Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Post: 2007

Wake up. Day calls you
to your life: your duty.
And to live, nothing more.
Root it out of the glum
night and the darkness
that covered your body
for which light waited
on tiptoe in the dawn.
Stand up, affirm the straight
simple will to be
a pure slender virgin.
Test your body's metal.
Cold, heat? Your blood
will tell against the snow,
or behind the window.
The colour
in your cheeks will tell.
And look at people. Rest
doing no more than adding
your perfection to another
day. Your task
is to carry your life high,
and play with it, hurl it
like a voice to the clouds
so it may retrieve the light
already gone from us.
That is your fate: to live.
Do nothing.
Your work is you, nothing more.
~ Pedro Salinas ~

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Love means to learn to look at yourself
The way one looks at distant things
For you are only one thing among many.
And whoever sees that way heals his heart,
Without knowing it, from various ills.
A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.
Then he wants to use himself and things
So that they stand in the glow of ripeness.
It doesn't matter whether he knows what he serves:
Who serves best doesn't always understand.
~ Czeslaw Milosz ~

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Whatever we need is what is given.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007


or Consciousness is the only reality.
Consciousness plus waking we call waking.
Consciousness plus sleep we call sleep.
Consciousness plus dream, we call dream.
Consciousness is the screen on which all the
pictures come and go. The screen is real,
the pictures are mere shadows on it.
Ramana Maharishi

Friday, December 21, 2007

Excerpt from A Thousand Names for Joy

What's not okay about dying? You close your eyes every night, and
you go to sleep. People look forward to it; some people actually prefer that part. And that's as bad as it gets, except for your belief that says there's something else. Before a thought, there's no one, nothing-only peace that doesn't even recognize itself as peace.

What I know about dying is that when there's no escape, when you
know that no one is coming to save you, there's no fear. You just don't bother. The worst thing that can happen on your deathbed is a belief. Nothing worse than that has ever happened. So if you are lying on your deathbed and the doctor says it's all over for you and you believe him, all the confusion stops. You no longer have anything to lose. And in that peace, there is only you.

People who know that there's no hope are free; decisions are out of
their hands. It has always been that way, but some people have to die bodily to find out. No wonder they smile on their deathbeds. Dying is everything they were looking for in life: they've given up the delusion of being in charge. When there's no choice, there's no fear. They begin to realize that nothing was ever born but a dream and nothing ever dies but a dream.

When you're clear about death, you can be totally present with
someone who's dying, and no matter what kind of pain she appears to be experiencing, it doesn't affect your happiness. You're free to just love her, to hold her and care for her, because it's your nature to do that. To go to that person in fear is to teach fear: she looks into your eyes and gets the message that she is in deep trouble. But if you come in peace, fearlessly, she looks into your eyes and sees that whatever is happening is good.

Dying is just like living. It has its own way, and you can't control
it. People think, "I want to be conscious when I die." That's hopeless. Even wanting to be conscious ten minutes from now is hopeless. You can only be conscious now. Everything you want is here in this moment.

~ Byron Katie

"Perfection is realized only in the moment.

The past tugs, the future holds.
In the moment, no resistance"
- Anonymous

American Advaita: Winter Solstice, 2007

One must have a mind of winter

To regard the frost and the boughs

Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time

To behold the junipers shagged with ice,

The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think

Of any misery in the sound of the wind,

In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land

Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,

And, nothing himself, beholds

Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
-Wallace Stevens

Thursday, December 20, 2007

With us, one needs to be a waking sleeper,
that in the state of wakefulness,
you may dream dreams.
The thought of created things
is an enemy to this sweet waking sleep;
until your thought is asleep, your throat is shut,
no mysteries can enter.
Mystical bewilderment must sweep thought away;
bewilderment devours thought
and recollection of anything other than God.
- Rumi, Mathnawi III: 1114-1116, version by Camille
and Kabir Helminski, Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance

Whenever you notice that some form of negativity has arisen within you, look on it not as a failure, but as a helpful signal that is telling you: "Wake up. Get out of your mind. Be present."

- Eckhart Tolle, from The Power of Now,

Monday, December 17, 2007


is a passive rather than an active process.
Mind is allowed to subside into its source even while
engaged in normal activity, which then becomes an
undercurrent of witnessing that gradually extends
throughout all waking hours and begins to pervade
all one's activities without intruding on them or
interfering with them.
~Ramesh Balsekar

All questions and problems go POOF! right now in this present, spontaneous moment of being, in which there is nothing at all but awareness watching. Every moment is brand-new, free of all content. Right now, the whole world is brand-new. Nothing ever existed before this very second. An independent "you" seems to exist, as a few disconnected thoughts float in - an image here, a memory there - and they glom together and you start believing a story that there is a whole person. And then in the next moment, a different image, a different memory, and they glom together, and a wholly different "you" is thought of. You think they are all the same "you," but they are obviously not. "You" changes every moment, as different thoughts of "This is me" arise, and form different patterns. So who are you? In every moment there are different thoughts arising and forming your idea of who you are. You might insist that you have a lifetime history, but as you recall it right now, you'll only be recalling tiny glimpses of it, flashes, distorted memories. The stored "history of you," even if it did exist as a whole somewhere in the brain (and it does not - those memories go through changes as they recede in time), you can only be recalling any tiny portion of it at a time, a few brushstrokes, like an impressionist painting. So where is this solid story of you? Is it really real? So what is being pointed to is this - that you do not exist as a solid, discrete entity as you believe, and ALL your questioning and suffering and problems refer to this NON-EXISTENT entity. You ask: What am I not getting? Why are you getting it and I'm not? There is no difference between what's going on for you and what's going on for me, what I "get" and what you "get," because neither of us has ever "got" anything. Both of us are in the same boat. That boat is: right now, there is awareness going on. - Annette Nibley

Friday, December 14, 2007

Shoveling Snow With Buddha

In the usual iconography of the temple or the local Wok
you would never see him doing such a thing,
tossing the dry snow over a mountain
of his bare, round shoulder,
his hair tied in a knot,
a model of concentration.

