Now tell me, is there

a deeper beauty

than the color
of silence?

I am polishing

the mirror
of my heart

with this breath

that I might see

the diamond in the rose

of your face

so clearly, so clearly

it shatters the difference

between us.

The Soul of the Rose by John William Waterhouse

Take Off Your Shoes


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 down your vertebrae. A ray of violet bathes your furrowed brow, transmuting anger into joyous useful fury.

Rays of song-bird yellow caress your throat, healing grief. Clenched heart-bud softening in glow of ancient forest green. One thousand petals unfurling, each shaped like a perfect wound.

Knotted thorns in your belly disentangle in a fragrant breeze, the whisper of the name of the Goddess, and you notice the rose that was already there, blossoming in your diaphragm.

What's this, fermenting in the cauldron of your hips? Your weary disappointment, changing­­ into purple wine.

Through the soles of your feet, breathe out the shattered sunbeam, spilling down your spine through a rosary of prisms. Didn’t you know your body was made from infinitesimal quantum sparks of astonishment?


You give birth to the rainbow. Yet for the surrendered, who have no choice, even light is not enough. There is a wilder holier secret. The arc of healing does not shower from the sky, but gushes upward from below.

The burnt-umber wheat-toned phylogenetic rainbow beneath you, percolating from compost, amber-glow of bone splinters, afterbirth of mushroom spores, give birth to this!

Microbial song of the earthworm, piebald treasure of the decomposed, gift of darkness, give birth to this! Breathe in through your soles, as you breathed out. Inhale the olive energy of death, the diastole of crystalline detritus.

Glorify the loam. Gather tiny relics of your ancestors' flesh, still warm with embered sacrifice, and fling their swirling ashes into night. They are the stars.

Image: Tapestry by Annelie Solis

To Flower


To flower

in sunshine and air,

a seed falls
into the loam,

where the dead gather

like old old friends

to compost their pain

into beauty.

I am a seed.

To sing, I fall
into silence.

To radiate the light
of joy, I fall
into darkness.

To know wisdom,
I leave the dry land
of thinking

and fall into the ocean

of bewilderment.

Are you poor?

Do you desire wealth?

Be a seed.
Become poor in spirit.

Vanish into your opposite,

giving thanks
for a blade of grass,
the stillness of the swallowtail,

the rising and falling 

of this breath.

A Sabbath Moment

The world is quite capable of existing without you. See this. Just for a moment, step back and repose in the Sabbath of Pure Awareness. The infinite cosmos happens without your attempt to improve it. And you too are infinite, whole and wonderful, without any effort to improve yourself. Drop the world, just for the duration of a breath, even for the space between heartbeats, and let your attention rest at Home.

A subtle ineffable sound arises from the empty bell that was ringing in your solar plexus prior to creation, the unstruck music that soothes and heals before any wound was made. In this humble sabbath from all entanglement, you discover that you are the radiance of Being, the fragrance of divine light, already containing in your Seed the fruit of every right action. Through one blessed moment of boundless non-doing, you transform the cosmos into what Is. This is the real revolution.

So if you cannot meditate for half an hour, then surrender for one moment. This might happen many times during the day, or in the middle of the night. Such a moment becomes a portal to everlasting life, the whole blue sky in a heartbeat. Soon you find it very easy to meditate for half an hour or longer, though there is no need for more than a brief cleansing dive into the ocean of eternity. An hour of meditation is just a strand of such diamond moments.

Then you will understand that the mantra, the prayer, the divine name you've been repeating, was never intended to be a repetition at all. One pulse of the mantra is the vibration of an energy continuum that has no end or beginning, the sound stream that sings the universe out of silence. The mantra is a ripple of all-pervading grace. And grace is not given from above: you Are grace.

The mantra resonates every atom of your flesh, attuning you to God very naturally, effortlessly. Thus your moment of surrender becomes an hour, and you find yourself asking, "Where did the time go?" It didn't go anywhere. There never was any time. Jai Guru Dev.

To Be Precise


Just below the heart

and just above the solar plexus,

to be precise,

is a temple in the valley

of grace. And here,
two fingers' width

in front of your chest,

to be precise, is a flame

that does not burn

but gives sweetness.

It is like cotton spun

from fibers of starlight.

All triangles point here.

All equations are balanced

by the breath this space holds.

The constellations, those beasts

of silence, gather to drink

from this spring

which Jesus called the well

of everlasting life,

Milarepa the jewel

at the center of a lotus

with bee-drowning fragrance,

an amazement of proportions

that drive mathematicians mad

in search of beauty.

