Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Nearly there

 "Yell into the belly of the Earth", she told me, "she will listen and ease your aching sorrows". I yelled until I was hoarse. I was twenty-one. Burdens fell from careworn shoulders and we were sisters ever more. 

The other day a friend entrusted me with a Kabbalistic myth. In the telling, 144 souls were created at the dawn of time. Those 144 souls eventually splintered into the multitudinous fragments of sentient life on planet Earth. Now I look out upon the mosaic of life and believe that my kindred spirits are my clearest reflections of the original soul from which we sprang.  

Now she travels the final steps along the sharp, stony terrain of cancer, I walk with her, my heart aching.  I see ahead a field, beautiful and inviting, with tall grass, clear skies, shade trees and a small bubbling creek nearby. There are ample places to rest.  She is tired.  I say, softly, lean on me, we're nearly there.

This grief has settled in and it's not what I expected. It's not the sharp, growling grief of suffering, but a sweet, tender sadness held in generous arms of love.  Of course, even in my sister's departure I am held.
I love you Michelle.
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Monday, September 19, 2016

Only love, only love

Words.
Insufficient, awkward, clumsy tools with which to communicate.  They have all but dried up.  Each one spilling forth is incomplete and one-sided, ill-suited to its task.  Drawing water from an infinite well, they cough wet sand on the surface of things, unable to match wholeness with anything other than division.
Ah yes, but these are what we have.
My beloved heart-sister, one of the greatest loves of my life, is leaving form and I, with deep tenderness, am breaking open, admitting that I know nothing and yet am so generously known as everything.
She freely shared her love with me, year after year, until my own well was discovered to have been full all along.
The heart never grows tired of loving, no matter the cost.  It pours love like an inexhaustible river filling the parched places so long tended by words alone.
Now, I have no words to offer at this parting.  Each one spills out, empty and inadequate. The heart simply breaks and love spills out, flooding life, every where I move until there are no divisions, only love.
Only love.
In this great truth, there are no partings.
Only love.
Only love.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Quintessence of Loneliness

I am like a heroin addict 
In my longing for a sublime state,

For that ground of Conscious Nothing
Where the Rose ever
Blooms.

O, the Friend
Has done me a great favor 
And has so thoroughly ruined my life,

What else would you expect 
Seeing God would do!

Out of the ashes of this broken frame
There is a noble rising son pining for death,
Because,

Since we first met, Beloved, 
I have become a foreigner 
To every world 
Except that one 
In which there is only You 
Or—Me.

Now that the heart has held 
That which can never be touched 
My subsistence is a blessed 
Desolation

And from that I cry for more loneliness.

I am lonely.
I am so lonely, dear Beloved,
For the quintessence of
Loneliness,

For what is more alone than God?

Hafiz, 
What is more pure and alone,

Magnificently Sovereign, 
Than God.
~ Hafiz

Saturday, August 13, 2016

THIS IS IT!

You can't sneak up on 'This.' You do not come to 'This' in time. The sense that you are coming to enlightenment or almost there is just part of the story of time (the dream self) that is obscuring 'This.' The very seeking of 'This' makes you believe that 'This'’ is somehow in the future. But future is just a presently arising thought. It has no reality except in your dream of self. 
Instead of doing anything to reach 'This,' notice what is already being done. There is a constant movement towards some future moment. That movement keeps the dream going. It keeps alive the lie that enlightenment is found in the future. It keeps the dream self running on a treadmill. 
As long as the belief in some future attainment is operating, this moment will carry with it a sense of lack. In noticing that the effort to do things to reach Oneness or to sneak up on enlightenment is nothing more than a dream of thought happening now, a possibility arises for the realization that what you are seeking is already here. You are already 'This.'
-Scott Kiloby

Then Winks

Everything is clapping today.
Light,
Sound,
Motion,
All movement.

A rabbit I pass pulls a cymbal
From a hidden pocket
Then winks.

This causes a few planets and I
To go nuts
And start grabbing each other.

Someone sees this,
Calls a
Shrink,

Tries to get me
Committed
For
Being too
Happy.

Listen: this world is the lunatic’s sphere,
Don’t always agree it’s real,

Even with my feet upon it
And the postman knowing my door


My address is somewhere else.

– Hafiz via Daniel Ladinsky

Tired of Speaking Sweetly

Love wants to reach out and manhandle us,
Break all our teacup talk of God.

If you had the courage and
Could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,
He would just drag you around the room
By your hair,
Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world
That bring you no joy.

Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly
And wants to rip to shreds
All your erroneous notions of truth

That make you fight within yourself, dear one,
And with others,

Causing the world to weep
On too many fine days.

God wants to manhandle us,
Lock us inside of a tiny room with Himself
And practice His dropkick.

The Beloved sometimes wants
To do us a great favor:

Hold us upside down
And shake all the nonsense out.

But when we hear
He is in such a "playful drunken mood"
Most everyone I know
Quickly packs their bags and hightails it
Out of town.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

And then You are like this

And then You are like this:

A small bird decorated 
With orange patches of light 
Waving your wings near my window, 

Encouraging me with all of existences's love -- 
To dance. 