Sitting is more his speed, if that is the word
for what he does, or does not do.

Even the season is wrong for him.
In all his manifestations, is it not warm or slightly humid?
Is this not implied by his serene expression,
that smile so wide it wraps itself around the waist of the universe?

But here we are, working our way down the driveway,

one shovelful at a time.
We toss the light powder into the clear air.
We feel the cold mist on our faces.

And with every heave we disappear

and become lost to each other
in these sudden clouds of our own making,
these fountain-bursts of snow.
This is so much better than a sermon in church,
I say out loud, but Buddha keeps on shoveling.
This is the true religion, the religion of snow,
and sunlight and winter geese barking in the sky,
I say, but he is too busy to hear me.

He has thrown himself into shoveling snow
as if it were the purpose of existence,
as if the sign of a perfect life were a clear driveway
you could back the car down easily
and drive off into the vanities of the world
with a broken heater fan and a song on the radio.

All morning long we work side by side,
me with my commentary
and he inside his generous pocket of silence,
until the hour is nearly noon
and the snow is piled high all around us;
then, I hear him speak.

After this, he asks,
can we go inside and play cards?

Certainly, I reply, and I will heat some milk
and bring cups of hot chocolate to the table
while you shuffle the deck.
and our boots stand dripping by the door.

Aaah, says the Buddha, lifting his eyes
and leaning for a moment on his shovel
before he drives the thin blade again
deep into the glittering white snow.

~ Billy Collins ~
(Picnic, Lightning)

Thanks to Joe Riley @

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

An Improvisation For Angular Momentum

Walking is like
imagination, a
single step
dissolves the circle
into motion; the eye here
and there rests
on a leaf,
gap, or ledge,
everything flowing
except where
sight touches seen:
stop, though, and
reality snaps back
in, locked hard,
forms sharply
themselves, bushbank,
dentree, phoneline,
definite, fixed,
the self, too, then
caught real, clouds
and wind melting
into their directions,
breaking around and
over, down and out,
motions profound,
alive, musical!

Perhaps the death mother like the birth mother
does not desert us but comes to tend
and produce us, to make room for us
and bear us tenderly, considerately,
through the gates, to see us through,
to ease our pains, quell our cries,
to hover over and nestle us, to deliver
us into the greatest, most enduring
peace, all the way past the bother of
beyond the finework of frailty,
the mishmash house of the coming & going,
creation's fringes,

~ A.R. Ammons ~
(Poetry, 1994)

Thanks to Panhala

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Seperation

True worship is effortless, supreme meditation in the continuous, unbroken awareness of the within, the indwelling presence. It requires no effort because there is nothing in it to be attained which one does not already possess.

What is generally understood to be prayer is nothing more than one
fictitious entity called 'me' begging for something from another fictitious entity called 'God'.
Ramesh S. Balsekar

Monday, December 03, 2007

What is the difference

Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?

The saint knows
That the spiritual p
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.
Hafiz about 1320-1389


Ever-blissful Kali,
Bewitcher of the Destructive Lord,
Mother --
for Your own amusement
You dance,
clapping Your hands.

You with the moon on Your forehead,
really You are primordial, eternal, void.
When there was no world, Mother,
where did You get that garland of skulls?

You alone are the operator,
we Your instruments, moving as You direct.
Where You place us, we stand;
the words You give us, we speak.

Restless Kamalakanta says, rebukingly:
You grabbed Your sword, All-Destroyer,
and now You've cut down evil and good.

By Kamalakanta
(1769? - 1821?)

English version by Rachel Fell McDermott

Friday, November 30, 2007

Archaic Torso of Apollo

We cannot know his legendary head

with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso

is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise

the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs

to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced

beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders

and would not glisten like a wild beast's fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,

burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

Ultimate Understanding

The central point of the ultimate understanding is that at any and every instant there is nothing but perfection in the totality of functioning that is the universe. Thus, the present moment and whatever it offers is accepted in total and uninhibited pure enjoyment.
~Ramesh S. Balsekar


Nothing sings in our bodies
like breath in a flute.
It dwells in the drum.
I hear it now
that slow beat
like when a voice said to the dark,
let there be light,
let there be ocean
and blue fish
born of nothing
and they were there.
I turn back to bed.
The man there is breathing.
I touch him
with hands already owned by another world
Look, they are desert,
they are rust. They have washed the dead.
They have washed the just born.
They are open.
They offer nothing.
Take it.
Take nothing from me.
There is still a little life
left inside this body,
a little wildness here
and mercy
and it is the emptiness
we love, touch, enter in one another
and try to fill.

