THINKING NOT

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Beatitudes

Polarized spinning awareness
thoughts and feelings of all believing
pulling and pushing from all sides reaching
pinned to the earth
and to the sky flying

Longing listening for freedom, peace, or some other some thing
to exist life creating a living sculpture being
from the every thing no thing of our communal, my own awareness only
while the music falls from the source freely seeing
that deafening presence not forgetting

Connecting all worlds in our heart some how
the way in is not to be found to allow
we are the way, the way is how and why
a knife can’t cut itself, pilgrim

opening and breaking and closed off
to the outside inside
searching for a root or a wing or a dream, then

Giving up on the spinning wheels thinking
that are falling all around singing
just forget it all, just being,
they come.
I Am.

I MEAN….LIKE……

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Flying at 23,000 ft., Uni giggles when I think that I’m in control;
She just wants us to surrender to what IS.
That’s all.
I mean, like,
I have read all the books;
I know what’s PC
I know what “they” say;
AND
the opposite is also true.
It’s all Grace, right?
I mean, like,
It all depends on which era you came from,
or which culture,
or which side of the tracks (or bars).
Keep the heart and mind in balance,
THAT is where the truth is;
Hafiz left his children and went to live in a cave;
Ramakrishna was constantly drunk on Kali Ma’s love juice;
Jesus was pierced through his spleen, or maybe worse;
Why, If Jesus walked into town today,
he would be on the local talk show by Tuesday morning;
By Friday he would have a basketball shoe endorsement
and by the following Saturday
his glow-in-the-dark image
would be in every Walmart cereal box;
THEN;
he would be OLD news
and you could buy his old broken plastic cross
at Goodwill.
You see how it goes?
But like, well, never mind,
because that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Uni is in control, even at 23,000 ft.
“would you care for a beverage sir”
Whoops, there goes a wing.
“Is your seat belt fastened”
Whoops, there goes the other one.
“Let me demonstrate the pull-down action
of the inflatable air-mask”
Sorry, we just lost radio contact.
And silly me, reading all these books about Uni
and I fail to read the instruction sheet on
how to use the flotation device.
Thank goodness we’re not over water
because the cabin just blew away
and my hair is really a mess
from all this wind.
In a situation like this
my teenage son would say
“Hey, it’s all good”
He’d just enjoy the ride and not worry.
Right then, I figure out how to spread my arms
and fly like a bird;
a little awkward at first, but hey,
It’s all good, YEAH, IT’S ALL GOOD.
I’m on my own now…IT’s ALL GOOD!
and afterwards;
“No, Dad, you’re not hearing me right” he says,
“It’s all GOD”.
I’m glad he didn’t tell me that prior
to my feet touching the ground.

CRAZY WISDOM

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Shiva drinking poison to save the world

Half-way through my first year of college, I was reading a book by Krishnamurti when I read the following; “What is, is, and thinking about it, is avoiding it.” At that time, I had absolutely no idea what that meant, but I knew in my soul that his statement contained truth and significance that I wanted to know and/or needed to understand. Almost 50 years later, I  have come to understand what he was getting at, but the knowing is not in my thinking mind…..it is more an “acceptance”, a matter of letting go, rather than an “accumulation” of knowledge. I began wanting to understand in my thinking mind, the totality of who I am, who “God” is, why I am alive here now, how I can best relate to the world, and what to make of things spiritual (if any), etc. etc.; in short, what IS. Many times during the years I happened upon some epiphanic nugget of understanding which appeared to bring everything together into one beautiful snapshot of bliss, only to have Coyote appear and say “not so fast, buster.” While my questions (and Coyote) lingered, all as aspects of what “is”, one day the questions began to recede into the background, and “Emptiness” emerged as the foundation of my awareness. Emptiness balances the opposites, and releases their death grip on awareness.

