Embrace

You no longer embrace
any thing.
You embrace what embraces.
Collapsing into the hollow
vortex of namelessness
that swirls up your spine,
'neither Being nor Non-Being'
as a Buddhist scholar
might say, nobly
protecting himself from
passionate annihilation.
But you do not hide
your black ancient yearning
behind abstractions.
You nakedly immerse
in a shimmering emptiness
that generates the musk
of the womb and the bugle
of the elk-horned male.
You enter the wild
and dare to call it love.
The dark.

Sutra

Nothing is complicated
but the mind.
Nothing is impure
but our thoughts about it.
You don't even have to
untie these knots.
Just see that they are
woven from a single
sparkling thread
of love.


Photo by Laurent Berthier

So'Ham

You don't need an invitation
to breathe.
But this doesn't mean that
each inhalation is not
a privilege, a sacred
offering.
Take, savor this,
the bread of life,
the wine of the Goddess
poured out for you
with one purpose -
that you may delight in
the Breath Giver's grace.
Attend the feast
of emptiness.
Drink from the motionless stream
that turns the galaxies like
water wheels in the void.
Let it run down your body,
sparkling with silence.
Now offer it back,
the gift of the gift, singing
'Thou.'

Loka

 
Summer in my garden.
But I exaggerate.
It is not a garden, merely
a green gold raggedness
sprawling into itself
like a cat in the sun.
One wild weed
suffices as a center
without circumference,
its blossom containing
the concentrated nectar
of night.
The secret?
Learn from the moth
on a thistle.
Don't compare this moment
to another time, this presence
to another place,
or you'll turn the world to ashes.

If you only knew how
weightless and magical you are
when you use these wings
of astonishment.
Dear one, I am longing
in so many poems to tell you
what it means to say
'Let there be light!'
It means sunbeams bending
to flesh you in,
the curvature of space
shaping a galaxy 
into your little toe.
It means one dusty atom
enfolding the gravity
of a distant star.
Why were you solidified?
To dance.


Photo by Laurent Berthier

Sin

The only original sin
is to doubt
the divine radiance
of your own heart.

Path

Surrender to the Beloved
until otherness dissolves.
Bhakti and Advaita
are the same path, friend.
It leads to waylessness.


Photo: Laurent Berthier

Bend

We bend

toward light -

the light is everywhere.



Photo by Laurent Berthier

Scorn

Scorning the guru
has become fashionable
among those who have
never tasted
the catastrophic Presence
of a being who stuns the mind
into perfect stillness,
opening the heart with
a wound that heals
our loneliness.
All I can say is,
I never knew freedom
until I dissolved
in the Master's glance.
I was trapped like a housefly
in the net of intellect.
The buzz was loud,
but the wings were brittle.
A galaxy, a centrifuge of light
cannot spin your
darkness away.
O seeker, don't try to breathe
without the Breath Giver.
Ponder the silence
of silence, friend,
for Grace is an ocean
that is deeper than thought.



~Photo by Kristy Thompson

Midsummer's Eve

On the longest evening of the year
I compose an ode to silence -
nothing more than breathless sighing
in green caverns of hydrangea
where sparrows rustle and doze;
a glistening path where the young snail
senses moonlight and inscribes
her patient journey over the roses;
a blue moth settling on a peony's lips
like a first kiss. Just so,
summer comes without words!

One Breath



It only takes one breath
to offer everything.
It doesn't require
a whole religion.
Come, just for a moment.
Come, just before dawn.

The seed of laughter
in a tear,
the well of tears
in the wound of silence.

Go beyond what the world
wants you to feel -
they have no name
for the sear of thinglessness.

Time to turn back to the dark
so that the womb of eternity
like a wheel
may bear its center.

Pulse of lips in
burgundy surrender,
broken stem
of the golden chrysanthemum,
show us the incisions
of your loss!

This is your pathway to the place
that is only discovered
by wandering.

The world has too much purpose.
They have no name
for where the sun comes up
inside your chest.

