Summer Stillness Retreat

Silence among strangers

and trees.

All enclosed in sacred spaces and domes with

The inside out and the outside in.

Our souls are connected in silence,

With everything in common but no two of us the same.

Bells and sunrise mark the day’s beginning and in the evening,

Night is a blanket of calm and sleep as 

Tomorrow’s promises wait in shadowed softness.

The Love and Stillness of Forever

Our destiny is love,

In its form of being and nonbeing.

It flows from the source,

From the beginnings of timelessness.

From the place of no time or deception as time is limiting and

Deception is the extinguisher of love.

Loves lies around the edges of our worldly existence,

Waiting for its chance, for an opening to flow in.

It is patient and forgiving but is not to

Be taken for a fool.

Love cries with agony watching our abuse of and unkindness towards each other

But it will never walk away or give up on us.

It sees and is the stillness in me and

Recognizes itself in you and all beings and nonbeings.

There is a lack of labeling in love, no separateness of one from the other.

It does not merely exist in some abstract form as it has no form and is alive in the stillness of all things.

Love seeps into existence in fragrant vapors of stillness and

Frames the portal to eternity.

Isness and non-duality are the very essence of love, the connection of being and nonbeing,

The beginning and the end, the beginingless and endless formlessness of all form.

Love is the essential formlessness of me and you and

The non-separate nature of us all.

So  forget my name but remember when you and I were the formless within each other.

And when you again feel that deep stillness  and

Have found your remembered place in me,

Come and  we will reside there together

In the love and stillness of forever.

 

As Only He Can Do (this piece is about a wonderful friend I had who passed away)

 ((“That which is to be taken away

First must be given”  Tau Te Ching

Lau Tzu

 

 

I suppose that means I can’t lose what I never had.

But didn’t I?

 

The loss of nothing would be painless,

Not filled with missing and sorrow for what could have been.

 

Doesn’t the very missing and feeling of loss prove that I did have it?

If he didn’t give it, how could I have had it? 

 

But I did because it was given in soft subtle ways,

In after thoughts of kindness, in tender touches and looks.

 

In words only half spoken but completely felt.

I am not a fool, I didn’t imagine him, he was real as were his feelings for me and mine for him.

 

He said he felt the love in my touch, I could feel it in his too.

Such a strong connecting could not be denied, made up, faked.

 

Only words can be misunderstood as they are always left to interpretation by the receiver which interpretation is not always what the speaker intended.

 

Did I misunderstand?  Did I not get the correct message?

I don’t know, and now it is too late.

 

I am confused by the words vs. the feelings.

The meaning behind each is complicated,

 

Sometimes stark and cutting to the bone,

But in other ways and days softer and ambivalent.

 

Maybe I saw too much, maybe I viewed only what I wanted to see,

Accepted only how I wanted it to be.

 

But he was right, it was complicated, too many others involved, too many decisions to make and then, as if to save him from the hard choices,

 

He was gone, never to be here again, too late to ask, too late to know.

Death became a saving grace, a way out, a reprieve, a new beginning.

 

His last words to me, “you and I are all there really is” will always haunt me,

What did he mean?

 

Maybe when I lift the veil and step to the other side,  I will see his warm loving smile and feel his gentle hands on my face and he will take me in his arms once again and explain it all as before,

 

As only he can do.

I Must Wait

I have to wait, just wait,

There is nothing left to do.

Tonight is cold and dark,

I must wait for the sun.

My love is intense and passionate,

I must wait for its object.

My mind is confused and alone,

I must wait for a friend.

My heart aches and pines,

I must wait for a song.

My life is a series of waits,

But my soul is tired of waiting.

Time must slow down,

So I can catch up.

And when I do, all of the waiting will have been for nothing,

Because I will find that it  is all already here.

Illusion

Light, moving at a speed certain, or at all, is an odd concept.  It travels into what and from where?

What is in front of it and what is behind? Does it leave a trail or just disappear as it goes? 

