Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Curtain Call



Curtain Call

The day begins; I have re-entered the dream of my life.

Now, it is not quite so arduous as before, the actor on the stage is not so convincing to the audience, he does not compel such complete attachment and identification.

I shall engage the dream of this day knowing it to be a passing scene from which the un-passing witness will emerge unchanged.

Therefore, let the scene be well acted. And let the actor perform well.

Let him be unafraid and brave. Let him face uncertainty with calm trust.

Let him do what is best for all and not seek his small protections.

May this day’s play be fitting and commendable.

Let it be a triumph not of ego and conflict, but rather of simple humility and good will.


Then shall the witness stand in appreciation at the curtain call.

Then shall he applaud a show that has been much to his liking.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Pier



The Pier

Extending out into the river was a narrow wooden pier that floated upon the rippling waves, steamy in a warm afternoon sun.

This was a place I liked to come, to sit inches from the flowing Willamette and breathe deep the serenity of water and sky.

But one day I discovered, in my favorite spot at the end of the pier, a wedding ring lying.

No one was around to query or alert – I was alone with the immense discovery.

And how often does a person find a wedding ring?

It was a simple gold band such as many people wear. No initials, no engravings, no distinguishing marks beyond the scratches of being long worn.

Was it lost? Abandoned? Left by accident? Left on purpose? Did someone want it back? Or never want to see it again?

And . . . why me? Why did I find it?


Why was a wedding ring waiting at the spot where I like to sit on the pier, on the day I decided to go to the river?

Why was it suspended over moving water, the universal symbol of spirit, and not on the shore somewhere?




The event seemed so improbable and strange that it had to be staged – some kind of cosmic communication.

Was it a message about someone else’s life? A message about mine?

So many questions floating by . . .

Drifting downstream . . .

Passing on a river of spirit . . .

Easing past the reach of rational answers . . .



. . . till I could ponder them no longer.


And so,

Thankful for meeting the wondrous wedding ring,

I sat down in my accustomed spot at the end of the pier,

Inches from the flowing Willamette,

And breathed deep the serenity of water and sky.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Attachment



Attachment

The pope and I were changing clothes together in a locker room. Not sure why – maybe he wanted me to feel at ease in visiting the Vatican.

He asked a lot of questions about my background. I told him that in my religious tradition people were supposed to fast from regular food before receiving Holy Communion.

The pope expressed surprised at this practice but also said he understood.

“Only to man are some things more holy than others,” he told me. “In God this is not the case.”

After this, ranks of situations and concepts presented themselves for my review. Some of these would have been considered important or holy while the others just the reverse.

But suddenly I realized they were all equal – equally important, and equally unimportant.

And I realized the only thing that moved something from one camp to the other was a person’s attachment to it.

Aversion or desire made the seemingly unimportant become important.

A nice message in a well presented vision.

But why was the pope in it?

Maybe to underline the point:

the seemingly most important of men with the seemingly least so

. . . both putting on their pants one leg at a time.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Dream Self



The Dream Self

After the dream is over you wonder how you could have been fooled by its ridiculous premises.

Why was your dream self so afraid and cautious? Why was it so self-protective and petty?

The experience was only a dream, after all. A toothless monster, a ghostly film appearing in consciousness, soon to be vaporized by the light of wakefulness.

Why did your dream self not act boldly, courageously?

Why did it not display love and compassion?

Why did it not risk itself for the highest achievements?

You awaken and are embarrassed by your dream self.

You feel ashamed of its seemingly limitless stupor, its uncanny ability to stumble and fall, to be awkward and ignorant.

In the light of day, it is easy to see what your dream self could have done better.

Next time, you say.

Next time my dream self will forget its personal interests and embrace the great beyond.

Next time it will be true.

Next time it will really be . . . me.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Father and Mother



Father and Mother

Mother touches the heart and it warms, remembering love.

This child has sought Mother’s all-embracing milk from many other breasts, but in vain.

