Saturday, February 28, 2009

Blameless Life



Blameless Life

Once, I thought I should never have pain, and that the so-called “life properly lived” should be devoid of grief.

There is a Christian prayer about dying blameless. To me that meant never doing anything wrong, so this was my goal: to live blamelessly, perfectly, acclaimed as worthy by self and others.

Never mind that only the truly saintly or the incurably dishonest could ever boast of accomplishing such a feat. Most people progress through ever escalating levels of self-deception until finally reaching a condition of desperate resignation, when the futility of achieving the euphoric, happy life of sinless perfection becomes patently obvious.

In my own story such a dismal day eventually dawned. The burden of an un-integrated, inauthentic existence became too great.


Then grief opened its flood gates and flowed like a river – or rather like a storm sewer. But still I mistook the benefit of pain and conceived its purpose as being to slap me upside the head with condemnations about being a schmuck and failure.

It was a wakeup call, like pricking one’s finger accidentally on a humongous blackberry thorn. An excruciating - but transient - phenomenon intended to make absolutely clear how screwed up and blameful one’s life really was.

I believed that if what was wrong could be turned around and made right, grief would have served its baleful but necessary purpose and could reasonably be expected to disappear forever into the wastebasket of time.

Therefore I was constantly trying to fix things – myself most of all, but other people as well. I strove to rectify past mistakes, atone for sins, plead forgiveness . . . in short, to find that theoretically possible blameless life so as to feel better.

But the pain didn’t abate. Instead it grew deeper and more constant. Like acid, it kept eating into my beliefs.

Until at last I could no longer visualize a blameless life as proceeding from correct moral conduct. It arose instead from a pure heart, emptied through agony of its selfness and selfishness.

Then grief became my friend, a comforting presence for which my heart longed as lungs thirst for a breath of air. Pain was experienced as life itself, life rising from death, proof of the vibrancy of existence.

It was not something to be endured, escaped or ended, but rather embraced and welcomed.

Even loved.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Old Bag



The Old Bag

It used to be that I was like someone carrying a big old bag wherever he went. All sorts of noisy, uncomfortable objects were in there. Strange moaning sounds would emerge from it at inopportune moments.

I felt awkward in public because of this bag. It couldn’t be completely hidden – over the shoulder or dangling in front, it was always cumbersome, forever in the way.


Its contents were all the unresolved issues of my life, energetic entities trying to burst out into the light of day. Horrible unclean things knocked continually against the flimsy fabric, skeletons grinning maliciously and threatening to clatter their dead, stinky bones with glee into the sophisticated arena of my self-assurance and control.

But now I am learning what to do with these intruders: let them intrude!

Welcome them. Open the bag voluntarily and invite them to emerge.

“Come out, you horrid things of me,” I say. “Come introduce yourselves.”

Then they act like hermit crabs, suddenly hesitant and reluctant. Gradually the shell quivers and a trembling claw stretches forth into the field of my consciousness.

“It is good to see you,” I say, remembering the Godfather’s advice to keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

This is not to suggest the subsequent encounter is fun. Pain hurts, after all. And these creatures consist of hurts I haven’t wanted to know about. Pain that goes deep, way deep, beyond thinking, into some realm of searing sensations beneath the skin like the undying fires of hell.

Finally confident, the creatures pounce with wicked ferocity while I writhe in agony over their ancient wounds. Bit by bit, the inner anguish transfers from the hidden to the manifest realm. I feel it – finally – and the field of awareness gradually becomes more populated and clear. What was formerly invisible grows distinct.

Thus, the old bag airs out, and tugs less and less upon my awareness. Sometimes a knife still darts out from some yet unexamined recess and plunges into my back, or a grisly fist wraps its vengeful fingers around my heart with a ghastly squeeze.

Then I realize another wound is ready to emerge.

And the more I see where all those wounds are . . . the more at peace I feel.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

No Insight



No Insight

Today’s insight is that there is no insight. At first I was daunted by this and saw it as an obstacle to my daily desire for something to understand a little bit more.

Well, today I don’t understand anything any better than I did yesterday.

What’s different though, is that I’m OK with that. I feel fine about it.

After all, cleverness is pretty much just ego candy. The obvious fact is that I am just as dense as others, possibly more so.