Get Hollow

Listen.
You say you have a Guru?
Your Guru is hollow, just ask him.
If he is real, he will tell you,
"I am Hollow, I am Nobody,
Nobody is your Guru,
Nobody will save you."
Waves of emptiness, the proton is hollow.
The atom is hollow.
Each cell of your body hollow.
Your belly hollow, your lungs hollow,
veins hollow, bones hollow.
Your mouth, your ears,
your nostrils, your eyeballs,
skull and vegus nerve
are all hollow.
A home is hollow, a dome is hollow,
a mosque is hollow.
The stem of a rose is hollow.
The tree of life is hollow.
A spring is hollow.
A valley is hollow.

A mountain is hollow.
The Great Mudra of Supreme Compassion
is hollowness within hollowness.
The earth and moon hollow.
The solar system hollow.
The galaxy spinning like a top
on a jewel of hollow stillness.
The cosmos is an echo in a hollow seed.
Transparent edges of your body,
the stuff a bubble is made of,
popped into nothingness
by the pinprick of a single word
whispered by the Hollow One.
Listen.
Out of this vast blackness
come jewels and stars,
flowers and tears, faces of babies,
food, laughter, prayer...
O friend, why not become
the hollow you've been praying to?
Abandon the past and future.
Empty your skull of thoughts.
This awareness, supremely hollow,
is solid as a diamond!

Solstice

Welcome to solstice, friend.
radiant zenith here,
heart of winter
somewhere else.
You are the photon
at the core of the sun,
the beauty of blackness
at the center of fire.
Have you gazed into
your own eyes?
Don't just see the light,
be the light.
What is beyond the rim
of the farthest galaxy
pervades a particle of dust
in your belly button.


Photo by Aile Shebar

Sleep

Earthworms are happy
in the mud.
Crows joyfully quarrel
over rat bones.
Just after sunset
pink clouds caress
distant mountains.
Each mindless furry
feathered thing follows
its own nature, even
a raindrop.
Why can't we?
Dear one, your nature
is to love,
to eat, work, hug
and tickle a grandchild.
If you don't have a grandchild,
invite a neighbor's kid
into your kitchen for
a cupcake.
Now watch the moon rise.
Listen to an owl.
Feeling sleepy, go to bed.
Before you close your eyes,
remove the future and the past
like cloudy spectacles
and put them on the table
in a little silver snuff box
that once belonged to your
mother's great uncle Amos,
who was a doctor to the cowboys
in Wyoming.
That's what I do.
Now sleep.
But be sure you invite
the part of you that never sleeps
to gaze down upon your body
all night, like a star.




Art by David Kettley

Have You Noticed?

Have you noticed?
You can't convince
anyone of anything.
But you can quietly cherish
the stillness around them,
softening their space
inside and out.
Just be the gift
of Presence.

Photo: Amy Lamb

Connoisseur

You are a connoisseur of breath;
others merely breathe.
For you, this breath is wine;
for others, muddy water.
Is your inhalation a sacrament,
or only biology?
This depends on whether
you are awake.
Have you met the wine steward,
the master of fragrance and delight,
who doesn't simply ferment
your ancient grapes, the eye,
the tongue, the heart, the belly,
the ripeness of your loins,
but whispers into them
a song of immaculate light?
In every swell of your chest

a moonlit serpent winds,

winged
and bright.
Through all your hollow places

frolics a careless breeze,
stirring white waves of awareness.

No need to tell you these

are signs of her coming.

Who is she?

When longing dispels sleep,
every
exhalation
is her name.

Ramble

You could ramble
into the forest and pick
one wild berry.
Have you ever tasted such
an ancient sweetness?
Tart as a star
and just as important
because you chose to rest
your attention here,
an instant in the cosmos
of what's noticed.

Three billion years

Earth has yearned
to bear this tiny warted
globe of juice,

her tear of time and hope,
filled with black moons
of sugar just for
your tongue!
O now what will you
give her in return?

Photo Credit Link

Riddle

What is clear and empty
as the sky,
yet solid as diamond?
What makes the mind still,
and the heart dance?
What pours a stream of stars
through your in-breath,
and awakens the fragrance
of gratitude
in your exhalation?
What is beyond the horizon
of the past and future,
yet softer than presence?
Whether you know or
do not know
makes no difference at all.
Now take off your shoes
and caress the earth,
walking in wet moss
through the midnight forest.
If there was ever a destination,
leave it behind you.

