Presence

March 31, 2017

“Give to the good of the world your presence. It does not need your kindness or your contribution. It is not lacking your opinion or even your empowerment. The world is not lost without your creativity or your smile. But the very fabric of things needs, and deserves, your presence. You are here, but you are not here. You stand before yourself in the mirror but only as image, most times, and not as a person. You occupy space, but that is your body and not your self. There is breath and movement, words and actions, but there is not presence. Stand still, alone and silent, and if you have presence you have filled the world with all it is lacking; but make and do, attempt and accomplish—without the full palpable sense of your own presence, these are meaningless, forgotten, vanishing. There is nothing here to be; it is only to be here that matters. And you may fight or sulk, or help or be still, and these are all the same if you have within you and through you your own presence. You live here, but life is not an action, it is something given to you. You must be the empty vessel that it fills, and that takes acute and constant presence. “Where am I right now?” Ask yourself this. Where have you traveled to in your distraction and your numbness? What place of pain or excitement, what hope, what memory? All of these, I tell you, require you to leave yourself, and that empty husk that remains while you are elsewhere, forgetting, is no contribution to this place, to this plane and this time. But if you are here, even briefly, then you have accomplished the single purpose of any sentient life. We are here for no other reason than to truly be here; it is no more complicated than that. And while this is simple, it is also very difficult—difficult to practice, difficult to find, and difficult to understand. But if you have ever felt, suddenly, very, very alive, as if everything became suddenly, shockingly clear and simple and calm, then you know what I mean, you know what your own presence feels like. And if you believe in your misguided mind that you have ever felt the presence of another, I tell you, that is not what it was; it was you, every time, all along; it was always your presence that you noticed, and it always will be.”

Faith

March 16, 2017

“The gladness in your heart won’t catch you when you fall. It makes for an inspiring day, a beautiful day, but it sleeps at night and in the dark you must find something else to rely upon. The gladness in your heart is made of sunshine; it is made of things easy and free, made of all the small gladnesses the world offers you, made of the sunniness and the brightness of life, made in the day. And it is not that that joy has fled you when night comes and the pain sets in, it’s not that it is gone; but it is resting awhile, latent, in its potential, withdrawn into the quiet recesses of your open heart. That kind of gladness is not a crutch, not an aid able to see you through your difficult moments; it is not meant to be wisdom, it is not meant to buoy you through the pain. And so, when you are in pain, when it is dark all around you, do not ask, “Where has my joy gone? Why am I without my gladness?” Ask instead, “What is here now? What will see me through this place? What is it that visits me when I am so low and the world so bleak?” Certainly your inner guidance is there, its voice like all the patience you can’t muster for yourself, its kindness the kindness of things already understood. But you have, too, your own resources, those firm places inside yourself that cradle you when you cannot stand on your own. And these are not places of wisdom, or understanding, for, in that pain, in that darkness, confusion is your natural state. And they are not places of soothing reassurance, some way you might tell yourself that all is well, because it is very clear to you that it is not. And so, what gives firmness to your own self-support? What enables you to hold your own hand through the dark night? It is courage, sometimes, that special aspect of will that enables us to persevere because we are braver than we think we are. But I would say that the ground, the very foundation of your own ability to cradle yourself in such dark and painful times is faith, that it is faith that gives resolve to your own self-support, faith that carries you and that loves you as yourself in a way that only that can. Faith is the way you say to yourself that things are not all right and that they do not need to be, that pain is here and it is consuming you and you do not need to be preserved. Faith holds so firm to the notion of universal harmlessness that there is no chaos, no confusion, no catastrophe and no pain which can ever really hurt you, ever damage you in any meaningful way at all. And, in faith, you can be held in this notion yourself, cradled in this very understanding, alive on the exquisite edge of this vulnerability and open to all the possibilities that vulnerability brings. Faith is the firmness in your own mind which makes you sane when you want to be otherwise, and it is the sweet depth of certainty where everything else has none at all. And it is yours if you will have it. It is not the responsibility of your guidance to lend it to you, not the prerogative of your teachers or guides to inspire it in you; it is yours and yours alone—your choice and your blessing. Go forth in faith, and whether or not you have gladness, you are held aloft, you are cradled, you are well. Go forth in faith and there is nothing you cannot bear. Nothing that has been and nothing that will ever be can disturb or destroy you. Have faith and you have your sanity back, you have your touchstone, you have your ground. Have faith and you have everything you need.”

Love

February 24, 2017

“Love gives to us all of our experiences. Love blesses us through every sight and sound of this world, and in that benediction we are able to finally learn that love is all there is. We are tormented by this existence. There are periods of contentment, and even moments of bliss, but without exception every single person has enemies here—things that are too painful, too trying, things that stalk and haunt us, things that we cannot be rid of. And so this place, this plane of form existence, this earth, is a hard place, indeed, for us to find true love. But that is also its secret blessing. It is only in the midst of torment and limitation, of struggle and suffering, of confusion and difficulty, that love serves to shine its brightest and bestow its deepest help and guidance. In the realms of no suffering, what can be love’s role? But here, where it is hidden among all the things that haunt us, it is priceless, more precious than anything we could hope to gain. And it is hidden, yes, but not in the sense that it is scarce, in the sense, rather that it is so abundant, so near, so varied and yet so constant, that it is unrecognizable to us in almost all of its forms. Every single thing here, every piece of matter, every energetic wave, every substance, every emotion, is in fact two and not one: it is itself, its form, with all of its attendant qualities, and it is secondly, and always, pure love. Everything, no matter what we think of it or believe about it, no matter how it feels to us, no matter whether or not it is understood, is these two, never less, and always complete in each of its two aspects. And so, when I say, ‘Love is everything’, I mean it as pure literalism; everything is love’s voice, love’s exhale, love’s graciousness, love’s tenderness, love’s beauty. And you needn’t try to see things as love in order to understand this for yourself, you need only to see things as they already are. Love is the thing itself. It is that simple, that unadorned, that transparent. Look right at anything in this world and love is what you will see. Listen to any voice, any whisper, any vibration, any sound, and love is all you have heard. Feel anything as itself, any emotion, any sensation, any part of your never-ending story, and that is love. Your senses were made so love could be your prize, so knowledge of love could be your knowledge, so wisdom could finally accompany perception. But you must allow all of what is here or love cannot visit you. If you are closed to anything at all, love waits just on the other side of your refusal and your ideas, so close to you that if you were to but whisper, ‘Yes’, you would have it in floods. You will feel pain here; that is assured. You will have confusion, because we are made of confusion. But every single time you allow the world, or any part of it, to be what it actually is, you will have love; you will have it alongside the pain, alongside the confusion, but you will have it. And you will find out that it is enough, that the balm of that caresses you in ways you didn’t even know you needed and leaves you whole again, leaves you as you are supposed to be, and that is penetrated by love, absorbed into love as it is absorbed into you, loved by everything that is. The need to let love in will one day disappear, because eventually you will succumb to it completely and there will be no difference between you and the love that always was. But until that vanishing, let the world love you in every way it’s trying to, through all of its faces, all of its substance, all of its seeming difficulty. The whole process is really just this: Let everything in until the world itself loves you into vanishing.”

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.”