~Linda Hogan

Monday, November 26, 2007

In the realm of the passing away

This is the realm of the passing away. All that
exists does not for long.
Whatever comes into this world never stops sliding
toward the edge of eternity.
Form arises from formlessness and passes back,
arising and dissolving in a few dance steps between
creation and destruction.
We are born passing away.
Seedlings and deadfall all face forward.
Earthworms eat what remains.
We sing not for that which dies but for that which
never dies.

By Stephen Levine
(1937 - )

Praise Song

Praise the light of late November,
the thin sunlight that goes deep in the bones.
Praise the crows chattering in the oak trees;
though they are clothed in night, they do not
despair. Praise what little there's left:
the small boats of milkweed pods, husks, hulls,
shells, the architecture of trees. Praise the meadow
of dried weeds: yarrow, goldenrod, chicory,
the remains of summer. Praise the blue sky
that hasn't cracked yet. Praise the sun slipping down
behind the beechnuts, praise the quilt of leaves
that covers the grass: Scarlet Oak, Sweet Gum,
Sugar Maple. Though darkness gathers, praise our crazy
fallen world; it's all we have, and it's never enough.

~ Barbara Crooker

Sunday, November 25, 2007

being no one, going no where, having nothing

"Spiritual maturity is being ready to let go of everything.
Giving up is
a first step, but real giving up is the insight
that there's nothing
to be given up, since nothing is your

As awareness bends back on itself,

a breathtaking, eternal reality shines forth, pristine and untroubled by everything that has happened in the created world.

Remarkably one has been transported to the instant "before the beginning" of all creation while the familiar world is seen as an expression of an implicit void.

The infinite sense of awe and wonder is amplified when the silent question of how can this be?, is followed by the startling, all-encompassing presence of grace.

When awareness turns to the "world" it may be shocking to realize that people are not who they appear to be, but whether they know that is an open question.

All searching for tangible evidence of who they are ends in the same, formless mystery that one discovers when looking at one's "own" awareness and being.
- Michael Regan

Thursday, November 22, 2007

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened

~ e.e. cummings ~
(Complete Poems 1904-1962)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Individual Volition

The notion of individual volition has been referred to as "the bite of the deadly serpent of ego" because it is the very root of the concept of bondage or unhappiness, and the only thing which can free man from its poison is the abandonment of his identification with a particular object as a 'me'.
~Ramesh S. Balsekar

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Four Poems

I think it will be winter when he comes.
From the unbearable whiteness of the road
a dot will emerge, so black that eyes will blur,
and it will be approaching for a long, long time,
making his absence commensurate with his coming,
and for a long, long time it will remain a dot.
A speck of dust? A burning in the eye? And snow,
there will be nothing else but snow,
and for a long, long while there will be nothing,
and he will pull away the snowy curtain,
he will acquire size and three dimensions,
he will keep coming closer, closer . . .
This is the limit, he cannot get closer. But he keeps approaching,
now too vast to measure . . .


If there is something to desire,
there will be something to regret.
If there is something to regret,
there will be something to recall.
If there is something to recall,
there was nothing to regret.
If there was nothing to regret,
there was nothing to desire.


Let us touch each other
while we still have hands,
palms, forearms, elbows . . .
Let us love each other for misery,
torture each other, torment,
disfigure, maim,
to remember better,
to part with less pain.


We are rich: we have nothing to lose.
We are old: we have nowhere to rush.
We shall fluff the pillows of the past,
poke the embers of the days to come,
talk about what means the most,
as the indolent daylight fades.
We shall lay to rest our undying dead:
I shall bury you, you will bury me.

~Vera Pavlova

(Translated, from the Russian, by Steven Seymour.)

Circles 4 (from Life of the Future World)

& the secret



By Rabbi Abraham Abulafia
(1240 - ?)

English version by Jerome Rothenberg and Harris Lenowitz

Hat Tip Poetry Chaikhana

Friday, November 09, 2007

Close the Gap

The words known as: Self-Realization, God-Realization, The Absolute,
Moksha, Liberation, Freedom, Truth, GOD, Enlightenment, Nirvana and
any word that hasn’t been mentioned, are all pointing to the same
thing. The question is what are they pointing to?
We use the word “Unconditioned” to refer to all of the above. The
Unconditioned is none other than you minus the Conditions.
Some of us see the Gap quite easily and for others it’s more subtle.
The Gap is in believing that God, Enlightenment or the Unconditioned
is somewhere other than where I AM.
Most teachings agree on the word Omnipresence. Omnipresence
being true, the question that arises is: Where Can I go where GOD
is not? The obvious answer is nowhere. There is nowhere I can go
where GOD is not! That is a most profound statement to be realized.
If there is nowhere I can go where GOD is not, then God must be right
where I AM.
If we truly embrace Omnipresence then that will Close the Gap quite
Three statements on closing the gap
You are you and you are THAT which is Significant.
There is nothing for you to do in order to be you because you are
already you.
You are already you because you have never been anyone else.
Please ponder the three statements deeply. Doing so will Close the
Cultivate Awareness of the Unconditioned
Most of us have been focused on the Conditioned since birth and we’ve
had quite a bit of help to have that focus. Our parents, siblings,
friends, schools and any thing else that we call society is one big
Birth and Death and every thing in between are a Condition.
The Ego believes that it can create conditions that are favorable to
it and having done that, it will be happy.
The difficulty is that this is only a belief and one that the Self
Improvement people are trying to sell to us. Yes friends you can have
it ALL! You can have the MONEY! You can have the TOTALLY HOT
BODY of all times! You can have a love relationship that exceeds the
love of Romeo and Juliet!
The above is what Ego wants and what society is trying to sell to it.
Please stop buying into this. Even if the Ego could acquire these
things it will then need to maintain them or they will be lost.
No matter how well they are maintained and that of course assumes
that one acquires them to begin with, they are destined to perish.
The reason that they are destined to perish is because they are
conditions. Conditions do not unfold. Conditions always collapse in
on themselves.
The Ego is actually the opposite of the Four Principles. The Ego does
not close the gap it creates gap. Ego does not cultivate awareness of
the Unconditioned. It prefers to cultivate awareness of the
Conditioned. The Ego doesn’t attempt to deepen in wisdom and
compassion because it’s too focused on itself to care about others.
The Ego does not trust or rest. The Ego does not unfold it collapses
in on itself as does all other conditions.
Be Willing to Forever Deepen in Wisdom and Compassion

