Saturday, January 31, 2015

David Steindl-Rast - Want to be happy? Be grateful

0:11 There is something you know about me, something very personal, and there is something I know about every one of you and that's very central to your concerns. There is something that we know about everyone we meet anywhere in the world, on the street, that is the very mainspring of whatever they do and whatever they put up with, and that is that all of us want to be happy. In this, we are all together. How we imagine our happiness, that differs from one another, but it's already a lot that we have all in common, that we want to be happy.
1:08 Now my topic is gratefulness. How is the connection between happiness and gratefulness? Many people would say, well, that's very easy. When you are happy, you are grateful. But think again. Is it really the happy people that are grateful? We all know quite a number of people who have everything that it would take to be happy, and they are not happy, because they want something else or they want more of the same. And we all know people who have lots of misfortune, misfortune that we ourselves would not want to have, and they are deeply happy. They radiate happiness. You are surprised. Why? Because they are grateful. So it is not happiness that makes us grateful. It's gratefulness that makes us happy. If you think it's happiness that makes you grateful, think again. It's gratefulness that makes you happy.
2:25 Now, we can ask, what really do we mean by gratefulness? And how does it work? I appeal to your own experience. We all know from experience how it goes. We experience something that's valuable to us. Something is given to us that's valuable to us. And it's really given. These two things have to come together. It has to be something valuable, and it's a real gift. You haven't bought it. You haven't earned it. You haven't traded it in. You haven't worked for it. It's just given to you. And when these two things come together, something that's really valuable to me and I realize it's freely given, then gratefulness spontaneously rises in my heart, happiness spontaneously rises in my heart. That's how gratefulness happens.
3:30 Now the key to all this is that we cannot only experience this once in a while. We cannot only have grateful experiences. We can be people who live gratefully. Grateful living, that is the thing. And how can we live gratefully? By experiencing, by becoming aware that every moment is a given moment, as we say. It's a gift. You haven't earned it. You haven't brought it about in any way. You have no way of assuring that there will be another moment given to you, and yet, that's the most valuable thing that can ever be given to us, this moment, with all the opportunity that it contains. If we didn't have this present moment, we wouldn't have any opportunity to do anything or experience anything, and this moment is a gift. It's a given moment, as we say.
4:42 Now, we say the gift within this gift is really the opportunity. What you are really grateful for is the opportunity, not the thing that is given to you, because if that thing were somewhere else and you didn't have the opportunity to enjoy it, to do something with it, you wouldn't be grateful for it. Opportunity is the gift within every gift, and we have this saying, opportunity knocks only once. Well, think again. Every moment is a new gift, over and over again, and if you miss the opportunity of this moment, another moment is given to us, and another moment. We can avail ourselves of this opportunity, or we can miss it, and if we avail ourselves of the opportunity, it is the key to happiness. Behold the master key to our happiness in our own hands. Moment by moment, we can be grateful for this gift.
5:52 Does that mean that we can be grateful for everything? Certainly not. We cannot be grateful for violence, for war, for oppression, for exploitation. On the personal level, we cannot be grateful for the loss of a friend, for unfaithfulness, for bereavement. But I didn't say we can be grateful for everything. I said we can be grateful in every given moment for the opportunity, and even when we are confronted with something that is terribly difficult, we can rise to this occasion and respond to the opportunity that is given to us. It isn't as bad as it might seem. Actually, when you look at it and experience it, you find that most of the time, what is given to us is opportunity to enjoy, and we only miss it because we are rushing through life and we are not stopping to see the opportunity.
7:00 But once in a while, something very difficult is given to us, and when this difficult thing occurs to us, it's a challenge to rise to that opportunity, and we can rise to it by learning something which is sometimes painful. Learning patience, for instance. We have been told that the road to peace is not a sprint, but is more like a marathon. That takes patience. That's difficult. It may be to stand up for your opinion, to stand up for your conviction. That's an opportunity that is given to us. To learn, to suffer, to stand up, all these opportunities are given to us, but they are opportunities, and those who avail themselves of those opportunities are the ones that we admire. They make something out of life. And those who fail get another opportunity. We always get another opportunity. That's the wonderful richness of life.