The universe patiently repeats itself for my sake. A friend points out that she has previously told me something more than once – a something completely unknown to me at that moment. Or I start to read a book that I’ve read many times already and think, “Were those words printed there before?” Moreover, it seems I must be "wrong" repeatedly before getting the message about how to be "right."

All of this has been very disconcerting, clear proof that my mind is like a sieve leaking out whatever is put into it. But why fight reality?

Brilliance would be nice, no doubt - a photographic memory, the ability to understand complex concepts and express them coherently to others, always having the right words on the tip of one’s tongue.

But it is also good, maybe better, to be content with what one has.

And today I have . . . no insight.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Married to a Dream



Married to a Dream

I was married to a dream – to many dreams, in fact. Some dreams ended after a painful divorce, others continued to hang on through hope, denial and estrangement.

Some of my marriages involved people and some didn’t. For instance, I was married to the dream of fame and success. She is a demanding and jealous lover, one not easy to get over.


And now I see, though it seems strange to say it, that I was married most assiduously to myself. I embraced that thankless person with dedication and perseverance, and endured all kinds of abuse and infidelity in the name of our supposed union.

Yes, that has been the most intense matrimony of them all. It has driven me to the edge - way past despair and distraction.

But finally . . . it seems a divorce is in the making. Our paths have diverged too much – the noisy world of egotistical self-absorption has become unbearable.


I seek quiet, solitude. The spirit of ambition and acclamation is too hard on my nerves. I want to be content with the truth of what has already been given.

So we stare at each other feeling both elated and disconsolate at the separation - which grows more marked daily.

“Goodbye,” I say to myself.

“Goodbye,” myself says back.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shiver



Shiver

I wanted to find the meaning, investigate the meaning, of this experience, of this life. I wanted to express that inquiry into lovely words, into well formed sentences. I wanted to fabricate the beginnings and ends of those sentences such that the whole phrase would be wonderful and satisfying.

I wanted to construct fabulous paragraphs that would speak of incarnation into this universe. Beautiful stories of gazing in awe at the magic of being; tiny human words somehow suggesting limitless eternal verities. I wanted to celebrate vicarious delight in the mystery of existence.

I wanted to cast these words, sentences and paragraphs into the air. Hurl them into the void, toss them beyond the perimeter of my own life toward the abyss where I imagined other souls stood waiting.


Hungry Id’s these other souls seemed to me, yearning for such words, sentences and paragraphs to comfort their long journey through life. We would recognize and commiserate our mutual struggle, the endless movement to penetrate apparent darkness with apparent light.

But I saw that the inner pool from which such words, sentences and paragraphs came was the same vast pool toward which they flowed. Life emanated from itself and penetrated into itself – as a wave upon the ocean, as a shiver on the surface of a bubble.

I saw I had nothing – and everything – to give.

My poverty and my riches were one.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Prison?



Prison?

I watched a movie about a man who was imprisoned thirty years without conviction or trial because of what he knew. My metaphorical mind loved it and immediately became engaged with the mystical symbolism.

I could visualize myself as a prisoner in this worldly life, suffering and struggling for eons until spiritual understanding eventually liberated me from the bonds of ignorance and materialism.

But suddenly this perspective, valid to a point perhaps, struck me as limiting. It was as though the movie set me up to regurgitate an age old idea that never actually delivers the so-called prisoner into the free light of day.


Then a new and unprecedented idea emerged: what if I’ve always been free and am free right now? What if any prison experience was totally self imposed?

The image of the Devil Tarot card came to mind, in which the two people in apparent bondage can liberate themselves easily at any time by merely lifting the loose chains from their necks.

What if the perception of prison and limitation – in whatever form it appears in someone’s life – is a fiction, an assumption, a mistaken perception? What if everything that occurs happens not TO us, but FOR us and BECAUSE of us?

What if the universe is presently giving and has always consistently given exactly what we have needed and asked for?

Wouldn’t that be called . . . liberty?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Belief



Belief

I said I believed in God. But this was because I didn’t know Him and He was a complete stranger. All I knew was me. No one else was in the world of me except me.

I visualized this situation very completely even as a child. There was an “egg of light” that would surround me on call – cup around my whole body in gleaming, protective embrace. Once enclosed by this egg, the whole world was outside and from within I could see nothing but light, like a pale white fog. So how could God or anyone else come in there? I was shielded from everything.

