Surrender

Surrender has already happened.
You did not do it.
Before this breath,
a boundless invisible flower
blossomed all around you,
releasing the miraculous pollen
of the ordinary.
Enjoy the fragrance called
'Just What Is.'
Don't worry about who
surrendered, who fell into
this bottomless ageless cup
of sweetness,
and is still falling, still falling
through utter silence...
If Truth could be spoken
by words and thoughts,
this earth would not be teeming
with trees, birds, mist,
distant mountains,
the glory of dust.

Naked Beholding

"Behold the lilies of the field, how they grow." ~Jesus
Jesus wants you to really look
at the wild poppy,
the lake, the mountain,
to see the gentle explosion
of your own wonder,
a torrent of sparkling pixels,
particles of bliss in the void.
Keep perception nameless.
Turn the ordinary
into the miraculous
with a pure naked beholding.
Enter the wilderness of breath
where subject and object
meet like lovers in a kiss,
and your Bodhisattva mind
is blue sky unclouded
by thoughts.
There is no world of things.
Take a walk in deep silence,
each step a healing gift
awakening the seeds.

Photo of Mt. Rainier by Alex Noriega

Distance

Distance.
The ocean between us.
Wind-swirled stars.
If my heart sends
a silent sigh
of yearning,
you are my inhalation.
Beyond seeking
is the one.
Beyond oneness
is this sacred play
of Lover and Beloved.
The ocean between us.
Wind-swirled stars.
Dear one,
even my sorrow
is the dance of love.

Newborn

However you worship,
take a blessed breath
of the newborn light
that is never even one
moment old!

Alone

To those who are alone
on Christmas,
please understand
that we are
all alone,
yet we share
one breath.
It is our core, our
essence to be alone.
And our aloneness
contains the stars.

Hanukkah

Why does the flame
in the temple of the heart
need no oil?
Because it drinks
from the radiance
of the Self.

Adhyasa

When the mind stops
super-imposing
names and stories
onto the ordinary,
miracles arise,
"I" and "it" dissolve
in the wonder of Thou,
and a raindrop has
no boundaries.

Longest Night

"Give me the daring to take hold
of the darkness." ~Lalladev

Now meditate
on your broken heart.
Fall into the wound
and bathe in the balm
of night.
Don't follow a star.
Let your root find sap
in the blackest loam.
What are countless
golden petals
or the fragrance of myrrh
compared to the yearning
of the shadow
for its cause?
Here where seeds burst
beneath all that rises
and falls, you are healed
by the purity
of your loss.


Artist: Wendy Andrew

Listen

Listen to evening fall.
Listen to darkness come.
Listen to the stars.
Beyond the farthest faintest sound,
listen to silence.
Listening cleanses the mind
of thought.
Listening awakens
the sparkling grace
of the present moment...
What was that troubled dream
of the world
swept away
by this breath?

Winter Goddess

The Dark Lady said, 'Drink my cup.'
'What does it contain?'
'The ferment of namelessness.'

I sipped the liquid void,
this effervescing silence
we all forget that we remember,
and tasted the ruins of the moon
with a finish of starlessness.

‘I know this flavor,’ I said,
‘the taste of annihilation,
like a rough diamond
stuck in my crawl like a tear
that contains the earth.’

‘This time,’ she whispered,
‘don’t spit it out.’
I sipped again, the black goddess
swam up the river of my spine
with fins of fire.

A third taste and I became nobody.

'Now you know who I Am,' she said,
her eyes secret passageways
from temple to forest.

I gazed, beheld her abyss and fell

into pavonine emptiness,
that wingéd hollow,

a rainbow of desolation.

Now I dwell with my Beloved

where flames go
when you snuff them out.



Artist:
Wendy Andrew

Solstice

The only question that matters is,
will you hold your last breath
in resistance,
or give it away
in gratitude?
The answer is how
you do it now.
Each exhalation a departure,
each inhalation a gift.
Dying and living are not two.
At the still point between
it is always solstice.
Take in the Winter moon.
Give back the night.
Listen to the birthless seeds
singing to the sun
all through the long
good darkness.

