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!

BURNING!

“The cells of our bodies are like candle flames,
Their atoms constantly replaced by new ones.
 Only their structures live on.” 
                                                   John Leslie

Burning!
I’m burning up –
Yet being replaced instantly and constantly.

I’m also a flower –
In flower –
A bouquet in bloom –
A gift to myself.

I’m composed of about an octillion atoms
Walking around in my own modest interstellar space –
Sometimes, I spin out of control –
Like a supernova
Or a black hole
Depending upon which side you’re facing.

I know nothing, I know everything,
I know some things –
Modest in my enlightenment
I’ve also been accused of enlightened modesty.

One of our secrets, traditionally, has been love –
Hiding everywhere and nowhere –
Over and under our eyelids –
And deep in our – beat, beat, beating – hearts.

I want everyone to stop – just for an instant –
So love can finally appear in all its glory!

 

REALITY AT ALL LEVELS

How can we see like Jesus could see –
As fully human and fully God?

He saw with two eyes – one a human’s and one God’s.

A real human eye is found only in a “true self” –
Like the eye of an infant – where everything is fresh and new –
And, as the scientists say,
Pure uninterrupted experience is limited to three seconds,
But is never found in the head of a wooden puppet – like Pinocchio
As an “ego” or a “false self.”  

God’s eye is different –
It sees through time (eternity) and space (infinity) –
Set within the four cardinal points of love, truth, justice, and beauty –
With the lines meeting at the top of a spiritual pyramid –
Love meeting truth, truth meeting justice, justice meeting beauty,
And beauty resting on love –
All conjoined at the tip – where God lives.

Two eyes – one a human being’s and one God’s.

Jesus could see through a child’s eyes
Balanced by those four spiritual attributes of God.

When those two eyes exist in a single head
They see reality – and at all levels.

EXCHANGING THE EGO FOR A “TRUE SELF”

             Some say the most profound scientific discipline is theoretical physics which has vastly expanded our understanding of the structure of the physical universe using the language of mathematics, but I think this now needs to be matched by an even more profound spiritual/theological discipline that can further our understanding of the relationship between God and the human self through expanded human consciousness of love, truth, justice, and beauty as expressed through the arts. Materialistic evolution via science and technology has taken us about as far as we’re going to get while still retaining our basic humanity, but the prospects for our species will be pretty dim if that’s the full extent of what we’re ever going to achieve.

             I propose it’s time for human beings to make a conscious choice about which evolutionary path they should take: materialistic evolution (especially digital artificial intelligence) or the next step in humans’ spiritual evolution. Greater spirituality, however, won’t necessarily increase our intelligence or ability to manipulate the material world, but could, eventually, evolve us into an entirely different type of humanity – the kind originally pointed towards by Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed.

            When a person enters the world as a baby, they’re totally open to God – arriving as pure energy in human form. Because they come straight from God, they’re completely natural upon arrival. After their surprise landing in this world, however, they need to figure out how to survive in this particular time and place. They eventually do, but the cost is often high. They’re faced with the necessity of becoming the kind of person that other people readily recognize and the surrounding culture use. Since usually they’re raised by parents – people who’ve already made the requisite compromises and adjustments – the baby ultimately learns how to “fit in.”

            This baby, who started life as a tiny energy “sun,” eventually begins “dimming” because so much of her original natural energy will be perceived as “alien” to her family’s world. Eventually, the baby matures and becomes a “person” by developing an ego – and ultimately joins society. One day, however, that baby – after attaining adulthood – might begin wondering where all her previous energy had gone – and whether it might ever be regained.

            In traditional societies, a person’s roles remain largely the same throughout their life and also determine how their children will turn out.

            In modern societies, however, by early adulthood, a person usually gains abilities and opportunities to change “who” they are by making individual choices – leading them away from predestined family roles – becoming partly a family-destined person and partly a self-determined one – in a “composite” role. Nevertheless, whatever this composite role turns out to be, it’s still just a role.

            All roles, traditional or modern, become included in one’s “life story.” As Shakespeare asserted in As You Like It: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” So, the problem with developing an “ego,” along with one’s accompanying “story,” is the temptation to “make up” that story as one goes along – like in a dramatic film – even if carried out mainly unconsciously.

            Another problem with “roles” is their need for consistency and continuity, so the self can seemingly remain “the same.”

            This is why “higher” values are necessary to effect any serious changes in our quotidian roles and stories. Traditionally, humanity’s highest values have been attributable to a “Spirit” (usually “God’s”) – as well as to divine spiritual attributes like love, truth, justice, and beauty.