And then You are like this: 

A cruel word that stabs me 
From the mouth of a strange costume You wear; 
A guise You had too long tricked me into thinking 
Could be other -- than You. 

And then You are... 

The firmament 
That spins at the end of a string in Your hand 
That You offer to mine saying, 
"Did you drop this -- surely 
This is yours." 

And then You are, O then You are: 

The Beloved of every creature 
Revealed with such grandeur -- bursting 
From each cell in my body, 
I kneel, I laugh, 
I weep, I sing, 
I sing. 

-Hafiz

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Good News

Beauty everywhere,
Care in every detail.

We imagine ourselves separate,
Alone.

While all the world is
Conspiring,

in
Simple Wonder...

Nothing is excluded.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

sister's eyes

The first time I met the Dalai Lama at 23, I had anticipated looking into his eyes and seeing how beautiful he was.  But when I looked in his eyes for the first time, and each subsequent time, I was utterly overwhelmed by how beautiful I AM.  It literally knocked all the human babbling straight out of my mind and cracked my heart wide open.  He offered a clear mirror with my own beauty reflected.  I have met with many clear seeing eyes who do this.  Children often do it. Nature does this.  And occasionally we have loved ones who do it as well.  I just spent an amazing week with my beautiful sister, beauty reflecting back and forth, exploding with joy, wonder and heart cracking splendor.

This is the gift that we can bring to every moment.  The gift of clear seeing.  At core we are all infinitely beautiful.  When this is seen we discover ourselves already in Eden, inraptured through and through, by a radiance in which everything is included.

Vancouver Island with my sister

 So much beauty, there are no words.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

nature-walking

When walking alone in nature for long periods of time something wonderful happens.  

The mind, generally so full of it's own diatribe, begins to   s  l  o  w   down and the senses atune to the rhythm of life all around.  

In the trees overhead, an avian fillabuster worthy of parliamant is in full force.  The wind whispers of her ongoing love affair with tree and cloud.  The bees buzz, matchmakers for flowers, busily dancing from bloom to bloom. Squirrels scurry amidst branches, hurriedly racing from perch to perch.  

As the mind settles it's inward churning, a subtle shift takes place.  The listener, as a distinct other, no longer exists.  There is no "me" and nature, there is just T H I S... this grand arising, exactly as it is. The "me" is simply another note played through the unique instrument of self. A note in the vast and  indescribably beautiful symphony of life.  

Monday, July 4, 2016

laugh

Since everything is but an apparition
Perfect in being what it is
Having nothing to do
With good or bad
Acceptance or rejection,
One may well burst
Out
In laughter.

14 cent. Tibet
Long Chen Pa

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Open your eyes

"That which I am seeking 
I already am."
Imagine you are standing in the sunlight with eyes squeezed shut looking for the light.
Open your eyes.

This Is It.

When you find the "Doer"
call me.
But I don't expect to hear from you.

"Madness!" you say,
"Of course there is a me."

But have you ever gone looking,
for the paradox in plain view?

It's too immediate to notice,
too simple to believe.

There is no where to go
and no one to get there.

This.
Is.
It.

No More Leaving

At 
Some point
Your relationship
With God
Will
Become like this:

Next time you meet Him in the forest
Or on a crowded city street

There won't be anymore

"Leaving."

That is,

God will climb into
Your pocket.

You will simply just take

Yourself

Along!
--Hafiz

We Might Have To Medicate You

Resist your temptation to lie
By speaking of separation from God,

Otherwise,
We might have to medicate
You.

In the ocean
A lot goes on beneath your eyes.

Listen,
They have clinics there too
For the insane
Who persist in saying things like:

"I am independent from the
Sea,

God is not always around

Gently 
Pressing against
My body."

--Hafiz

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

spring

Newness.
Spring is afresh with new life.  Flowers, buds, sprouts... the world all around is painted in brilliant hues and I am basking in the view.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

a paradox

Life is paradoxical.

Something in the mind wants to control it, to understand, predict, plan and otherwise navigate life with gusto.
In it's effort to stay safe, the mind plans and worries, frets and paces, thinks and judges, moralizes and intellectualizes, but Life is... life.
There is pain and pleasure, unbelievable beauty and unimaginable ugliness, sickness and health, fullness and scarcity.
It's not an oscillating pendulum, forever swinging between dual points of interest, it's paradoxically all of it at once.

We spend years trying to make life safe.  The beautiful irony is that it's not safe and it's not unsafe.  It just is as it is.

Our willingness to be with, and as, that paradoxical truth IS what all the great teachings were pointing to all along.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

We can't love the rain if we're not willing to get wet

I have noticed something about life... everything changes.

We arbitrarily decide which weather we are meant to have...sunny, playful, loving, stress-free, affirming, fill in the blank... and then we worry about the forecast.  We plan and prepare, we fret and watch for news, for signs, for disaster.

Listen.