Jasmine

You got in here by following the rules.
You'll get out by breaking them.

It's a privilege to be born in a body,
the weight of skin, ephemeral
and dark as ununoctium.


But your greatest adventure is beyond
the rim of light, unboundedness.

Dear one, when you go, please leave
an echo of your song, the way a fallen
petal leaves the scent of jasmine,

so that those who truly listen to
what's hidden in silence will close

their eyes to savor this breath
and hear you call from deep inside,
"Don't follow, just dissolve."

Christmas Morning

Angels wonder what it feels like
when a leaf kisses the sidewalk.

Stars pucker like infant's lips

for a smack of green earth.
Your eyes become grails
that drink from themselves.
Surely seraphs thirst
for a taste of this seeing.
They yearn for a face dark as yours.
The lonesome lord of hosts
would like very much to pitch his tent
in your cheeks,
spheres of music packed into a photon
of your silence.

Never underestimate the Small.
Now look at these scattered
ribbons of sunlight,
blue crinkled tissues of sky,
frozen grass, green tinsel,
patterned by the footprints of a cat:
December presence.
Consider that the gift
is not other than its wrapping.
Let this fallen triumph
of morning snow
settle into glistening impermanence.
Wherever melting takes you,
friend, go there.
Just to be awake is Christ.

Task

Please, no more saviors.
Please, no more heroes.
We don't need them now.
If everyone simply does
their own task
with care,
whenever possible
performing small acts
of kindness,
the world will blossom
with a mad sweet fragrance!

Journey of the Magi

Drop the reins
of your mind.
Let the camel of your breath
lead you.
Follow the star that rises
over the mountain in your brow
through the empty desert
of longing
into the dark valley of your chest.
Something unspeakable
is born there,
and a lady is gazing down
into the straw
where beams fall upward
into her face, that face
bemused and grateful,
not so much with a look
of astonishment
as of certainty
that nothing could ever
surprise her again.
There, you could bow
and drink from the well
of wonder
gushing out of the earth.



Painting: 'Adoration of the Child' by Gerrit Van Honthorst,
1620, Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Birth

"If the birth of Christ happens not
in me, what does it profit me?"
~Meister Eckhart, 14th C.


Christ is born
as the light of
pure awareness
in the womb
of silence between
your thoughts.
Now be the mother
of your own heart.

Rest


Rest in your heartbeat,
where you have no enemies,
where no one is to blame,
where the journey has not begun,
and even prayers for peace
do not need to speak.
Disperse into what you are
before you breathe,
smoke of sage in desert air.
Burn away and remember,
your body is made of stars
that vanished eons ago.
Friend, rest here
in your own rhythm,
where motion is stillness.
This is the secret.
A nest inside an egg.
A mother's womb that carries
her own savior.
Be the seed of whatever
you are seeking.
Flower on a Winter night.

Consider


O my Soul,
why do you belabor
this petty distinction
between darkness and light?
Find the Beloved
who is nearer than your body,
whose joy was yours
before night or day.
Sun, moon and stars
rise and set in her silence.
Have you not tasted
the whole sky in a breath?
From brilliant threads
of invisible love
spin all these worlds
in the space of your heart.
Consider that you, you also,
could mother creation
just through the work
of being still...


Madonna by Masacchio

Melt


You don't have to melt
until you are ready.
Every pain in your flesh,
every numb stiff resistance,
every emotion of anger, envy
or shame, each staunch
opinion or belief
is just a part of you
that is afraid to melt,
afraid to lose I-dentity.
You don't have to melt
until you are ready.
But know this, friend:
when every particle dissolves
you are not gone.
You are God,
watching your glorious body
twirl.