Becoming older, I was taught to believe in God as some kind of entity who was located in “heaven,” which was no one knew where but somehow up. And the reason given for the necessity of this belief was based on guilt and fear. Guilt for God’s self-sacrifice in “saving” my undeserving insignificance, and fear for what would happen if I did not suitably appreciate the unasked for “gift” of salvation.

All these dire theological premises made a big impression upon my sensitive persona, and I strove mightily to believe as instructed. The “suitable appreciation” also required memorizing ritualized ideals (called Catechism) and acting according to ritualized behaviors (called the Ten Commandments).

Soon I made the agonizing discovery that everyone faces who is put in this position, namely: no one, but NO ONE, can keep the Ten Commandments! They are a setup for absolute failure across the board.

I philosophized that this inevitable failure was designed to foster humility, as in the case of the Prodigal Son who rejects his father’s ways and leaves him only to return later humbled from suffering horribly.

Never mind the question of what kind of supposedly loving deity would create people to suffer. Belief requires that we do not question God's integrity. St. Paul even admits this untenable position:

"Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he [God] yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?" (Rom. 9:19-21).

All of this slogging through theology no one can make sense of convinced me that belief cannot bring anyone closer to reality. Belief is itself an indication of mental confusion, because what we know to be true requires no belief system.

God is God whether we believe in Him or not. Although mentally affirming certain conceptual positions might affect our experience of life, at some point we need more than this. Ideas are stepping stones, but not the entire journey.

Reality is more than a thought, and more than CAN be thought.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Great Water



The Great Water

Within our castles we are content with discontent. The hardened walls contain and protect our pasts and futures, hopes and fears, dreams and despondencies. We tour the crenellated walls and note the countless other castles which surround us on three sides. With some of these we make peace, with others we make war, with most we have no concourse whatsoever. And no one is allowed through the drawbridge.


To one side of this realm the Great Water abides upon the horizon. In the distance it fumes and crashes, a sonorous, eternal presence - which no one heeds. What have we to do with the Great Water? It keeps its place and we, content and discontent within our castles, keep ours.

For eons the world has been thus.

Yet the seers speak of a time in which all this shall change. A time of calamity and catclysm is prophesied to come, a time of upheaval and terror, in which the Great Water shall swell and overflow its appointed bounds. It is said that in the Day of Destruction, the waves shall lap closer and closer to this realm until at last moisture from the Deep shall touch our hardened walls.

And the magnificent castles that were supposed to be everlasting, that contained and protected our pasts and futures, hopes and fears, dreams and despondencies, shall bit by bit begin to crumble. The Great Water shall dissolve them block by block, grain by grain, until the native sand from which they arose returns again to its pristine state.


Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. Magnificent and terrible, a wondrous devastation and fantastic undoing shall it be.

For when our castles have collapsed into nothingness, we who dwelt within them shall be liberated and freed from the walls that separated us from eternity.



Like babes newly born shall we look with new and innocent eyes upon a world never yet beheld. Washed and caressed by the Great Water, we shall discover our real home – in which all may dwell together in peace and true contentment forever.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Afraid of Nothing



Afraid of Nothing

My life is like an old book, strangely written, on musty pages. I wake up and try to remember how the story goes. The mind is foggy from sleep and can’t quite remember where it left off. A sense of panic sets in – the characters from the story seem indistinct and the plot vague.

I reach for this old "book" and flip the pages anxiously. God, what amazing crap is there! Who would believe any of this? Who would want to read it even the first time through? A publisher would laugh me out of his office.


Nevertheless, the story reaches for me, indifferent to its vagaries and inconsistencies. "Come back, come back," it beckons. "Read a bit from this chapter or that one – they were a little better, remember?"

But no, my heart is saying. And it hurts very much to comprehend that all this IS just a story - and that it could be ANY story. Everyone has a story, and everyone thinks theirs is pretty important – even if they hate it.

The heart says no because it feels an invisible Vortex swirling. The Vortex is drawing it closer. And the heart senses that entering this Vortex, passing through that energetic passageway, is to lose the story forever.


The heart must unburden itself as a camel passing through the eye of a needle, as Jesus said: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Mat. 19:24). We are rich with our tales of who we are and what we are - even if they are bad fiction.

But only the poor can enter the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God” (Luke 6:20).

The heart sees what the path toward such poverty means, and it feels fear. To lose the story, all the stories, means having nothing and being nothing. It is a fearful prospect to have, and to be, NOTHING.