Father touches the mind and it opens, perceiving truth.

This child has sought Father’s mighty wisdom from many other teachers, but in vain.


Do not depart from me, O my Mother and my Father!

This child has been an orphan wanderer for so long! It has cried for you ceaselessly in the night!

This child does not seek anything but your touch. It is lost and miserable, not knowing itself without you.

This child desires you above everything – all past, lesser desires have arisen out of the frustration of your absence.


This child does not need to know why things are as they are. It is content to trust in your love and your wisdom.

Be with me, O my Mother and my Father.

Please be with me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Too Fat



Too Fat

I was driving down the road and the car just wouldn't go fast, everything passed it by. Finally I looked underneath and saw that the tires were too fat. They were rubbing against the frame.

So the painful, plodding trip went forward in slow motion, agony stretching into infinity.

Then a view opened to a cheese factory where blocks of cheese were being processed for shipment. Ladies in sanitized gowns stood by watching for anything that might go wrong.

At that moment they saw a block of cheese that was oversized, didn't fit the process. Quickly they knocked it off the line so it didn't obstruct the others.

Into the reject tub it went.

Too fat.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Not Bored



Not Bored

I sat in a technical-intellectual meeting for hours – and wasn’t bored.

It wasn’t that I understood the content, far from it. THAT was a needle’s eye my mind wasn’t willing to go through.

But something else became highly interesting, even completely absorbing:

I noticed how good my right foot felt inside its canvas sneaker.

Amazing sensations arose along the toes whenever I wriggled them a bit. Soon the arch and heel contributed their own tingly pleasures.

But that wasn’t all.

The shin was also in good shape (feeling-wise) under its pants, and the knee was having a very good time being knee-worthy.

As I put attention on the various regions, hips, back, arm, etc., they ALL contributed favorable status reports.

Meanwhile my left foot also started making its presence noticed in a very agreeable way. After a moment I couldn’t tell whether the left or right side felt better.

All this inner activity was far more satisfying than what was going on around me, namely death-by-indoctrination.

Not every bodily sensation was warm and fuzzy, though. Conditions in some regions of the CD biosphere were not totally ideal – for instance there was a certain weirdness in the stomach, a slight tightness in the shoulders.

Still, there was a definite sense of pleasure in paying attention even to these.

And so . . . time passed easily as I communed with the waves of life movement flowing over, under, around and through this mysterious presence which goes by my name.

Some other day, when I’m bored, maybe I’ll try to figure out what happened in the meeting.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Walking on Water



Walking on Water

A group of us were working together on various jobs and I had been watching my work load decrease bit by bit. Then one day the guy in charge called us all together.

He said things were getting really tough. I could see the worry on his face. I could feel my stomach go queasy.

But suddenly . . . I wrenched myself free.

“No, it isn’t like that!” I said emphatically.

And immediately, I was awake.

A relief, and a lesson.

Lying there, I thought of Jesus walking on the water. A “miracle” – that’s how this episode is interpreted and conveyed:

"Don't try this at home!"


But at that moment I saw it in a new light.

I felt Jesus was teaching us to walk on the story of our lives rather than sinking into it and drowning.

Peter had tried to follow Jesus’ example and was initially doing fine.

“But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me” (Mat. 14:30).

I totally get that.

There are moments when the peace is strong and I feel part of the big picture.

Then that boisterous wind blows fear into my heart and suddenly it is:

“Omigod, MY STORY!”

And the drowning commences.

A little later that night my dream continued.

I was in a room with wooden walls and big wooden drawers that slid into the walls. These drawers held the mysteries to everything imaginable.

I came to one drawer that supposedly contained the “answer” for me, and slid it open with high anticipation. Inside were rows and rows of folded objects whose use was impossible to conjecture. I was dumbfounded.

But then . . . I got it (I think).

What I need is not in some drawer somewhere that has to be found. It is already here.

