Courage

February 6, 2017

“Blessed are they who can walk through the line of fire and never care. Blessed are those, shattered and broken, who stay their course anyway, who walk still, without thought for their destiny, and care nothing for the chaos around them. Those few have a courage in their hearts that we all must look for. They know what it is like to be beaten, and they know that it doesn’t matter. They know what it is like to have lost and have no hope of winning, but still to have that fire which is their life and their purpose intact and burning. Blessed is the one who can go to his death with his eyes on God. He is royalty; he is the most noble among us. Blessed are the poor, but only if they have his courage; without it, they are nothing. We have died a thousand times and it has never diminished us; why then can we not all look on the face of God without turning away? Why can we not all remember the peace that outlasts us, that peace we all know and only temporarily forget? Why are we not all that brave? Bravery is wisdom; it s nothing more. Bravery is the remembrance that you always die and it never matters, that you always lose, and nothing can stop your heart from beating or your life from continuing. If you knew you were eternal, would you grieve so much? If you knew you had no boundaries, would you protect them so obstinately? Courage is remembrance; courage is infinity speaking in your willingness; and courage is possible. Every single one of you can remember eternity. Did you find it today? Did you remind yourself? Did you prize it? Walk on, eyes on God. Wisdom would have you do nothing less. Remember your defeat only so you know it doesn’t matter, and suffer your dying only to remember that you outlive yourself over and over again. Your eternity is untouched, your boundarilessness is uncompromised, and the deepest recesses of your own heart are deeper still, and never end.”

Love

January 20, 2017

“There is no use being little and unholy. Being loveless, you are small. You make of your life a trinket and a bauble. Being less than life, you never glow, you never sing, you never move your feet in the dance they want. Being your unholiness, you shrink—you shrink not from the world’s view, and never from God’s, but from your own substance, your own power, your own potential, and you shrink evermore from your own loving. Lovelessness is unholiness; that is all unholiness ever means. Has your heart broken today? If it hasn’t, you have not loved enough. And did your mind rupture, finally, and become still? That, too, is love doing its work. Peace is only the aftermath; look for love. All that power, all the fullness that life has, all the rage and all the tenderness—it is all in love. The mind breathing, finally expanding, that is love. The body moving, finally one with its own longing, that is love. What a small notion we’ve made of love’s glory. What a sad, small thing it has become. Let not your life reduce love; let it sing in your fullness, in your courage, in your quiet. Let it move in your embracing and in your aloneness. Solitude is love’s best friend, and kindness is loves inevitable consequence. Love what you have come here to love; there is no other instruction. And make no exceptions with your longing, but do not waste your time on smallness. To grasp and beg is not to embrace; to plead and shrink is not to live. Never cower—there is no time for that. Live all this life and there is love there. Live all this life and there is hope. Live as you are drawn to and you will live with no moment wasted and no regret possible. And never shrink; love won’t have it. It needs you to give back out of this life that it has given you.”

Freedom

January 4, 2017

“Lose your way and you have lost, too, all of your obstacles. Cry if you must for that parting, but weep yourself dry and begin again. What you reach for is not your liberation but another way that you whip yourself into submission. You are a slave reaching for nothing but an easier chore, one less brick on your load, begging for your master’s mercy. There’s nothing worth reaching for that is not the unbinding of every chain and every fetter. Nothing but your total liberation is worth anything at all. You count yourself lucky when the master says, ‘An extra ration for you today.’ What luck is there in that? Will you not wake tomorrow in the same chains, with your greatest dream being only one more ration? Such fortune should not make you smile. It means nothing if your slavery is intact. And it means nothing when the handle of the whip is in your own hand. You bow to a god that means you nothing but harm. It is a way you have imagined God to be, and then you have followed the dictates of your own imagination. God does not wish you these chains. God is the voice calling through the dark forest, begging you leave and come home. God is the ray of light that says, ‘Right now, put down your heavy load, loosen your grip on your whip, and walk away.’ There is no God in your prison, no God in your self-loathing, and no God in the way that you torture yourself even for being human. But God is in every breath of real freedom. God is in every word that comes from the liberated voice. God is the heart that says, ‘I will be free, or I will die trying.’ Escape now. Every moment you wait is a new lesion on your already tattered skin, on the back that bleeds and breaks for transgressions long passed, for guilt that seems bottomless, for pain that is only born anew with every lash. Light your way with your intention, the intention to be so utterly free that nothing threatens you and nothing is too much to lose, and even death is only a way into greater freedom.”

