My spinal cord with
all its nerves and
Painting by Jyoti Sahi
"There is some kiss we want with our whole lives, the touch of spirit on the body." ~Rumi"O let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth... for your love is sweeter than wine, and your name is perfume poured out." ~The Bible, 'Song of Songs'
“Jesus loved Mary Magdalene more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on the mouth." ~Gnostic Gospel of PhilipBeloved, if you understood this mingling of mouths, you would not fear the spirit or the body. In pure meditation, they taste alike. After all, in kissing, one is two and two are one. The full moon is fierce sunlight, cooled in the mirror of a caress. Breaking foam is the dance of the immoveable and fathomless sea. Your heart on fire with me, my heart on fire with you, we need not grasp for form, we need no fuel to burn. These are not lust flames, but petals on a white peony. Just let it burn! Healing without destruction. What do you want, Friend, what do you really want? Moments of passionate forgetting, or one eternity of breathless splendor?
Don't mistake this for a love poem,
or an end of life poem,
or a poem about mouths of flesh.
This is a poem about a kind of prayer
in which darkness burns up our eyes,
our faces forget themselves in mirrors of fire,
and the metaphor is death:the touch of widening selves.
Unlike plum blossoms bursting in moonlight,
our opening never closes.
Knowing and unknowing, nakedness
and the wearing of wine-stained garments,
secrets we whisper and secrets we keep:
all one kiss obliterating lips, body, spirit.In this form of prayer, I am your wick,
you are my flame, we are tongues tasting
God, scorching the earth and sky with song,
annihilating even annihilation...
Then we rest like weary knives, sheathed
in each others breathing.
Blossoms don’t open themselves.It takes a sunbeam to ignite the rose.
I was asleep until you placeda ruby on my chest
of Spring in a Winter garden.So’ham, So’ham, So’ham...
One breath pours wine intothe burnished cup of another.
Some say that this is justa sound without meaning.
I say it means the Magdalenehas met Jesus
in the Bridal Chamberof your heart.
This little poem is from from my book, 'Wounded Bud' (see below). I offer it for morning meditation on the sacrament of the Bridal Chamber. What is the sacrament of 'the Bridal Chamber'? For early Christian Gnostics it was the final initiation into the mystery of the Heart. It is in our own heart that Shiva and Shakti, Christ and the Magdalene, Divine Masculine and Feminine, unite as the Self, wedding the lunar and solar currents of prana that wind around the spine, called Ida and Pingala, in one radiant choral silence. That is why the heart chakra is called 'anahata,' the 'unstruck sound.' It is in that depth of meditation that the mantra, the divine name, dissolves into a vibration of continuous luminous creative energy bubbling up from divine silence. This is the sound, the Logos, that creates the universe. As a Vedic text declares, 'Adau Bhagavan Shabda Rasahi': in the beginning the Lord manifested the whole universe out of a current of sound,' which echoes the first verse of the Fourth Gospel, 'In the beginning was the Word.' This experience of union in divine love, not out of body, but in the very physiology of the heart, is the essence of Yoga.
The 3rd Century 'Gnostic Gospel of Phillip,' found in the Nag Hammadi scrolls, declares:"In the Breath of Christ's Spirit,we experience a new embrace:we are no longer in duality, but in unity....All will be clothed in light when theyenter into the mystery of this sacred embrace....What is the Bridal Chamber,if not the place of trustand consciousness of the embrace?"Painting: 'The Bride' by Dante Rossetti
The racoon pauses
before my statue of Kwan Yin.
Still, near, barefoot, I smell
the musk, and know by the ancient
cinnamon scent in Autumn air
that Earth was just created
a moment ago.
Nothing that is real ever strives
to be other than it is.
Under the weight of grace
I lower my gaze, noticing
the color of the fallen,
how they forget their trees,
to bleed and surrender
the soul of gold to living loam.
There is no greater miracle
than becoming ordinary.
It give wings to your tears.