8:09 So how can we find a method that will harness this? How can each one of us find a method for living gratefully, not just once in a while being grateful, but moment by moment to be grateful. How can we do it? It's a very simple method. It's so simple that it's actually what we were told as children when we learned to cross the street. Stop. Look. Go. That's all. But how often do we stop? We rush through life. We don't stop. We miss the opportunity because we don't stop. We have to stop. We have to get quiet. And we have to build stop signs into our lives.
9:02 When I was in Africa some years ago and then came back, I noticed water. In Africa where I was, I didn't have drinkable water. Every time I turned on the faucet, I was overwhelmed. Every time I clicked on the light, I was so grateful. It made me so happy. But after a while, this wears off. So I put little stickers on the light switch and on the water faucet, and every time I turned it on, water. So leave it up to your own imagination. You can find whatever works best for you, but you need stop signs in your life. And when you stop, then the next thing is to look. You look. You open your eyes. You open your ears. You open your nose. You open all your senses for this wonderful richness that is given to us. There is no end to it, and that is what life is all about, to enjoy, to enjoy what is given to us.
10:05 And then we can also open our hearts, our hearts for the opportunities, for the opportunities also to help others, to make others happy, because nothing makes us more happy than when all of us are happy. And when we open our hearts to the opportunities, the opportunities invite us to do something, and that is the third. Stop, look, and then go, and really do something. And what we can do is whatever life offers to you in that present moment. Mostly it's the opportunity to enjoy, but sometimes it's something more difficult.
10:50 But whatever it is, if we take this opportunity, we go with it, we are creative, those are the creative people, and that little stop, look, go, is such a potent seed that it can revolutionize our world. Because we need, we are at the present moment in the middle of a change of consciousness, and you will be surprised if you -- I am always surprised when I hear how many times this word "gratefulness" and "gratitude" comes up. Everywhere you find it, a grateful airline, a restaurant gratefulness, a cafe gratefulness, a wine that is gratefulness. Yes, I have even come across a toilet paper that the brand is called Thank You. (Laughter) There is a wave of gratefulness because people are becoming aware how important this is and how this can change our world. It can change our world in immensely important ways, because if you're grateful, you're not fearful, and if you're not fearful, you're not violent. If you're grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not of a sense of scarcity, and you are willing to share. If you are grateful, you are enjoying the differences between people, and you are respectful to everybody, and that changes this power pyramid under which we live.
12:22 And it doesn't make for equality, but it makes for equal respect, and that is the important thing. The future of the world will be a network, not a pyramid, not a pyramid turned upside down. The revolution of which I am speaking is a nonviolent revolution, and it's so revolutionary that it even revolutionizes the very concept of a revolution, because a normal revolution is one where the power pyramid is turned upside down and those who were on the bottom are now on the top and are doing exactly the same thing that the ones did before. What we need is a networking of smaller groups, smaller and smaller groups who know one another, who interact with one another, and that is a grateful world.
13:13 A grateful world is a world of joyful people. Grateful people are joyful people, and joyful people, the more and more joyful people there are, the more and more we'll have a joyful world. We have a network for grateful living, and it has mushroomed. We couldn't understand why it mushroomed. We have an opportunity for people to light a candle when they are grateful for something. And there have been 15 million candles lit in one decade. People are becoming aware that a grateful world is a happy world, and we all have the opportunity by the simple stop, look, go, to transform the world, to make it a happy place. And that is what I hope for us, and if this has contributed a little to making you want to do the same, stop, look, go.
14:15 Thank you.
14:16 (Applause)