Surf

Love has made me stupid.
I can no longer write poetry.
I only babble about oceans of light
that break against my chest like roses.
Counting syllables or making words
rhyme at the end of the line -
that's just a way of protecting yourself
from colossal waves of silence
that want to breathe you;
from tides of sweetness that yearn
to pulverize your knowledge
into countless glittering jagged
grains of inexpressible joy.

Haiku


What honeysuckle
Whispers to the hummingbird
Teach your heart to pray


Lila

Now that your wedding veil
dissolves into shameless moonlight
we won't waste time on formalities,
asking "Are we one or two?"
We can skip the bewildering foreplay
and move straight to the moment
before dawn, piercing blackness
with a sudden inhalation,
both you and I the same breath.
How the lake, disturbed by midnight,
shuddered with a thousand rippled moons!
How the polestar shimmered
in countless dewdrop skies!
Don’t try to explain this realm
of reflections: just be the mirror.
The mind knows there is only One.
Yet the heart falls in love with
Love itself, yearning for her likeness.
The others are sleeping,
but they dream about us;
not only the bridesmaids but
the lonely guests, the whole village,
both the rich and the poor.
When they awaken, none will recall
how we circled them as two
soaring ravens contain the sky.
Our gaze may travel at the speed
of darkness, yet we never quite
annihilate each other’s face.
Bedhabedha, two not two.
This is how, in love's abyss,
we make wine out of the distance
between stars.

Sunday Morning Poem

Isn't this is a perfect morning
for bowing down to yourself?
Touch your own foot and say,
'Forgive me, I'm sorry.'
Then bow to your soul and touch
your heart with a feathered breath.
'Forgive me, I'm sorry.'
Isn't this a perfect morning
to love yourself completely,
to offer yourself a flower,
hold it, gaze deep, and let a tear
fall into the cup?
When you love yourself so much
in deep silence
you become the sky.
All your enemies disappear.
In your golden center
a furious soft mingled shivering
of pistil and stamen
creates the world.



Miraculous ordinary flower by Kristy Thompson

Refuge

Take refuge in this moment.
One lightning bolt of wonder
through the heart of a child
incinerates ten thousand
books of philosophy.
All the speeches of politicians
burn to tasteless ash
in the diamond eye of a lover.
A wild hyacinth springs
from the manure pile, fragrant
as the breath of an angel.
There is no war in this meadow.
Gods yearn to be born on earth
one cool April morning.

French Translation By Francine Gaulin

Prends refuge en ce moment.
Un éclair d'émerveillement
à travers le cœur d'un enfant
incinère dix mille livres de philosophie.
Tous les discours des politiciens
brûlent en cendres insipides
dans l'oeil de diamant de celui qui aime.
Des jacinthes sauvages éclosent
à partir du tas de fumier, parfumé
comme le souffle d'un ange.
Il n'y a pas de guerre dans cette prairie.
Les Dieux aspirent à naître sur terre,
une matinée fraîche d’Avril.

Honeysuckle



Even before I wake, you are trembling
in summer silence.
When your name softens my heart,
the angry world seems to bow
toward some mysterious droplet
in its own blossom,
forgetting who to blame.
The sign that I have called You
is the tiny broken stamen of the honeysuckle
dyeing the whole sky with sweetness.
Only You are insignificant enough
to understand this, Beloved.
Our secret befuddles the important ones.
The distance between us is less
than a bee's proboscis.
You dance on my tongue.

Full

She softens my breath.
Every cell of my body is an ocean
stilled by the pearl of her reflection.
Who walks naked down that silver path
toward the portal of her face?
This gaze, leaving the veil
of my name on the shore.
She leads me deeper and deeper
into sacred darkness.

Both



Learn to be both
the circling moth 
and its flame.
We all have a need
to become what we need.
Even now our wings
are lit by death.
The soul is the deepest
organ in the body,
and it is on fire.



