Monday, December 19, 2011

Number Forty

Everything outside seems dangerous.  The rooms where we feel safe are defined by the familiar, the faces we know.

The people we don't know could do anything, say anything.  We protect ourselves by deciding they are evil.

But the mere thought that there is good and evil creates evil.  Because it is the means by which we separate ourselves from the other.  Reject the other.  Dehumanize the other. Separation -- the delusion that we are not all one -- is what evil is made of.

There is no them.  The room that seemed so small it contained just a single life holds everyone.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Number Thirty Nine

We speak to ourselves like politicians at a rally.  Full of judgments about what's wrong, and demands for action.  Nothing happens.  Nothing changes.

We carry images of the perfect self, what we will never be.  We pretend it's possible, but the ideal becomes less a goal than a source of damage.  A way to dehumanize.  The perfect self is a despot, ready for carnage.  Ready to find failure in every choice.

Seeing the self as it is, flawed, full of pain and the compensations to escape pain, is the only path to something new, and a way to the divine.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Number Thirty Eight

Objects link us to the past.  They are alive with the souls we love.  They let us travel back and forth between here and the time we come from.

The voices of my parents, at the moment of a gift -- this desk -- do not reach here.  There is no way to keep them except through the weight of every object we have in common.

I ask them to come to me -- in the table and the dresser, in the candlesticks and the yellowed papers.  Do I recognize their handwriting -- yes.  Do I see their pain -- yes.

Let me gather these things and live among them.  Quietly.  With love.  So I can hear what they are saying.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Number Thirty Seven

This is the land of zero visibility.  We see only the immediate -- to the next problem, the next solution.  And the moments of struggle and solving spill one into another.  Gathering like a lowland mist that hangs close to the ground and makes it impossible to see in any direction.

The fog of days is made from problems and solutions.  From fixing what is broken in front of us.  And running to the next broken thing, the next remedy.  The fog of days doesn't lift.  It lays in the forks and crossroads, covering all but the next step.

There is no way to see except to climb.  Above the answers and the plans.  Up where there is no next thing.  Where there is only the breath.  Where the hills are rutted with the random paths of animals.  Where the ridges and gullies could lead anywhere.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Number Thirty Six

The angels sit in doorways asking for change.  If encouraged, they tell the truth.  They're waiting to show us the pain we're afraid to see, the pain which connects us.

While the angels sleep, everything they have is taken.  What they keep is their hope to be seen.  Recognized.  They die of exposure to our illusion that we're alone.  Yet all they were here to do is teach us -- that we are all drawing from the same breath.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Number Thirty Five

The truth waits to become action.

It cannot be found in going back to the beginning.  Or the last thought.  The truth cannot be found in the familiar rooms of a house, or the emotion as the sun throws shadows at dusk.

The truth waits to become action.  It is not the certainty.  Not the righteousness or the anger.  It is not the word of god.

The truth is the embrace.  Without need or expectation.  Without hope.  Without response.  Without anything.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Number Thirty Four

Here in the darkest regions, where we can't know the truth, we sense a weight and power that cannot be contained by language.  Or thought.  Something transmitted by light.  But beyond the threshold of ordinary vision.

The galaxies emit that light, a visual echo of the big bang.  The light at the beginning, the first willed explosion, suggests the source.  As the universe expands, each galaxy more and more alone, the light speaks with less clarity.  Less remembrance.

The rock we live on flies further and further from the truth.  No telescope can find the source.  It is too late; we are too far away.  We are alone.

And all that is left is the next choice; the next act of will.  Out here in the night we look for the truth that comes from doing or not doing.  As if the light, the source, can be seen somehow in every intention.  Every act.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Number Thirty Three

The angels wait for us to listen, for the moment we are ready.  They are the teachers among us.  We are deaf with pain.  They tell the story of where we come from; what we're here to do.  We tell the story of how we were broken.

We make pictures of angels -- tall with alabaster wings.  We give them roles -- the angel of death, the angel at the gate.  But they are just us, survivors of birth and loss, coming to work at this difficult school.  With children who will not sit still, who run through the halls.

In the way we seek to be heard, they seek to be heard.  In the ways we watch helplessly while ones we love devolve, collapse, they watch us go blithely on.  Consumed with the illusion; fixing, fixing, fixing what has no remedy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Number Thirty Two

Our will is fragile.  It resists facing pain.  The will wants relief, satience.  It tends to seek what's immediate; within reach.