Oriah Mountain Dreamer - Grace


Nothing I have ever done or will ever do
can separate me from
or bring me into the heart of the Beloved.

Oh, I can distract myself from the longing
that whispers day and night for that sacred union,
and some days I am too tired to notice
that what I ache for is and always has been here:
. . . . right here in and at my fingertips,
in the way the breeze lifts my hair,
the way the earth pulls me to her,
the way shared laughter makes my sides ache.

Nothing I have done or will ever do
can make me worthy or unworthy
of being touched by the Lover’s hand and heart,
of being the Lover’s hand and heart in the world. 

Grace – the way Infinite Love
gives Himself to us in every moment
the way God unfurls Her tender mercy in our hearts
is a constant invitation to say with the fullness of our being:

~Oriah Mountain Dreamer (c) 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015

Naomi Stone - Divine Mystery of the Universe

Sometimes when I awaken
in this wilderness
of silence
beneath the moon
visions of the elegance of creation
dance me into a heightened awareness
of the phenomenal variation
of life

Blessed to see and behold
unending moments
of wonder here on earth
the blinding radiance
of it all
breaks free in
the gaze of love

Suddenly am free falling
into deep dimensions
of timelessness
a matrix of mystic seeds
in a womb filled with silent music
waiting to be born
stirring with a longing desire
to create a form

Playing with words
letting them tumble into being
sometimes claiming a place
by finding a space
on the pristine wilderness of a blank page
an untouched field of light
inviting love’s expression
a composition
that arranges itself
in a flowing revelation of new life

Life is seeking union
with love
to reveal itself
through the precious spirit
hidden within us

We are designed to receive
the Beloved
who is forever
forming us to become
the light
that reveals
the glory and grace
of love

Naomi Stone: "I am a contemplative, a mystic, a pilgrim, a seeker, a woman deeply in love with the God hidden in all of us, in all of His Creation, who comes shining out when we least expect it and takes my breath away and breathes me with His sublime Presence in everything. I have two sons and loved raising them. I was a teacher for years, taught at the university level, did some community work, helped start a hospice in our area, and worked with patients and families for years. I am consoled by Nature and the natural world and have embraced the life of a spiritual hermit." You may visit Naomi on her website here where she has shared over 700 of her poems over the last four years. You may contact her via Facebook here. 

Fakhruddin ‘Iraqi - You and You alone

“The world but seems to be
yet is nothing more
than a line drawn
between light and shadow.
Decipher the message
of this dream-script
and learn to distinguish time
from Eternity.”

“Who is equal to your love
is You Yourself
for You and You alone
gaze forever at Your beauty”

“Come then
into my eyes
and look!”

Divine flashes

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Edgar Allan Poe - Dream within a dream

sand sculpture by Mario Irarrázabal

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ibn 'Arabi - Neither you nor other than you

Know that He is never in anything, nor is anything in Him. He
is neither inside nor outside of anything. None can see Him,
whether with the eyes of the head or with the inner eye; nor
can any conceive Him with senses, knowledge, mind,
intelligence or imagination. Only He can see Himself; only He
can conceive Himself. None can know Him; only He can know
Himself. He sees Himself by Himself; He conceives Himself by
Himself; He knows Himself by Himself. None other than He
can see Him. None other than He can know Him. That which
hides Him is His oneness. None but Himself can hide Him. The
veil that hides Him is His own being.

He is not within you; nor are you in Him. He does not exclude
you, nor are you excluded from Him. When you are addressed
as you, do not think that you exist, with an essence and
qualities and attributes; for you never existed, nor do exist, nor
ever will exist. You have not entered into Him, nor He into
you. Without being, your essence is with Him and in Him.
Without having any identity, you are Him and He is you. If you
know yourself as nothing, then you truly know your Lord.
Otherwise, you truly know Him not.

You cannot know your Lord by making yourself nothing.
Many a wise man claims that in order to know one's Lord one
must denude oneself of the signs of one's existence, efface
one's identity, finally rid oneself of one's self. This is a mistake.
How could a thing that does not exist try to get rid of its

If you think that to know Allah depends on you ridding
yourself of yourself, then you are guilty of attributing partners
to Him, the only unforgivable sin; because you are claiming
that there is another existence besides Him, the all-existent;
that there is a you and a He.

You presume others to be other than Allah. There is nothing
other than He, but you do not know this. While you are
looking at Him you do not recognize Him. When the secret
opens to you, you will know that you are none other than He.
Then you will also know that you are the one whom He
wished, and that you are forever and will not disappear with
time, for there is no passing of time. Your attributes are His.
Without doubt, your appearance is His appearance.

Therefore, do not think anymore that you need to become
nothing, that you need to annihilate yourself in Him. If you
thought so, then you would be His veil, while a veil over Allah
is other than He. How could you be a veil that hides Him?
What hides Him is His being the One Alone.

The condition for self-knowledge is to know that if you had a
being of your own, independent of other being, then you would
neither have need to annihilate yourself in Allah nor to know
yourself. You would have been, as yourself, a God, self-
existent; while it is Allah Most High that is free from the
existence of any other God but Himself.

And when you come to know yourself, you will be sure that
you neither exist nor do not exist, whether now, or before, or
in the future. This is the meaning of _la ilaha illa Llah_, There
is no God but Allah, there is no being but His, nor any other
except Him, and He is the only One.

Know that this existence is neither you nor other than you.
You do not exist; yet you are also not a nonexistence. Your
existence is not someone else; nor does your nonexistence
make you someone else. Without being and without not-being,
your existence and your nonexistence is Allah's being.

