Monday, November 3, 2014

End and means

Note to Readers:
1. I want to differentiate between an end or an outcome on one hand, and an intention on the other. While we may have an intended goal in doing an action, I am calling that our intention. For the truth is that we cannot know with 100 percent certainty what the end or outcome to our actions will be.
2. This distinction feels true and important to me - because it allows for more honesty, and thus more humility in our actions when we acknowledge that what we have is our intention, and what we don't have is certainty about the intended outcome. Then intention can be very powerful in fusing end and means.


End and means
the head and tail
of a dog
are inseparable

head and tail
to be separated
by the body
of the dog

end and means
to be separate
in time and space

But the means
shape the end
and the end
shapes the means
and each contributes
to the whole

In other words
how we do things
matters enormously
to the quality
of what we do
and to its sustainability
and wider benefit

We can look back
into our own experience
for evidence
of this

How we do things
makes us
who we are
and who we become
as much as
what we do

And what we bring
to any endeavor
above all
is ourselves!

The same tool
can be very different
in quality and impact
based on who
and what attitude
is using it

We see and talk about
the big movements
of life
but we live and experience
the small subtle

We measure and manage
the tangible things
in life
but we are measured and managed
by the intangible

So to summarize,
we are shaped
by our every action
and our every choice;
each of them
who we are
who we become

And in turn,
who we are
what choices
open up to us

And who we are
the nature and impact
of the actions
we take
and the tools
we use

This is the
indelible connection
end and means
tool and tool-user
action and doer
choice and chooser

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Always Grace

there is the One
there is Grace

In the beginning
there is one
in the beginning
there is the storied one

The storied one
knows himself
as his stories;
the storied one
knows herself
through her stories

Magically, stories,
unknown to themselves,
at some point
in time and space,
make room
for Grace

Now there are two;
there is the storied one
and there is Grace
and these two dance

How these two dance!
Back and forth they go
back and forth
back and forth
looking clumsy
looking graceful

Grace leads sometimes
and sometimes
the storied one,
back and forth...

And still they dance
and dance some more
seeming awkward
seeming fluid
back and forth
back and forth

Till the dance
dances itself out
till the storied one
collapses into Grace
and there is no more
pulling away

Now there is One
and that one is Grace
looking through
the dancer's eyes

Now Grace is dancing
And it looks like him
Now Grace is dancing
and it looks like her
Like you
Like me
Like them
Like us!
And all the while
Grace is doing a solo
for there is no second
Only Grace

No matter
how many dancers
only Grace
is dancing

Grace is one
and Grace is many

there is the One
there is Grace

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

From Completeness to Completeness

Who knew that there could be a long winding journey from completeness to completeness!

We know this journey intimately. It is called human life.

It is a journey as though from one thing called incompleteness to another thing called completeness.

It is a journey as though from one place called source, to another place called destination.

When in truth source is completeness, and destination is completeness, and every step along the way is completeness.

There is only completeness.

There is only completeness and it experiences itself as incompleteness; who knows why!

Perhaps because it can?

Perhaps from wonder and self-amazement?

Perhaps to know itself? to know its infinite possibilities?

It is a divine mystery inviting us to explore its endless depths.


From the Ishopanishad (an ancient Indian scriptural text), my most favorite verse, one that sung to my heart and showed me the light:

Om purnamadah purnamidam
Purnat purnam udachyate
Purnasya purnamadaya
Purnameva vashishyate
Om shanti shanti shanti

loosely translated as :

That is wholeness, this is wholeness
Wholeness arises from wholeness
Add wholeness to wholeness
or take wholeness from wholeness
What remains is wholeness
Peace, peace, peace.

or as Buddhism reminds us (I am paraphrasing) :

You are that
in the beginning
in the middle
and in the end.


As seekers we tend to forget this, as we imagine that we are trying to complete ourselves by attaining something currently outside us.

The momentous realization is neither an attainment, nor a reaching someplace else, but a recognition that we have always been that completeness, every step of the way.

We are that completeness, irreversibly, undeniably, and regardless of what we appear as.