Perhaps the name of Krishna

will draw you here, perhaps
the name of Christ, or the secret
name of the Goddess, born
on a vapor of surrender.

But really, you won't comprehend

this radiance at all

until you gaze on the face

of the Friend, in the mirror
of your own longing.

Confessions of God

It wasn't enough being a god. I wanted more.

And so, because I was a god, my desire was instantly granted. I imploded into human birth.

This is why we gods come to the earth, where all possibilities appear as separate particles, adamant as salt or sugar. We get to taste everything, not in one vast sugary sea, but in grains of pain and beauty, sorrow and joy.

We crush them on our lips, and taste them in combined opposites, granulating eternity into moments of time. God's can't do that. They cling to Oneness. But here on earth, we get to welcome Oneness as a chaos of exquisite particulars.

We enjoy seven pandemoniums of singularity: eyes, nostrils, ears, tongue, skin, mind, and "me." But who am I to say what's happening? I'm too stunned, too drunk and amazed. I am the cause, I am the effect.

I created this sacred mess. I blame no one. Just another fallen god following the only commandment: keep surrendering until otherness dissolves. So I fall in love with dying flowers, and scent silence.

Wild scarlet poppies tell me to shut up, but I keep talking back. I weep over deer droppings. The doe and her fawn come silently to devour my garden. It is all so gentle and cruel.

Here on earth, the only religion that works is walking barefoot in wet grass at midnight, un-naming the stars.

Beyond the rim of atom cups and galaxies, I over flow. I globe the cosmos in a teardrop. I am crucified where six directions kiss, pathways for angels to descend on the cross of my flesh, each photon the center.
Abandoning the asymptotes of eternity to curve my bewilderment around a moth wing, I alight on a petal of lupine. In a mountain meadow, hear the invisible gush of snow-melt under the moss. The sky, the flower, my wing, one trembling trinity.

The mountain of stone turns to mist, while awareness solidifies. Matter dissolves in formlessness, the formless condenses into jewel. True wealth is whatever disappears, pure consciousness more adamant than sapphire.
I have come to annihilate you with my gaze, as you have come to annihilate me. This planet is our hunting ground, where we devour one another. We have each abandoned the name and form of god to be awakened by a gnat.

Embracing midnight, we become fire. We are sparks that destroy the world when past and future strike like hungry rocks. If in your search for desolation you stumble on my bones, still warm, rub my ashes on your face, friend. Then go naked.

The Soul Is Not Always Soft

Enough fair maiden talk: the soul is not always soft.
Pick up your sword and slice off Shiva's head.
He'll grow a thousand more, one of them yours.

To hunt God's heart, use leopard's teeth.
Drink blood, not milk, from jugulars of fire.
Stop wringing your hands and start roaring.

Your roar will wake up Jesus in his tomb.
He'll walk out under his own power,
motherless, no crutches, no angels.

Legs spread wide, knuckles on hips, he'll shout,
"Out of the cave, old monks! Penance is over!
The dogs have learned not to pee on the rug!"

No longer will the Prophet take dictation.
He'll make up his own book, letters from the ground
shaped like bugs, peach pits, cougar scat, wild poppies.

Lord Krishna gets bored with obsequious kisses
and all that moaning about past lives,
mala beads on threads of regret.

"What happened doesn't matter," he sings.
"Bring me a corkscrew, not a rose.
Warriors, let's open the wine."

Your belly is a cellar for aging something bittersweet.
Go down, bring it up, decant your bouquet.
What's been hidden so long makes us fierce tonight.


Why all this talk about “Surrender?”
You returned before you were born.
Had you not abandoned your soul to darkness,
this dew-sealed morning glory would never
have opened to receive its tongue of fire.
Some nakedness embraced you like silence
before you put on the garment of prayer.

But the sapphire firmament of your mind
began to mutter in the language of clouds,
words like “devotion,” “path,” “returning.”
You forgot that the fragrance is given, not taken,
and respiration is an ecstasy, not a technique.

You could no longer leap on the wine-stained
tabletop of the summer sky,
burgundy fled
back into the grape, discipline locked the gates
of joy.
You would no longer crush great powers
under the weightless feet of foolish wisdom.

Now you’re a shadow
made of stone,
your gravity is grief, you think you need
to make a sacrifice. Why not give up
“surrender?” Why not drop your God-thought
and plunge into the Zero of not believing,
which is a deeper well than waking or sleep,
and sweeter than the dream of One.

Call it Teshuvah, the ocean of unknowing globed
in a heart’s tear. That’s where the energy is. 

That’s why Jesus commanded the Twelve to do
only one thing: take a sip from the cup of wonder.

But really, haven’t you always been here,
polishing this midnight brilliance
with the stillness inside every breath?