            Roles and stories, however, compel us to live as unfree. Since we believe these roles and stories (as reinforced by the surrounding society) constitute our “identity,” we sometimes even believe we would need to “die” as the price for achieving freedom. If a person becomes threatened with losing their identity, frequently, they’ll think they might as well be dead. That’s how important roles and personal stories are for a normal human being. In fact, there’s a general consensus in the humanities, as well as in psychotherapy, that the ego, as a person’s chief fictional character, is one’s essential self.

            So, how is it possible to free ourselves from embedded roles and stories that obstruct our natural human self-understanding and close down our best, most spontaneous thoughts – in order to gain the freedom necessary to become our “true selves”?

            The answer is that we need to be “born again” – at any age. That is, we’ll need to reverse direction, spiritually, and become a “child” all over again so as to become as free as God.

             Jesus himself said this, did this, and then died for it – all to show us how.

             To be “born again” is scary – few can do it all at once. Most people need time to shed their artificial roles until they’re free enough to make a long daring leap into their “true selves.” Starting at an older age, it actually becomes easier to work towards greater spirituality by breaking up and discarding pieces of one’s earlier “false selves” and gain a greater naturalness and openness spiritually even though one is at the same time physically degenerating.

ALWAYS FRESH

“I go back to where everything is nothing.”
                                                      Rumi

Along with Rumi, I want nothing – except freedom
And perhaps a friend to point the way to God for me
In place of all the religious “professionals” lining the way to nowhere
And flatterers complimenting us on things we already know.

I want nothing
And the freedom that goes along with it –
I also want a God who still desires being God
Along with a quotidian material world whirring into and out of existence.

I want a freedom that’s fully paid for –
And a love that arrives “out of the blue.”

Speaking of “blue,” I want a lot more of that
Skies, oceans, robins’ eggs, and Van Gogh blues –
Along with the spectacular “yellows” I’d never seen before visiting Musée d’Orsay.

Nothing is absolutely the beginning of everything –
Nothing is a midnight diner – cars streaming by –
Nothing is music discerned through an almost-waking dream.

Nothing is a God who doesn’t need to be acknowledged as “God” –
Since God’s perpetually fresh!

WE DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT WORDS FOR GOD

We don’t have the right words for God
Since we no longer believe in a “God” who’s given up on being God –
We need the right words so that everyone can start believing again –
We’ll also need a few bright new metaphors for “love”
As well as an entirely fresh vocabulary for “God’s Kingdom on Earth.”

The problem with words is that they eventually become “stale”
Expressing past understandings of things
That are now no longer understandable. 

Who can believe in a “God” who’s mostly a cliché –
And who many fail to take seriously anymore?

Let’s throw over the old words
And start over
In order to fall in love with God again –
Preferably speechlessly.

Let the words for “love of God”
Be expressed primarily by sparkling eyes
As if falling in love for the first time!

THE NECESSITY OF BECOMING GOD

God offers us a life to become as much like God
As a human being possibly can –
But it’s up to us whether or not to follow up this offer.

God doesn’t allow this to animals much less to inanimate objects –
God whispers only to human beings –
However, if you do decide to remain primarily an animal or an object
Betraying your life’s true mission –
You’ll have forgotten everything God whispered to you at birth –
And leave behind everything you were ever intended to be.

God insists: “I gave you imagination and a mind unlimited as the myriad stars
And the capacity to love equal to that of a first-time mother.”

God reminds us: “At birth, you were provided with the gift of infinite potential
And the ability to move everything forward – towards me.”

God says: “Why did you take even an instant
To obsess about your “self”?
“Who are you if not on the way to becoming a fair reflection of me?”
Who are you to waste yourself
Simply accreting materials to a “false self” –
And failing to add more “God” into the world?”

“Who are you to waste the gift of your unique ability – over time –
To turn yourself into Me?”

GAINING ENOUGH SUBSTANCE TO LOOK DIRECTLY AT GOD

The common and usual “self” expands by sticking “things” onto its body –
As well as manipulating other people into its lower orbit –
While rolling and trolling around in egoistic sweet desires.

This kind of “self,” however, sometimes disconnects from itself –
Like a space capsule unlocking from a mother ship
Into a self open to enjoying everybody and everything
With the freedom to be objective and to tell “the whole truth” –
Because there’s no longer any false self remaining.

A self that’s left its false self behind becomes a “true self” –
Free to think God’s thoughts,
Love like God,
And tell the truth like God –

That’s not to say, however, that these experiences can’t end up being a bit “shallow.”

The first step, however, is to gain spiritual freedom –
The second requires a lot of hard work – (because God is not a lightweight) –
Even 10 years of sustained and persistent work
Might only get us as far as being a decent human being –
Even after exercising the freedom of God.

People courageous enough to look God straight in the face
Sometimes still come to realize that working spiritually for most of their lives
Might not add enough weight
To gain the attention of a single person
Desiring to know something about the “real” God.