Logos, Light, and the Science of Mantra

 

This breath is a rehearsal for the last breath, which becomes the first breath again, because there is only one never-ending breath. The never-ending breath of pure Being appears to be breathless, because we experience rhythm and duration rather than eternity.

In transcendental deep meditation, the mantra merges with this breath, the breath of the breathless, which is unwavering, eternal, absolute. Now the mantra is not a word, but a ripple of energy settling into the Logos, the ocean of sound at the source of creation.

If the mantra does not settle into this continuum of Shabda, the stream of divine sound that creates the cosmos, then it is not a living mantra; it is just a word of no value repeated in the head.

Yet in the science of mantra, this merging with the Logos is only the first level of samadhi. The sound-stream itself then merges into pure Light. The mantra becomes a silent radiance, the Sun of God, who is self-luminous bliss, and joy without reason, shining out of the absolute ground of Being.

Finally, the process of meditation gracefully comes to rest in the deepest samadhi of all, where the rays of creation repose in the womb of light. This womb may be likened to nothingness, but surely, it bears All, the virgin Beauty prior to manifestation.

Drowned in the abyss of this Beauty, the meditator, the meditation, and the cosmos all disappear. What remains is only the splendor of Divine Darkness. Ineffable Unknowing thunders through the heart of silence, even before the birth of God.

Don't worry. A few minutes of this effortless meditation refreshes every particle of your body. When you open the eye of the heart again, it is the first day of the sparkling world.

Three A.M.

Action is what I do when I'm lost. Being is what happens when I find myself. Appearances are deceiving. When out of touch with my Being, I feel active, yet to others my actions appear as sound and fury, signifying nothing. But when I truly Am, I feel that I am doing very little, yet to others I appear to be a man of accomplishment. This is the miracle of Wu Wei. The universe has the structure of a joke. The punchline comes when you find out that action is stillness, stillness is action. The widest embrace is to let go of everything. So when in doubt, hug it all.

P.S. I wrote this at 3 a.m., then went back to sleep.


A Poem that Spilled Out of Meditation One Morning


Rest the mind in the heart.

She will guide you there,

Our Lady of this Breath.

To the manger, the birthplace,

She will guide you.

And you will refresh
the whole creation

by resting in that place

where the world arises

as a wave
of your perceiving it.

This ripple of joy

in the ocean of gratitude.

If you think these are

just words, friend,

you haven't been there

to that silence, that

billowing stillness.

You're just reading.

Now rest

the mind in the heart.

She will guide you there,

Our Lady of this Breath.



Image: Mary Magdalene by Cassandra Barney

Gratitude Is Not A Practice



Gratitude is not a spiritual practice. It is a subtle thread of flame that binds your pulse, through sensations of sweetness, to the heart of God. Gratitude is not something you need to "do." Just follow one faint breath of thanks until you dissolve.


Into what? There is no answer. You must find out for yourself, with the quietest kind of courage. Be grateful for the least most insignificant blessing: last petal on the autumn rose, a lock of golden fur from the little dog who died, a tear for no reason, the sound of a hummingbird on a Winter afternoon.


You'll spiral down a dark stairwell to the wine cellar, where Jesus has been aging his careful blood in a cask of delicate unbroken bones. Don't look for his face. The grape was crushed long ago. Meet him in the pure bouquet of silence, savor the hollow of not knowing. His poverty will makes you rich.

The secret? In the smallest is the vast. A photon the width of an angel's wing inscribed with distant nebulae. The flavor of Mary in bee nectar. On your tongue, a morsel of bread dipped in the Pleiades. You have everything, my friend, absolutely everything, in one faint breath of thanks.

 
Face of Christ by Rembrandt

Body Parts


I cherish most of my body

very deeply,

but I am at war with

my belly.

Perhaps you are not getting

along with one of your

body parts?
If so, here's what to do.

Expand it to fill the sky.

Let it encircle the moon

and all nine planets.

Perhaps it is your penis,

like a majestic tower

rising beyond the rim

of Andromeda.