Wisdom and Compassion are both necessary. There cannot be one
without the other. Wisdom relies upon Compassion for a true
understanding and Compassion relies upon Wisdom for a true
Wisdom without Compassion leads to arrogance and Compassion
without Wisdom has no direction.
Most people seem to favor one over the other. Some find Wisdom
comes more readily than Compassion and others will find the
opposite to be true. Therefore, we focus on that one which does
not come so easily.
If Wisdom comes easily, then focusing on Compassion is most wise. If
Compassion comes easily, then focusing on Wisdom is most
compassionate. This is true simply because we need both together as
A very good example of Wisdom and Compassion being together is
found in the Heart Sutra. In the Heart Sutra there is Avalokiteshvara
Bodhisattva which is the highest emblem of compassion within
Buddhism and the Bodhisattva is speaking about Wisdom.
We would have a tendency to expect an expert on Compassion to
speak about compassion, but it so happens that the Bodhisattva of
Compassion speaks about Wisdom.
It is actually quite natural that the epitome of Compassion would
speak about Wisdom because that is a very compassionate thing to do.
Wisdom and Compassion are not something that we create. They are
qualities of the Unconditioned. Engaging the Unconditioned is to
engage wisdom and compassion. As we Cultivate Awareness of the
Unconditioned, then we are also deepening in Wisdom and Compassion.
Trust and Rest in the Unfolding
Trusting and Resting in the Unfolding is the culmination of the other
three principles. To the degree that we Trust, it is to that degree
that we Rest. The more we Trust, the more we Rest. The more we
Rest, the more we Trust.
Trusting is not based on blind faith. What has caused you to be
interested in Truth itself? That is what you Trust. It is important
to point out how rare it is to attend Satsang. Approximately one
percent of the human population attends Satsang. That means there is
a 99% chance that a person will not attend Satsang and yet you are
attending. How do you explain that? Learn to trust that which brought
you to Satsang.
Do not believe anything. Believing is something we do when we don’t
know. When we know directly then believing is non existent. Believing
is something we use to fill the Gap because the gap is uncomfortable.
It is much better to be honest by saying “I don’t know” then to
insert a belief in order to be more comfortable.
Honesty is a characteristic of the Unconditioned. When we honestly
don’t know then we are much closer than we would be if we inserted a
belief. Believing is an illusion of knowing. Do not settle for
anything less than knowing directly for yourself. Being honest about
not knowing opens the door to knowing. Inserting a belief closes the
door to knowing.
Trusting and Resting are based only on KNOWING. Before you say
that you know nothing, you MUST know something or otherwise you
would not be at Satsang.

~John Taylor

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The play of concepts is endless. Concepts about the body, the mind, spirit, universe, cosmos, big bang, small bang, how the world came into being, shiva, shakti, etc. And then there are concepts about concepts, and thoughts about the nature of thoughts! What to do? The questions are thoughts and the answers are thoughts. And thinking about questions and answers requires thoughts. What to do? Nothing to do. The quicksand of concepts entangles one more and more, the more seriously one takes them. It is the stuff of religion, philosophy, spirituality, great writers, great thinkers, great teachers, great leaders, etc. The presumption to understand, teach, and help others to improve themselves reveals the unrelenting grip of the ego. But the ego is not bad. It is something natural. It arises as a natural condition. The wise say, that, "I am the doer" notion is bondage. The real method to self knowledge is simple. To go to the root of the ego or the mind, one needs to become aware of one's complete helplessness. That takes time. That takes spiritual maturity. To feel truly that 'not my will Lord, but thy will be done'. In doing so, the surrender can take place and one can naturally do what one is destined to do. If by Grace, one can bring the awareness upon its own essence, to see and feel its own essential being, that is all that needs to be done. That is all that can be done! In this awareness, one can stare at the originating point of thoughts and feelings and symbols and visions which rise in it, and see itself as the source, not as a thought but as a well of being that perpetually springs forth in itself and dissolves in itself never losing its inherent quality of naturalness, sat-chit-ananda. It is the essence of simplicity. Pure Being. That is what Sri Ramana taught. To be aware of the "I AM" as feeling/awareness. That is the direct practice. To be simply aware of yourself. Spiritual practitioners seek complex and glamorous practices leading to rich experiences and knowledge. This is good as well. All according to one's inclinations. But there are some who have consumed enough knowledge and enough experiences and lose the desire for any of it. Spontaneously, the directness of one's own awareness manifests as one's own self. One's Own Self is the Self of all. One Heart. Same Heart. All Heart.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Vicki Doesn't Live Here Anymore (With Apologies to Alice)