And the heart is afraid of nothing.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wicked Witch



Wicked Witch

From the bridge, the town could be seen on the other side of the river. During the day there were noises of trucks and cars hurrying, horns and blasts, the pounding of construction projects, the smells of restaurants cooking food for busy people to eat. At night lights moved and glared while the sounds of footsteps and shouting voices carried through the darkness as though the most important things in the world were occurring.

The man watched this intently from the bridge rail. “What are they doing all the time?” he asked.

“Oh, everything possible – and nothing really,” the clown answered with a disinterested glance across the waves. “They believe they are what they do.”

“I remember that,” reflected the man. “I made a list every day of things that had to be done, and checked them off one by one. I needed projects all the time and would start to feel anxious if one finished before the next one was invented and ready to begin. I thought life was all about accomplishments and achievements.”

“Where is your list now?” asked the clown.

“It’s right here,” the man said, patting his pocket. “I always keep it handy to jot things down.” Then an expression of surprise swept over his face as he reached into the pocket. “My list . . . it’s gone!”

“Fancy that,” mused the clown. “But do you really need it now? After all – you’re on a bridge. What have you been doing ever since you got here?”

“Well, actually – nothing at all.”

“Nothing in the best sense of the word, let’s say,” agreed the clown. “And how does that make you feel?”


The man turned his attention from the bustling city activity in the distance to consider this question. He looked up at the balloons hovering above his head and tugging his fingers via strings. The collection of bobbing, floating orbs seemed smaller than it had when he first arrived on the bridge.

How did he feel? A sensation of lightness, like particles of dust blowing into the wind, tingled upon his skin from the depths of his body. It was as though a gentle electrical current were pulsating rhythms of energy into and out of his very being.

“I feel like the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz,” he said quietly at last. “Dorothy accidentally throws a pail of water onto her and she dissolves away into nothingness. It seems horrible, but really it is the most wonderful experience of her life – to stop being a wicked witch.”

The clown pointed into the sky and the man looked up. Some of his balloons were floating away.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Waking Dream



Waking Dream

Night time dreams usually seem to be reality while they are going on – until the moment that waking consciousness dawns and dissipates them. But sometimes a person may have the experience of realizing he is dreaming.

Then the dream loses its grip – whatever threats of evil or promises of good fortune it is offering are seen to be illusory. The dreamer feels liberated, above the grasp of the dreamy chain of circumstance and consequence – he can walk away from it, laugh at it, be at peace and unmolested.

The real world also has dream-like qualities. Individuals and societies swirl through their collective dreams, their story-lines of who they are and what "it" is all about. Everyone seems trapped in a chain of circumstance and consequence from which there is no escape, no possible extrication.


Or is there? The Buddha, or awakened one, continues to abide in this world, but is no longer a dreamer in it. He is no longer a believer in the story, no longer possessed by the grip of phantom obligations and compulsions.

Surely this what Jesus spoke of in being "in the world but not of the world."


The spirit of awakening produces a yearning to let go of the dream, to release the filmy fabric of illusion and let it fall away into the fairy dust of inconsequence. It produces a yearning to rise and float higher toward the true light, the substantial unseen reality from which the insubstantial yet apparent world derives its life force.

To stop being a mere bit player, and unconscious actor in a confused and chaotic drama . . . and to instead become director of an orderly and gorgeous spectacle of unfolding truth.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Letting Go



Letting Go

We are letting go. The world and its troubles have sucked the life away since day one. It has plugged into our heads, our hearts, our guts, even our sex. It devours every part of this human vital energy to use and manipulate in its own hellish ways. And it has been doing so for a long, long time.

Problems are presented continuously. There are so many, so intractable, so insolvable – they are a veritable caleidascope of runaway nightmares, piling on one another, overlapping, bursting into view over and over with electric jolts that painfully compel our complete attention.

They say, “This will never be OK; that will never be OK. Well, you must try with all your energy to make them become OK, but failure will result.”


Until at last some kind of revolt begins to occur within us – the body and psyche withdraws its commitment and connection to that world of suffering. Our exterior surface cracks as an amazing molting process commences: a new person preparing to step out of an old skin.

The world protests at this. “Don’t let go! All these problems are so important! You must try to figure everything out! You must not give up the fight!”

Yes, it has been quite a battle. But we are exhausted from it and of it.

Now, we are letting go.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Equilibrium



Equilibrium

The world is out of balance, out of control – so much is wrong everywhere that gigantic efforts must be made to make it all right again.