The void is a mirror; creation is the image in it. Man is as the
eye of the image reflected in the mirror; the One who is
reflected in the image is hidden in the pupil of that eye. Thus
He sees Himself.

Is one to consider a decaying corpse or excrement as God?
Allah most high is beyond and free from such associations. We
address those who do not see a corpse as a corpse or
excrement as excrement.

Then when you see what is around you as not other-than-you,
and all and everything as the existence of the One; when you
do not see anything else with Him or in Him; but see Him in
everything as yourself and at the same time as the nonexistence
of yourself; then what you see is the Truth.

That is why the utterance became permissible for Mansur Al-
Hallaj when the words, "I am the Truth!" came from his lips;
and for Abu Yazid Al-Bistami when he cried, "Praise be to Me,
the essence, absolved of all defect!" These are not people who
have annihilated themselves in Allah; nor have they come to be
in Allah. They are eternal. They never ceased to be, for they
never were, since there is only Allah's self, Allah's essence.

So if someone says, "I am the Truth!," do not hear it from any
other than from the Truth Himself; for it is not a man who says
it, it is the word of Allah. That man who utters these words is
nothing but an image reflected in an empty mirror, one of the
infinite attributes of Allah. The reflection is the same as that
which is being reflected, and the words of the image are the
reflected words of the Real One. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Paul Brunton - The Short Path

The other part of the answer is
that the Overself is always here
as man's innermost truest self.
It is beginningless and endless in time.
Its consciousness does not have to be developed as something new.
But the person's awareness of it
begins in time and has to be developed as a new attainment.
The ever-presence of Overself means that anyone may attain it here and now.
There is no inner necessity to travel anywhere or to anyone in space
or to wait years in time for this to happen.
Anyone, for instance, who attends carefully and earnestly
to the present exposition may perhaps suddenly and easily
get the first stage of insight, the lightning-flash
which affords a glimpse of reality, at any moment.
By that glimpse he will have been uplifted to a new dimension of being.
The difficulty will consist in retaining the new perception.
For ancient habits of erroneous thinking will quickly reassert themselves
and overwhelm him enough to push it into the background.
This is why repeated introspection, reflective study,
and mystical meditation are needed to weaken those habits
and generate the inner strength which can firmly hold the higher
outlook against these aggressive intruders from his own past. 

also  a PDF of 


Monday, January 26, 2015

Ellen Davis - Love Eternal

She walks in beauty like the night*
And the moon cloaked in heaven casting shadow and light.
Her life knows no boundaries, in it her soul takes flight,
My lover, sweet beloved, soft Mother of Sight.
Her eyes see beauty, perfection and no fight
Between yes, no, high, low, dark and light.
Cherishing diversity, celebrating its play,
Honoring even those closed to the day.
Mistress of Truth, Master of Love,
Stretched out in surrender, so below as above.
Infinity I do see when I meet her gaze;
Eternal, supernal, beyond mind's maze.
In her arms I rest from future and past,
Until the prayer comes for it to ever last
Where she laughs and laughs and laughs in my night,
Tickling all of the cobwebs out of their fright.
A child, her innocence giving birth to creation,
Seeds sprouting spirit within manifestation.
All of this she sees so equally in me,
Embracing every opportunity with her lover to be.
In joy, in gratitude, at each other's feet we meet.
Alone, together, always complete.
Greater a whole our union creates
Freedom, healing, opening new gates.
Our trust in God, revealing life impersonal.
Our alignment with Truth and what is invincible.
Our focus on Love and what brings greater balance.
Our insurance a surrender to the present and its Silence.
Splendour is the Grace which brought her to me
as my sun as my moon as my mystery.
In each other we see ourselves and the Divine,
Masks thinning, spirits winning, souls forward to shine 

*The first line, "She walks in beauty like the night" is from a poem by Lord Byron called She Walks in Beauty. - It was given in a radio poetry contest as the first line of poem to complete and I didn't know it was from Byron and hadn't read his poem until several years after writing my poem.

(among many others)
enlightenment :

 On Enlightenment

I generally do not like to use the term "enlightenment" because as it is understood it tends to stigmatize or specialize within our awareness what is our "always already" true essential being thereby separating ourselves from the experience of it more. It is a term of assessment which employs the comparative, measuring mind in ways that I have noticed has tendencies to pull an aspirant into separating themselves in their belief and identification from that for which they aspire.

