THE MIND BUILDS ROADS

The mind builds roads
That go both somewhere and nowhere –
Also, the mind likes to place stone blocks in strict order
So people know where to sit.

On the other hand, the heart flies
The heart is the sky –
And knowing God,
Has nothing to fear.

Philosophers cherish their large paper collections
While churlishly competing for second place –
The cheering stops as soon as they start wearing
Learning like brass and silver medals
Covering proud European chests.

It’s true that God actually hates theology
And dismisses, out of hand, the latest philosophical trends –
Instead, God prefers to dance –
Before eventually changing into a fountain of joy.

Today, I take my little whisk broom
And brush away dust
From the books in my library –
But, the best thing of all,
Is the expansive green space outside medieval windows
Where the lawn is held close within surrounding stone walls
Like a green heart deep inside ancient wisdom.

NOBODY

             One trump card used by “enlightenment masters,” when meeting prospective new followers, is asking: “who are you?,” knowing in advance they can’t answer that – because, in actuality, at the deepest levels underneath their “ego,” they’re “no one” and “nobody.”

            Recognizing the need to rid myself of ego before taking up the search for my “true self,” I started studying Western medieval mystics like Marguerite Porete and Meister Eckhart, as well as more modern writers, like Emily Dickinson and Simone Weill, all of whom wrote about becoming “nobody” or “no one,” as being necessary to approach God directly. Marguerite Porete wrote: True freedom is when we “become love.” This reaches far beyond simple humility (because, obviously, a lot of pride can be hidden behind a show of humility). Going all the way – to zero – and then experiencing the world – is what they seemed to be recommending. At first, this approach seemed meaningless to me, even nonsensical, yet they repeatedly kept saying it.

            Eventually, I came to accept their approach as being centered on freedom. That in order to escape one’s ego, one first had to free oneself of one’s “old” self – along with all the wrong ideas and assumptions about one’s “life” and “the world.” Apparently, becoming nobody does the trick! As Marguerite says: “The soul swims in a sea of joy!”

            We need to go to the place where we stand alone – waiting for the promised meeting with God –and then just wait. As Meister Eckhart says: “To be empty of all created things is to be full of God, and to be full of created things is to be empty of God.”

            The promise is that God arrives out of “nothing,” That by accepting loneliness – even depression – and waiting patiently, God will eventually “come home” – into your heart.

            Immediately upon “waking up,” you’ll be seeing through fresh eyes – a newborn’s eyes – and what you’ll see and experience is what God sees and experiences – through you – just as if you’re God and God is you.

            This is the easiest, as well as the hardest, thing in the world to accomplish – to give up your ego in order to find your “true self” – to become the individual you were born to be. It’s what Jesus understood – that one’s old self has to “die” for one’s “true self” to come to life.

            And this is what he accomplished – and why people either spontaneously followed him or desired to kill him. The former filled with a joy they’d never experienced before, while the latter became angry that any human being would dare to become that kind of person.

            As Meister Eckhart says: “God’s ground and the soul’s ground are one ground.” That is, God’s essence and the soul’s essence are the same – at least in the eyes of great mystics

INTENSITY OF THE “SELF”

Love in the abstract (towards which I tend)
Is not worth much.

True love starts in the heart
And then is drawn towards another person –
Sometimes, even an object.

This is fascination with the “other”
Where one leaves one’s lonely self behind and becomes
Someone sharing their existence with another.

If it’s a person that love is driving you towards
You become more “alive” –
But if it’s an object
You might gain only some temporary satisfaction.

How far does your love go?
To just a few friends – or does it extend to all people in the world?
To a single object, like a cup or a car, or does it encompass everything in existence?

Does your love grow weaker as it expands outward?
And what about the effects of time?

Maybe everything should be measured
Solely by the intensity of the “self”
Engaged in this loving?

POETRY IS OFTEN “NOT THAT!”

Can one talk about God except through poetry?
No and yes,
Because without song there’d be nothing memorable to say
But God insists upon our being intelligent, or, at the very least, intelligible,
And poetry often is “not that!”

Without inspiration, (taking a spiritual breath), there’d be no God –
But that’s about breathing “in” – not “out”
Yet, when we’re talking about God, isn’t it always a mix?
Part understanding and part a tapping of the feet.

Isn’t it true that as soon as God comes to mind
Our heart wants to start singing –
Isn’t it also true that as soon as black letters hit white pages
In an attempt to describe God –
A bucket of color gets thrown over the words –
Because God is so wild, alive, and unanticipated.

A newborn baby first opening its eyes to the world
Could not be more surprised
Than a poet sitting down and starting to write anything about God.

HOW TO LOVE GOD DURING A CORRUPT ADMINISTRATION AND ACCOMPANYING PANDEMIC

It’s hard to stay focused on God, especially now,
But that’s what I want –
Even though I’m worried about finding food, toilet paper, and other life necessities.

This makes me irritable.

At such times, it’s hard to bring God close,
Especially when worried about society
And that reality show “wannabe” tyrant spewing lies,
False assertions, and made-up facts –
(And I don’t know how to stop him).

I’m older now, and want the presence of God
To become ever-present –
But, don’t know how to do it –
Even though that’s what I want most.

God is everywhere
Especially hovering near my heart –
And mind.

God encompasses Nature and everything above and beyond Nature.

Question though:

Is God present in “man-made” things –
Like tables and chairs – houses – cups and bowls?
My real question is whether God may be experienced derivatively
That is, through “man-made” as opposed to “natural” things?