Wait a minute . . . is that true?

Storms arise as conditions coagulate to bring them into manifestation. Hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes, earthquakes – every kind of geological or atmospheric event is produced by forces interacting in an overall state of equilibrium. High pressure here flows toward low pressure there. High temperature there flows toward low temperature here. Movement proceeds toward stillness and vice versa.


In the human realm it seems some people are constantly doing or experiencing something “wrong” while others are trying to prevent or undo that wrongness. But all this is on the surface of things – the external, the manifest dimension of life.

It may very well be that nothing is wrong at all, either collectively or individually. Storms occur, followed by more peaceful conditions, leading to other storms. Everything is happening just as it should, reflecting a system in perfect equilibrium throughout the whole.

The human perspective should be not to stop this or that from happening, but to experience it more deeply. To move beyond the surface waves and outer manifestation of wrongness, and discover how each occurance is a feature of universal balance.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Answer Man



The Answer Man

There is one big Answer Man “out there,” and also one in our heads. The personal Answer Man has a loud, insistent voice that is usually blaring. He shouts about what “is” happening, what should be happening, and what shouldn’t be happening, all because of what already did happen or what might happen.

This guy is amazing – never seems to get tired. There he is, first thing in the morning with his laundry list of things that are wrong and what to do about them. He is totally preoccupied with his own ideas, trying to make sure everything is OK with his stuff. He wants to foresee any possible threat to well-being and head it off at the pass. He should get a medal.


But a commemoration would be better. Because really, he is a dinosaur – a breed headed for extinction. His techniques may have worked in the past, but they are not what is needed now. Integration is not just a personal thing for one’s individual benefit or enjoyment. It means plugging in to the whole, being one (integral). The “separation” frame of reference that is at the root of evil, sin, economic collapse, whatever – is inadequate for transformation to unity consciousness.


This means the days of the Answer Man – the big one and the little one both – are running out. We are learning there are more effective ways to respond to life’s issues that don’t require mental analysis or reasoning.

Feel them.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Someone Who Knows What to Do


Some Who Knows What to Do

We are looking for someone who knows what to do. We are seeking the Answer Man capable of solving personal perplexion.


We want to find the guy who can fix the world's problems, who can fix our individual problems, who can make the pain, confusion and uncertainty go away - who can make us feel safe.

Thus, the political hoopla that constantly grips the world,and the excitement (leading inevitably to disappointment) over governmental figures promising to know what to do.

Only one person really knows what to do, but he doesn't promote himself as a leader or problem solver. He just is.

So, here's another Count Down song on the current subject.

video

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Expectations



Expectations

Without noticing, I had acquired expectations. If those expectations were met I became a happy victor; if they were not I became an angry victim.

Reaction was going on without my awareness. Hmm . . . isn’t this the definition of being unconscious?

But then a miracle occurred: a “bad” day, in which lots of triggers got pulled. They were all aimed at my vulnerabilities, and discharged venomous loads directly into my nervous system.

It was a massacre. The body got riddled with holes and the head popped off like one of those cartoon characters that eats exploding dynamite and lives to talk about it.

Afterwards, I was sweeping up the fragments of self strewn all over the place - and wondering how such a thing could happen to someone striving to be integrated and authentic.

On some level it was probably a lesson about the danger or foolishness of expectation. After all, Jesus says, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself” (Mat. 6:34).

Be here now, give everything to this moment; don’t lean on others for completion. That feels like the message.

So, another day in earth school and the student is still trying to get it.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dreaming



Dreaming

I awaken from dreams and feel immersed in dreams still. The room looks familiar – yet it disappears repeatedly into one strange scene after another, each of which emerges full-blown as though already in the middle of a complex plot.


Suddenly I recall that I am lying in bed attempting to wake up. What did that last dreamy episode mean? God knows. I can make no sense of it and feel frustrated by this bobbing from one unreality to the next. Where is solid ground? Why can’t I wake up, once and for all?

Reflection suggests that the history of my life is pretty much a string of “dreams” – events that seemed visceral and intense at the time but were unconscious of the deeper truth of being. Meanwhile this very day is apparently beginning as another episode in the continuing illusion of wakeful living. Maybe that’s not how it really is, but that’s how it seems at 5 A.M.


