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.”

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.”

Completion

August 8, 2016

You can also watch the video of this talk. Keep in mind that it’s a meditation, not a lecture, so it’s very slow, meant to give you time to relax into yourself while you listen.

“The prize for the fortunate is the sense that time is gone, life has vanished, and space is not—and yet what remains leaves nothing whatsoever lacking. This gift that comes like a spontaneous blessing out of nothing at all eliminates everything known and, indeed, the structure of knowledge itself, but leaves behind only that which makes all of this real, that which makes the truth true, that which makes life alive, that which sparked every idea simultaneously so that all of this unfolding might be possible. To the very fortunate, that moment of grace, that penetration into not the form of reality but its is-ness, comes completely unbidden, spontaneously arising in spite of every seeming obstacle and contradiction. And what is it, then, to be fortunate? What does it take to become so lucky? It is not a matter of virtue; it is not a function of purity; it is not a reward for accomplishments; it is not a consolation in defeat. This moment is not reached by the body perfecting itself, is not granted out of any sense that some are good while others are not yet good enough. This holy moment is given to the fortunate, and by that I mean only one thing: I mean those who are finished. It is the instant arising out of completion, the knowing that has no mind left to know, the deep experience of reality in which there is no one there to experience it. It happens because you allow things to come to a close. If you have been reaching, if you have been consuming, you let yourself feed all you can and then you let it be over. And if you have been terrified, you cross that threshold and walk, at last, right into the arms of whatever would destroy you. You lay down your pride for that, you stop fighting and you let yourself be consumed so that that cycle can finally be complete. At the end of things there is always an open door into what is real. Ultimately, you will give up the very person who seems to have been doing all this reaching, all this fighting, all this living and all this dying, so that, at last, even that grand notion that ‘I am’ is allowed to end. And without that ‘I’, time departs, space is meaningless, life is no longer an interplay of forms, and instead, there is reality only, there is essence only. And so the fortunate are really just those that let things end. There are so few, but there will be more because each and every day, if you pay attention to your own life, you will see that things are trying to come full circle, everything is trying to end: your illusions, so unstable to begin with, are trying to crumble, your hauntings are trying to overtake you so that they may pass through you and finally rest. Your joy can’t stay at that perfect pitch you so prefer; it leads always into its own closure. And the pain you have hurts only in its trying to be free; it wants to hurt only long enough to fulfill itself, so it, too, can move, and dissipate, and end. And so, every day, everything within and without you is trying to make its beautiful way toward that moment when reality can be seen, at last, for itself and not in any of its disguises. And that blessed moment is always waiting, always just on the other side of your insistence that things remain. Allow it all to come full circle. Allow the story you began to complete itself, the experience you avoid to run through you, and the illusions you think you need to be shattered. We are so lucky that none of it lasts. We are all, truly, the fortunate ones.”

Dream

July 7, 2016

“The eyes see darkness when there is darkness in the eyes, not when it is in the world. We see nothing that is before us but only what is already inside. We are past-gazing and the present is forever out of our glimpse. The world is a place of beauty and it is a place of ugliness, but the world is not what you see. When you see beauty you see it from within yourself, and when it is ugly it is only because something has frightened you, something also that comes from within. You would not recognize the world if you saw it for an instant as it is; you would think you had had some dream, some passing vision, some fantasy. But it is awake that we are dreaming and with our open eyes that we perceive only fantasy. It is from within the cocoon of our own past experiences that we see only what we have already known and never that which might one day be, and certainly never that which is, presently and completely. The blind know they are blind but you, with eyes that function, should be wiser; you see as little as they but are more deceived. I will not say to you, ‘Open your eyes and see things as they are’; I will only say, ‘Open your eyes and know that you see them as they are not’. Do not seek to know the world you cannot glimpse. Seek to see, for what it is, the storylines and the fantasies of your own mind. Your illusion is the only thing you have, the only thing you can know. It is in the surrender to that past, the allowance of that fantasy, that you might, one day, pierce the veils of your illusion-making and see things for what they are. But I am warning you, do not make that your goal. Make it your goal to tolerate every last experience that plays itself out in front of your eyes and inside your person. Let every last storyline defeat you until there is nothing in you but such a grand acquiescence that you are willing, if need be, to be lost forever. And when you have said ‘yes’ to all of your own pain and every bit of your individual person that completely—so completely that you never need to leave it—then it will be gone and there will be nothing left but things as they are, the world as it is and has always been, waiting for you to dream deeply enough that you finally dream no more. Do not wake up. Sleep. But know you are sleeping, and dream with intention and lucidity and a conscious surrender to everything you find.”

Light

June 24, 2016

In honor of summer, this talk is a sort of a prayer in praise of light.