Intention

December 19, 2016

“The fire that lights your innermost way burns because you intend it to. You see what is before you because you have willed yourself to see. You perceive the path not by its own light but by the light of your intention. Simply said, you want to know the truth; you intend to know the truth; you mean to know the truth. And when you are dark and the way lost and blindness set upon you, that is the light of your intention gone out momentarily, flickering though not entirely extinguished. In that moment, you have willed that you will not see the way, that you will not know the truth, that you will not face the real. In that moment, you have taken, as it were, a holiday from truth-seeking. You are stalling, though not for long, because nothing can keep you permanently from that light, nothing can keep you blind for good once intention has lit that fire in the first place, nothing can keep you lost, hopeless or afraid forever because your will has spoken and it will speak again. You are not here knocking on the door to reality because you are forced to, you are here because you desire it, and if you did not desire it, then there would be nothing in the world that could bring you here. You are here knocking for truth to open its face to you, asking to be allowed to see what is real because you have the felt hunger for that and you intend to have that hunger satisfied. And so, please remember, no one has set you upon this path and no one coerces you to stay; the universe has not colluded to force you here. You mean to tread where you tread, however dark the waters or barren the landscape, and you would not be here, opening your eyes to the truth, if you did not love the truth for itself and as itself more than you love so many of the other things the world has to offer you. And for your love, the truth repays you with itself, that blessed knowing, that glorious vision, that seeing that is, finally, right-seeing. The truth calls to you just as it calls to everyone, but you answer because you want to, you follow it because you love it. Even in your forgetfulness and distraction, try to remember this, remember your love, remember your hunger. Remember that this is exactly where you have willed yourself to be.”

Faith

December 3, 2016

“Abandon your reason; let faith take over. Just for now, just for a moment, let go of what you know and why, let go of what you understand and how, let go of logic and of perception, let go of contemplating and cognating. Let go of the thinking process altogether; faith does not reside there. Let go into blindness, into an abstraction which seems groundless. Float there. Let go into unknowing, into transience, into fathomlessness. Let go of the grasp you have on all things solid and sensical, the footing you have in surety and meaning. Let go of your orientation, of your perspective, of your knowing. Let go and fall through empty space, through uncertainty, in darkness, unanchored. Let go until you land, and when you do, it will be in faith. When there is nothing else to hold onto, the net of faith stretches itself under your falling form and catches you. It does so because, beyond all concepts, beyond reason and logic, beyond knowing, there is a greater and a deeper anchor and orientation. That orientation we call faith. It does not mean that you choose an alternate concept and believe in that instead. In true faith, there is nothing in particular which is believed in; rather there is the sense, found but not formulated, that what is here is of a nature so vastly different from anything you have ever perceived that there is no reason to fear falling, or to fear anything at all. It is the abolishing of all ideas for the sake of a kind of seeing, a seeing which is so immediate, so instantaneous, so clear, that it is without any reference whatsoever to the mind. To have faith is to see without eyes and to know without ideas; it is to perceive the truth not as a concept, not as a belief, but as an inescapable and all-permeating reality. Faith is the other side of knowing, where radical absolute uncertainty leads to the most permanent kind of ground. Faith takes what is unknown and makes it apparent, and takes what is known and turns it into illusion. Faith promises nothing; there is nothing to gain by it, nothing to learn, no achievements or progress it will lead you to. But to live in faith, beyond reason, even for a moment, is its own reward. Once without the mind, even for only a moment, it is impossible to desire that mind the same in the future. Faith takes us from the certainty which causes our suffering through the uncertainty which mends it and into the place where suffering can be forever forgotten. It is worth a moment of your time. It is worth this moment. Faith lives here already alongside logic and concepts, but ever deeper than either. Faith is already yours. Let go and find it.”

