Abbys' Question

When she was five,
walking back from the beach,
my little girl asked, 'Daddy,
we saw the full moon
over the ocean last night.
And we saw the full moon
over Nana's farm at Christmas.
But is it the same moon?'
Now, finally after many years,
I know the answer to Abby's question.
'No, dearest one.
it is never the same moon.'

Tender Place

There's a tender place at the top of your head where your inhalation kisses trillions of stars. You meet your Teacher here, in this kiss, and the illusion of distance disappears. The chalice of the farthest galaxy overflows with nectar. What others may say about your Teacher doesn't matter. For this one doesn't seem like a Teacher to you, but a Friend. Your most ancient companion, whom you haven't seen for 27 billion years. It is quite a reunion, and there are tears at both ends of eternity. Yet you shrink away, fearing that your sins and imperfections make you unworthy. Have a little courage. The Friend isn't interested in your sins, but in your heart. And how does your heart appear to the Friend? As a perfect jewel, covered in the dust of thought, which the Friend will polish until it shines like the sun. For it is the sun. And this gentle work of polishing the heart is your own breath.

Gratitude to Aile Shebar for this flower.

Dropping Advaita

Advaita is not a path. It is an experience, an experience of dropping the path. Those who have tried to turn Advaita into a path have created confusion and mental stress. The truth is, you will not even get close to Advaita until you drop every concept of "nonduality." We are discontented and would rather be somewhere else. We want to attain oneness, want to get "there," so we follow a path called Advaita, nonduality, to lead us out of "here.” But isn't it obvious that our very path is what separates here from there? This is the joke-like structure of seeking. So, if you really want to experience nonduality, just drop it. Go out into your ruined garden, drown your senses in your heart, and your heart in the fragrance of a late summer rose. Leap boldly madly gently into the hopeless entangled frolic of distant stars with intimate protons on the tip of your nose. There is no path because there is no possibility of coming or going in the ever-dissolving quantum crystal of the present moment. Nothing exists here but an explosion of Grace.

One Beat

If you could feel
beneath your ribs one beat
of the caged falcon's wings

the rich would give their wealth away,
the angry surrender despair,
the violent melt bullets into tears.

The thief would repay what is stolen,
yet the victim would insist,
Please keep it, you need it more than I.

Isn’t this why you sing,
Om mani padme hum?
The jewel at the center of the lotus.

Isn't this why you pray,
La ilaha il'Allah?
No God but God.

Isn't this the mirror kiss
of the soundless swan
who settles on your heart lake?

So'ham, So'ham.

Touched by the effortless
breath of dawn

a blossom springs from mud.
Call it the flower of emptiness
because the seed is hollow.

Unfathomable to philosophers
how shadows shine,
and when you don't resist the dark

some secret splendor
bursts inside you,
healing the world.

Dark Energy


What is Dark Energy?

To bathe each atom of your flesh

in the most beautiful name of God.

That is Dark Energy.

Is there fragrance in a flower

that has no root in soil?

Is there truth in a mind

that has no root in quietness?

Is there fire in a heart

that has no root

in the sorrowful music of love?

Surrender to the one who makes

a sweet sound in your body

even though strings break.

Listen to the whisper

that invites you back

into the emptiness

whose breath created the stars.

That is Dark Energy.

Who Is She?

She is a slight excitation

in the field of unfathomable rest,

the ever so gentle whisper

of a mighty healing wind.

Her singing bowl is your heart

when quietness overflows.

Her wisdom taught God how to play.

Her wings of emptiness make an M

over the vast Enso of the Omkar moon.

Like a gander, She knows how to return.

If the breath of the Goddess is here,

the poem flows.

If not, no work can make a poem.

If the breath of the Goddess is here,

the plum ripens.

It falls, and its thud is sweetness.

No amount of work can make a plum.

The present moment is the splendor

at the end of time,

where all pilgrim paths gush

into her pool of healing waters.

The holy turbulence of stillness

washes away every fear.

Viruses of doubt cannot survive 

her invisible radiance.

She loosens her bling in the Milky Way.

Magdalene, Laldev, Rabia, Mechthild. 

You must bathe in the milk of her name.

Become naked and put on her purity.

your gown is the midnight silence

of deadly wings.

She is the owl.  

When you become her Knower,  

the distant stars are within you.

They glorify your bones.

The Goddess of September is That

which makes your body shine.

Photo: plums in my backyard, statue of Demeter

New Book

Announcing publication of my new book from Saint Julian Press



Better than
a thousand hours
of disciplined sitting
are seven steps
walking barefoot
in the garden of gratitude,
a few brief moments
of adoration in the heart,
or one silent breath
of amazement,
if you have been touched
by the madness
of Grace.