This is the reality that has to be faced squarely every day and lived with intently.

There is nowhere else I can go, nowhere else I need to go.

It’s all here now.

Be with it.

That's walking on water.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Body


The Body

I have been watching the state of my body changing. This has many aspects, but one of them is called aging.

The skin gets thinner, the muscle tone harder to maintain. Seems like healing takes longer and body stuff generally starts seeming less optimal.

Some of that is a result of laziness and stupidity – not doing what is healthier, continuing to abuse the system the way “ignorant youth” (to use a vague generality) often do. That part I can try to correct.

But a person could pump iron and down vitamins until he was 105 and still experience an inevitable physical decline. We aren’t intended to live forever in this life, this incarnation. This is only a part of the bigger picture.

So, there are things to improve if possible - but also things to accept as they are regarding the amazing gift of our physical vehicle,

this form that allows us to experience the world and presents the possibility of bringing awareness and consciousness into manifestation.

And the gradual, inevitable weakening that it goes through now seems to contain or reveal another blessing – the withdrawal of energy from that physical realm of experience so it is more available for the contemplative and meditative dimension.

Plants flower in summer and their blossoms fade. Even though the stalks wither and grow dry, seed pods emerge – the culmination of that plant’s possibilities in its present life cycle.

I feel increasingly able to accept and cherish the culminating, concluding era of my own life cycle, however long that is yet to last.

And I hope the energy released from maintaining the outer body so assiduously can heat up the inner spirit all the more.

I hope all parts of me burn in the light.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Syrup



Syrup

The present days have pulled me into the story again, at least that’s how it feels.

Like drowning in syrup, something so thick your legs can’t kick and you are fatigued into suffocation.

A person wonders, when will it be over, this story of me that is so tiring and tiresome?

When will the exhilaration of things going as wished, the frustration (more common) of things not doing so - really be over?

And so, who would want to speak of all this?

Who would want to record it, articulate it into stone?

Maybe in another day, another week, I will regain fresher air, distance myself a bit again from the story of me where the sun doesn’t seem to shine.

Yet on the other hand, the intent of this blog was to be a record of my journey, a supposedly representative human, through the days at hand -

both the seemingly good and the seemingly bad.

And so, with some reservations, there it is.

From the currents of leg entwining syrup,

Signing off for now,

Yours,

CD

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wave of Light



Wave of Light

The wave of light arrives in all its intense mystery and splendor, illuminating the moment.

Caught up in this transcendent experience, one's heart flutters in joy and agony, perceiving yet more clearly both the transparency and the translucency of its human state.

This glorious wave is inspiration itself, catching up one's awareness into realms of delight and despair, into hope and desolation, as the limitless expanse of existence flashes into view briefly, its wonder beyond description.

One thinks, “Now I understand; now I see. I shall live this way always.”

But after a moment, when the day's gift has been imparted . . . the wave scintillatingly fades out of view.

Yes, now you are to live this way.

At least for today.

You are charged with taking the inspiration delivered from on high and bringing it into this world of flesh and blood, where people have wounds and sores and are confused.

But apply it first to yourself, to your own discontinuities and dramas.

And then, perhaps, eventually . . .

that gift may reach also unto others.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Conflicting Belief



Conflicting Belief

The world places a lot of value on belief. People are accepted or ostracized over beliefs; countries go to war and entire cultures have been demonized and exterminated because of beliefs.

What “you” believe is not what “I” believe. Therefore you should be made to believe what I believe. Failing that, you should not exist.

Beliefs are the building blocks of who we conceive ourselves to be. But the fact that so much human disharmony has resulted from them shows what faulty foundational materials they really are.

People only believe in stuff they don’t actually know about. There is no need to believe in what is experienced as true. Therefore all such belief oriented conflict has ignorance and superstition as its basis.

This is most evident at the macro level of cultural and national interactions, but equally observable at the level of the individual person.

Just try challenging an important belief structure depended upon for one’s sense of reality. Try letting go of it and see what happens.

