Your Dearest


When you deeply
rest in Being,
your own presence
is your dearest friend.
Breathe from this place.
Fall asleep
Create a new earth
from stillness.

Breathe Peace


In a season of lengthening shadows, let us not just pray for peace, but breathe peace. Breathe peace from the heart of Being. Let us not resist the dark, but embrace it with our groundless depth. I say again, darkness is not the opposite of light, darkness is the womb of light. Be a golden leaf. As you pass through a thin sacred threshold of Samhain, remember that in ancient Eire this holy time was the New Year, the beginning. Time to bathe the dead in tears of Presence, and bear back the bones of your Autumn ancestors into seeds of Spring. A time for weeping, and a time for laughter. But between, and ever between, a season of silence.

Painting by Henriette Wyeth

Did Jesus Save The World?

Did Jesus save the world from war and pain? Did Buddha save the world from lust and exploitation? Did Krishna? Did the Prophet? Of course they didn't. And neither can you.

In fact, Krishna appeared right before the dawn of Kali Yuga. Just after he departed, this world descended into an age of chaos and destruction. The great avatars and spiritual masters do not come to save the world. They come to awaken You.

You came into this world alone. You will leave this world alone. And when you awaken from the dream of your mind, you will awaken alone. So you can stop trying to be a bodhisattva. If you touch the hearts of two or three other people along your way, and help them awaken, that is very good work. But it will happen without trying. Your right hand won't know what your left hand is doing.

For Jesus didn't say, "Wherever two or three million are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." He never played the numbers game. He said, "Wherever just two or three are gathered..."

It is childish and magical thinking to suppose that our "collective consciousness," our group meditations, our full moon or solstice sat-sangs, our global gatherings to open the portal of planetary alignment, will transform earth's destiny in a quantum leap. The world has its own karma. It will not be saved en masse. That's why Jesus said, "my kingdom is not of this world." And, "I give you my peace, a peace the world cannot give." The world has its own destiny. Let it be.

You are not of this world. You are Christ Consciousness. Does this message make you angry, or does it make you free? It's just truth, whether it makes you angry or free. You are in the world, but not of the world.

Your fate is spun from consciousness, not earth, air, water, fire. You weave your garments from the elements, but your naked essence is pure awareness. In the heaviness of the elements, in the whirl of the opposites, you can be joyful and light, because your essential nature is already free.

Can you simply Be, without your ego's need to change others, or to make them "better?" "Better" according to whose definition? The greatest conflicts on earth are fueled by different tribes defining "better" in different ways.

Do you pray for peace? Or can you accept the hard truth? When you "pray for peace," when you pray to change the world, your prayer arises from a place of lack, a sense of incompleteness, where the ego needs to be in control, to make the world conform to its own notion of what is "better," what is "right." The prayer may pretend to be holy, but it is not actually healing, because its energy comes from discontent, disapproval, and disharmony.

To bring real peace, let us stop praying for the world, and just let it be. Rest in the heart, and see the world from the wellspring of compassion, where all the opposites have drowned in silence. Then our very seeing will be a fountain of healing. Just that seeing is prayer. Just breathing from that center, is prayer.
Arms spread on the cross of the human body, we hug the cosmos as it is, without needing it to change or conform to our politics, our religion, our metaphysics. Reposing at the center of our crucifixion, we whisper with Jesus, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do." Truth is, we really have no other choice.

Out of this unconditional embrace, this boundless hug of what is, just as it is, perhaps a sigh of harmony will emanate from the heart, to make the stars tremble, and caress every atom in the universe with love.

Friend, you cannot save this world. But you can be a blessing.

October Twilight

"You will find more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you what you can never learn from schoolmasters." ~St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Don't veer from the razor's edge. The grit of your bondage is the gravel path to liberation. In slivers of sensation, you are the unwounded witness.

Be instantly enlightened through whatever you deeply observe. Pass through frog croak, wand of fading lavender, Autumn musk of deflated tomato in the ruined garden. The portal to the miraculous is this toadstool.

The merest soundsmell touchtaste glitterblink is your Guru's countenance. Whatever jagged fringe appears before you this very instant is the Mandala of Supreme Awakening.