Two things strengthen the will: clarity about what is good, and willingness to have pain for the sake of what is good.

True choice grows from holding an enduring image of our highest value.  Even in pain.  Even when afraid.

True choice comes from making friends with pain, knowing it will show up with each real step in the direction of what matters.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Number Thirty One

Time is loss.  Grief depends on believing we can keep what we have; on believing that we have anything.  We lose everything.  Threaded into the weave of love is losing everything.  In time.  Love holds what has been, what will be taken.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Number Thirty

What is the truth?  Each of us holds a piece of the truth.  And although the "truth" of two people may seem to contradict, it is usually a dialectic.  And each truth becomes a surveyor's stake that we sight along, to see at a distance where the lines intersect.  And where they intersect is a gathering of all human awareness, a place where the truth of each individual experience becomes a wellspring.  Where it is becoming god.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Number Twenty Nine

From hope is born the images of a life between lives.  The gates, the gardens, the hall of judgment.  Roman columns grace facades lost in the clouds.  All lovely.  All wrong.  A physical mind invents physical forms .

Hope looks for the familiar landscape, a place made from vacation post cards.  Mediums send greetings from the dead.  We seek angels who will guide us to the face of god.

But god is busy.  And when we get there, the scene is whatever we make up.  The only thing real is the soul itself.  Which holds some sense of the divine, and must wait for love to set in.  For the truth to dawn above the delusion of each abandoned life. 

In this world, hope is not some imagined heaven.  It is the sense of our purpose, the drive to uncover the plan we came with, the moment when the thing we have waited to do presents itself -- and we look for the strength to act.

The next life arrives in whatever form.  True and unimaginable.  At the last station, the landscape is strange but familiar, a home we cannot remember.  It doesn't matter.  Hope is for this world -- that of all possible roads, we take the one we'd already chosen.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Number Twenty Eight

The circus closes.  The great tent is taken down and just the field is left.  Time stops out where the grass is bent and walked upon.

Just the field is left -- a space between each possible world, where time waits for the next show to arrive.  Waiting for the barker, clowns, and roustabouts.

When the show starts, performers say their lines and prance across the ring.  Then time begins again -- holding all that was ever said or done.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Number Twenty Seven

The relentless light arrives.  There's no thought, no awareness that isn't touched by it.  Quite suddenly the lie of time is gone.  Before and after is gone.  The reasons are gone.

There are only the choices.  All now; all forever.  Each choice shines in the light.  Like a house on the plain -- individual and yet connected to every other house.

The light shows the choice for what it is -- something that cannot be taken back.  Something that lives.  Something that pushes every other soul -- somewhere.

In the house on the plain one thing happens that pushes the whole world together or farther apart.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Number Twenty Six

We travel to see something new.  But every moment is new.  We travel to be in the moment, to see it finally for what it is: the creation.

Choice is what creates the soul, how it evolves.  But the choice in every moment is gone with that moment.  The choice unseen is always lost.

We travel thinking that only in a foreign place will something new exist.  But it is there when we are dropping off the dog, packing, waiting for the taxi.  It's in that moment, the moment which is creating us.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Number Twenty Five

There is nothing done to us.  There is nothing taken, nothing broken, nothing stained.  What happens, no matter how sad or painful, is just the color, the motif of this moment in life.  The moment has its purpose, what long ago we agreed to, what we needed to fully use our days.

There is nothing done to us that wasn't necessary for the lesson we came to learn.  The life we had planned or wanted is no more than a source of necessary disappointment.  The love we expected, looked for , becomes no more than a turn down some empty road, weeds and branches choking the way.

In the darkness, the place we never thought we'd arrive comes like a sudden warning, like a dog barking in a lonely farmyard. The place feels wrong, as if we were the victim of something.  But despite its strangeness, it was our own plan.  It is what we needed to know, to feel, to embrace.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Number Twenty Four

The left hand doesn't know the right hand.  The conscious mind doesn't remember what the unconscious holds.  All around the voices of the dead are speaking.  But we are afraid because it's considered madness to listen.

On the right side of the brain we listen -- because that's where we intuit; know wisdom.  On the left side we make up the story of being alone.  Invisible.  With no destination.