Disorientation? Distress? Disturbance? Most likely.

It is very difficult to not believe in what the world believes. In every direction forces are moving to persuade each human that the verities of life are already determined, and here is what they are. Accept them as presented and all is well.

Reject them in whole or part and be damned both in this world and the one to come.

But it is prophesied that the world will have and end.

Perhaps that is coming soon.

One can suppose the end of the world means the end of all those beliefs by which the world has been sustained.

And one can therefore hope for

freedom at last for weary souls everywhere.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Treasure



The Treasure

The treasure was said to be contained within a chest. Almost everyone had heard about it, but almost no one had seen it.

The treasure was so vast in its unimaginable magnificence that legends wove around it.

There was an old woman who lived in a hut, simple and poor. Some things that she had hoped for in life had come, only to be taken away later. Other things she had hoped for had never come at all.

But she was not bitter. Her worn fingers would open the shutters of her hut every morning, and her old eyes would gaze reverentially upon the dawn. With gratitude for the breath of life that passed her lips, she would pass the day in prayer and obedience to plain necessities.

The old woman knew the legend of the treasure of course, but she did not seek to find it. Such wealth as this was not something she desired, or could even conceive.

So it was with wonder that one morning she found an oddly decorated chest upon the dirt floor of her hut. Kneeling before it, she lifted its lid, never suspecting the gift that had come unbidden to her life.

Within the chest was a beautiful cloth, finely woven and intricate. It was strange, yet also strangely familiar.

The woman touched this cloth gently and felt a vast pain sweep through her heart, a long lost memory known only in its deepest feelings of profound hurt.

The woman picked up the cloth as if it were a tender child. She held it, caressed it, and allowed the pain of it to flow freely, accepted at last.

At her embrace, the cloth disintegrated into fine dust as its long held agony dissolved. And the woman breathed more deeply the fire of life.

Then she looked again into the chest.

There lay another cloth, and yet another, and another and another.

Each a memory, a forgotten hurt, an ancient rejected pain never felt or healed.

Each waiting through the ages to be touched, loved and released.

And the woman understood that the greatest of all treasures

was now hers.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kirtan



Kirtan

The Kirtan was like standing in the rain without an umbrella. First gentle drops fall sporadically, and one feels slightly indifferent, unaffected.

Then the thunder crashes, a wakeup call. Drums beat, the rhythm grows gradually frenetic, and one’s body begins to sway and tremble involuntarily.

Sound washes over the entire world, roaring into the innermost recesses of consciousness. Everything known and unknown is deluged by the names of God in long lost tongues.

Now the rain falls in earnest and one is like a soaked newspaper on the ground, drenched in the irresistible impulses of mass worship.

Every concept of self, every deep memory or present consideration rises to the surface and is splattered into unrecognizable blobs by the swirling currents of vocal energy.

The entire inner realm is penetrated, mutilated and reinvented,

then left to dry limp and bruised on a street corner.

It was good.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Humility



Humility

I looked again into the bitter pool of my grief and regret, its black depths beyond fathoming.

The pain of it had not lessened in all the years.

Indeed, its acidic vapors etched even more keenly upon my heart, burning into the flesh of my being.

“But, all my tears,” I cried to the Great One, “are these not repentance enough? When will the pool be emptied? Will it ever be drained?”

Then my heart spoke to me.

“Stop, friend,” it said gently.

“Do not ask for what can never be. These dark waters will never depart, nor should they. For nothing less than their painful cleansing could wash the film of blindness from your eyes, the fog of senselessness from your soul.”

And I understood that humility came from knowing

not just once but for always

that one had touched the lowest point in the universe.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Yes



Yes

“What do you know?”

This is the question.

But the answer has nothing to do with information memorized and on tap in the mind. Can we possess facts, own information?

Not any more than a refrigerator should imagine it possesses the mayonnaise stored inside it. Jars come in, jars go out; food arrives then goes away again.