Notes on a Painting of Mary Magdalene


Mary Magdalene cast up on the shore, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in Camargue, southern France. It is approximately the year 35 A.D. The dawn behind her is soft and lovely, yet there is red on the horizon, “Sailors, take warning!” Storms will come. In her aura, acorns, honey combs, regeneration, transformation, the great from the small.The rich embroidery of her dress, that of a bride, a lover, not a mourner. Her hand on her breast in gratitude, yet her finger points to her throat. In the past, the words of Jesus. But in the future, hers: the Gospel of the Beloved Companion. In her white alabaster jar: spices for anointing the dead? Or the best wine, saved until the end of the wedding for those who live? Look again at that broken boat on the beach, evoking such compassion.The mast is a cross covered with the shroud that enfolded the body of the crucified. Now it becomes the garment of the Spirit, charged with his energy, and hers. The energy of heresy: we are all Gods! Wear it, friend.

Some notes on the painting of Mary Magdalene by Sue Ellen Parker used on the cover of my new book, 'Strangers and Pilgrims.'

Never Again

Never again let it be said, "I am not

this body." Just as your breath

is more than air, so your pulp

is more than what you eat and drink.

She who whirled the stars into their chalices,

churning the cream of darkness

in the cauldron of the Milky Way,

has mantled her Spirit in your tears.

She bends the horizons of dawn and evening

into arcs of praise on your half-parted lips.

And if this breath is her garment, 

what is her nakedness if not the fire

that spills from your forehead to your loins?

Kundalini kisses you like this,

revealing the night that has no opposite.

In the cavern of that kiss, it’s not 

what her name means, but its reverberation

that quickens your sap, thrills your toes,

sprouting dendrites into succulent mire.

A hummingbird murmuring Torah. 

The Pleiades entangled in an earthworm.

Tantric mandalas in tree rings.   

Her eponym the seed that Jesus drops

in your flesh furrow, unfathomable.

The whole golden vineyard contained

in that tiny spore, clusters of suns

already tipsy on the vine.

She’s what first light does to a warbler’s throat,

the tremor in your marrow-fat,

your hollow bones her pan pipe perhaps,

a scent of seven caresses up your spine. 

Feel the ocean of silence in your belly,

where She walks on mantric moonbeams

over rippling waters, offering her luscious

bija like a basket of figs. Friend,

all that ripens is made of that sound.

Image: Eve's Granddaughter by Sue Ellen Parkinson

Assumption (August 15)

"Glorify God in your body!" (1 Cor 6:12)

This day, August 15, is the Feast of the Assumption, celebrating the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven. In 1950, Pope Pius XII proclaimed her bodily assumption into heaven an official doctrine of the Church. In his book, Answer to Job, Carl Jung wrote, "I consider this the most important religious event since the Reformation." Why?

Because it holds a greater significance than the Church prelates themselves even realized at the time. It signifies that the Divine Feminine is not on a lower order of being than God. Mary is not on a lower order of being than Christ. Mother-Mater-Matter is not on a lower order of being than the Holy Spirit. The Spirit infuses our earthly form as Breath infuses the blood. Mary's physical assumption "into heaven" is a sign of the glory toward which evolution leads us, not just as souls but as embodied children of humanity. Of course, the old Catholic lady and her grandchild, lighting a votive candle together in the local parish church, knew this all along. Devotion to Mary has always been about our longing for the Goddess.

The Hebrew word Kavoth means "glory." Glory is not an abstraction, a mere mental concept. Glory is the very substance of matter when our flesh is permeated by the grace of Being, Consciousness, and Bliss. Which is the very purpose of our meditation practice: to suffuse the human nervous system with the energies of the Divine.

At the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, Jesus's three disciples saw him transformed into the light of glory. They did not see a disembodied spirit. Nor was this after Jesus's death. They saw his BODY transfigured into Kavoth. The Transfiguration presages the evolution of our own bodies into a new substance, Kavoth. In that day, we will no longer speak of "spirit" and "matter." We will look back with pity on an age when people distinguished between "soul" and "body." We will celebrate life in soul-bodies composed of the very substance of Glory.

Through all that we suffer and love, grieve and savor, honor with our tears, or enlighten with our laughter, each atom of our flesh is in the alchemy of Transfiguration. We are being changed from glory into glory. Every cell becomes a galaxy of angelic voices, a super-cluster of celestial worlds, an incarnate ocean of the splendor of the Goddess, who in Yoga philosophy is Shakti, dancing in the silent heart of Shiva, and in quantum physics, virtual energy dancing in the silent heart of the vacuum.

At least for this day, at least for this hour, at least for the duration of this breath, "Glorify God in your body!"