For most of my life, I just wanted to find happiness; lose the suffering and anxiety that were aspects of my life; find peace that surpassed the chaos of not understanding. I tried forgetting about what was “wrong” and focus only on what I envisioned as being “right” and positive. I thought I would find it out “there”, by acquiring through learning and becoming someone other than who I actually was. I knew that I was not consistently wise or kind or loving. I was suffering, so something must be amiss with me. I tried to force my unfolding. In most of the books that I was reading, and from speakers at workshops that I would attend, I would listen to their formulas for finding peace, for becoming enlightened, for realizing “truth”, and I would attempt the best I could, to put on their cloak of awareness. It would feel good for a while but eventually, I would arrive back where I started. It is funny, a few weeks back I was going through some papers related to my spiritual journey that I had written 35 years ago, and I can’t honestly say that I am significantly different now, from who I was then, only that my perspective on who I AM has changed.

Chogyam Trungpa, a devotee of Padmasambhava who founded Naropa Institute in Colorado calls this attempt to find meaningful truth “out there”, spiritual materialism, an effectively impotent and counter productive struggle. Trungpa says that only by becoming still, and by listening to our own intuitive voice of inner being are we able to make progress towards the reality of finding peace with those ideals that we envision. Those ideals are not and never have been, out “there”; There is no secret to be uncovered, no truth to be revealed or contained in a secret manuscript, not one religion vs. another, not in the words or actions of a guru, teacher, lover, savior or psychologist, which are little more than fingers pointing at the moon. The awareness of what “is” (truth) is in our own awareness, right now, and we do not need to do or change anything, or become someone different. But our perspective needs to change to see it. Like one of those postcards that looks like a crazy mess of lines and squiggles until you look in just the right way, and there is a hidden giraffe or bicycle, our perspective needs to change to allow the hidden image to come through. In this existence, we can become quiet, and the hidden nature of life can be revealed. That sounds crazy. How is it that what confused me contains the peace that I seek? If this is so, why didn’t I see it?

What “is”, regardless of whether or not I am able in any particular situation to assimilate the totality of that experience, contains all of the opposing energies inherent in the universe. Practically speaking, what this means is that suffering and chaos and the pain of not understanding, is as much a divinely inspired gift of reality as clarity, peace and joy, and all are potential visitors to my awareness. The fact that I am suffering does not mean that I have done something wrong, or that I could have avoided it. All of these aspects are potentially present in nature and in any situation, and because of the veils of ignorance (that we have also been gifted with), there is not a lot that we can do to guarantee that our experience is going to be peaceful and free of suffering. Suffering and ignorance are part of what “is”, all aspects of divine, and are not “error”, and it is likewise not error that joy is at times fleeting. What we can do, however, is come to a perspective within our own awareness that neither refuses to accept the suffering, nor insists on maintaining only joy. We simply experience, what “is”. If we are pushing and pulling in order to create only the experiences that we find acceptable, we will find ourselves worn out and disappointed, with whatever it was that we were attempting to avoid, crashing down our door in some other form. If we can only accept our ideal vision that we see out “there” as our expectation of the way things ought to be, and are unable to assimilate what “is” because we find it unacceptable, life will usually give us an (often rude) awakening (through suffering) to bring us out of our sleep. We will meet our match.

Look at it this way; You have heard the saying “All the world is a stage”, right? Well,
spiritual materialism is thinking that you are going to be (or need to be) the “director” of the drama (life) that you find yourself in. This is your play, and you are the director, and when other people make their entrance onto your stage, you are going to see to it that they do not mess up your script by controlling the action. You are going to force the ending that you desire. But this does not always happen in that way, right? It is invariable that events and people come into our life that are not subject to fulfilling our desires. Things change, and crazy things happen. Unexpected and unplanned for events and needs come into play that were not what we wanted. The only “intention” that we can have, that will prove to have lasting value and provide the relief from suffering that we seek, is the intention to “let go” of the need to have absolute control over our destiny. We still have to make decisions about our life, but we will tend to make better ones that are less egocentric, and create more peace in our life, and in the lives of those around us.