And yet there can be the experience of seeking, of a journey, culminating in the experience of a recognition.

And from this recognition perhaps another journey can begin, not of seeking, but of self-discovery; of the divine mystery exploring the divine mystery in, through, and as, its infinite expressions.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

From fulfillment

What if
you could see
that you are not here
to get anything
from life?

What if
you could know
that you are not here
to get anything
from anyone?

What if
you could trust
that you are not here
to get anything
from this world?

Not because
you should be
so independent
or self-reliant
that you disconnect
from everything
and everyone

but because
that independence
is your reality

What if
you could experience
this life
this world
its people
its situations
needing anything
from it
or them?

Wouldn't that
make this life
a real trip?
an exciting adventure?
to be enjoyed
to its fullest?

Not by seeking
to add
things or deeds
or experiences
unto oneself

but by being
present to every
good and bad
as it arises

What freedom
to know
that you,
as you truly are,
could never be
or diminished
by anything

What freedom
to live this life
not for fulfillment
but from it?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

I am

We live
so much
of this precious life
in I should
rather than
I am

I should be there
but instead
I am here

I should
be doing that
but instead
I am
doing this

I should
be feeling that way
yet I am
feeling this way

I should
be that person
yet I am
this person

We may not
be saying or thinking
I should
but we may
be driven by
its energy
inside us

I look
at this tendency
here in myself
and learn much

Actually it takes
so much effort
to deny
this moment
and go into
the past or future

The mind
has to keep producing
I shoulds
to keep us away
from reality
It is hard work!

What reality
does I should have?
Look at it
for yourself
Is there
anything solid
about I should?
Is it not

I am not talking
philosophy or
but rather
what is most practical
and can be
within oneself

What is
I should
except a thought
in the face
of I am

I am
by contrast
is real and solid
I am here
I am doing this
I am feeling this
I am

We insist
we are
not happy
with I am
and we say
we know
what I should be

I ask you
are you
truly satisfied
with I should?
Is anyone?
Is it not true
that we just keep
one kind of
I should
with another
in order
to avoid
the I am?

I say to you
I am
is not static
or inactive
as we fear;
those are our untested ideas
about I am
The truth is
quite the contrary

In my experience
I am
is centered
perfectly ok
with what is
in each moment

In my experience
I am
is driven to act
not for perfection
but from it

Give yourself a break
and everyone else
around you too! :)
Rest in I am
Discover its truth
and its power

Friday, August 15, 2014

Death and dancing

When we have
eyes to see it
we realize
that we are given
so we may
open deeper
into living,
not an imagined life,
but true life

True life
that does not
begin with birth
nor end
with death

True life
that does not
skim the surface
but plumbs
the depths

of its oceanic self
to discover
that most precious pearl
- our humanness
our tenuous existence

for what can be
truly alive
that does not die?

And when we
put our arms
around dying
a million small deaths
we are dancing
in the lap
of life!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Living Silence

How to be in silence
somebody asks

and the response arises:
it is simple

don't say anything
that you are not
100% certain about

if you take that
to heart
and follow it
why then
silence will be
all that is left

Everything around you
may be noisy
as ever
but silence
will be
your experience
amidst the noise

Then how can one function
somebody asks

and the response arises:
it is simple

contact the silence
deep within yourself
and recognize incontrovertibly
that you don't know
with certainty

then whatever is said
let it come
from this deep knowing
of not-knowing

then whatever is done
let it come
from this deep knowing
of not-knowing

then whatever is known
let it come
from this deep knowing
of not-knowing

this is how
silence functions

this is how
silence functioned
before knowing
was born
in your mind
and mine

Open to
the silence of

Open to
the love
of silence

Open to
the works
of love

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Spirituality and Life

There is
no such thing
as spirituality
from life

But we do
like to
compartmentalize them
into their own spaces
don't we?

It's nice,
is it not,
to go about one's life
as one wishes
doing what one wishes
and then
have that
meditation mat
or sacred space
to visit
for feeling cleansed?

We tell ourselves
we have
a nice balance
between life
and spirituality!