Collage of my poem by Rashani Réa

Other

As soon as you shut the door
to a part of your being who
makes you confused and afraid,
it shows up in your world
as the enemy.
The Left creates the Right,
the Right projects the Left.
They don't even know
they're dancing.
Climb into the bell tower
if you can stand the dizzy
ringing of the Self.
Gaze down at the tiny
swirling dots, the dust motes
of your own body.
You contain them all, dear one,
friends, enemies, and
furry creatures who come
out at night to drink
from the clear stream
of your silence.

Not a Poem but a Practice

This is not a poem but a practice.
The beginning and end of prayer
is to rest in the silence of the heart,
the darkness of night, with all its weightless stars,
reposing on your crown
like a bubble on a feather’s tip,
filled with reflections.
Feel a breath above you entering
the baby's door that never closed.
In your nostrils, the cool of Spring,
clarity without concentration.
Now a drop of honey in the back of your throat,
dispelling sorrow.
Now a braid of cream pouring
from the tilted moon down your body
into the earth's thirsty hollows.
The song of worms echoes in your ribs
among mushroom clusters,
at the center of the apple bud,
the humming bee.
Let there be no loneliness,
neither envy nor regret... Stay here
in the cotyledon of Wonder.
This journey ends in the swollen
green carelessness of death.
Is it not the practice of every blossom?
Is it not the patience of the forest creature
cradling pain in a crescent of fur?
The trust of the seed
in the endosperm of Winter?
Between seasons is a veil: wear it.
A mystic radiance heals the world,
a manner of seeing through tears.
At dawn, mist lingers in the vale of your chest.
Repose for one last kiss of your own heart.
Birth is unending, dying has no name.
Let it greet you with a welcoming gaze,
a great blue heron standing alone
and watching for the waters to stir,
or a doe in the deep woods poised, only
her nostrils moving, while high upon the wind
the red-tailed hawk is gliding, yet at rest,
pure flight in the majesty of stillness.
Now say that it is good, and every
creature very good.
The beginning and end of prayer
to rest in the silence of the heart.
This is not a poem but a practice.

Hug

The hug you were looking for
has always already happened.
And the hug you long to give back
to the meadow, every flower,
to the forest, each leaf,
to the fur and breath of all creatures
cradled to your breast,
both wild and tame, enrapturing
the raven, the homeless coyote,
the dolphin and the Earth's last
sad panda slowly, deliberately
munching
her bamboo,
as you enfold the ocean,
as you absorb the moon's pull
into your quiet gravity, your arms
a zero full of distant stars,

drawing them always closer, yes,
this embrace is ripe and full
like breathing, ever received
and given….
Now repose
in the hug you Are.


Care



Be careful.
Pay attention.
Don't try to escape.
The guru is Wonder.
Wonder will teach you to see.
To discover the sky in the ovary of a rose,
the infinite in the infinitesimal.
This is why we have taken a body
with eyes, with a capacity
to suffer limitation
on the blessed cross
of duality.
Be careful.
Pay attention.
Don't try to escape.
Solidify awareness.
Be meticulous in your embrace
of sacred imperfection.
Crucify unbounded Being
in a bindhu of dust.
Don't try to escape.

The Gaze

Sometimes you have to stop
being the reformer
of every inequality, every injustice,
and heal the earth by
holding it all in your arms
just as it is.
You have to go to the woods
and listen to the constant song
of a Swainson's thrush
spiraling out of deep
green shadows to meet
the golden stream that
recreates us each morning.
You have to bend like a blade
of selfheal or fleabane,
and gaze into Venus's
looking-glass.
Yes, dear one, this sounds
so selfish,
but it's the name of a wild flower,
after all, in whose purple void
you may gaze beyond yourself
into creation's source.
This is the gaze that reforms
Everything.



Photo: Venus' Looking-Glass

Gift

Love is a gift.
There is no do-er
in love,
only the grace
of the Beloved.
Enlightenment,
realization,
non-duality
are smoke, not fire.
The fire is love.
Mind does not
want to hear this,
but heart longs
to hear it again
and again:
"only the grace
of the Beloved,
only the grace
of the Beloved."