I don't live in my mind anymore. I visit there, but only when I fall
asleep. I don't mean on the bed; I mean when I fall into a lower state
of consciousness than awareness. Awareness is my home and it isn't for
sale at any price. I would gladly list my mind but there would be no
takers. Who wants a ramshackle little piece of property that is gray
and divided into lobes. Not much chance of a makeover there.

For Sale by Owner: Dilapidated mind. Needs new roof and synapses. Can
be had for a song (the one that goes through my mind day and night).

I used to think that my mind was smart, even brilliant. Back in the
day it was. But now it can't even remember who's on Larry King Live
after just hearing it promoted thirty seconds ago. And yet it
remembers every injustice it has suffered since birth. And is waiting
to get even. Oh, my mind is a dangerous and stupid place to live. I am
sure there is lead paint on every window sill.

There is one room in my mind that has never been opened. It is called
The Room of Prejudice. Next to it is one with no door at all. It's The
Room of Resentment. It's used so often that one fine day I just took
the door off the hinges and threw it away.

I used to think that the mind was a terrible thing to waste; now I
know better. It's a terrible thing to use if you don't know what you
are doing. The only time you should visit your mind is when you are
accompanied by awareness. Then a very strange thing happens. It
disappears. Just like Judge Crater....just like Amelia Earhart and
Jimmy Hoffa. Just like a warm plate of brownies or clothes at a nude
beach. Gone.

I am not sure why I wrote this essay except out of gratitude for
finally moving upstairs. Of course, the mind still bothers me but I
just knock on the ceiling and tell it to shut the heck up.

Vicki Woodyard

11 October 2007

Barren of events,
Rich in pretensions
My earthly life.

My real name.
Wholly unto myself
I exist.

I wrap no soul
In my embrace.

No mentor worthy

Of my calibre Have I.

I am all alone

Between failure

And frustration.

I am the red thread Between Nothingness And Eternity.

Sri Chinmoy (Between Nothingness and Eternity)

In two, there is only One.

In “you” and “I,” there are not two, but One.
In delusion, only One; in recollection, only One.
What work remains but to know?
Ivan H. Granger

The Good Darkness

There is great joy in darkness.
Deepen it.

Blushing embarrassments
in the half-light

but a scorched, blackened, face
can laugh like an Ethiopian,
or a candled moth,
coming closer to God.

Brighter than any moon, Bilal,
Muhammed's Black Friend,
shadowed him on the night journey.

Keep your deepest secret hidden
in the dark beneath daylight's
uncovering and night's spreading veil.

Whatever's given you by those two
is for your desires. They poison,
eventually. Deeper down, where your face
gets erased, where life-water runs silently,

there's a prison with no food and drink,
and no moral instruction, that opens on a garden
where there's only God. No self,
only the creation-word, BE.

You, listening to me, roll up the carpet
of time and space, Step beyond,
into the one word.

In blindness, receive what I say.
Take "There is no good..."
for your wealth and your strength.

Let "There is nothing..." be
a love-wisdom in your wine.

By Hakim Sanai
(1044? - 1150?)

English version by Coleman Barks

Thanks to Poetry Chaikhana

Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

What is this "Good Dark"? Light is so often considered one of the attributes of the Divine, but we forget that dark too is also a metaphor for God. The Eternal is sometimes called dark because It is beyond the ability of the limited intellect to see. It is the realm where there are no longer separations; nothing is seen as separate from That. When the individual encounters such immensity, perception in a sense collapses; there is merging and awareness, but the faculty of seeing distinct objects and beings, even a distinct self, is overwhelmed. It can feel like a shining darkness.

So the Sacred Dark, the Good Dark, is God vast beyond comprehension, Being that gathers everything, even light, even perception, into Itself. This is the darkness where there is "great joy." This is the immense Mystery.

But what does Sanai mean when he says "blushing embarassments / in the half-light / confuse"? And he follows with, "but a scorched, blackened, face / can laugh like an Ethiopian, / or a candled moth, / coming closer to God." What is he saying here?

First, why does a "blackened face" allow us to laugh and come closer to God? Because, if we understand the Divine to be that living, mysterious darkness, then when we become "blackened," we finally recognize ourselves as the same as that darkness. In the "half-light," where we are still distracted by our own faces, we are confused, more aware of ourselves than the holy mystery we touch. We become like a young lover too nervous and self-conscious to simply lose oneself in the embrace of the Beloved.

Sanai is telling us we must be burned like a "candled moth," "blackened" until we have no face of our own, and then we can melt silently into the darkness and mystery of the Divine One. This is what he means when he later speaks of "Deeper down, where your face / gets erased, where life-water runs silently..."

