JOY

… since there is no joy without God, but all joy is in God,
and God himself is wholly joy, it follows that the first speaker
said first and before anything else ‘God’.
Dante

The greatest love affair a person can experience is with God. When we begin to fall in love with God and start searching for our true self, the confirmation that we’re going in the right direction will be the amount of joy we feel in our hearts – a fountain of sparkling, radiant “life” that starts bursting through our broken self.

Pleasure and happiness are good things to experience, but joy far surpasses them. Nothing comes close: not sexual orgasms, superb food, high art, or incalculable wealth. That’s because no one can buy God or one’s true self. This is the “pearl” for which we should be willing to sell everything because, without joy, what’s the point of living, no matter how successful or famous we become? Joy is a dance with God that takes place in our hearts – a dance that, once begun, never ends.

The further along the path towards God and the true self you travel, the greater the feelings of joy you’ll experience. You can see it in faces of the “saved” – the saints and enlightened ones – who literally become suffused with radiant joy. When you’re overloaded with joy, when you simply can’t take a single drop more, what arrives next is ecstasy – when you feel as though you’re flying high above the ground. Ecstasy means “standing outside yourself,” while simultaneously remaining firmly grounded inside yourself.

Joy is experienced at the core of our being – in our heart of hearts – in our true self. Living in the spirit is like attending a wedding celebration that never ends. Jesus repeatedly used weddings and celebrations as metaphors: people are invited to a wedding, but fail to come; or they come, but aren’t properly dressed for the celebration – a celebration in which Jesus is turning water into wine – i.e., turning the material into the spiritual. Weddings symbolize hope for the new life that will be created by entering into this new relationship. The weddings and celebrations Jesus was referring to are the ones where you discover your true self and then decide to go on and “marry” God.

“No one knows the source of joy” says Rumi. Actually, we do know – joy comes from experiencing God. Happiness may arise from many different things, but joy derives solely from our relationship with God. In the material, once-born world, everyone strives for happiness, but it’s in the world of spirit that we find the true source of joy. We actually can measure the health of our relationship with God by the amount of joy in our lives. An objective test as to whether you’ve repented (i.e., turned to God) is whether you’ve fallen in love with God. If you’re still joyless after you think you’ve turned to God, then you haven’t, no matter how religious you might appear to be or think you are.

from “Diner Mystic”

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PERSPECTIVE

Hindus tell us life is a dream
While, at Cal Tech, reality is conceived of as particles –
Relying upon these concepts, there appears to be no true reality –
Everything just a trick!

But, if we’re a dream, we’re certainly a real dream,
And if we’re particles, where, after all, did “love” and “truth” come from?

People worry about how a God who’s good,
Can permit suffering to exist –

But, really, isn’t it simply the price of freedom.

Existence is deeply magical – that is, “spiritual” –
And, ordinarily, even though we take it for granted –
We really shouldn’t.

Picture raindrops striking a window –
Are they dreams, particles,
Or tiny gifts from God?

Think about how everything
Is part of everything else –
So intricately interrelated –
If this weren’t true
The world couldn’t exist
And, really, would be just a dream
Or a bunch of particles.

So,
We should be thankful for love, truth, and beauty
Each of which comes in almost infinite varieties –
Because, actually, they’re the only meaningful reality
That we’re ever going to experience.

THOSE WHO DECIDE TO LOOK

Whoever talks about mirrors
Or “cleaning their mirror”
Isn’t talking about God –
They’re talking about their “self”.

They’re trying to see what they’re made of.

But since God is actually nothing – i.e., no thing,
The self, also, is equally nothing – in the same sense.

When this nothing merges with that nothing
“Reality” suddenly appears!

From God’s perspective
The Chinese Olympics
Aren’t any more spectacular than a single blade of grass.

Remember, love is everything
So no matter what comes through the doors of life,
Big or little, large or small, it all may be loved –

Always, always – it’s a matter of attitude!

There are over seven billion people in the world
And trillions of leaves –

Each one, however, is magnificent –
In the eyes of those who look
Through the eyes of love.

BOTTOM OF THE WELL

What do I know?

Nothing –
Except a few ideas, perhaps, about what lies
Behind the infinite masks of God.

Everything –
Especially, the almost infinity of what’s not there –
Which, like an engraving, defines our present reality.

I am, and, also, I am not –
Just like God –
Who, biblically, has asserted a humongous “I AM” –

Who’s God kidding?
God’s just as much a big “I AM NOT”.

Even so, as soon as anything’s said up there,
It immediately starts falling down here –
To us frogs
Living at the bottom of the universe –

Croaking so beautifully.

GOD LOOKS AT GOD WITHOUT HARM

I want to be someone who, effortlessly, falls through interstices –
Who enjoys tumbling through –
Because God is alive there, and, pretty much,
Nowhere else.

You might believe a spiritual life can be built
One brick at a time –
But this is an illusion –
Instead, you’ll find you’ve only built a wall
Separating yourself from yourself.

It’s been said that no one who looks directly at God can survive –
But that’s incorrect –
No “false self” can do it –
Since artifice immediately dissolves upon the appearance of God.

Only a true self
Can look at God and survive
Because a true self is spiritually indivisible –

In other words,
“God” is able to look at God
Any time at all.

ADJUSTING TO THE COMING REALITY

“Heaven” is a place many wish for –
But wishing doesn’t make it real.

It’s not just children who cherish fairytales –
We all want to believe in them.

From a personal perspective,
If life doesn’t continue after our given span, it loses some meaning –
But, of course, that’s not how God sees it!

God gifts us with life and almost infinite opportunities to love –
But if we insufficiently value this –
Counting on greater gifts to come –
We are fools –
Entertaining, but, ultimately tragic, fools.

Living within the stream of life –
Going fast – and then – towards the end – even faster –
Working, eating – having fun –
When we finally reach the “ocean” –
It looks like, at least in our present form, we may simply disappear.

It’s no different than anything else –
We are what we are,
And, then, one day, perhaps, come to an “end”.

It’s a joyful sort of tragedy –
Which we’ve been fortunate to participate in –

Our minds, sometimes, however, refuse to accept this –
But our hearts know better –

Our hearts are always willing to give our minds permission
To adjust to the coming reality.

MOMENT BY MOMENT

When Jesus counseled us
To be “born again”
He didn’t mean just once –

Because it doesn’t take long
For a new self to freeze
Into a mask.

What he was saying –
Since God is absolutely free,
We, also, need to be.

Each moment should be experienced as a new birth,
So that our prior selves do not have the power
To bind us back into the past.

Love won’t arrive through habit or rote –
It always needs to be free!

That’s why, as we grow older and gain greater experience,
Jesus wants us, simultaneously, to spiritually regress –
Not just back to when we were a child –
But all the way back to when we were newborn
Where the subjective world begins again –

All our lifelong experience
Joined to the bud of birth –

A life occurring afresh –

Moment by moment.

FLICKER

When a leaf falls,
It seems to take forever –
No one sees it go –
Yet, one morning, there’s a whole tree
Lying on the ground.

When we’re born, we don’t take up much room
But, as we grow older, we occupy more and more space,
Sometimes, even the entire world,
Later, however, for a variety of reasons, we start falling apart, and, one day,
Fortunately or unfortunately,
Disappear –

But what remains even longer than our bones or teeth?

Love, of course,
Love lasts forever –
Assuming it actually came into existence –
Assuming it wasn’t a lie.

Love is so memorable
It’ll be the last thing the universe forgets
Before finally flickering
Out.