It's gonna rain.
It's gonna storm.
There may be hurricanes and floods, blizzards and tornados.  It's life.  There will be ups and downs.  The kids will drive us nuts and they will surprise us with their brilliance.  People will amaze us and disappoint the holy shit out of us.  Our health will be smooth and it will be rough.  We will laugh our asses off and we will crumble to the floor crying.  There will be birth and there will be death.

It's all here.

We wait for summer to set in and for the clouds of life to disperse forever.  Some of us call it enlightenment, others success.  Some call it the right relationship, others a hefty bank account.

The sun will shine and the birds will sing and the flowers will bloom. It's a fact.  The skies will darken, clouds will storm and the leaves will fall.  It's a fact.

Life is the whole experience and we can't love the rain if we aren't ready to get wet.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

longing


Longing.

Have you ever noticed that much of our life seems to be spent reaching toward the next moment in a misplaced attempt to escape or appease a persistent feeling of longing?
Instead of sitting tight with the longing itself, we look for an explanation. "I'm not satisfied in this relationship." "I need to find my life's purpose".  "Do I even have a purpose?"  "Maybe if I can just clean up the shit pile from my childhood or get my ass back in therapy." "If I had more money I'd feel safe."  "If I was truly loved I'd know contentment." "If I were enlightened all of this aching and suffering would be replaced with the 'peace that passeth understanding'." 

Longing scares the holy shit out of us.  We run like hell away from NOW.  Where are we going?  Toward the next promised something, in hope of release?  News flash...it's another NOW.  It's just longing in a new dress.  

Even once we get that promised relationship, or new house, or bigger pay check or mind blowing spiritual experience, we inevitably come face to face with the evanescent quality of life. Everything is fleeting.  The NOW is constantly changing form.

We could pause here.  It's where we are anyway and there's no actual way of escaping.  (God knows we've tried) But we don't. We blame the relationship, the bills, the job, ourselves or our fleeting taste of enlightenment and seek again.  

So? Stop...now.

Our seeking is our suffering.  Our resistance takes a thousand forms... thinking, worrying, controlling, planning, jaw grinding, contracting, self helping, do-gooding, psycho-babbling...  It all amounts to the same thing. Resistance in disguise.
So let's try something different.

Stop.  Here.  Now.  Make an about face. Greet the longing with open arms.  Scary shit I know but we're braver then we think.  There's really no escape.  We are right here any way.  Right now.
Listen.  
This longing is asking only one thing of you.  
To be met.  
Here nothing is denied. 
So meet it.
This is where all your spiritual practice is pointing.

Longing unmasked is love

And love has taken a thousand disguises and a thousand more, all of them, no matter the appearance, are loves' invitation to love.  

In that passionate embrace even the God's shudder in ecstasy.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Meditation

When the topic of meditation arises, I often hear, "I don't meditate", "I've never meditated", " I can't meditate"or "I AM a meditator" which often means, "I sit for x number of minutes every day which makes me subtly superior".  Once upon a time I meditated several hours a day, year after year, quietly sequestered from the hustle and bustle of the world.  Then something changed.  I asked what am I training for?

Meditation, as it's commonly referred to, is a practice composed of mental exercises and some degree of physical control, for the purpose of reaching a heightened state of awareness or a more relaxed condition.  It's easy to make meditation into a destination... an aspiration to attain some conceptual ideal or the means to get there.  Where?  I don't know…there?  Enlightenment? …some preferred future HERE? But meditation is a training tool and not a merit-based-goal earned through time spent sitting like a pretzel contemplating the belly button of the universe.
So what is all the training for?  Have you ever tumbled head over heart into natures beauty, astounded by the intricacies in each detail?  Have you ever laid awake beside your lover and watched the gentle rise and fall of his or her breath?  Have you held a new born baby in your arms and taken in the fresh newness of life with every sense at your disposal? Or become lost in the act of writing, creating, playing, loving and more?
These are all forms of meditation.  Formal meditation practice is meant to strengthen our muscle to be present. It's like learning to play the piano, we practice regularly to improve our playing. The play may be more formal and systematic BUT it's still playing the piano.  The same is true of formal meditation.  We are practicing conscious engagement with life AS IT IS right now.  If the internal landscape is bumpy, we are present and aware of the quality of bumpiness.  If it's blissful and spacious, there is a YES and release into that. Meditation is a no-fail business.  You are just showing up.  When resistance to this moment diminishes, so does the internal noise.  It's not a goal.  It's the natural byproduct of presence.  All the observed benefits of meditation naturally flow from a YES to this moment, as it is and exactly as you are.
And like all practice, meditation IS strengthening our capacity for YES.  After years seated cross-legged and contemplating my navel from every mystical tradition available, I asked the question… What is all of this training for?  And the answer came.  Life.  Living. And the secret of life is... to live it! 100%.  And that YES makes all the difference.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Tripping Over Joy

What is the difference between your experience of Existence and that of a saint?

The saint knows that the spiritual path is a sublime chess game with God and that the Beloved has just made such a Fantastic Move that the saint is now continually tripping over Joy And bursting out in Laughter and saying, “I Surrender!”

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.”      ― Hāfiz