Report

Those who visit this world
report that it is a world of husks,
empty shells, bitter skin.
Everything here must be wounded,
gashed and broken open
to reveal the bewildering sweetness
of its fruit.
If you can't find passion
in a land of disappointments,
at least fall in love
with this inhalation
as if it were the gasp
of one just born.
Then softly attend your sigh
as if it were your
grandfather’s
final breath.
Descend into the starless seed
where it is always too long ago
for you to have been born.
His transparent sap
is all you can remember.
Be what ripens on a jagged branch,
still hard and bitter.
Assume that you lie dormant
in an ancient forest.
Winter is having its dream.
What is your name now?
The sound of an owl
zeroing down on its mouse.
The crimson pulp of your entrails
glistens in melting snow.
The hunter left you here.

Whatever is delicious,
whatever is astonishing,
whatever is terribly alive,
ripens and dies this moment.
Collage by Rashani Réa

Demon Kiss

Kiss your demons
and they will turn 
into dark angels.
Drive your dark angels away
and they will return
as demons.
Lust is not a demon
but a dark angel filled
with un-created star nectar.
Anger is not a demon
but a dark angel filled 
with healing fire.
Grief is not a demon
but a dark angel who carries
an ocean of love in her jar.
Depression is not a demon
but a dark angel whose
river of wisdom runs
deep under the earth.
Addiction is not a demon
but a dark angel bearing gifts
of empathy and compassion
beneath her broken wings.
If you do not bow
to your dark angels
you have to act them out
and they possess you.
But if you bow to them
they breathe through you
and dissolve into the energy
of awakening.
You possess them.
Beware of 'enlightened' teachers
who claim to have no darkness.
They lead you into the darkness
that they hide...
A true teacher
will never estrange you
from your dark angels.
A true teacher empowers you
to taste the wine of night
and bow to your own humanity.
Then you are blessed and born
on earth.

Mistake

Please make mistakes.
In your golden latticework
of wounds
you look more shattered
and beautiful.
A trellis of cracks
on the mirror of God
gives each reflection 
intricate wings.
One appears as many there
because we dare to stumble.
Surely, love grows vines
on the arbor of our
broken places
making wine of sorrow.



Photo by the surrealist, Martha Macha

Cloud

Truth is wild and free.
Truth is not known
but un-known
through boundlessness.
What is meditation?
It is not concentration
but expansion,
the opposite of concentration.
Not effort but surrender.
Not even the effort
to be effortless.
The vast blue space
of divine awareness
is already here.
Just be light as a cloud
and dissolve
in the Sky you are.
The first and last instruction
was given by the sage
Ashtavakra: "Layam vajra,"
Dissolve now!
This is not a poem.
It is just the Truth.

Your Name

Stop being so intelligent!
Putting capital letters after your name
will make it taste no sweeter
on a lover's lips.
The wisest teacher tells you everything
in a single syllable
whispered in your ear
for the price of a flower.
Whoever spoke the moon and stars
into their joyous dance
first held all that could be known
in a breath of silence.
You were there, spinning in that
womb of prayer.
Why do you claim to know anything
when you can't even remember
your true Name?


Painting by Mahmoud Farschian

Fountain

Before he was born, Jesus
was the silence of your listening.
The stillness between your breaths
put on a garment.
To see the face of the savior,
look deep into your body.
Underestimating your glory
is the first and only sin.
Now drink up the rest of this day:
bask in yourself
and squander the kingdom!
A fountain of something like starlight
will rise up your spine,
spill over and shower the world
with burning seeds of wonder,
gold as the stuff in Mary's womb!

Don't

Keep returning to Me here
where I am You.
Don't feel for something in your chest.
Don't look for the comet trail of a breath.
Don't pray.
Just fall through the 'O!'
where every prayer begins.
And don't push out the shadow.
Let her ocean of darkness en-womb you,
tumbling your jagged crystal brilliance
into a rounder saltier stone,
opaque transparency embracing
the confusion of the un-resisted storm.
Please, don't try to still your mind.
Silence is already here,
preceding the moment
when you look.
You ever rest where songs arise.
All instruments attune
to one trembling note -
my Name -
the sound of not trying.
Don't kill desire.
Only dive into crimson chaos,
the poise between your ventricles,
where countless pistils glisten
at the center of the musk rose.
Don't you remember?
You've been releasing this fragrance
into the garden
for six billion years!