Our hands join in prayer.  But the prayer is speaking without listening.  And god doesn't know us.  Only the souls who love us do.  The mind finds words for love.  Describing it.  Seeking the beauty of being known, accepted.  But we remain deaf to the chorus that bathes us.  Holds us.  Takes each step with us.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Number Twenty Three

Something breaks.  The feelings we've kept hidden flood across our lives.  And the pain gathered from every loss rises; becomes a shout.

This is the way pain works: whatever pain has been disowned, closeted, will finally knock down doors.  Then, in the mind's last try for control, the judgments come.  Someone is responsible, someone has done wrong, someone caused this suffering.  So pain becomes anger.

Still resisted, still disowned the pain is first turned on what we hate and finally what we love. This is how things fall apart.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Number Twenty Two

Sadness surrounds us.  Like the dark beyond a ring of firelight.  The sadness is the illusion of separation, the apparent loss of the ones we knew.

The fire, stoked by the small pleasures, by the comfort of the familiar, burns out.  And then the wolves come -- that image of abandonment, a lonely death -- to devour us.

The sadness is all around, like the gleaming eyes of animals.  Yet out there, just beyond the last breath, is everyone.  We have just forgotten them.  It is their eyes glowing in the dark.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Number Twenty One

We are not here to be redeemed, or prove ourselves righteous. We are here to become, to learn.  That's all there is -- lessons.

The lessons arrive according to plan, what we agreed to face.  They are strung out, pearls of cause and effect, across the days of a life.  Some come from failed challenges in past lives.  Some from the shape and wiring of the body we were given.

As lessons arrive, we are free to learn or resist.  And there is no guarantee we have the strength or tools to learn a given lesson at a given time.  It's all good.  They will arrive again -- in this life or some other.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Number Twenty

We didn't come here for happiness or unhappiness.  We came to overcome what's compensatory and automatic: the habitual, corrosive solutions to our pain. We came to lean how to love while every impulse sends us back to the familiar ways.  Back to the flaw, the separation, the breakdown where we began to lose each other.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Number Nineteen

We don't want knowledge; we want confirmation of what we already know.  We want belief, fixed and immutable.

Belief constructs reality to satisfy our needs and fears.  Belief is the selective process of seeing and not seeing, of ignoring what is frightening and uncomfortable in favor of what is comforting and validating.  Hope and fear supercharge belief to make it absolute.

Knowledge is not absolute.  It forever expands, assimilates, changes.  It is the truth right now -- in this place, from this vantage, under this sky, between these souls.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Number Eighteen

The violence goes on.  Taking our children.  All over the world.  For profit, for revenge, for a rite of passage.  For belief, or in the name of god.  It is made from the myth of belonging and not belonging.  Of family vs. strangers; of the good people and the different ones.  The different ones are specters of evil.  The different ones can be killed.  Driven.  Used.  They die invisibly.  They make up the nightly body count, each demise a measure of success.

The violence goes on -- as if we were not all part of "the whole."  As if we were not here learning to love.  As if killers would not have to learn to be victims.  It is passed on, our violence merely deepening the amnesia.  Helping to forget what's all around: The sound, like a constant wind, of souls trying to be heard.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Number Seventeen

The act of judgment makes us dense, breakable.  The soul can only sustain damage by hardening, by inventing good and bad, by separating what is seen and felt and done into the great lie of right and wrong.  The act of judgment compresses love into a thin approval.  Ready to be torn, taken.  Ready to be withheld or returned again for a ransome.

Judgment collapses us with the weight of fragments, the breaking of experience into what is accepted or not accepted.  Loved or thrown away.  The walls of the self fall inward because judgment always descends there.  Scavenging.  Pressing.  Digging into our last protected place.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Number Sixteen

We say "the die is cast" or "it's god's will" as if Fate were certain.  As if we were helpless at the intersecting lines of cause and effect. And then we build religions on assumptions of will and sin and earned redemption.  As if choice were absolute and the events of our lives were our own creation.  We believe in belief, as if something held strongly will manifest itself -- in this reality or (in Quantum Physics) a parallel one.

Morality depends on will.  Justice depends on will.  Without will there is no right and wrong. There is no right and wrong because will depends on awareness and the strength to resist pain.  Which varies from moment to moment, from soul to soul, from situation to situation.

There is no right and wrong because the matrices of cause stack up -- like waves -- from ripple to tsunami.  And the strength of will that can surmount the lapping tide falters before the rushing mountain.