As soon as one speaks of the "real" as being what one thing as opposed to other things are or one speaks of the "enlightened," one speask from awareness that sees also what is other than real and other than enlightened. In other words, it is a term of measurement from a dualistic and relative place of awareness. There is nothing wrong with this and it is what we do to create markers for ourselves in differentiating within our Self-experience. But what happens is that the markers become bars rather than gateways to that realization when we believe ourselves to be other than "real" or that there is something to do to become "enlightened." As soon as we act out of the belief that we are other than that towards which we aspire, we concretize that belief and create tension obstructing the realization of that which is already, always, nondual suchness.

Enlightenment can be seen as the spacious awareness of what is prior to all conditions and conceptions and is not the end of Becoming which is the nature of manifest existence, but the (perceptually) unobstructed or unobscured unfolding of that unconditioned being, our true nature, as Satchidananda (essential Being, Consciousness and Love-Bliss) within manifestation.

We might ask, what is it in me or us that sees what enlightenment is and what is it in you that recognizes it? Is it not enlightened awareness itself? Only enlightenment itself can be enlightened. There is no one separate from anything to be enlightened in relationship to anything else. In that sense, the terms "nondualist" and "enlightened" are oxymorons.

In addition, enlightenment is not some measure of great knowledge attained. In fact the Truth Consciousness is birthed from the unknown and nothing previously conceived. So it can be said that in essence enlightenment is not knowing (and being at peace with it) and living in the realization of being no one. ;-)

Defining enlightenment is like trying to point to nothing, (and nothing pointing to itself). Enlightened awareness lives in/as the embrace of what is here now and a relaxation that allows for a fluidity and flow that doesn't hold to where it was or think it needs to be where/how it isn't, yet includes change and movement towards change. It is more a context of awareness allowing what is without dividing against it, or fixing an identity in relationship to it, rather than a specific knowing or achieved outcome. Whatever experience, no matter how profound, inclusive, far-reaching, multiperspectival, nondual or beautiful, whenever held to, becomes a concept and reflection of the identity holding to itself, and in that light it is no longer true, is no longer within the context of this fluid, breathing awareness. Whatever we can call enlightened or unenlightened are ideas, concepts and therefore experienced as separate from this living awareness that can only start from not knowing, from having no idea and the inquiry that breathes discovery and its truth from here.

If we are to look at a state of enlightenment as an achievement, we still find that the process of discovery and realization never ends. There can be a living awareness of what is prior to or not at the effect of conditions, unity consciousness, living eternity in time and nondual awareness, in an integrated, embodied way within manifestation and therefore freedom, liberation and/or "enlightenment" in an individual. But insofar as the individual is connected to or one with all other beings and in a body, until all beings experience and know themselves as That, until every cell and molecule is alive with the truth-consciousness, unconditionally, "enlightenment" is a relative term and state. Each relationship, condition and appearance potentiates a new and greater possibility for Self-realization, in the one and the many.  


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Amoda Maa Jeevan - The path of the Mystic

painting by Rassouli

The path of the Mystic

is beyond words.

It is a fall into the Heart of Darkness

in which the self is sacrificed over and over again.

The mystic dies into God

and yet returns to the World

to offer the self as the ultimate sacrifice.

This offering serves the totality,

it is the giving of formlessness to form

so that form may come

to know its own true nature.

It is the Tantra of Life.

It is the Way of the Mystic.

When chaos appears in your World,

when disturbance appears in your mind,

when desolation appears in your emotional body,

do not turn away assuming that there has been some mistake.

Do not try to bury that

which hurts in the recesses

of your consciousness,

for this that appears

so dark and dangerous

is in fact an offering of light.

It is a call for Death

that allows a Resurrection.

In the surrender

to complete annihilation

of that part of you

that clings to an idea of self-identity

based on a picture created in the mind,

there is a relaxation

around the terror of non-existence.

This relaxation allows

all false concepts of self

- even ones that provide

a sense of security as the "I"

- to be offered into

the Fire of Transmutation.

Out of the ashes of this offering,

arises the Phoenix

with wings of gold.

This is the birth

of a new

awakened consciousness,

more transparent

and more luminous

than anything you could

imagine yourself to be.

When all hell breaks loose,

my friend, do not waste

this opportunity for falling into

the arms of the Beloved.

For this is

who You truly are. 

Amoda Maa web site: