GOD LOOKS THROUGH A WINDOW

Joy is so un-American, it can’t be expressed out loud
Because saying that word in mixed company
Would compel many people to look away.

Joy never developed much in Western tradition –
Except a few flakes – never more.

Joy comes with a dance
But there’re no “dancers” in neo-colonial wars.

Joy can’t be taught – it’s always a surprise –
Nor can it be earned because, essentially, it’s a gift.

Joy is usually found in the face of beauty
Especially that of blue green Nature.

Joy (first level) is who I want to be –
As the key to happiness (second level).

Joy is the name God proudly shows upon entering the world.

God looks through a window
To see if you’re “awake” –
To see if you’re “born again” –

To see if you’ve decided to become your “true self.”

OWSLEY ACID

        In the late 60’s, after putting out the first edition of a community-based poetry and photography magazine, People on the Streets, based in Washington, D.C., and engaging in several large anti-War rallies, my friend and I decided to take a break and travel to Mexico. Friends had told us about a village high in the mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean that San Francisco hippies had discovered. So, late in December, after a long drive South, we crossed the border and arrived at Zacatecas where bright-eyed Huichol Indians (who take psychedelic peyote and play tiny violins) live. Leaving that city behind, we traveled to Puerto Vallarta where we boarded an ancient ship (resembling the African Queen) which took us down the coast to Yelapa. Left on an empty white sand beach, we were greeted by a tall young blonde woman who told us to leave our baggage on the beach (because no one would disturb it) and go into the village to rent a pelapa (cottage). This pelapa was constructed out of stone and colored glass bottles in the lower third, dark timbers with large open wooden windows in the middle, and a thatched reed roof on top. In the interior, stone steps led up to a one-bedroom loft. We had been told, and the young woman confirmed, that Owsley acid was readily available. The next day, after taking the acid, we climbed to a ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Beautiful tropical trees and multi-colored birds surrounded us, while beyond the blue, shading into deep blue, Pacific Ocean was shining. Taking acid was like having the coverings of one’s eyes torn off – forcing us to see everything “fresh” – like looking at the world through a newborn’s eyes. It was exhausting seeing everything as if for the first time. Later on, coming down just a bit, I thought this must be how Jesus saw the world – no “ego,” no “self” – just pure consciousness.

       When I came completely down, I wanted to experience life like this all the time, but knew this experience had been a gift of “magical” chemicals and that I would never be able to repeat it in the same way – no matter how many “trips” I took. I understood that I needed to earn my way back – by changing my life and becoming more “like” Jesus and by some serious study. I also understood it would be a long road and wondered if I would ever be able to accomplish it.

        If one thinks about consciousness as an open circle, the part accessible to one’s ego is a very thin slice – maybe 10% – 20%. From early childhood on, that’s the tiny part of ourselves we choose to live within – with our experiences needing to fit within that narrow slice or be excluded. Our ego requires, as the price for its effectiveness, that each and every experience outside the scope of its chosen roles to be methodically and ruthlessly pushed back into the unconscious – sealing off wider and wilder experiences out of our consciousness.

       When we’re “born again,” we gain access to all our consciousness – all 360 degrees of it – and are able to experience full reality. We become completely “free” – open to all experience – just like when we first came into the world. This rebirth, however, doesn’t happen within an ego – it only happens after we break free from that ego and start living outside it. That’s what Zen training, for example, prepares one for – to get “outside” oneself. This, essentially, is the path Jesus took, and what he was able to demonstrate for us. 

WELCOME TO THE KINGDOM!

When you’re a baby, you’re the entire universe –
And there’s nothing else that matters but you.

You’re given a beautiful mother
Who takes care of all your needs –
So you never forget her face.

Then, slowly, surely, everything starts coming into focus
Until the day you’re finally able to see yourself –
Along with all your limitations.

The surprising pain associated with becoming aware of those limitations
Leads to constructing a fantasy “self”
That you can almost believe in –
A splendid “ego” useful for dressing up your more primitive, negligible self –
Someone capable of surviving and succeeding in this world.

Eventually, you become a “real” puppet – like Pinocchio –
Who can “pass” –
Manipulating the world from behind a curtain –
While it’s only in bad dreams you realize the rest of the world
Is the same as you –

Puppets!

You exist through an unreal “person” or “persona” –
Unaware of having an alternative, even if asked.

Entire religions are built around the existence of a few chosen people
Courageous enough or insane enough to become their “true selves.”

But established religions never explain it that way –
Instead, they say such people are “gods” or “super-beings” –
And that if you’re willing to turn yourself over to them, they’ll protect you –
Most especially, after you die –
And then you’ll be able to “live forever” – whatever that means.

Gurus and other hotshot spiritual hustlers
Ask who “you” are –
Knowing you’ll have no answer –
And that you’d have to “die” to obtain one – and there’s no chance of that ever happening!

Actually, it’s quite simple –
There are no religions or spiritual “masters” available to help you –
There’s only you.

To discover your “true self” you’ll need to give up everything
You are, have, and want to be –
And be willing to be your naked self – and then look at that!
Then drop that, and keep dropping all the that’s which subsequently appear –
Until there’s nothing left
Nothing, at all –

When you discover the magic of being “born again,” as Jesus recommended –
Even then, you’ll need to be very careful not to let this new state of being
Develop into a more advanced kind of Ego.

This is why humbleness comes first –
True humility –
Someone used to being overlooked.

Then, when you finally start breathing freely again –
When you can “see” actual reality,
Including, most importantly, the reality of “yourself.”

That’s when God will suddenly appear and say:
“Good job, little one,”
“Welcome to the Kingdom!”

“BORN AGAIN” – AN INFINITE NUMBER OF TIMES

Childhood is the closest most of us will ever get to Christ –
On average, people, as they grow older, become harder, deader in important parts,
And increasingly brittle.