Perhaps it is that trembling

golden water lily, your clitoris,

floating on a lake of stars.

Your drooping eyelids,

one always stumbling

a little behind?
Let them be horizons

of twin galaxies.

Or are you ashamed of

your brain?

Turn it into a cathedral

whose spires poke through

the Crab Nebula,

horns for the Rearing Horse  

of Cosmic Dust

where new suns are born

from the womb of Unknowing.

How could anyone be

troubled or bound

by a body-part

that is really a temple

of fiery intelligence,

a singing bowl whose

circumference outshines God?

I hope this works for you, friend.

It worked for me.

Our flesh is so beautiful!

Now I feel at home in

my Buddha belly.

Light of the Body

Perhaps the saddest thing about our religious traditions is their failure to glorify the human body as the temple where God and Goddess meet to dance round the fruit-bearing tree of the spine, uniting in the bridal chamber of the heart.

Instead, Western religions have covered the body with a veil of shame, while the so-called "non-dualists" of the Eastern traditions insist that "I am not this body."

Oh yes I Am.

I Am the Body, I Am the Radiance around the body, and I Am the energy field of this beating bloody heart that extends beyond the stars, enfolding the farthest galaxies.

I Am the Body, located right here, and I Am the non-localized ocean of light into which each quantum particle of the body dissolves this instant. My body is a holographic matrix of resonant emptiness containing all the information in the cosmos, and the death of my body is but a return of these ripples in space-time to their stillness. Nothing is lost, nothing is added. When we cease clinging to what dissolves, the body no more limits the Spirit than a mirage limits the blue and boundless sky. Each electron in my flesh contains a charge of electricity, a charge of Shakti, a charge of bio-stellar Glory, greater than ten thousand suns.

This is no New Age talk. It is the teaching of ancient Yogis and the teaching of the primitive Church. Jesus declares that when your inner eye is one, "your whole body will be filled with light." (Mat 6:22)  "Glorify God in your body!" sings the Epistle to the Corinthians. "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?" (1 Cor. 6) In the 2nd Century, one of the first and greatest Christian theologians, Saint Athanasius, wrote: "God became human so that humans could become God."

The actual message of Jesus has nothing to do with shaming the body, and everything to do with celebrating the Incarnation. Jesus manifested a body to demonstrate that the Spirit expresses her divine breath through human form. On this planet, the Word is made flesh.

But after the Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E., theologians discovered they could control their congregations through shame and guilt. The fundamentalist movements that resulted from this distortion of the original message all manifest violence, based on repression of the body. They mutilate the myth of Adam and Eve to suggest that the "sin" was Eve's surrender to sexual temptation. However, there is nothing in the original story to suggest this at all. The so-called Fall was not sexuality or embodiment. It was our descent into dualistic mind, a mind conflicted by opposites, a mind that seeks its nourishment, not from the Tree of Life, but from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The only "sin" is apparent separateness, magnified by shame. Sin is ignorance of the unity of being.

The rupture of our wholeness results in a chain reaction of illusions, all in the mind, generating actions that create a culture of conflict. We act from our perception that humanity is alienated from God, man from woman, soul from body, black from white, and heaven from earth. When these illusions dissolve, it becomes clear that there is only one "sin": to tear asunder our immediate spontaneous intuition of unity. Our original innocence in the Garden was the unity of spirit, breath, and body. Which is not only the wholeness of Christ incarnate, but the actual definition of "yoga."

Ironically, in the present age, those who recall us to our original innocence are not so often the ministers, imams and rabbis of religion, but the poets, musicians, and artists of the world. In the words of the sublime under-appreciated novelist, E. M. Forster, "The Garden of Eden, which you place in the past, is really yet to come. We shall enter it when we no longer despise our bodies."

When I Awoke


When I awoke this morning, before the mind of yesterday returned, I floated for a moment in eternity. It was so obvious that the truth about the universe had been "educated" out of me and replaced by a false story of separateness, distance, competition, struggle; a story drilled in at an early age and re-confirmed by religion, politics, pharmaceutical and medical dogma.