When I see a star, I see it as it was light-years ago,

A fact that adds to the illusion of everything.

We, you and me, are so close our light reflection is instant, but what if it wasn’t?

What if it slowed down? What if it took more time for my eyes to see yours?

If sound traveled faster than light, then I would hear you

Before I saw you, before I saw the look in your eyes, and maybe the meaning of your words.

Light moves at a constant speed but can be bent by the pull of gravity.

Is my gravity enough to pull your light off course, to lure you in, to change your path?

If light slowed down would you feel my touch before you saw my hand? And if so, would it matter?

Maybe God travels faster than light, maybe that is why we feel his presence and touch long, long before we can see him,  maybe it’s all just a matter of spacetime and not our lack after all.

And at what speed do thoughts travel? 

They possess no mass so can they travel faster than light?  Can you feel my thoughts before

You see the look in my eyes? 

I can feel your touch before I see you. I can smell the scent of your skin before I touch you. Thoughts form my reality of you before you walk in the door.

Your soul-thought and touch travel faster than either light or sound into my heart where they remain even after you have left me behind.

The space we occupy for this human existence is basically an illusion.

A beautiful, magnificent illusion, dependent more on our thoughts and feelings than on the laws of matter and space.

An illusion of God’s making with our permission and participation.  I believe that light and love at their very core travel at the same speed, they travel

From my heart to yours and everywhere and everyone in-between – instantly.  A concentric circle of waves, emanating from the One, fanning out to the ends of time, through and around us all.  A time for all time, a time of love and light for all eternity.

Our place in this physical universe is in a perpetual state of flux and illusion,

But the love and peace, light and grace we feel in the arms of God that underlies all of creation

Are not.

It Is All I Have

I need to write.

I need to say what I feel.

 

But I’m afraid,

Afraid of my pen, of my words.

 

Afraid I will not be able to stop.

Afraid that they will take over my being and

 

Bring out all my hidden truths and fears,

Even the ones I’m not aware of and I will have nowhere left to hide.

 

It will be a flood of words,

A torrent of emotions.

 

Some familiar in their pain, and

Others new in their hope.

 

Can I be brave and strong enough to hold onto my belief in love

In spite of all those truths and fears?

 

The wind-chimes on my porch say yes,

The trees, in their silent way, nod in agreement

 

And in hope the earth turns ever towards the sun

Always believing in and following its light and love.

 

So I must be brave and follow the earth’s example and

Turn to the Son too with faith and hope and

 

Never stop believing in love for in this moment, this now,

It is all I have and nothing else matters.

 

Monday Morning Thoughts on “Being”

 

             There is a thickness to life, a depth and a knowing, an observer and an observed.  I feel the depth deepening.  I see the” I”  as ego and separate from the observer, when this separation is complete, bliss will remain and be all pervasive.  I feel it coming; a flood of knowing is approaching.  Glimpses of  becoming, I see the 3D effect, the truth in believing without the believing, or the truth.  To dis-identify with the body is to watch it change and grow, watch it become and not, watch it be and not and know there is no death to the being that is observing.  The bliss’s will follow, don’t grab at it, just let it be.

                It really no longer matters if he loved me or not, it really doesn’t – that is just ego. I say to him in my head,  “you have no power over me” and the glass breaks, the mirror shatters and that which is identified with is gone, leaving only the essence of being, of eternal being, not dependent on anything or anyone external.  A freeing of non-self but all self, without ego, a smiling face beyond thought, above resistance to what is, in spite of “myself” recognizing and seeing it in everything and everyone, even the many who don’t see, who don’t  know there is anything to see or know.

               My body changes, it needs food, water and rest.  It doesn’t ask for it, it demands it and takes it.  It is its due as a vessel of importance.  It holds my humanness but is not who I am.  The universal consciousness powers my physical being.  It makes me breathe in my sleep, it lights my inner darkness with a promise of the eternal.  It whispers “no fear, no death, no end to being” to my soul and shows me the way to peace.  Its peace, like a warm blanket, descends to wrap my soul and quiet its longings.  It holds and comforts until the longing stops, and then it holds some more.