Crazy wisdom is being in the same dramatic life, but in this case we realize that all these people that enter our drama, also are partaking in their own drama(s), playing many roles at one time, and they too also have their script to fulfill that we do not understand,  and as we move through life, we will enter many dramas during the course of a day, having little beforehand idea which actor is going to appear on stage playing which role, and sometimes we are cast into a role that we do not like, and do not understand. It’s a crazy scene. If we push against this unfolding scenario, and are not able to maintain our equilibrium and composure, we are not going to be peaceful or happy, and we are going to create more suffering for ourselves and others. What comes toward us, through no fault of our own, can be crazy at times, and we will be well served to have on hand the space (wisdom) to deal with it. We cannot control what comes toward us, but we can become more adept at not reacting, but responding more in alignment with our own truth through divinely inspired improvisation. We will see more of our commonality rather than our differences. We will be more kind.

Maintaining our equilibrium in the midst of unplanned changes is a state of mind that is approachable. We can create in our awareness, a spaciousness, an emptiness, where we can be more present with whatever comes toward us without reacting out of fear, or neediness to control the outcome. It is simple. I promise, it works. Do this;
1)- Get comfortable.
2)-Breathe.
3)-Bring your awareness to each out-breath.

That’s it. Everybody can do it, and it does not take any special training or apparatus. If you find yourself “thinking” instead of focusing on the out-breath, just say “thinking”; not as a judgment against yourself, just as a reminder, then get back to focusing on the out-breath. Start with being able to focus on one breath….then go for two….then see if you can get to ten in a row.. If you find yourself thinking, just say “thinking’, and start over at one. If you make it to ten, start over at one, and do it again. Do this for 15 minutes or more each day, and pretty soon, you will be looking forward to these quiet times with your breath. You will create a spaciousness that will support you in those crazy times that will come. It’s like putting hard cash into your emotional savings account. Promise.

TRUTH IS WHAT IS

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(and thinking about IT is avoiding it) J. Krishnamurti

After Mother Teresa dropped her body, the journals that she kept daily for most of her life were published. It was revealed to God/dess farmers like me that for the last 50 years of her life (FIFTY YEARS) she was in a spiritual wilderness where she did not feel the loving embrace of her God. Yet she kept on in her mission to relieve suffering wherever she found it; whomever was in need of help, with no help from beyond that she could feel. She felt alone in this suffering world, except for her beloved Christ in all of his distressing disguises. Yet no cool drink of heavenly water came her way. She continued to be inspired by love and goodness, lowering her bucket everyday, and everyday the well was dry. “Why” she asked, had her God forsaken her? There is a Buddhist proverb that states “from emptiness arises compassion.” This is the ground of our being. This is what we are given. The place where rocks are hard, and water is wet. Movement, either forward or backward, arises out of self-potential. But this compassion that arises; the compassion that defined her life; the source can only be love. A love larger than we can comprehend. A love so great that we become part and parcel of it. It is not something we do. We ARE it. But we have to be empty, so IT can flower.
God, make me a vessel. There is no happiness to be found on these fields of broken hearts. This is true, and I know it. But the suckin’ other half of the truth is that I can’t wait to find a better way to get lost in this phony world, at least half-way. God AND mammon. A better burger, a faster computer, smoother wine, slower sex, a greener house. I’ll never leave this beautiful ugly holy sinful paradox, and I know that as well. I’ll never be a saint like Mother Teresa, but then, maybe I’m just fine as a shade tree mechanic in the Paradox garage, and until another message comes through, that’s what I’ll do. Perhaps one day I will learn how to fix a broken heart. Love, make me a more empty mechanic in this weird existence. To whomever is reading this, Goodnight, sweet dreams, and God/dess Bless You. Namaste, sisters and brothers.

EMPTINESS

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One of the most popular phrases that I hear floating around is “let-go”. Learn to “let-go” seems to be the advice coming from every corner. “When are you going to learn to just let-go?” Let-go of “what”, I wonder? Is there not anything worth holding-onto? If so, what would that be, and how do I know? This reminds me of the Serenity Prayer, written by Reinhold Niebuhr;
“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change what I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.”