Painting by mystical Jewish artist Elena Kotliarker



Make your heart a sheath
for what is sharper than God,
what penetrates
the moist and soft.
Clinging to tenderness
is a great weight.
The gashed forsaken animal
in your chest
is not who you are.
Be a razor,
your edgelessness
defined by what is not,
by what has been honed away
through seven silences,
ruthless and black,
in the gorgeous wounds
of your body.
You are a scimitar.
Let the Beloved draw you
out of his own breast
dripping with bliss and wine.
Shiva wants to use you
as a violet lethal incandescence
in the formless combat
of love.

June 21

Earth is wobbly. So what?

Today is slightly longer 

than yesterday or tomorrow.

South of here it's slightly shorter.

So what?

Somewhere a stray 

kitten is shivering

in summer rain.

Somewhere a neglected

boy is loading

his father's gun.

Isn't every inhalation 

a Summer solstice, 

every exhalation

a Winter one?

If there is a god

she doesn't care as much

about your suns and birth signs,

your sabbaths and full moons,

the vast animal skeletons

roaming through your sky,

as she cares about the smile

you could have given

to a friend last night,

the grace you might say

to a stranger this evening,

or the breath you savor

this moment, like a sunrise

in your chest.


My work is grace, your work is opening.

lowers are mouths that tell about silence.

I will be your breath before it is a name.
Leave naming to Me.

I will call you Beloved in the most
primitive tongue, not yet a whisper.

At the golden hint of dawn
a gardenia's lips
, stained by the moon.

Photo by Aile Shebar

Taste and See

Earth will not be saved by solving the big problems, or even paying attention to them. To redeem creation, we must refine our perception, take our attention from the big to the small, from the gross to the subtle. The rind is always hard and bitter, the sweetness lies inside, where the fruit is soft and sweet.

Meditation is precisely this flow of attention from the outer to the inner, from the hard to the soft, perceiving the tiny particular causes of large and general woes, dissolving the gross into the subtle, softy, more softly, until perception arrives at the softest, subtlest, smallest "thing" of all, which is also the cause of all.

Which is no thing, but infinite subjectivity, without an object. In this infinite subtlety, thing-ness is transcended. It is not even an "it," but Goodness, Tova, creating and upholding the universe. So scripture sings, "Taste and see that the Lord is good!" (Psalm 34) In thing-less-ness, see God. Taste God's delicious light. The beauty infusing every atom of soil, outshining every cell of the body, illumining every quark of matter and star. This is the fruit of Transcendental Meditation.

Jesus said that the "poor in Spirit" will experience the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 5:3) To be poor in Spirit is to become empty, infinitesimally humble. Then our perception dissolves the root of the big problem in the grace of the small, where there is no problem at all, only love. We can truly whisper, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." This is not a prayer for the future, but a praise song about what Is.

Swallowed Up

I was created for you
because One delights
in Two.
Friendship is more playful
than union,
Advaita swallowed up
in Lila.
The teacher said,
"There is no other."
I say, "Play."
The teacher said,
"You are not this body."
I say, "Love."
Nothing is more sacred
than a Kiss.
The Sun on the lips
of the Moon.
The footsteps of the Moon
on the Sea.
A wave caressing
the sand, and the sigh
of returning.
A baby's mouth
on the swollen teat.
A Father's gaze
upon the daughter
already asleep
in the lingering majesty
of a summer evening.
Hands opening,
then closing on each other.
That breath
dissolving into this breath
at the stillpoint
just beneath
your breastbone.



“There is strength in gentleness, gentler, gentler, so gentle it hardly has any substance, the breath of Silence. Then it is infinitely powerful, infinitely creative.”  ~Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

That path is best whose first breath

is nectar gushing from a broken stem,
yet savory, the taste of yearning,

the river of amazement that wakes
the world, whirling earth and stars like

milkweed over a bee-wildered meadow.

First breath,
best way, and all the path
I will ever need. Famished, Springtime
wanders into my body, where I hear

the sound of melting snow, the brush of
restless twigs, wings, wind-chime plum
buds, scratch of cocoons from within.

Midnight now, the empty bell a chalice
of silences. This is when the Goddess
comes, nearly naked, draped in the golden

veil of my inhalation. Gently, more
gently, using the flower-motion of stillness
to polish my heart, I pay attention

to tiny things, least creatures bursting
with wild sweetness, because that
is what happened to me.