Painting by Rebecca Latham, collage by Rashani Réa
What is this world if not the auto-arisen self-appearing hot mess that shines in the empty mirror of your own wide-awake silence? The transparent clarity of a mirror and the dancing reflections upon it are completely one: just so, there is no distinction between consciousness and the world it perceives, between silence and action.
Silence pervades action, action pervades silence. The void is a wounded pomegranate bursting with wet crimson seeds. The material universe spills out of abysmal darkness in waves of fire, consisting of fluctuations in the vacuum. And in the final analysis, these vibrations are mathematical equations seeking symmetry, seeking to balance themselves inside a fat empty oceanic Zero. They leap out of nothing as virtual photons of light, virtual electrons of matter.
The cosmos is already whole and complete in a single ancient flash, which embodied all the clustered galaxies, and countless star systems not yet born. This explosion was as soft as the midnight blossoming of a peony in your garden, perceived through its fragrance in a dream. And this flowering appears in the diamond clarity of your own consciousness as the miracle of the present moment, even though it is an ancient Now, several hundred billion years old. Do you remember it? Of course not. It cannot be remembered. It is too intimate. It is your Self.
And every distraction, every particle of detail, that pulls you away from this original jewel of cosmic consciousness, is just a tremor of it, a facet of its own glory. There is no distraction from God that is not God. So why not relax and simply repose in the hot mess just as it is, the furious intimate chaos of divine silence? Why not give up all distinctions between seeking and arriving, the Spiritual Master and the infant just born in a pile of rubble?
As for those who still insist on joining the resistance, please understand that there is nothing to resist. There is only the Heart, ceaselessly breaking over fallen shards of its own mirror, the mirror of compassion.Photo: A Kristy Thompson flower!
The false prophet proclaims a general truth, but God whispers the fragrance of a rose: this rose. A honey bee isn't interested in genus or species: the madding sweetness of this blossom is what he desires. Nor is the artist inspired by flowers in general: she must paint this incomparable azalea.
With general truth our minds swell up, assuming the abstraction to expand us and make us smarter. But a mind turgid with beliefs is neither clear nor useful. It is a gray intellectual thicket that prevents real empathy, real presence. The general truth, in fact, may make us smaller, because it confines awareness to a conceptual box which our ego must argue and defend.
We do not live in general, we live in particular. When we taste this sensation, this perception, this very breath with sparkling awareness, it may be a portal to the infinite, a singularity unbounded. Which is why saints, Zen masters, and fools have attainted liberation by the flash of a plum blossom in the moonlight, or the sound of a frog.
Don’t take a walk,give one.Barefoot or shod,pause everso briefly as you pressto the ground.Hikers of switch-back trailscall it the rest-step,which is a kind of meditationat the heart of going.The planet can feelthis lost harmonyof the body and its breath,pathlessly meanderingthrough trillium silencein the dangled gazeof columbineover glowing moss,
careful not to tread
on cream drops of
caressing the loam
yet never quite arriving.
you won’t disturb the marmot
at his prayers.
My photo: a marmot praying, Mt. Rainier
We’ve spent a great deal of our spiritual life denying, bypassing, suppressing the night inside us. Now we need to return to the black hole, the dark heart inside the bright one. Are there not two chambers, one empty, one full? Learn from the moon.
In the bleakest midnight of the soul, as C.S. Lewis found, we can be “surprised by joy.” Suddenly we rediscover the sun in the heart of grief, we relax into grace, the gift of mysterious unbidden happiness. We savor a warmth which is the very nature of our blood, the good smell of fresh baked Bread in the midst of Winter. Be forewarned, when you bypass the darkness, you bypass the light!
Each breath received contains dark energy. Each breath offered contains more starlight than the Milky Way. Why favor one or the other?
Have we vested so much energy in our trauma that it became our identity? Night the new hero, light the new villain. “Holier than thou” replaced with “darker than thou.” “Happier than thou” replaced with “more traumatized than thou." Yet both may be forms of spiritual pride.