This demonstrates that we may also be moving in the wrong direction spiritually –
So, before we grow any older, we need to consider turning
And becoming more childlike in our souls.

We need to do this without giving up our lifetime of experience –
Retaining our hard-earned maturity.

The joy and light that, hopefully, will start growing brighter in us –
Eventually could even turn into the “twinkle” of a new-born baby –
A few older people have achieved this – think, for example, of the Dalai Lama
Or another mature person with this kind of sparkle that you might already know.

That would, of course, make one the most mature “baby” – ever –
Since, by that time, we’d have experienced being “born again” –
An infinite number of times.

JESUS’ BEST KEPT SECRET

In the East,
They paint images of water lilies
Rising up out of bottom mud
Through dark water
To a breezy surface –
Where they blossom in beauty.

Who could imagine such natural elegance rising up out of mud –
One of nature’s more ecstatic surprises.

In the West,
Jesus taught we could be “born again”
And then was hung up to die.

Repeatedly, though, throughout his life he rose up out of himself –
Flowering as a “new type” of human being.

People felt awe at this, and reacted according to their individual character –
Those bending towards hope, followed him with joy,
While those responding out of fear or anger, simply disappeared.

Through Jesus, the world was exposed to a paradox –
That is, whether it’s actually possible to extinguish a “next-stage” human spirit –

The authorities learned, in their attempt to kill off this late-Axial Age spiritual dimension,
That their best efforts ended up only certifying Jesus
As an evolutionarily new human paradigm.

In fact, this turned out to be a variation of an old, old story –
Winning by losing –

Jesus’ best kept secret.

GOD’S “FACE”

The Old Testament asserts that we cannot “see” God’s face and live. (Exodus 33:20)

Paul, in the New Testament, however, says: “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully even as I am fully known.” 1 Cor.13:12

How resolve this inter-testamental paradox?

I think the Old Testament was talking about “egos” – false selves that “die,” that is, become extinguished in any “direct” encounter with God. The New Testament, on the other hand, is talking about human beings who’ve been “born again” spiritually – when it becomes possible for a human spirit to actually engage with God’s Spirit directly because, qualitatively, and at the right place and right time, the two can overlap.

Even the briefest glimpse of God gets us “soaked” by Joy –

If God is Love, then, when we’re loving, even if only for a moment,
That’s when we experience God –
Not as a matter of belief, but of lived life.

Love is the aspect of God that resides inside us (Immanent) while Truth is the aspect of God that’s found outside us (Transcendent).

Experiencing the joy of God as a holy fountain inside us –
While having faith in a transcendent God
Who gifts us with significance, context, and meaning –

Turns out to be Heaven for most human beings!

PERPETUALLY SURPRISED

“Love” works like a magical pair of glasses.

Before you put them on – spiritually, you can’t see a thing
But when you place them astride your nose
And look directly through their clear lenses –
You’ll “see” what God sees.

When you put these glasses on,
You’ll immediately be changed into a new person –
Transfigured, like Jesus,
Into someone “born again” –
Able to see the world like a new-born baby
While still retaining all your lifetime experiences.

Really, if you want to “see” just like God does –
Put on these special “love” glasses –

And get prepared to be perpetually surprised!

THE NATURAL TRASH COLLECTOR

The ego is a natural trash collector –
As soon as it feels any space opening up
It immediately refills itself – generally with some new species of “trash” –
And that’s why there’s never any room for God or one’s “true self.”

The most elevated spiritual path ever discovered by mystics was “emptying out” –
Literally, “everything” has got to go! – especially all one’s favorite treasures.

So, after all the work and time spent cleaning out our ego-self,
What’ll be left is “no-thing”
Which provides us with the space to be “born again”
Which also provides us with space for reality to enter our lives –

In other words, room for God to be welcome in our hearts.

SPIRITUALLY, DOES CHRISTIANITY STILL MAKE SENSE?

Jesus knew everything, spiritually, about being “born again” himself –
But, unfortunately, the Christians who came after him
Never became interested in their own “true selves”
Into which they could be born again (like Jesus) –
And live a life parallel to God.

Even though Jesus believed God was “Spirit,”
Christianity was founded, in large part, upon “spiritual materialism” –
Because that requires an external “savior” – in this case, Jesus himself –

This understanding of human beings as objects that need to be saved
Was in stark contrast to Jesus’ understanding of human beings as subjects
With an inherent ability to save themselves
By spiritually being “born again” into their “true selves.”

LITTLE ONE

Almost seven and one-half billion people are waiting for you
Little one –
Humanity’s morning star.

Are you, even now, a small child now running around in the grass and trees
Of Brazil, Argentina, or Peru –
Thinking about God
In your pure child’s mind?

As “the purest girl in the world”
You’ll be able to see reality – in other words, “God” –
You’ll “taste” love; hear the truth; and smell justice with your little nose –
Everything will come easy for your quicksilver mind
And no one will pass you on the street without noticing your intense beauty –
Your parents already aware of what a treasure you are.

Little one, we don’t ask too much –
Just tell us what God looks like through your clear eyes
And what God is whispering in your secret dreams.

You’ll have the confidence of the angels surrounding God’s throne
And be “born again” an infinite numbers of times – even as a child –
As many births as the number of stars in the sky twinkling in your dark hair –
Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed will all be in awe of you
Since you’ll embody Love, Truth, Justice, and Beauty –
A young South American woman as a true reflection of God.

Yes, God will soon send us “the purest-hearted girl in the world” –
To be the true Avatar for our age –
And who’ll explain everything to us,
Including how to get back to “Eden” – back before we developed egos –
Where it all began –
Back when we were still our “true selves.”