Photo by Kristy Thompson

Magdalene

Mary, you thought He was
the gardener,
But He was the garden.
Every seed knows this.
When Creature and Creator
both get thirsty,
you meet here by a well.
He loves you because
you've had countless paramours
yet you remain alone, lingering
between breaths.

He asks you for a drink.
Here's the secret -
You are his thirst.
The well is your own chest.

Painting by Frank Wesley

Remains (A poem from 'Wounded Bud')


Of your mother and father all that remains
is you.
Of the bee and flower, just honey.
Of the master and disciple only
a quivering white stream
pouring from bowl to cup.
Why ask if there are one or two?
Compare us, my beauty, to melting snow.
Give up perfection, take up laughter and tears.
Drown in what you are.

Robin

After ten thousands lifetimes,
a seeker learns what the robin knows
at the first glimmer of sunrise.
That which awakens is already awake.
Even your wounds are composed
of infinitesimal love-sparks.
To taste God's body, plunge
into your own sweet bone marrow.
Get drunk on being clear
about who you really are.
You touch this radiance
with your breath
whenever you dare to sing.

Belly

I cherished most of my body very deeply,
but I was at war with my belly.
Perhaps you are not getting
along with one of your body parts?
If so, here's what to do.
Expand it to fill the sky.
Let it encircle the moon
and all nine planets.
Perhaps it is your penis, a majestic tower
rising beyond the rim of the galaxy.
Perhaps it is that trembling
golden water lily, your clitoris,
floating on a lake of stars.
Or are you ashamed of your brain?
Let it become a cathedral
whose spires touch Andromeda,
the Crab Nebula, some Rearing Horse
of Cosmic Dust where new suns are born

from the womb of Unknowing.
How could anyone be troubled or bound
by a body-part, which is really
a temple
of fiery intelligence,
a singing bowl whose
circumference
outshines God?

I hope this works for you, friend.
It worked for me.
I feel at home in my Buddha belly now.
Our flesh is so beautiful!

Why Sing?



 Music is the breath of the planet.
 Bend and be hollow.
 Why have you received this
 gift of longing?
 To let some vast green Spirit
 play the frail reed
 of your body...

Beneath

Beneath this stream
of words and images
we're all yearning
for the same cup
of silent gazing,
tasting blue
as the sky.

The river of opinion
runs loud like
broken glass,
but dry.

There's nothing

to drink there.
Just become your thirst
and breathe down
to the place where
liquid stillness
overflows.

Word


In the beginning
God said
'Listen!'
and never spoke
another Word.
Look around, friend.
All this arose from
the croak of a frog,

the scrape of a twig
on your widow pane,

the breath sound
of a baby in the dark.
Don't try to understand.
Just stay awake.
Behind our words
we’re all yearning
for the same silence,
that cup of gazing
that tastes blue and
empty as sky.

Stoned


"Everybody must get stoned!" ~Bob Dylan 

Green gets high on gold when sun finds a vein.
Stillness begins spinning, begets
electrons in an alder leaf.
Fir and white pine lit from roots up,
an underground fix of blood red mushrooms.
Off her axis Earth wobbles, but this dizziness
isn't her fault: Blame God,
first pusher of all that moves.
In the beginning, pastel-winged
moth angels passed out cups of this stuff
at the feast where we conceived
galaxies hanging from magnolia twigs.
Was it all in our heads? It still is.
Now we nod in a fuzz of stars,
this quantum snow.
We're drifting nuclei, connected
by dilated gazes, learning to mingle
our roots like giant fungi.
This is not about chemistry, friend,
it's more sublime, and soft
beyond all substances.
It’s about the heart’s astonishment,
this organ of joy, and our addiction
to the silence in trees and stars.
Rumi used ecstatic wine, and that’s all right.
But we mainline pure consciousness, uncut.



Alone

Anger is an energy
that attracts more anger.
Intelligence is inversely
proportional to crowd size.
A single animal behaves
more humanely
than a multitude of men.
Therefor keep faith
in the Alone,
curled up in the woods
around your own
wound,
sharing your perfect milk
with one stranger
at a time.