This same sentiment was also spoken by The 8th-century Indian Buddhist scholar Shantideva of Nalanda University;
“If there’s a remedy when trouble strikes,
What reason is there for dejection?
And if there is no help for it,
What use is there in being glum?”

The Buddha suggested that there is suffering in the world due to the fact that things change, and we want things to remain the same. We become attached to predictability and permanence in life, but events occur that despite our best efforts, we have little control over. These are the types of events that Shantideva and the Serenity Prayer suggest we have the equilibrium (serenity) to accept; in essence, “letting go” of the expectation that we can alter the outcome. Form a “witness” to the ongoing events of living…..create some distance by not identifying with all these events. Much of the Buddhist doctrine is centered around developing equanimity in the face of inevitable change. But what about the other ones; the changes where our holding-on will make a difference? What is the source of the wisdom that will allow us to distinguish what is worth striving for (holding onto) from what is not? Essentially, what is the source of and basis of “hope” in the midst of frustrating unpredictability? When do I dare risk to dream? How will I know?

More than likely, you are familiar with the story of the blind men and the elephant. In this story, each of the blind men grasps one area of the elephant, and to them, that is what the elephant “is”. Their descriptions of what the elephant “is”, are of course different, and they are unable, because of their fixation on their own particular sense experience, to see the greater truth where they would find common ground. Conversation regarding their individual experiences becomes fragmented and argumentative, and they feel alienated, perhaps with a measure of righteous indignation that the others are so inept and unwilling to see the “truth”. This scenario has played itself out many many times in my own life. To place it in Jungian terms, I was unable to “transcend” my sense experiences, including my emotions, and place them in their appropriate position, relative to the underlying greater truth. This transcendent function Jung states, is necessary not only for personal individuation and growth, but for social integration as well. Transcendence allows us to gain a perspective of how and where our individual sense experiences and emotions merge with a greater, more comprehensive “truth”. To enable transcendence, I have to “let-go” of the underlying concept that it is necessary for me, in order to maintain “control” of my life’s authentic evolution, to assume that my personal experience in any given moment is equivalent to unchanging “truth”. I have to let-go of the need to control how my life unfolds. I have to let go of self (ego attachment) to my feelings and thoughts.So what do I hold-onto, and what can I change? If I am not in control, who is? What is on the other side of this transcendence?

William Stafford addresses transcendence in his poem “The Way It Is”;

“There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.”

In his poem, Stafford speaks of something that does not change…an ineffable thread that guides us along. This thread is known by various names in every culture and religion, and it is the same unchanging thread that is common to all of them. The word that I use is “Emptiness” and equates to unlimited possibility. It is present and alive in every flower and blade of grass, every creature that is born and grows and dies, every molecule of every bit of matter and quark that makes up our universe, in every rock and pebble and each drop of rain. It calls to us from the recesses of our heart and from all that we can see or feel or hear. It lies beyond our loneliness, our ecstasy, our grief. It is the mother and father of all that ever was or will be. It is the river of life that courses through our veins and our awareness. It is unchanging, and what we have been given to hold onto. It is all we have to truly rely on, or hang our heart and dreams on. It is the source of hope. With it, all things are possible, and without it, all is ultimately doomed to meaningless failure. We can’t know it, but we can allow it. Allow this Emptiness to be present in your awareness at all times, in all situations. It is the lowest common denominator and most common thread of existence. This is the only anchor that holds, and ultimately, the only choice we have. “While you hold it, you can’t get lost.”
Peace, friend.

NATURAL

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and now it is time for a few essays

Violence and fighting arise out of our desire body. This is natural. If you want to have peace in your life, or in the world, we will have to go beyond what is natural. Phenomena such as bodies, thoughts and feelings follow natural law. It is natural to defecate in public and never brush your teeth. It is natural to want what we want, and to want what we want right now. In this regard we are no different from the trees and the birds and the stones and the waves….we are all subject to natural law. However, the human being is given another trait that is not given to the trees and the waves and the birds. Self-awareness. I Am-ness. The trees and waves and birds never suspect that they are anything other than the One….they do not feel a separation from what “is”. Humans do.