Painting: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Francesco Botticini (1475 – 1476)

Be For


Don’t tell me

what you are against.

Tell me what

you love.

What you cherish

with your whole body.

Being against

contracts the heart.

Being for

opens your chest

like an orchid

bending toward the light.

Now is the time to depart

from the kingdom of fear

and return to the palace

of your human form.
One sweet dark nerve
in your solar plexus 
radiates a thousand times

more power

than any opinion.

Let this be your worship
on a Sunday morning.
For a little while,

don’t be against anything.
Only be for.
Be for the sun on the table.
Be for the late summer rose.
Be for tears and the laughter

of children.
Wash the whole planet

in the foolishness of God.

Image by Picasso

Silence Is Not A Practice


Trying to practice silence, imposing stillness on the mind, is not meditation, but a subtle form of violence.
To control thoughts, force them out of the mind, or concentrate on one thought to the exclusion of others, is not meditation but oppression. And to repeat an affirmation over and over again is not truth: it is control and denial. The affirmation tries to will away a feared condition by drilling down into a description of its opposite. But behind the affirmation is the fear that the opposite is true, and this fear tacitly empowers what it fears.

We pride ourselves in our techniques of "self-discipline." But self-discipline is the inward idol of the authoritarian mind. Who is the self that disciplines the mind? Who disciplines that self? An infinite regression of selves to be disciplined, until one finally surrenders...

True meditation is the weary traveler who lets go of the quest, takes off her clothes, leaves the path, and slips naked into a forest pool. She washes the journey from her glistening brown body.

 Just so, the mind slips off one veil of thought after another, sinking deeper into more luminous layers of silence, until the dark effervescent stillness beyond thought immerses her. It is a stillness that can only be discovered, never imposed. No thought can produce the vast tranquility that lies between thoughts, just as no star, however bright, can contain the vast night around it. In this divine darkness, she joyfully drowns....

True meditation doesn't require hours of sitting. For just a few minutes, one dives into the secret pool of eternity, then emerges totally refreshed, re-created, reborn from the womb of amazement.


'Young Martyr' by Paul Delarouche, Louvre, 1855



How many times
must I hear Buddha say,
"breathe in, breathe out,"
before I can do it myself?
I got tired of being spiritual.
So I came home
to the place where Buddha-mind 
and my mind are one
cerulean sky
wrapped around a robin’s egg
in a bold little nest on a lilac tree
by the back porch.
Came home and built a fire,
made coffee.
Took out my mother's
bone China cup
and ran my fingers
over the crazing, the lace
of imperfections in all
that once was white.
We’re full of cracks
and dark patches, aren’t we?
Millions of moist lips
on the verge of a single kiss.
I came home to hug you.
The world feels brown and blue.
Got tired of being spiritual.
Now I’m just
Photo: Buddha on my porch under the lilac tree



“Not all those who wander are lost.” ~J.R.R. Tolkein


The wilderness invites

your whirling heart,

rudderless, eddied, spun

by a tide incoming,

entangled in a chaos

of weed and beach foam,

still beaten by the breath

of your beloved,

keeping his promise

to the starfish, the unborn.

Now meander inland

like Jesus until

you're good and lost,

then take off your shoes
and call it home.

With every step, the earth

says "welcome," and you never
even get close to where you were going.
The only consolation

is to throw away your map
and start dancing, dark-bodied,

right where you are.
Open your palms toward sunset.

Pray without naming the stars

that arrive one by one

like honored guests, bending

to touch your naked feet.

After all, aren’t you made

from their journeys of curved light?

Dust is your sacrament now.
Wiggle your toes in thanksgiving.
Linger, but do not stay.

 Be a wanderer.

Image of Mary Magdalene by Sue Ellen Parker

Nole Me Tangere

And Jesus said to Mary Magdalene, “Do not touch me,

for I have not yet ascended to my Father.” ~John 20:17

Whoever wrote these words

 was still a pilgrim

searching for dawn.

But you have made friends 

with the dark.

You know that Magdalene 

is an electric breath 

of Jesus

flowing through your nostrils,

your throat, your belly, your loins.

And if you listen, she will tell you

what he really said

that morning in the garden:

Touch me.

Feel the shock

of my sweetness.

I will lift your whole body up

into Love’s energy.

As wine mingles fruit 

with spirit in one cup,

my flesh and your longing

are a single grace.

Savor my caress, 

for Christ is not

an out of body

experience, but a sip

of the burgundy void

in the grail of every cell,

the nectar of crushed stars

in a proton of lymph.

Your nerves

are on fire

with God.

Art, the Magdalene by Dante Gabriel Rossetti