But this is
a travesty
for in this way
we sacrifice
something big and high
to something small and low

There is
no such thing
as spirituality
from life

Any spiritual teaching
worth its salt
tells us this
over and over again

We listen
and perhaps marvel
at the wise words
but it doesn't register
that they are speaking
directly to you and me
So we continue
in our unconscious ways
dividing reality
into life
and spirituality

What humbles us
what brings us
to our knees
is seeing that
in any and every moment
life is touching life
spirit is touching spirit

In this touching
is the sacredness
that satiates
our deepest yearning
so that this moment
met fully
is the embodiment
of the whole sacredness

There is
no such thing
as spirituality
from life

Life is
Spirit manifest
Life is
Spirit's magnificent offering
to itself

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Unchanging presence

What is given to us
can be taken from us

What we find
can be lost

What we create
can be destroyed

What is allowed us
can be refused us

But that which is
neither given
nor allowed
can be neither taken
nor refused

That which is
neither found
nor created
can be neither lost
nor destroyed

That which is
already and always
is here
through everything

through sickness
and through health
through joy
and through sorrow
through life
and through death
this prevails
which we truly are

Like the center of an earthquake
like the eye of a storm
we are
solid unchanging presence
right in the lap
of everything
that unfolds

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Victim, abuser and freedom

Note to Readers:

1.We tend to exclude ourselves from the old human pattern of abuser-victim, since we feel that those strong terms are best reserved for the big scenarios of life, such as the holocaust or genocide or even domestic violence. However my experience, both within myself, and working with many others, has been that the abuser-victim pattern is an ancient, widespread human phenomenon, and need not refer only to violence at the gross physical level. It can and does, equally manifest in subtle ways within us all.
2. When we turn on the news we see ample evidence of the gross physical manifestation of this human pattern. And for many of us it is disturbing, and brings great sadness and despair over our collective fate.
3. My response in such a situation is to turn within, with a simple question. - How am I participating to sustain this pattern at this time? Consciously or unconsciously, greatly or in a small way, obviously or not so obviously. Over the years I have found that this approach not only dissolves the despair and fear but also opens up radical new possibilities for life within and without. For in the end we are each different, but not separate. So with deep love I share my experience and offer a suggestion in this poem.
4. This is meant only for those with whom it resonates. It is not a suggestion to explore something that you are uncomfortable exploring.

the unresolved victim
is the abuser
and the un-admitted abuser
remains a victim

in this realm
of recognition
things are not linear
but elemental

in this realm
of recognition
there is no time
and there is no space

one relationship
here and now
is not separate from
another relationship
there or then

in this realm
of recognition
degree matters not
only deed;
the smallest
act of aggression
is not separate from
the biggest
damage done

in this realm
of recognition
gross matters as much
as the very subtle;
the slightest
act of aggression
is not separate from
the most obvious
damage done

when we let
this in fully
we can stop
fracturing ourselves
into little pieces
across time and space
abuser here
victim there
abuser then
victim now

when we let
this in fully
we can see
the extent
of our participation
in everything
good and bad
at all times
then judgement
can let go of us
and what remains
is love
love for our humanness
love for all humanness
love for frailty
love for strength
love for everything
pure unadulterated love

when we let go
into this love
we are transformed
and so is our world

sanity is restored
clarity regained
joy rediscovered
well-being reborn

see if this resonates:
allow the abuser
and the victim
to be seen
within your own being
no judgment required,
fall into love,
and free us all
that much more

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Intellect and Consciousness

Intellect is but a tool
in the hands
of the consciousness
that uses it

History is replete
with examples
of very intelligent
criminals and aggressors

We celebrate intellect
without regard
for its impact
in our world

We worship intellect
without attention
to its potential
for harm

Now I am not even
speaking of
the glaringly obvious

Now I am speaking
of errors of omission
rather than

Apparently intellect
does not always
care to
examine itself;
its motives
and its agendas

Apparently intellect
is too afraid
to encounter
its own limitations
too smug
to conceive
of their possibility

There is no dearth
of intellect
on our great planet
right now

Yet we have not
solved the most basic
of our problems
with any consistency

Sure things have changed
here and there
Sure we can
ascend to great heights
then descend to
great depths
Sure we have eradicated
one disease here
only to find another there
Sure we have stalled
poverty here
while transferring it there
Sure we have abolished
slavery here
while introducing bondage there!