It is similar to a human being on the land and the world of air. We might take air for granted until it is taken away……being in the water is natural for the fish, and until they are taken from the water, there is no need for them to be aware of the water…it’s just the way it is. Air is unnatural for fish, and water is unnatural for humans to live and breathe in, unless we put on our scuba gear which is an unnatural apparatus.
The world of oneness is similar to a human going into water…..unnatural…until we put on our “unnatural” scuba gear—one form of this is meditation.

Considering the fact that we have our natural state of our phenomenal existence, and our unnatural state of spiritual awareness, happiness is a condition when those two are in balance in our awareness. St. Paul said there were two people in my breast at war with one another.
If you are wanting peace, give it up….it is an unnatural state, unless you choose to pursue your freedom to realize your unnatural spiritual state, and choose to live unnaturally. You will become more peaceful. and the world as well.

DRAGON OF AWARENESS

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One day Love Dog got my attention….

Nobody had brought their broken stuff

Into the garage for a while

And he was feelin kinda low,

Wondering what we was a doin’ here.

We got these ideals about fixin’ stuff, and

hanging onto ideals is a beautiful thing….
as long as they are balanced by reality;
otherwise, hope for ideals can turn ugly,
foam at the mouth;
leave us hungry with a broken heart
and an empty egg-basket.

Everyone knows what hope feels like ,
but who really knows what reality is?
everyone has a different idea of reality,
and somewhere in the midst of
all these realities
we wake up in the right now business minute,
slugging it out with our
hopes and ideals
against this gossamer “reality”,
doing what we must do
to survive until life makes sense again.
Reality is the place where
the rocks are hard
and
the water is wet.
“Chop wood, carry water”
they say;
as if it is the ONLY reality
worth its rent.

One aspect of reality
is the dragon of awareness.
Its middle name is death and suffering.
 
Each one of us, in our own way,
will hide from or run from this dragon of suffering,
ignore it, feed it, or fight with it.
We can also choose to ride it.
It probably does not matter which path we choose
in any situation,
for the world ends with each lifetime,
and in each moment we are reborn.

Learning opportunities never end.

In this truth lies the secret,
the dragon will not harm us.
We have a protection that
is unique to each one of us.
That is who we are,
and what we are given.
And while we have the choice of running away
or hiding or ignoring or fighting,
it is also true
that we have enough
to turn and face the dragon,
spit in its eye, and
deafen our ears to the rawr,
while
listening to the beat beat
of the tender dragon
heart.
Feel the dragon’s abiding emptiness of  I AM.
This is yoga;
Chop wood, carry water;
live freely with the suffering,
live freely with the desire,
die in every moment,
and live forever.

and oh yeah….,
Love Dog says
“be kind”.

ONE HAND CLAPPING

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One day last week, the shop was kinda slow

Even Love Dog was getting antsy, lookin fer sumpin to hump

We were at a loss, snappin at each other

When Love Dog got a strange look in his eyes

Like he was seein sumthin far off……..

rememberin sumthin from a long time ago

“You remember when we first set up this shop?” Love Dog asked

“Yea….reckon I do”

“Well, what was it we said we was doin it fer?

“To find a connection with god…find some god capital” I answered

“Did we find it” he asked

“Well, maybe….there’s been an awful lot of broken stuff come through the doors, and it’s all god, ain’t it” I asked

“Yea, but does it make any sense?”…”Has it gotten us any Capital” he pondered

“Well, it sure ain’t made us any friends, Love Dog”, but I still reckon we’re doin the right thing”, I replied.

“How’s that”, he asked

“Well, look at me and you, Love Dog…we best friends, ain’t we?

“And we’ve never gone hungry fer too long, have we?”

“And we ain’t never charged more than what it was worth, have we?”

“We aint never sold sumthin that they didn’t need, have we”

“And look at the Emptiness Box over yonder…it’s plumb full, ain’t it?”

“Yea, but so what…where’s the Capital” he asked

“Well, it’s right here, Love Dog….me and you….and all this time we spent together.