                To be given this gift of life for however long the body lasts, is the ultimate blessing.  It provides a benchmark of sorts; a non-being to give being its meaning.  It provides  a sense of the temporary to illustrate the permanent, the enlessness of being.  It provides the physical to complete the picture and therein comes the depth and texture of existence, eternal existence.

                This little body, this perfect creation is lovely.  I feel its aliveness; I watch in awe how in spite of me, and my abuse of it, it continues on.  I see how I think of it, when I honor it with truth and love, it glows, it reacts as a whole with a flushing of the skin, it is telling me it knows, it hears me.  But it is ageing, only doing what it is meant to do and I have been privileged to be able to watch as the un-manifested became manifested, how it learned and experienced and how now it is fading back to the formless again but richer and aware of being aware, it is all what we choose it to be, but only if we know.

                Just be still and let it come, whatever “it” is, no concept, no thought, all freedom, stop labeling, feel and not,  see and not, know and don’t, be without being.  I can’t help but think in words, but try to stop thinking and be, be as the fresh night air that is flowing through my bedroom window.  Sharing itself with my being, the fragrance of the moist early spring earth just is and buy its just being it imbibes my being with a wonder and joy.  I experience it without thought as to the why or how of it, my being knowing its being. 

                When we can truly embrace this knowing, when we can truly embrace this mess that is our human condition, when we can finally stop pointing and touching with the broken finger only then can we experience the eternal hallelujah.  As L. Cohen wrote, “It is a cold and broke hallelujah”.  But thank goodness for the pain, for the depth, for the experience, for all of it.  But to hold that being, to maintain that presence,  to accept and believe in its fleeting nature is sometimes so far out of reach because of my ego, and when that unreachable feeling comes over me,  then it is time to sit, to be silent, to let the being take hold in silence.

                In my  sitting, there are bursts of joy, bliss and understanding of being, felt not thought, a spontaneous smile but then I try to grab it, to hold on to the majic and by doing so I chase it back into the silence from where it came.  By being silent and just sitting and being, I invite it back.  It acts like a timid bird, wanting to be close but afraid of me and my ego.  It shows itself and thereby makes the lack if it, or the absense of it when I have chased it away, so empty and flat, uncomfortable and shallow, dark and cold, I don’t’ like it.  It is not reality, or more accurately it is reality without the knowing and I don’t want to stay there.  But when I try to rise above it the effort seems too great.  It is only when I don’t try that it is effortless.  I need to stop getting in my own way, stop getting in my beings way.

The sights, smells, senses of life are wonderful.  We and all the beings on this earth share our presence here together.  We enrich each other’s physical experience; and by doing so we make that cold and broken hallelujah no so cold or broken after all.

Early Morning Silence (Noble Silence Retreat at Aryaloka Buddhist Center in Newmarket, New Hampshire)

 

 

As I await the bell, a flood of emotion and

Excitement fills me.

 

The potential for connection is just ahead,

Each moment a possibility for fulfillment.

 

Hours feel like minutes in the predawn darkness and

Black widows look down on me like all knowing eyes.

 

Buddha’s face, illuminated by candle flame,

Comes to life, filling the room with his essence.

 

At 5:30, a procession of sleepy souls makes its way

Up the creaky stairs and each takes its place in rows of blue.

 

There are yawns from the now familiar faces and heads of tussled hair

As we each fade slowly into ourselves and become one in silence.

 

The next few hours are punctuated by a creaking floor, the shuffles of re- positioning bodies, and hungry pre-breakfast tummy growls.

 

We all appear to be different people on the outside but inside

Our humaneness enables us to share a singular mindset and a connected purpose.

 

When the sitting and silence is done, we will move back into our individual lives richer for the people we have met and the silence we have shared.