Remember

November 9, 2016

“Who have we forgotten to forgive? Is it our mothers who held us one time too few? Or our fathers, those dangerous men, terrifying us? Have we forgotten our captors or our torturers, the guards that humiliated us, the masters that slayed us? And who have we forgotten to love? Was it, in fact, the children beneath us, the decrepit and the old, those too needy to be looked at, those too forlorn to be tolerated? Who have we lived without all this time? Is it the shining of our own bodies that we have been missing? Is it the true presence of ourselves that we lack? We do not forget those who have wronged us; we forget ourselves. We forget who we have been and where we are going; we forget why we come here, over and over again; and we forget why it is worth it. We forgive, finally, when we remember ourselves. We love wholly when that love is for ourselves. The memory of our own purpose is what we need: It puts the path in perspective and the villain in his proper place. It puts the needy that we have denied somehow out of reach of our guilt. It forgives, this memory. It loves, this remembering. And we are known then. We appear for the first time to ourselves whole, no longer split into pieces and stories. We appear to ourselves to have a purpose, the purpose unrecognized, the purpose discovered in memory. Appear to yourself. Look for the one whole in all the pieces. Look for the one alive after all the dying, the one who is never prey and never victor, the one long-forgotten. Remember to forgive. Remember, and love is there.”

Breath

October 13, 2016

“Every breath is a moment of pure possibility, every inhale a taking-in of what might be and every exhale a breathing-out into potential newness, possibility. The breath belongs to this realm of opportunity and growth; it is the movement of life, and life is an unfolding into something never before known, something wholly different from what has come before, something so fresh, so potent, so unexpected that there is no way to anticipate it, to know it in advance before it is met in reality. The fact that you breathe tells you that you are this well of possibility, this ocean of potential newness, this ‘might be’ that is always exponentially more vast than the whole of your ‘have been’. You are constantly at one with and embedded within this vastness of possibility; hence you breathe. You may forget everything you have ever learned and yet at the moment you notice your own breath you are reminded of your own endlessness, re-educated right then in the knowledge of your limitlessness. You remember what is true when you notice your breathing, and you find the current of its aliveness and the potential that fuels and imbues that breath with its very rhythm, its very dance. We are able, at any moment we choose, to remember our own transformative potential; the fact of that is never far from our experience because our own breathing keeps it close. We are loved by this, this reminder of life that life itself imbues us with. We are loved by it without condition, without cause, without ceasing. The constant potential of this human experience rises and falls, cresting continuously in the wave that is breath. It is because we breathe that we live, and in our awareness of it, in our allowing ourselves to enter into that breathing and, so, into the vastness of possibility that awaits us in each inhale and each exhale, we live truly, deeply, actually. It is already here, your breath, your possibility, your endlessness, your transformation. Breathe that. Be as that.”

Gratitude

September 22, 2016

This talk is like a psalm of gratitude for the thing I most forget to be grateful for—the chance this life offers at real transcendence.

“Rejoice that the pilgrimage to the center of your being can now begin. Give thanks for the commencement, at long last, of the thing for which you are made, the voyage for which you have always been preparing, the journey that is your true heart’s desire. Rejoice for the chance, at long last, to be home within yourself, to be, finally and forever, one with your own being, alive in a way you have never felt before, at peace in a way that only this journey can give you. Rejoice to be at long last coming home to yourself, carving an arc across the sky of your inner space and plunging in so far that that depth is felt as height and that vastness within you reveals itself to be greater than any heaven. Rejoice to be the source of your own inspiration, the spark that feeds your life’s fire, the presence that you are always seeking in others. Rejoice to be this sacred, this blessed, to have, finally, this path as your only destination. In the center of your being lies the heart of all things, the essence of all that is, the identity true and stable, every world known and unknown. Rejoice to be this ‘who’ and this ‘what’. Rejoice that within you is every face of ‘when’ and of ‘where’. And rejoice, too, that in the center of your own being the question ‘why’ dissolves and torments you no more. Rejoice to be the holy everything encapsulated in the single, faulted one, and begin to see into yourself and, so, perceive how this must be true. Rejoice to let yourself dissolve into this immersion, a surrender into the being that is already you, into the state and fact of that with only wonder and curiosity. Rejoice to be the one that at long last says ‘yes’ to this voyage, the one who lays aside the hesitations and the protests, who can finally stop asking, ‘What will it give me to take this step?’, and take it without ever knowing. Rejoice to be the one who has nothing left to lose, who needs this journey to the center of being the way he needs food and sunlight. Rejoice to be, finally, the surrendered one, the one who has given in to all the richness and variety that is found on this path and is so fearless in the glimpsing of that that all wisdom becomes hers. Rejoice that now, at long last, there is nothing in the world you need more than this, this giving in and giving up, this plunge into the heart of your own heart, this thing that reveals pain and uncertainty and then blessedly both becomes and transcends them. Rejoice to be headed in the only direction that will bring you happiness, and that is the direction in, the direction through. Rejoice to be the one who knows this, and turn your attention towards that innerscape where all things are to be found and where, ultimately, true contentment resides. Rejoice to be headed home, for that is where you are going. That is the gift you give yourself through your own choices; that is the happiness of this final blessed path. Rejoice to be on it. Be thankful for it all.”