It is weird to live as a caricature of one’s own self – as an actor or pretender to the throne, out of focus, disconnected, like an important electrical circuit were missing or non-functional. To feel that someone else could live this life better and make a go out of what has been a near constant turn into confusion and quagmire.

This is what the dream does – it has no firm conclusion. It doesn’t connect. It is not even a cliff-hanger because its plot is not coherent enough for that. It simply vaporizes out of one bizarre scene and reformulates into something else equally nonsensical.


God, it is such a strain to be human! Who came up with this cosmic scheme in which truth is so difficult to identify? I’d like to say it just doesn’t work for me, but no one is asking my opinion – no one that counts.



And that’s the dream – awareness not being able to make sense of its surroundings and feeling alien in its own experience, whether in bed at night or walking around during the day. But maybe the good news is in noticing . . . that it is just a dream.

video

So here's one of my tunes, "Sleepy Time," with yours truly making music.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hope Arising



Hope Arising

Hope arises organically – not from thoughts, but from the pulsing of life within. Hope blooms like a flower of pale, non-presumptuous light, seeming so weak but nevertheless pushing back the frontiers of darkness.

Hope in the heart does not promise “good things” or that “things will work out.” It does not promote an agenda or solution to problems. Rather, it is the link to immortality from which the remembrance returns: “We are beyond all this.”


Hope in the heart is at once so gentle and so powerful that before it demons quail in helplessness. Hope does not motivate the boast that we shall prevail - it quietly reminds that we have never been defeated.


One person with hope in the heart is an invincible warrior, a formidable ally to those still adrift in fearful ignorance. One person with hope in the heart can move the seemingly immoveable – not through confidence in a false sense of “self,” but because hope is the doorway through which the unseen presence emanates from that world into this one.

Hope allows the transformation of lead into gold; it permits the renewal of matter by means of spirit. It is the conduit, the passageway, the facilitation, the means, by which divine wholeness comes into the realm of the manifestly broken.


When the first faint trace of hope appears in your soul, when that rare and precious bloom begins to unfold, when the subtle pre-light of dawn stirs, then rejoice and know that the ghastly years of living for yourself are coming to an end - and a wondrous age of service to others is opening.

For this world is desperate, aching and hungry for hope, smothered in its self-made darkness – the hell of hopelessness. And to you it will cling, though unknowingly, as the servant of the one true savior.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Alright



Alright

I am alright with this day – nothing more is needed. It is not necessary for the heavens to open to my sight, nor need angels whisper in my ears. I am neither worthy nor unworthy. This life is enough.

I am alright with this moment – no remarkable revelation is required. My happiness and joy are sufficient as given; for this present breath I am grateful.

Praise God for the memory of love, of joy, of peace, for the ferocious kiss of lover’s passion, for the passionless pat of gentle kindness.

Praise God for this room in which I pray, for the chair in which I sit, the book I read, the coffee I drink, all that commends itself to the compassionate comfort of now.

Praise God for this passing moment, which recedes even now into the treasury of all that has ever been. Thanks both for that which is lost forever, and for that which is yet to be given.

Blessed be the stars above, the earth below, between which I pass as a vapor in the night, a fleeting entity to be remembered and forgotten forever. Blessed be my joys and my pains, my triumphs and failures, my ease and my struggles - all that has revealed life’s manifold wonders and mysteries as though playthings to a learning child.

Blessed be this me, the greatest mystery of all, this self so known yet unknown, deeply and continually experienced while remaining an everlasting stranger.

And blessed be what cannot even be fathomed or imagined – so that if this were the last opportunity, I should not have failed to thank all . . . for all.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Indiscriminate Intimacy



Indiscriminate Intimacy

What the world is facing now is the energetic consequences of physical associations. In relationships between people, between cultures, between countries – even when modulated by an intermediary such as money – what happens energetically is where the real action is.

We are currently experiencing the effect of too much indiscriminate intimacy in the global economy. Financial fornication (or some other “f” word) has been enjoyed by some who have achieved unfair profit orgasms at the expense of others.

From an energetic point of view this is destructive to both parties, and the Holy Scriptures of various traditions counsel using discrimination with sex and money.

It is amazing to see the zeal with which random sex is hyped in the modern world. This is put forward as an indicator of success, a symbol of freedom, a promise of immortality - or some other delusional concept.

