Go to your chest
bioluminescence of emptiness,
undulating in the fertile sea
Your Beloved is so intimate
Photo by Kristy Thompson
Photo by Kristy Thompson
We who through suffering or grace have learned to drop out of time, to repose in the Kingdom of Presence, may harbor a secret doubt that something is 'wrong' with us. We feel like a different sub-species of humanity, because we just don't process time as well as we process eternity.For so many lives we've traveled down this linear vector from past to future that we're no longer convinced it takes us anywhere. This is our revolution, our radical action: from now on, we refuse to buy into the hype of linear 'time.'Looking honestly at the human race, stuck in 'time,' we've noticed how mournfully people are vested in a story out of the past, though the past doesn't actually exist; how anxiously they speed into a story about the future, though it's just the old story repeated ad nauseum. And we've come to realize how, whatever we did in the past that needs forgiveness, forgiveness is always in the now... So we're tempted to drop out of the race as an ultimate act of sanity.But we wonder if this might be breaking the rules, and those who are caught in the insanity of time might regard us as insane.At some point though, racing with the human race just becomes so absurd we have no choice but to give up linearity. We confess that we must ever gracefully circle and fall back into Presence. Maybe its insane, but it feels right. It feels Whole.It feels like when you were a kid, letting your breath out, sinking to the bottom of the pool, where in deep blue silence you watched swimmers on the surface thrashing by.We discover that reposing in the present moment isn't the beginning of a new journey, or the end of the old one; it's the beginning-less endless journey to itself, through itself, beyond time, ever birthing, ever complete.In this repose, many of civilization's old values, handed down through centuries, throttled into school children by grim Sunday school teachers, and later by 'Advanced Placement' courses or SAT prep, just aren't relevant any more. Competition feels ridiculous. No winners to identify with, or to resent. No losers either.We're finished with a civilization based on winning and losing. When we settle in the valley of Presence, which is somehow empty yet abundantly lush, we see in a new way: Those who constantly strive toward 'more' appear quite sad. The contemplative seems to accomplish as much as the activist. The sinner is as close to heaven as the saint. And the PHD has no more actual wisdom than a sweet pea.A lump of soil is the wealth of nations. A fresh wild mushroom is the feast of kings. If we identify with anybody, it's the broken people, the wounded ones, the minds that have come a little unglued. Because they see everything from the vale of loss that cradles the mountain of wonder.But there's a catch: the transition is bumpy. And lonely. There's a birth-pang between one way of Being and another. This is where we need to help each another. Because we who are fortunate enough to become fools, and stumble down the misty forest trail into Presence, may DOUBT OURSELVES, and waste years in hesitation.Suspecting that we are mentally ill, or that we need Adderall, or maybe - most unforgivable sin of all - that we are just lazy!, we feel ashamed. Ashamed of our gift, the gift of Being Present. We see others knock themselves out trying to 'succeed,' get 'rich,' publish their names in the annals of literature and art. They exhaust themselves just to be remembered for six months, a year, 10 years at the most. Then they dissolve into ashes and smoke... But we go on forever in the present moment, being nothing at all.So I'm speaking to you who have dropped out of the illusion, who feel culturally estranged because you're no longer striving for the future, you who've learned to repose in Being, but secretly believe that something might be 'wrong' with you; who suspect that maybe you ought to feel lonely, when in the motionless core of your heart you have caught the wave of eternity, fallen in love with divine solitude, and are profoundly free...I want to tell you what I think, for all its worth, though I am a Nobody too. I think you are the pioneer. You are the Presence of the future. Even when you are by yourself, you are gathered in an interplanetary sat-sang of ceaseless celebration. You are the wellspring of the ocean of Peace that will cover the Earth with waves of beauty.
Dear friend, I am Jesus,
and I have come to tell you
Eat without shame.
Eat without listening
the ones in your head.
Make peace with gluten.
Hug that little demon
peanut butter cup.
Be no longer afraid
to bake with
Dunk a home-made
oatmeal raisin cookie,
no, no! Better yet,
a fresh-baked toll house
chocolate chip cookie
in a big glass
of cold milk filled
with the double digested cud
of green grass,
oats and sunbeams.
Just so, just so,
I pronounce all foods pure!
Why not ginger snaps
made with real molasses?
why not donuts in
steaming dark coffee?
I know that you can smell this.
I know that these words
like the odor of cornbread
will make you crave and eat
what you should not.
Why shouldn't you?
Where does 'should' come from?
If you were here to abstain,
your mother and father
would have abstained
from conceiving you.
Now make peace
With little demon Hershey kisses.
in love with butter again.