The greatest Intellect
can still come
from tribal consciousness
that seeks
to maximize the interests
of one group
without any regard
for another

The greatest intellect
can still miss
the indelible connection
between each group
and each one

Our planet
at this time
stands testimony
to our tribal consciousness

Clearly I am not
speaking only
of tribes of yore
but modern ones;
tribes that come together
around an idea
a cause, a purpose
an interest, a mission
tribes that come together
as one group
while putting themselves
outside another

For a while
it works
as tribes transcend
personal egos
to care for another
within their tribe

For a while
it works
as tribal consciousness
evolves from
individual ego consciousness
as a step
towards the more inclusive

But we have
too much uncomfortable
evidence now
that its days are done
for us individually
and collectively

And yet
tribal consciousness
cannot exit
tribal consciousness
on its own;
it does not have
so much power

Something larger
must intervene
to break us out
of our orbital looping;
Something beyond
our limited selves
something I call Grace

As it does with
individual ego consciousness
so it does with
tribal consciousness
Grace takes us beyond
an obsolete paradigm
and opens us
to something new

We can join
the movement of Grace
We can choose
to be opened
to its wisdom
inside us

We can join
the movement of Grace
We can choose
to see clearly
to examine deeply
what is still
unseen and un-examined
within us

We can join
the movement of Grace
and allow it
to guide our intellect
and coax it
out of its
self-imposed captivity

We can join
the movement of Grace
and say yes
not to change
here and there
but transformation
that leaves
nothing and no-one out

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Giving and Receiving - Part 2

What we give may be material or immaterial
What we give may be in kind, word or deed

We don't simply give what we are giving
We also give how we are giving

We don't simply give what we are giving
We also give the attitude with which we are giving

We don' simply give what we are giving
We also withhold what we are withholding

Externally we may be giving one thing
Internally we may be giving its opposite

When we give with our whole being
we receive simultaneously in full measure

Be aware if your giving
separates you from the receiver
Be aware if your giving
comes from pity or disdain

Be aware if your giving
reinforces your position
vis-a-vis the receiver's
aggrandizing the giving
lessening the receiving

Ask yourself also:
Would you like to be
on the giving end
of what you receive?

Ask yourself also
Could you be
on the giving end
of what you receive?

In receiving
there is gratitude
in giving
there is joy

Each one of us
gives and receives
This is simply
the sacred way of life

As human beings
it is our great good fortune
to be able
to see
to realize
to know
and to be
the one movement
that is both
giving and receiving

Monday, June 30, 2014

Giving and Receiving - Part 1

Here's a powerful question
that transformed
my life
ever since
it began
asking itself
inside me

Would you like
to be
on the receiving end
of what you give?

Not a new question
but still radical
always relevant
and profoundly revealing

Too simple for you?
look again
perhaps you might
tap its potential
this time

Would you like
to be
on the receiving end
of what you give?

Would you like
to be
on the receiving end
of how you give
how much you give
when you give
why you give
and to whom you give?

This question inside
has been relentless
not permitting me
to rest on
a single rosy instance
when my answer
might be yes

For it is not interested
in yes
It is more concerned
with no
when the truth is no
even if
we find one no
for a hundred yesses

When this question
falls on fertile ground
it is seen to be
completely non-judgmental
driven by love
love of truth and freedom

For we are never
more empowered
or empowering
than when we are
in truth

So thanks to a courage
from grace beyond
when we can be honest enough
to come upon that no
and explore it
without fear
and with curiosity
the question opens us
to depths

What we see
with eyes thus opened
humbles us
and brings us to our knees

And yet the question
may stay
and keep asking itself
till mind opens
and heart explodes
and time and space
so that giving
is not other than receiving
and giver
is not other than receiver

And still the question
may stay
as a loving reminder
of our truth
transforming us
inside and out
one instance at a time.