But the truth is not this story at all. Truth is the boundless radiance of my silent Heart, the Anahata center, which in Sanskrit means "the unstruck sound." This truth is my immediate non-conceptual sensation, before I even begin to think: the total Self-perception of this body. And if this truth must to be spoken, it might be described or pointed to like this...

'Let go of your thoughts, regrets about what has been, anxieties about what might be: simply feel their underlying sensation in your brain. Even a powerful memory, an event you believe really happened in some place you call "the past," actually happens in the present moment, as a flicker of light leaping an axon into the dendrite of a neighboring cell. The mental image created by this flare is secondary, like smoke.

'Let awareness fall back into neurological fire. Don't worry; you won't lose your mind. Your mind will be nourished at its root. Then, when you need to think, your thinking will be useful and clear.

'Feel the subtle energy of your nervous system, not only in the brain but throughout the whole environment of your physiology. Share your consciousness with microbes, with ancient wiggling hieroglyphs of DNA. Become a single sensory field permeated by awareness, without words, labels, or thoughts.

'Now see if you can feel the "edges" of this awakened sensuality. Does your flesh have any borders? Does your body have an outline?
'Feel the air around your skin. Bathe in the radiance, the warmth of other living creatures. Do they have edges? Where does your territory end and their bodies begin? Sense the forest, the mountains, the ocean, the clouds, as extensions of your pelt.

'Now be mindful of space itself, not as an impersonal abyss of frightening distance, but the intimacy of your own furry attention. Space is awake, fibrous and soft as cotton. And space is awareness itself...

'The stars are very near you. Galaxies are dancing, whirling inside you, as the luminescence of your own blood cells. Separateness is not illusion, but it is merely appearance, a play. Just for a moment, give up the falsehood you were taught in school: the myth of distance. Let go of that story, the story about the universe as an enormous machine far beyond your ken, in whose steely gears you are an infinitesimally lonely spark, weighted by chill inanimate absence. This is the lie.

'Dare to soak in the Glory you actually are. You are not merely made of star-stuff: you scatter suns with each conscious breath. Transcendence is mutual causation. You generate a berry in the void. The berry generates your seeing of it. Participate in the creation of all that you behold. And ever remember what the Vedas declared before writing was invented, when language was all humming: "Yatha drishti, tatha shrishti: as you are, so your world appears."

'Macrocosm and microcosm simultaneously interact and mutually depend. Your body the soul of the universe. A raindrop, earth trembles. There are no abstractions.

'Be intimate with all sentient beings, they are your nerves, whether they dwell on earth, on other star systems, in the realm of the ancestors, or the hungry ghosts. Wash them with each heartbeat. Enjoy the inestimable honor of healing them with every breath. This is the truth.

'Our sun is very active right now. But that is just a shadow of the radiance shining from the black hole at the center of our galaxy, which is precisely the same black hole that centers every proton of your body. Therefore, let solar flares and inter-galactic rays penetrate your physiology. Receive them as celestial caresses, without pushing back. Embrace them as pure energy without labels. Don't freak out when your vibrations throttle up, and you feel disoriented, with every manner of throbbing, vertigo, palpitation, and weirdness. Most of this is caused by your resistance. Allow it all in the knowledge that the cosmos wants to transform your chromosomes, and evolve your soul into the gentle munching kindness of a wing├ęd gorilla.’


Illustration from 'Grandfather Twilight' by Barbara Berger

Down In Your Body

If there is half a particle of pain in your flesh, where is the other half? In my flesh, though I be a thousand miles away. Through the quantum entanglement of prayer, these halves collide and kiss, annihilated by love, replacing pain with spaciousness. The healing we seek, we Are. Shift attention to your quietest energy, which physicists call the field of least excitation, an undulating stillness, ocean of gratitude in a dust mote. Just become aware of what Is, the Wordless essence of this moment. Merely to Be is thanksgiving. Deep inside the fibers of your most ancient trauma, mad charm-quarks spiral, spun from uncreated blackness in the belly of creation, weaving mother-love into each wisp of DNA, entwining your marrow with jungle flowers, serpent fangs, raveling up wonder into photons of primordial sod. A fetal hum in your body of brilliant shadows already sings thank you, I'm sorry, forgive me, I love you.