If you're old enough, read the purple hieroglyphs carved on the back of your hand. Love glows from husks. Be starlight through a brittle leaf, a quivering nipple of blue chanterelle.

Notice how ferns remember to bow, how your naked attention illumines a rotted hollow squash, the broken apple bubbling in a sunbeam, inscrutable runes of the worm among the fallen.

Avoid abstraction. Be the witness of fire in a synapse. Feast your eyeball in a berry-flame of pyracantha. Through a dew drop on the spider's web, enter the temple of intergalactic diamond emptiness.

In a dimensionless seed, the black nectar of your heart dreams otherness, and feels alone. Imagines a distance where “here” longs for “there.” Feasts on the dark matter of solitude, the Milky Way, silken-rapt in a sizeless ayin-soph.

Bow your nose, iris, fingertip, tongue. Eternity is over, you're ready for a moment on earth. Genuflecting in the moss, let a silent tear encircle ten thousand cedars. It is important to find this tear and weep.

Upon the spiral staircase of your spine, wondrous Night, bejeweled in numberless suns, descends into your body as a breath of prayer, and you remember why the vast puts on the veil of the small.

The grace of entropy, forms ever-perishing, photons ever-perishing, your bone marrow, brain cells ever-perishing, your stories ever-perishing. But the Ever is deathless. Jesus said, "If you want to meet God, taste a piece of bread."

And here you are. October twilight, the odor of silence. Your exhalation is the sky. You hear a heron shriek, flapping over withered cattails. Your heart erupts with the laughter of the void. The poignant guffaw that created the world.

A single drop without circumference streams down your cheek, bathing your mother, your father, all your relations, for seven generations past and to come, in waves of astonishment. It is important to find this tear and weep.

Poetry Reading from Strangers & Pilgrims


Honored and grateful to announce the release of my new book, available at all major book sellerswith Sue Ellen Parkinson's beautiful cover painting of Mary Magdalene, to whom I dedicate these poems. The book explores the liminal space between word and silence, poetry and guided meditation. Perhaps the story of how I met the Magdalene would be of interest to readers, so I share it here (Link). This book will make a fine holiday gift for a loved one, and for yourself. Thank you, Saint Julian Press!

Wayfarer, isn't it time

to depart from the kingdom

of the old story?

Time to begin your journey

over the ocean of surrender.

Yes, this body is a frail boat,

but its mast unfurls

a vast sail, filled

with your Beloved’s breath.

And whether the night is

clouded or clustered

with stars, you move

through waves of sleep

and waking

under the boundless dome

of a Mother's silence.

Travel gently over the earth,

not as a landlord

but a pilgrim.

Stay a little while

like an honored guest.

The only way to get Om

is to leave this place a little

better than you found it.

4 a.m.


An empty circle of flying white

drawn in the sky

by no master of the brush.
Bright hole in blackness.

A silent gong

that awakens me at 4 a.m.

with a sound that comes

from the hollow in my bones.

Explain to me again

because I am very thick and stupid

how your being angry and depressed

about the world

improves it.

Explain to me again

because I am very thick and stupid

how taking sides in the conflict

solves it.

Explain to me again

because I am very thick and stupid

how blaming one tribe

while absolving another

brings clarity and understanding.

An empty circle of flying white

drawn in the sky

by no master of the brush.

Bright hole in blackness.

Explain to me again

why it must not be each one of us

who takes responsibility

for creating the world

and shining over it.

My Spiritual Discipline

This is my spiritual discipline.
I give myself permission to eat
whatever is delicious.
I act my age: not even
one moment old.
I vow to dance
with the perfect stranger.
Every morning
I breathe away the dream
and gaze inside,
smiling at the radiant mirror
of my heart.
Then I go out in the world
to embrace my seven billion lovers,
satisfying each one
with a feast of light, a taste of wine
from the barrel of foolishness.

Painting by Karen Fleschler

The Price of Attention


Pay a little more attention
to the crinkled leaf, its atoms
of edgeless fractal piquancy
dissolving on the tongues
of your mind, thin air
an altar in the shimmering
season of the ordinary.
Breath will wing you down
to your Winter place, alluring
call of a deeper silence,
resonance of spirit descending
into warm bread. A deer trail
leads back to itself in the little woods.
Three unharvested tomatoes
glow hollow as lanterns
while the spider flings her
silken path homeward
from the old garden buddha
to a withered rose, and the last
evening light fondles
smaller and smaller things
like the hand of the dying,
not with regret
but inextinguishable gratitude.