Mud

"Once the truth is realized, then even desire
is Brahman." ~Yoga Vashishta 37


Love your desires.
Do not be afraid of them.
They are frolicking waves
of emptiness
in a sea of contentment,
bright atoms of silence
clustered like galaxies
to make your body
whirl in the dark.
At the core of each breath
the mallet of the sun
strikes the bell of the moon
without a sound.
The burrowing larva,
the bursting camellia,
the overflowing cloud,
a white dog splashing
through puddles of mire
to chase a laughing crow:
they all know this.
Why don't you?
You are here to get
mud between your toes.

Breath of Creation

Breathing out, I fell
into the swirling darkness
called "my heart"
where galaxies are born
from the black womb
of silence.
Breathing in, I filled
my night with stars.
Owning nothing but this
vagabond breath,
I lack nothing.
Stop looking for it,
whatever it is,
and your inhalation too
will sparkle with
inexhaustible wealth.

The Sadness

The sadness of a lost moccasin.
Angry mud that needs a hug.
Barefoot darkness, seeds of light
between your toes.
The mountain is made of wind,
wind is made of river,

tears of sod.

At the tip of a twig
plum bud
made of white sky.
Winter of coyote.
Night of forgiving.
I hear your howl,
Mother.

Power

“Asánasthah sukhám hridé nimájati:
Repose in the natural happiness of your heart."
~Shiva Sutras


Right engenders Left.
Left engenders Right.
They call each other names
that pollute the air.
Don't be fooled.
This is not action, but re-action.
You won't find power
on either side
because power is here
in your chest
where breath begins,
before names are called.
Peace happens
not through resistance
but awakening.
Yours is the mystery
of an infinite circumference
whose center is wherever
you choose to flower
namelessly, in wonder.
No one can rob your pollen.
Your radiant petals protect you.
Your fragrance is joy.
Now return to the seed of light
in the mothering dark loam
of your heart.
Come home.
Create silence.


Photo: Kristy Thompson

Thanksgiving

Existence is grace.
Breath is gratitude.
When Jesus said,
'I have overcome the world,'
he meant, 'I have surrendered.'
The night is about to pour
her swirling chalice of stars
into your chest.
There is no radiance, no joy,
not bottled in your tears.
A raindrop shakes the earth
and a ray of morning sun
piercing the Winter sky
is an annunciation
to the virgin silence
of your heart.
Dear one, just being aware
is abundance.
All you need to do is
stop complaining
and say thank you.

Wait

“Bijavadhanam: Nurture a seed." ~Shiva Sutras

Don't miss this opportunity
to cherish the bliss
of deepening darkness.
In the freeze of November nights
seeds hold their tiny stars
underground.
They await an invisible sign
of warmth, just as we do,
patiently yearning.
Yet this yearning is for
something here
in the present moment,
is it not?
To form an opinion
about the future
is far deeper ignorance
than simply not to know.
Fear is the believer.
Courage embraces
the unknown.
I see stillborn roses
hardening into fists
on their bony elbows.
But when I listen
I can already hear their
fragrant yellow and crimson songs
in the black loam.
Right now, friend,
you could be floating
in waves of possibility
on the deathless ocean
of this breath, just crying,
"thank you!"


Photo: Withered Rose by Martin Lau

Break

Surround your loss
with deeper loss.
That is the secret
of the hollow seed.
Lose everything.
Become the void.
Break into flower.


Photo by Kristy Thompson

Soft Spot

Your first breath was full
of your enemies' atoms.
You were intimate before you
became each others' nightmare.
You are never not "them."
You have the power of the unborn
because you are always just
one moment old.
From the soft spot on your crown
where your infancy never healed,
let glittering filaments umbilical
flow on waves of probability
conjoining your better angel
to the navel of a policeman,
the vein of an addict who sleeps
on a Memphis sidewalk,
the pituitary of the Chairman
of Goldman Sachs,
the Chicano broccoli picker's amygdala
from whose malathion-crusted palms
you receive your voluptuous salad.
Need I say more?
A holographic fiber of your
golden hypothalamus
connects you to the vagus nerve
of Donald Trump.
99% of you is beautiful.
Almost whole.
Why not claim the other 1
as your Self?