The gift of true vulnerability is given in a groundless place beyond light and darkness: the radiance of the void. These stumbling words come from one who has felt thunder bolts of agony, piercing, yet illuminating, the unfathomable bliss of night.
Photo by lfaesthetic on Tumblr
We are each a hologram of all, containing the microbiome of earth, stars, galaxies, the DNA of butterflies and pomegranates, in a uniquely personal configuration. The hologram called You and the hologram called I are infinitesimal turnings of one kaleidoscope, each expressing the whole rainbow mandala as no other ever has, or ever will. The universe "groans in travail" to bear us as ineffable singularities.
The exquisite beauty of the individual person is the jewel of evolution. Those who deny it have allowed their politics to lead them into the Cult of the Collective. But the collective and the personal are two aspects of one hologram. Individuality does not deny the collective, but embodies it. An individual is the personal song that rises from the chorus of the fungi, bacteria, and elementals of the biosphere. The Person does not stand apart from the Whole, but is rather the fulfillment, the very soul, of our cosmic collective purpose.
Mandala by Caryn Babaian
"Layam vraja: Dissolve now!" ~Ashtavakra Gita
There is no evolution, no continuity, no incremental path of steps. Each moment is Omega, the final universe, a radical revolution that springs from the catastrophic dissolution of the previous moment. This primordial condition is Wonder.
At the deepest order of resolution, there is no resolution, and no order. There is only annihilation, making room, restoring emptiness. This is the fructifying darkness of the Womb.Why not dissolve the quest for certainty? Dissolve into a blessed chaos of electrons, which is truly all we are. And what if All is encircled by every electron? How will you figure this all out then?The apparently solid world rests in the condition of no-cause, the state of perpetual dissolution. This is a terrifying invitation to participate in the Fall. "The fall of man” is surrender to the bliss of groundlessness.
The Source is an all-pervading vacuum, where quantum particles instantaneously appear and disappear in the tumbling sea of formlessness as atoms, stars, mountains, tulips, human faces, all the essentially granular warp and woof of the void.
For what "purpose" do these quantum bodies disappear and re-appear each instant? There is no purpose other than to play, to dance. Such is the explanation given in the most ancient revelation, the Veda. No prophet or scientist has ever improved on it. The universe is here just to express the power of play, Lila-Shakti.Being is no continuum, no steady state in equilibrium. Being is an ever-perishing and rebirthing Radiance, the interwoven entanglement of fullness and emptiness down to the last stitch of this photon bursting over a synapse in your cortex. Why not just vanish into that Radiance without imposing any concept, any story, any past upon it? This is causeless joy.Forget "destiny" and "evolution;" they are only thoughts, veils in which we cloak the ineffable explosion of Now, superimposing our ideas of order, history, or "divine plan" upon the wild gritty discontinuous vacuum.
If we have the courage to relinquish such notions, we are dazzled by a fierce onslaught of Compassion. The womb of Compassion gushes this messy blessed cosmic anarchy for no other reason than to express itself, to bestow itself, to bless itself with Compassion. The rest is all afterbirth.You don't need to conceptualize this mad message with your mind, because there is no mind. What you call "mind" is a momentary fire-dance of axons in your spinal cord. Your spinal cord is the real "burning bush" described in the Biblical books of Exodus and Deuteronony. Moses beheld this "burning bush" when he dared to ascend the mountain of God, but it was merely the sparkling tree of his own reptilian brain and nervous system. The scintillation of his own neurons made a humming sound, which he heard as the voice of the Almighty. You can hear it too. Just let your nervous system listen to itself humming.
This sound is the source of all mantras, all sutras, and all true scripture. It is the Veda, the Torah, and God's Word, the echo of the big bang in each neutrino of your body. The subtle interior sound has been called "shabda" in Yogic tradition. As the Veda declares: "Adau Bhagavan Shabda rasahi: in the beginning the Lord manifested the whole cosmos through a stream of sound."