We come here to face choices.  We have a ticket to learn.  Free will flickers -- here for a moment and then gone.  The lens of awareness goes from clarity to utter blindness.  Yet we keep on: responding, failing, moving.  What lessons are made of.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Number Fifteen

We speak of spending time as if time were a bag of coins.  A kind of wealth that someday will be lost.  Death makes time look finite, something we run out of.

Time is change.  Without change there is no way to mark time -- whether measured by the drifting of continents or the moving hands of a clock.  In the physical world, time is the movement or breaking down and recombining of molecules. For souls, time is measured by what is learned -- the transformation from empty slate to a holder of knowledge.

Death can't stop time for the soul.  Souls collectively hold all of experience, gathering everything that is or will be known.  Souls are the books in a library that is god.  Each book continually grows, changes.  It never stops, and time goes on.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Number Fourteen

Desire and detachment live next to each other.  Both beautiful and necessary.  The required dialectic for a complete life.  Desire without detachment is a runaway train, allowing no acceptance of loss, no love for a world that can refuse our deepest hope.  Detachment without desire creates the eternal observer -- appreciating, accepting, forever letting go.  But never holding, seeking, wanting.

So it is at the intersection of detachment and desire that the beautiful uncertainty lives.  Daring to seek while accepting Fate's unknowable plan.  Wanting to hold the beloved while sensing all around the forces of separation.  A desire to shape the future with a letting go to what the future brings.  Embracing what is held and what is lost; taking what arrives at each moment, however sadly and beautifully different from what we sought.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Number Thirteen

In the silence, as we wait to rejoin each other, as we touch reverently the objects that connect us to the dead, something is born.  In the silence, where we no longer hear or see the beloved, where all the conversations we were given seem to have ended, we go on looking alone.

Whatever we learned from the other, we now must learn without the other.  And what we knew as truth together, must be found again -- changed as light changes on water -- inside.  Though the water is the same, the aspect is different.  Though the conversation somewhere goes on, here it is unheard.  Here is the bitter quiet.

The silence is necessary.  It is part of the conversation, an ellipsis between words.  It is a lesson in waiting, in uncertainty.  A form of the truth only found in the absence of what we always counted on.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Number Twelve

"When I was a child I thought as a child," the saint says.  We come here to be children, to have bodies driven by emotion, by impulse.  We come here to have an angry mind, a sad mind, a frightened mind, and to run -- like a horse before the teamster's whip -- toward whatever escape, whatever momentary respite from the pain.

The choice to run is mostly a child's choice.  Because the pain is all around, the light is all around, and there is no way to get past any of it.  But we keep trying to escape, and it is why our childhood goes on.  In life after life -- with the luminous shards of each mistake -- the struggle to see with a child's sight continues.  There is nothing wrong, nothing to be fixed.  It is just long.  Necessary.  Forgivable.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Number Eleven

Certainty is the antidote to fear.  And the path to blindness.  Certainty fuels conviction and razor-edged rules.  It spurs action without knowledge -- sometimes courageous, many times destructive.

Beliefs born of certainty harden, become swords of emotional violence.  They cut and wound.  They kill love because love -- above all -- accepts, softens around each necessary flaw.

Certainty divides the world into what is rejected and embraced; held or flung away.  It is the defense of the righteous, the self-willed.  It is what war -- in every form -- is made of.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Number Ten

The sound of truth, like some harmony only the wise can hear, rings out in the spiritual salons and in the clerics' quarters; it is heard from the high pulpits and after eating peyote.

But the sound of truth -- the words and rhythms -- are just seduction.  The emotion of certainty is just an emotion -- no more true or false than any other.  The mind says "yes" because the mind seeks confirmation and agreement with what has already been learned.  The mind seeks the exquisit relief of order and linearity.  Of the great one who can finally explain our pain, our waiting in this dark.  The mind is always ready to say "yes."  Because yes is wired into us, into our hunger to make sense of this place.

The sound of truth deceives us because it is just a sign, a feeling that we are looking in the direction of the light.  The light holds a million versions of the truth -- no one of them complete or whole.  Each is the partial wisdom of one moment, looking across one vista.  Each is a moment of great vision and a lie.  Because certainty seduces; and in that certainty every other vantage place is lost.

The sound of truth is always partial, an invitation to a million other places to stand and watch, and find the words for what is seen.