Bones of Heaven

We do not move

from here to there.

We do not grow

from this into that.

Ever at rest in the changeless

chaos of love,

we only awaken,
seven billion minds

dissolving in one tear

which we call the heart,

this drop without a center.

After the dream we find

no vital distinction

between a petal and its fragrance,

the grape skin and its nectar,

moldering tar

of our ancestor's body

and a fiery diadem.

This is the law.

Things become more precious

when they get crushed.

The bones of the earth

are the bones of heaven.

The 'O' of your prayer

has no circumference.

Therefore it is perfectly 


Water color by Andrew Wyeth

Ocean of the Mother's Love

Who led us to believe we must dissolve our "separateness," destroy our little "i," and merge with a flatline of "non-duality?" That's a lot of work! It's the work of the mind, chewing on itself, creating concepts. "Separateness" is a concept. "Non-duality" is a concept.

The divine Mother's ocean of love is not like the intellect of man. We can drop this mind into the starry night of the heart. When the little droplet of "i" falls into the ocean of her love, it won't dissolve into impersonal nothingness. Rather, the ocean will become the drop.

Ah, my whole physiology thrills to say it! "As the drop merges with the ocean, the ocean merges with the drop." Is this not a mother's nature? Your mother became your body. She infused every particle of you, every breath of you. She poured her ocean of love into the droplet of You, and made your identity hers, and gave you her name. So pray, meditate, surrender, merge into the ocean of Mother Divine, and Mother Divine will merge into You.

Do you really believe that after all these trials, these lifetimes of searching, you will disappear in vast empty space? No, dear friend, You shall not disappear. Emptiness itself is an illusion. The no-thing-ness of deep space bubbles over with the Mother's milk, foaming with worlds.

You shall be a diamond in her crown, a pearl at her throat, a ruby on the rosary that dangles between her breasts. And this is how every other Person must appear to you - a unique jewel adorning the Mother. We are all crystal epiphanies of her abundance. Each of us is the Oneness, selved as a Person, tinctured with the whole ocean. Each wave is nothing but the sea, but this does not mean the sea stops playing in its waves.

The instant turning of kaleidoscopic love clusters the shards of the universe into an incomparable singularity. This turning is You, the next turning, Me. Both of us contain each other, and the whole.

Surrendered to the love that enwombs the stars, You are no longer just a little "i." You irradiate the cosmos. You don't need to rise above your Being, but sink into it. Love yourself. Isn't it time to remember this commandment?

Love yourself. This is the forgotten law from which even the first commandment arose. For how can you love the Lord your God if the ocean of God's love is not already inside you? And how can you love your neighbor as yourself if you do not love You?

At the center of your chest, where exhalation dissolves and inhalation has not quite arisen, there is a dark well of surrender. Vedic mystics call this dimensionless point the Bindhu. Jewish mystics call it the Ayin-Soph-Or - the dot of no-thing from which all creation shines.

Countless galaxies whirl out of your unbreathed unborn stillness, the Milky Way pours from this secret wellspring in your breast, and every star in the cosmos is imbued with the sweetness of your own peculiar light.

Don't wait another moment. With this very breath, love yourself!

Nasa Webb photo, Eagle Nebula

Angel of Gravity

Be an angel of gravity.
Dance like a mountain
on a cloud.
There is nothing to understand.
You are absolved from trying
to figure it all
How do you free your heart
for love?
Hug the opposites.
They are just grains
of pure space.
Don't be so heavy.
The New Land is one step away,
a single breath.
Now wiggle your toes.
You are already there
at the end of the path,
the beginning.


We are addicts one and all. Addiction is the nature of the human mind, the nature of dukkha, attachment and suffering. Here on earth, we are all addicted to something.

One is addicted to opioids, another to gourmet coffee. One is addicted to political anger, another to the calm of the forest. One is addicted to the story of their trauma, another to the story of Jesus. The lover is addicted to the beloved.

Some are addicted to the acquisition of jewelry, others to the acquisition of merit. For one, many sexual partners, for another, many gurus.

