Thursday, July 18, 2019

Fred LaMotte - Portals of unknowing

 "God leads every soul by a separate path." ~St. John of the Cross

I cannot possibly know what is most important: that which will transform me. If I already know what it is I will never be free, because I have packaged "liberation" as knowledge, in the tight wrapper of a concept. This means that spiritual transformation can never become a program, a technique, or a course that I take.

The moments that liberate me are wild portals of unknowing, when the blue sky of wonder outshines any cloud it contains; vast emptiness shifts into the foreground; techniques, traditions, concepts cultivated in the past, dissolve. Thus the sage Ashtavakra taught the first and last spiritual practice : "Layam vraja - dissolve now."

The best meditation evaporates into amazement. The best mantra melts into silence. The best guru dances in mist at the edge of the meadow, and disappears into your longing heart, where true path has no beginning.*

No, I cannot possibly know what is most important - how a blue moth disguises herself as a petal of lupine, why cascade lilies frolic in a rainy mountain meadow, what the hermit thrush means to silence. I cannot know when the golden sun will burst my chest wide open, turning the small dark chamber of self-doubt into a boundless empyrean.

*Not a metaphor. I actually saw this happen one Guru Purnima, my Guru dancing, disappearing and reappearing in a meadow lit with fireflies as we chanted and drummed. In this playful lila, he did something quite profound, though we didn't realize it at the time: he was erasing the difference between bija and nirbija, form and formlessness. It was the moment when my outer Guru gracefully became Guru-tattva, the Guru within. This is a true Guru's only goal.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Pablo Neruda - Keeping quiet

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines,
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.


Sunday, July 14, 2019

Kahlil Gibran - Have Mercy on Me, My Soul!

 Why are you weeping, my Soul?
Knowest thou my weakness?
Thy tears strike sharp and injure,
For I know not my wrong.
Until when shalt thou cry?
I have naught but human words,
To interpret your dreams,
Your desires, and your instructions.

Look upon me, my Soul; I have
Consumed my full life heeding
Your teachings. Think of how
I suffer! I have exhausted my
Life following you.

My heart was glorying upon the
Throne, but it is now yoked in slavery;
My patience was a companion, but
Now contends against me;
My youth was my hope, but
Now reprimands my neglect.

Why, my Soul, are you all-demanding?
I have denied myself pleasure
And deserted the joy of life
Following the course which you
Impelled me to pursue.
Be just to me, or call Death
To unshackle me,
For justice is your glory.

Have mercy on me, my Soul.
You have laden me with Love until
I cannot carry my burden. You and
Love are inseparable might; Substance
And I are inseparable weakness.
Will ever the struggle cease
Between the strong and the weak?

Have mercy on me, my Soul.
You have shown me Fortune beyond
My grasp. You and Fortune abide on
The mountain top; Misery and I are
Abandoned together in the pit of
The valley. Will ever the mountain
And the valley unite?

Have mercy on me, my Soul.
You have shown me Beauty, but then
Concealed her. You and Beauty live
In the light; Ignorance and I are
Bound together in the dark. Will
Ever the light invade darkness?

Your delight comes with the Ending,
And you revel now in anticipation;
But this body suffers with life
While in life.
This, my Soul, is perplexing.

You are hastening toward Eternity,
But this body goes slowly toward
Perishment. You do not wait for him,
And he cannot go quickly.
This, my Soul, is sadness.

You ascend high, through heaven’s
Attraction, but this body falls by
Earth’s gravity. You do not console
Him, and he does not appreciate you.
This, my Soul, is misery.

You are rich in wisdom, but this
Body is poor in understanding
You do not compromise
And he does not obey.
This, my Soul, is extreme suffering.

In the silence of the night you visit
The Beloved and enjoy the sweetness of
His presence. This body ever remains
The bitter victim of hope and separation.
This, my Soul, is agonizing torture.
Have mercy on me, my Soul!