What do you think Sanai is talking about when he speaks of a place where "there's a prison with no food and drink, / and no moral instruction," but that place surprisingly "opens on a garden / where there's only God"?

The prison is for the false self, the little self, the ego. There is "no food and drink" to satisfy the ego's desires, not merely its sensual desires, but it's intellectual desires go unfed, as well. This is the place where concepts fail, where reality is no longer parcelled out into dichotomies of good and bad, right and wrong, making even "moral instruction" a hollow thing. The ego-mind is no longer able to say 'this is separate from that.' In the ego's starvation, in the mind's deep stillness, reality is perceived as one, whole, unsegmented, pure. That "prison with no food and drink" thus leads you to the garden "where there's only God."

This awareness is what Sanai is asking of us when he tells us to "roll up the carpet / of time and space" (both belonging to the ego's attempts to segment reality), to "step... into the one word" (rather than the ego-mind's many words). This is what it means to say "There is no good..." (or bad, no division of opposites), "There is nothing..." (except the Divine Wholeness that is all things, emptying individual 'things' of their substance). If you can settle deeply into this awareness, with supreme poise and balance, then you will find yourself drinking the ecstasy of true love-wisdom

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Pain of Learning

We start our lives as teachers, and it is very hard
for us to learn to become pupils. There are many
whose only difficulty in life in that they are teachers
already. What we have to learn is pupilship.
There is but one Teacher, God Himself.

Bowl of Saki, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:

In order to know the truth or to know God earthly
qualifications and earthly wisdom or learning are
not necessary. What one has to learn is how to
become a pupil. We often start our lives as teachers,
and then it is hard to become a pupil. From childhood
on we start to teach our parents. There are seldom
souls who have more inclination for pupilship than
for teaching, and there are many whose only difficulty
in life is that they are teachers already. Man thinks that
perhaps his reading or study of different religions
and doctrines has qualified him and made him
capable to understand the truth and to have the
knowledge of God, but he forgets that there is
only one teacher, and that is God Himself. We all
are pupils, and what we can do in life is to qualify
ourselves to become true pupils.
It should be remembered that all the great
teachers of humanity, such as Jesus Christ, Buddha,
Muhammad and Zarathushtra, have been great
pupils; they have learned from the innocent child,
they have learned from everyone, from every
person that came near them. They have learned
from every situation and every condition of the
world. They have understood and they have
learned. It is the desire to learn continually that
makes one a teacher, and not the desire to become
a teacher. As soon as a person thinks, 'I am
something of a teacher,' he has lost ground. For
there is only one teacher: God alone is the
Teacher, and all others are His pupils. We
all learn from life what life teaches us. When
a soul begins to think that he has learned all
he had to learn and that now he is a teacher,
he is very much mistaken. The greatest
teachers of humanity have learned from
humanity more than they have taught.

The Science of the Self

Anyone who enters the arena of conscious evolution must make the effort to acquaint themselves with the territory. What is the territory? The territory is consciousness. The territory is your own self. There are different levels or dimensions to who you are, and you need to understand and be able to distinguish between them very clearly if you are serious in your aspiration to evolve. It's hard to overemphasize how challenging this is. In all but the rarest among us, the experience of consciousness or subjectivity is so close to the self-sense that it is almost impossible to objectify it enough to make these important distinctions. In the unenlightened state, we are so identified with the quality and content of whatever our subjective experience happens to be from moment to moment that it is difficult for us to recognize which dimension of our own self we are abiding in. So if we are interested in enlightenment, we need to cultivate a profoundly objective interest in the science of the self, rather than always being lost in the subjective drama of our ever-changing inner experience.

Andrew Cohen

Monday, October 29, 2007

Once you realize that there is nothing in the
world which you can
call your own, you look
at it from the outside as you look at a play

on the stage, or a picture on the screen,
admiring and enjoying, but
really unmoved.
As long as you imagine yourself to be
tangible and solid, a thing among
things, actually existing in time
and space,
short lived and vulnerable, naturally you
will be anxious
to survive and increase.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Subtle Energies

Some day, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, . . . we shall harness . . . the energies of love. Then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire. And whenever we cannot express it in our lives and actions, we feel miserable and frustrated

Teilhard de Chardin

Tom Gallant


Friday, October 26, 2007

When Realization Dawns

The seeker needs to stay right in the middle of any disorientation or sense of not knowing what to do because, by staying there, without resistance and without moving away from it, in that moment something new starts to be born. Feel in your own experience what starts to be born when you let yourself experience the disorientation of the spiritual seeker who stops seeking a different experience than the one that is happening right now. You can feel the seeker dissolving and the peace emerging, which is the peace the seeker was always looking for anyway. As the seeker dissolves, then the peace is born, and there is stillness. This is not a quality of stillness that has any dependence on an emotional state. At the moment when the seeker starts to dissolve and there is just peace, then the pendulum might swing into a high spiritual state or into a very ordinary state, or even into an unpleasant state, and the peace itself remains completely independent of those states. This is the dawning of the realization that only from the place where the seeker is dissolving can freedom happen because there is no longer any movement toward or away from experience.