Take, eat this cookie.
This is my body.
Savored as a prayer
in your mouth,
devoured with all your heart,
moist and chewy,
hot and round,
let it be a host
for the ravishing down-pour
of my love.
My breath is woven
out of your breath.
Your breath is woven
out of mine.
Strands of evanescent
pearl, each bead
a cluster of gazes
that have not yet
received their eyes.
The tapestry of stars,
a warp and woof
And you an undulation
of spider silk
from the pit of the belly
to the crown of the skull,
a filament of respiration
reeling in the moon.
with light and song,
pull and release,
how you spin a body
from the ineffable loom
how you knit
into a garment of fire.
Mine out of yours,
yours of mine,
even God is woven
from our breath.
My belly refuses to obey. My patriarchal tongue colonizes my whole body. I have other organs who are anarchists. They throw bombs at the officers of my sacred story. Sometimes my heart is a pot-still of Irish whisky. All I can trust is the mud between my naked toes. And listen to the whisper of my knees. I bow down before an old cedar, and give up self-improvement. There is no me left to feel like a victim. Only the messy sweetness of grace, the incalculable unity of chaos. It all comes together when I abandon trying. Things don't fall apart, they fall in place.
Photo: took this in the Carbon River Rain Forest, Winter, Mt. Rainier
Merge with your doubt.
Drown in bewilderment.
Though non-existent, past and future
are too heavy to bear.
But take heart.
Every atom of bones and trees,
stones in the path,
eyes of ornamental owls
guarding the gates of the
are filled with empty sky.
At home in loss,
you too are weightless.
Be a golden mountain
dancing in the void.
Ever moved by the stillness
of a Mother's breath,
fall into the orbit of your song,
that old favorite called,
'I Don't Know!'
Photo by Jim Graham, my homeland, Chester County PA
Life becamemore softand radiant,luxuriouswhen I stoppedpreferring Thisto That.Green tea,black tea.Yes please.When I discoveredthe ocean of diamondsin this breath,and the mountainof silencein a gentlefootstep.Not to hurrybut to touchthe earth,This is our arrival.Not to say,'Meet me here,'for we havealready metin the temple of Being.Now restand drinkfrom the wellof my presence.Pour out allyour sparklingimperfections.Let me taste them.Thank you.They aredelicious.
Every quark of gristlesings to a starabout some incomprehensibleconnectionbetween pain and beauty.Angels cocktheir heads, perplexedand ever so sweetlytroubledby the musicSomething about yourgravity and griefgives themcourage. They longto clothe themselves in bone,the very stuff thatweighs you downto this motherof bodies,the planet pulsingwith silver hair, sweet grass,empty parkbenches andlonely facesof dissolving froston maple leaves.All Gods yearnto fathom theopacity of your tears,and smother theirbrilliant soulsin dust.
Cistine Madonna Cherubs by Raphael
Sometimes when I've poked my stick too much and muddied up the water, the best thing to do is absolutely nothing, silently, until the stream clears.
To attain perfect clarity by not interfering is also action. Waves of stillness. Words full of quiet. To dance like a mountain on a cloud. These are the signs of the Witness.
Lie fallow, boldly decay, regenerate, take time. When I take time for time, I move in eternity. I hear ten thousand seeds of Spring singing in the silence of Samhain. Winter comes lovely like a bride, rummaging among my bones. Isis, Ishtar, Cybele, Anat, the Magdalene weeping at our tomb. Desolation is the field of the Mother.
Perhaps you hold great knowledge, great power. Perhaps you have become the "spiritual teacher." You no longer need the Beloved. You no longer need a morning and evening practice. You no longer need a lineage of wisdom to root you down in the ancient now.
But I do. I am a fool. I have dropped knowledge. I have dropped power. I thirst for the grace of the Beloved, who is deeper inside me than I am.
Pungency of the ruined gourd. Musk of the withered chrysanthemum. A dazed bee in a wild meadow turned gold, I scent fragrant nectar. Here is the secret, friend. The Beloved's grace is deeper than knowing, deeper than power, deeper inside than I am. It flows out of my heart, to seek my heart, to gather my heart, and guide my heart home.
Let my Sabbath nourish the earth.
What is the difference between a human breath and the breath of the Goddess?
Gratitude. Thanksgiving transmutes the air into an ocean of
The hollow of your nostril is the entrance to her grotto. On cool moist caverns
of your body are engraved the secret runes of her dance.
Beneath your tongue, nectar drops effervesce with the sound
of infinitesimal chimes.
A Spring breeze plays through the leaves and twigs of your alveoli.