If the refrigerator takes this temporary condition personally, as its own identity, wouldn’t that be silly?

When a brain decays, presumably all of the facts it has labored to log and maintain fade away. All that was known is known no longer.

Our bodies are meant for more than this. More than for gathering facts that dissappear into the oblivion from which they came.

Our bodies are precious and finely tuned instruments. They are bridges and conduits, antennas for perceiving not only the finite, but the infinite.

They can detect the path to knowing, to knowing as arriving, to knowing as . . .

Being There.

While just thinking about all this is a detour.

The thinker should not be the driver along this path, but only a passenger, someone who can comment on what is already happening (if asked).

So, perhaps the answer to the question might be something like

“Yes!”

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pentecost



Pentecost

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7).

The body remembers that God has breathed fire into it, the fire of life. The body knows what this feels like, the flame of life racing in its veins, radiating throughout every muscle and fiber.

It is a metaphorical memory perhaps, as of something that happened to humanity as a collective and remains imbedded in each cell’s sense of ultimate identity.

This cellular remembrance includes the awareness of separation which now afflicts all. Therefore the body also knows well what the absence of God’s life force within it feels like – that tomb-like walking death that most people interpret as normal existence.

The body’s longing to be reborn into true life is intense and pervasive – so much so that the conscious person cannot bear to feel it. Like a limb fallen asleep, but extending over the entire corpus and magnified beyond reckoning, this scintillating agony stretches endurance.

Within the Christian tradition is a striking event in which God's spirit of life returns to the flesh.

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:1-4).


Pentecost is celebrated today according to the Orthodox Christian calendar. It marks the beginning of the Christian Church as an institution, but also stands as a sign of healing to the whole of humanity as represented by those people upon whom the spirit came.


The flame of God’s life returned again to the body and manifested as breath, enabling those at the first Pentecost to speak in all languages so that anyone could understand and become a participant in their phenomenal experience of rebirth and renewal.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Always Saying Goodbye



Always Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye is an experience we hate, and run from at full speed.

Nevertheless, we are saying goodbye each moment to everything in that moment.

“We will come back,” we think.

We will come back to the people, to the situation.

They are not gone for always.

No?


Even if we DO come back to them, are they the same ones we left behind?

Are WE the same that left them behind?

Is ANYTHING the same?

Life’s whirlpool of mystery is continually threatening to drown all human understanding.



Someday, perhaps it will completely do so.

And someday (we hope) all “leaving behind” will itself be left behind - forever.

Someday everything that CAN be taken away will be GONE.

Then there will be nothing left to lose.

That will be the end of all fear and hope.

That will be the beginning of eternity.

The beginning of the unending.

But till then,

We are always saying goodbye.

video

"Always Saying Goodbye," Another Count Down original tune.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Shadow of Existence



The Shadow of Existence

The sun was low on the horizon while I rested in a cemetery after my day’s labors. The light of dusk flowed serenely through the graveyard, casting lengthening shadows of tombstones onto the verdant grass.


The shadows seemed a metaphor for existence in this world. Everything originates with the sun, within the sun, and its life is sustained by the sun. Then its very form is defined by the sun. Yet, upon this source of life we cannot look directly.


Somewhere it is written, "No man shall look upon God and live." It is the shadows cast into this world that reveal the light.

And so the personality of me is a shape within God’s radiance, an obstructing shadow cast into the world, a presence that defines God’s light through its very denseness.

This is both my consolation and my torment.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Gouging with Blessings



Gouging with Blessings

Blessings were being prepared for someone I know and care about. I was brought into the place where this was happening and allowed to watch.

Ingredients were gathered together for each one; they seemed like colored energies of various shapes, assembled into combinations that made no sense to my unknowing eyes.

A brown-skinned woman was overseeing the process, and she reminded me of someone serving food at a soup kitchen for the homeless – compassionately indifferent. There were always infinite numbers of people needing to eat and desiring blessings.