“Don’t you reckon that’s worth sumthin?” “I mean, what else is you gonna be doin that’s so much more important?

Love Dog thought about it a minute…..

“I reckon you’re right”Love Dog said

“You wanna piece of Birthday cake…and some sweet tea? I asked.

“Yea, reckon that might taste purty good.”

So it goes.

BROKEN STUFF

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A quote from William Stafford

LOVE DOG!!!
COME DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW!!!
That Love Dog…
all this broken stuff to fix,
and him floatin’ around
up on the Mountain of Love.
Next he’ll probably start eatin’
radionic dog biscuits and tofu water.

Love Dog’s all outta himself ’cause yesterday
a salesman came by sellin’ his version
of expanded awareness.
According to him, nothing is broken,
so there is nothing to fix.
And “if there is nothing to fix, well,
what are you hangin’ out in the Paradox Garage for” he asked.
Love Dog couldn’t answer that
“The SECRET is, none of the suffering is real”
“and you ain’t even real yourself” he told Love Dog.
When ol’ Wormy heard that, he just took off a runnin’.

I kinda know how he feels;
there has been an awful lot of broken stuff come in lately,
and the Love barrel has been gettin’ a might low;
sometimes I’d like to get away myself,
and pretend it ain’t real…
Like yesterday,
after the salesman and Love Dog left,
I was just a standin’ there,
when a broken heart fell off the shelf;
all sudden like, just smashed to pieces….
scared the sh*t outta me….
I had to stare at the grease-rack,
and chant for two hours
before it pulled itself back together…
then Love Dog showed up…all sheepish like…
hungry as all get-out.
He just went straight for the lift,
and got to work.

It may be that nothin’ is real;
even sufferin’…..
I can’t rightly say.
But I know I’ve got this tool-box,
and the broken stuff just keeps a comin.

But if sufferin’ ain’t real….
how do I explain all these fleas on Love Dog?

guess I’ll give him a bath,
then go stare at the grease rack.

SPOTS

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Love Dog is sure covered in spots.
but inside, he’s as clean as a whistle.
He just tells it like it is;
if he’s sad or mad or glad to see ya,
you know it right away;
and that feels good.
Love Dog don’t play games.
What you see is what you get,
(as the saying goes)
ain’t that right,
Love Dog…,
woof woof.

But ME…well,
that’s a horse of a different color;
apples and oranges, so to speak,
because I’m not clean on the inside
like Love Dog. No sir.
The spots on my OUTSIDE,
they change all the time,
and you either like me or you don’t.
Either way, it don’t cause either one of us
too much trouble….
we either spend time together or we don’t.
The OUTSIDE spots is all about where
fantasy and reality come together,
mine and yours;
that’s our dance.

But these inside spots, now,
there’s our work.
Everybody’s got em’.
But not everybody wants to look at em’
and they sure don’t want nobody else to see em’.
They want you to think that the inside
is just like the outside,
but it don’t.
Does it?
Cause if it does, well,
you ain’t human any more.
Some say they got washed in the blood
and believe that Jesus took the spots away,
but Jesus don’t want em’.
He wouldn’t take em’, because
yeah, uh-huh,
that’s your work,
cause Jesus don’t want no spiritual unemployed.

We look at our spots to find out who we are.
That’s when we know who we are,
and when we know who we are,
we know what our work is, and we do it.
And ya know something special about those spots?
They never go away, but
they do change.
If we never look at em, they get their feelin’s hurt,
and they get real big, to get our attention,
and they start showing up on the outside.
But if we do look at em’,
they get small,
because we know what our work is,
and we’re doin’ it.

That’s how I can tell Love Dog is so clean on the inside,
cause he’s always aggravating me,
and pointing out my inside spots
that are workin’ their way out.
That’s how I know he’s my teacher.
I reckon he loves me bout’ as much as anybody.

Ain’t that right, Love Dog?
woof woof
He just wants me to feel good.
That’s what a REAL teacher is…
somebody who sees the inside spots,
and loves ya anyway,
woof woof
and that feels good.