Image of 'Charm quark' from New Scientist

Don't Even Call It Thanksgiving


Non-duality is a poor substitute
for bewilderment.
A holly berry crystal'd in frost,
made of your seeing it.
Threaded on a rosary of miracles,
a photon of light, created now
and now destroyed
in an irrevocable protest
against the tyranny of One.
The sun and moon whirling
because your love makes them crazy.
Rocks ringed in melting snow,
a naked tree full of crows,
the undulating stillness of a heron
reflected in the stream,
and your own brown body
bathing in a tub of foamy pearls,
all ineffable.
Just don't mistake your thoughts
for the world.
Rend the veil of the mind-temple
and gaze into the flaming sanctuary
of silence,
where creatures break their shells,
each standing free of its name.
With no anticipation,
let the Milky Way spill down
your spine, overflowing
the stone cup of your heart,
where emptiness has been waiting
a long long time,
carved from your ancestors' pain.
Don't even call it thanksgiving.
Gratitude is not a practice.
Love is not made.

Published in Braided Way Magazine on Thanksgiving Day 2023






Selving God

Even when you transcend duality, merging with the uncreated womb of creation, with boundless darkness at the source of light, even then, and more so then, you are a Person! Quintessentially singular, outrageously playful, fiercely Selved, image and likeness of no one who has ever been, or is, or will be. And this in fact is why you are here: to provide God with a body, a place to be Selved. Now. And now. How tragic that so much new-age teaching is a complete distortion of Advaita, encouraging us to un-selve! How sweetly fermented and musky wild it is to roar: "The whole ocean delights to dance in every drop!" I learned this from one who is eternally feral and unique, who lives in a forest cave at the silent core of every human heart, whose name is Miryam, the Magdalene, priestess of the moon, mystical bride of Christ, incarnation of the Goddess Shakti, Spirit-breathed and wind-blown pilgrim wandering over the sea of gratitude.


New painting of the Magdalene by Sue Ellen Parkinson

A Word Is A Wave


A word is a wave on the ocean of silence.
A kind word, a praise word, or a word
of thanksgiving sinks into the heart,
touches bottom, mingling with
beginningless murmurs you've heard
before, in Mother's belly, or lying
on a beach at night, listening to stars...
Even this faint sigh dissolves
into a glow of golden darkness,
a motionless tide of fire whose flames
flicker inward, flooding every cell,
ineffable radiance of your body.
Do you need a boat, a secret mantra
to carry you beyond the doubt and din
of this world? No, friend, you only
need to sing the Beloved's name
with abandonment, the way a drunken
poppy sings,fiercely blossoming
all Winter in its seed.

Peace Prayer

 
I pray to the Unity
that becomes Two for love's sake
while remaining One.
O Mother of Eternity, Almighty Father,
Christ Sophia, Rachman i'Rahim,
O Shiva Shakti, El Shaddai, 
entwined upon my spine,
O Magdalena, Tower of Myrrh,
Melchizedek of the Parliament 
of Starlight pouring 
through my vagus nerve: 
I breathe in your Love
and breathe out Love to all the earth.
I breathe in your Beauty
and breathe out Beauty to all the earth.
I breathe in your Healing
and breathe out Healing to all the earth.
I breathe in your Abundance
and breathe out Abundance to all the earth.
By the authority and grace
of a single exhalation,
I abolish and dissolve every border
drawn by politicians and kings,
priests and ayatollahs,
whose maps live only in the mind.
And by the outrageous invincible audacity
of one humble breath,
I declare that from this New Moon on,
Earth's only boundaries 
shall be curves, the round and oval,
tree rings, seeds, globes of toadstool 
and mollusk spiral, furrows in loam,
thigh-swollen, bosom-heaved,
tenderly kneaded by gravity,
bathing in undulations of stone.
Rivers, mountains, deserts, shores.
And even these, mostly, 
in the prudence of time,
shall be swept away by wind and rain.