In the Western scripture this primordial sound is called, "the still small voice within;" a familiar phrase taken from Elijah's experience of God's voice on Mount Horeb, recounted in 1 Kings, chapter 19. It should be noted that this scene occurs in the same spot on the same "mountain top" where it happened to Moses. For both Moses and Elijah were in the same place, the same state of consciousness in their own neuro-physiology.
According to the Biblical Hebrew, Elijah hears this sound as “qol d’mumah daqah.” Literally these words do not translate as "still small voice," but as “a sound of finely ground silence.” Of course, English translators didn't know what to do with such a phrase. But we can see that this Hebrew text is a precise description of energy at the quantum level, where the vacuum fluctuates in waves, vibrations of no-thing bubbling up in granulated sub-nuclear particles.
You too are immersed in this juicy music. It sings every nerve of your flesh. Your body has no edges. You are the ineluctable wildflower of the cosmos appearing and perishing in a terrible dazzling ten-toed, ten-fingered form. In chapter eleven of the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna was terrified by the mirror image of his own physiology. And it is the same cosmic human form that Danté beheld in the final canto of his Paradisio, where vision itself dissolves into God.
There is no way to understand this because there is nothing under 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.
You cannot possibly comprehend your own lethal explosion of sweetness. Surrender and be done with it. Die. Then taste and see. It is only the mind that dies. This is power.
Leave the borders of your garden ragged and unharvested, and I will prove all this to you simply by pointing to a wild morning glory covered in dew drops, spilling over the rusty spokes of an abandoned bicycle.
The mind sees a world in crisis. But the crisis is the mind. If we see through a shattered lens, everything appears shattered. Let us heal our sight.
Have you ever meditated on your eyes?
We are always streaming through our eyes. But do we ever take a few moments to rest in our eyes: not flowing outward toward the world, nor inward toward the mind, but resting in the liminal space, where seeing is empty, without seer or seen?
Through the portal of the eye, the energy outside presses in as a dancing chaos of light. Simultaneously, through that same gateway, we project our mind outward, organizing the light we see, superimposing onto its radiant chaos the forms that correspond to our desires, anxieties, and old stories.
The mind exits. The world enters. Yet we never notice the space of the doorway, the transparency of our own eye. We don't linger to look at what is looking.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "The eye is the light of the body. If your eye is single, at one, your whole body will be filled with light." We like to abstract Jesus' sayings as moral concepts. We make mind-trips out of his words, instead of experiencing their roots in the spiritual heart of matter. But what if we took Jesus' words as instructions for meditation on the body, in the body? What if we became "single and at one" with our own eye?
Now, instead of streaming through your eyes, stop and rest in them. Remain in the space of pure beholding, without beholding any-thing. Sink deeper and deeper into the hollow cavern of your eyeball, neither going outside to form a world, nor upstairs to process light into thought. Let your eye be "single," resting in the clear emptiness of its own window.
Be utterly effortless. Notice the relaxation in the facial muscles, which we unconsciously strain by our seeking. We have been translating this strain into the world we see. Now, resting the eye in its own luminosity, the strain melts away, because no outer form need be imagined. This relaxation spreads through our whole face, creating a natural smile, and then through all the muscles of the body. Are we relaxing our world too?
As we feel this relaxation in our muscles, we feel peace in the mind, because there is no need to form concepts and mental images. As the "single eye," mind melts into its original nature, the pure blue sky of awareness without thought.
On the subtlest level of sensation, where light-waves become photons of flesh, we feel the bliss of an edge-less expansion, permeating the body, vibrating beyond the body. For when light rests in itself, new light is created, sparkling through the vacuum of awakened space.
At the sub-nuclear level of energy, finer than the quark, what is our body actually made of? Particles of bliss. And what are these particles of bliss made of? Pure awareness, ever expanding in stillness.