- Adyashanti, from Emptiness Dancing,

"Not Seeking"

If someone were to ask me for advice on this 'search' for completeness, I would say something like the following: All the contrived 'postures' and 'attitudes' of my seeking led me nowhere, except around and around on a circuit of endless mentations. Only with the expansive openness of 'not seeking' did a clear view dawn in me. Many helpful hints and examples (of it) were thrown my way by Teachers and Life itself. This intrinsic knowing shines through the ignorance of seeking. What is not apparent for some is that this intrinsic knowing is already here. Its fullness is seemingly diminished (ignored) by mind stuff in the psychological posture of a 'person' that is 'seeking'. And so I would say, relax back into your own true nature of openness. From this openness, a view dawns that all is well.

- Gilbert Schultz

Thursday, October 25, 2007


moves, undulates, breathes in and out, contracting and expanding. This is its nature, the nature of what is. Whatever is, is on the move. Nothing remains the same for very long. The mind wants everything to stop so that it can get its foothold, find its position, so it can figure out how to control life. Through the pursuit of material things, knowledge, ideas, beliefs, opinions, emotional states, spiritual states, and relationships, the mind seeks to find a secure position from which to operate. The mind seeks to nail life down and get it to stop moving and changing. When this doesn't work, the mind begins to seek the changeless, the eternal, something that doesn't move. But the mind of thought is itself an expression of life's movement and so must always be in movement itself. When there is thought, that thought is always moving and changing. There is really no such thing as thought. There is only thinking, so thought which is always moving (as thinking) cannot apprehend the changeless. When thought enters into the changeless it goes silent. When thought goes silent, the thinker, the psychological "me," the image-produced self, disappears. Suddenly it is gone. You, as an idea, are gone. Awareness remains alone. There is no one who is aware. Awareness itself is itself. You are now no longer the thought, nor the thinker, nor someone who is aware. Only awareness remains, as itself. Then, within awareness, thought moves. Within the changeless, change happens. Now awareness expresses itself. Awareness is always expressing itself: as life, as change, as thought, feelings, bodies, humans, plants, trees, cars, etc. Awareness yields to itself, to its inherent creativity, to its expression in form, to experience itself. The changeless is changing. The eternal is living and dying. The formless is form. The form is formless. This is nothing the mind could have ever imagined.

- Adyashanti
If some Power has turned you into a seeker,
don't you think it is the
responsibility of that
Power to take you where you are supposed
to be
A Net of Jewels
Ramesh S. Balsekar

The "Jewel Above All Jewels" Sutra*

Becoming aware of That Which Is
puts you in a different
relationship to
yourself and life,
one in which you are
free to
respond naturally and spontaneously

according to what the moment
rather than out of your
conditioned ideas
and beliefs. This
is a remarkable and
shift - this simple shift to
aware of yourself as Awareness.

Moving from the ego to essence
is simply
a shift of attention away
from thought onto
That Which Is
Aware of Thought.
- Gina Lake

*(My Title, GB)
Image of Vetiver Grass

O Bhakti,

what can you possibly write?
A loss for words...
The joy and bliss and love
Have shattered my being
And refuse to let me
reassemble myself
into something small!
A loss for words...
Can there be greater bliss than this?.

- Gurumayi
~Web Site

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

what is

It is futile to seek human reason, purpose or meaning in the events of
life, which are in fact impersonal and not human at all.

The intuitive apprehension that is real faith is based on a certain
inescapable inevitability, a relaxed acceptance of WHAT IS that is totally free of any doubt or opinion.

A Net of Jewels
Ramesh S. Balsekar

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

21st Century Awakening

"Strawberries are too delicate to be picked by machine. The perfectly ripe ones bruise even at too heavy a human touch. Every strawberry you have ever eaten has been picked by callused human hands. Every piece of toast with jelly represents someone's knees, someone's aching backs and hips, someone with a bandanna on her wrist to wipe away the sweat."
—Alison Luterman, quoted in After the Ecstasy, the Laundry,
by Jack Kornfield

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Hermitage Within

For God, you bring nothing worth having except
your entire availability. He alone knows the moment
and the way. Have no plan for your life, just keep
yourself free of anything that could prevent God
from moving you as he wishes.
- from The Hermitage Within by an anonymous
Cistercian monk


The mind seeks to nail life down and get it to stop moving and
changing. When this doesn't work, the mind begins to seek the changeless, the eternal, something that doesn't move. But the mind of thought is itself an expression of life's movement and so must always be in movement itself. When there is thought, that thought is always moving and changing.

When thought enters into the changeless it goes silent. When thought goes silent, the thinker, the psychological "me," the image-produced self, disappears. Suddenly it is gone. You, as an idea, are gone. Awareness remains alone.

Now awareness expresses itself. Awareness is always expressing itself:
as life, as change, as thought, feelings, bodies, humans, plants, trees, cars... [as you]
- Adyashanti

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Beyond mind, there is an awareness that is intrinsic, that is not given to you by the outside, and is not an idea.... The whole work of meditation is to make you aware of all that is "mind" and dis-identify yourself from it. That very separation is the greatest revolution that can happen to man. Now you can do and act on only that which makes you more joyous, fulfills you, gives you contentment, makes your life a work of art, a beauty. But this is possible only if the master in you is awake. Right now the master is fast asleep. And the mind, the servant, is playing the role of master. And the servant is created by the outside world, it follows the outside world and its laws. Once your awareness becomes a flame, it burns up the whole slavery that the mind has created. There is no blissfulness more precious than freedom.