Emptiness

September 6, 2016

This is from a very early talk of mine, but it rings so true for me today.

“Let the vacancy have you. Let it love you. You have been headed steadfastly in this direction, and yet somehow the emptiness surprises you. You have been reaching for it all along, so why not take it now? You designed your life, plotted your course, all with this very vacancy as your aim, and now you are at its threshold, you look frantically about you for something to fill that space. Space is what you need. The chaos and disorder of the world has hurt you. You have tried to put it behind you, so why are you now looking back? Take the emptiness when you find it. It’s what you came here for; it’s all there is. You have no other purpose to your days but to lessen your activity, and slow your constant spinning, and beckon to your stillness from the world of noise. You have put things behind you that were killing you, and now you beg to have them back. You have rid yourself of pain long a burden to you, and now you wonder where it’s gone. It is not time to start again what you have tried so hard to quit, it is time to let yourself be consumed by the consequences of your best actions, the blessed result of your most honest and most courageous steps forward. Please don’t turn back. You know what you have to do. There is nothing here for you right now but that vacancy. If you cannot head toward it then you are headed nowhere; if you cannot love it, then there is nothing here to love. Find your companionship there, find your heart and your spark in that emptiness, find yourself and your home. Find the end of all your trouble, the beginning of redemption, a life, finally, of ease and light and promise. Find what you’ve been hoping for. It is long past time.”

Forgiveness

August 20, 2016

“It is a long, patient process, the way you wait for understanding, the way understanding becomes forgiveness. It is a slow process, the light shed on what is true, the light revealing what was hidden. And then, like a dawn, there is forgiveness. There is the clear seeing that can bring only patience; there is the perception of things as they are and the perception that they are right as they are. There is the patience to continue each day in forgiveness, to walk still, past punishment and past despair, towards what is slowly revealed, towards what the open eyes show you. There is deliverance into patience and into forgiveness, a deliverance that your rage could never bring you and your protest will never allow. It is right, finally, just to see things clearly; no other transformation is ever needed. It is right, finally, to know things for what they are, beyond all preferences, beyond all judgments, beyond any concept or design you may have invented. What you see in forgiveness is things simple, things known, things reduced to their realness, their uncomplicated essence. You see that a thing is only itself and not something you’ve added to it, that an event or a behavior, or even what you have called “tragedy”—that these are only themselves, and they are nothing more. They do not deserve their dramatic titles. They do not deserve their storylines. The clear seeing that comes when you swallow your bitterness and stop your complaints is the clear seeing of forgiveness. And it is a gift bestowed to the seer, a blessing for you and no one else. Try to put away your objections. Stop feeding yourself on your bitterness. Clear seeing comes from such humility. It comes in the brokenness of that defeat, and in the willingness to accept all that is and all that was as a simple part of things as they are. If you want forgiveness you will need humility, and you will have to be willing to be done with your rage, to put aside your anger as something you don’t need anymore, and to swallow the bitterness that is of your own making for the sake of the possibility that you will see things correctly for the first time.”