“Behold the coming of the light. Behold the light made manifest in your own mind. Behold that shining in the world you see. Behold the light of time beating its pace for you. Behold the light of is-ness, the special luminescence of the such-ness of things, as it makes itself known to your eyes, and in your mind, and in your life. Behold the coming of all things bright, the day, bright in its own way, giving way to the sacred shining of the night. Behold the light in the people you love and in the people you do not; behold it in the empty streets, in the bustle of commerce, in the holiday that is joyful and in the one that is pain. Behold the light in the trees, sleeping and bare, shivering and slick with rain, and behold it in the bush that blossoms, in the flower that dies, in all things growing and folding. Behold the light as a season that is not a season—a season that does not change, that does not ebb and flow, that does not cycle, that is not reborn because it never dies. Behold the light in the season that holds all this, all this other shining, all these faces of the light. Behold the shining season that lives through and as all of this, that completes itself in this, though it needs no completion, and that knows itself in this, though it needs no such knowledge. Behold the light of time and the light of having, the light of giving and the light of happiness, and behold that these take their shining from the season-less season of one light, the constant brightness that lets luminescence itself be real. Behold the one light as you behold all of its forms—in your mind, in your life, in your ambitions and in your pain. Behold the coming of the light, and celebrate its season.”

Risk

June 3, 2016

“Covered in shame, we grow weary of our own paths.  Distant from ourselves, forgotten almost, we dread our journeys, without enthusiasm and without hope.  Tired of these bodies but unable or unwilling to part with them, we lead lives that don’t inspire us, lives which we feel are required but which we can’t love.  How did each of us become like this, weary of our daily lives, joyless in all the little tasks, half awake only to the promise of something better and the memory of some greater hope?  Every day of your life is a risk.  You are called upon, every day, to expose yourself even though you are ashamed, to look towards the brighter future even though you are hopeless, to remember your longing and your calling even though forgetfulness clouds your knowingness and obscures inspiration.  All of these are risk.  All of these require courage.  They require that you be different from your routine self every single day, that you reach, every day, for some transformation, however small, for some bright opening and new possibility.  The routine of this life is drudgery.  You may trade one drudgery for another, but unless you change your perspective fundamentally and unless you embrace each day as a risk, nothing is transformed, there is no new chance to live differently.  There is no problem with what you already do; so many things need to be done.  But there is very often a problem in how you approach them.  The problem is in your seeing, but, more than that, it is in the degree to which you open to your own life, to all of the small things you encounter every day, to all the strangers and all of the loved ones.  Even a chore requires presence, even the simplest of tasks can bring about transformation if you are there while you are doing it.  And every act of speech, every word, every statement, should come from a place inside you of genuineness, of sincerity.  Every movement you make can be made with intention.  You don’t need to do less or do anything different; you need to do what you already do with yourself present and with the intention to reveal yourself in each of your acts and in all of your words and gestures.  If you cannot be exposed in your daily life, there will be no opportunity for your shame to ever leave you, and no opportunity for the inspiration that you need to find you.  And without this self-revealing there can be no joy.  Try to live each of your days, however mundane, as if you intend to expose yourself completely, and to find the love and attention you have for everything in your life.  Live like your life is a risk—it certainly should be—and like every day was given to you, one at a time, for the purpose of being wholly and completely yours, to renew and reveal yourself.  Live like that gift is something you love with all your heart, because it is all you have, and it is given in the spirit of such generosity, such freedom, and such hope.  You are not yet ready to say goodbye to what you have here, and so, every day, greet what you have like you mean to keep it, like you want it.  Every day is that precious.  Live as if you knew that.”

Love

May 20, 2016

“Love blinds the surest among us to all our certainties.  Love blurs the edges and distorts the image of what you thought to be real, recreating it in the image of the very thing’s essence.  Love changes how you see things and makes that clearer.  It can’t transform you, but it can transform how you know, and so, what you know.  Love defines things out of thin air, but erases all the definitions you thought you could rely on; it puts things in perspective so they inevitably look distorted to you.  Love makes what is real appear as it is, indescribable, without the hard edges you put there, and in its core, benign and painless.  Love can’t lead you to itself; it calls your name but you have to look for it.  It needs you but not as a thing it craves, only as a part of its very definition, an essence the same as its essence.  Love can have no urgency, it can have no spiked words, it cannot be unkind; but you will have to learn something new about kindness to understand this.  You will have to know what is really meant by hardness and why it is merciful sometimes to be penetrated.  Love will get inside you because you have no solid boundary, you are porous in every way and love seeps in, filling you up from the inside as much as from the outside.  Love lies in wait for you and will consume you with certainty as soon as you encounter it.  Your death is assured because love will slay you; you will give in eventually to that embrace.  Love hands you the keys to heaven, it wants you to have paradise, it even knows that you deserve it.  But love can’t make you enter that kingdom; you can stay in your illusions if you wish, though they rightly be called “hell.”  And love cannot damage you, but one day it will destroy you and leave no trace, no carnage.  Love kills like that, like a clean beheading, and all identity gone; and then, at that precious moment, all there is is love, there is no you and no story and nothing up ahead.  There is love backwards and forwards in space and time, in every direction, permeating every being, every thought, every bit of dust that you walk on and which you breathe.  Love is all there ever was.  To keep the truth as simple as possible, I can say just this one thing:  Love is all there ever was.”