Sunday: Morning Glories

You have a secret work
within your work,
the stillness at the heart
of Presence.
The energy for the task
is gratitude, the connection
a morning glory feels to light.
Blossoms are speechless.
But the pure joy of Being
is a kind of song.
You could sing like that,
seeded by a stray breeze,
tangled over a broken fence
beyond the empty barn,
where pigeons startle and flash
in dusty sunbeams stuttering
through chinks of warped cedar.
The passion in the fragrance
of the shadows is what matters.
You meet the Friend in a gaze
that spills through amazement,
mirror to mirror.
Your useless beauty falls
in streams of not pretending.
Bend when you need to,
feigning no perfection.
Trellised on rails of silent ruin,
bow under graces of weightless sky.
Entwine with the weeds
of revelation.
Flower without trying.

Meditation Is Not Thought

Meditation is not thought
but baptism, immersion,
the sweetest drowning
of every bodily dimension,
cellular, atomic, sub-nuclear,
in the ocean of sat-chit-ananda,
the unified field of Being
Being, Consciousness and Bliss,
where creation arises
in a breath of silence.
Please, dear friend,
don't get stuck in
the name of the flower,
the shape of the peony,
lovely as it may appear.
Be the sap.

Center

Gently give up
"left" and "right."
Centeredness is
the only progress.
Just be present,
a flower of emptiness.
This breath sweeps
yesterday into the stars.
There is no should.
You are a guest of the earth,
a brother, a sister in

one human family.
Be a t
iny transparent
droplet in the sun,
pouring forth
the rainbow.

Tame

"If you want to tame a wild horse,"
said the old Ch'an master,
"put it in a bigger field."
The Dharma Body of Amita Buddha
dwells in a tiny atom of your breath
one inch beneath your belly button.
If you want to concentrate, expand.
If you want to hold the Milky Way
and the whole dome of night
in a spark of wonder, like you did
before you were captured in time,
give up this fine distinction
between one and two.
Love is meditation,
meditation is love.
Some sunny June morning
down by the skunk cabbage
water lily swamp,
you will find a diamond
that weighs more than 10,000 stars
in the fretwork
of a dragonfly's wing.

Mist

This world is a mist.
Solidify awareness,
the diamond inside.


What Is Important

I'm not getting any younger,
not getting any smarter,
or richer this morning,
just more wonderful...
Thanks to the Swainson's Thrush
who finally came home to the lilac
now that it's Summer.
And thanks to the tiny green frog
in my geranium
whose songs began at midnight.
And to a swollen gardenia bud
on the hopeless gnarl of sticks
I threw away last Fall
in their black plastic pot.
One might say the flower
came "back to life," but really,
what never departs cannot return.
It's only our attention
that leaves and comes back,
not the river of stars
gushing through the twigs
of all things green...
What's important this morning
is not to be young or old,
nor rich nor poor,
nor wise or foolish -
but to be wonderful.



A 'Free Translation' by Francine Gaulin

Je ne suis pas plus jeune,
je n’ai pas une nouvelle taille,
je ne suis pas plus intelligent,
ou plus riche ce matin.
Je suis juste plus merveilleux,
grâce à la Grive de Swainson
qui est revenue à la maison
sur le lilas, maintenant que c’est l’été.
Et merci à la petite grenouille verte
dans mon geranium, dont les chansons
commencent à minuit.
Et aux bourgeons gonflés de ce gardénia
renaissant sur les bouts de branchailles
enchevêtrées et sans espoir
que j'ai jetées l'automne dernier
dans leur pot en plastique noir.
On pourrait dire qu’il est « revenu
à la vie … » Mais réellement,
ce qui ne quitte jamais ne peut pas
revenir à la maison.
C’est seulement notre attention qui
va et vient, non pas la rivière
d’étoiles jaillissant des brindilles
de toutes choses vertes ...
Ce qui est importe, ce matin,
n’est pas d'être jeune ou vieux,
riche ou pauvre, sage ou fou,
mais d’être merveilleux.