In this garden of breaths is the kunj where Radha meets Krishna in a love
so pure it seems illicit to all who are not Gopis, or playmates of the groom.
And deep in the shadows of that kunj is a portal made of resonance,
where you pass into the name of Shambho, to disappear.
The black hole of swirling stillness at the galactic core of every atom
is the mouth of prayer.
What else can you do but fall into that spiral well of rubies, to become
a mere exhalation, tumbling down a staircase of crystal probabilities?
Follow the infernal passage, a thread of spider silk, until your gaze emerges
in the ruins of a desert palace. Use another eye to see beneath the veil.
You're in a city of thousand-fathomed temples encrusted in coral, at the bottom
of the breath-ocean, where reptiles made of amethyst sparkle with prana.
Surely, this is the night-breath you share with panthers, moth-wings,
mushrooms, snow, and worlds whose gravity has not yet kissed your body!
Don't be seduced by distances. All distance is a lie.
What were you looking for?
Your own name engraved on scarlet petals in a blossom of astonishment,
as you receive a scorching kiss from the formless golden Sun.
Dear friend, the splendor without circumference is You. Your querulous gaze
emerges from the very orb of glory you’ve been seeking.
Whose voice is singing, “I thirst for the grace of a Being
who is deeper
within me than I? Yours, dear friend, yours...
The image of your own amazed face dazzles the mirror in your chest.
You marvel at feral constellations roaming the midnight of your amygdala.
As your veins breathe ancient rivers of blood, as your nerves
breathe quasars from the womb of time, as your lungs breathe
the unborn sky, so your heart breathes God.
Whatever flows in and out, honor That.
Now a sunbeam pierces the bud. There is a cry of pain.
This too is the name of the Goddess.
The bud opens, becomes a flower.
Yet the blossom does not say, "It is my doing."
For the sake of the fragrance of devotion did Thou become I.
For the sake of the flavor of friendship did I become Thou.
Link : Hear an audio reading of this poem.
Photo: Underside of a cherry blossom by Dean Hueber.
This is not the end of the world, but the beginning. A time to do something New. Old ideologies, religions, political concepts of the left and right, dry up and fall like brittle leaves, all swept away, destroyed by a gentle breath of Presence.
You are not "shifting" into a new dimension, a new age, or a higher level of consciousness. You are dissolving all dimensions into one whole awareness, which cannot be divided into levels, planes, star-ages, or degrees of initiation. You must evaporate these illusions into energy itself. This is your real Dharma, your real Duty. It transforms the earth.
Such alchemy does not happen in time. The effortless sinking of Presence into deeper Presence has no duration. To awaken is to discover that the transformation has always already happened. It happened before the beginning, in the un-created core of this Ancient Now.
Is there an I who left Om at the age of One to finally arrive where I Am? Was there a journey? Simply turn from your fearful angry mind to the space between your thoughts, which is the space between the stars, which is the radiant clarity of an open heart. Then let the whole creation burst from that cornucopia of emptiness.
Root down in the hollow of your seed, be naked, drop every garment of belief. Let go of your hope and your story. Relax into the divine darkness of uncertainty, the wound of not knowing. Then the glory of ten billion suns will blossom from the stillness between your heartbeats.
Miracles happen in the field of the effortless. Repose in the ayin soph, the diamond point of no-thing, where exhalation ends and inhalation begins. This is the glowing dimension-less bindhu, the seed of the wild flower of grace, just an inch or two in front of your chest.
Breathe down into That, and for one eternal instant be breathless. Galaxies whirl out of this space. It is the loam of stars. Here, the earth is refreshed and recreated. Come and see for yourself. Bring all your relations.Mandala by dear friend, Rashani Réa, from the book we made together called, "The Fire Of Darkness: What Burned Me Away Completely, I Became" (See books below)
"Layam vraja: Dissolve now!" ~Ashtavakra Gita
Why not dissolve this quest for certainty, for order, for a path? Why not dissolve into the blessed uncertainty of subnuclear particles that you truly are. It is actually quite liberating to be nothing but a chaos of electrons. Everything else is just a story, full of self-importance.
And what if the cosmos is encircled by each electron? "Anno ranyan, mahato mahyan" sings the Upanishad: "Smaller than the smallest, greater than the greatest."
Why do you imagine that you are subject to a destiny determined by the sun and moon, the planets and constellations, when in truth you are the space that contains the sun and moon, the planets and constellations? You are more vast that any horoscope, any scripture or prophecy, any politics or religion. You are the space in which they arise and dissolve, bubbles of air, echoes of silence. And that space is awake. It is the space of pure consciousness.
We seem to be so restless with cravings and aversions, when simply Being is enough. Just Being is miraculous. Being is ever-dissolving ever-rebirthing Radiance. Why not just vanish into Radiance without imposing any concept, any story, any past upon it? This is causeless ananda: the condition of a priori enlightenment prior to the arising of any path to it. Enlightenment already here.
At the deepest order of resolution, there is no resolution. There is no order. There is only annihilation, the emptiness of ever-virgin fructifying night. To simply Be That makes room for God, allowing the cosmos to unfold its ineffable multiplicity from Zero, its breathtaking beauty from No-Thing.This apparently solid world rests in groundless dissolution. The Source is an all-pervading vacuum, where quantum particles instantaneously appear and disappear in a froth of formlessness, as atoms, moth-wings, stars, tulips, mountaintops, ancestral faces, the granular warp and woof of the void.For what purpose do our quantum bodies dance, disappear, and re-appear each moment in this spaciousness? Lila-Shakti. The purpose is to play.
We worry about salvation, but there is literally no-thing to be saved from. For two thousand years Western culture bemoaned the "fall of man." What's wrong with falling? It's a trust fall, a fall into bliss. Just collapse into your original nature.There is no progress, no increment of evolution, no teleological timeline. Each moment is Omega, the final Judgment, a radical new creation springing from catastrophe. What catastrophe? The dissolution of the previous moment. The only continuing state is wonder, and wonder is our abiding surrender to discontinuity.
A very rich and depressed man once came to my first teacher, Maharishi, complaining that the world was hopeless, meaningless and empty because it was ever-changing. "This is why you can be happy," Maharishi said. The rich man was perplexed. "How could the ever-changing bring happiness?" Maharishi laughed and replied, "Because it is EVER-changing!" The rich man was exasperated, "Didn't you hear me? That is what I said: ever-changing!" Maharishi quietly replied, "Ah, but there is this EVER." Something dawned in the man's eyes and he smiled. Then he laughed for the first time in years."Destiny" and "evolution" are only veils of thought that cloak the causeless astonishing explosion of Now. In the ever-dissolving, there is this eternal Ever.When we stop superimposing our ideas of order, history, or a "divine plan" upon the wild grainy discontinuous vacuum, we get dazzled by a fierce onslaught of Blessing. The womb of time effuses the mess of creation for no other reason but this Blessing, which in the heart evokes unbounded Gratitude. When the search for meaning is abandoned, all that remains is Blessing, and our response, Gratitude.This is a crazy message, so don't try to conceptualize it with your mind. Besides, there is no mind. Mind is just a momentary fire-dance of axons in your brain. Your brain blossoms on your spinal cord, a Burning Bush. Moses gazed into this bush too, the sparkling tree of his own nervous system. He heard the singing of his electrons. It was Torah. The ancient rishis of India also heard this inner singing. It was the Veda. You can hear it too. Just listen to what vibrates in your spine, the very music of your flesh.There is no way to understand any of this because there is nothing under you to stand on. Just taste the message as communion wine, and hear its fermentation as a silent carillon of bees drowning in the soma juice of your synaptic blossoms. The inner sound made by your own nervous system is the source of all mantras, all sutras, all scriptures. This sound is God's Word, the echo of the big bang in each neutrino of your body.This subtle interior sound has been called "shabda" in Yogic tradition, "the still small voice within" in the West - a familiar phrase based on Elijah's experience of God's voice on Mount Horeb, recounted in 1 Kings, chapter 19.In the Biblical Hebrew, Elijah hears the voice as “qol d’mumah daqah.” Literally this does not translate as "still small voice," but as “a murmur of a finely ground silence.” Which in fact is a precise description of energy at the quantum level, where the vacuum fluctuates in waves of no-thing granulating into sub-nuclear particles.You are immersed in this juicy music. It is your very marrow and bone. Does your body have any edges? Are you not the ineluctable blossom of the universe appearing, perishing, reappearing in human form? You are the glory that Danté beheld in the final canto, where vision itself dissolves into God.
Yet your mind cannot possibly comprehend what you are, because no concept can contain the lethal explosion of your cosmic sweetness. So just surrender and be done with seeking!What can I show you to prove that I am not a madman, and every word of this is true? I can prove it in an instant if you will leave the border of your garden ragged and unharvested, so that a passing stranger or a gentle deer can find some berries. Then I will simply point to a wild forget-me-not, or a morning glory covered in dew drops, growing over the rusty spokes of an abandoned bicycle.
"See!" I will say. And you will shout, "Yes, yes! It must be so, all creatures tumbling out of their own infinity, just as they are!"