Who can say this habit is pure, and that impure? It's just that some addictions burn through illusion a bit quicker than others.

I am addicted too. I have sold my life for a single sweetness. The bliss of the Goddess Shakti, who pours her sparkling grace through every breath. I love to share her wine.

Yet all obsessions are in essence the same: the longing of our restless mind for union with the object of love... until we fall in love with love itself.

Let Autumn Come

Let Autumn come.

Thin down, hollow out.

Give away your fruit to wanderers.

The world is ripple and reflection

on the wet black stillness

of what cannot be known.

Things that really matter

slip between your thoughts,

dark energy,

almost everything.


Photo by my daughter Abby


Blessings to all as we begin this sacred feast of Navratri, the 'Nine Nights' of Mother Divine.  May the rains come. In the Vedic calendar, this is the most sacred time of year. When we feel inner discord and disharmony, the discord reflects into our world. We feel anxiety and anger and despair, and think it is the world that arouses those feelings in us. We mistake the effect for the cause. But the truth to which humanity must awaken is this: "Yatha drishti, tatha srishti": as your mind is, so your world appears. We need to begin by healing ourselves in order to heal our world. How can I do this myself, when I myself am the problem? I need the grace of Mother Divine, the love of God, and the help of my Teacher for this work of healing and transformation. I am a brittle leaf without the life-giving sap of the Friend. That is why on this day I pray to Her: Heal and purify us, Mother Shakti. Inspire us with songs from the trembling silence of your vina, Mother Saraswati. The husk of our life may be hard, but the inner fruit is sweetness. O Mother Lakshmi, from the bright womb of your darkness, let beauty be born. Jai Guru Dev.


My teacher is a blossoming weed.
My teacher is a withered thistle
dispersed by the breeze on a thousand threads.
My teacher is the motionless explosion
of a rose, a lover in whose moon-gaze I
swoon at midnight, only to feel bereft
in the dim dawn? No, my teacher
is humbler, kinder more inward
than I am to me, visiting the meadow
of my flesh, scattering seed
in my furrows, my nostrils, my belly,
my cracked palm.
The one who makes use of my empty places.
The one who drowns in the ocean
of my wonder, reminding my heart
how we sighed and surged
before the stars were born.
My teacher is the golden breath of grace
who sweeps away the should.
The one whose sign, like a footprint,
is expansion and warmth
in the darkest marrow of my bones.

You Will Never Find Peace


You will never find peace, because you are peace. You will never wake up one morning to discover that the politicians have made peace on earth, because peace is not the nature of this world, or the politicians. This world is the field of conflicting opposites. And that is precisely why it is the place of liberation, where we come for awhile to discover, "I am not that, I am not this, I am not that, I am not this," until we can finally say, "I Am." Liberation won't happen in paradise, because heaven has no opposites, and it's too dreamy up there. So we come to this world of warring opposites because this is the only place to awaken. We are strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Yet while we are here, we illuminate the world. This is why Jesus says, "My kingdom is not of this world." "The kingdom of heaven is within you." "My peace I give you, not as the world giveth." For the whirled cannot make peace. YOU are the peace in the midst of the whirled. You are not one of the opposites, ever polarizing energy for and against. You are the opposite of nothing. You are love. You are the whole light filling the whole darkness. You fill the darkness because you do not resist it, you do not struggle against it. You allow the darkness to give birth to you. This is the way of Jesus. This is the way of the Magdalene. A glow illumines the forms in a stained glass window, but the glow does not come from the glass, it comes through the glass. You are not the glass. You are the glow that illumines the world with forgiveness. And the sun is your heart.

The Rest Of The Story


Rest your story
in the wordless heart.
A blue moth settles
on the unburst thistle pod,
a blackbird 
on the quivering cattail,
this exhalation
settling in the fragrant petals
of your next breath,
down where the pollen is.
Rest your story
in quivering silence.

Photo by Laurent Berthier

Sabbath Work


This is the work

of the Sabbath.

All creatures flowering

out of themselves, a rose,  

star pollen galaxy,

blue-green egg

in a well woven nest,

the little earth

in its swirl of distances.

This the work 

of the effortless.

A prophet does not see

into the future.

A prophet sees


into the present moment.

'Rose Petal Landscape,' by watercolour master, Marney Ward