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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

What we look for beyond seeing
And call the unseen,
Listen for beyond hearing
And call the unheard,
Grasp for beyond reaching
And call the withheld,
Merge beyond understanding
In a oneness
Which does not merely give rise and give light,
Does not merely set and leave darkness,
But forever sends forth a succession of living things as mysterious
As the unbegotten existence to which they return.

       ~Lao Tzu

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You are beautiful, youthful, radiant. Each time we meet, my wide smile is a testament to your effect on me.

There is an intensity in your eyes, in your words and in your life. A touch, a whisper or a small glance sends shivers up my spine.

A seemingly unending reservoir of power, your myriad emanations continually grace me.

Your insatiable sexual desire is quenched only through our union; seeking the ineffable, the elevated, the eternal through the merging of our interlaced bodies, hearts and minds. Dancing in the sublime, we discover endless, transcendent time.

You have contemplated your mortality, you have gazed at your shadows, you seek to discover your unknown potentiality.

In this empowering presence you invite me to meet you from my own masculine centeredness. My heart exposed, my vulnerabilities laid bare, you invite my trust, if I so dare.

You see relationship as a deep dialogue, not a lifeless contract easily abdicated. Monogamy and polyamory are just words to you – you flow easily where you need to.

Blonde or brunette, tall or short, herbivore or carnivore – just minor details in a love that is based on so much more.

If this is you, please swipe right.

Tinder

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Kalisada, a place promoting a peaceful life. Timeless rhythms of nature, an abundance of vividness.

Practicing alone together. Sangha is a precious gift. The mutual body, studying the mystery with many different eyes.

I feel a link to the past. Not surprisingly to the other places and times of immersion in meditation and nature. A recollection of certainty. No place to go, nothing to do, no one to become.

This little vow reaches so far.

Maybe when I retire I will create a lifestyle like this. Wait, aren’t I already retired?  The French origin of the word means to draw back  ( re – tirer).

Must communion with Self and nature wait until later?

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I must leave today – the time is near.  The scenery will change, the rhythm uprooted.

A sense of sadness, like that one as you awake from a beautiful dream as it fades from awareness.

It’s difficult to express this recollection in words. Yet it is deeply embedded in my cells, in my bones. Like a lotus bud waiting to bloom.

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The best neighborhood to live in. The top career. The perfect partner. The most excellent time to visit a place, the finest month to begin a project. The preeminent spiritual practice, the greatest teacher.

In a time of fluctuation, I observe thoughts like these- comparative thoughts. They all revolve around a common theme- control. Or the illusion of it. A belief that if I make first class decisions, I will have a most excellent life. As I wrote about recently, the freedom of individualism has come at a cost. The cost is that we are fed an illusion that we are in complete control over our lives.

As I sit quietly in the jungle, I am reminded that it is simply not the case that we really have control. A strange sounds arises from beyond the pond. I am told- “that’s the sound of a snake eating a frog. The snake isn’t poisonous, so it will take a while”. Life and death. Always present.

Relishing in this jungle hermitage retreat, I am reminded of importance of simple, attentional awareness to our moment-to-moment activities. The divine interplay of breath, body, phenomena and the realization that if any effort is expended, it is best directed to accepting this interplay rather than trying to control it.

I leave you with one of my favorite poems from Hafiz, who beautifully expresses this dilemma:

What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?

The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move

That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.

~ Hafiz, I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope and Joy

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5am

religious chanting echoes in the distance

early morning light nudges away the darkness

walking the stone path towards the little wooden zendo

a glance upward and I meet the volcano, serenely present

3 bells

the scent of sandalwood

black cushion supporting my spine

in breath, out breath

stillness

not yet – this isn’t the zendo I’m familiar with

one bird, two bird, many birds

geckos skip across the roof

two frogs communicate their love across a pond

all of this is happening, just outside

outside what I wonder?

this jungle is inside, how can it be otherwise

zazen expands

fully alive

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You expressed I love you in a poem. Six months later you took it back. Accused of manipulation, I respond in kind. The lack of eye contact should have been a warning sign. Pouring my insecurities and shadows into your lap, little did I know they were being weaponized. Saved for an opportune moment, to unleash the rage of all times. Attacking a fly with a grenade, clearly there was something amiss in your promise. Maybe it had to do with the omission of the word if.

I love you if you do not confront my insecurities; I love you if you do not challenge my ego; I love you if you constantly show me the reflection of my own masks in your eyes. Is that what you meant to write?

Blame me, blame a community, blame the style of relationship. Blame anything except your own wounded pride.

For the sake of the next one, please don’t forget the if.

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In the great rest and great halting the lips become moldy and mountains of grass grow on your tongue. Moving straight ahead [beyond this state], totally let go, washed clean and ground to a fine polish. Respond with brilliant light to such unfathomable depths as the waters of autumn or the moon stamped in the sky. Then you must know there is a path on which to turn yourself around. When you do turn yourself around you have no different face that can be recognized. Even if you do not recognize your face, still nothing can hide it. This is penetrating from the topmost all the way down to the bottom. When you have thoroughly investigated your roots back to their ultimate source, a thousand or ten thousand sages are no more than footprints on the trail. In wonder return to the journey, avail yourself of the path and walk ahead. In light there is darkness; where it operates no traces remain. With the hundred grass tips in the busy marketplace graciously share yourself. Wide open and accessible, walking along, casually mount the sounds and straddle the colors while you transcend listening and surpass watching. Perfectly unifying in this manner is simply a patch-robed monk’s appropriate activity.

~Zen Master Hongzhi

 

Excerpt from:

Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi,
translated by Taigen Dan Leighton with Yi Wu, Edited with Introduction by Taigen Dan Leighton, Revised Expanded Edition, Tuttle Publishing, 2000.

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