Bruce Springsteen began the latest Superbowl halftime show by sliding into the microphone stand with a huge grin. The implication was that his penis consisted of six feet of gleaming chrome, and that the following concert was a musical masturbation involving the audience’s vicarious participation.

Such cultural icons personalize the spiritual crisis which mankind is facing. Denseness of perception, dullness of thought, dangerous imbalance of energetic flow within and between people – all these are indicators of the global meltdown currently in progress.

But this is not a question of moral outrage. Morality is for people who need to be governed by rules they can’t feel – who must have the authority of external laws while lacking the inner resources to control themselves.

The central issue for man in these times is: how should one’s life energy be used?

Every interaction is more than physical. When bodies meet, energy fields and even consciousness co-mingle. Do you want to share inner energies with a stranger? Do you want to kiss a spiritual leper?

Awareness and circumspection are called for now. Wakefulness and caution are necessary to the health of one’s inner and outer domains.

For people whose energy is all over the map, the process of bringing it all back home may prove to be arduous – but it is the way to healing.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Dust Cloud



Dust Cloud

My life feels like a dust cloud – the image coming to mind is of America’s dust bowl in the thirties, when the sun would be obscured by storms of dried earth that smothered and suffocated everything.

But my dust storm is not merely dried earth; it contains a lot of other scary stuff. No one would want to be in this, least of all me.

Isn’t this so negative, to think of one’s life that way? Shouldn’t I be speculating on the divine light within and promoting that? Well, there must be some kind of light inside somewhere, but that isn’t what is revealed right now.

This is the graveyard, where bones are buried, stinky things that have the scent of eternal death on them. This is what is underneath the veneer of “me.”


I totally believe it is important to see and experience this wasteland, to have illusions devastated about the wonderful person that ought to have been there but isn’t. Frankly, there isn’t anything more heartbreaking.

My life, by which I mean the story of my life, that fictional monstrosity that opens its pages every morning and says, “Let’s continue where we left off,” is thus presented not in terms of an intriguing and romantic plot structure, but rather as the base concoction of a thoroughly undisciplined and dissipated author. And so there develops an increasingly strong desire for this story to end.

When that happens, a rather perplexing passage in the Bible begins to make more sense:

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26).

The stories about who we are and who the other people in our lives are – they aren’t real or true. And telling them over and over prevents us from perceiving Christ as the light within.

That dust cloud - I long to let it go. I hate it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Walking Stick



Walking Stick

Every morning I sit in an old fashioned rocking chair and drink coffee while reading inspirational literature and getting my bearings for the day. This is a totally solitary procedure, and I like it that way. Solitude is healing.

But today, most unexpectedly, I thought some company would suit my meditations. So I brought the humble Vietnamese walking stick out of his bower of blackberry leaves and put it on the round Indian table where my current book usually sits.

This little creature was fascinating to watch. It seemed more than at peace with being someplace new, hardly moving except to sway a bit from side to side whenever I moved the coffee cup.


Over the course of an hour it gradually moved toward the edge of the table and put a couple legs onto the wall – a process so slow in occurring as to be nearly indiscernable.

Well sure, that is the walking stick’s survival mechanism. It looks and acts like a “stick,” and sticks don’t normally move around a lot.

But at the same time, the patience with which this insect was “in the moment” was very instructive.

People are usually not much like this at all. They are impatient to be elsewhere, and even when supposedly enjoying where they are – for instance on vacation – their minds are seldom at rest, completely satisfied and present with the experience currently in progress. There is “what will happen next, what should I do now, what will I do later, what about what happened yesterday, and omigod that movie I saw, and . . .” always going on non-stop in the echoing mindless mind.

Sometimes it seems there is maybe nothing more important a person can be doing, than putting that mental activity to bed. Maybe the pain that comes our way is to make it stand out in agonized relief, to make the mindless mind so unbearable that out of self-defense we choose to pull the plug on it.

Because even the smallest progress in this direction produces a noticeable change in one’s life. The inner dynamic shifts, a quietness and stillness begins to become noticeable as the preferred state of awareness. The seeking of entertainments and distractions lessens; the craving for inner Communion becomes steadily stronger.

My Vietnamese walking stick is not burdened with a sense of imposed obligation or concocted responsibility – there is nothing it needs to accomplish to be a success. At the same time, nothing could happen that would make it a failure. It has all that it needs. Food and shelter, yes - but far more than that.

It is exactly what it is, neither more nor less, than what it is. And therein lies peace.