Wild Rose

The wild rose springs up among weeds. Does it feel guilty about its fragrance? Please friend, never let anyone make you feel guilty about being happy in this troubled world. To be troubled is the nature of the world. To be happy is the nature of your heart - not a privilege but a birthright. Your happiness costs the world nothing, is not extravagant, exploits no one's labor, wastes no energy. Yet its blossoming can heal the air, the water, the soil.

Joy does not come from this world, yet it suffuses the world with a secret light, and touches other hearts.
The breath you give is the breath you receive is the breath that whispered this planet into whirling atoms, blew spirals of night into galaxies like glass, spindled out the flesh of your ancestors in helixes still dancing in the hieroglyphs of your sacred body.

We were all connected by a dark sigh before we had names, our lungs the very bellows of the Maker. Don't waste a single exhalation complaining about this world. Choose beauty. The gift will not appear until you are grateful. Under the snow, seeds listen. Are you singing to them? Why not?

The softer your voice of praise, the more they reach up, unfurl their ruby cups of thirst, their golden cups of yearning. This is the secret: creation happens quietly. Stillness swirls from inside out. You could be the cause of Spring.

Photo by Kristy Thompson



Even before I wake,
          you are trembling
in summer silence.
          When your name
     softens my heart,
the angry world seems
          to bow
     toward some mysterious
     in its own blossom,
          forgetting who to blame.
The sign that I have
     called You
is the tiny broken stamen
          dyeing the whole sky 
     with sweetness.
Only You are
          insignificant enough
     to understand this.
Our secret befuddles 
          the important ones.
The distance between us    
          is less than
     a bee's proboscis.
Better than oneness
          is the veil of love.
     I hold You on my tongue.

Tenshin Defsit (A Graduation Poem)


(for those who graduate, and those who try)

Got a D+ in English, in French I got a C.
They say my diagnosis is Hyper ADD.
In Math I got D- and all the rest were D's.
My learning style is different, like Socrates'.
Like Moses. Like Beep Beep the Road Runner.
I love the desert and the mountain top.
In dreams I ride the comet Hale Bop.
Got a B+ in Snowboard and a straight A in Hope.

I don't smoke dope. I'm not a geek.

My learning style is just unique.

 Like.... Hey nonny nonny and a hey nonny nee,
Balloon Man whistling far and whee.
Verily verily I say unto thee,
B'ishm'illahi Rock Roll a Marine.
In the name of Yahoo the All-Merciful
and Compassionate Beep Beep
the square root of the hippopotamus
is the sum of the squares of Yin Yang
plastered on the golden dome of my skull 
as I lie on my back and stare up at the Braille
adreno-cortical Hebraic mosaic

squirting leukocytes at my pituitary,
scrawling graffiti dopamine equations
that generate angelic functions of X
and all God's stained glass faces staring
back at me from the pineal zodiac
of my own third eye seeing me see Him

saying hey nonny nonny
Beep Beep Shema
Yishrael Adonai
its all one and there's
no punctuation...
D+...Rewrite... Beep Beep.
I have seen the best minds of my generation
destroyed by SAT's, the sacred imagination
starving hysterical naked abused by PHD's
in the corporate Department of Multiple
Choice tectonic brain plates
with flaming fissures on April 15

letters from Stanford
or Brown did not arrive
at Mother's house or Father's
house I've seen
young souls deranged by the logic

of the perfect totalitarian paragraph
bloodshot sophomore ghosts of November 

riding their Ritalin home estranged in fear 

to face the all-night AP alcoholic Faulkner novel 
ticking with clocks of sound and fury signifying 
nothing I have seen the ghosts 

of Puritan fathers hovering over Platonic 
linoleum desk tops with whips of religion 
whispering names of New England colleges

I have seen America's bankers brokers lawyers 
Ken dolls of Wall Street secretly yearning 
to lie on yoga mats with milk and cookies 

sucking their thumbs I've seen the crack 
in the egg of the cosmic mother of AI
whose entropy oozed sweet protons

of matter anti-matter it doesn't matter
every particle containing the hologram
of Bereshith
the first Word of creation

heaven and earth
all bungled in glory
by El Shaddai the Lord
of Breasts whose
four letter Tetragrammaton is ADHD

empowering alternate
learning styles
and now I lay
me down to fall
and wake to taste touch smell see All

my multitude of starry selves adorned
in crystal
quantum bling my  mind
can finally breathe the bright
and shattered

symmetry of Zero
gushing particles of night
O fountain O
fecundity of emptiness
whose one mad
myriad Yes!

gives birth to
romper rooms of praise
my heart's
black beams pulsating gems
of ruby from the diastolic stillness

of the pomegranate Void.

This poem is a valedictory speech for all the visionary children diagnosed with "learning disabilities," so if you want to hear it read aloud, as it should be, follow the