Awareness itself is the substratum, the continuum, that permeates the cosmos. And awareness effortlessly, ceaselessly expands because, at the finest level, it encounters no boundary or resistance. We are here, and we are everywhere. It is this paradox of dynamic expansion in stillness that we experience as ananda.
A few minutes of meditation relieves much stress, and transforms the way we see the world.
Very light of very light, vast cathedral dome of sight, self-illuminated mosque, starry empyrean of the eyeball: kneel here. Rest awhile. Venture neither out nor in, and every cell of flesh will bow down with you.
Repose in the bliss where seeing blossoms before anything is seen, and your whole body will be filled with light.
If you prefer to listen rather than read, you are invited to hear this on SoundCloud: LINK
Grandmother Spider created the universe. She wove her web and when it was laced with dew, she flung it into the air and the dew became the stars. Each day as she re-weaves her web, she re-weaves life and creation. Grandmother Spider is also known as the Keeper of Words. As she wove her web, she brought language to the people. ~Crystalwind
I am Tawa the Sun.
But who created me?
Spider Woman did.
She is the darkness inside light.
These are her instructions....
Untangled from your
play the weaver's game.
I will teach you.
Let beggars and presidents,
anarchists and kings,
cling to threads of desire
while you simply witness
Don't be a bead, a diamond,
a tear on a gossamer net.
Be the black between.
Fling your heart into orbit
around stillness and become
the untethered gaze
that sees from every star.
Find a naked lover beneath
The veil of your breathing,
The musk of your flesh
anointing her emptiness.
Your body becomes her.
She looks lovely in you.
Let every photon of your bone
bathe in the glory of its origin,
and each electron collide
with the darkest particle
of its other self.
What if the path doesn't lead
to the next moment,
but deeper into this one?
Let loss be the illuminated door.
The eloquent don't speak.
They catch the full moon
in their quivering web
Painting by Susan Sedon-Boulet
Whether you are a man or a woman,
or both man and woman, or you rest
in the sexless splendor at the center of the rose,
with Adam and Lilith, swimming in a bright
obsidian seed, honor the Motherhood within you.
Her fury is a ripple in the ocean of the black
chanterelle. She has become your breath
so that you can make offerings and sing
the one thousand names of her silence,
beginning with Nightshade, ending with Osmium.
She is the hollow thread of three a.m.
that runs up your spine, filling you with lightning.
She'll let you whirl with the mercury serpent
who is ravenous for your ashes and bones.
What gets snuffed out? Only the flickering
of ambivalence, the fear of wanting.
Now give birth to your own body, a flame
engendering its candle, causation that flows
backward, an angry river of exultation.
The full moon of wisdom gazes from your
forehead while you sleep. Silent and golden,
the sun rises in your belly. And with a tear
of sorrow in your right eye, a tear of jubilance
in your left, you see through the veil of this world.
You become the Mother’s smile, healing
both rich and poor, the violent and the voiceless,
refreshing all creatures with new names.
Your dream dissolves upon the ineffable
beauty of awakening. On the hinge of your
heartbeat swings the gate to her garden.
Your children always die before you, yet
your emptiness sparkles with the unborn.
No need to forget, and nothing to remember.
Between the last breath and this one, the sky
is cloudless, radiant as ten thousand wombs.
Painting by Frida
If you get a friend request
don't accept it.
She is a hacker.
She will infect your cell phone,
your iPad, your camera
and everything it sees,
including your own reptilian brain
with a viral buzz,
a neuroplastic musk that
melts all boundaries and
fine philosophical distinctions,
even the molecular membranes
that guard your bureaucracy
of punctilious neurons
from the amphibious tongues
that tease up from your
steaming amygdala, yes,
dissolving even the firewall
between "inner" and "outer,"
as the algorithms of your heart
force you to surrender,
to collapse in the cyber-void
at the center of the iris
with no eye, erasing
all your files, all
of your misdeeds,
until you simply gaze
into what gazes.
Photo: Kristy Thompson