- From the False to the Truth, Rajneesh

The Sheer Delight in the Great Joy of Liberation

Let this that has always been running your life have you. This
complete cliff dive in every moment into "I don't know." I don't know where I am, I don't know who I am, I don't know what I am, I don't know what I'm here for. Let yourself be nothing. Just here. Offered. Ahhhh, what a relief. This is what is asked of us, over and over and over, to offer our empty hands. To let the things we are holding so tightly just drop. To give it all up, everything, that does not exist in this moment here. All that has happened, that we think we somehow need to do something about, all that we think might happen, or we hope will happen, every sweet dream that we cling to. This is like God's loving strip search, give it all over! Something else wants to live you. And you can feel it.

- Jeannie Zandi

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Nietzsche's Cosmos

In some remote corner of that universe which is dispersed into numberless twinkling solar systems, there was a star upon which clever animals invented Recognition. That was the most arrogant and mendacious minute of “world history,” but in any event it was never more than a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths, the star cooled and congealed, and thus the clever animals had to die. One might invent such a fable, and yet he still would not have adequately illustrated how pathetic, how shadowy and transient, how aimless and arbitrary is this human intellect from the perspective of nature. There were eternities during which it did not exist. And when the story of humankind and its intellect has gone to its end, nothing will have happened. For this intellect has no additional mission which would lead it beyond human life. Rather, it is human, and only its possessor and begetter takes it seriously–as though the world’s axis turned in its midst. But if we could communicate with the gnat, we would learn that he likewise flies through the air with the same solemnity, that he feels the flying center of the universe within himself. There is nothing so reprehensible and unimportant in nature that it would not immediately swell up like a balloon at the slightest puff of this power of knowing. And just as every porter wants to have an admirer, so even the proudest of men, the philosopher, supposes that he sees on all sides the eyes of the universe telescopically focused upon his action and thought.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Über Wahrheit und Lüge im außermoralischen Sinn sec. 1 (1873) in: Werke in drei Bänden, vol. 3, p. 309 (K. Schlechta ed. 1969)(S.H. transl.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field

Coming down out of the freezing sky
with its depths of light,
like an angel, or a Buddha with wings,
it was beautiful, and accurate,
striking the snow and whatever was there
with a force that left the imprint
of the tips of its wings — five feet apart —
and the grabbing thrust of its feet,
and the indentation of what had been running
through the white valleys of the snow —
and then it rose, gracefully,
and flew back to the frozen marshes
to lurk there, like a little lighthouse,
in the blue shadows —
so I thought:
maybe death isn't darkness, after all,
but so much light wrapping itself around us —
as soft as feathers —
that we are instantly weary of looking, and looking,
and shut our eyes, not without amazement,
and let ourselves be carried,
as through the translucence of mica,
to the river that is without the least dapple or shadow,
that is nothing but light — scalding, aortal light —
in which we are washed and washed
out of our bones.
~ Mary Oliver


This is the beginning.
Almost anything can happen.
This is where you find
the creation of light, a fish wriggling onto land,
the first word of Paradise Lost on an empty page.
Think of an egg, the letter A,
a woman ironing on a bare stage
as the heavy curtain rises.
This is the very beginning.
The first-person narrator introduces himself,
tells us about his lineage.
The mezzo-soprano stands in the wings.
Here the climbers are studying a map
or pulling on their long woolen socks.
This is early on, years before the Ark, dawn.
The profile of an animal is being smeared
on the wall of a cave,
and you have not yet learned to crawl.
This is the opening, the gambit,
a pawn moving forward an inch.
This is your first night with her,
your first night without her.
This is the first part
where the wheels begin to turn,
where the elevator begins its ascent,
before the doors lurch apart.

This is the middle.
Things have had time to get complicated,
messy, really. Nothing is simple anymore.
Cities have sprouted up along the rivers
teeming with people at cross-purposes—
a million schemes, a million wild looks.
Disappointment unshoulders his knapsack
here and pitches his ragged tent.
This is the sticky part where the plot congeals,
where the action suddenly reverses
or swerves off in an outrageous direction.
Here the narrator devotes a long paragraph
to why Miriam does not want Edward's child.
Someone hides a letter under a pillow.
Here the aria rises to a pitch,
a song of betrayal, salted with revenge.
And the climbing party is stuck on a ledge
halfway up the mountain.
This is the bridge, the painful modulation.
This is the thick of things.
So much is crowded into the middle—
the guitars of Spain, piles of ripe avocados,
Russian uniforms, noisy parties,
lakeside kisses, arguments heard through a wall—
too much to name, too much to think about.

And this is the end,
the car running out of road,
the river losing its name in an ocean,
the long nose of the photographed horse
touching the white electronic line.
This is the colophon, the last elephant in the parade,
the empty wheelchair,
and pigeons floating down in the evening.
Here the stage is littered with bodies,
the narrator leads the characters to their cells,
and the climbers are in their graves.
It is me hitting the period
and you closing the book.
It is Sylvia Plath in the kitchen
and St. Clement with an anchor around his neck.
This is the final bit
thinning away to nothing.
This is the end, according to Aristotle,
what we have all been waiting for,
what everything comes down to,
the destination we cannot help imagining,
a streak of light in the sky,
a hat on a peg, and outside the cabin, falling leaves.
by Billy Collins