Ishq' (A Poem from 'Wounded Bud')

My name on your lips is the longest Sura.
I begin the Night Journey in your eyes, 
toward a wild desert fragrance.

The only revelation is my face reflected in your gaze.
Keep your window open: do not turn this emptiness to glass,
lest you profane the Prophet and make seeing an eye.

For when I do not gaze at you, my eye is an idol.
Even the thought of the Beloved turns to stone
without the Beloved's kiss.

Ignore the image engraved in your skull:  
like a lover's map, it was sketched by trembling.
Look instead to the grounded seeds, and in them 

the hollow before conception, where zero 
became two in the bright space of unknowing.
We are each others' search for what's between mirrors,

that wilderness of purity:
you, the last veil of my desire, 
and I, the veil within that:

translucent, blue, the color of a yearning sky.
Spin quickly now before the Other vanishes,
so that we may catch God at the center of whirling.

You lit me on the wick of your eye: 
there I danced as seeing.
From the golden oil in my bones, I kindled you,

a soul for my soul, gushing through 
my hollow places and my wounds...
Anoint me! Drip down this broken necklace 

of seven dangling pearls.
From throat to thigh, unite the sea and setting sun.
Of purple curtains in the King's chamber we may speak,

but never of what happens on the other side!
When dawn comes, we'll whisper 
which of us was stillness, which the dancer.
___________________________


عشق
لأنّ آهاتك قد خمّرت دمي،
لا أحتاج إلى نبيذ...
اسمي على شفتيك هو السورة الأكبر.
وفي عينيك أبدأ رحلة الليل
نحو صحراء بريّة الرحيق.
لا وحي إلا صورة وجهي
منعكسة في شخوص عينيك.
دعيهما نافذة مفتوحة،
ولا تحوّلي فراغك إلى زجاج
حتى لا تدنّسي النبوة
وتعودي بعينيك من البصيرة إلى البصر.
عندما لا أرنو إليك،
تصير عيني وثناً.
حتى فكرة ‘المحبوب’ تصبح وثناً
إذا ما لم تُقرن بقبلته.
لذا تجاهلي الصور التي تكوّنت في رأسك:
فهي، كخرائط العشاق، قد رُسمت بارتعاش.
وانظري بدلاً منها إلى البذور الراسخة،
إلى الفراغ فيها قبل اللقاح
حيث يصبح الصفر اثنين
في فضاء اللامعرفة المشرق (الساطع).
نبحث معاً عمّا بين مرآتين،
عن ذلك النقاء البريّ،
فتصيرين بحثي وأصير بحثك.
أنت، حجاب لذّتي الأخير
وأنا، حجاب الحجاب،
شفّاف، أزرق، بلون السماوات التوّاقة.
اغزلي الآن سريعاً قبل أن يزول الآخر
فقد نلتقي واللهَ في مركز الدوران.
أشعلتني على فتيل عينيك:
فرقصت هناك في النظر.
ومن الزيت الذهبيّ في عظامي، أضأتُكِ،
روحاً لروحي، تتدفق في أماكني الجوفاء،
وفي جروحي.
امسحي رأسي بالزيت الآن! قطّريه على هذا العقد المنثور
من سبع لآلئ معلّقة.
من أعلى الرأس إلى أسفل الحوض، وحّدي البحر بالشمس إذ تغيب.
يمكننا الحديث عن ستائر ليلكيّة في غرفة الملك،
لكننا لا نتحدّث أبداً عمّا يحدث في الضفّة الأخرى!
وعندما ينبلج الفجر، سوف نهمس:
مَن منّا كان السكون، ومن كان الراقص.
____________

Translated into Arabic by Dana Chamseddine.
This poem appears in 'Wounded Bud: Poems for Meditation'

Illustration from 'Rubaiyat' of Omar Kaiyyam, 'Hour of Grace,' by Edmund Dulac