TO LOVERS OF LEARNING

You are my friends
No matter where you live –
Alabama or Ukraine.

For some reason you’ve discovered the secret of being a “true” human being
Through a desire to know everything!

Primary school teachers hurled straight ‘A’s’ at your head
While other children were envious because, for you, it was so obviously not “work”–
Just pure joy.

You’re getting what you want,
Have wanted, and will always want in the future.

It’s a lot like cracking open walnuts –
Or oysters –
This peculiar ambition of the mind!

Stars shine brightest in blackest nights – especially when looking up
Waves arrive at a shore without end
Based upon the love God promised us at birth.

The moon smiles –
Even though just partly lit –
But the sun laughs out loud because it’s day’s turn now.

Let’s drink to old age –
And greet Jules, our first grandchild,
In this New Age – filled with joy and dread –
Mixed up, shaken like a fizzy,
By the Mistress of the Universe.

THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF GOD

Human consciousness doesn’t continue after a human being’s death –
But inside God’s consciousness, it can and does –
It’s there – a “living reality” – inside God’s “mind.”

The Puritans were right – everything counts –
Every act, every thought, every feeling, counts.

Recently, though, we’ve been living as if they don’t – not really –
And that we’re able to brush off laws, norms,
And morals – frequently referred to as “the small stuff.”

But they aren’t “small” –
Lies go on forever
Cruelty persists
Murder can stain multiple generations
And they’re all available, by God – for playback.

Each decision we make is a choice
That lasts forever.

When we use our time and energy
To help or hurt –
It has lasting effects.

Each of our thoughts and acts is real –
Existing in real time and real space, using real energy
And, as a consequence, remains in God’s consciousness.

God also has the power to make that consciousness
Available to us – so that we can see – not just in the few moments before death –
But forever and ever –
All the consequences of our actions to everyone who’s been touched by them.

When we hurt someone – through God’s eyes – we can see what that felt like –
And what it felt like to those who loved that person
As well as all the wider consequences to their families, and even descendants.

We frequently think we can forget about consequences – that we can somehow evade them –
But we can’t
Because they happen in real time and real space
And are retained by God – every single one of them.

When God takes our actions out for review
We no longer can change them because, by then, “we’re” gone.

Inside God’s mind we’re still there though – alive – just as we were earlier –
Which lets us see – in excruciating, slow, fine detail
What we said and did – and all the consequences flowing out of those statements and actions.

This is why we have to take our thoughts and actions more seriously
While we still have an opportunity to change them – by turning away from negative ones
That is, by “repenting,” as the old-timers used to say.

Yes, it’s true that human beings’ lives do come to an end –
But not inside God’s consciousness –

If what we did or thought was ugly – it’ll still be ugly
And if it was beautiful, it’ll still be that.
Each act, each thought is incredibly important
Because all have real consequences – for us and for others –
That are permanent.

So don’t lie, don’t act in unkind ways –
Don’t accept the belief that there’s no God or lasting consequences –
For God, your actions and thoughts are all real
And will always remain so –
God keeps them alive – just as they were from the day they first came into existence.

So, please accept the joy of your actions if that’s what they illustrate
And take the pain caused if that also turns out to be the truth.

LONELY AS A ROCK

If there were no God
I’d be lonely as a rock hurtling through the void.

If there were no “high true” human character to attain –
I’d travel to an amusement park and ride around all day –
Eating cotton candy – while going round and round.

If there were no love available for me –
I’d rent a room in some high attic
And never go out again.

If truth completely evaporated out of American society –
I’d hitch a ride to dusty red Mars with a bunch of bizarre billionaires.

If it turned out that Jesus was not really Jesus –
And that the Buddha never blossomed into his “true self” –
I’d stop asking further questions and respond solely in exclamations –
Like “Huh,” “Argh,” or “Wheeh!”

If I thought it’d be pointless to learn any new things –
I couldn’t find fault with Trump saying: “Duh, maybe Hitler was a pretty good guy
Since he did get people back to work.”

And if there really were no God, there couldn’t be joy either
And the word “hope” would never be found in any English dictionary.

GREAT GOOD GLADNESS

As I get older, the world appears to be getting worse –
But this is a mistake
Because things are actually getting better
The younger you are.