~Painting, 'Hope,' by Palestinian artist Sliman Mansour

Bank


Now is the time to invest
in the Treasury of Silence.
It is not like other banks.
They will fail, overgrown
by the grace of the ancient forest.
But there is a bank
that will never fail,
and we own it.
We are the board of trustees.
There are billions of us
sharing one abundance,
credit unbounded,
never-ending equity.
The portal to the vault
is always wide open.
Anyone can enter, to draw
on the Mother's endowment,
the Father's annuity.
Strange that so few of us
step through the door.
Come,
leave the mind of penury,
drop the chain of old stories,
receive the inheritance
of a quiet heart.
There's a gateway to this fortune
in each cell of your body.
Enter the golden darkness
of God's abysmal trust.
If your mind won't come,
leave it on the front steps,
begging.


Image: 'Wall Street' by Andree Wallin

I Am The Way


One who speaks of a Way

is already lost.

One who seeks for an Other

is always lonely.

Christ says, I Am the Way,

the Truth, and the Life.

It is not the voice

of an ancient Palestinian rabbi,

but your voice, the roar I Am

from the golden core of your body.

You are the Way, 

breathed by the Truth,

pulsing with eternal Life

this moment.

How do I know?
I learned it from the silence

of an Autumn rose

bursting in my garden.

I heard it from a caterpillar

falling all Winter long

deeper, deeper into the chrysalis,

chanting her mantra,

"Spring."



Digital Art by Christina McAllister

Ode To My Heart

 Ask a child to point to the heart. Ask a Zen master to point to the heart. Ask an indigenous shaman to point to the heart. They will all point here, to the pit in your chest.

This blood fruit, this beaten talisman of body: no new age meta-babble or theo-jargon about "the center of the will" or "being-ness." No hip-hop chakra jazz. Just this palpable lump of holy gristle.

Whoever thirsts for life knows heart means heart. It’s beauty lies in physiology, not metaphysics. My heart a meaty twin-chambered organ of dualities. Diastole and systole. Arterial in, venous out. Bright scarlet to deep blue.

My heart a rough shuddering blast-site of anxiety and yearning, rage and unspeakable sorrow, well of tears in love’s desert. A cosmos of nuclei in the darkest cavern of Adam's missing rib, physical as hell, yet radiating infra-red magnetic resonance to the lion in the zoo and the prisoner on death row.

My heart the reggae vibe of resonant fields outdistancing their form, yet deeply embodied in sacred mass. My heart a hologram where other hearts conspire, locus among bones, mingled rays of inter-galactic data. My heart a black hole in the beat generation of stars, alien races in my pulse, longing to become human.

My heart the sinew of sound in “Let there be light," "Ya hi or,” my heart a Word made flesh, portal to creation's core, the embryonic Son, floating in wombs of sea lymph and mother marrow, a mountain in a cloud. 

Organ of gore with a
spectrum of rainbows, celestial power rooted in the gravity of the microbiome, widening to the wild empyrean beyond the elements. The beat thing with no edges, no edges, no edges...

A drum without circumference makes a thunder without sound. It is my heart, r
inging with the quintessential music of the unstruck bell, chiming each proton out of a star. This hungering love, this open wound, this sacrament, my heart.

Painting by Catrin Welz-Stein

Night Poem



Don't give away

all your beauty for free.

Let there be a portion of your silence

that falls into deeper silence,

pulsing like a distant star

in the scented abyss

of your intimacy with no one

but the dark.

Learn the art of not revealing

what you yearn to share

with every thirsty stranger.

Let your luster be like the moon

pulling on the garden

from within.

We all share the night.

Now and then a green
nocturnal bud bursts free,
and there's a sigh
among the ancestors
composted in loam.

Pilgrims stop and want to know,

"What is that fragrance?"

Don't tell them.

Just let your wild

invisible sweetness fill

the air, the hour

before dawn.

Love is a secret.

The Beloved is a secret.

You must be a secret too.