies.

She sings the silence

of the meadow.

And because the sun

must overflow this morning,

golden ripples

clothe the naked beauty

of the soul

in colors, umber,

cinnamon, persimmon,

olive and wheat.

Yet we share one breath,

and surely, it is green.

Painting by my friend, Klaus Ostendorf



"I salute the light within your eyes, where
the whole universe dwells." ~Chief Crazy Horse

The arrow the axis the afflux of love
pierces the center of a star,
pins it to the spindle of the earth
through the dark meridian
of your heartbeat.
The moon pours cool ointment over the wound.
You are the beauty of blackness
at the center of fire.
Gaze into my eye.
Now gaze into your own eye.
This is what I mean by the meridian.
We are rims and veils of one light.
What overflows the grail
of a distant galaxy
illuminates a particle of dust
in your belly button.
Now is the shuddering pause
in our turning wheel of gratitude.
This is the moment to share a secret.
Any creature who can say "I Am"
gets filled with her creator.
There is only one commandment:
Don't put any noun after To Be.
If you can’t understand this,
go outside at dawn.
Listen to the golden warbler
singing about the sun that rises
in her tiny chest.

Solstice Secret

'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.

t 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,

not meaning.

Blossoms, trees, and forests are made

of rhythm and sound, 

not meaning.

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 

for meaning.

Just breathe, circling round

a great emptiness

filled with the rhythm and sound 

of love.

God doesn't mean.

God whirls and sings.

The Only One

"Am I the only one
who is awake?
What's wrong with you people?
I've figured out the truth
but when I try to explain it
you all run away.
No one seems to agree with me
but me."
Friend, perhaps you might
listen to this feathered golden
thing of air.
She also tells the truth.
No words, yet everyone
stops, hears, and smiles.
Because knowledge
is not as important
as singing.


Stop, friend, step aside
at my favorite tavern.
This pause in the journey
may be where you were going.
Drink the nectar of
my mother's flowers,
savor the fragrance of stillness.
Her heart is a dilapidated rose
whose petals are distant galaxies
attracting bees
the size of the sun.
Are you one of them?
Your hum makes you enormous.
Yes, you've been here before,
but you were yet unborn.
Now the thirst is real
because your flesh is brown
and dusty.
I'll buy the wine,
you provide the music.
Is your body not a lyre,
your breath of gratefulness
a lyric without words?
Drink, and remember.


She who churned
the cream of darkness into galaxies
has entered my chest.

Let it never again be said,

I am not this body.

Her whisper is a river of fire,
burning every scripture,
drowning all my prayers

in the current of this breath.

What words mean
cannot thrill us like their sound.
The heart only hears

when the mind is still.
A hummingbird murmuring Torah,
fervor of the cedar wind,

ululation of bees, one resonance.

Pleiades entangled in an earthworm,

tiniest seed
in the furrow between heartbeats
filled with a golden wilderness
of feathered air.
The name of the Goddess

is what first light does to a thrush's lungs,

the hollow in my bones
a pan pipe perhaps.
Her song is my marrow-fat,

the scent of seven caresses

on my spine.
Lips half-parted, She reveals
the unfathomable night
that has no opposite.

Kundalini kisses you like this.

Let it never again be said,

I am not this body.

Photo by Peter Shefler



Before the pilgrimage begins,
rest the mind in the heart.
When the pilgrimage is over,
rest the mind in the heart.
The soles of your boots have
crushed so many lovely flowers.
If you met me on your way
and did not stop to learn
my true name, it's all right.
You were only dreaming you
had somewhere important to go.

Friend, I'm not even saying
you need to turn around.

Just be mindful when you
ride the donkey backwards.

The Energy Of Grace

We are more powerful when we don't react to the world than when we do.

Re-acting, we enter the conflict and take sides. Then we become part of the conflict, and feed it. But when we don't re-act to the world, the world is blessed, bathed in pure awareness.

This is what Jesus meant when he said, "My kingdom is not of this world... I have overcome the world." When he said this, he was very much IN the world but not OF the world. Jesus was established in pure awareness, beyond the entangled reactions of karma. Does this mean he felt too good for the world? Does it mean he was full of himself? Quite the contrary. He was empty of himself. The New Testament term is "kenosis" (Philippians 2:7) which means, quite literally, self-emptying.

When we do not react, we stand squarely on the earth without taking sides. We become the healing Presence that both "sides" really seek, but will never acquire through their conflict. Presence is the mediator, because Presence does not re-act from the karma of the past. It is not contrived or preordained. One who is fully present is free to act dynamically from the stillness at the core of Now.

Do we really believe that we have improved the world by reacting to it? That we are great revolutionaries because we keep entering the conflict? That we defend freedom and justice by "taking action" against the so-called enemy? "But I must improve the world!" Really? How has that been working out? Is your civilization getting better?

I am not encouraging you to be passive, friend, but to be a peace-maker. It was Jesus who coined the term, Jesus whose kingdom is not of this world.

You are a peace-maker when you do not react. Not to react is the real revolution, the most radical act of all. To be a peace-maker means allowing energy to flow from the space of the heart. Non-reactive energy flows from pure awareness. We might call this intuitive energy. Intuitive energy is consciousness in matter, matter in consciousness, vibrant field that has not yet broken into spirit vs. body, subject vs. object. This energy is action through Being. We might call it the energy of Grace.

Born of the present moment, a hand comes forth to defend, or to heal. Is it "your" hand? Born of the present moment, well-balanced feet walk the earth, arriving right where you are at every step. In the gentle breeze of non-reaction, the body moves like a bamboo staff, strong yet bending, tough yet hollow. And you are breathed.

Painting by Zhang Lu of Taoist philosopher Liezi, Ming Dynasty, Shanghai Museum