Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Time

Outside in this city of images of Los Angeles, the world swirls about in madness in this time of celebrating the birth of Spirit and inner Peace. All of Nature, in this time of the longest night, reminds the humans to quiet one’s life and look inside, to make room for contemplation. But in this city, and all the cities of this land, the bright lights of advertisement signs pull us away from traveling upon our breath into the cradle of our souls. And to the malls we run.

O fools, run you hither and tither
To buy things that will only fade away.
With smiles and bright packages
You give gifts that will last
As long as a thought.

You scurry around
Like rats on a warehouse floor,
Cursing and fighting each other
Over crumbs you plan to give with love.

Review your gifts
And see what you wish to get.

What promotion might you receive?
What appeasement of a familial should?

What does the Master give
At this time of celebrating
The birth of the Master?

Nothing more important
Than the blessing of a smile.

Why does the Master smile?
For he sees things as they really are.

He smiles at himself.

Under the heavy foot of time,
As gifts break
Or are torn asunder
Or crumple into tangled shapes,
The smile of the Master never fades.

Why should it fade
When the Master is safe from time?


Smile with the knowing of who you are
In the Peace of the Spirit
Of this day.

Go into the quietude
Of the cavern of the Self
And know the Truth.

There is no one to give a gift to;
No one from whom to receive.

Be your Self.
Free from the rampage of time.

And smile.

Smile upon your Self.
And thus smile upon the world.

-- excerpt from my book, Footprints Along the Shore of an Incoming Tide.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

No Expectations

"Your expectation of something unique and dramatic, of some wonderful explosion, is merely hindering and delaying your self-realization."--Nisargadatta, I Am That

The mind likes its orgasms and says you are not fulfilled until you have them. So we have created a culture full of O's, with our entertainment, our consumption of things, our vain pursuits. Even in our spiritual lives, when we turn away from the fruitless material quests, that habit of looking for the Wows still holds sway, and we think we have to have Hollywood-like moments where angels descend and burning bushes speak and flying saucers land and aliens tell us that we are the One to become divine, to become accepted by God. Sure these things can happen, just like orgasms can happen, but they come and go. Mere phenomena. Looking for such experiences, which is the allurement of psychotropic drugs, is what Trungpa called "spiritual materialism."

I have a 4-year-old son who finds the wonder in the commonplace as he watches a leaf fall or finds a mushroom on a stump. If we really want the Wows it is all around us because it is within us. We don't need to manufacture it or seek it out. The real ecstasy is just being oneself, whether in a state of excitement or in tranquility. It does not matter. The rider of this physical/emotion/mental/spiritual roller coaster is the one to be focused upon, who smiles enigmatically amidst the screams and ahhs of this adventure.