Then, going even a step further –
Can God be experienced digitally – through the internet –
That is, to what extent can the derivative world overlap with the world of God
Through man-made technologies unleashing algorithms of artificial intelligence
Which, in turn, recreate human-like ideas through the use of intelligent machines
And which, at some point, might get disconnected completely from mankind and life itself
Through a “Singularity”
Or a “Singularity” squared.

Where could God be in any of that?
My biggest problem now, though, is one of forgetting –
Because I get distracted by so many things
And lose touch with God – repeatedly.

How can I make fresh contacts with God – and hold onto them
More than a few seconds?

I want God to come into my heart and remain there
I want to hold onto God with determination
To fall asleep repeating God’s name,
And wake up with the joy of God on my lips.

I want other people – coming into my presence –
To feel God –
Like a spiritual surprise!

I want you – reading this – to find God
Coming like an eagle straight through your eyes –
Down into your heart –
And then, lifting your feet high up into the air,
You’ll begin feeling ecstasy
While quietly nibbling away on tiny bits of “Diner Mystic.”

MY NAME IS SURPRISE

One problem with religion is its construction
Of sandcastles in the desert –
Waiting for successors to knock them all down.

Another trouble with religion is its professionalization –
Because only amateurs are authorized
To take off their clothes in public.

Then, with religions, there are “splits”
Where the fiercest enemy is a sizable portion of its former self –
Flying arrows – hearts turning black.

The final trouble with religion is the killing off of founders
Because founders, like Jesus, the Buddha, and Mohammed,
Are still too alive to be turned into museum sculptures –
So alive, that everyone runs away screaming:
“They’re alive – watch out – better yet – run!”

Of course, running out into the lonely night,
Eventually, you have to stop, turn around, and start to relax –
But it’s really not so bad without post-founder institutions to believe in –
After all, that feeling of freedom is wonderful!

My heart starts doing jumping jacks
In my chest
Out my mouth.

My name is “Surprise” –
Just don’t try sneaking up on me!

FREEDOM IS A BLANK SHEET

To lose everything might provide total freedom
But it doesn’t usually happen that way
Since a person can only lose one piece of themselves at a time.

Writing is freedom on a blank sheet
Without even a dot –
This sheet appears as empty as God
Who’s been busily filling everything in.

Love is like leaving a window open
So that, suddenly, if a bird flies in –
It’s the symbol of your heart returning home.

I keep tearing off pieces of myself
And tossing them out into the dark –
Pretty soon the night will be all lit up with me –
How embarrassing!

After a certain age, sex and gender start floating off –
What’s left is much greater freedom –
It’s what you’ll see when you get close enough to look directly at God
While, later in life, you start filling up with so much love
That you can’t hold onto anything else.

God is a surprise
Because you never see God coming –
Just don’t piss in your panties
When it happens.

CLAP HANDS

I want to clap hands
And with each clap initiate a separate universe.

I want to rain down beauty
So everyone can get “heart” wet.

I want to migrate with the birds
So I’ll be able to find my way back home.

I want to light a small fire in the hearth of my heart
And substitute a “pearl” for my everyday mind.

In Roman times, pearls were even rarer than diamonds
Because ancient mining industries moved mountains to produce them –
But it’s only when holding your breath while diving
That you’ll be able to discover the iridescent beauty hidden in those deep water shells.

The sun provides infinite life over almost infinite time –
But, someday, it will go out –
Truly, it’s only the green life that matters –
Everything else dross.

I’m dying to say one new word –
One that can never be forgotten –
God, why don’t you slide it across that green baize table
So that, when I turn it over, I can look surprised!

BEAUTY (for Mary)

Isn’t it true that capitalism has been the death of beauty
Since as soon as anyone tries to buy beauty –
It crumbles, turns to dust, and slips out of one’s grasp.

Beauty must always be a gift, acquired solely through thoughts of love –
The kind of gift you hold onto until the end –
First, in your room, then in your chest of jewels,
And, finally, clasped in your dying hand.

This gift is one of pure joy, made solely for you.

A great deal of thought, patience, and passion went into this gift –
No one else in the world has anything like it.
It’s the first and last thought of an invisible American poet
Who nobody knows the name of.

Beauty is a spiritual light that makes the eyes shine –
Beauty is falling in love by accident – that is, “out of the blue” –
Beauty is holy lovemaking that, one night, created you, you, you!

Dear heart, only one,
You’re my beautiful true life-partner!

WHEN JESUS TALKED ABOUT GOD

When Jesus talked about God, everyone who heard him
Knew he knew what he was talking about.

In today’s world, however, we’re barely able to hear this earlier Jesus –
Strained through the muffled ears of a religious establishment
Who’re familiar with the name
But not much else – other than denominational dogma.

It’s been 70 generations since Jesus’ voice has actually been heard –
Think about the “telephone game” and what that amount of time means for historical accuracy 
So that the person who still hears his voice directly
Is a rare person, indeed!

So, only an infinitesimal few still clearly hear him
And no one else, today, has been able to achieve his particular voice –
The voice of someone who knows God
So that when he or she speaks – you hear God coming through.

I pray, one day, to be permitted to open my own heart sufficiently
To love God much like Jesus did –
So that when you and I meet –
You’ll be able to“feel” what I’m experiencing –
Ecstatic love in a quotidian life!