The young can’t remember anything they haven’t yet experienced –
So, to the young, now is always now,
The sun’s usually out,
And they’re certain love is on the way.

The young cherish clutter and rubbish –
Because it gives them plenty of “stuff” to clear away
When, eventually, they go out to make the world a better place.

There’re far fewer tragedies in the world of the young
Because everything is constantly getting better –
The Beatles knew this – singing: “Here comes the sun!”

The young are fresh, original,
With perfect skin and glistening eyes –
So they don’t need to pay attention to shadows
In their elders’ eyes.

Perhaps we got it all wrong –
That God was never an “old man”
Sitting on an emerald throne – dispensing iron justice –
But, always, simply, a beautiful child
Radiating life and joy
And, in general, great good gladness.

IT’S THE LIFE IN THE EYE THAT COUNTS

Where is beauty?

In a passing person’s face
Especially her eyes –   

Sparkling!

It’s the life in the eye that counts
Whether love, joy, or ecstasy –
The look that sees you as the center of the universe –
And as a manifestation of God –
You remember that passing-by look
For the rest of your life.

Tragedy, on the other hand, is when an actor isn’t aware he’s acting
Doesn’t know he’s in a play
And follows a script without the sense that he’s reading one.

He hears a smattering of applause, starts to bow –
And then
And then –

Wakes up.

WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED!

“You must die before you die.”
                                    Rumi

It’s a race against time –
Like a river filling up,
Drowning you, and then leaving you behind.

We begin life swimming upstream –
Towards birth, towards an unfolding life, and, then, towards death –
Which comes like a wave –
Or an unfinished song.

There is physical life
And spiritual life –
But they don’t start at the same time
Or travel in the same direction.

The physical life starts out strong but over time winds down
Spiritual life may also get old quickly –
However, “dying” to discover the next life
Sometimes can be useful –
Getting born a second time before dying the first time –
Entering a spiritual world –
Eyes wide open –
Prepared for a birth into love and joy.

Life is such a surprise –
So unexpected –

Who would have guessed!

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.”

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

CLOUD IN FRONT OF THE SUN

Who is God, anyway?
Is God a spiritual entity encouraging us to be our best
Intellectually, morally, and spiritually?
Is God someone pointing us in the right direction?

My main problem with God involves the influence of certain people
Who also are pointing us in one direction or the other –
People from whom we think we need permission,
Or who provide us with identity,
Or even the permission to be?

When these people merge with God, we get “Religion” –
Like a cloud in front of the sun –
Especially when we’re not able to distinguish one from the other.

All human beings are born with the capacity to experience joy –
And so, from birth, potentially we can embody it –
But then, almost immediately, we find we aren’t seeing beyond our family
(Unless our family’s exceptionally transparent to God) –
So, when we perceive family instead of God –
That is, when we experience a world largely of related people instead of a world of God –
This becomes one of the main sources of our anxiety.

We know God is there – right behind them– just over their shoulders –
As spiritual “light” –
And when we fall in love with that light –
It frequently occurs to us to “hit the road.”
If we do that, we’ll have to leave family, society, and world –
And risk dying for God.

But, if we follow through on this, eventually we’ll get everything back –
God and the world –
Even family.

If we become a “God” person
We’ll be able to “see” God in others –
In all others.

Then, when we’re able to distinguish what’s not God from God –
That won’t upset us –
Because it’s reality
And God is reality.

When we start seeing reality through God’s eyes –
Feeling with God’s heart –
We’ll fall deeper and deeper in love with Love
So that everything turns out alright –

You might even say, we’ll have been “Saved!”

DANCE

The supreme physical expression of human joy
Is dance.

God (including all earlier gods) requested dance first
Before images, ideas, and all other expressions of worship.

First was the foot
Then the hand
And, finally, the head.

Dance expresses joy in life
And the immanence of God in our hearts,
Along with a strong desire for physically moving with others.

Dance is how children express their happiness
With spontaneous movements.

I think it’s important to become aware of dance going on all around us –
Especially that of our sky neighbors – the birds.

Also, watch patterns of waves forming over large bodies of water –
Watch wind as it touches, and then re-touches, forest leaves.

Notice the small shy smile appearing on your lover’s face
And your joy, in response, when you give your feelings permission to shine.

Why not give that permission right now
After all, the entire world depends upon it!