She had a helper, who was also non-effusively competent. They did this all the time, made blessings for people who thought their case was the worst thing ever.

Of course I wondered what these particular blessings could be, but remained clueless. Nevertheless, a little later I was shown something about one of my own blessings.

My god, what pain! My heart felt as though gouged with a wood working tool.

“Why?” I asked. “If this is a blessing, why does it hurt so much?”

And the answer . . .

“To make room for love.”

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Jewel of a Problem



Jewel of a Problem

I labored with my work, beholding a jewel of a problem. Toiled unsuccessfully for a solution that remained out of reach.

Despair came knocking, the ghosts that so love to haunt within the realm of fear and uncertainty.

“We will mortify you into eternity,”
they boasted.

And I had no words with which to drive them back.

Then a savior came, an ordinary man, quite undistinguished in many ways. Very busy he was, declaring he had no time to spare.

But he gave generously in spite of those protestations, bestowing his wisdom, scooping from his own pot of skill and knowledge into mine.

And we laughed when the problem succumbed to our mutual ministrations, for in truth we were both enriched by the struggle.

Yet there was work to do, now within my measure, but so much to complete in order to satisfy a hungry customer.

But I had grown weary with the long test and desired respite.

While others, with frowns of anxiety, demanded to know when all would be ready so that products could emerge. An unspoken accusation hovered in their voices. A besmirching inquiry that strove to unseat my calm.

So I struggled with whether to rest my spirit or continue engaged through the night, and felt bitterness rising up.

Finally I said,

“Bitterness, I have tasted you many times before, and your nausea has propelled countless battles. So come, be at home, but in prayer we will seek our rest in the dust of gratitude.”

And it seemed to me that both the savior and the antagonist were but tools of the divine.

And I accepted that the jewel of a problem was rubbing upon the jewel of my being

In order to polish it more finely.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Child on the Road



Child on the Road

I am but a child weeping along the side of a dusty road.

Grownups pass by heedless and disdainful, even that particular adult called by my name.

In this lowly spot I know without doubt my absolute need and utter dependency.

I have nothing, I am nothing.

Sometimes the world drops a toy nearby, as though this might stifle my interminable cries of longing.

But these are dead things to me, distractions and contrivances that cannot touch the heart of need.

To the world, such children are only pre-adults waiting to enter their realm of deadness and loss, destined to wander endlessly in meaningless circles.

But now the child weeps along the side of the road instead.

And in the dust of adults passing by heedless and disdainful,

I am closer to home than before.

Having nothing and being nothing,

My heart draws nearer its truest peace.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Cast Seed



The Cast Seed

Actually I DO get that there is a dimension somewhere in me that “knows” – otherwise there could not be any sense of “not knowing.”

What a paradox! One’s inner life seems like a planetary system, all these globes whirling around in constantly shifting alignments and positions and influences.

Or like globules of oil in water, bumping into one another and blurping into larger globules from time to time, losing their smaller identity to become something more complete.

The part of me that knows is staring at the part that thinks it doesn’t know.

And THAT part is staring – or glaring – back going, “Come on, sucker, let’s get on with this enlightenment thing!”

Good grief, when will this endless drama be over?

Or maybe it is over already and I just haven’t noticed.

Jesus says the kingdom of God is:

“As if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he knoweth not how” (Mark 4:27).


So much energy goes into the effort of spiritual striving for self-perfection. The prayers, meditations, readings. The talking and mulling and suffering and struggling.

Really! Do we even know whether any of this is accomplishing anything?


The seed has already been cast. It is springing up and growing, and WE DON'T KNOW HOW.

Sometimes this seems so clear and obvious, but then the not-knowing me starts squaring off against the knowing me again.

These two pugilists seem to be circling each other like Sumi wrestlers, looking for that moment of ultimate engagement, where the final take-down will occur and someone shouts

"I GIVE!"